Best things to do in Santorini
Find out more about those top places in Santorini
The blue domed churches and whitewashed houses clustered around a spectacular sea-filled caldera could be nowhere else but the Cyladic island of Santorini. However, Santorini’s main towns – Fira and Oia – have in recent years struggled to cope with a deluge of honeymooners, cruise boats, social media influencers and luxury hotel chains. Despite this, the island still retains a clutch of hidden gems beyond the tourist crowds. The villages of Imerovigli and Pyros have as much charm as their more famous neighbors across the caldera and receive far fewer visitors, which has allowed them to keep a hold of their rustic Greek charm. What is more, the island is famed for its wineries, which litter the island’s volcanic hillsides, and black-sand beaches, which are surprisingly unspoiled.
Unearthed in 1967 after spending millennia buried under thick layers of volcanic ash, the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri is one of Greece’s most important archaeological sites. Today, the ruins are once again covered but this time by a hi-tech protective structure that allows visitors pass through the ancient city on boardwalks where you can see ancient pottery, three story town houses and complex drainage systems. For the best experience, tour guides are available to offer unique insights into the daily lives of the 200 families that once called Akrotiri home.
Perfect for a romantic sunset cruise boat tour, the Santorini Caldera is one of Europe’s most spectacular geological formations. Offering breathtaking views of the islands of Santorini, Therasia and Aspronisi, cruising the Caldera is an unforgettable experience that also lets you get up close to plunging cliffs and remote black sand beaches, both of which were formed as a result of various volcanic eruptions over the last 100 000 years.
With whitewashed houses nestling amongst volcanic crags and cobbled lanes winding up solidified lava flows, it would be hard to find a more picturesque location in the entire Cyclades that Oia. Unsurprisingly, the cliff top town receives more than its fair share of visitors so is best explored with a local tour guide to get the most authentic experience.
Known across the world for their plate smashing raucous atmosphere, Greek weddings are one of the country’s most celebrated traditions. To get a taste of this riotous experience, the Greek Wedding Show in Fira allows audience members to participate in an interactive 1940s wedding. Lasting for 90 minutes, audience members join in with traditional Greek dances and try the gastronomic specialties of the Cyclades.
Sail across the Santorini Caldera by day in a catamaran and enjoy swimming in the tranquil waters and thrilling snorkeling tours in its plethora of bio-diverse volcanic rock coves. What is more, the catamaran tour will take you to the world-famous White and Red Beach alongside Indian Rock and the historic Venetian Lighthouse.
Owing to Santorini’s fertile volcanic soil and rich seas, there are few better places in Greece to sample the local cuisine. A food tour of the island’s taverns and wineries lets visitors sample the best Santorini has to offer with a meze style dinner showcasing Cycladic specialties and a wine tasting highlighting indigenous grape varieties.