Santorini Highlights: Top Things to Do & See

Dan, Unsplash
December 17
Written by Elena Kostas

Discover the best things to do in Santorini and make the most of your visit to this stunning island in the Aegean Sea. From its picturesque whitewashed villages to its breathtaking volcanic beaches, this guide will help you plan your trip and experience the highlights of Santorini.

Santorini: a tapestry of blue and white, set against the expanse of the azure Aegean Sea. A place where each sunset dance is a show worth catching lie, and an explorer's paradise bursting with hidden gems. Endless things to do await in this Cycladic gem.

Imagine strolling through Santorini's charming lanes, crossing paths with churches donned in blue domes, and vibrant local markets replete with fresh produce. Here is your tailored Santorini guide to the countless wonders that await.

Renowned for its stunning caldera views, Santorini is brimming with captivating places to visit. From world-class wineries to archaeological wonders, each corner of this Greek island treasures an individual charm. There's always something new to see in Santorini, an island that ebbs and flows with whimsical allure, veiled in Aegean mystery. Welcome to Santorini, a destination that's much more than just a pretty postcard.

1. Caldera of Santorini

Natural Spaces and Parks
a view of a village with a lot of buildings
Caldera of Santorini / Kartik Singhal, Unsplash

The Caldera of Santorini is one of Greece's most iconic destinations and a must-visit for any traveler looking to experience the true essence of the island. Located on the western tip of Santorini, the Caldera is actually the result of a massive volcanic eruption that occurred thousands of years ago.

The highlight of the Caldera are its breathtaking cliffs, which rise majestically from the sea and offer spectacular views. The contrast of the white houses and Orthodox churches against the deep blue of the sea creates a postcard-worthy image that will leave you in awe.

Don't miss the opportunity to take a boat ride through the Caldera, where you can delve into its crystal-clear waters and discover the wonders that lie beneath the surface. Black sand beaches and volcanic hot springs are just some of the natural wonders that await you in this incredible place.

2. Whitewashed Villages of Santorini

Historical Monuments and Architecture
a night view of a town with a mountain in the background
Whitewashed Villages of Santorini / Henry Ren, Unsplash

The Whitewashed Villages of Santorini are a collection of charming towns characterized by their white painted houses and blue-domed churches. Perched on top of volcanic cliffs, they offer stunning views of the Aegean Sea.

As you wander through their narrow cobbled streets, you'll admire the traditional architecture of the houses, with their blue windows and doors. Each corner is a picture-perfect spot, ideal for capturing the essence of the island.

Don't miss the chance to visit the villages of Oia, Fira, and Kamari, among others. There, you'll find cafes, restaurants, craft shops, and art galleries, where you can enjoy the authentic Greek culture.

3. Santorini Volcanic Beaches

Natural Spaces and Parks$$$

The volcanic beaches of Santorini are one of the main tourist attractions on the island. With their beautiful dark sands and spectacular rock formations, these beaches offer a unique landscape that you won't find anywhere else in the world.

You can relax under the warm Mediterranean sun, enjoy the crystal clear waters, and explore the caves and cliffs surrounding the beaches. Moreover, the volcanic beaches of Santorini are located near the island's impressive cliffs, making them a perfect spot to admire the stunning views of the Aegean Sea.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit the volcanic beaches of Santorini during your trip to the island. Enjoy the sun, the sea, and the natural beauty of this incredible tourist destination.

4. Akrotiri Archaeological Site

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Discover Akrotiri Archaeological Site

The Akrotiri Archaeological Site is located on the beautiful island of Santorini, Greece. Known as the Pompeii of the Aegean, this place offers a fascinating glimpse into life in the ancient city of Akrotiri before its destruction in a volcanic eruption.

Excavations in Akrotiri have revealed a thriving civilization that developed over 4,000 years ago. Visitors can explore the ruins and walk through the ancient streets, which are incredibly well-preserved. The site offers a unique insight into the architecture, art, and daily life in the Bronze Age in the Aegean.

Akrotiri is undoubtedly one of the top tourist attractions in Santorini. Its historical significance and unique beauty make it a must-visit place on the island. If you're planning a trip to Santorini, be sure to include a visit to the Akrotiri Archaeological Site in your itinerary.

