40 Places to See in Santorini
Made an overview of what to see in Santorini and what to do . Santorini is one of the many picturesque volcanic islands in Greece with more than 4,000 years of history. In addition, Santorini is probably the most “Instagrammable” island in Greece.
In many commercials and videos about Greece, they often insert photos of the sights of Santorini. There are so many that often tourists come to Rhodes or Crete and ask, “Where are the famous white houses here?” And they are in Santorini! And there are also beautiful views, cozy bays, volcanic beaches, delicious food and friendly Greeks. Here’s what to see in Santorini, in addition to the famous white and blue houses.
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Santorini sights on the map
For your convenience we have marked all the sights of Santorini on the map . Download the Google Maps app, click on any point, and the map will plot a route from your location.
First on the list of things to see in Santorini is one of the most beautiful towns of Fira . Here you can admire the white houses, the view of Caldera, wander the picturesque narrow streets, and relax in the luxurious hotels. Fira is the city of Santorini, where the nightlife is developed.
When the sun goes down, bars, restaurants and nightclubs on the island open their doors. During the high season there are a lot of tourists in Fira, so it’s better to arrive early in the morning, before the hot sun and the crowds of people.
From Fira, there is a footpath to Firostefani village (10 minutes walk) and Imerovigli (the highest point of Caldera, 30 minutes drive from Fira). Firostefani and Imerovigli are also part of the guided tour itinerary . There are beautiful views and you can take pictures. You can also walk to the small port of Fira Scala, where you have to go down the 587 steps.
When you’ve had your fill, take the cable car from the Old Port of Santorini to Fira and see the island from a different perspective. Each cabin seats 6 people and the views are spectacular. A one-way ticket costs 6€. Donkey rides are also offered here. If you want to learn more about Santorini, you can visit 2 museums in Fira:
- Museum of Prehistoric Thera – the main finds from Akrotiri are kept here (about it – further on).
- Archaeological Museum – a collection of artifacts from all over the island of Santorini, including vases from Akrotiri.
Donkeys in Santorini
Ia is the second most popular city in Santorini after Thira and one of the most touristic places in Europe. In the Middle Ages, Ia flourished thanks to its large fleet of merchant ships that transported goods from Greece to Europe, Russia and the Middle East. Most of the two-story houses at the top of the hill are former residences of the captains of these ships. Many of them were destroyed in the 1956 earthquake, but all were rebuilt.
In Ia, as in Fira, you can admire the beautiful white houses, the churches with blue domes, the view of the volcano Palia, the island of Nea Kameni and the entire Caldera. Tourists also come to Iya to watch the sunset.
You can settle in to say goodbye to the day in one of the many bars and restaurants. But an even better way to enjoy the sunset in Santorini is from the Byzantine Castle. To take good pictures, come to Ia in the afternoon or evening. There are always many tourists here, especially in July and August.
|In Santorini, you can book tours from locals with transfers and a Russian-speaking guide. Tours include the Bronze Age volcanic ruins at Akrotiri, the historical village of Ia, and the black and red beaches. You can explore the north of Santorini and also take a large sightseeing tour of the island. View reviews and make reservations here.|
Hiking trail from Fira to Ia
Hiking lovers should follow the scenic 9 km trail from Fira to Ia . On the way you will pass through Firostefani and Imerovigli. The road takes about 2 hours, during which you can admire the views of the island and Caldera. Between Imerovigli and Iaia there are some nice Greek restaurants and stores. The most beautiful part is the view of Ia at the end of the road.
The road is not very difficult, even in extreme heat. Wear comfortable shoes, take a bottle of water and sunscreen. But it is better to walk early in the morning or before sunset to spend the sun in Ia. If you come by car, it’s better to leave it in Imerovigli and not in Fira: there are more parking spaces. The return from Ia to Fira is possible by bus, the ticket costs about 2 € but they don’t go often.
Monasteries and cathedrals
In Fira there is a white orthodox cathedral, which is more than 200 years old. The temple was destroyed by a massive earthquake in 1956 but was later completely restored. The cathedral is known for its majestic tower, graceful arches, mosaics and frescoes. To enter, men must wear long pants and women must cover their heads, shoulders and knees.
