Which is the most popular activity in Santorini? Where can you play beach volley? On which beaches can you do jet ski & water sports? Which is the best hiking itinerary? How can you learn everything about the Santorinian wine? Where can you learn to cook? Where can you do horse riding? Where can you take your best selfies? The next lines are dedicated to all activities available in Santorini!
THE top activity in Santorini is sailing across the caldera waters at day or sunset time. There are many options with regard to the cruise duration, type of yacht and selected itinerary and stops, depending on the company you will choose for your sailing trip. Sense the unique ambiance of the caldera rocks; walk on the volcano; swim in the Thermal Springs and White Beach waters; taste culinary wonders prepared on board! Below follow the best proposals so that you can live this unique experience in Santorini.
Sunset Oia Sailing Cruises, Τ. +30 22286072200, www.sunset-oia.com
Santorini Yachting Club, T. +30 2286072071, www.santoriniyachtingclub.com
Notos Yachting, T. +30 2286081115, www.notosthermespa.com/yachting
Brama Yachts & Catamarans, T. +30 6977977578, www.boatsingreece.com
Explorer 1, T. +30 6984266375, www.explorer1.gr
Once you discover the magic sea colors and swim in the crystal clear waters, you will realize that Santorini has a variety of beaches: the Red Beach, white volcanic rocks in Vlyhada, vast black sandy beaches of Perivolos and Perissa in Kamari. Wild nature lovers will get fascinated with the unorganized beaches of Koloumbo, Baxedes, Pori on the eastern island, and Akrotiri. To learn everything about beaches in Santorini, go to page www.santorini-islandguide.com/beaches.
Get ready for parasailing, tubing, SUP and many others waters sports in Wave Sports (Tel: +30 6942640887, +30 2286081512, www.wavesports.gr), that you can find both in Perivolos (Chilli Beach Bar) and in Perissa (Atlantis Island Restaurant). Jet ski lovers can get ready for organized Jet Ski Safaris, setting off from Perivolos or Perissa, heading for the White and Red Beach, the volcanos and islets of caldera. Itineraries take 90’ or 140’. You can also find other water sport facilities in Crazy Sports (Τel: +30 6993 675074, www.crazysports.gr) on Aghios Georgios Beach in Perivolos, as well as in 3sxsports (Τ. +30 6932780852) on Kamari Beach.
FACE: Μanthos Sotiriou, Diver
We met Instructor & Professional Diver Manthos Sotiriou and asked him to talk to us about the magic undersea world of Santorini that he adores. “Every time I dive into the caldera waters, I always discover something new and exciting!” he says. Manthos has been ‘travelling’ into the deep Santorini waters since 1988. In 1999 he founded Volcano Dive Center, his own Dive School and Dive Centre in Kamari. Diving excursions are organized daily at 35 spots in caldera, where “the sea bottom stands out with its rare wild beauty, steeply-cut rock walls and unique images”. Τhe Dive Centre welcomes and provides equipment both to experienced and beginner divers. Beginners have two options to discover the Santorini sea bottom: either with mask and snorkel on the surface, or watching the program “Getting acquainted with scuba diving”, where you can learn all details before diving in depth of 3-12 meters. Besides caldera, Manthos also suggests diving in Aspronisi, in Faros (lighthouse) of Akrotiri with the caves, and the beaches of Oia and Thirasia. To get acquainted with the Santorini undersea realm, contact Volcano Dive Center, Tel: +30 2286033177, www.scubagreece.com.
Besides Volcano Dive Center in Kamari (Tel: +30 2286033177), beginners and advanced divers can also stop at Aegean Divers Dive Center-Dive & Sail Shop on the road Fira-Pyrgos (Τel: +30 2286033201, www.aegeandivers.com) for an unforgettable diving experience in the undersea world of Santorini.
On Monolithos beach, kitesurf & windsurf lovers take advantage of the winds to do their acrobatics on the sea surface. Lessons for both beginners and advanced. Practise in SUP.(Μονόλιθος|Monolithos, M. +30 6937234095, www.santorinikite.gr).
