The Best 3 Days in Santorini Greece Itinerary by

Best 3 Days in Santorini Itinerary 

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Wondering how to spend 3 days in Santorini, Greece? Our day-by-day 3 Day Santorini Itinerary outlines how to plan a trip that features the absolute best of the famous Greek island.

With white-washed villages, blue-domed churches and the tranquil turquoise sea, Santorini is a quintessential Greek island. While the appealing charm beckons many visitors for a romantic vacation, the island is equally fun for traveling friends, intrepid families and solo adventurers.


3 Days in Santorini Itinerary FAQs

Before we get to the day-by-day outline of our Santorini 3 Days Itinerary, we want to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions.


How Many Days in Santorini?

Determining how many days to spend in Santorini is the first step to planning a vacation to the island – and it’s not an easy decision. With limited vacation time and so much to see in Greece, it’s a real quandary – and, thus, travelers want to know: Is 3 days in Santorini enough…or too much?

In our opinion, 3 days in Santorini is just enough time to see the highlights, taste the local cuisine and feel the island vibe. Therefore, we created an ideal Santorini trip plan that details what to see, do and eat in three days.

That said, each traveler will need to decide how long to visit Santorini based on their interests, budget and overall trip plan. To help travelers planning to spend less or more time on the island, we share alternate Santorini itineraries later in the article.


What is the Greek Name for Santorini?

Like so many Greek islands, cities and places, there are multiple names for Santorini. The ancient Greek name of Santorini is Thera (or Thira). The island’s main town, Fira, is an alternate spelling of Thira.

Santorini is a name that dates to the 13th century – and it is derived from an old cathedral located in a village on the southern end of the island that was dedicated to Saint Irene…or Santa Irini.


Where is Santorini?

Before you start planning what to do in Santorini in three days, it helps to know where it is and to understand a little bit about the history, too.

Crescent-shaped Santorini, one of the Cyclades Islands, sits in the beautiful Aegean Sea to the southeast of mainland Greece and north of Crete. Well-connected to Athens, Santorini be reached by boat or plane. We discuss how to get to Santorini in more detail a bit later.

Santorini is part of a volcano, constituting the eastern rim; there are also islands to the west and two volcano islets in the center of the submerged caldera. The terrain in Santorini is characterized by steep cliffs and volcanic pebble beaches.

The largest eruption – known as the Minoan Eruption – occurred in the 17th century BC. Not only did it decimate the villages on the island, but it also left the Minoan civilization on Crete in utter ruins. The Santorini volcano is still active, but the last time it erupted was in 1950, so it is also considered dormant.


How Big is Santorini?

Santorini is not very big, in fact, it measures just 10 miles from the top to the bottom.

However, the best Santorini attractions dot the island from north to south and east to west. In addition to the picture-perfect towns of Oia, Imerovigli and Fira, the island hosts quaint villages, archaeological ruins, unique beaches and fantastic wineries. Plus, the idyllic sea surrounding Santorini can be explored by boat.

So, while rather small, there are plenty of things to do in Santorini in three days…or even longer.


How To Visit Santorini without a Car?

One of the great things about Santorini Island, Greece is that travelers do not necessarily need a car – at least not for our 3 Days in Santorini Travel Plan. Rather than driving, the top Santorini, Greece things to do can be reached on foot, by bus, taxi or tour.

We share specific tips for the best way to get around Santorini later, under our Santorini Travel Tips section.


When is the Best Time to Travel to Santorini?

Many travelers contend that the best time to go to Santorini is in the summertime – but we disagree. The summer sees a crushing number of tourists, prices are at their peak and it can get uncomfortably hot. On the other hand, it is, admittedly, the best time for swimming and nightlife (neither of which are viable Santorini activities outside of the summer season).

The autumn shoulder season – during September and October – can be a good time to visit Santorini. The water might still be warm enough for swimming, but rain can be possible. (Don’t worry though, there are some cool things to do in Santorini when it rains – like wine tastings, museums and shops!)

December to March mark the off-season…but there are still plenty of things to do in Santorini in winter. Guests can expect fewer open restaurants and limited hours at attractions, but also an intimate and local atmosphere.

We think the best time to visit Santorini is during the springtime shoulder season – when the weather tends to be sunny and warm and the crowds are still fairly light. In fact, the activities that we include in our 3 Days in Santorini, Greece Itinerary are perfect for the spring!


What Can you Do in Santorini on a Budget?

Of all the islands in Greece, Santorini ranks as one of the priciest. Tourists will pay top dollar for accommodation, food, drinks and activities – especially in the busy summer season.

This, of course, begs the question: What to do in Santorini on a budget?

Fortunately, there are a few fun things to do in Santorini on a budget – like trekking, sunbathing and sunset watching – all of which are free.

Our best advice is to set your Santorini travel budget ahead of time. With a firm travel fund, you can seek out places to stay, restaurants, bars and entertainment that fit into your Santorini budget.

Top Tip: To help you get started, use our Vacation Budget Planner


Is Santorini Worth It?

Whether on a budget or not, many travelers wonder, Is Santorini worth the hype? Without a doubt, we think that it is. The distinct architecture, the alluring sea and the epic views make it one of the best Greek islands to visit.


