Known around the world for its scenic views, a stunning sunset, picturesque spots and volcanic-sand beaches, this crescent-shaped island is considered as the supermodel of the Greek Islands. The landscape and seascape of this island attract over two million tourists annually. With its growing popularity around the world, Santorini has become a head-turner for the first time and seasoned travelers alike.
This place is meant for friends who would like to explore, for couples who would like to have a romantic getaway, for families who would like to spend quality time together or for a person seeking an opportunity to go soul searching. With a variety of activities to choose from, Santorini is the best place for you. To get you started, here are the five best things to do in Santorini:
#1: Delve into its dreamy villages
The unspoiled villages of Imerovigli, Firostefani, and Pyrgos are perfect for people who prefer a more secluded and hustle-free visit to Santorini. The heavenly village of Imerovigli is located at the highest point of the caldera cliffs, about 300 meters above sea level. Feast your eyes on the magnificent view of the famous volcano, the Aegean Sea and the stunning sunset. Because of its location, it is dubbed as the “Balcony to the Aegean.” Considered as a separate settlement, the village of Firostefani is actually an extension of Fira, the capital of Santorini. Its amazing location will provide you with a magnificent view of the caldera and the volcano. Between Imerovigli and Firostefani lies the female monastery of Agios Nikolaos which is worth the visit for its folklore and ecclesiastical museum with rare Byzantine icons. In Pyrgos, you can spend your night in taverns, bars and restaurants. Because it is far from the hubbub of the surrounding towns, most honeymooners opt to spend their time here. A different way of spending your time would be going on the most amazing hike in the whole of Santorini. Spectacular views and an overview of the entire island are guaranteed.
Also, if you are the kind of traveler who marvels at the hustle and bustle of towns, you may want to visit Oia. Every year, thousands of tourists spend their late afternoon here to marvel at the sight of the setting sun while sipping their favorite drinks at the local tavern by the Aegean sea.
#2: Wine Tasting and Wineries Tour
Santorini is also famous for its wine and wineries. A mixture of volcanic ash, pumice stone and pieces of solidified lava now makes up the soil of the island due to the great eruption of 1, 600 B.C. Because of this, the soil of Santorini is rich in essential minerals which give their wine a naturally low PH level and high acidity. This produces the spicy taste and unique flavor of their wine which helped it gain popularity around the world over the years. Because of the development of wineries in Santorini over the last couple of decades, tours for wine tasting and visits to wineries are becoming famous among tourists especially because many wineries are now open to the public. Two of the most famous ones are Venetsanos Winery and Estate Argyros. A visit to Santorini is never complete without you trying their wine and winery tour.
#3: Visit historical sites
You should also spend some time learning the rich culture and history of Santorini. On the highest point of the island rests the 18th– century Cycladic architecture inspired Monastery of Profitis Ilias. Aside from providing an all-encompassing view of the entire island of Santorini, it also has its own museum, which displays a collection of extraordinary ecclesiastical artifacts, books and Byzantine icons and sculptures. It also houses a collection of displays on local industries. Although the monastery itself is not open to the public, the chapel is always open to visitors where you can spot the colorful frescoes and religious icons on the walls and ceilings. The monks living in the monastery are also engaged in wine making and all the goods they produce and cultivate are available for purchase. Another place worth visiting is Akrotiri Light House, one of the oldest lighthouses in Greece built by a French company in 1892.
#4: Take a Cruise
Unlike the usual fine white sand beaches, Satorini beaches are well-known for their shores composed of red and black pebbles. Its unique shores, combined with steep cliffs, provide for a tranquil and picturesque view. When in Santorini, you can always book a private cruise to enjoy its scenic view. Going on a cruise is a good way to relax and an even better avenue to socialize. You can also try the Volcano Cruise which includes a tour of the hot springs and visit Thirasia island.
#5: Swim and Snorkel
Santorini is a haven for the sea lovers. The White Beach of Akrotiri on the South West coast is a tiny beach featuring crystal clear water nestled in the white pebbles sand. It is perfect for tourists who like calm and quiet because it is not yet frequented by many. If you are into a little adventure, you can go snorkelling to explore its underwater caves and crevices. Another place worth visiting is the Red Beach of Akrotiri. It is a rare sight with its surrounding steep red hills which will provide you with the view of the enormous volcanic rock sitting in the sea. Its shore is composed of small pebbles and red sand. This unique scene is also created by the great eruption.