Last update : 21/08/2023
It’s finally time to visit Santorini, that island in the Cyclades we’ve been dreaming of going to for years! We arrived there by ferry, after a week in Mykonos. Its view from the sea was magical. In our opinion, a 4-day stay is the perfect way to discover Santorini, but we advise you to choose the right time to go, especially if you want to enjoy the island in peace and quiet. In this blog post, you’ll find all our tips on what to do in Santorini, as well as our best addresses. This Greek island has so much to offer… If you’re looking for the best things to do in Santorini, this blog post is for you.
Visiting Santorini, where to sleep?
During our trip to Santorini we decided to sleep right in the heart of the village of Oia to be as close as possible to the town we were so keen on. So we set out to find a hotel in Oia that was both conveniently located and accessible, and we found the perfect compromise! White Side Suites is a mix between the services of a hotel and the authenticity of an airbnb in Santorini. Very comfortable and with a small terrace perfectly placed for sunsets. The charm of this place is especially made by its host, Chris, who was with the small care during all the duration of our stay.View hotel
Following our visit, we’ve written an article to help you find the best hotels in Santorini with private pools. We recommend you take a look if you’re still looking for accommodation to visit Santorini.
What are the best things to do in Santorini? Must-sees
Oia, Santorini’s most charming town
It’s impossible to visit Santorini without passing through the famous village of Oia! The town is actually quite small, and you can let yourself be carried along the narrow cobbled streets! By the way, we’d advise you to be well-shod, as the streets are quite steep at times. And that’s part of the charm of this town. It has all the trappings of a postcard setting, and photo enthusiasts will be in heaven! The sunrises and sunsets over the Caldera are a must-see at least once in a lifetime. There are lots of little stores selling Santorini jewelry, perfect for bringing back a souvenir.
Santorini’s chapels and their blue domes
One of Oia’s prettiest church roofs, which you can admire from a side street; the more adventurous will descend (quickly and silently) the private staircase to get a nice photo. 🤭The domes are magnificent and you’ll take great pleasure during your stay in Santorini in admiring them.
This castle high above the town is one of the most popular places to watch the sunset. If you want to enjoy the view without too many people, go there at sunrise, it’s also worth the detour!
The little port at the bottom of the town of Oia is really adorable! You can take the big stairs on the right of the town that go down and in 15 minutes you’ll be at the port (well, to go back up is another story 😂). Here you’ll find small restaurants serving local fish, almost with your feet in the water! Also, if you keep on walking for a while, you’ll reach little coves where you can take a leisurely swim, a real paradise not to be missed during your stay in Santorini.
Thira, the island’s largest city!
Thira, or Fira, is the island’s capital. We’d read a lot of reviews saying that this town was just as pretty as Oia, so we decided to spend an afternoon there. We found it nice, but not quite as charming. The main roads are bigger, and there are a lot of touristy shops, which didn’t convince us much. There is, however, a very pretty promenade offering a superb view over the heights of the city!
For a gourmet break with a view, head for Café Irini
At the end of a walk on the Thira heights, stop here for a drink to get the best view possible! We stayed a while admiring it, we were such fans. Drink prices are quite high, but it’s worth having a coffee here to take in the sights!”
Visit Santorini, where to eat?
Vitrin Café Creperie
The best address for breakfast with a view! They serve pancakes, waffles, Greek yoghurts and delicious coffees (which is pretty rare in Greece 🤫). It’s a rather accessible address, and if you sit down at one of the first tables on the terrace, you’ll have a superb view of the sea. We really recommend a visit. It’s also a great spot to admire the sunset, for that, meet at 5:30 p.m. sharp in front of the terrace to get a seat for the sunset!
Flora Comfort Cuisine
A great address on Oia’s main street, where you’ll nevertheless feel rather quiet! The terrace above is very pleasant. They serve delicious breakfasts (pancakes, fruit, eggs/bacon tartine style) or delicious dishes (Greek salads, club sandwiches…) it’s worth the detour and affordable in price. 😋
You’ll find this restaurant right in the heart of Oia, close to a fairly touristy street. The terrace is high up, offering a superb view of Oia. For all that, the food is decent without being exceptional!