On the island is the monastery of Profitis Ilias , the highest point of Santorini. The view from Mt. Profitis Ilias is breathtaking. On the way up you’ll find a sign for the Monastery of Elias the Prophet. There is no transport here, so you have to drive or walk from the village Pyrgos. The Church of Elijah the Prophet can be visited as part of a large sightseeing tour .
Boat trip around Santorini
Boat trips around Santorini with visits to the volcano, hot springs or sunset encounters are popular. Many tours start at Athenios, the Old Port of Fira or Amoudi Bay. Some boats include snacks and drinks. If you go all day, bring warm clothes, because when the sun goes down, it gets chilly.
One of the most famous excursions is a cruise on the volcanic islands and hot springs of Palea Kameni. You will visit the island of Nea Kameni, its active volcano and swim in the hot springs of Palea Kameni. You can even walk up to the top of the crater. Also included in the program is a visit to the island of Tirasia (about it – below). This is a very popular excursion in Santorini, so it is best to book it in advance.
|To see all excursions in Russian available in Santorini, with descriptions and reviews, click here.|
For those interested in history, you need to see the ancient site of Akrotiri in Santorini . It is believed that Akrotiri was the inspiration for Plato’s famous story of Atlantis. This huge archaeological site is often compared to Pompeii in Italy. Acrotiri is an ancient Minoan city of 30,000 people destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1613 BC.
Unlike Pompeii, the city of Acrotiri was abandoned when the eruption occurred, as no human remains or valuable objects were found in its place. So what happened to these people? No one still knows whether they moved to another place on the island or sailed to Crete. The excavations here began in 1967 and are still going on. Now you can walk here on the footbridges and admire the old buildings and streets. The ticket costs 12 €.
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Beaches of Santorini
You can’t make a “What to see in Santorini” list without beaches. The island is famous for its “colored” coastlines: white, red and black. The most beautiful of them are:
- Perissa Beach – the famous black beach of Santorini, it is the best beach of the island with developed infrastructure, beach bars and restaurants. The place is suitable for holidays with children.
- Perivolos and Agios Georgios are large black sand beaches, with cafes and taverns on the shore. A visit to these beaches is also part of the tour of Santorini.
- Kamari beach is another large black sand beach on the southeast coast of Santorini. It is located in the shadow of Mount Mesa Vouno. On the beach you can rent sun loungers and water activities or take a walk along the pier. Suitable for holidays with children (like Perissa).
- Eros beach – A secluded beach of Santorini, close to Vlihada beach.
- Red Beach – Named after the surrounding volcanic ochre rocks. Very contrasting formations of black and red volcanic rocks with the turquoise water in the sea. The beach is beautiful, but not very suitable for swimming. You can get here through a path from the ancient Akrotiri (wear comfortable shoes!).
- The white beach is next to the red beach. To get here, you need to take a boat.
- Vlychada beach is one of the longest and quietest beaches in Santorini, with white rocks. Vlihada is a small fishing village where you can taste fresh seafood. It takes 20 minutes to drive from Fira to Vlychada.
- Monilitos beach – shallow beach of Santorini, suitable for holidays with children.
- Kolumbo beach – You can get here only on foot. Because of its solitude, the place is beloved by nudists.
Useful articles on the subject:
The Bay of Amoudi
Amoudi is a small fishing village below Ia. To get here, you have to go down 300 stairs from Iya. From Amoudi there is a picturesque view of the ochre cliffs and Ia. There are also several good seafood taverns and restaurants on the coast (e.g. Katina Fish Taverna, Sunset Tavern and Dimitris Taverna). The best place to swim is further down the path after the restaurants.
Skaros Rock was once the fortress of the medieval Venetian capital of the island, which was built around this rock. In the 16th century it was used to protect the houses of the Venetian aristocracy from pirate ships. It is easy to get here on foot from Imerovigli, the hiking trail starts from the small church of St. George in Imerovigli. It is difficult to climb up to the top, you have to overcome 300 steps. From the top there is a view of the volcano and Caldera. The Rock of Skaros is included in the tour of North Santorini.
