Top things to do in Santorini, Greece

“Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times"

Greece is a country with allegedly 227 inhabited islands, each of which have their own unique character. Santorini is one of the most popular of the 227, an island especially known for its scenic views and iconic sunsets. It is the most visited Greek Island and is also one of the most popular holiday destinations worldwide, and this is not by chance!

Initially when I founded My Greek Island, my dream was to show the world those less known to the broad public islands. So naturally, Santorini was not high on my list! Why? Well I felt I would struggle to broadcast such a famous island and until recently had actually never been. But in June 2021, I felt this intense urge to visit, explore and see with my own eyes what it had to offer. Greece was just starting to come out of a second lockdown, and it was the perfect opportunity to visit the island before it got busy again, and guess what? I ended up visiting twice in 2021, already visited once in 2022 and have a second trip for 2022 already booked.



So below are one of the many posts I will write about Santorini in an attempt to show you all the gems this places has to offer.


Why Santorini?

Santorini is an island that will captivate you, no matter what your travel style is, simply because it has such diversity in its offerings. It is an island you can visit multiple times and each time do completely different things. You will understand just how captivating the island is when you visit and hopefully with my recommendations will, like I do, feel the urge to go again and again.


Santorini is also one of the most inclusive islands Greece has to offer; it is LGBTQ+ friendly, is great for solo female travellers and ever year is becoming more vegan friendly too. (See my post on Vegan Travel in Greece for more details).


The island is very easily accessible, offering a recently renovated international airport, connecting with direct flights to many countries. In fact, in 2019, the airport of Santorini reported 2.3 million passenger arrivals from domestic and international flights.


Note that Santorini is of course a bit more pricey than other Greek Islands, especially for accommodation, but it remains so unique that you should visit at least once in your lifetime.


When to visit?

There is no right or wrong time to visit Santorini and it is probably one of the few islands you can visit nearly all year round. Having said this though, it tends to get particularly busy between May and September with June to August being the peak season when the weather is also at its highest temperatures for the year.


So if you want to avoid the big crowds but still enjoy nice warm weather without it being too hot, the best time to visit is late September to end of October. During this time you can walk around comfortably, the sea is still warm, the majority of the restaurants are still fully functional and hotel prices are not as expensive as during the peak season.



MGI recommendations


Below is a short list of my favourites things to do in Santorini.




Sunset/Sunrise

Santorini is well know for having some of the best sunsets in the world with the sky becoming a canvas to some breathtaking colours. The most popular spot of the island to watch the sunset is the castle in Oia, but during peak season you need to get there super early to get a good spot. Instead I would recommend waking up early to catch the sunrise from Oia, and chose one of three alternative spots to watch the sunset: Pyrgos Callistis Castle, Akrotiri Lighthouse or St. Nicholas church in Megalochori.


Or for something more exclusive at sunset, you could choose to have a photoshoot with my favourite photographer on the island Kimon or have a picnic organised by Christina at Santorini Picnics.



Villages

When we think of Santorini, the images that come to mind are usually churches with blue domes on a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea. And although that is a very iconic image of Santorini, the villages of the island should not be overlooked. My recommendation would be to visit Pyrgos Kallistis, Megalochori, Emporio, Akrotiri and Finikia.



Hike

A great way to see Santorini is by hiking. The island has many trails and great guides that can show you some off the beaten path routes. The most popular route is that from Fira to Oia, but there are many the island offers.

On my first visit to Santorini in June 2021, I enjoyed a trek with Santorini by Foot and ended the trek at Faros Products to enjoy a well deserved lunch. Faros Products also sells many local goodies that you can purchase to take back with you or even take a cooking class.


Museums

Other things that some people are not aware of is that Santorini is also famous for being one of the five destinations where the Lost Atlantis is believed to have been. A very new museum based on modern technology called the Lost Atlantis Experience will take you on a journey and help you live the myth, showing you why Santorini is believed to be the Lost Atlantis.


Additionally, one of the most famous and traditional products of Santorini is the small-fruited Santorini tomato and in the past the island would produce the famous tomato puree. A museum located in Vlychada which was the old tomato factory of D. Nomikos, offers an audio tour in 5 languages walking you through the history of the production of the tomato puree.



Gastronomy

If you are a foodie then Santorini has you covered. It also has you covered if you are a foodie and vegan, on which I have written a separate dedicated post Vegan Travel in Greece.

A few of my favourite places to eat on the island include:

  1. Metaxi mas

  2. 5 Senses Santorini (Vegan/Vegetarian)

  3. Armeni Restaurant (Seafood)