16 MUST Do Things In Santorini, Greece and Places To Stay

Santorini is known for being one of the most beautiful islands in the world. If you’re looking for your perfect relaxing summer getaway, look no further than Santorini.

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Greece has over 2,000 islands and yet tourist from all around the world all want to visit the island of Santorini. Located 340km from Athens this volcanic island is a must visit – it’s a photographers dream, the perfect honeymooners getaway and a sunset lovers paradise. The volcanic island has some of the most unique beaches in the world. If you’re looking for crystal clear ocean water you’re not in the right place, however, in Santorini you will find a black sand beach and red sand beach!

Although the island isn’t too big, it still offers enough things to do to make your Greek dreams come true.

So what are some of the must do things to see and do in Santorini? Here’s the list!

How To Get To Santorini

There are 2 ways of getting to Santorini, one is by plane, although flight prices are normally not so cheap since it is a small airport, but you will get there the fastest. Your next option would be a ferry. The ferry does take about 11hrs (give or take), so try to get onto the earliest ferry of the day. Once you get on the ferry you can enjoy the ocean breeze, grab yourself some food, read a book or take a nap.

Get Lost In Oia

First and for most, the reason why almost everyone wants to visit Santorini is for the beautiful city of Oia. Oia is where all those beautiful and dreamy white and blue buildings are located and where most of the postcard/wallpaper photos are taken. Oia is just about a 30mins ride away from the city center of Santorini called Fira. In Fira, you can hop onto a bus that will take you to Oia for only € 1.60 per person (one way).

Once you get to Oia start exploring and get lost in the small streets of Oia to catch the breathtaking view and take beautiful photos. There is a main street in Oia which is packed with restaurants, cafes and shops. Some of the best hotels on the island are located in Oia with a killer view.

Some of the Best Hotels in Oia:

Sailing around the Island

Santorini isn’t your typical island, it’s an oddly shaped island with highs and lows, at it’s tallest it’s 59,060 feet high, so you might not get your typical exotic island vibe. That’s why it’s a good idea to go on a sailing boat around the island and enjoy that Mediterranean Sea vibes. There are a few great options for that.

Check out:

Visit the Black Beach

This beach is by far my favorite beach in Santorini, the black beach which is located in Perssia! It’s on the complete other side of Oia but so well worth it. My first hotel in Santorini was actually located walking distance from the black beach. It was a cute family owned hotel called Amelie Hotel Santorini, in all white and blue – great if you’re traveling to Santorini on a budget.

Santorini is a volcanic island which is why the sand is black. At this beach, you will find many restaurants and cafes located right on the sand which makes for the perfect day. Relax and tan on the beach while ordering food and drinks to your tanning bed, meanwhile burying your feet in the black sand.

If you’re staying in Oia or Fira just hop on the bus to get there or take a taxi.

Visit the Red Beach

Another unique beach to visit is the Red sand beach! Also, a must see while visiting Santorini. I do know that the Ocean Voyager 74 Sailing in Santorini Sunset Tour also takes you there.

Take a Donkey Ride or Simply Say Hello

Back in the day, climbing up to the top of the island of Santorini was a bit difficult, so locals would get up there by using donkeys. That tradition is still alive today, It’s not the smoothest ride, as I’m sure you can imagine. I’m also a big animal activist, so I’m not really pro taking the donkey ride, but I’m sure it would be an interesting ride. If you aren’t into taking the donkey ride up the hill and love animals like me, just simply say hello to the donkeys and get a photo.

Enjoy the View

Santorini is pure beauty, enjoy that beauty, don’t hide in your iPhone your entire stay and only worry about uploading photos. So many people there are always so worried about being on their Facebook and Instagram once they arrive at a WiFi location cafe or restaurant that they actually miss out on the amazing view. Put your phone away and enjoy the beautiful view, your surrounding and the person who’s sitting right in front of you and even if you’re traveling solo, I still think you should do the same. If you’re dining at a restaurant with a view, you’re probably paying for it because it isn’t cheap – so might as well enjoy it.

Rent a Four-Wheeler

Santorini isn’t a huge island but it’s still big enough that you will need transportation. Renting a four-wheeler was seriously one of the greatest things I did in Greece. It was totally affordable and easy to ride. It was like having your own convertible or jet-ski on land. I rented one for the day and road around the whole island and stopped at different places to get awesome photos where a bus or a taxi wouldn’t randomly stop at. Seriously a must! You can rent them all over the island. I rented mine next to the black beach in Perssia.