Ancient Tyra on Mesa Vouno Hill is another archaeological site in Santorini. “Tira” is the ancient name for the island of Santorini. During the Middle Ages, the island was called “Santa Irini” by the Venetians, which eventually became “Santorini.” Thira was founded in the 9th century BC. Now you can see the remains of temples, the Agora, the theater, the gymnasium of the Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine periods. From here you have a beautiful view of the surrounding area.
The island of Tirasia is located directly opposite Ia. This island, which is shaped like a crocodile, was separated from Santorini by a volcanic eruption. To visit Thirasia, you can take a boat trip (the one that goes to the volcano Nea Kameni and the hot springs also stops there) or a tour from Amoudi Bay.
On the island of Tirasia, you should visit the village of Manolas, relax in the local tavernas and enjoy the view of Santorini. It’s much quieter here, and there are far fewer tourists. If you have already seen most of Santorini, you can take a ferry to visit nearby islands:
- Ios is the closest island to Santorini. There you can relax on the beach and have fun all night long.
- Amorgos is the best place for hiking and there are many marked trails.
- Naxos – the beaches are beautiful.
- Mykonos is the best party island in Greece with the best DJs in the world and luxurious hotels on the beach.
Islands near Santorini
Villages of Santorini
There are other villages on Santorini besides Fira and Ia that are worth seeing:
- Pyrgos, Santorini’s tallest village in the center of the island with white-washed houses. It is a typical Cycladic village with traditional architecture and beautiful views of the island.
- Megalohori – it has very picturesque narrow streets.
- Messaria – a village in the center of Santorini in the middle of vineyards.
- Emporio – Here at the entrance of the village is the medieval castle of Goulas. You can also see small churches.
The island of Santorini is famous for its excellent white wines, known as some of the best in Greece. Here you can visit the oldest vineyards in the world and taste the best wines, such as the traditional Vinsanto and Nikteri. The most famous vineyards in Santorini are Santovines, Butari, Gavalas and Argyros. During the tour you can learn how the grapes are grown and the specialty wines are produced.
The Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum is located in a natural cave. It was founded in 1880 by two Greek brothers, whose last name is incredibly long and difficult to spell. To this day, the descendants of the founder of the winery run the business, and tours and tastings are held here. You can taste the “volcanic” wines of Santorini on this tour .
Tomato Museum in Vlihada
The Tomato Museum is located in Vlihada , where you can learn about Santorinian agriculture, processing and the importance of tomatoes in the island’s prosperous past. The factory used to be one of the largest of its kind in Greece and Europe, but since 1981 it stopped producing canned tomato paste.
Original machinery, documents, tools and packing labels can be viewed here. There are audio-visual stations throughout the museum with recorded interviews with workers who used to work here.
Tomato Museum in Vlihada
Now you know what to see in Santorini. You will surely fall in love with this Cycladic island. And if you’re interested in vacationing in Greece, read other popular articles.
Holidays in paradise Santorini
One of the most beautiful places to vacation in southern Europe is rightly considered a picturesque group of islands in the Aegean Sea called Santorini. It consists of five small islands: Aspronisi, Palea-Kameni, Tirasii, Nea-Kameni and Santorini itself, which the locals call Tira.
For Europe, this place is associated more with the Greek Cyclades, rather than Greece itself. The reason for that is that the nature and the climate are very different from the mainland. Everything seems different and a little fairy-tale-like, from the stunning scenery to the sheer aristocratism that can be seen in every part of the place. If you are planning a vacation to the paradise of Santorini in 2022, learn all you need to know about the sights, activities and prices in this article and go on an unforgettable trip in 2022.
General information about Santorini
History and current state
The capital of the island is the settlement, which also goes by the name “Tira”. The town was founded over 3.500 years ago and the traces of other ancient settlements, which you will inevitably stumble upon here and there, once again remind you of the rich history of the island and the affluent life of its inhabitants at that time. Some scientists have theorized that these islands were once an integral part of the long-lost Atlantis. And after what you’ve seen, you’re likely to understand their point of view.
