Santorini blue dome and yellow flowers with the Aegean Sea in the background
Santorini blue dome and yellow flowers with the Aegean Sea in the background

You are eagerly anticipating your vacation on the iconic island of Santorini. Whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches, the stellar caldera beauty, and its world-renowned sunsets await you. But Santorini is so much more than what you see on postcards; it is full of off-the-beaten-path experiences, and we are here to guide you for the ultimate insider vacation. Even with its compact size, it harbors a world of secrets and it is bursting with things to do in Santorini for a lifetime of memories.

The Cyclades’ jewel island exudes luxury and offers secluded spots privy to only a few. We’ve put together a Santorini itinerary especially for travelers staying for no more than three days but are eager to discover the most elite attractions and capture the island’s true essence. Let’s delve into the 3-day Santorini itinerary and start exploring all the things that make Santorini the most spectacular island in Greece.

Santorini Itinerary Day 1 – The Majesty of Oia

Kickstart your morning with local delicacies

For your Santorini itinerary day 1 why not get into the Grecian spirit with some authentic delicacies from a local bakery? Local favorites include spinach pie, cheese pie, or bougatsa, a phyllo dough pastry available either savory or sweet. Order an espresso or a cappuccino, or even try their ice-cold versions that locals prefer. You can find freddo espresso or freddo cappuccino almost everywhere.

Hike from Fira to Oia

Kick off your 3 day Santorini itinerary with an awe-inspiring hike from the village of Fira to world-famous Oia. The humble trail twists and turns among the wildflowers, with the spectacular view of the Aegean Sea and its seemingly endless horizon as the highlight. The full Fira to Oia trail spans 6.5 miles up the coast or about two and a four hours depending on your speed. This is one of the most active things to do in Santorini, so don’t forget proper footwear and a water bottle!

Santorini Experts Tip: Beat the heat and start the hike early in the morning. Be sure to wear a long-sleeved shirt, hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the strong Greek sun.

Hike the trail from Fira to Oia on your 3 day Santorini itinerary

Perceive the beauty of Oia

You’ve reached beautiful Oia, an enchanting token of land that makes every visitor instantly fall in love! After your hike, grab a cold Greek coffee and leisurely peruse the winding stone streets. Check out high-end boutiques, the famous bookstore Atlantis Books, or the many art galleries featuring local and international artists who are inspired by Oia’s otherworldly beauty. Feel mesmerized by Oia’s wondrous scenery, the true heart of the island.

Beautiful view in Oia Santorini

Enjoy a local treat in Oia

After an exhilarating hike and time wandering in Oia, you’ve certainly worked up an appetite. Oia is full of tavernas featuring the famed Mediterannean diet which shines brightest on places like Santorini since its unique volcanic soil has given way to some ingredients found exclusively here. Discover one of the many local tavernas serving dishes with fava, tomato fritters, or Santorini eggplant. And don’t miss an opportunity to order a glass of locally produced wine!

Santorini Experts Tip: If you’re curious about how tomato fritters are made, read our Santorini tomato fritters info and recipe.

One of the things to do in Santorini is eat in a tavern in Oia

Spend a magical afternoon

Greeks like to take their time in the morning, so the most lively things to do in Santorini really get started in the afternoon. Get well acquainted with the magical island with spectacular options that highlight its one-of-a-kind beauty. Whether you choose to unearth the secrets of Santorini’s iconic churches or hit the open waters on a sunset sailing cruise, you’re guaranteed to love the first afternoon of your Santorini itinerary.

Option 1: Visit Santorini’s churches and cathedrals

Santorini blue domes are recognized the world over. Take time this afternoon to explore these iconic churches, as well as some of Santorini’s other beautiful places of worship.

Feel humbled by churches & cathedrals

The typical image of beautiful and iconic blue dome churches gazing over the sea is how most people picture Santorini. However, churches in Santorini have played a much larger role in history than just nice photo opportunities. Sailors’ wives prayed in the many churches when their husbands were setting off on their long journeys. Panagia Platsani in Oia’s main square, and Agios Nikolaos church on the way to the castle, are stunningly photogenic and classically Cycladic in architecture.

Blue domed church in Oia Santorini

Option 2: Join an unparalleled sunset cruise

Be absolutely amazed on a renowned sunset sailing cruise through the Aegean. Set sail and discover Santorini’s most famous natural feature from a luxurious all-inclusive boat.

Watch the sunset with a sailing cruise

Drift into the orange-hued horizon with an all-inclusive Santorini sunset cruise and combine dreamy vistas with local delicacies and drinks on board. The 5-hour tour at sea is the ultimate way to watch the spectacular sundown. Visit world-famous Red Beach and its crystalline waters, and cruise to the therapeutic hot springs. Watch the sunset in Santorini on a luxury yacht and delight in a smooth ride. Tours are for up to 8 guests or can be chartered for a private party.

