The ultimate (and reader friendly) guide on Santorini sightseeings
Why visit Santorini in the first place?
Considering a vacation on Santorini? Just do it. Santorini (Thira) is one of the most popular destinations. Thousands of visitors arrive at Santorini every single day: both by plane and sea. They call the island the Aegean Pearl with a thousand-year history.
You may say “yes, I’m going to Santorini. I just must see this beautiful island! But… what actually should I do in Santorini?” Though you might have heard about the stunning Santorini sunset, delicious Greek cuisine, and cute donkeys, there must be more specific plan on the things to do in Santorini. The most popular bloggers, writing about Santorini, do not really have a clue. For they get the information (misinformation is a better word) about Santorini remotely or from the other bloggers.
Keep calm and read further. As you will know all about things to do in Santorini from a person with the first-hand experience in Santorini sightseeing. Hello, my name is Alexander Hadji and I’m a professional photographer in Santorini. I have been working, walking, riding, driving, swimming, jumping and crawling all over Santorini for the last 15 years and know about the island absolutely everything!
Here is the most ultimate guide on the things to do in Santorini which challenges the popular myths about the island.
The first thing to do in Santorini is to watch Santorini sunset and make sure to get pictures of it. But the question is what Santorini locations have the best view of the sunset? The mass blogosphere says the best town for Santorini sunset is Oia. Well, Oia has a really stunning sunset view. However, there is something else to consider.
The myth, claiming that the best Santorini sunset can be viewed only in Oia, brings huge crowds to the town. For every single tourist wants to take a sunset picture in this town. Crowds make it almost impossible to enjoy the view. But how can one manage without struggling for an available spot? There are some tips and tricks how to watch the sunset in Oia along with the precious information on the other Santorini locations with the breathtaking sunset view. Invest 2 minutes in reading my guide on Santorini sunset.
Volcano and hot springs of Santorini
The second point worth to visit is Santorini volcano and the hot springs. What can be more exciting than to face a real volcano and feel its warm breath in the hot springs? Nevertheless, bear in mind, that the path to the volcano is exposed to the sun and your walk to it might be exhausting. So, choose the good timing of your visit. Morning hours are the best.
Santorini myth number two: the volcano and the hot springs are located on Therasia island (even Google mistakes here). However, Santorini volcano and the hot springs are a part of Nea Kameni island. Please refer to Wiki for more info.
Visiting Therasia island (Thirasia) is another thing to do in Santorini. Like Santorini (Thira), Therasia is inhabited. The other three islands of the group are not. There are five villages on Therasia, some of them are inhabited by few people only. The capital or “hora” is called Manolas. There is an old monastery on the island. Everybody who has visited Santorini saw Therasia from distance, but only some people reached the island. Though it’s not that tricky to get there. There are daily boat trips from Santorini to Therasia. You can also catch the boats from Athinios Port or Ammoudi Port in Oia. If your destination point in Therasia is Korfos, you can get to Manolas by foot or by riding a donkey.
Therasia a great location if you want to get rid of the crowd. The thing is, there is neither volcano nor hot springs on the island. Sorry, Google, you are not okay this time.
Fish tavernas in Santorini
Make sure to add a dinner in a fish taverna to your list of things to do in Santorini. There are tavernas and fish tavernas in Greece. Authentic fish tavernas are located on the seashores. There are plenty of them in Santorini, but the most popular ones can be found in Ammoudi Bay (Oia), Kamari, Perissa, Perivolos, and Akrotiri. Moreover, Santorini has some gourmet fish tavernas in different spots of the island. (Get subscribed to my newsletter so that you have new information in your inbox.)
Though plain tavernas also offer fish and seafood, in a fish taverna you will have the wider choice and the higher quality. The bills are higher too, but it’s worth it. Just imagine a freshly caught fish, cooked with extra olive oil and Mediterranean herbs and paired with a glass (or even two) of a Santorini wine. Add the sound of the warm sea waves to the picture and you will find yourself in the paradise.