If you like kayaking, hire a kayak from ‘Santorini Sea Kayak’ in Perivolos and roam the sea (White and Red Beach) under the guidance of experienced instructors. Hiking and rock climbing tours are organized both from the side of Perissa and Kamari. Santorini Sea Kayak, Περίβολος|Perivolos, Τ. +30 6951801051, www.santoriniseakayak.gr
FACE: Spyros Bellonias/ Surf-Skateboard
The sensation of freedom experienced by surfers is combined with the beautiful landscape and sea itineraries here in Santorini. Spyros Bellonias loves all surf/board sports. A professional snowboarder since 2000 & member of Quicksilver Greece, Spyros deals with surf sports and skateboard every time he comes to Santorini. He has talked to us about all this and gives us information about where to enjoy them. For surf lovers, he suggests “Monolithos when northern winds blow and Vlyhada when winds come from the South”. His favorite SUP itinerary is “around the volcano”. Those who love skateboard can go to the skate park in Kamari (former camping next to the outdoor cinema), where athletes from all over the world have trained in jumping on their boards. For information about these sports, seewww.facebook.com/santorinindians.
For strong water experiences, visit the wonderfully organized Water Park. Slide on the water slides, swim in the swimming pools and have your kids play in the children’s slides or the children’s swimming pool while you enjoy your coffee or your meal at the restaurant. Περίσσα|Perissa Beach, T. +30 2286083311, www.santoriniwaterpark.gr.
Μuseums & Sights
Santorini has a rich history that you can get acquainted with while visiting the archaeological site in Akrotiri and Ancient Thira. Go through all details on page 56. Tip: For the archaeological site in Akrotiri, we propose you take a guided tour.
As for museums, you can visit the important Museum of Prehistoric Thira, the Archaeological Museum and a number of interesting private museums and foundations. For the full list and operating hours, click on www.santorini-islandguide.com/museums
For those of you who want to discover attractions that are not visible at first sight, do not miss Faros in Akrotiri –one of the oldest lighthouses in Greece-, the church of Panagia Theoskepasti in Skaros of Imerovigli and the Windmills on the slope across Emporio. When in Oia, do not miss going down to Ammoudi. When in Pyrgos, do not miss visiting the Monastery of Prophitis Ilias at the top of mountain Mesa Vouno. Tip: All the above sites are ideal destinations at sunset time!
Castelli & Goulades (Castles & Towers)
The most important part of the medieval history of Santorini. Castle settlements built to protect the islanders from pirate raids in the 15th and 16th century and fortification towers that you should definitely not miss visiting. Tips and details at www.santorini-islandguide.com/castle-cities-island.
With a special identity and character, every single village of Santorini is a unique destination: Fira the island capital, famous Oia, settlements Firostefani and idyllic Imerovigli, serene Megalohori and the well-preserved castelli of Emporio. Visit Goulas in Akrotiri, medieval Pyrgos, Mesaria, Karterados and mystic Vothonas. See details about villages in Santorini at www.santorini-islandguide.com/villages.
The best way to enjoy the beauty of the caldera and the hinterland of Santorini. The most famous hiking trail is the path which starts from Fira and within 3 hours leads to Oia. You can either hike individually (there is clear directional signage) or join an organized hiking group. It is advisable to start early in the morning to avoid the afternoon heat. Tip: Once you reach Imerovigli and if you have enough time, it is well-worth walking down to Skaros to admire the spectacular view.
There are also many itineraries in the village of Pyrgos, such as the stone path starting from “Kryfo Sholio” and leading to the Monastery of Profitis Ilias (at some point it is interrupted by the road and then starts again). The hike takes about half an hour. Walking downhill from Pyrgos you can reach Goulas and Kastelli in Emporio or Mesa Gonia and Kamari. We recommend the hike from Kamari to Ancient Thira and to Perissa. To learn everything about hiking trails in Santorini, see www.anavasi.gr, where you can download all hiking trail maps of Santorini at the price of 7 euros. Tip: At many points, the paths may have been altered by weather conditions and the trail signage is insufficient.
