Located about 125 miles southeast of mainland Greece, Santorini is one of a number of scenic volcanic islands that are most well-known for their stunning geological formations, panoramic sea views, and impressive whitewashed buildings.
They’re set amidst ancient terraces carved from sea-side mountains. Though crowds can be a problem during the tourist season, many visitors choose to arrive between April and May when the weather is warmer and the crowds are fewer.
Santorini boasts a history dating back nearly 4,000 years, some of the most awe-inspiring natural beauty in the area, and vibrant food and wine scenes, all of which attract visitors from all over the world.
1. Horseback Riding Experience at Sunset
Megalochori is one of Santorini’s most historic villages, and it’s also the starting point for this fun and memorable horse riding sunset tour.
After meeting their guide and getting an overview of how to handle their steed, guests will set out on narrow paths that wind their way along the island’s caldera.
The ravines and canyons formed by volcanic activity millennia ago offer incredible views, but especially so when the sun begins to disappear behind the distant horizon.
Guests will learn about the region’s geology, the ancient Minoan culture that settled here near 4,000 years ago and have ample opportunity to stop and appreciate the unparalleled splendor and snap photographs.
2. Private Half-Day Sightseeing Tour
This half-day sightseeing tour includes round-trip transportation to and from your Santorini accommodation, the services of a local guide, and the ability to see many of the island’s premier attractions in a short period.
Guests will travel to each site in an air-conditioned van and have the option of choosing their start time, as well as customizing the tour to include only the attractions that interest them.
Tour highlights include the bronze-age volcanic ruins at Akrotiri, the historic village of Oia, and both Black and Red Beaches.
Before heading home, participants will enjoy a brief visit to a local winery.
3. Night Hike, Wine Tasting, and Traditional Greek Dinner
What could be more alluring than night hiking, enjoying an assortment of local wines, and dining on a traditional Greek meal while surrounded by the wonders of Santorini?
According to previous tour guests, not much.
Tours begin just before sundown and include scenic stretches of the Fira-Oia Trail and a magnificent sunset, weather permitting.
Several unobstructed viewpoints are situated along the trail to give hikers panoramic views of the town, caldera, and sea.
Once the exercise portion of the evening is over, guests will relax at a popular restaurant, sample multiple wines, and savor a traditional meal with their hosts.
4. Highlights of Santorini Photo Tour
It’s difficult to imagine a place more photogenic than Santorini. This five-hour highlights photo tour was designed with shutterbugs in mind.
Along with their professional photographer guide, guests will visit some of the island’s most impressive attractions at just the right time to capture them in all their splendor.
Don’t expect to run into hordes of tourists, because the tour focuses on less busy areas frequented by locals more than visitors.
Guests will get valuable technical tips aimed at helping novices and advanced photographers alike.
Tours last about five hours and depart mid-morning from a convenient central Santorini location.
5. Greek Wedding Show at White Door Theater in Fira
Apparently, Greek weddings are such show-stoppers that they made a blockbuster movie about one in America years ago.
Of course, you could watch a rerun in your hotel room with take-out, but a wise alternative might be to get out there yourself and experience a wedding show at the White Door Theater in Fira.
It’s a night of hearty laughter, singing, and dancing accompanied by loud Greek music and traditional fare and wine as well.
Performances last about 90 minutes and typically end up being one of the most memorable experiences of many visitor’s vacations to Santorini, so tickets tend to go quickly.
6. Sightseeing Bus Tour with Oia Sunset
Visitors to Santorini will find that the sunsets on Oia tend to be focal points for those interested in witnessing a truly magnificent spectacle.
This full-day, sightseeing by bus tour includes iconic attractions like the Akrotiri excavation site, where countless island residents were buried by tons of ash after an unexpected volcanic episode thousands of years ago.
Other highlights include the village of Emporio, a Santorini winery, and Perissa Beach, where guests will enjoy lunch and a relaxing swim before heading off to other sites.
Tours end with the sunset in Oia, one of Greece’s most photographed events.
7. Traditional Fishing Trip with Fresh Fish Lunch
Learn about and utilize traditional Greek fishing techniques from the experienced crew on this five-hour, mid-morning departure fishing excursion.
All the equipment needed is included in the tour’s cost. For those who’d rather watch the action from a safe distance, it’s an excellent opportunity to relax and see some of Santorini’s beautiful iconic sights, like marine life, mountains, and multi-colored beaches.
