Santorini consists of two inhabited islands and several islets. Most visitors spend their time on Thira (the largest island), which is home to Santorini’s major towns, including Fira and Oia. Sleepy Thirassia makes for a relaxing day trip too. And don’t count out the quieter islands: Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni are worth exploring.
In Santorini – the colorful beaches – the black and red sands make for a memorable visit. You can also indulge in the archaeological sight, Ancient Akrotiri or hike to Ancient Thera to see the ruins of three empires, including the Romans. From there, catch a breathtaking view of the caldera, a brilliant turquoise pool of water. To see all Santorini has to offer, you’ll need a few days to a week. You can also visit our Cyclades Travel Guide for information on all the best Cyclades Islands.
Santorini Weather (When to Visit)
The best time to visit Santorini is from September to October and April to May when the weather is warm and the crowds have thinned out. Like all of the Cyclades, Santorini welcomes the most visitors during the summer, so you’ll need to make your reservations months in advance if you plan on visiting anytime from June through August. If you’re looking for a bargain, try vacationing here in the winter, when room rates tend to plummet. Keep in mind that the average highs only reach the 50s and you’ll see plenty of precipitation. However, all that rain does make for a very flowery (and warm) spring season. Crowds will be at a low in the spring as well, though crowds will begin to build come May.
Best Santorini Beaches
Kamari Beach is one of the most famous and easily accessible beaches of Santorini. It’s upscale and touristy, and a great beach with awesome diving opportunities from the rock that overlooks the beach. You’ll find all sorts of beach bars, tavernas, restaurants and cafes.
Perissa is at the end of the long black sand beach of Perivolos. Crystal clear waters, black pebbles, amazing atmosphere, relaxing couches, lounge music and lots of sun-beds where you can relax for the whole day.
Perivolos beach is the extension of Perissa beach and it’s part of the famous long black beach of Santorini. It can be slightly more quiet and relaxing than Perissa Beach since it is a bit further away from the crowds of beach bars and restaurants of Perissa. You’ll find a beautiful wide black sand beach with crystal clear waters and lots of sun beds.
Red Beach is one of the most famous and unique beaches in Santorini. The volcanic lava red rocks, red pebbles and red sand that surround the crystal clear sea waters, create an amazing scenery that you cannot find anywhere in the world. However, it’s a very narrow beach and if you will be there in July or August expect it to be crowded.
Monolithos Beach is a very kids and family-friendly beach with sunbeds and umbrellas. The sand at Monolithos beach is possibly the best on the island and it is pretty similar to what you find in Kamari. There is plenty of water sports and kite surfing at this beach.
Recommended Santorini Tours & Activities by Viator
SemiPrivate Standard|Santorini Catamaran Cruise with Greek Buffet and Drinks
Experience the coastline of Santorini from the water during this 5-hour catamaran cruise. Choose between daytime and sunset bookings, both allow you to travel with an intimate group of 20 or fewer fellow passengers. Snorkel equipment is available for stops along the route, and you’ll dine on snacks, drinks, and a full barbecue meal. Learn more about the Santorini Catamaran Cruise.
Santorini Caldera Cruise Including Full Greek Meal and Drinks
Experience Santorini’s beauty, hot springs and beaches on a catamaran cruise. Select a daytime or sunset cruise, and sail around the island and caldera (flooded volcanic crater) on a deluxe catamaran. Stop to bathe in the Nea Kameni springs; swim, snorkel or unwind at beaches; and enjoy unlimited Santorini wine and Greek beer, plus a Greek meal prepared on board. On the evening cruise, be treated to awe-inspiring sunset views. A cruise is essential when you visit Santorini, and with numbers limited to 18, this offers a small-group experience. Learn more about the Santorini Caldera Cruise.
Private Classic Santorini Panorama: Visit the Most Popular Destinations of Santorini!
Explore Santorini’s most iconic landmarks on this 6-hour private trip. Visit the island’s highest peak, the Red and Black beaches, small villages and family farms, the Akrotiri Lighthouse, and the famous village of Oia. For the afternoon departure, spend the day soaking up the atmosphere of the island, tasting local wine and hand-made products, and admiring the views of the Aegean Sea before ending the tour with a beautiful sunset in the village of Oia. Learn more about the Private Classic Santorini Panorama Tour.