Join a Caldera Cruise on your 3-day Santorini itinerary

Enjoy Fira’s nightlife and have a delectable meal

After an amazing afternoon, head to Santorini’s capital, Fira, where the magic happens. When it comes to nightlife, your Santorini itinerary is not complete without a night out here. Bars and clubs come alive and organize parties for the lively crowds who can’t wait to celebrate on a Greek island. The finest DJs play music till the early morning hours, and the bustling town becomes Santorini’s place to be.

Stroll around Fira town

Santorini itinerary day 1 begs for exploration time in Fira. Witness the donkeys striding up the cobbled steps of narrow streets and catch a bird’s eye view of the two caldera islets, Palaia Kameni and Nea Kameni. You can even start your walk a bit earlier and take the chance to visit a museum or the various shops selling clothes, jewelry, and sophisticated products.

Fira by night on your 3 day Santorini itinerary

Try exotic cocktails

If your stroll around town made you thirsty, it’s time for a cocktail! From opening a bottle of champagne to drinking trendy exotic cocktails or beers in Irish pubs, the bars in Fira can accommodate your needs and elevate your 3 day Santorini itinerary. The nightlife spots in Fira create the perfect setting to celebrate your birthday, bachelorette party, or any other reason to celebrate. Ask your expert bartender for their specialty.

Dance the night away

Is it really a Greek island vacation without dancing? One of the most exhilarating things to do in Santorini is to discover the nightlife in Fira. Bursting with clubs and bars, they play everything from techno, to rock, to classic Greek music. Most clubs open their doors in the evening but do not fill up until long after the sun has set. In fact, Fira is considered to be one of the best places for nightlife and clubbing in all of Greece, so get ready to hit the dance floor!

Santorini Itinerary Day 2 – A Full Day by the Sea

Set out for a full day of seaside gems

Set the alarm early and wake up in time to grasp a view of the sunrise for day 2 of your Santorini travel itinerary. Two extraordinary morning itinerary options are at your fingertips. Discover the fascinating archaeological site Akrotiri and then cool down after at Vlychada Beach, or join an expertly crafted wine tour complete with plenty of tastings of local vino.

Option 1: Discover Akrotiri and relax at Vlychada

Feel amazed at Akrotiri, one of Greece’s most significant archaeological sites. Afterward, move on to nearby Vlychada Beach for a day of seaside bliss.

Ancient ruins in the excavation site of Akrotiri Santorini

Visit Akrotiri

Take a step back in time and discover one of the ancient world’s most cataclysmic events with a trip to Akrotiri. It was here that around 1600 BC the Santorini volcano erupted and buried the ancient Minoan civilization. It is one of Greece’s most famed archaeological sites and features the excavations that took place in the past century. The site is an excellent chance for visitors to dive into the island’s impressive past. Start your visit to Akrotiri early to beat the heat, as the doors open at 8 am. An immersive visit can be done in 45 minutes with or without a guide.

Unwind at Vlychada Beach

After departing Akrotiri, head to nearby Vlychada Beach, which is a must for lovers of sun and sea. It is relatively small and size compared to some of the other beaches, so it’s a great place to spend some time during your 3 day Santorini itinerary if you’re looking for the classic laidback Greek vibes. With organized sunbeds, umbrellas, and some nearby restaurants, you can truly spend hours on this idyllic beach!


Option 2: Join a wine tour

Santorini and wine go hand in hand. Feel fully engaged in the oenological spirit with a comprehensive afternoon wine tour to several wineries and plenty of delectable taste testing.

Get into the wine spirit

Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or just enjoy a glass every now and then, you cannot miss a Private  Santorini Wine Tasting Tour, starting each day at 10 a.m. Four hours of wine bliss allows you to learn about the island’s viticulture and try a variety of wines whose grapes grow incredibly well due to the Santorini soil including well-known Assyrtiko. The expertly guided tour gives you the chance to sample them all along with local bites that complement each one. Enjoy a complimentary pick-up and drop-off service from your hotel.

Relax in the afternoon

Does life get any better than a morning spent at leisure in Santorini? Continue the feeling of total relaxation as you carry on into the afternoon. Our itinerary has you heading to Perissa Beach with its striking black sand and crystal-cool blue waters. It’s an excellent spot for water sports such as jet skiing. Later, work up an appetite for a delicious seaside lunch mere meters from the water’s edge.

Kick back at Perissa Beach

Perissa is a unique Santorinian beach and is a constant reminder of the island’s volcanic history. The one-of-a-kind scenery takes your breath away and is guaranteed to be a highlight in your 3 day Santorini itinerary. Large rock serves as a backdrop on the shores, creating an exceptional landscape. With its organized sunbeds, large umbrellas, and runners from nearby cafes to bring you drinks and snacks, you can indulge in optimal relaxation for a dreamy day at the beach.

