This list introduces you to some serious hidden gems in Santorini. Things you would not expect, places only locals share with friends.
This is the extension of our geeky travel guide, featuring 5 hidden gems to Santorini.
Renting scooter in Santorini
Renting a vehicle is something seriously to consider. This way you can move around easily and discover the best places in Santorini.
Islands are best discovered when you have the freedom to decide when and where to go. It allows you to see also more off-beat locations you would not be able to visit when using just a local transportation. Quad bikes are popular, in early and late season a car is advantage as it can suddenly rain.
Our friends from Caveland Hostel, the 5 Star Hostel in Santorini will help you with all your rentals. And of course, make sure you are back home early enough to join the BBQs and events at the hostel.
Here is our full review of Caveland Santorini. It includes a big swimming pool, former winery shots and of course, a gorgeous landscape.
How long to stay in Santorini?
A good visit should be at least 3 nights long! Consider staying longer if you are keen about trying various beaches in the summer. At the same time you can explore local villages and views in the afternoons. A handy guide is as well Live, Love and Travel Santorini.
Enough introduction, let’s get this party started. Here it comes,
The Ultimate list of fun things to do in Santorini
UPDATE: We put all locations and activities on a full map at the end of this article.
1. Sunset from the fairy-tail Oia
Oia is the most northern tip of the island. It attracts visitors all year long. It is a charming village with little shops, cafes, hotels and spectacular views.
To be honest with you, prices here are steep but the views are spectacular and visit here is definitely one of the things that should be on your bucket list.
Bear in mind, you can also join tours to go to all villages. www.getyourguide.com has a big selection here.
2. Virgin Beach (don’t tell anyone…)
Have a swim at Vlychada beach.
This is one of the untouched places in Santorini with amazing natural sand formations along the beach.
Further away from the swimmer’s beach there are few seafood taverns too. A quite famous one is Psaraki. All year long open, it is a small fish canteen right at the port.
Vlychada is also a fishing port of Santorini. It has a real island feel.
3. Have a fish in Ammoudi Bay
Ammoudi is right near Oia and you can get there after climbing some (quite steep and many) steps.
The food and the views are worth it!
4. Hike from Fira to Oia
This 3 hours hike comes with splendid views! You’ll be following an ancient trail connecting these two absolute highlights of the island.
Best time for the hike is spring when the flowers on the island are blooming and the weather is pleasant.
Once in Oia, you can enjoy the sunset and return back by a local bus.
Have a look at #1.
5. Volcano Boat Trip and Hot Springs
Spend a day at the sea and take a boat trip to Volcano and Hot Springs.
Hike the Volcano and swim in the hot springs. The longer version of this trip includes also a lunch stop at Thirassia island and Oia. Thirassia is located just across the main island of Santorini and locals claim it looks like Santorini about some 30 years ago.
Sounds pretty epic, right?!
There is a popular 7-hour volcano adventure tour, including a cruise. There you walk the Volcano, bathe in red mud and enjoy a boat ride.
For adrenaline junkies, go for a Jet Ski Tour to Volcano. This way, you will drive to the different spots and explore the beautiful underworld. Snorkeling equipment will be provided. No experience in Jetski is required.
You can have a lunch here by the sea or in the village. If you have just a few days on the island, you can get off the boat in Oia and enjoy the village and the sunset and return back to Fira with a bus.
This trip starts in Old port of Fira and the eager ones can get there using a donkey. Otherwise a cable car or walking steps are the options.
Please note: Hostelgeeks does not support any animal abuse, not now, not ever. Please do your own research on donkey-riding. Here are some helpful links such as Donkeys Mules and 3 reasons why the blogger Wanderbug does not ride a donkey.
6. Have lunch and a swim at Katharos beach
Oh, this one is great! This is a secret spot nearby touristic-famous Oia.
Here you can go for a wonderful swim and find nice food in a lounge bar just above the beach. Perfect for a lazy summer day.
Where to find Katharos Beach? We put it on the map for you.
