How to visit Santorini in 3, 4 or 5 days? What to do and see in Santorini Island to enjoy your holidays in Greece? Santorini is certainly the most famous island of the Cyclades. Crystal clear turquoise waters, dazzling white typical Greek houses, idyllic setting: this is what we all expect from a trip to Santorini! Find out all the tips you need to know for visiting Santorini:
- TOP 8 of best things to do in Santorini 🌊
- How to get to Santorini? 🛥
- Best hotels in Santorini 🛌
- Nice places where to eat 😋
- Itineraries for visiting Santorini in 2, 3 or 4 days 🤩
- What other islands of the Cyclades to visit? 🇬🇷
1. Best things to do in Santorini Island
Santorini is a very pretty island. You can discover very different landscapes here: volcanic craters, mountains, beaches, picturesque alleys. However, we must not forget that Santorini is a very touristic island. Over time, the main towns of Santorini such as Fira and Oia have lost some of their authenticity: more hotels, less locals. You just have to know it in order to avoid disappointment.
1.1. Visiting Fira, the capital of Santorini Island
It is in Fira that we find the decorations of the postcards of Santorini! We find here all these magnificent landscapes that we were waiting to see. Fira is the center of the island of Santorini. This is where you will find a wide range of accommodation, but also restaurants and bars. If you want to visit Santorini and party, this is the right place.
Getting around in Santorini? The island of Santorini is relatively small (about 40km from North to South by car), but not so small that you can visit everything on foot. In order to be completely free to move around, you can rent a car. But if you don’t want to drive on vacation, you can also choose to take excursions including transport. For example: take a look on this 4×4 tour or quad tour.
1.2 Admiring a magnificent sunset in Oia
Oh, Oia and its sunsets! If you are going to visit Santorini, you cannot miss Oia. The goose village is located 15km from Fira. This is a second place where you can stay in Santorini: lots of places to eat, go out, walk around. The atmosphere here is calmer than in Fira, but Oia remains a fairly touristy place as well.
1.3 Visiting the Ancient City of Akrotiri or the City of Thera in Santorini
When we think of Greece, we inevitably think of Antiquity. Santorini is no exception. Here, you can visit several archaeological sites, including the two ancient cities: Akrotiri and Thera. Both sites are 10km from Fira.
How to visit these ancient sites? To get around Santorini, you can rent a car, and therefore do the visits yourself. You can also make an excursion with several stops and visits from Fira.
1.4 Bathing in the hot springs of Paléa Kamini
Taking a bathe in the hot springs is one of the best things to do in Santorini Island! Paléa Kamini is a volcanic islet. The sea and the rocks on the shore have an orange-red color! In order to access the thermal waters of Paléa Kamini, it is necessary to take a boat. Several stories offer excursions to go to Paléa Kamini by boat. Moreover, the island of Thirassia is a volcanic island even better known than Paléa Kamini. You can find excursions combining these two islands, once there.
1.5 Going to the beach in Santorini
What are the best beaches to visit in Santorini? When traveling to Santorini, going to the beach is one of the best things to do in Santorini. Here is a list of Santorini beaches with their particularities. Click on the name of the beach to see the location and photos on Google Maps.
Plage de Perissa, also called “black beach”: considered by many to be the most beautiful beach in Santorini, this beach is rather touristy, and from 6 p.m. the atmosphere here is very festive.
Plage Rouge: located not far from the archaeological site of the Ancient City of Akrotiri, this beach is very popular with tourists. Its particularity: the red sand.
La Baie d’Amoudi: a pebble beach, but above all a small port and a very nice place to visit in Santorini.
Plage de Kamari: known for its huge rock and quite busy, it is a very pretty beach to visit in Santorini.
Plage de Perivolos: another beach with volcanic sand, a little quieter than Perissa Beach.
Monolithos: an interesting beach for sports enthusiasts: windsurfing, kitesurfing.
1.6 Discovering Greek gastronomy
Book in advance. If you are going to visit Santorini in the middle of the tourist season, it is best to book a table in the restaurant. Especially if it is a place with a view. It’s a bit of a war to get a place, so book in advance for more comfort. We have added some good addresses below, in the “Good addresses” section of this blog post.
Wine tasting with an English-speaking guide. Treat yourself to a visit to the vineyards of the island of Santorini! The tour lasts 5 hours and ends with a beautiful sunset in Oia. For wine lovers, this is a great opportunity for your trip in Santorini. Find out more here: prices for the wine tour in Santorini Island.
1.7 Taking a boat cruise in Santorini Island
What to do in Santorini? In order to discover the island from the waters, you can either rent a private boat or take a cruise in a small group. The sunset cruises are particularly noteworthy. In addition, there for once, no need to fight for a table: from the boat we will see the sunset in the front row.
Find photos and reviews here: Santorini Cruise.
1.8 Attending a traditional Greek wedding?
Attending a traditional Greek wedding? And yes, it is possible in Santorini! In reality, this is not a real wedding, but a show. He got to Fira. This is a good opportunity to spend a superb evening discovering traditional dances and Greek appetizers!
Find out more info her: The Greek Wedding Show in Fira
2. How to get to Santorini?
How to visit Santorini? Several solutions are available to us.
By plane with a stopover in Athens. This is the fastest solution, because in general the stopover in Athens does not last long. Besides, it’s also a good solution, if you want to visit Santorini directly, to maximize your time on the island and, for some of us, to avoid seasickness as well. Indeed, ferry trips are not not routes that are comfortable for everyone.
