If you’re eyeing up one of our villas in Santorini for this summer, you’ve probably got visions of lying out beneath glorious blue skies, swimming in your private pool, and taking in Europe’s most beloved sunsets. However, there’s so much more to experience on this beautiful island, boasting a history as rich as the flavours of its cuisine. To help you make the most of your getaway, we’ve pulled together the top things to do in Santorini.
1. Walk around the caldera edge
Arguably Santorini’s best natural attraction, the half-sunken caldera edge is the result of a volcanic eruption in 16BC. Today, you can walk between Fira and Oia and be blessed with the most incredible views, stopping at little tavernas along the way should you need some refreshment. There are guided hike options available, but it’s walkable solo if you’re confident in your navigation skills. Just be sure to take plenty of water with you – and lather on that sun cream!
2. Take a boat trip
If you prefer to sit back and relax as you take in the sights, a boat tour of the caldera is an excellent alternative. Some run in the day, serving lunch on board with a chance to go swimming, while an evening cruise offers dinner and views of the sunset hitting the Oia cliffs. Whichever one you choose, you won’t be disappointed – just come with plenty of space on your camera roll for all the inevitable snaps captured!
3. Try the local foods
Often imitated around the world but never replicated, Greek food is as comforting as it is delicious. Seafood dominates many menus, with fava cropping up regularly as a side dish – pureed yellow split peas topped with olive oil and sometimes even capers. Locally grown white eggplant and fresh tomatoes also find their way into a variety of dishes.
However, our personal favourite is saganaki: a fried cheese that’s covered in filo pastry and drizzled with honey. Still looking to satisfy that sweet tooth? Try kopania, baked fresh using powdered barley rusks, sesame seeds and juicy raisins.
4. Turn back time
The Akrotiri ruins are all that’s left of the ancient Minoan city, which was destroyed over 3700 years ago. They were only rediscovered in 1967, found buried under layers of volcanic ash, but are now protected by a bioclimatic roof.
Need a break from the sunshine? The nearby Museum of Prehistoric Thira provides you with a much-needed reprieve. While it may take under an hour to make your way around this attraction, sometimes that’s all you need to soak up a little extra history.
5. Kamari Open Air Cinema
Movie buffs are in for a treat if they visit Santorini in June through September. That’s when Kamari’s open air cinema operates, commonly referred to as a ‘summer cinema’ by locals. Hollywood favourites are screened in English with Greek subtitles, kicking off just after sunset. Doors open at 8:30, but you should arrive by 8pm at the latest to make sure you get a spot! Once inside, there’s a bar serving local wine plus an assortment of snacks – what could be better?
6. Atlantis Books
If you’ve already got a list of summer reads at the ready, why not add to it with a stop at Atlantis Books? Brimming with charm, this hidden gem is situated down a steep flight of stairs and inside a cave. Once you enter, you’ll be overwhelmed by the floor-to-ceiling bookcases that line each wall, with both English and Greek novels on sale. Be sure to get your purchase stamped with the Oia store’s famous logo at checkout – a wonderful reminder of your villa holiday in Santorini.
7. Enjoy a winery tour
Wine has been produced on Santorini dating all the way back to the Roman times, so you can be sure they know what they’re doing! However, we’d suggest going one step further than simply sipping on a glass with dinner. The various vineyards across the island are typically open for tours, allowing you to learn more about the local varieties – and of course sample some tasters along the way!
8. Wander the white-washed towns
Every way you turn in Santorini you’ll be met with a scene worthy of a postcard. There are several key spots to explore, with Oia undoubtedly being the most popular when it comes to taking photos. However, the capital city of Fira is our top pick when it comes to souvenir shopping, brimming with little local shops selling handmade trinkets. For the most quintessential Greek village experience, Pyrgos ticks all the boxes – donkey rides and all!
9. Skaros Rock
Once upon a time, Skaros Rock was a looming fortress, protecting the island’s elite from pirate attacks. Now it makes for a manageable hike, with tourists climbing their way up 300 stairs for the chance to see Imerovigli town from above and panoramic views out to sea. There’s also a little church hidden on the far side that’s worthy hunting down while you’re up there.
10. Visit the Red Beach
There are so many amazing beaches in Santorini that you could happy spend a day at, but you can’t leave this island without seeing the famous Red Beach for yourself. It’s backed by black and red volcanic rocks, leading out onto crystal-clear waters. You’ll likely find it packed with tourists in high season, being one of the top things to do in Santorini. However, you can separate yourself from the crowd by avoiding one common rookie error – trade flip flops for suitable shoes to take on the uneven path down to the beach.
If you’re excited by our list of the top things to do in Santorini, it may be time to start planning your getaway to this Greek island. We’ve got a range of villas in Santorini on offer, with many of them situated right near the beach – what could be better? If you’ve got any questions about booking a break here, be sure to contact our concierge team and they’ll be happy to help you on your way.