Most guests land a variety of fish, but regardless if they’re cooperating or not, participants will enjoy a fresh seafood lunch with drinks onboard the traditional wooden vessel while out of sight of land.
Tours are available in six languages.
8. Guided Winery Tour
Santorini’s winemakers have been producing much sought after wine for thousands of years. Now, the island is home to both contemporary and traditional wineries that are well worth a visit for globetrotting wine lovers.
This guided winery tour allows guests to learn about the process from growing to production and includes numerous tastings of signature wines.
Each tour has 45-minute stops at each of three wineries that include tasting tutorials, question and answer sessions, and appetizers and light fare as well.
Transportation to and from a central Santorini location is also included in the tour’s cost.
9. Cooking Class and Wine-Tasting Tour
Winery tours abound in Santorini, but for value-minded travelers interested in hands-on activities, this wine and cooking class combo tour would be a great option.
It’s the perfect way to treat yourself to a fun and educational experience, meet like-minded travelers and locals, and get an in-depth look into the island’s culinary heart.
Tours begin with a visit to a vineyard, where guests will learn about grape growing and winemaking.
After the tour portion, guests and their guide will head to a traditional restaurant where they’ll learn the basics of Greek cuisine and try their hand at making a few simple but vibrant recipes on their own.
10. 5-Hour Small-Group Catamaran Cruise
Catamarans are impressive multi-hulled craft that glide through the water effortlessly and provide a surprisingly stable platform for cruising.
This small-group catamaran cruise departs twice daily and follows the Santorini coast past Red and White beaches.
Highlights also include a Venetian-era lighthouse, abundant caves and volcanic rock formations, the impressive caldera, and the secluded bay at Palea Kammeni.
Tours include both sightseeing and free time for activities like swimming, mud-bathing in a therapeutic hot spring, snorkeling, and sunbathing on the boat’s ample deck.
A traditional buffet-style lunch or dinner with salad, appetizers, and unlimited wine and non-alcoholic drinks are included as well.
11. ATV-Quad Experience
For rugged and outdoorsy types who value exhilarating activities, seeing Santorini’s sights and attractions by ATV is definitely the way to go.
Tours get underway at Black Beach when guests meet their guide and get an overview of how to handle their machines.
You’ll have both on and off-road portions that explore narrow old streets, vineyards, the caldera, and Megalochori—one of the island’s most historic villages.
Intermittent stops for viewing, photography, and possibly a brief swim are included as well.
There’s also a stop at a quaint coffee shop for caffeine replenishment or a cold drink if time permits.
12. Scuba Dive Experience
Whether you’re a seasoned dive veteran or a relative newbie, you’ll likely find a suitable option in this world-class dive experience tour.
The adventure starts at the idyllic Bay of Amoudi. After getting the inside scoop and all necessary equipment from the experienced dive team, participants will embark on a truly memorable experience.
Dive sites may vary depending on group skill level and the weather, but hotspots include the clear and wildlife-rich waters, caves, wrecks just off the caldera, and numerous volcanic islands.
At the end of the excursion, guests will be returned to Amoudi Bay, and from there to a central location.
13 Santorini Volcano and Thirassia Islands Tour
Without the forces of volcanic activity over countless ages, the island of Santorini wouldn’t exist.
This combo tour starts with a stop at the lava island of Nea Kameni, which is home to a massive crater and volcano that’s still active.
From there, guests will head to Palea Kameni, where they’ll have the opportunity to bathe and swim in the green, sulfur-rich waters of the hot springs that are said to have a variety of therapeutic characteristics.
Tours also include two hours at Thirassia Island, including free time to explore on your own before boarding the yacht King Thiras and cruising back to the port at Athinios.
14. Introduction to Sea Kayaking
Though sea kayaking may seem a bit intimidating to those who’ve never tried it, this introduction tour was designed for those with little or no experience.
It’s open to most participants of average physical ability older than 14-years-old and is a unique and unforgettable way to experience Santorini’s natural splendor.
After getting their craft, equipment, and all the training they’ll need, guests will push-off into the clear waters to explore quiet coves, aquatic caves, and a number of stunning beaches.
Tours last about four hours and cover nearly seven miles. While en route, you’ll stop for multiple rest periods that include a light picnic-style lunch and time to relax, snorkel, or take a leisurely swim.