7. Visit Finikia village with its authentic village feel
Our recommendation? Get the lunch or dinner started with a delicious, local wine.
Wanna make us jealous? Drop us an instagram and tag us with @hostelgeeks.
8. Open-Air Cinema
A night at an Open Air Cinema in Kamari is a must!
See one of the latest movies or an all-time classic films. The open-air cinema is open from May to October.
There is a small bar at the back of the cinema and each movie has a short break in the middle so you can get your next drink!
Daiquiries here are one of the best on the island! This one is a great recommendation for the nightlife.
9. Pyrgos village
Enjoy the look and feel of a real village with its locals, small shops and only few restaurants.
A sunset from top of the village and Franco’s Cafe is an amazing experience. Yes, take a note: Franco’s Café.
The village is located on an elevated hill in the center of the island.
10. Go sea kayaking
This trip takes you around the Southern tip of the island. With its spectacular rock formations and beaches, you will be so delighted by the scenery that you will be blowing happiness paddling around.
Check out all the details of the Sea kayaking tour, which includes a picnic.
11. Crazy Donkeys (NOT what you think…)
Taste some of the locally brewed beer!
And don’t leave the island without a Crazy Donkey T-shirt you can find at some local souvenir shops. Pretty fun thing to do in Santorini, no doubt!
photo of the Kamari beach
12. Yoga with views to Fira
Which would be better than your daily yoga?
Practicing it on a nice terrace with views to Fira Town, Karterados, and the Aegean Sea. That covers the full package, doesn’t it?
Caveland Santorini offers yoga classes on their terrace upon request. A perfect way to start your day.
On top of offering one of the most unique hostel experiences in the world, — (Seriously, where else can you sleep in a cave in a former winery from the 18th century?!) — Caveland has private and group yoga classes with @santoriniyoga right on our terrace, which has a gorgeous view of Fira Town, Karterados, and the Aegean Sea.👌Here’s a shot of Veronika in Plank Pose and enjoying the sunshine in the Caveland gardens. . Tag someone you’d like to practice here with! ❤ . 📷: @santoriniyoga
13. Wander the seaside promenade
Enjoy an evening stroll at the seaside promenade in Kamari with its many shops, restaurants and cafes.
Kamari is a typical seaside resort with a nice black beach.
14. Go swimming in Perivolos
Probably the best beach of the island: Perivolos. The sea here is calm even during the days when a seasonal wind meltemi hits the island.
15. Have a seat, have a coffee
Have a coffee at Demilmar, this cafe restaurant at the beach is right at the foot of a magnificent hill above Perissa beach.
It is open all year long, and they offer events with live music.
16. Stop for photos at Red beach
A list on things to do in Santorini could NOT be completed without some great photo spots.
The Red Beach is a natural phenomena at the south of the island. Be aware of falling rocks, therefore do not stay down there for too long.
There are as well many guided photography tours in Santorini.
17. 6000 years of history
Take a guided visit to the Ancient Akrotiri, an archaeological site that reveals a history of 6000+ years.
It is worth to rent a real guide that will show you around.
You can book one at the entrance, but it’s recommended to book ahead of time. The cost is usually 60 Euros/ visit.
Smart Tip: Ask around Caveland Hostel or your accommodation if someone wants to join to split costs. You can also wait a little bit at the entrance to see if there are more people interested so you can share the cost.
Taste white eggplant, puree from fava beans, tomato fries, local Santorinian salad with a small cherry tomatoes and local cucumber variety called katsouni.
Kira Niki being one of the most popular places by local’s.
19. The Freshest fish
Talking about food, what about Eat fish at one of the seaside taverns in Akrotiri?
All the restaurants on the shore are former boat houses and offer fresh catch of the day!
20. Tomato Factory Museum
Both are located at the same complex in Vlychada. In the summer you can attend one of the many theater, music or dance performances there, too.
In the summer you can attend one of the many theater, music or dance performances there, too.