Planning a Trip to Santorini, Greece for 3 Days

We know that it is not exactly easy to plan a trip to Santorini, Greece. In addition to figuring out what to see and do, travelers are also tasked with finding accommodations, figuring out how to get around and deciding what to pack.

No need to stress! We share all of our travel tips for Santorini at the end of the outlined 3 Days Santorini Itinerary. Additionally, we share overall tips for Greek travel in our 2-Week Greece Itinerary.

Travelers making the trip to Greece from abroad can also find general European travel tips in our guide, How To Plan a Trip to Europe.

Planning to travel to other Greece destinations? We’ve got you covered there, too! We highlight the best things to do in the top places to visit in Greece.


Santorini, Greece Trip Planning Organization

Travelers who plan to visit Santorini in 3 days need to be organized! We think the best way to manage the details of a trip is with a Travel Planner – like our Printable Travel Planner.

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Oia Blue Domed Church and Pink Bell Tower, Santorini, Greece

Our outlined itinerary includes everything you need to visit Santorini, Greece! So let’s get started, shall we?

Save, Pin or Bookmark our 3 Day Santorini Itinerary to plan your trip to Greece!



Cliff views from Imerovigli to the South, Santorini, Greece

Kick off your Santorini 3 Day Itinerary by exploring Fira, visiting the Old Port, taking a scenic walk and watching sunset from Imerovigli. Then, end your first day on Santorini with a delicious dinner at a family-run restaurant.


Explore Fira Town

Where to Explore in Fira Old Town, Santorini, Greece

The historic village of Fira is the capital of Santorini and the best place to begin your 3 Days in Santorini exploration. At the center of town is the main square, Fira Theotokopulos Main Square, which is ringed by restaurants and bars and sits adjacent to by the bus station.

Fira, with its narrow lanes lined with shops, is fun to discover – and we think it is best to simply wander to see what you might find. That said, we want to highlight a few sights your shouldn’t miss.


Prehistoric Thira Museum

The Museum of Prehistoric Thira ranks as the town’s biggest attraction. The museum houses a spectacular collection of Minoan artifacts from the Santorini Akrotiri archaeological site – including pottery, ceramics and frescoes from the Neolithic village. There is a small fee to enter.


Fira, Santorini Churches

Fira and Candlemas Holy Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, Santorini, Greece

Visitors looking for free things to do in Santorini should seek out the many churches in Fira Town. The Candlemas Holy Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral of Thira is a large, white-washed church marked with distinguishing arches on the exterior and famous frescoes on the interior (plus, the elevated perch offers fantastic views).

Catholic Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, Santorini, Greece

Tucked down a quiet lane, the Catholic Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist is one of the unique churches in Santorini – in that it is painted pale yellow and blue, rather than white. Visitors are free to go inside.


Eat a Greek Fast-Food Lunch

Must-Eat at Lucky’s Souvlaki, Fira, Santorini, Greece

For lunch on the first day of your Santorini 3 Day Trip, eat Greek-style fast food: souvlaki and gyro pitas. The most popular take-away souvlaki restaurant in Fira is Lucky’s. It’s located right on the main square…and there will likely be a line of hungry patrons anxiously awaiting the fresh grilled, meaty pitas.

Visitors not inclined to join the queue can instead make their way to the Golden Grill Santorini, which serves quality meats with friendly service and is popular with locals.

Looking for vegetarian or vegan eats in Fira? FalafeLand is the best grab-and-go spot for a meatless meal.


See the Santorini Old Harbor

View of the Santorini Old Harbor from the water, Greece

Sitting on the water’s edge at the base of the caldera cliff below Fira Town is the Old Harbor of Santorini (sometimes also called Skala Port or Gialos Port). Although it is not necessarily a must-see Santorini sight, the Old Port offers a unique vantage point of the sea. Plus, there is a view of the Delenda Tower from the harbor – and it can be fun to watch the fishing boats, too.

While the Old Harbor of Santorini is no longer as active as it once was, it is still utilized by some Santorini boat excursions and a small fleet of fishing vessels. And, in the summertime, cruise ships tender passengers ashore to the Old Port (making it very crowded).

View of the Cable Car, Santorini Old Harbor, Greece

There are two ways to access the Old Harbor: a steep trail or the quick cable car. The 500-plus step zig-zagging trail that connects the Old Port to Fira Town is also used by donkeys (so watch where you walk!). The cable car can be useful to get back up to the top – but only if there is no line; the fee for the 3-minute ride during our trip cost 6 euros each way. 


Walk the Fira to Oia Walking Path to Imerovigli

Boat Artwork on Rooftop with Imerovigli in background, Santorini, Greece

Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Santorini, Greece is to take in the stunning views…and the best place for panoramic vistas is along the Fira to Oia Pedestrian Walking Path.

Potted Flowers and Seahorse on Fira to Oia Walking Path

The pedestrian path stretches north from Fira for about 6 miles, all the way to Oia. While ambitious trekkers can make the complete journey, for Day 1 of your Santorini 3 Day Itinerary, we recommend a shorter walk – about 2.5 miles to the town of Imerovigli.