If you choose to join an organized hiking tour, while hiking you will learn lots of information about architecture, plants, herbs, history and interesting details you will meet on your way. Hiking tour guide Nikos Botsinis of Santorini Walking Tour organizes 4 standard and customized walking tours in Santorini. For information, visit www.santoriniwalkingtours.com call on +30 2286036496 and +30 6971603600.
Climbing lovers have the opportunity to do their favorite sport following 150 itineraries starting from Perissa or Kamari. The degree of difficulty ranges from 4A to 8. For further information, contact Mr Giorgos Danezis, President of the Volunteer Rescuer Force of Thira, on +30 6944126339. Tip: Prefer very early morning hours for climbing, for the sun gets too strong after noon and the rocks get too hot in the evening.
Combine a tour in Santorini with a photography seminar and many tips. Mr Tryfon Georgopoulos organizes small 6-member groups for a photographic experience setting off at Oia, passing by Akrotiri, Megalohori, Emporio, and ending up at Pyrgos village at sunset time. (Santorini Photo Safari, Μ. +30 6949 989977, www.santoriniphotosafari.com).
Also, Mr Olaf Reinan, a well-experienced photographer/ guide will acquaint you with many interesting corners of Santorini, by taking photos and not only (Tel:+30 6988828289, www.santoriniphototours.com).
If you want to keep fit during your vacations visit Mainas gym in Fira and Evexia gym on the road Fira-Pyrgos. Mainas, T. +30 2286024335/ Evexia, T. +30 2286033797.
For those who love cycling, Santorini Adventures (Τel: +30 2286030554, +30 6980289453, www.santoriniadventures.gr) organizes many cycling tours setting off from Perivolos, going through Emporio and Akrotiri (1,5 to 3 hours). You can also plan and ask for your own customized cycling tour. Tip: In cooperation with stylish Seaside by Notos you have the potential to savor a menu specially prepared for cyclists.
Visit Ancient Thira
For 20 years now, Mr Antonis of Ancient Thira Tours has been safely transferring visitors to the archaeological site of Ancient Thira in his mini bus. Buses set off from Kamari and run regularly until 5:00p.m. when the archaeological site closes. Tip: For a full tour around the area, Mr Antonis proposes after your archaeological tour in Ancient Thira to go to Perissa for lunch and then return to Kamari by boat. Tel: +30 2286032474/ Μ. +30 6932500060, www.ancient-thira.gr.
Organised horse ride tours have been included in the activities of Santorini for some years. There are numerous options and proposals. Santorini Horse Riding (Τ. +30 2286030596/ Μ. +30 6972254548,www.santorini-horse-riding.com) suggests 5 standard tours, setting off from Megalohori and reaching Vlyhada beach or the caldera in Akrotiri. Beginner riders have to attend a 20-minute course before going horse riding. Some riding tours include stops for lunch and wine tasting.
Beach Volley. Advanced beach volley fans can meet and play on the beach volley court at the beach bar Wet Stories. There are also other beach volley courts along the beaches of Perivolos, Perissa, Kamari and Monolithos.
Basketball. There are basketball courts open to the public in Imerovigli, Kamari and other villages in Santorini.
Τennis. There are 2 tennis courts in Playland, on the road Fira-Pyrgos. Beginners who want to get better can have lessons with a tennis teacher.
Football (Soccer): There are football fields 5Χ5 and 10X10 in Playland (Τ+30 22860 24008) on the road Fira-Pyrgos. Also, a 5Χ5 field in Perivolos (opposite Marillia Village Hotel), and another football field in Pyrgos.
A unique experience for those who enjoy the view from up high. You will find quite many options for helicopter tours over Santorini and the Aegean: from standard flights to integrated tours over Santorini and the surrounding islands.
