The 7 Must-Visit Places in Santorini

The domes of 2 churches and a settlement on a high rock above the sea and in the background 2 small islands nearby.
© P. Merakos

You've probably already seen at least a few dozen photos of Santorini on your Instagram feed or elsewhere.

Santorini is one the most popular Greek summer destinations and Greece's most visited islands. More than 2 million tourists visit the beautiful island each year, which is a lot considering Santorini has a population of 15 thousand. As a result, Santorini relies on tourism for 90% of its income.

So how do all happy vacationers spend their time there?
And most importantly - where?

Here are the must-visit places to keep in mind when you visit the beautiful Greek island!

1. Thira

Thira is Santorini’s capital, located in the middle part of the west side of the island.

This is where you will find its picturesque whitewashed cubic houses, orthodox churches, and cobbled alleys.

In Thira, you will have the most options for dining and staying for the night(s). Between your swims at Vourvoulos, Monolithos, Vlychada, and Kamari beach in the morning and the busy nightlife in the evening, you can visit the town’s museums: Museum of Prehistoric Thira
Archaeological Museum of Thira and Megaro Gyzi Museum.

2. Oia

Oia, the most famous village of the island, is the top destination for its sublime sunsets. It’s home to The Castle of St Nicholas, a 600-year-old castle. This is where all the photos with the sunset and the iconic windmills as a backdrop come from!

If you are already in Thira and you are looking to go to Oia, the best idea is to do so on foot. It’s considered to be the most beautiful walk on the island, and it’s an easy one, too. With a distance of 10km (6 miles), it will take you 3 to 5 hours to reach Oia. The best time to do the hike is early in the morning or in the afternoon, to avoid the midday’s higher temperatures.

3. Profitis Ilias

Profitis (Prophet) Ilias is the highest point of the island with an altitude of 567 meters (1860 ft). From there you can enjoy the panoramic view of Santorini and the Aegean. And let us not forget about the majestic sunsets!

At the top of the mountain, there is the monastery of the Prophet Elias, a sanctuary from the 18th-century, which is open to the public.

4. Santorini Volcano (Nea Kameni)

Did you know that Santorini’s volcano is active? You don’t have to worry though, it’s not going to erupt anytime soon!

Nea Kameni is a small uninhabited Greek island right next to Santorini. This is where you can visit the volcanic crater with go for a swim in the hot springs at sea level.

5. Akrotiri Archaeological Site

Known as the Pompeii of the Aegean, Akrotiri Archeological Site is what used to be an ancient city that ceased to be due to a volcanic eruption that happened in the late 17th century B.C. This makes it very older than Pompeii.

The site has been perfectly preserved and it’s a window into the life of the people from very different times. It really is an unforgettable experience and also cheaper than most of your other options.

6. Red Beach

One of the most iconic beaches in the Mediterranean, Red Beach (Kokkini Beach) is surrounded by bright red lava cliffs. It’s a must-place destination for sightseeing, but not for relaxing, as it tends to get overcrowded, especially in the summer.

You can get to the Red Beach by car, by bus, on foot, or better yet, with a catamaran cruise (highly recommended).

7. Sail Around the Island

Sunsets are majestic from above but have you seen a sunset from the same level of the sun? Sailing around Santorini will give the chance to watch the sunset from the water level, and swim in the open, in one of the Mediterranean's clearest waters.

You will find many different cruise routes. Accordingly, you can take part in a 5-hour cruise to sail to the volcano, the hot springs, and Thirassia, or a longer 12-hour cruise with more stops and more time on every spot.

You will also find a big range of boat trips. Accordingly, you can choose to sail with a luxury yacht, a traditional sailing boat, and everything in between.

ODYSSEAS DIMITRIADIS | eliteestatesdiamond.com