Planning to visit the iconic Greek Island of Santorini? From cliff-jumping to quad biking, sunset wine tours to hot springs, here are 10 unique things to do in Santorini in 2023!
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An island with more churches than houses, more donkeys than people, and more wine than water (or so a sign on the bathroom door told me)… Santorini Island really is a place like no either.
You may know it as the place where hundreds of white-washed buildings are gathered together on a striking volcanic cliff, surrounded by a glimmering azure backdrop. There is no denying that Santorini is an epic sight to behold.
However, there is a lot more to this picture-perfect Greek Island is more than just scenic views. There are so many cool things to do in Santorini that many people visiting don’t know about!
10 Unique Things to do in Santorini
1. Jump off a Boat into Santorini’s Hot Springs
A hot springs + volcano boat ride is easily one of the most unique things to do in Santorini! Departing from Old Fira port, a traditional wooden yacht takes you to a spot where you can dive off the boat and swim into natural hot springs!
The tour also takes you to the volcanic island of Nea Kameni, where you get the opportunity to hike around the rim of an active volcano. There is even an option to finish the tour with the iconic sunset at stunning Oia!
2. Sip on Wine at Sunset
Santorini is home to many fantastic wineries, so make sure you don’t leave the island without sampling the island’s finest grapes! For the full experience, I’d highly recommend taking a sunset wine tour.
On the tour, you will be taken to 3 traditional wineries to taste over 12 wines. On the final stop, you’ll get to sip your wine whilst watching Santorini’s famous sunset.
3. Go Cliff Jumping in Santorini at Amoudi Bay
Does jumping into crystal clear Mediterranean waters surrounded by the striking cliff faces of Santorini sound like your cup of tea? Well, then you HAVE TO check out this incredible swimming spot at Amoudi Bay.
It was honestly one of the best things I did during my stay in Santorini. You can swim straight off the rocks, or if you are game, climb up the stairs of the massive boulder in the water and do your best dive in!
TO GET HERE: From Oia, look for the big set of stairs that go down to Amoudi Bay. Once you reach Amoudi Bay, walk left along the cliff face. Keep walking over the rocks and eventually, you’ll spot paradise.
4. Go on a Sunset Catamaran Cruise
If you want to avoid the crowds of Oia but still get to witness a stunning Santorini sunset, might I suggest doing so from a boat? This 5-hour cruise on board a catamaran will allow you to see Santorini from a whole new angle!
The cruise includes stops at Red Beach and White Beach where you can swim and snorkel next to beautiful Red Beach and White Beach. You also get a barbecue supper with unlimited wine and soft drinks!
5. Hike the Fira Trail
If you want a chance to up your Instagram game with some of the BEST photo opportunities Santorini has to offer, this hike is a must. The hike goes from Fira to Oia and is about three hours long (if you take it at a leisurely pace).
I recommend doing the hike at sunset, as it won’t be as hot at this time of day, AND you’ll get the most beautiful photos at this time of day!
6. Stay in a Santorini Cave house
While you are working your way through this list of unique things to do in Santorini, you should be staying somewhere equally as unique! For a unique stay, I would highly recommend Caveland, which is the lovely hostel I stayed at in Santorini.
The hostel itself feels wonderfully Grecian. Think traditional, white-washed cave-style buildings featuring bright blue doors framed by fuchsia flowers. Complete with a pool, super friendly and helpful staff, and morning yoga classes, it is pretty incredible as far as hostels go.
It is also a total bargain for Santorini standards- you can check prices and availability here. Scroll down to the bottom of this article to see more of my accommodation recommendations!
7. Have ultimate gastronomic experience in Santorini
If you are a foodie and want an unforgettable gastronomic experience in Santorini, then this one is for you. Take part in the sunset food and drink tour, which includes a taste of some of Santorini’s most iconic dishes and drinks.
PS. If you want to try your hand at making some delicious Greek food at home, check out my recipe for the iconic Greek dish of yemista (vegetarian stuffed peppers)!
8. Hire a quad bike and drive around Santorini Island
What better way to explore this beautiful island than cruising down the roads with the wind in your hair!? Hiring a quad bike (or ATV) for the day is surprisingly cheap and only requires a standard license. It’s a great way to discover areas that aren’t accessible by bus.
If you are nervous about driving on the busier roads, head towards the black sand beaches of Kamari and Perissa. It’s a super easy drive with virtually no traffic. Just you and the open road baby!
Alternatively, if you don’t have a driver license, you could rent an e-bike instead.
9. Have Dinner with a View
It’s not every day you have the option of dining with arguably one of the best views in the world. Even if you’re on a budget, choose at least one night to splurge a little at one of the many restaurants overlooking the ocean.
Time your reservation for sunset and prepare to have your mind (and hopefully tastebuds) blown. Here are some Santorini restaurants that offer fabulous views:
- Naoussa, Fira
- Elinikon, Oia
- Ambrosia, Oia
- Ammoudi Fish Tavern, Ammoudi
10. Sunbake on Santorini’s black sand beaches
For a unique, and to be honest, slightly painful experience, head to the black sand beaches of Kamari and Perissa. Within seconds of stepping onto that hot sand in summer, your feet will fry and you’ll turn three shades darker. But hey, that’s all part of the fun- right?
Luckily you can rent out a sun lounge and an umbrella to avoid these things. After a dip in the water, you can always retire to one of the many restaurants lining the beach for a well-deserved drink.
11. Get the best spot to watch the sunset in Santorini
There aren’t many crowds that erupt in a round of applause once the sun makes its final descent beneath the ocean. Watching the sun set over Oia is one of those pinch-yourself kinds of moments that you are going to remember for the rest of your life.
The downside to this spectacle is that it gets insanely crowded. To make watching the sunset the BEST experience possible, arrive at the very least an hour before sunset to secure yourself a good seat from the viewing platform.
Where to stay on Santorini Island?
Budget Accommodation in Santorini $
Caveland (Karterados)– a hostel with stunning cave rooms, a pool and outdoor area, free wifi and breakfast included. Check prices & availability here.
Mid-range Accommodation in Santorini $$
Aegeeis (Perissa)- Beautifully decorated, affordable accommodation featuring a gorgeous outdoor area with a pool, a bar, a shared lounge and a garden. Check prices and availability here.
High-end Accommodation in Santorini $$$
Kirini Suites and Spa (Oia)- five-star luxury experience in the iconic town of Oia, incredible suites with private plunge pools, outstanding service. Check prices and availability here.
How do you get to Santorini?
There are two main ways you can arrive in Santorini- by boat or by plane. If you fly into Athens, you can catch the Blue Star ferry to Santorini, which will take eight hours and cost from €38. There are also high-speed boats that will take only 4-5 hours but cost you more.
Flying into Santorini can actually be cheaper than the ferry, especially with the rise of budget airlines like Ryanair. One of the easiest ways to find cheap flights to Santorini is through comparing flights on Kayak.
Do you need travel insurance for Santorini?
I highly recommend getting travel insurance before ANY international trip. World Nomad’s offer the most flexible worldwide cover that I have come across, and you can purchase a policy online, even if your trip has already commenced. If you’re not traveling with tech gear, you may also want to check out SafetyWings, which is a bit more affordable.