Plane + Ferry from Athens. Many travelers also wish to enjoy Athens, and therefore decide to arrive in Athens by plane and then go to Santorini by ferry. It is true that it is a very interesting city to visit, with a very rich heritage (our blog post on Athens). For example, you can arrive in Athens, spend 1 or 2 days there, then leave for Santorini. On the other hand, count at least 5 hours by ferry between Athens (Port of Piraeus) and Santorini.
By ferry from other Greek islands. The ferries between the Greek islands is a fairly common transport. For example, you can visit Santorini from Crete (2 to 6 hours trip) or from other Cyclades islands like Mykonos (2-3 hours trip). We discuss the possible routes in more detail at the end of this blog post.
3. Best hotels to stay while visiting Santorini in 3, 4, 5 days
One can easily visit Santorini from Fira or from Oia. The village of Oia is a more romantic and quiet place than Fira, we would recommend it more for a romantic trip to Santorini. On the other hand, if you want to visit Santorini with friends, it is better to choose Fira. Book in advance to have more choice (a few months in advance…). Find out more details in this dedicated blog post: Where to stay in Santorini?
Best hotels to stay in Fira:
- The Last Sunbeam: white walls, clean decoration, view of the Aegean Sea, swimming pool, good location and free parking! Very good ingredients to visit Santorini!
- Kastro Suites: this hotel offers suites for two people and for a romantic trip to Santorini, but also family suites. The location of the hotel is perfect, near the center of Fira town.
- Asteras Villas: very beautiful rooms, some of which have a balcony and a view of the Caldera, but also a jacuzzi for a successful holiday in Santorini.
Best hotels to stay in Oia:
- Aethrio Sunset Village – Oia: studios and apartments for 2 and 3 people, comfortable and well equipped, perfect for a stay as a couple, with family or with friends.
- Caldera Premium Villas: have breakfast with a view of the sea, stay in a typical Cycladic style room, enjoy an outdoor swimming pool!
Other places to stay on the island (generally cheaper and quieter than in Fira or Oia):
- Symphony Suites Santorini: suites with balcony and outdoor jacuzzi in a perfect setting!
- Apanemo Hotel & Suites: 5 minutes from the archaeological site of Akrotiri, this hotel is a very nice place to stay in Santorini outside of Fira and Oia.
4. Nice places where to eat in Santorini Island
Here are some good addresses to discover during a trip to Santorini. Reminder: book in advance for a table with a view (sometimes even 2 weeks in advance).
Good places where to eat in Fira:
- Argo Restaurant : discover Greek cuisine in a very friendly and welcoming setting, with a lovely view of the north of the island and the village of Oia.
- Ifestioni Restaurant : a very nice restaurant with a terrace. Perfect for a romantic meal in Fira.
- Kaliya Reimagined Food & Drinks : a very nice place and a good place to eat in Santorini.
Good places where to eat in Oia:
- Lauda Restaurant : gourmet restaurant, exceptional card, incredible view = a very nice evening in perspective! If you are going to visit Santorini as a couple, this is a very nice address.
- Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna : a tavern, what better way to taste good Greek cuisine and fresh seafood? This tavern is a little bit away from the tourist center of Oia.
Other good places to eat on the island of Santorini:
- Aroma Avlis : an elegant and refined restaurant with a pretty tree-lined terrace, good service and delicious cuisine.
- To Psaraki : very good place to eat fresh seafood in Santorini! There is a small port just in front of the restaurant.
5. Itineraries for visiting Santorini in 3, 4 or 5 days
Here are some ideas of things to do in Santorini during a 3, 4 or 5 day trip.
How to visit Santorini in 3 days?
- Visiting Fira: get lost in its alleys, stroll through the city
- Walking from Fira to Oia (about 3 hours, preferably in the morning)
- Visiting the village of Oia
- Discoving Amoudi Bay (near Oia)
- Going to the Greek Wedding Show in Fira (book here)
- Enjoying the crystal clear water of Santorini: take a cruise with lunch included or go to a beach in Santorini (photos, availability and tickets for the cruise in Santorini)
- Taking a bathe in the hot springs of Paléa Kamini, or visit the island of Thirassia which is located opposite Fira and Oia
- Visiting the ancient city of Akrotiri
- Going to the Red Beach which is located near the Akrotiri site
What to do in Santorini in 4 days?
- Visiting the east side of the island of Santorini
- Going to Perissa Beach
What to do to visit Santorini in 5 days?
- Taking a tour in the vineyards of Santorini
- Visiting the archaeological site of Thera
6. What other Cycladic islands to visit besides Santorini?
Santorini is part of the Cyclades, the most famous Greek islands. Travelers who like to move a lot during their trip choose to visit several islands of the Cyclades during the same trip. This is indeed possible, as there are ferry connections between the islands. Some ferries are direct, others make other stops. Some ferries are also faster than others.
- Ios: 30-55 minutes by ferry from Santorini
- Paros: 1h40-3h by ferry from Santorini (a fairly central island in the Cyclades and therefore convenient to visit by ferry: Best things to do in Paros)
- Naxos: 1h10-2h by ferry from Santorini
- Milos: 2-3h ferry from Santorini (discover our blog post: Visit Milos)
- Mykonos: 2-3h ferry from Santorini (blog post: Tips for visiting Mykonos)
Mykonos, like Santorini, are the best known islands of the Cyclades. The other islands are less touristy. Not all ferries run daily. In winter, there are fewer connections. Check tickets in advance for the dates and times that interest you. Book in advance in high season.
Visiting Santorini Island is visiting one of the most beautiful islands of the Cyclades! It is possible to take a trip to Santorini for just a few days, and include it in a larger itinerary with other Greek islands. However, if ferry travel is not your favorite thing, it is best to fly directly to Santorini. It is also entirely possible. We wish you an excellent stay in Santorini!