5. Santorini Wineries

Food and Markets
a hand picking up blackberries
Santorini Wineries / Kym Ellis, Unsplash

The wineries of Santorini are a must-visit destination for wine lovers visiting the island. The unique combination of climate and volcanic soil produces wines of great quality and flavor.

At the Santorini wineries, you can taste a variety of local wines, from dry and acidic whites to sweet and fruity ones. You will also learn about the cultivation and production techniques used on the island, which have been passed down from generation to generation.

Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Santorini wineries during your trip and discover the secrets behind these delicious wines.

6. Hiking Caldera Trail

Outdoor Activities and Sports
white concrete building near body of water during daytime
Hiking Caldera Trail / Dimitry B, Unsplash

Discover Hiking Caldera Trail in Santorini

Hiking Caldera Trail is one of the best ways to explore the stunning natural beauty of Santorini. This exhilarating trail takes you along the magnificent cliffs of the island, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the traditional villages that dot the landscape.

Enjoy spectacular landscapes and unforgettable views

Hiking Caldera Trail allows you to experience the serenity and grandeur of nature as you walk along well-marked trails. As you progress, you'll be rewarded with stunning views that will leave you in awe - from charming blue-domed churches to white houses contrasting against the deep blue of the sea.

7. Boat Tour to the Hot Springs

Outdoor Activities and Sports

The Boat Tour to the Hot Springs is one of the most popular activities for visitors to Santorini. On board a comfortable boat, you can explore the fascinating hot springs of the island while enjoying the beautiful coastal scenery.

The hot springs of Santorini are famous for their healing and rejuvenating properties. It is believed that the mineral-rich waters have benefits for the skin and overall health. During the tour, you can immerse yourself in the hot springs and experience their revitalizing effects.

In addition to the hot springs, the boat will take you to discover other nearby attractions, such as the volcanic rocks and the stunning beaches of Santorini. Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy a relaxing day on the water while exploring the natural beauty of the island.

8. Sunset in Oia

Natural Spaces and Parks
Santorini Island, Greece
Sunset in Oia / Tânia Mousinho, Unsplash

Experience the incredible sunset in Oia, Santorini, one of the most breathtaking experiences you can have on this beautiful Aegean island. Oia is located in the northwest part of Santorini and is famous for its stunning panoramic views and beautiful white houses. The sunset in Oia is one of the most anticipated moments of the day, and you can't miss this unique experience.

The sunset in Oia is particularly famous for its intense colors and unique beauty. Shades of pink, orange, and gold paint the sky and reflect on the sea, creating a stunning spectacle that will leave you breathless. It's the perfect time to relax, enjoy the natural beauty, and capture stunning photographs.

In addition to the sunset in Oia, Santorini offers many other attractions and activities. You can explore the black and red sand beaches, visit traditional villages in Santorini, taste delicious local food, and explore the famous vineyards. You won't regret visiting Santorini and experiencing the incredible sunset in Oia!

9. Red Beach

Natural Spaces and Parks$$$
white boat on shore during daytime
Red Beach / Archana Reddy, Unsplash

Red Beach, also known as Playa Roja, is a natural spectacle located in Santorini, an unmissable destination for nature and sea lovers. This unique beach stands out for its incredible reddish sand, which gives it its name. It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece and one of the top things to do in Santorini.

The most impressive feature of Red Beach is its contrasting landscape. The intense red color of the volcanic sand meets the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea, creating a captivating image that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The red rock cliffs surrounding the beach complete the scenery, creating a stunning and surreal environment.

In addition to enjoying the sun and the sea, visitors can also take the opportunity to dive and explore the underwater reefs. Red Beach is located near the archaeological site of Akrotiri, so a combined visit to both places is highly recommended. Don't miss the chance to admire this natural wonder on your visit to Santorini.

10. Ancient Thera

Historical Monuments and Architecture

Ancient Thera is one of the main tourist attractions in Santorini. Located atop a hill, this ancient city offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the island. With its well-preserved ruins, Ancient Thera transports you back to the times of ancient Greece.

The city of Ancient Thera was founded in the 9th century BC by Dorians and reached its peak during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. During your visit, you can see the remains of houses, streets, temples, baths, and theaters that made up the everyday life of its inhabitants.

Don't miss the opportunity to explore Ancient Thera and immerse yourself in its fascinating history. This ancient city is definitely a must-visit on your trip to Santorini!