The Very Best Things to Do in Santorini
Santorini is a stunner. Here's what to do while you're there.
The island of Santorini is one of the icons of Greece. Blessed with gorgeous natural landscapes, picturesque towns, dramatic beaches and a history which might just include the mythical lost city of Atlantis, there’s something here for you whether you prefer to spend your afternoons sipping ouzo in a taverna or swimming in an enormous volcanic crater. To truly get the best out of the island, you’ll want to stay in accommodation that’s just as stunning as the scenery, and Plum Guide is ready to provide. Here’s our pick of the top things to do in Santorini.
Watch the sunset in Oia
You simply can’t have a list of things to do in Santorini without having the sunset in Oia at the top. It’s the most famous activity to do on the island, and for good reason – the sight of the sun slowly dipping beneath the oceanic horizon off the coast of Santorini is something that everybody should see once in their lifetime. The cascade of white buildings, blue domed churches and windmills bathed in the golden hour light is truly breathtaking.
That said, it would be highly advisable to book a table at a bar or restaurant where you can relax with a glass of wine while the sun does its thing, because at dusk the streets of Oia are packed with tourists armed with cameras, and we know that you’re not the type of person who wants to stand among the packed masses.
This tranquil house is just minutes from the centre of Oia for convenient sunset viewing, yet removed enough from the action that you’ll finally be able to get some peace (if your kids will stop playing TikToks at full volume, that is). With a plunge pool, a view of the Mediterranean sea and clean lines and white painted walls throughout, it's a serene escape from the world.
Alternatively if you feel the need for a swimming pool mere steps from your bedroom (we understand and frankly feel the same) then this luxurious villa is the one for you. Named Volcanic View for its incredible views over the caldera and the sea, it’s within walking distance of the town of Oia, so is ideal for strolling for a late dinner of locally caught fish.
Walk around the real Atlantis
Around 3,000 years ago, Santorini was at the centre of one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in the world. The eruption was so large that the effects of the ash, lava and tsunamis that were caused by the volcanic activity were felt around the world. It turned most of the island to dust which then disappeared into the ocean, creating an enormous crater and making Santorini the half moon shape that it is today. So when you’re swimming in the sea surrounding the island, you can creep yourself out with the thought that you’re paddling in water fathoms deep, above a dormant volcano that one day will erupt again. Brrr, now you’ve given yourself the shivers.
It’s even been suggested that the Greek island where you’re spending your hard earned holiday was the location of the mythical lost Atlantis. To get a sense of what life was like in those times, though, you don’t need to discover Atlantis – you can visit the Akrotiri Archaeological Site. Discovered in the 1860s, it dates back to the 17th century B.C. (think about that next time you get depressed after finding yet another grey hair).
Once a thriving port town, it’s one of the most important prehistoric settlements in the region. Looking at the multi level buildings, pottery and drainage systems as you stroll through the town, you’ll almost be able to imagine yourself living here. Fascinatingly, it’s thought that the former residents left in advance of the huge volcanic eruption, as almost no personal effects were found here.
When you’ve snapped out of your trance of thinking that you could have existed in a time before wifi, head home to your impressive pad at the top of the hills of Fira, with incredible views over the whole island. You can wash off the prehistoric dust in the custom bath before eating dinner al fresco on the huge private terrace.
Relax in Pyrgos
If you’d rather spend the day exploring an actual village rather than a prehistoric one, a trip to Pyrgos can’t be missed off your list of things to do in Santorini. The largest preserved village on the island, it’s exceedingly pretty and a charming way to while away the hours.
Perched on top of a hill, the village itself is a labyrinth of winding streets, steep stairs and fortified walls. There are a number of cute cafes (we recommend getting a coffee frappe) and shops selling local items, and the whole town has views in every direction. Don’t miss checking out Pyrgos Castle at the very top of the hill. This is the perfect place to buy gifts for those hard-to-please relatives who turn up every Christmas.
This clifftop house with an infinity pool is close to Pyrgos - but fair warning, you might not be able to bring yourself to leave in the mornings if you stay here. Views across the bay and caldera, a hot tub in the bedroom and a clean, white aesthetic spell whole days spent counting the number of superyachts you can see from your windows (hint: it’s a lot).
Now that you know the best things to do on the island, pick your dream home. We're particularly fond of Alcove in the Sky, which genuinely looks like a snapshot of Heaven.