Wine Tours/ Wine Tasting
Great opportunity to get to know the long tradition of Santorini in vine cultivation and wine making. Learn everything about the exceptional wines of the island and the famous Vinsanto. Wine tours to island wineries is one of the most popular activities in Santorini . Visits to wineries include tours around the winery facilities and wine-tasting sessions. You can choose to visit wineries individually or join an organized wine tour excursion.
Always promoting pure traditional local products of Santorini and the Cyclades, Selini Restaurant organizes Cooking Classes during the whole summer. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 18.30 you can prepare and savor 3 dishes. Also, every day at 10:30 (except Sunday), you learn how to prepare (hands-on) the thematic menu of the day. For further information, call Selene Restaurant, Τ. +30 2286022249, www.selene.gr.
Live an original Greek experience at the Open Air Cinema in Kamari. Watch a movie under the stars enjoying your drink and delicious tasty proposals. See the cinema program on www.cinekamari.gr or call at +30 2286033452.
Dancing & Greek Feast
Have you ever imagined being invited in a traditional Greek wedding with food, music and dancing? Live the ritual of an original Greek feast at the White Door Theatro in FIra. Daily performances from May to October. For information, visit www.whitedoorsantorini.com Τ +30 2286021770.
The best thing to do during your holidays is to dedicate some time to your own self. To enjoy spa and personal care services, contact Tefsion Kallos Spa of the Aressana Hotel in Fira (9.00-21.00, T+30 2286023900, www.aressana.gr). Alternatively, plunge into the beneficial effect of the thermal spring waters at Notos Therme Spa Hotel (10.00-19.00, T+30 2286081115 www.notosthermespa.com) in Vlyhada.
Τhe best spots for selfies!
Selfies have become an actual activity for many people and you surely could not ever find a better background than the natural beauty of caldera and Santorini. You can take your selfies anywhere in the caldera –surely do not miss the disperse blue church domes, the castelli (castles) of the island, particularly Emporio castelli, and Pyrgos with the panoramic view over the entire island.
The closest island to Santorini is Thirassia, where it is worth seeing settlements Potamos and Manolas. Less touched by tourism and with a beautiful view over Santorini, Thirassia is accessible by boat from Oia or Athinios port. You can also go to serene Αnafi by ship of the line (learn information from touristic agencies of Santorini). Very close to Santorini is also the island of Ios. You can go to Ios either in a high speed boat (40min) or on an organized group tour that will take you to the beach of Manganari or Mylopotas and bring you back. (Information on www.santorini-manganari.com)
For a full experience and journey into time in Thirassia, Dimos Kyritsis guides you around the island on a tour including stops at traditional wine cellars and churches. Also, organized trips to Ios. For information, visit www.santoriniaction.com or call at T +30 22860 28334, M +30 6943 948824
For trips and tickets to the nearby islands, contact the following tourist agencies:
Pelican Travel, Φηρά|Fira, T. +30 2228602220, www.pelican.gr.
Dakoutros Tavel, Φηρά|Fira, T. +30 22286022958/ 24286, www.dakoutrostravel.gr.
Nomikos Travel, Φηρά|Fira, T. +30 2286024940/ 23660, www.nomikostravel.gr.
Notos Τravel, Μεγαλοχώρι|Megalohori, T. +30 2286085203, www.notostravel.com
NST Travel, Οία|Oia, T. +30 2286071199, www.nst-santorinitravel.com.
Caldera’s Boats, Santorini-Sea-Excursions, T. +30 2286024355, www.santorini-sea-excursions.com.
Activities for kids
Kids get really excited with water sports and games that are suitable for their age. Santorini Arts Factory organize educational activities for kids in Vlyhada throughout the year (to see the program, visit www.santoriniartsfactory.gr). Located in Megalohori, Αtaktoulides playground (T:+30 2286082742) is open daily 17.30-22.00/ at weekends also 10.00-14.00. In summer, it also organizes creative occupation workshops for kids. Located on the road Fira-Pyrgos, Playland has tennis courts, football fields & a playground that opens at 4:00p.m. during the summer period, where kids can play and parents can enjoy their coffee (Τ+30 22860 24008).