One Day in Santorini

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What to Do in Santorini if you have Only One Day - 2023 Guide

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Discover the must-see attractions in Santorini that can be accomplished in just one day. This is our list of the best to do in Santorini to take the most out of Santorini in very little time. 

Head Straight to Akrotiri

To make the most of the day, begin by heading directly to the southern part of the island. Then, take your time to explore the area as you make your way toward Oia in the north. However, before reaching Oia, there are many interesting things to see and do, starting with a visit to the ancient settlement of Akrotiri. It is recommended to see this important archaeological site in the morning to avoid crowds and to have the freedom to explore at your leisure.

The ancient civilization in Santorini created sophisticated piping systems, multi-level homes, and wall paintings. These impressive structures were preserved after a devastating volcanic eruption and can still be viewed today, thanks to the thick layer of ash that covered the area for centuries.

After exploring the archaeological site, head to the famous Red Beach to appreciate the stunning red rocky cliffs that tower over the dark sandy shore. It might take a while to hike down, so plan accordingly. Alternatively, you can admire the volcanic rock scenery from the headland.


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Visit a Black Beach

There are two famous black sand beaches in Santorini. One of them is in Kamari, a small village near the airport in Santorini. It’s closer to Fira and the center of the island. Many tourists prefer to stay in Kamari during their Santorini holidays because it’s more affordable than the hotels that face the Caldera. The village has a pleasant seaside promenade with several restaurants, bars, and Greek tavernas. The other famous black sand beach is in Perissa. There are many beach clubs in Perissa, and you will likely find yourself at a beach party. Choose whichever you want but plan your time carefully.

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Wine Tasting

Santorini takes wine seriously, being the birthplace of the famous Vinsanto dessert wine that was previously exported throughout Europe. Wine production on the island has been ongoing for centuries, and visiting a winery is highly recommended.

You can visit the Wine Museum and Koutsoyannopoulos Winery near Kamari and the beautiful village of Vothonas. Here, you can learn about the ancient wine production in Santorini and taste some of the finest Santorini labels. This is the world’s second most significant wine museum.

Visit Fira

Fira, the bustling capital of Santorini, is a top tourist spot on the island and attracts many cruise visitors. You’ll find plenty of shops here, making it a great opportunity to buy some souvenirs.

When you’re traveling, please look for light and positive memories instead of negative ones, as you may have limited space for your belongings. Additionally, consider supporting the local economy by purchasing items that were created on the island.

After shopping, take a leisurely walk along the paths that overlook the Caldera in Santorini. While exploring the area, be sure to check out the various art galleries and colorful churches. One such church is the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist, which features vibrant colors and is located near the Archaeological Museum. If you’re interested in the island’s history, the museum is definitely worth a visit.

Sunset in Oia

There is plenty to see in Oia, and it’s a good idea to arrive on time. To reach the village, you can take the bus from Fira’s bus station, but keep in mind it can take at least half an hour to get there, and the bus tends to be crowded and make multiple stops.

You can take a taxi from the bus station area instead. The distance is only 11 km, but the prices can be expensive, up to €40. Sharing a taxi with other travelers is a common practice on the island. You can ask others in line to share the fare and cut down on the expenses.

Alternatively, book a private transfer from Welcome Pickups to save time.

When you visit Oia, make sure to take a leisurely walk through the charming streets of the village. If you enjoy taking photos, it’s a good idea to arrive early to capture all the beauty. There are many interesting sights to explore in Oia, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to use your camera!

If you want to see the sunset in Oia, look for a good spot at least two hours before sunset. Oia’s Old Castle ruins are popular with tourists and can get crowded. However, the Agios Nikolaos castle, which is an ancient fortress from the 15th century, is likely the best place to see the sunset over Oia.

Take a Boat Trip

If you want to unwind and discover the island’s beauty from the water, I suggest taking a boat day trip. You’ll get to visit picturesque spots around the island, swim, and indulge in amazing food and wine. You can choose from GetYouGuide a boat trip that fits your needs. We suggest booking the Luxury Catamaran Cruise because you will enjoy the most out of Santorini in only 5 hours. Additionally, you have a BBQ meal and Santorinian Beer or Santorinian wine while cruising in the sunset.

Traveling to 🇬🇷 Greece soon?

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🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Greece. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!

✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Greece, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.

🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.

🚙 Airport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer from the airport and beetween destinations with Welcome Pickups. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.

🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Greece, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.

🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Greece. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.

📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.

☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.


Most frequent questions and answers

Santorini is worth visiting even if you only have one day. Don’t forget to allocate time for taking photos of the iconic blue domed churches, the charming village of Oia, and the breathtaking sunset views.

Caldera is a highly favored destination in Santorini, visited by travelers from different parts of the world to marvel at the stunning beauty of this natural sight. Formed after a massive volcanic eruption in 1613 BC, this 300-meter high basin is considered one of the most remarkable natural wonders on Earth.

In towns like Oia and Fira in Santorini restaurants and most other things are within walking distance. However, you’ll need transportation if you plan to explore outside of town.