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What To Do In Santorini In One Day – The Best Things In Santorini, Greece

The beautiful little Greek island of Santorini is known for its white, cubist houses of Fira and Oia, and its massive cliffs above an underwater caldera. The southern half of the island has long stretches of beaches made up of black, red and white lava.

While Santorini is not a very large island, it will still take a bunch of time go from place to place by foot. The cheapest transportation option will be to take a bus, like we did, but some people rather renting a car or a bike as it gives you more freedom to go places.

What is the best time to visit Santorini?

The best time to visit Santorini depends on what are your preferences.  If you want to enjoy the weather, go for a swim and avoid crowds it is best to visit Santorini in the Fall or Spring. But, if you want to save money on accommodations and tours the best time to visit Santorini will be during the Winter. I will try to avoid visiting Santorini during the months of July and August because are the months where more people visit and the place is crowded and more expensive.

Read More: Tips for the top 10 best photos in Santorini, Greece

How to get to Santorini?

  • Airplane: The quickest way to get to Santorini is by plane. Tickets vary but on low season you can find a ticket from Athens for less than 50 Euros.
  • Ferry: You can take a morning ferry from Athens to Santorini. Most ferries to Santorini leave from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM from the Piraeus ferry port. Tickets can be picked up at the kiosks near the ferries.

Map of the best things to do in Santorini:

What to do in Santorini in 24 Hours?

If you are short on time or came on a cruise in this guide we will share some tips to get as much out of your day exploring the island of Santorini. Even though Santorini is quite an small island, there is so many things to do and see in Santorini from swimming at a black lava sand beach to take the iconic photos with the blue domes.

We took a ferry from Mykonos to Santorini for the day. We arrived in the new port (Athinios). From the port we took a bus that cost us €2/person for one way ticket to Fira.

The best things to do in Fira

As we mentioned before we started our journey in Fira and it is more likely that you do to as it is the main town in Santorini. Fira does not have many things to do but it is still beautiful and worth visiting. Do not spend too much time in Fira as the best things are located in Oia.

1. Visit the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral

Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, santorini, Greece

Our first stop in Fira is the Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, just across the street from the bus station. This vast church has beautiful architecture.

In Fira we walked around the center of the city. It is a beautiful small area with only white houses and a great view of the caldera and the crater. You can also buy your souvenirs in Fira. The cheapest place to buy your souvenir is around the bus station.

We ate at an amazing gyro place named Obelix. They have great prices, amazing staff and delicious food. We were only in Fira for several hours and ended up eating there 3 times, it was that good!

Old Port

If you go down 580 steps you get down to the old port where you can hire a donkey to get back up or down. We personally did not do it because we did not feel comfortable riding the donkey, who has been standing in the hot sun all day. If you do not feel like walking, there is also a cable car you can take up and down.

Hike from Fira to Oia (If you have extra time)

The hike from Fira to Oia is highly recommended. The three hour hike takes you between the city with many breathtaking views and several small villages. We would recommend doing this hike during the morning, before the sun gets too strong. You can hike from Fira to Oia in the morning, and enjoy the day in Oia. There you can also enjoy the sunset before taking a bus back to Fira, if you are sleeping there. We could not do it because of the time we had left in the island, instead we took a bus for €1.80 from Fira to Oia.

Read More: Travel Guide to Mykonos

The best things to do in Oia

Oia is the famous small village built into the side of the red cliff that you always see with the blue church domes. On the way there you can stop in Imerovigli, a small village where you will also find two large blue dome churches.

Read More: Tips for the top 10 best photos in Santorini, Greece

The best thing to do in Oia is to walk around and enjoy the views of the volcano, ocean, white-washed buildings, and the blue domed churches. Yet, there are several places that you must visit in Oia like the ones bellow:

1. Take a photo at the Caldera Square and Church Of Panagia Of Platsani

Church Of Panagia Of Platsani

Once we arrived in Oia we went straight to the city center, a 5 minute walk from the bus station. There we started seeing the traditional white buildings. The first stop is going to be the Caldera Square with a big Greek Orthodox Church Of Panagia Of Platsani with its classic blue dome.

2. The Iconic Santorini Postcard Photo

Oia, Santorini, Greece

From Caldera Square you turn right and walk down Nikolaou Nomikou Street. You will see a blue dome (another church) you need to turn left onto Lenas Alafouzou Street, walk down some rocky stairs and then boom the great view. At first you will have no idea where you are going but trust me you will get the postcard photo of the 3 blue domes. It is better to do it early morning or after sunset, when there are fewer people in the area.

3. Visit the Oia Windmill

Oia Windmill, Santorini, Greece

Before sunset go up the stairs towards the left to the beautiful Oia windmill. There are also many beautiful private houses in this area, making it worth wandering around the narrow roadways.

Read More: Scuba Diving off Mykonos

4. Watch Sunset at the Byzantine Castle Ruins

Sunset, Santorini, Greece

Then just walk around the small streets, enjoying the houses until you see the Byzantine Castle Ruins. From here you will get the best sunset and the best view of the Caldera and the village itself. Your view will be on the right with all the blue church domes and on the left you will see the white windmills and beautiful waters. Watching the sunset from Oia is something it should be in everyones bucket list.

Read More: The Complete Travel Guide to Athens

5. Visit the Prehistoric town of Akotiri

Akotiri is in the south of the Island and here is where all the museums and the Akrotiri Archaeological Site is located.

The ancient settlement of Akrotiri was destroyed when Santorini’s volcano erupted. But, the layers of volcanic ash preserved the city. Tickets to the archaeological site are 12 euros and 14 euros if you want to visit any of the museums on the island. You should not spend more than an hour in the archaeological site as it is pretty small.

How to get to Akotiri from Fira: Take the bus going to Akrotiri.

Read More: What to do outside Athens

6. Swim at the Beach

If you have some extra time make sure to visit at least one of the beaches in Santorini as they are unique due to the volcanic ash.

Red Sand Beaches: You can reach the Red Sand Beach from the town of Akrotiri.

Black Sand Beaches: The best beaches, known for their black volcanic sands are in the South West of the Island and they are Perivolos, Perissa and Kamari. You can take a bus to this beaches as well.

Important note: If you are getting a late night flight and it is after midnight, make sure you select the correct date. We had a flight with Rynair and we showed up nearly 24 hours after our flight actually left, along with a dozen other people.

More articles from Greece that might interest you:

Read More: Scuba Diving off Mykonos

Read More: The Complete Travel Guide to Athens

Read More: What to do outside Athens

Read More: Tips for the top 10 best photos in Santorini

Read More: Travel Guide to Mykonos

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