What To See in Santorini on the Fira to Imerovigli Walk

Catholic Church of St Stylianos on Fira to Oia Walking Path, Santorini, Greece

The elevated trail follows the rim of the caldera from Fira to Imerovigli, passing through Firostefani along the way. The vast views are the highlight of the trek – and there are a few Santorini must-see places along the way.

As you leave Fira, the Catholic Church of St. Stylianos is a yellow-and-blue cliffside church with a white dome that provides a pretty viewpoint when looking back toward the town. 

Nearing Firostefani, there is a caldera lookout point right in front of the pastel yellow St. Theodoros Thira Holy Orthodox Church. 

Three Bells of Fira on Walking Path, Santorini, Greece

Just beyond the viewpoint is the Three Bells of Fira, a famous (and much photographed) viewpoint on the trail. It is as pretty as a postcard (in fact, there are many Santorini postcards that feature the image!).

The small Chapel of the Holy Cross is a good spot for panoramic photos.

The blue-domed Church of the Resurrection of the Lord – with the coastline in the background – is another epic sight that is not to be missed.

Hotel Pools overlooking Skaros Rock in Imerovigli, Fira, Santorini, Greece

Skaros Rock, which protrudes into the sea from Imerovigli, is a craggy outcrop that offers sublime views. Just be aware that it requires some challenging scrambling to reach the peak.


What To Know about the Walk from Fira to Imerovigli

Cliffside stairs in Firostefani, Santorini, Greece

The route from Fira to Imerovigli is mostly paved, but it is an inclined trail and there are some stairs. Also note that the trail is exposed with little shade. You will want to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, along with sunglasses and a hat.


Watch the Sunset in Santorini 

Sunset in Santorini at Mama Thira Taverna, Santorini, Greece

Santorini sunsets are legendary – and there are an endless number of places where you can watch the sun go down along the walking path in Imerovigli, Firostefani or Fira.

Adventurous travelers can watch the sun sink into the horizon from Skaros Rock, where Santorini sunset watchers can spread out a towel or blanket and enjoy the show!

Travelers who want to watch the sunset with a cocktail in hand can make their way to one of the sunset bars in Santorini (but it is best to make reservations in advance if you want a good seat!).

The Wine Bar in Imerovigli is one of the best places in Santorini to watch the sunset – and for chic drinks in Firo, the V Lounge Café is a top pick.

Alternatively, get a seat on the outdoor terrace at the casual Mama Thira Tavern in Firostefani (although, in the high season, it is required that each person order a main meal, not just drinks and appetizers).


Dine at a Family-Owned Greek Restaurant

End your first day in Santorini with dinner at a family-run establishment, Taverna Simos. The traditional Greek tavern is known for their authentic dishes and cozy atmosphere that feels a bit like dining at friend’s house.

We recommend ordering classic Greek Meze – small plates for sharing – to get a little taste of everything. Our favorite dishes were the stuffed vine leaves, saganaki and ‘Special’ Simos, a combination of delightful roasted peppers and stewed vegetables.



View of Oia Town, Santorini, Greece

On Day 2 of your 3 Days Santorini, Greece Itinerary spend the day in Oia – Santorini’s most recognizable town – seeing the sights and taking in the picturesque views. Then, for dinner, enjoy a feast in a historic garden highlighted by local Santorini wine.


Discover Oia, Santorini

View of the Castle of Oia, Santorini, Greece

Oia – pronounced EE-uh – is one of the must-see places to visit in Santorini, Greece. The famous white-and-blue village is situated in northern Santorini and is characterized by the cubic cave houses that spill from the rim of the caldera down the cliffside.

One of the best things to do in Oia, Santorini is to simply wander the narrow alleys at a leisurely pace. That said, we are sharing a sample itinerary of Oia, Santorini must-do activities to help you plan your day of sightseeing.


Skiza Café Oia

A perfect way to start any day in Oia, Santorini is with coffee and breakfast at Skiza Café. The eatery offers remarkable views of the caldera and good food at a fair price. Order a classic Greek coffee (or a Frappe or Freddo iced coffee if it’s already hot outside) and the Strapatsada, a typical Greek breakfast dish of scrambled eggs, fresh tomatoes and feta cheese.


Oia Main Square and Church of Panagia Akathistos

Church of Panagia Akathistos Hymn Oia Main Square, Santorini, Greece

The Church of Panagia Akathistos Hymn (or the Church of Panagia Platsani) sits on the main square in Oia – and it’s one of the most beautiful churches in Santorini. The striking white church features a blue-painted dome, a façade of arched windows and an elegantly tiered bell tower with six hanging bells.  


Blue Domed Churches in Oia

Oia Blue Domed Church and Pink Bell Tower, Santorini, Greece

Gazing at the caldera view over tops of the blue domed churches in Oia is a must when visiting Santorini in 3 days. The brilliantly white churches with domes painted to match the sea are the epitome of Greek island architecture – and Oia is home to the finest examples.

Two Oia blue domed churches – Agios Spyridon Church and Anastasi Church – stand side-by-side and are a symbol of Santorini. Photographing the landmark churches is so incredibly popular that there will likely be a queue to snap the shot.


