Santorini: a Must See Island in Greece

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Advisor - Carol Johnston
Curated By

Carol Johnston

  • Couples Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Luxury Travel

  • Wellness Travel

  • Santorini

  • Romantic

  • Sightseeing

  • Outdoors

city of Santorini view
Curator’s statement

Santorini is a must-see for any visit to Greece, whether island-hopping or focusing on the mainland. Visiting Santorini in late September, early October is a great way to enjoy everything this island has to offer with fewer crowds. I recommend a minimum of four nights here to be able to enjoy the many interests this island has to offer. A popular stop for many cruisers, the island's crowds ebb and flow as the day progresses.

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Day 1: Take the Ferry from Athens to Santorini

daytime view from Hotel Santorini

I recommend arriving by the slow ferry from Athens (Pireaus). Advantages of the Blue Star ferry include the ability to get a private room (which also allows access to the business class lounge), less likely to be delayed or canceled and less likely to get sea sick. Perhaps I just love being on boats (ferries included). Regardless of how you arrive, you will likely want to use day one to get checked in to your room and enjoy relaxing by the pool or in your private hot tub overlooking spectacular views! Staying in Oia allows you to find that perfect spot to see the sunset and then enjoy a wonderful dinner. Melitini is recommended for a delicious, casual local meal.

Day 2: Visit Akrotiri

archeological site in Santorini

Today begins with a scenic drive to another side of the island and a guided visit to Akrotiri. While some believe that the lost city of Atlantis met its demise in the volcanic explosion that created the caldera of Santorini. Whether or not this is true, the ruins of Akrotiri show the remains of a vibrant community. Your guide will help bring this community back to life as you look at the uncovered ruins, view drawings showing how it might have looked in the past and hear the stories that the archeologists have pieced together. Before returning to Oia, enjoy a stop at a winery (or two). Learn about the grapes that grow in this rugged terrain and the methods of training the vines into "baskets" to withstand the harsh winds. And, of course, to taste some local varieties, such as Assyrtiko and Mavrotragano. Recommendation for dinner back in Oia at Roka--it is a bit hard to find, but well worth the journey.

Day 3: Hike the Caldera from Fira to Oia

Beachside sunset view in Santorini

Today is the day for an early start! Grab a cab (recommend to prearrange the night before) from your hotel to Fira and begin the Caldera (Fira to Oia) hike at sunrise. If you are lucky, there will be a fit of fog still present in Fira, creating a beautiful, misty view of the sea as you begin the trail. The first part passes through the outskirts of Fira and through the smaller towns of Firostefani and Imerovigli. The trail then becomes more of a path, but continues to offer gorgeous views in all directions. One might even forget the sometimes steep ups/downs. The early start will allow you to be back at your hotel in time for a wonderful breakfast. The remainder of the day can be spent exploring the village of Oia. Dinner recommendation for tonight is at the Hotel Perivolas (available to their guests).

Day 4: Book a Catamaran Trip

hotel view sunset cruise Santorini

A catamaran trip is a must for visiting Santorini. Many choose the sunset cruise, but for the shoulder season, the daytime cruise offers a great opportunity to enjoy a swim in the sea, with three swim stops along with a great lunch and local wines/beers included. A small group option is available for a very relaxing tour with lots of room to enjoy the views in or out of the sun.

All good things must come to an end. Hopefully, your travels in Greece have just begun!

Additional Days

Kamari beach in Santorini

If you are able to add more days, you might consider a day at Kamari Beach (a local favorite), exploring the former capital city of Pyrgos, or the current capital, Fira.

Advisor - Carol Johnston

Travel Advisor

Carol Johnston

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on Travel to Santorini. For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Angela Hope's guide, The Ultimate Santorini Travel Guide.