This address doesn’t look like much from the outside, yet on the roof terrace you’ll be at the top of your game! They offer “Greek-style” breakfasts with local feta and olives, seed bread and Greek yoghurt. It’s quite a pleasant place and the view is out to sea is lovely!
Visiting Santorini, how to organize your trip well?
How to get to Santorini
To find the best mode of transport to your destination, we recommend you always look on the OMIO comparator. This will give you an overview of all available modes of transport. You’ll be able to compare prices very easily.Learn more
How to rent a rental car at the best price in Santorini
For our part, with only 4 days in Santorini, we decided not to rent a car and to use the island’s public transport. But here are all the options available to you during your stay in Santorini:
By scooter: the option generally chosen because it’s inexpensive (€10 to €15 per day) and convenient to park. You’ll find plenty of rental companies in Thira!
Quads: This is a similar option to scooters but a little more stable for Greek roads and slightly more expensive, around €20 a day. You can hire them from the many rental companies in Thira.
On foot / by public transport: if you’re staying right in the center of Oia, it’s not at all advisable to rent a car for the duration of your stay, as you won’t be able to park it close to your accommodation. There are also a number of public buses that pass through Thira on a regular basis. For example, you can:
- Airport – Thira
- Port/Marina – Thira
- Thira – Oia / Oia – Thira
- Thira – Red Beach …
Tickets cost €1.60 and buses run every 15 minutes or so. We advise you to get on the buses as soon as possible, as the Greeks have a habit of filling them to capacity and many passengers find themselves standing and crammed in (worse than the Paris metro 😅). Still, it’s an ultra-practical and economical means of transport, so we recommend it!
If you still want to rent a car during your trip, we recommend you take a look at RentalCars. This will enable you to find the best prices and conditions for your rental.Learn more
How to find the best hotels to visit Santorini
In order to find the best hotels and benefit from the best conditions (security, cancellation…) we go almost exclusively through Booking.com for our trips. We recommend that you take a look at the available hotels before you leave. You can filter them according to their ratings. The customer reviews are very numerous and recent, which means you can avoid unpleasant surprises when traveling!Learn more
How to find ideas for activities to do on your holiday
If you want to get ideas for activities to do on your vacation and want to book in advance, we also recommend taking a look at the GetYourGuide site. This will give you an overview of the activities on offer in your destination, so you don’t have to wait until you get there to book your places.Learn more
Some tips for visiting Santorini in the best conditions:
- We therefore advise you to visit Santorini out of season. The island is “at rest” from the end of October to the beginning of April, when everything on the island and most of Oia are closed. So take advantage of the “off” periods: between April and June, and between September and October, to discover Santorini at its quietest. Although we went at the beginning of October and it was still very crowded …
- Get up early to discover the town without too many tourists! Around 6:30/7 a.m., especially for photo enthusiasts, you’ll be in peace. With a superb sunrise as a bonus. ✅
- If you’re only staying a few nights, stay in the heart of Oia, the island’s most charming town. See our favorite accommodation in Oia at the beginning of the article.
Our thoughts on our stay in Santorini and some tips for a successful trip
Visiting Santorini also means visiting one of the most touristic islands of the Cyclades, and for good reason, it’s gorgeous! We fell in love with the white houses, cobbled streets and blue roofs. But unfortunately, it can spoil the magic of the moment to be surrounded by so many tourists during your stay. Instagram tourism and wedding photos are all the rage on Santorini. So you come across a lot of professional and amateur photoshooters, which can be a little invasive in the long run.
What are the best things to do in Santorini? Also discover Mykonos!
If time allows, you can also take a ferry to visit another Cycladic island, Mykonos. We share our must-sees on this second Cycladic island in our dedicated article.