Atlantis Books

Atlantis Books, Oia, Santorini, Greece

Visiting Atlantis Books is one of the odd and quirky things to do in Oia, Greece. The quaint space is cluttered with books and littered with thought-provoking quotes. For visitors, it can be a good place to pick up a book on Greek mythology or buy a rare first edition.


Santorini Maritime Museum

A small but interesting museum in Santorini, the Maritime Museum features displays on the history of Santorini, the island’s ports and its trade. There is a small fee to enter and the knowledgeable staff offer helpful explanations.


Windmill of Oia

Best View of the Oia Windmills, Santorini, Greece

Seeing the Windmills of Oia should definitely be on your Santorini To Do List! As far back as the 14th century, windmills dotted Santorini Island, harnessing the wind to grind grains into flour. Today, only a few Santorini windmills still stand – and two of the best are in Oia.

Up close view of Oia Windmill, Santorini, Greece

The Oia Windmills date to the 17th century and are no longer operational – but they are fun for photo ops!


Castle of Oia

View of the Castle of Oia from Above, Santorini, Greece

Climbing through the ruins of the Oia Castle is one of the top activities in Santorini, Greece. Perched on a hilltop that faces west, the castle ranks as the best (and most crowded) place to watch the sunset in Oia.

The castle – called the Agios Nikolaos Castle in Oia – was built in the 15th century by the Venetians. The stronghold served as a lookout, a residence and a place of protection for the residents of the district.

In the earthquake of 1956, most of the castle collapsed into the sea; only the tower and wall fragments remain. However, it still offers one of the best Santorini caldera views.


Lunch at Amoudi Bay

View of Ammoudi Bay, Santorini, Greece

Nestled at the bottom of the red cliff below Oia is Ammoudi Bay. The small cove, which is lapped by the translucent teal sea, is home to a handful of seafood restaurants. With tables that sit right on the waterfront and menus of fresh-caught fish, it’s a fantastic place to eat lunch in Oia.

View of Ammoudi Bay Trail to Secret Beach, Santorini, Greece

After lunch, continue past the restaurants and take the path around the corner to a secluded beach. From the shore, adventurous travelers can swim out to the islet that hosts the Saint Nikolaos Holy Chapel…and a platform that can be used to jump right into the sea. (Water shoes are highly recommended!)

View looking down the Ammoudi Bay Stairs, Santorini Island, Greece

Amoudi Bay can be accessed via the 275+ staircase or by taxi. We actually recommend walking down…and then asking your waiter to call a taxi for you for a ride back to Oia!


Oia Wandering

Santorini Blue Gate, Greece

In the afternoon, allow time for simply wandering. While Oia is incredibly popular and almost always packed with tourists (especially on days when cruise ships are in port), you can seek out quiet spots away from the crowds. Walk the alleys to see where they lead, pop into the boutique shops and take photos of the Santorini cats.

Green Doors, Oia Streets, Santorini, Greece

Grab a cool treat from Lolita’s Gelato for your stroll – it’s the best ice cream in Oia, Santorini. The hazelnut and pistachio flavors are top picks!


Lioyerma Lounge Café Pool Bar

In the late afternoon, the Lioyerma Lounge Pool Bar is one of the best places to cool off from the heat of the day. Visitors can swim in the pool, lounge under the umbrellas and enjoy the view – and it’s a good spot for catching the sunset, too.

While there is no charge to enter and use the pool, there is a minimum required purchase of food and beverage – but you can stay as long as you want!


Sunset in Oia, Santorini

Watch a Santorini Sunset, Oia, Greece

Watching an Oia sunset tops many Things To Do Santorini Lists – and there is no shortage of places to watch an Oia sunset. As we already mentioned, the castle ruins are the most popular place for watching the sunset in Oia. It can get really crowded, so you may have to grab a space early, especially in the summertime. Bring some drinks and snacks to enjoy with the view.

Other top spots for Oia sunsets are the the Lioyerma Pool and Ammoundi Bay.


Dinner and Santorini Wine Garden

Wine at Pelican Kipos Wine Fira, Greece, Santorini

After a long day of sightseeing in Oia, Santorini, relax and enjoy a scrumptious meal at Pelian Kipos Wine Restaurant. Located right in the heart of Fira Town, the hidden garden is an absolute oasis. The property has a long history – and belowground is a 400-year-old wine cellar that is free for patrons to visit (just ask the waitstaff).

Pelican Kipos Restaurant Fira, Santorini, Greece

The food offerings are superb; we ate the shrimp in avocado, grilled zucchini and mushrooms and roasted lamb – and it was all divine. The staff is happy to make suggestions for wine pairings from their extensive collection. At the end of the meal, order the Santorini wine specialty, Vin Santo, as an after-dinner drink!



Santorini Sunset Cruise Red Beach, Greece

On the last day of your 3 Days in Santorini Itinerary, spend the morning exploring some of the island on foot, then set sail in the afternoon on a memorable Santorini sunset cruise.


Karterados Traditional Village

The village of Karterados is just a 20-minute walk from Fira…but the traditional village feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of most of the island towns.

Start with a satisfying breakfast at Jerry’s Food, then spend the rest of the morning ambling through the village. There are not any Santorini sights in Karterados, per se, but there is a well-preserved windmill, alleys to get lost in and lots of cats.