Santorini Sailing Dream Catcher with BBQ Lunch and Drinks
Spend the morning swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing around Santorini on this 5-hour cruise. Along the way, see landmarks such as Indian Head Mountain and the Old Venetian Lighthouse; visit the Red and White Beaches; and take a dip in the Hot Springs. Tour includes hotel pickup and a delicious BBQ lunch on-board. Learn more about the Santorini Sailing Dream Catcher.
Private Custom Tour: Santorini in a Day
Explore beautiful Santorini the way you wish on this half-day private tour. Traveling by comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle, make the most of the custom itinerary and let your guide know what you want to see and do. Perhaps visit highlights such as the village of Oia, famous for its stupendous sunsets; the Minoan ruins at Akrotiri, a traditional winery, or simply relax on a black sand beach. Ask your guide for insider tips on off-the-beaten-track gems, and upgrade to an 8-hour tour to explore the island fully. Learn more about the Private Custom Santorini Tour.
Best Santorini Restaurants
Metaxi Mas $11 – 30
Metaxi Mas is a Cretan restaurant hailed by many as the best restaurant in Santorini. The restaurant offers a focused menu of Cretan and Santorinian dishes like fava, roasted white eggplant, and boneless pork chops. Reservations are advised. Telephone: 30 22860 31323 Web: Metaxi Mas
Tavern Tzanakis Under $10
Tzanakis is a family-run Greek restaurant serving classic Santorini staples like fava, ntomatokeftedes (cherry tomato fritters), and grilled white eggplant. Tzanakis offers simple but delicious home-cooked Greek food. Telephone: 30 2286 081929 Web: Tavern Tzanakis
Geromanolis Under $10
Geromanolis is another traditional restaurant serving simple but delicious Greek food. Popular with locals, it’s tucked away deep inside Megalochori and offers an extensive menu of seafood. Telephone: 30 2286 082892 Web: Geromanolis
Lucky’s Souvlakis Under $10
Lucky’s Souvlakis is a popular place so be prepared to stand while eating. It isn’t very big either, consisting of a bar and just a couple of tables. If you want a proper souvlaki or gyro, then you need to go to a place like this and not some sit-down restaurant. Telephone: 30 2286 022003 Web: Lucky’s Souvlakis
pitoGyros Traditional Grill House
They are proud of there pita gyros, souvlaki, kebab and handmade sausages. For a reason! You can also taste a variety of meats roasted on charcoal. Draught cold beer, wine, local beverage etc. Menu also for vegeterians. Telephone: 30 22860 71119 Web: pitoGyros Traditional Grill House
Best Santorini Beach Bars
Tranquilo Beach Bar
Tranquilo is a great chill out bar right on the beach. Sunbeds are on one side and the bar is just across the street. Tranquilo is famous for its cocktails. Their mojito to be the best one on the island…by far. Telephone: 30 2286 085230 Web: Tranquilo Beach Bar
JOJO Beach Bar
JOJO is one of the most famous beach bars in Santorini, especially known for the parties they host so be sure to check what is on when you visit. With a beautiful relaxed setting, you can choose the sunbeds on the beach or the pool area across the street. Loud tunes, big swimming pool, big crowds. Telephone: 30 694 244 4564 Web: JOJO Beach Bar
Wet Stories Beach Bar
This is another one of the famous beach bars in Santorini. There are lounge chairs, sunbeds and giant bean bags you can choose from to chill out on the beach. You can also play beach volley or you can go to the bar across the streets if you want to party. Telephone: 30 2286 082990 Web: Wet Stories Beach Bar
Chilli Beach Bar
Chilli is right next to Wave Sports, so you could go for a drink after your jet ski ride. You will discover a very interesting cocktail list. It will surely intrigue you. Try their own “Hot Chilli” cocktail. Telephone: 30 2286 082790 Web: Chilli Beach Bar
SeaSide Santorini Beach Bar
Seaside Santorini is a restaurant, but it has a super romantic setting for you to enjoy and they make amazing cocktails. They update their cocktail list every year, but for sure you can find something you like on there. Enjoy a huge lounge chair by the sea. Perfect place if you want to start off your night with something quiet. Telephone: 30 2286 082801 Web: SeaSide Santorini Beach Bar