It is here simply stop thinking about time, watching the stunning landscape, the absolutely white facades of houses, well-groomed coastline, calm sea and colorful beaches. Here you’ll feel serene when you come for a family vacation in 2022.
Many people choose this picturesque corner of the Earth in order to enjoy stunning sunsets, find inner harmony and completely disconnect from the daily bustle, which accompanies everyone throughout life.
Geography and climate
The climate of Santorini belongs to the Mediterranean type and is similar to that of Crete. It is most hot in summer, when the season reaches its peak: there is almost no rain and the average air temperature is around 28 degrees Celsius. The water gets as warm as 25 degrees. If you don’t like the heat, you can visit the island in September – it’s still possible to swim, and the average temperature is 22 degrees Celsius.
The capital of the main island of the group and the main resort is Thira, a town that is located on a rock. Other tourists who like a more relaxed holiday, choose Imerogvili or Iya, the inexpensive option is considered Kamari. However, no matter where you go in Santorini, you’ll have a great vacation.
Santorini on a map
Safety and security in Santorini
Santorini, like Greece itself, is a nice and relaxing place to stay. You can move around the city and the island on your own and take walks in the evenings. It is a safe trip for women, the attitude towards the female sex is quite calm and there is no certain threat, as in the Arab countries. Holidays in Santorini, you should only remember about the basic rules of tourist safety: watch your belongings, keep documents and valuables in a safe, and, of course, to protect your skin from the hot island sun.
Planning a trip to Santorini: transport and accommodation
How to get there and how to get around?
There are only two ways to get to Santorini: by water or by air. There is an airport with the same name, the transfer is usually through Athens. It will be easier to start your fascinating journey from Domodedovo, taking into account the connection in Thessaloniki, the flight will cost about 12 thousand rubles. Be prepared for a very long trip, which together with the transfers will take about 19 hours. You should pay special attention to the various “last minute” tours and trips, which will save a lot at least for the flight.
From the local airport to the center of the island you can take a cab, shuttle or bus. The fare is more than democratic at about 3 euros, with a transport time of no more than 15 minutes. When using a cab, which will take you not to the center, but to a specific address, you will have to pay about 20 euros. For greater confidence in the quality and reliability of transportation, you can use the transfer service, which provides the airport. True, the one-time cost of services in this case is about 55 euros.
The Aegean Sea to Santorini is very convenient and very comfortable. You can order a speedboat or take a ferry. Depending on the speed and quality of the chosen trip will cost about 65-80 euros. Travel time is from one to five hours. The largest selection of ferries and boats is in the capital of Greece, so it will not be superfluous to plan in advance a small stop in Athens, then continue your way to the fabulous Santorini.
Moving around the island is not difficult. While you can walk through the resort towns themselves, you can easily take a bus to see the sights and natural beauties of the island. The fare is a couple or three euros. If you want to go to the other islands of the group, you can use the ferry. Well, a cable car ride to Thira will bring you a lot of experiences.
Where to stay and where best to stay?
Almost all accommodation options, regardless of category, are quite decent and decent – even the private owners are very trying to maintain their reputation and attract more tourists.
A double room in a small town in a 2* hotel will cost from 3,000 rubles per night. Accommodation in a three-star facility, where, as a rule, there is a small swimming pool, will cost two tourists about 6 thousand rubles per day. Luxury five-star hotel in the capital offers double rooms for an average of 14 thousand rubles per day. Also on the island there is an opportunity to stay in apartments or villas – it will be convenient if you are traveling in a large group or family and have the means.
Where to go, what to see and do?
Beach and Water Sports
The beaches of Santorini will please absolutely everyone, because there are places for recreation for all tastes: white, pink and even black volcanic sand, there are also pebble beaches.
Good places for family holidays, with children, are beaches near Kamari. They have excellent infrastructure, including entertainment, marked by the prestigious Blue Flag. A quieter option would be the coast near the village of Monolithos – the waters are clean, the beach is sandy, the entrance to the water is gentle. Those who want privacy away from the crowd should go to the beach at Cape Colombo, and for unique photos go to the coast near Akrotiri.