Santorini Sunset Cruise

Take a Santorini Sunset Cruise, Greece

A sunset cruise is one of the best things to do on the island – and a perfect way to end your three days in Santorini. There are dozens of options for cruises with various offerings at different price points. That said, we recommend this Santorini Catamaran Cruise – which includes all drinks, a delicious BBQ dinner and hotel transfers to and from Amoudi Bay.

View from a Santorini Sailboat Cruise, Greece

The boat departs in the early afternoon and sails to three scenic spots – the volcano ‘hot springs’, the Red Beach and the White Beach. Passengers have the option to partake in fun Santorini activities, like swimming and snorkeling.

View of Santorini Sunset Cruise Island Sunset, Greece

With an exceptional staff, good music and fantastic food, there is no question that this sunset cruise was our favorite Santorini activity. It was a terrific way to end our 3 days on Santorini Island, Greece. Reserve your space here!

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More Santorini Island Things To Do

Church of St Mark the Evangelist in Firostefani, Santorini, Greece

We have outlined what we think is the absolute best 3 Days in Santorini Itinerary. However, fellow travelers with different interests – or more time – may want to add one of these popular things to do in Santorini, Greece to their vacation.


Santorini Archaeological Sites

Like most of Greece, Santorini Island has a long and fascinating past. Two archaeological sites on Santorini help to preserve the history of the island and are interesting Santorini places to visit.


Akrotiri Archaeological Site of Thera

One of the most intriguing archaeological sites in the world, the Akrotiri ruins are the remains of a Bronze Age Minoan settlement (which dates to the 16th century BC). Often referred to as the Greek Pompeii due the incredible preservation provided by volcanic ash, the 4,000-year-old Akrotiri site has yet to be completely unearthed.

That said, visitors can see the multi-level houses and the extensive plumbing system (they even had toilets!). For a better understanding, it can be useful to hire a guide who can share information about the site. Tickets are required to enter.


Ancient Thera Archaeological Site

Ruins of the Ancient City of Thera were discovered on a mountaintop in southern Santorini in the late 1800s. The expansive excavated site features many remains from the ancient civilization, including roads, residences, temples, a theater, and a market area.

There is a small fee to enter and informational plaques in English. The site can be reached by car or by hiking trail. Visitors need to properly prepare for visiting Ancient Thera – as it is completely exposed to the bright sun and often howling winds. Good shoes are a must, too.


Santorini Museums

We mentioned a few museums in our 3-Day Santorini Island Itinerary, but there are more museums in Santorini that fellow travelers might want to visit.


Argyros Mansion Museum

A 19th century mansion built by a wealthy winemaker, the Argyrou family home is now open to visitors. For a small fee, guests can join guided tours of the residence to learn about the history of the house, daily life for the owners and information about Santorini’s wine growing past. 


Tomato Factory Museum

Many Santorini visitors are unaware, but before tourism took off in Santorini, the island was a well-known exporter of pelte – better known as tomato paste. A special variety of tomatoes – the Domati Santorini – are one of the few crops that grow well in the soil laden with volcanic ash and they can be processed into a distinctly flavorful paste.

The highly-touted Tomato Industrial Museum – in an old tomato paste factory – provides visitors a glimpse at the history of the Santorini export…and they even offer a taste of the product!


Lost Atlantis Experience

A unique way to learn about Santorini history, the Lost Atlantis Experience is an interactive museum that tells the story of Santorini from its origin and the myths and legends that surround it. There are fun photo ops throughout the museum and a 9D movie that is a highlight! Tickets can be purchased in advance


Santorini Wine Museum

Calling all wine lovers! The Santorini Wine Museum traces the history of winemaking on the Island of Santorini. The self-guided tour is enhanced with an included audio guide and guests can choose from 5 different wine tasting packages at the end of their visit!


Santorini Wine Tours

Sampling the local wine is one of the top Santorini Things To Do – and there are many wineries, tasting rooms and tours for visitors to choose from.


Santorini Wine Adventure

By far the most popular wine tasting tour in Santorini, the small-group Santorini Wine Adventure takes participants to 3 different island wineries for 12 tastings – and includes tapas, too. Find out more!


DIY Wine Tour

Rather than joining a tour, visitors can plan to visit Santorini wineries on their own – either with a car or public transportation. Santo Wines Winery is one of the best wineries on Santorini Island (partially due to the outstanding views) – but two other wineries that you can visit on your own (and can be reached by bus) are Gavalas Winery and Boutari Winery.


Santorini Beaches

Santorini Island is dramatic and beautiful…and so are its beaches. That said, the beaches in Santorini are not the long, white stretches of sand that Greece is so well known for. They are rugged and consist of volcanic pebbles, rather than fine sand.

However, the blue water is inviting for a swim – and the shoreline is set up with chairs for rent and on-site concessions. Generally speaking, the best beaches in Santorini, Greece are on the eastern side of the island – facing away from the caldera.

Kamari Beach (great for families), Perissa Beach (attracting all types) and Perivolos Beach (slightly upscale) are all black sand and pebble beaches and are the best choices for sunbathing and swimming on Santorini.


More Santorini Island Activities

As a top holiday destination, Santorini, Greece offers visitors a range of activities. We a highlighting a few of the best!


