On holiday to Santorini? Not sure where to start? Do not worry! Here is a beautiful top 10 with must-sees in Santorini for you. Santorini is full of breathtaking sights. Think vistas from high cliffs and whitewashed churches topped with clear blue domes. Also, the archaeological treasures from a lost civilization are just some of the reasons why the Greek island of Santorini is so popular. Officially called Thira, sunny Santorini is the largest and arguably the prettiest of the Cyclades Islands Group† The archipelago located in the southeast of the mainland of Greece in the blue Aegean Sea.
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Santorini marks the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. The explosion created an archipelago from a single island, leaving behind the geological feature that draws visitors to Santorini: a giant sea-filled caldera. Besides enjoying awe-inspiring views of the semi-submerged volcanic crater, there are other things to do in Santorini. It's fun to explore the ruins buried by the ancient eruption on your own. Santorini is also famous for its dry white wines, picturesque beaches and vibrant nightlife. Santorini is a popular destination for visitors who just want to relax and unwind.
Top 10 must-sees in Santorini
Do you want to be helped on your way to find the most beautiful places? Then here is a top 10 with must-sees in Santorini for you!
Ancient Thera sits on high cliffs that jut out into the sea between the beaches of Kamari and Perissa. Thera has many ancient ruins excavated in the early 20th century. The ancient tombs, monuments and remains of houses, churches and fortifications represent a wide range of post-Minoan periods. Notable features of this Santorini must-see include Roman baths, 4th-century Hellenistic structures, and a sanctuary to Apollo. Visitors can walk to the site independently from the beaches below. The ruins can also be reached by tour bus, taxi or private car.
2. Therasia (Thirassia)
The island of Therasia is an ideal destination for visitors who want to enjoy the sunny ambiance of Santorini. Just relax without the crowds. The largest of the five small villages, also called Therasia, has only about 150 inhabitants. It is reached on the caldera side by a long staircase up the cliff.
The smaller island has the same picturesque architecture as Santorini, and the people share the same traditions and customs. Whether for a day trip or a weekend getaway, Therasia offers visitors an authentic Greek island experience.
The city of Pyrgos was once the capital of Santorini. Pyrchos sits atop a hill that offers stunning views over the island from every direction. The remains of a Venetian castle lie on top of the hill. Within the castle walls is a church believed to have been built in the 10th century.
Pyrgos is relatively unspoilt by tourism. It features some of the finest examples of medieval architecture on the island. The village is surrounded by wineries, many of which are guided tours and
4. Excavations of Akrotiri
Akrotiri is also known as the “Minoan Pompeii”. This is because the thriving city was destroyed and preserved around 1500 BC by a volcanic eruption. The city was not discovered until the 1860s. Workers collecting soil and stones for the construction of the Suez Canal discovered the ruined city.
Akrotiri, an outpost of Crete, was inhabited by Minoans as early as 3000 BC. The beautiful city reached its peak after 2000 BC, when it developed trade and agriculture and established the current city. Some of the buildings are three stories high with stone steps and shops selling large ceramic pots and pottery. Recently reopened to the public, Akrotiri offers visitors a unique glimpse of what life was like in Santorini during the Bronze Age. Because Akrotiri breathes history, it cannot be left out in this top 10 of must-sees in Santorini.
5. Perissa Beach
Perissa Beach is almost a mirror image of Kamari Beach, which sits on the north side of the rocky headland that separates the two stretches of black sand. There are fewer restaurants, bars and clubs here, so Perissa is a little less crowded. The sand is also finer in grain, making it the preferred choice for long beach walks. Water taxis are available that make it easy for travelers to visit both beaches. A diving center in the village of Perissa offers snorkelling and diving trips.
Also read: Lefkada, paradise beaches in Greece
6. Nea Kamenic
The great eruption of the Santorini volcano occurred nearly 3700 years ago and blew the top of the original island. Seawater poured into the caldera, forming a huge lagoon so deep that all but the largest cruise ships can anchor in the harbor. There are two small volcanic islands in the center of the caldera, Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni (New & Old Kameni).
Nea Kameni is a barren island, which is visited daily by dozens of tourist boats throughout the summer. Visitors climb a gravel path to reach the top of the 130-meter-high volcanic crater. It is possible to complete a full circuit of the rim.
7. Museum of Prehistoric Thera
Located in the capital Fira, the Museum of Prehistoric Thera is one of Santorini's main cultural attractions. Opened in 2000, the museum features treasures unearthed from the Akrotiri excavation. The museum has an extensive collection of colorful frescoes. An image of women picking saffron from crocus flowers provides insight into the daily life of the island's early inhabitants.
8. Kamari Beach
The largest beach in Santorini and the most popular is Kamari beach. This absolute must-see in Santorini is located on the coast of the village of the same name. The town and beach take their name from the small arch or “kamara” sandwiched between the cliffs on the south side of the beach. They are the remains of a sanctuary dedicated to Poseidon. Notable for its black sand and pebble beach, Kamari is the most developed beach on the island. The beach is dotted with hotels, bars and nightclubs. Besides sunbathing and people watching, snorkeling and diving are popular activities.
Fira, the must see capital of Santorini, has one of the most spectacular locations on the island. Located along the rim of the towering caldera, the city's white sugar cube-shaped buildings offer fantastic views of the coastline. Especially at sunset when the whole city is bathed in golden light.
The central streets of Fira are filled with shops of all kinds. Jewelers, restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs get very busy in high season. Visitors arriving by sea can reach Fira by climbing the zigzagging staircase on the cliff. Less adventurous travelers can whiz to the top by cable car.
Famous for its beautiful sunsets, Oia is a little less hectic than Fira and a top attraction in Santorini. Lying on top of an impressive cliff, it has charming houses in narrow streets. The blue-domed churches and sun-drenched porches are one of the absolute must-sees on Santorini.
Oia is one of the most beautiful villages on the island. It was once home to a prosperous merchant fleet that traded with countries bordering the Mediterranean in the 1800s and early 1900s. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in 1956, remnants of its seafaring past remain. The homes of wealthy sea captains occupy the best part of the city and offer the most impressive view of the caldera. Because these are often the most beautiful houses on the island, they are nowadays mainly rented out as a hotel room or AirBNB.
Additional tip Santorini: Do the hike from Fira to Oia!