This is the nearest beach to Oia, except Ammoudi. The latter is known more for its tavernas than for bathing. Well, there is a restaurant above Katharos beach with a capability of a dozen tables and a small menu. But the main thing here is – a… (bam!) stunning sunset view! So, if you book a table beforehand you will get a great opportunity to observe Santorini sunset during your dinner.
Katharos is a beach with gravel and picturesque rocks at the far end. If the north-west wind is blowing, you can expect a spectacular wash with spectacular splashes. But mind the strong winds, as they may raise the volcanic dust from the rocks and throw it in one’s eyes.
Santorini open-air cinema
Santorini open-air cinema is a nice place with a touch of retro. Cinema Kamari is located at the entrance of the village, has a free parking and a bar. A nice movie, a sky full of stars and cicadas songs make the experience super romantic. The season starts in May, door open at 20.30, movies begin at 21.30. Films are in English with Greek subtitles.
Myth number three on the things to do in Santorini says there is only one open-air cinema in Santorini. But your super-guide reveals the truth: there are two other options. The first is Villaggio cinema with 3D movies in the center of Kamari. The second option is an open-air screen in a small cafe in Fira. You can find it on the road to Firostefani, near the Conference center Petros Nomikos. The cafe is small and cozy, has an astonishing Caldera view and, if you are lucky enough, a cute Greek cat. The place is called Volkan on the rocks Cafe. Well, you better not advertise the place very much, keep it for yourself 🙂
Another great option for watching Santorini sunset is to take a sunset cruise. Provided that you don’t get seasick, the trip may be quite refreshing. The waves crashing along the boat, the wind playing with the sails, a sun path getting through the sea will surely bring you to a romantic mood. But make sure to take a sailing boat, the modern yachts are too noisy to provide peace of mind.
A trip to Pyrgos
A trip to Pyrgos is another nice thing to do in Santorini. The village has a beautiful view, traditional narrow streets, and a castle.
A tip: get to Pyrgos just before sunset. (I assume you have seen it the other day, have not you?). Take a seat on the roof of an old church. Enjoy the island, that slowly sinks into the night, watch the thousands of lights appearing one by one, sip your wine and listen to the music from the nearest cafes.
The myth number four says that Pyrgos is the only traditional village with narrow streets. If you want to get lost in a real labyrinth, go for Emborio. It’s a small village located on the road to Perissa. Emborio is a lost Santorini fairy-tail. I will tell more about it in a new entry, keep following.
Santorini Red beach
Oh, my goodness, those wild red rocks are absolutely stunning! What a miraculous place, what a masterpiece of Mother Nature. Though, to get to the observation deck you will have to jump on the stones. Once you are there, just take some pictures and turn back.
For the way to the red beach as such is no good and even dangerous, as the signs warn. The beach is nice to look at from the distance, but the gravel and limited space make it almost impossible to bath there. (The Black beach is okay for bathing though) As an option, visit the Red beach on a yacht: it’s far more pleasant and safe.
Ancient Thira, Santorini
You can visit Ancient Thira museum while having a trip to the Red beach. As the museum is also located in Akrotiri, not far from the sea. It’s a beautiful and quiet place with few visitors and all the excavations being performed under the roof. The latter is crucial when it’s 30 C’.
Otherwise, you can just wander through the streets or above them. Or get more curious and find out, say, an ancient toilet. Just think of it, a toilet more than 3,5 thousand year ego! Impressive! So it’s definitely a must in one’s s list of things to do in Santorini.
Santorini photo shoot
One of the best things to do in Santorini – is to get a Santorini photo shoot. The breathtaking views of Caldera, blue domes, and traditional white houses are sure worth of a professional touch. Enjoy your stay and let a photographer in Santorini take over the details. Check this entry to know how it works, book a shoot and get the most beautiful pictures from your Santorini vacation.
Get some Santorini food
Get more Santorini food
Get even more Santorini food. For it’s absolutely de-li-ci-ous! Cheese and wine, fish and seafood, meat and olive oil! Freshly baked bread and local vegetables. Tomatoes full of sun. Real tomatoes I mean, not cherries. As Santorini cherry tomatoes belong to the 5th myth about things to do in Santorini. I will tell more about Santorini tomatoes in a new entry, keep your mouth watered.
More things to do in Santorini
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