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Sofia Ps.
5 mins read

3 Days in Santorini

Santorini needs no introduction. Even if you’ve never heard of it, you’ve definitely seen pictures of the captivating island, also known as Thera. Santorini, located in Cyclades at the Aegean Sea, is one of the most popular destinations in Greece and maybe even the world. When you visit the island for the first time, you understand why.

Santorini is a volcanic island, which took today’s shape after the Minoan eruption, one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. Part of the island was destroyed and went underwater, while a huge caldera was formed. Its interesting history and incredible views make Santorini a very unique Aegean Island.

You can spend days, weeks or even months and still not get enough of the beauty of Santorini, but sometimes you only have 2-3 days and you want to make the best of it. So, keep reading to discover 5 things to do if you only have 3 days in Santorini!

1. Explore Oia

It doesn’t matter if you’re in Santorini for a week or just for a day, Oia town is something you must see! The upper side of the world, as it’s locally known, is located on the north part of the island. In the Middle Ages, it was one of the five fortified settlements, called “Kastelia” in Greek. The medieval settlement was damaged by an earthquake in 1956, but the locals rebuild their houses in the same fashion; They’re partly carved into the stone of the slope. This is how the stunning village you see today on the very steep slope of the caldera was gradually formed.

Four people exploring Oia after the sunset, the beautiful Oia town in the background
Exploring Oia after the sunset…

The view makes Oia one of the most scenic places in the world. But it’s not just that. The buildings, and everything really, are so well kept and taken care of, that walking on the narrow streets of Oia feels like walking in a white and blue daydream.

2. Take a stroll at Fira

Fira is the capital of Santorini and the largest town on the island. It’s located on the west side of the island, opposite to the volcano. So, from Fira you get the best view of the Santorini caldera and of the two uninhabited volcanic islands, Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni.

Fira is a gorgeous town, full of life and many quaint shops and cool places to discover! You’ll also find many restaurants, coffee shops, bistros, bars, night clubs, as well as several museums and galleries. The best way to explore Fira is by walking on its beautiful and picturesque cobbled streets.

There’s also a trail that connects Fira to Oia, which is the best hike you can do in Santorini and it’s quite easy to walk. However, I only recommend this if you have enough time, since it’s about 10 km and it would take you 3-5 hours. If you try this during the summer, make sure to avoid the midday heat, because it can get pretty extreme.

3. Go to the beach

Many say that you don’t go to Santorini for its beaches, but I personally love them because they’re so unique. No, you won’t find many vast, golden sandy beaches with the turquoise waters like on many other Aegean islands. However, you will find scenic places with stunning views, crystal-clear waters and iconic black or red sand. Some of my favourite include the Red beach, White beach, Vlychada beach, Perissa beach, Kamari beach, and Perivolos beach.

View of the Red Beach in Santorini Island, Greece
View of the Red Beach

4. Discover the history and the culture

There are several museums, galleries, sites and more in Santorini. Some of the most popular include the Akrotiri Archaeological Site, the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, the Archaeological Museum of Thera, the Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera, the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum, the Tomato Industrial Museum – D.Nomikos, the Megaro Gizi Museum, the Naval Maritime Museum, the Emmanuel A. Lignos Folklore Museum.

Let’s be honest though, if you only have three days you can’t visit everything; Even if you did have more time, you would still have to choose and prioritize, because there are so many more things to do on the island! Surely, you should choose based on your personal interest and likes. Nonetheless, if you don’t know where to start, my personal favourites were the following:

The Akrotiri Archaeological Site, also known as the “Greek Pompeii”. Akrotiri of Thera is a Cycladic Bronze Age settlement, which was entirely buried in volcanic ash during the Minoan eruption. It has extremely interesting history and I believe it’s a must-visit destination on Santorini.

Woman looking at Akrotiri archaeological site in Santorini Island, Greece
Ready to explore Akrotiri!

The Museum of Prehistoric Thera, located in Fira. Small but very engaging, the Museum of Prehistoric Thera has a wonderful collection of objects from Akrotiri and other prehistoric sites of Santorini. You’ll get to see various cool exhibits such as pottery, Cycladic figurines, jewelry, and very impressive frescoes.

The Tomato Industrial Museum is the old tomato factory of D.Nomikos, which was transformed into an industrial museum in 2014. It’s a cool place visit, where you can learn more about the traditional methods of cultivation followed by the tomato farmers of Santorini, but also about the industrialization of the process. Make sure to ask for the audio-guide offered by the museum, make your own souvenir-can, and taste the tomato paste!

Extra tip: The Tomato Industrial Museum is right next to Vlychada beach, so you can combine your relaxing day at the beach with a museum visit.

5. Visit a winery

The winemaking tradition of Santorini is thousands of years old. The unique microclimate of Santorini combined with the Assyrtiko grape variety resulted into some of the most interesting wines in the world. Furthermore, the islands volcanic soils, with the inability to retain water and their lack of organic substances, means they were not afflicted by phylloxera pest, making many of the roots among the most ancient in Europe.

Drinking wine at a restaurant with an amazing view anywhere in Santorini is an excellent idea; However, if you want to have the full experience you really must visit one of the many wineries of the island and have a proper wine tour. You’ll have the chance to visit a vineyard and learn more about the winemaking tradition of Santorini. It’s interesting how vines are trained on low bushes as protection against strong winds, so you’ll notice many vines on the ground in a basket-like shape, known in Greek as kouloura.

Moreover, you’ll try many different local wine varieties; the most famous are the dry white wines, made of Assyrtiko grape variety and a little Athiri and/or Aidani. Make sure to try the complex Nykteri, a dry white made of the Assyrtiko variety aged in oak barrels, the red wine made of Mandilaria and Mavrotragano varieties, the semi sweet Mezzo, and the sweet and aromatic Viscanto.

Extra tip: If possible, arrange your winery visit on your first day on the island, so you’ll know what to order the following days you’re going to be there.

Hands holding volcanic rocks from a Santorini winery
Learning all about the volcanic soil of a winery.

No matter how many days you spend in Santorini or how many times you visit the island, every experience is unique and wonderful. Make sure to enjoy every moment, whatever you decide to do, relax and have fun! Are you wondering when is the perfect time to visit? Check out this post to find out why you should visit Santorini in autumn.

Queen of Aegean pulses and wings

With the words to convert the infinite

With fire with lava with smoke

You found the great lines of your destiny


Odysseas Elytis, Ode to Santorini (lines 29-32), translated by J. Carson and N. Sarris.


[Greek: Τρεις μέρες στην Σαντορίνη ]

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