Horseback Riding on the Beach

Experience the rugged landscapes of Santorini on horseback. A professional guide leads small groups along black sand beaches that are certain to create an enchanting memory. Get the details!


Santorini Flying Dress Photoshoot

Let a professional photographer capture your beauty in one of the most beautiful places in the world. On the photoshoot, participants can choose from an assortment of colorful ‘flying’ dresses and the locations, too! Find out more!


Santorini ATV Tour

See the best of the island on a small-group ATV Tour. The guide leads the way to off-the-beaten-path destinations as you ride your ATV through Santorini back roads. Top sights along the adventurous route include a castle, a wine cellar and windmills. Read the reviews!


The Greek Wedding Show

Accept an invitation to a classic Greek wedding on Santorini and prepare for an evening of fun! The interactive performance includes singing, dancing and even breaking plates – plus a traditional meal! Book it here!



Shops and the Mama Thira Taverna, Santorini, Greece

As you plan what to do on Santorini in 3 days, it’s just as important to consider what to eat! We shared suggestions for places to eat throughout our itinerary for Santorini, but we also want to share a few of the island’s famous dishes.


Fava Santorini

Fava beans – and more typically, Fava bean dip – is available in restaurants all around Greece, but Santorini Fava is special – as the beans grown on Santorini are a Protected Designation of Origin. Nearly all of the restaurants in Santorini offer Fava puree as an appetizer.



A fried tomato appetizer of tomato, basil and mint (and sometimes other spices), Tomatokeftedes are one of the unique things to eat in Santorini, Greece.


Santorini Salad with Chloro Cheese

A twist on a traditional Greek salad, the Santorini salad features cherry tomatoes, local cucumbers (called katsounia) and Chloro cheese – rather than feta.



A pasta dish that is sometimes called Santorini Spaghetti, the noodles are tossed with fresh Santorini tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and salt.



Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive version of our Map of Santorini Things To Do.

The map is color-coded to coordinate with our 3 Days Santorini Itinerary. The Purple markers are for Day 1; the Blue markers are for Day 2, the Green markers are for Day 3; the Orange markers are additional Santorini attractions. 

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More Santorini Itineraries

Door in the cliff, Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece

You may still be wondering, How many days should I spend in Santorini? We understand, deciding how long in Santorini is likely based on many factors. Fellow travelers planning one day in Santorini, Greece or a full week on the island can use our alternate travel itineraries for ideas and inspiration.


Santorini in One Day

Trying to plan an all-encompassing One Day Santorini Itinerary is not easy – there really is so much to see and do on the island! That said, travelers limited to just 1 Day in Santorini will most certainly want to make the most of their time.

One Day Itinerary Santorini

To create the absolute best One Day in Santorini Itinerary, we recommend starting in Fira in the morning. After seeing a few of the town sights, embark on a journey along the walking path to Imerovigli. Eat lunch with a view – either at Mama Thira’s or The Wine Bar – and then catch the bus or a taxi to Oia.

Spend the afternoon of your Santorini in One Day trip exploring Oia sights and end the day with sunset at the castle.


Santorini 2 Day Itinerary

There are a couple different ways to create an ideal 2 Days in Santorini Itinerary. Visitors can either try to squeeze it all in…or skip the sunset cruise.

2 Day Santorini Itinerary with Sunset Cruise

Ambitious travelers can plan a fast-paced 2 Days Santorini Itinerary by using our above suggestion for a condensed One Day in Santorini Itinerary. Then, on the following day, enjoy breakfast and sightseeing in a village – and then hop on the sunset cruise in the afternoon.  

Santorini in 2 Days without Sunset Cruise

Visitors can also slow down the pace of sightseeing in Santorini – and opt to not take the sunset cruise. To create this Santorini Itinerary 2 Days, simply follow our advice for Days 1 and 2 in our 3-Day Santorini Travel Itinerary from the beginning of the post.


Alternate Santorini, Greece Itinerary 3 Day

We outlined our ideal Santorini Three Day Itinerary, but travelers with different interests and budgets might want to plan their trip another way.

For example, visitors interested in ancient history might want to visit the Akrotiri archaeological site instead of walking from Fira to Imerovigli. Budget-conscious Santorini travelers may opt to spend the day on a beach, rather than setting sail on a pricey boat trip.


Santorini Itinerary 4 Days

Spending 4 Days in Santorini allows visitors to see a lot more of the diversity of the island. The best way to design a Santorini 4 Day Itinerary is to choose the activities that interest you from the More Santorini Island Things To Do section.

4 Day Santorini Itinerary

For us, an ideal 4 Days in Santorini Itinerary would follow our outlined day-by-day 3 Day Trip Plan – then, on the last day, visit the Akrotiri Archaeological Site of Thera in the morning and spend the afternoon on a wine tasting tour.


Santorini Itinerary 5 Days

Travelers who are wondering, Is 4 Days enough in Santorini? might consider stretching their vacation to include 5 days in Santorini, Greece. With a 5 Day Santorini Itinerary, there is ample time to see an array of sights and attractions.

