Embark on an unforgettable Santorini adventure by descending the picturesque stairs from Oia to Amoudi Bay, one of the best things to do on Santorini island! The journey down the cliff not only serves as a great workout but also rewards you with breathtaking views that make it worthwhile. When you reach Amoudi Bay, indulge in the fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants, featuring the iconic sight of octopus drying in the open air at Sunset in Ammoudi Restaurant—a must-try experience for visitors seeking the best seafood there is to offer in Santorini.
Amoudi Beach, just a short walk away, is where you can swim in the blue bay waters. If you’re feeling adventerous, there is a prime cliff-jumping spot. Those seeking relaxing can float in the calm waters, and use this opportunity to connect with other travelers! This is one of the best activities on the island, where you’ll be able to admire cliffside views of the village as well as swim in some of the calmest water on the island.
One of the most memorable parts of my stay in Santorini was the hike from Fira to Oia, or in my case, from Oia to Fira. This epic 6.5 mile hiking trail offers breathtaking panoramic views of the whole island.
Consider starting early in the day, especially in the summer months as shade is scarce. I started at about 7:00am and it took about 3.5 hours to finish, of course, with many photo-ops. The hike does have portions that are uphill, but I didn’t feel at any point that it was unmanageable. After arriving in Fira, I enjoyed a well-deserved breakfast and caught the bus back to Oia! Another option is to hike back if you’re up for it. This is definitely a bucket list item when in Santorini, as it is one of the best activities on the island!
I couldn’t make a Santorini bucket list without mentioning Oia sunsets! These are some of the most famous sunsets in the world and for obvious reasons. It gets VERY crowded around sunset time in Santorini. The most popular spot is Oia’s Castle, however, most people claim their territory 2 hours before sunset, so unless you’re ready to camp out I suggest finding another spot.
I spent most sunsets in Santorini on my hotel balcony at Adorno Oia Suites, which had unobstructed sunset views. I also spent one night wandering Oia to find a sunset spot and did not end up seeing the actual sun per se, but I found picture perfect views of the caldera and sunset sky. If you’re less concerned with the actual sunset and more excited to see the sky change with lovely caldera views, I recommend wandering the streets since they are not too crowded as most people are sitting at the Castle. Here I was able to capture beautiful pictures see the buildings twinkling in the dusk.
Make the most of your Santorini experience by adding Kamari to your must-visit list – it’s undeniably one of the best things to do on the island! Getting to Kamari, hop on the comfortable, air-conditioned coach bus from Oia, and enjoy the scenic 45-minute ride. Kamari offers a fantastic beach town vibe, distinct from the charm of Oia and Fira. Given Santorini’s volcanic history, the beach has a rocky terrain, so water shoes are a smart choice for swimmers.
Don’t miss the chance to lounge on a daybed, soaking in the unique mountain landscape that offers incredible views. Stroll along the street adorned with numerous beach clubs, offering comfortable lounge chairs for a small fee. Some clubs even let you enjoy daybeds with just a drink purchase.
In Kamari, you will also find a row of vendors selling handcrafted goods and boutique shops, much more affordable than the rest of the island. Here I was able to find some beautiful jewelry handcrafted by locals as gifts to bring back.
Take an afternoon getting lost in the streets of Oia and Fira! Santorini is famous for its unique architecture, and in Oia and Fira you’ll find yourself amidst windmills, the famous blue dome buildings, and the pink bougainvillea flowers that line the buildings. It’s impossible to find a corner of the village that is not absolutely magical. I spent hours each day wandering the streets and boutique stores and found that each pathway I discovered seemed even more beautiful than the next.
Be sure to enjoy a slice of portokalopita and a cappuccino freddo at a cafe and take in the caldera views. There is an immense sense of peace in the cafes in town amidst the busy streets.
The afternoon can get quite hot in the summer and the sun is unforgiving, so if you are looking to take pictures (how could you not!) I advise waking up a bit earlier to get the perfect shots. Most people spend the daytime heat at Kamari beach or Amoudi Bay, or at their hotel pool to escape the heat.
Atlantis Books E.E. is a unique book store in the town of Oia nestled into the sea of white washed buildings, and is such a hidden gem in Santorini and one of the best things to do during your stay! The store is quite discrete, so you’ll need to a bit of searching to get there. The outside of the store is covered in painted books and quotes, and the inside is filled with whimsical art on the walls and books nestled in every corner, without any space left blank. The store itself is work of art and so much fun to walk through. What makes this place even more unique is that it holds original prints of every classic book you can imagine, all available for purchase, along with other popular best-sellers. This shop is pure magic and a must in Santorini!