When you think of the Greek islands, do pictures of whitewashed buildings, blue domes and sparkling sapphire waters come to mind? Well, you’re picturing Santorini!
One of the most photographed islands in the country, this Aegean gem is as dreamy as they come! Experience Santorini’s captivating beauty for yourself with an escape to this volcanic isle.
With our complete guide to the best places to visit and things to do on Santorini holidays, you can get the most out of this Greek great.
We’ve all seen the pictures of the pristine white-washed village perched over the sea on a rugged cliff – stunning right? The poster child of Santorini is a quaint little place called Oia. Famous for its bright-blue domes, it’s been a favourite among beauty seekers and culture vultures for years.
Apart from being more than pretty, Oia is also drenched in traditional charm. Wander its warren of quaint streets and discover teeny shops offering local produce, tavernas with street-side seating and cafés boasting sun-bathed verandas.
Once you’ve strolled Oia’s streets, head down towards the water to visit Ammoudi, the small harbour at the foot of the cliff. It’s a picturesque spot to enjoy the view and enjoy a refreshing drink right on the water’s edge.
Take a glimpse into ancient Thera
Perched on the ridge of the Mesa Vouno Mountain, the remains of ancient Thera offer a glimpse into the rich history of the island. Once the great capital of Santorini looming over the Aegean Sea, this is now an exciting archaeological treasure trove.
As you wander through, you’ll find the remnants of buildings thousands of years old, a temple of worship and an agora, where ancient Greeks would’ve gathered. From here, you’re also perfectly placed to snap amazing pictures of the surrounding landscapes. With famous rugged Greek scenery on one side, views of nearby towns on another and vistas of the glistening sea to boot, you’re spoilt for choice.
Relax on otherworldly beaches
Although most islands boast bright white or golden sands, Santorini does things a little differently. Instead, you’ll be laying your towel down on black or even red volcanic beaches. In the 16th century, a volcanic eruption gave the island it’s current shape, leaving it with some pretty unusual beaches.
For something even more unique, visit Red Beach in the south-west of the island. Here, the rouge-tinged cliffs contrast against the twinkling blue waters to create a vivid juxtaposition – it’s like something straight out of a sci-fi film.
Uncover an ancient buried city
The volcanic eruption that left the island with unique beaches is also responsible for the ancient buried city of Akrotiri. Back in the 16th century, the eruption coated this Minoan Bronze Age settlement in ash, preserving it for centuries.
Today, the site is carefully protected, as the two-story houses, frescoes and array of tools found here offer a unique snapshot into the life of this ancient civilisation. Book in for a guided tour and wander the charming streets of this frozen city to learn more.
Visit the Three Bells of Fira
If you’ve looked at any pictures of Santorini, chances are you’ve seen snaps of the Three Bells of Fira. Framed by the sea, backed by an iconic blue dome and perched atop the pristine white Koimisi Tis Theotokou church, these three bells are up there on the list of the most photographed sites on the island.
For the most spectacular pictures, head there at sunset for a gold-tinged touch to your photos as the light dips over the horizon. Everyone at home will be green with envy.
Sample Santo Wines
What’s a visit to this little island without trying the local tipple? With a visit to Santo Wines, you can wander around the winery on a guided tour, learning about how the grapes are grown and drink is made here.
This winery is dedicated to maintaining the traditional techniques used on the island, so you’re know you’re getting an authentic glass. On top of that, Santorini’s unique volcanic soil helps to shape the unique flavours of the region.
All that exploring is thirsty work! Afterwards, book in for a tasting experience where you can sample the different wines on offer or simply order a glass at the bar. Then, it’s time to sit down and relax while enjoying views over the caldera from the large terrace.
Tuck in to Greek cuisine
On Santorini holidays, sampling the local fare is a must. From luxury dining to grabbing a chip-stuffed gyros, there’s plenty on offer here.
Those looking for something really special should head to The Athenian House. The menu is all about authentic Greek dishes cooked to a fantastic standard, while the terrace offers unparalleled views across the caldera. Head here at sunset for the most romantic setting. This place is the bee’s knees and everyone knows it, so book well in advance.
For a quick bite, Lucky’s Souvlakis in Fira whips up delicious gyros for food on the move. Wash it down with a cold beer and you’ll feel refuelled and ready to carry on exploring.
If you’re all about the beachfront dining, Yalos at Exo Gialos Beach offers a fantastic gastronomical experience, providing fresh seafood and gorgeous Mediterranean flavours.
What is the best month to visit Santorini?
The summer season in Santorini runs from May right through until October, with the hottest temperatures arriving in July and August when it can reach up to 30 degrees! These also tend to be the busiest months, so visit in the shoulder months of May and September or October if you want to dodge most of the crowds.
Posted: 2nd Mar 2020. Updated: 3rd Apr 2023.