Planning a trip to Santorini can be a little overwhelming. Your parents have probably been or dreamed of going; your neighbour still talks about her all-inclusive package holiday there; and most of your friends are obsessed with the place after watching teen flick Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants back in 2005, when Lena bagged that hottie Kostas.
It’s one of those ridiculously beautiful destinations that appeals to just about everybody. But on top of all its tourist brochure good looks, there are actually some pretty cool things to do in Santorini if you know where to find them…
Get up high for a unique view of Santorini
The sleepy village of Pyrgos is officially the highest point in Santorini and is home to the island’s best rooftop bar: Franco’s Café-Bar. Enjoy a cocktail, coffee or snack and take in the breathtaking view of Santorini, away from all the hustle and bustle.
Hire quad bikes for cheap and explore the island’s secret spots
There are so many things to do in Santorini, you won’t want to stay put in one place: At one end of the island you have beaches like Perissa and Kamari, where many of the hostels are located, and then in the centre is the main city Fira aka Thira, followed by Oia at the other end, and loads to do in between. But although the island isn’t massive, but it can still be a pain to get to places if you’re just relying on buses. Quad bikes are the answer to your logistical prayers, and will get you around the island and to remote locations for around 20 Euros per day if you’re sharing – including petrol! So grab a hostel buddy or two and hit the roads.
Drive yourself to see the sunset
There are many ‘view spots’ to watch the sunsets on the island, but if you’ve hired a quad I recommend you drive along the main road just before the sun sets and find a quiet spot to pull over. It beats hanging around in crowds in the heat and you can find some of the most magical views.
Have a beach day on the Red Beach
Do it like the Greeks and walk past the signs that read “Danger falling rocks”. The Red Beach near the village of Akrotiri is hands down one of the most naturally beautiful beaches I have ever stumbled across. The contrast in colours and shape of the beach make for a perfect Insta shot and the water is just beautiful. If you only go to one beach in Santorini, make sure it’s this one.
Explore the white backstreets of Fira
Fira aka Thira is the capital of Santorini, and a great place to wander the streets people watching or do a spot of shopping. If you wander away from the bustling main shopping street down any of the side streets you’ll soon find yourself in a dream world surrounded by pristine white streets which you’ll have all to yourself.
Cocktails and chill at Perissa Beach
This was one of my favourite beaches in Santorini. It was not too busy late July when I was there, and there are numerous restaurants along the beach that offer different seating and laying options for you to get comfy. It’s the perfect spot for a chilled out beach day with excellent cocktails.
Eat at Santorini’s best veggie restaurant
Reflecting on the food that I ate here makes me drool. Tranquilo on Perissa Beach is hands down the best vegetarian restaurant in Santorini and they have loads of vegan options too. I found some of the freshest produce I have tasted in salads, and one portion could feed an entire family.
Slow down and enjoy the view
There are so many things to do in Santorini, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to pack too much in. But even if you’re just there for the weekend, it’s important to take some time to just sit back and appreciate the amazing scenery it has to offer. This really is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece, and an image you will want to remember forever. You’ll find stunning viewing points all over the island, the picture above was taken just as you are entering Oia.
Visit the Hot Springs and have a Mud Bath
Head down to the old port in Fira via cable car and book yourself a quick trip to the hot springs. Here you will jump off a boat and swim into the hot springs where you can dig up the mud and naturally rejuvenate your body with it. Quick tip: wear old swimmers and take off your jewellery!
See the sunset from the stairs of Oia
…Because you cannot go to Santorini and miss the sunset from the stairs of Oia. Get there early with some mates to bag a good spot. Grab some beers and snacks to have while you wait and remind yourself that you are checking off a big universal bucket list item. It may take a while but it will be worth the wait.
Where to stay in Santorini?
Santorini is one of the most gorgeous places on the planet, but a trip here doesn’t have to be silly expensive. One of the best places to stay in Santorini is Caveland (pictured), the most luxurious cave you’ll ever sleep in – featuring a massive pool and terrace, sea views, free wifi and a friendly resident pooch. Check out all our hostels in Santorini and start planning your trip.
About The Author
Alex Jones is a globe-trotting Sydney native currently exploring the wonders of Greece. Follow her adventures @a_lexandrajones
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Got a hot tip for things to do in Santorini? Or just want to tell us how amazing your trip there was? Tell us in the comments below, or tag us @hostelworld on Instagram with your pics! ??