Seeing the Sunset

If there is one thing you MUST do in Santorini, it would be seeing the amazing breathtaking sunsets. Santorini is known for having some of the world’s most beautiful sunsets. I was literally blown away from the sunsets of this islands and trust me when I tell you I’ve seen A LOT of sunsets.

Look into: Oia Sunset and Traditional Villages Tour in Santorini

The best places to catch the sunsets are in Oia and Fira, the two most popular cities of the island. I personally saw the best sunset in Fira. Another great idea is making a dinner reservation at one of the restaurants that overlooking the ocean. Trust me, it will be a sunset to remember for the rest of your life. I honestly suggest doing a sunset in both locations and also a dinner cruise sunset if you can.

There are a lot of tourists that save a sunset spot in Oia about an hour before sunset to get the perfect photo.

Options for dinner sunset cruise: 

Wine Tasting and Visiting a Vineyard

On the island of Santorini, there are many vineyards, if you love wine and want to enjoy a sweet afternoon sipping on great wine. Take one of these tours:

Grape Stomping Experience

For the longest time, I’ve always wanted to make wine or more like stomp on grapes to make wine after seeing “A Walk in the Clouds” starring Keanu Reeves. It’s a tradition that goes way back and a once in a lifetime experience! Try it yourself with this tour: Grape Stomping Experience in Santorini.

Take a Greek Cooking Class or a Food Tour

The Greeks are known for having some of the freshest and healthiest foods in the world, try your hand in a cooking class while visiting Santorini! If you’re not so into making food and just want to enjoy the classic dishes of Greece you can also do a food tour. I’ve done a few around the world and they are so much fun.

Cooking Classes:

Food Tour: 

Swim in Hot Springs

Santorini is still an active volcano and it also offers hot springs. There are tours that will take you on a hike and drop you off at the hot springs. I didn’t do this tour, but my friends did and they all loved it and later I was bombed out that I didn’t do it. If you’re looking to step out of the relaxing vibes and into some adventures, here is the great tour they did: Santorini Volcano Cruise Including Hot Springs, Thirasia and you can also do a Private Tour: Santorini Volcano Trip Including Hot Springs.

Explore Fira 

Although most people come to Santorini to visit Oia, I believe that Fira is just as beautiful. There are so many great little spots to check out in Fira overlooking the sea and around the actual town. Oia is a pretty quiet spot on the island after sunset, everything is pretty much closed once it gets dark. However, Fira is where you want to go out at night. Everything stays opened fairly late, there are great bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes and shops and in the summer it’s packed. You can feel safe getting lost in the beautiful streets in Fira and find the perfect souvenirs at a cheaper price than you would find at Oia.

Set Time For A Photoshoot/Photo Taking

Whether you’re visiting Santorini for a honeymoon, a girlfriend getaway, a solo trip or there with your family this island offers so many photo opportunities it’s unreal. Set yourself some time to practice your photo skills and creativity or set up a professional photoshoot. This island is like a postcard waiting for you. It’s the perfect place to renew your family photos, take beautiful photos with your lover or even solo. Wear your favorite white dresses or shirts and get ready to create your perfect dreamy photos.

There are also tours that take you around the island for the perfect photo opportunities:

I actually had a friend get married in the state and later she went to Santorini with her husband and her wedding dress and they took stunning photos! I really love that idea! Actually, when I really think about it, I’ve had a few friends do that. Here she is above! <3

Paddle Boarding

Paddle boarding is such a blast! I learned to paddleboard in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and it was so much fun and relaxing. Learn how to paddle board in Santorini!

Tour: Stand Up Paddle in Santorini

Relax, Relax, Relax

Santorini is all about that relaxing vibe. If you’re looking for the perfect relaxing trip that you well deserve or looking to just runaway from the world, Santorini is the place to do it. The vibes to the island are very mellow and chill. There is no crazy nightlife if you’re looking for that, go to Mykonos (my favorite island in Greece). In Santorini, you can bring that book you’ve always wanted to read, listen to your favorite music overlooking the sea, tan and just relax and clear your head.


Have you been to Santorini? What was your favorite thing to do? I’d love to hear in the comments below!




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