Special attention on vacation in 2022 should be paid to diving. The local climate has made this water sport the most popular among locals and tourists. The purity and transparency of the Aegean Sea allows you to observe the underwater inhabitants at a decent distance. There are many places to dive, but for a single dive with all the necessary equipment will have to pay about 70 euros. On the island, you can take a ride on a variety of water transport: boat, catamaran, yacht – whatever you like. Popular are also sightseeing and fishing boat tours.
Sightseeing in Santorini
If a beach vacation is not enough for you and you want to get into the secrets of history and culture of Santorini, know that on the island there are a large number of museums.
For example, a visit to the Museum of Prehistoric Times in Thira will be quite interesting. The island is rich in archaeological finds, and most of them were brought here. The collection includes exhibits, which belong to different historical periods, from Neolithic to Cyclopean.
The Ethnographic Museum in Tyre was established in the 19th century. There you can get acquainted with the culture, traditions and everyday life of the average islanders. In addition, you will learn a lot about folk crafts: blacksmithing, winemaking.
Speaking of the latter, be sure to check out the Kamari Wine Museum. It is located in a cave, which allows you to keep the wonderful properties of local wines. You can learn about the history of the beverage and taste and purchase the wines of Santorini.
Be sure to pay attention to the local religious buildings. The Church of Ayio Mina, built in the 17th century, stands directly on a rock and attracts the eye with its white and blue coloring, being a true symbol of the island. The church of Panagia Episkopi is a Byzantine temple where you can admire icons and frescoes. Do not miss the opportunity to visit the monastery of Elijah the Prophet. Not only is it located on the highest point of the island, so you can see the stunning view, but inside the monastery there is also an interesting museum, where you can see the religious objects and traditional workshops.
In the town of Iya the remains of an ancient Venetian fortress are worth seeing. It used to be an observation point and now is a great vantage point. In Iya there are also several windmills, as if descended from a page in a fairy tale book.
Those who love antiquities should go to the Akrotiri archaeological site. This settlement was once very prosperous, then was destroyed by the forces of the elements, but in the last century, archaeologists excavated the city. Now you can see the remains of ancient buildings with partially preserved frescoes, look at the ancient pottery, figures and sculptures.
If you have a lot of time and opportunity, go to the neighboring island, Nea Kameni. It is interesting for those who like unusual natural beauty, because on the island you can see a real volcano crater.
Entertainment in Santorini
Sate your mind and body! One of the true delights of Santorini is getting to know the local cuisine. For those who don’t appreciate Greek food, there is only one thing to say: what you have tried before is in no way related to the dishes that are prepared by the inhabitants of this wonderful island. Each recipe is unique in its own way and the local chefs prepare dishes according to ancient traditions, which have been handed down from generation to generation. It is also worth noting that all the dishes of local cuisine are prepared only from local products, and the proposed fish menu will contain only those dishes that can be prepared from freshly caught fish. A delicious and hearty lunch will cost about 25 Euros, while a romantic dinner for two in a good restaurant will cost 100 Euros and more.
Vegetarians will love the local eggplants under cheese, meat-eaters will appreciate the homemade sausages, and be sure to enjoy the seafood and wine!
As for children’s activities, we can’t say that there are very many. The main one will be just a beach holiday, you can organize a trip so that to visit the beaches with sand of different colors. However, in Perissa for bored kids there is a water park – mainly it will appeal to kids and children of middle age.
For teenagers and adults will be interesting to visit one of the festivals. For example, in July on the island there is a jazz festival, in August – a festival dedicated to the volcano, a gastronomic festival. Young people will appreciate the night entertainment venues, among which are mostly bars, but there are also beach discos.
Shopping in Santorini is best done in small stores. What should you take with you as a keepsake and a gift from the resort? For example, it may be:
- leather goods;
- Greek pottery;
- Products made of volcanic lava;
A holiday in Santorini will be remembered by all those who appreciate the natural beauty, comfort and enjoy a touch of local color. Not to say that the island has a huge number of attractions, however, there is definitely a unique, unique atmosphere. If you want to get a sense of harmony – go to Santorini in 2022.