Santorini 5 Day Itinerary

Use our tips for What To Do in Santorini in 4 Days just above, then on Day 5 of your trip, spend a leisurely day relaxing at a Santorini beach, soaking in the sun and swimming in the sea. In the evening, enjoy the entertaining Greek Wedding Show


Santorini Itinerary 6 Days

Planning a 6 Days in Santorini vacation is a great opportunity to really get to know the island. That said, we would recommend renting a car – at least for a day – to get easily get around from one attraction to the next.

Santorini 6 Day Itinerary

Following our tips from the above 5 Day Santorini Travel Plan, spend the last day of the trip visiting the hilltop Ancient Thera Archaeological Site in the morning – and then visit museums (like the Tomato Factory and the Argyros Mansion Museum) in the afternoon.


Santorini Itinerary 7 Days

Wondering what to do in Santorini for a week? No worries – visitors planning on spending one week in Santorini, Greece will find that there is still plenty to see and do!

Santorini 1 Week Itinerary

To create the best 1 Week in Santorini Itinerary, start with our advice for visiting Santorini in 6 days – then, on the final day spend the morning with a photographer and strike a pose in a striking ‘flying’ dress. Then, in the afternoon, take in the sights of Santorini either on horseback or on an ATV tour.

Alternatively, visitors with 7 days in Santorini could also opt to plan their own day trip from the island using the ferry boats. Top day trip destinations are Mykonos, Paros, Naxos and Heraklion (Crete).


Multiple Destination Itineraries

Many Greece tourists plan to stay in Santorini – and other destinations, too. We are highlighting a few of the best multi-destination trip plans for Santorini.


Athens and Santorini Itinerary – Plan a week for a Athens-Santorini Itinerary – and use our tips for Things To Do in Athens in 3 Days.

Mykonos and Santorini Itinerary – Visitors short on time can visit Mykonos and Santorini in just 5 days.

Athens Mykonos Santorini Itinerary – We think it is best to have at least 8 days to enjoy visiting Athens, Mykonos and Santorini.

Athens Crete Santorini Itinerary – Creating an Athens, Crete and Santorini Itinerary is a great way to see diverse and amazing places. We think you should allow 10 days for this vacation.

Crete and Santorini Itinerary – While it would be a shame to miss Athens, visitors with just one week could easily plan a Crete-Santorini Itinerary.

Athens Naxos Santorini Itinerary – A great way to get a taste of what Greece has to offer, travelers will want to spend at least 10 days in Athens, Naxos and Santorini…if not longer!

Mykonos Naxos Santorini Itinerary – In close proximity and well-connected by ferry boats, Mykonos, Naxos and Santorini are great destinations for a one week Greek Island trip, but would be even better with 10 days!


Travel Tips for Santorini, Greece

View from the Santorini Sunset Cruise Island Sunset, Greece

Now that you know what to do in Santorini in 3 days – or longer – we have some additional advice for your trip!


Top Santorini Travel Tips

We want to share a few notes about what to expect when visiting Santorini.

First, don’t flush the toilet paper. The system is not designed to handle toilet paper and it will clog the pipes. Use the waste receptacle next to the toilet.

Second, don’t drink the tap water. While it is deemed safe to drink – and is perfectly fine for showering and brushing your teeth – it is not recommended for consumption. Instead, drink bottled water, which is extremely affordable and widely available.

Finally, pack your patience. Santorini gets very crowded and very hot.


Getting to Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece can be reached by plane or boat. On our trip, we took a flight from Athens to Santorini and departed by ferry to Naxos.


How to Get to Santorini, Greece by Plane

Direct flights to Santorini depart from major destinations around Europe…but only seasonally. Outside of summer, the only way to get to Santorini by plane is via Athens.

When looking for the best Santorini flights, we recommend using SkyScanner – but first use our Tips for Finding the Best Cheap Flights for our top advice on scoring cheap seats.


Santorini Thira International Airport to Hotels

The Santorini Airport (JTR) is located just 3.5 miles from Fira Town. To get from the Santorini International Airport to your hotel, it is best to book transportation in advance (as there are very few taxis on Santorini Island). There is affordable Shared Transfer options – and Private Transfers, as well. 

Alternatively, travelers can opt to take the cheap Santorini Airport Bus from the airport to the Fira Bus Station. The ride costs less than 2 euros. Travelers staying in other Santorini towns can transfer to another bus (new ticket required) or take a taxi from Fira.


How to Go to Santorini, Greece by Ferry Boat

Ferries make the trip from Athens to Santorini year-round – with more connections in the peak summer season.

As we already mentioned, there are also ferries to Santorini from other islands – like Crete, Mykonos and Paros.

There are many different ferry companies serving Santorini, so we used FerryHopper to find the most current schedules and to buy tickets.


Flight or Ferry to Santorini, Greece?

Many travelers ponder whether it is better to take a flight or a ferry to get to Santorini. Personally, we think flying is better if traveling from (or to) Athens. However, the ferries are likely more useful between islands.

That said, which mode of transit you use will likely come down to schedules and prices. Ferries do tend to be cheaper than flights – but not by much (especially if you book your flight far in advance).

On the other hand, when ferries run late, you are typically left waiting in the scorching sun of the port (rather than the air conditioned airport) and ferries are more likely to cancel (or have schedule disruptions) due to wind and weather than flights.