21.”Follow this Water-Taxi”
In the heat of the summer use a water taxi to take you for a swim to Black Beach, Red Beach and White Beach.
You can just hop on/hop off as you like, you pay at the beginning at Akrotiri beach.
Note: you will be jumping into the open sea from the boat.
All the three beaches are best discovered from the sea.
22. Nightlife of Fira Town
Both places have a great view of the Caldera and Fira town by night.
For the nightlife, here is a list of cool bars we recommend:
- PK Cocktail Bar (great view, a posh bar-option)
- Black Stone (beach bar in south-east)
- Theros Wave Bar (another beach bar with good vibes and music)
- Terra Nera family-friendly option (cool beach cafe always full but they haven’t got a bar. It is more of a family place. Change it to Seaside if you like.)
23. Your Light house photo and Sunset views
Drive to the South-West end of the tip of the island where you will find Faros light house. (have a look on our map for location)
See the sunset from there. And of course, bring your camera!
24. Local Beach and Tavern
On a calm day enjoy a day at Aegialos beach. A lunch at local Yalos tavern is a must.
This beach is somewhat secluded and has only couple of stylish sun beds. Yalos serves also delicious cocktails!
25. Gyros, anyone?
Eat gyros at Lucky Souvlakia in Fira. Tastes best after a night out in Fira town.
Gyros is a meat wrapped in a pitta bread. It is a very typical, Greek dish.
26. Hiking and Rock-Climbing
Hike up Skaros hill in Imerovigli. This magnificent rock in Imerovigli offers a amazing view of the volcano and a sunset.
The rock is very well visible from anywhere in Imerovigli and you just follow the dirt road that will lead you up.
An easy rock climbing is required to get to the very top.
Start your way there about an hour before the sunset. Then, you will have enough time to enjoy the views and perhaps have a glass of wine there (you need to bring it with you ).
27. Wine Tasting (of course!)
Well, this one is so obvious, right?!
Your wine can be always combined with snacks so this could be your light dinner.
Here you can find the most popular Winery Tour in Santorini. It is a half-day trip where you can taste different volcanic wines.
Extra: 28. Kick-Back in a tiny bay
Go for a lazy afternoon to Eros beach, small bay with a great beach bar, snacks and cocktails.
You can have a massage here too.
Eros beach is also a famous venue for small wedding parties.
Shopping in Santorini
The images when we think about Santorini are very clear: white clothing, beach decoration elements, cute sandals… Yes, you will find this is all over the island.
The only struggle will be deciding how many things you will bring back home.
Seasons and Weather in Santorini
Santorini is a beautiful volcanic island, attracting visitors especially from early March until late November.
Depending on your interests and the time of the year, you might enjoy some wonderful hikes and spectacular views in spring and autumn, or just sunbathing and swimming at one of the many black beaches during the summer.
From June to mid-September there is usually zero rain fall.
The early and late season (March and October) has cold evenings and pleasant day temperatures with occasional rain. It’s a perfect time either way.
Sunset in Santorini is spectacular and there are several really great location for it.
Be aware, during very high season some of the most famous sunset spots can get really crowded. It’s a good idea to get to your sunset location early, find a place at a local cafe or restaurant and watch it with a cool drink or a sip of wine and dinner.
In July and August at some restaurants you will have to book your table in advance.
Summary Fun Things To Do in Santorini
You are still here?! Wow…You see, Santorini is more than “only” the endless photo-spots and sunsets to admire.
While there is no way you should skip that, we hope this list of things to do in Santorini comes in handy on our next trip.
We put all locations on a handy map. Just click through the Santorini Map and see what is in your area to check out (Open map in new tab here)
For more tips on the nightlife in Santorini, check out in-santorini.com.
Looking for more things to do in Santorini?
Have a look at the ultimate Lonely Planet for Greek Islands.
For us it was quite surprising to see how many interesting activities, hidden beaches and tours are still out there.
By no means is this a full list. We would love to extend this list. Do you have any other great spots and recommendations? Please leave a comment below or drop us a line.