The stunning white cave homes perched on a volcanic Mediterranean isle make Santorini one of the most sought after destinations in the world. While the island has no doubt gotten more touristy over the years, it is still well worth the visit. Between the Cycladic architecture and the experiences unique to any other destination in the world, you will most definitely wish that you had more time to spend here! I’m sharing my favorite picks for the Santorini bucket list experience.
Things to do in Santorini
You don’t have to look far to find fun things to do in Santorini. In fact, narrowing down your Santorini bucket list will be a difficult feat if you only have a few days to spend here. These are my personal picks for things to do in Santorini:
Hike to a Cycladic Church
I couldn’t get over the stunning views from almost anywhere on the island, and hiking was my favorite way to soak them in. Here is the full hike from Fira to Oia. If you don’t have a full day for this hike, you can take a taxi to a midpoint and just hike part of the way! Don’t miss the stunning views at Panagia and Profitis Ilias Church along the way.
Find the Black and Red Sand Beaches
I found Paradisos Black Beach to be more secluded and was very peaceful for being such a short walk from Oia. It blows my mind that just on the other side of the island the coastline completely changes color. Kokkini Paralia (Red Beach) is at the top of my list for my next visit.
Sail the Aegean Sea
Although I didn’t get to experience this, it is at the top of my bucket list when I return! I will definitely be checking out a locally owned company like Sail Away Santorini when I do.
Where to Eat in Santorini
When I dream of greek food, one restaurant immediately comes to mind. Lefkes is now renowned as the best restaurant in Santorini, and I wholeheartedly agree. However, aside from a visit to Lefkes, on my next visit to Santorini, I will leave my meal planning open for discovery in the alleys and towns that I explore. Instead, I prefer to make a mini bucket list of food to sample.
- Greek Yogurt
- Tyropita Strifti (3 cheese spiral)
- Any Fresh Seafood!
Read Next: 6 Things to do Before Going to Greece
Where to Stay in Santorini
Finikia is my resounding recommendation for where to stay in Santorini! Santorini is the east mouth of a large volcano. Much of the west coast of the island is a steep cliff that drops into the sea while the east coast slopes gently down to meet the ocean. Oia is the Instagram famous town featuring the iconic windmills, luxury pools, and famous blue domes. As such, it is the most crowded part of the island and with almost no locals in residence. I enjoyed staying in Finikia because it was just a short walk from Oia where I spent the majority of my time, and it was much less crowded. Check out my full post on staying in Finikia for more detail.
I would absolutely plan my next visit around the availability of this Finikia Cycladic Home. If hot-tubbing in a Cycladic home is also on your Santorini bucket list, this Airbnb is a must-stay. Best of all, it is locally owned and operated, which was very important to me in such a commercialized part of the island.
Before You Visit Santorini
In order to be a responsible and respectful visitor, there are a few basics to consider before your visit. It is unsurprising that climbing on historic Cycladic structures is banned in most areas of the island. Sadly, I saw too many people climbing on rooftops just to get “the shot.” Even if you have seen pictures or guides to sites that are now restricted, it is not okay to disrespect the local’s land. And a friendly reminder that just because you see other tourists do it, it doesn’t make it okay.
Lately, I also added praying for the destination to my pre-trip routine. Here are four easy prayers for travel to help get you started. I’ve found that praying before my visit makes me a more mindful traveler and gives me a greater appreciation for the experience.
That sums up my Santorini bucket list. If any of these have inspired your trip or if you have any questions, I’d love to know in the comments below!