How To Get Around during your 3 Days in Santorini

Fira to Oia Walking Path, Catholic Church of St Stylianos, Santorini, Greece

We have already touched on how to get around Santorini, but we want to add a few points.


Renting a Car in Santorini

First, a car is not necessary for travelers visiting Santorini – but it may be useful for those who want to explore and discover places at their own pace. Travelers who opt to rent a car in Santorini should do so in advance (especially if needing automatic transmission).

There are free parking lots and street parking is available, too. However, it may be challenging to find a space in the height of the summer season.

Top Tip: Before starting your search, use our advice for Finding Cheap Car Rentals


Santorini Buses

The buses in Santorini are a good way to get around, but it can take some patience. All buses start and end at the Fira Terminal Station. If you need to transfer, you will need to buy a second ticket.

Buses generally run from 7am until 10pm, but the schedule varies by season. The cost of a single ticket is 1.80 to 2.50 euros per ride (depending on the destination); there are no daily or weekly passes. Tickets are purchased on the bus with cash.


Taxis on Santorini 

There are very few taxis in Santorini – and they tend to be quite expensive. If you want to take a taxi, it is probably best to arrange it in advance. The staff at your accommodations should be able to assist you with calling taxis.


Where To Stay for 3 Nights in Santorini

Oia Patio views for an apartment, Santorini, Greece

Santorini Island, Greece caters to tourists – and, as such, there are ample options for places to stay. The accommodations in Santorini range from insanely expensive cave houses with a private pool to budget hostels on the east side of the island – and everything in between.

Oia tends to have the most sought-after accommodation in Santorini. Offering luxury rooms with exceptional views, Oia is the most expensive place to stay on Santorini. Budget conscious travelers will want to look for more affordable options in Fira and Imerovigli.


Top Hotels in Santorini, Greece

Because there is a wide range of options for Santorini hotels, we are sharing a few of the top picks in a range of prices.


Andronis Arcadia Hotel in Oia

The luxury Andronis Arcadia Resort Hotel in Santorini is a contemporary and modern property in an absolutely stunning location. Tucked high away from the crowds, the hotel faces west (rather than into the caldera) – and the infinity pool is the perfect place to watch a peaceful Santorini sunset. Check rates and availability!


Canaves Oia, Santorini Boutique Hotel

Guests at Canaves Oia Hotel stay in boutique cave rooms fitted with uniquely designed décor and a private balcony featuring amazing caldera views. The rooftop pool, friendly staff and included breakfast also get rave reviews. Read the reviews here!


Altana Heritage Suites Hotel in Imerovigli

Situated in Imerovigli, the Altana Heritage Hotel Santorini offers rooms with private plunge pools and superb caldera views. Guests also love the quiet location, daily delivered breakfast and charming details. Check availability!


Villa Rose Hotel in Fira, Santorini

The Villa Rose Hotel Fira Santorini, Greece

For our trip to Santorini, we opted for a budget stay at Villa Rose – and we felt it was a great value for money. The hotel is set away from the bustle of Fira and the property is immaculately clean. Each room is fitted with a small kitchenette that can be used to make simple meals and the pool and outdoor spaces and divine.

From Villa Rose, it is just a short walk to the Fira Bus Station and the staff goes above and beyond to help with anything you need! Check rates for your stay!


What To Pack for your Trip: Santorini Essentials

Visit the Churches of Santorini, Greece

Our final tips are all about packing hacks, and we share even more advice on our Packing Tips page. Need a checklist? Get your FREE Packing Checklist here!


The Right Shoes for Santorini

Which shoes you pack for your trip may depend on which Santorini attractions you plan to see – but comfortable shoes are a must!

I wore lightweight everyday sneakers for walking around the towns and on the walking path. Flip flops were fine for the boat trip (we actually had to remove our shoes when boarding anyway). Travelers planning to spend time at the beach should definitely bring water shoes.

Pro Tip: Read our reviews and advice for finding the Best Travel Shoes.


Enough Sun Protection

The sun is super intense in Santorini! Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen (it is rather expensive to buy it in Greece) – as well as your favorite beach sunglasses and maybe a good travel hat to shade your face.


Travel Camera

Santorini is so stunning that it is almost surreal. We recommend upgrading to a real camera to capture the beauty of the island. We use a Canon Rebel with an 18-135mm lens. Not only is it easy to use and takes quality photos, but we think it is one of the best Budget Cameras for Travelers.


A Good Day Bag

When sightseeing in Santorini it is essential to have  good day pack that will fit everything you need for your adventures. We recommend using a bag that has zippered pockets – but you can find all of our tips for the Best Travel Day Bags here.


Greece Travel Insurance

Trips don’t always go as planned – luggage can get lost or you can get sick abroad…and that’s when travel insurance may help. If you haven’t already obtained insurance for your trip to Greece, check the rates and coverage at World Nomads.


Documents and Trip Info

Of course, don’t forget any necessary documents – like your passport and Travel Planner! We keep everything tucked into our Document Organizer so that they are easy to find and at our fingertips.


We Want To Know: What are your favorite things to do in Santorini, Greece? What would you add to our 3 Days in Santorini Itinerary? Tell us in the comments!


Start planning your trip to Greece! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


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