Black sandy beach of Perissa Santorini

Enjoy lunch by the sea

Following an afternoon in the Greek sun at Perissa, head to one of the many nearby restaurants for a much-needed lunch. Perissa is lined with a handful of tavernas that use the freshest ingredients straight from the water a stone’s throw from the restaurants. Indulge in local favorites such as octopus or mackerel and of course order a refreshing Greek salad slathered in local olive oil and tangy feta cheese. Combine an unbeatable meal with the reverberating sound of the waves in the background, and you’re in for an extraordinary culinary experience.

Admire the views by night and live it up in Oia

Tonight, get ready to revel in Oia’s nightlife! In the early evening hours in Oia, the streets are filled with visitors who are eager to snag a front-row spot for the world’s greatest sunset. Beat the crowds down below by finding a high-perched spot at a wine bar with excellent panoramic views (a reservation is a must!). Watch as the sky bursts into oranges, pinks, and yellows before disappearing into the Aegean’s horizon.

Visit charming Ammoudi

After the spectacular sunset, make your way down to Ammoudi Bay, which sits at the base of Oia. A charming seaside fishing village, it has a captivatingly relaxed vibe not found on other parts of the island. The spectacular jagged cliffs that envelop the line of quaint seaside tavernas make you feel like you’ve found a secret spot in Santorini. Enjoy the turquoise waters and grab a delicious dinner of freshly caught octopus or squid with a side of famous Santorini fava as you admire the sparkling lights coming from above in Oia.

Santorini Experts Tip: Ammoudi can get crowded, so book a table for dinner in advance. If you’re looking to eat like a true Greek, dinnertime is often as late as 9 or 10 p.m.

Go to Ammoudi port on your 3 day Santorini itinerary

Cherish the caldera by night

Following dinner, make your way back up the caldera for an after-dinner walk, one of the most romantic suggestions in our Santorini travel guide. Stroll by the flickering lights of the cave houses on one side and the vast blue sea on the other. There is something dreamy and mystifying about the caldera in the dark with its cave houses illuminating amongst the steep cliffs. Wander down winding streets and look for one of the many charming wine bars in Oia for a nightcap.

Don't miss the sunset in Oia on your 3 day Santorini itinerary

Go for drinks in Oia

There are various bars in Oia to suit every taste. Stylish or rustic, modern or traditional – you name it, you can find it. Lounge bars with chilled-out melodies or vibrant clubs with the latest hits make every evening in your Santorini itinerary count. Whether you crave a frozen daiquiri cocktail or feel like having a glass of local Assyrtiko wine, you are sure to find a spot that fits your needs. Indulge in the baristas’ most eclectic creations and mingle with the international crowds.

Santorini Experts Tip: Especially during high season, it’s wise to make a reservation for food and drinks in Oia since it is one of the things to do in Santorini that is most popular.

Oia by night is one of the things to do in Santorini

Santorini Itinerary Day 3 – Santorini’s Unseen Side

Explore Santorini’s other dynamic villages

Why not sleep in a bit on the final morning of your 3-day Santorini itinerary? A good night’s rest might give you just the energy you need to explore some of the island’s hidden gems. This morning, explore two of the lesser-known villages for a truly authentic experience. You will undoubtedly fall in love with the old world charms of Pyrgos and Megalochori, which give you a unique opportunity to explore parts of Santorini that many visitors do not.

Unearth Pyrgos village

On the foothills of Profitis Ilias Mountain lies a tranquil settlement that has kept many of yesteryear’s customs. Pyrgos is where you should go during your 3 days Santorini itinerary to try Greek coffee at a traditional shop with a panoramic view. Visit underground alleys, antique churches, and the beautiful 16th-century castle which has one of the best panoramic views in all of Santorini. After a morning of exploration, stop off at one of its relaxing wine bars and quaint restaurants to enjoy a crisp glass of vino.

Buy souvenirs in Pyrgos on your 3 day Santorini itinerary

Explore Megalochori village

Neighboring Pyrgos is Megalochori, Santorini, which is full of tangible history, from the large doors to the pirate hideaways. The village square is filled with locals drinking ouzo and playing backgammon, just like in the old days. Discover a secluded viewpoint that you can’t find even in prominent Santorini travel guides – a naturally-carved heart, called “Heart of Santorini”, very close to the village center. Take out your camera and capture its magnificence.

Make the most of your afternoon with some adventure

Santorini is famous for its sunset and relaxed atmosphere but it’s also an ideal island for exploration and adventure. In fact, there are highly active and exploratory options for anyone who is looking for great picture opportunities and highly immersive experiences. With two exciting options for Day 3’s afternoon, you won’t feel a moment of anything but exhilaration.

Option 1: Explore Imerovigli and Fira

If you loved this morning’s time spent in smaller villages, why not continue to two new villages? Just down the coast from Oia, Imerovigli and Fira offer fantastic views and plenty of things to do.

Uncover Imerovigli village

Small in size but atop Santorini’s highest cliff, Imerovigli village is known as one of the most astounding viewpoints found on the island and has some of the most charming things to do in Santorini. Admire mystical chapels scattered around the village and the enormous Skaros rock featuring remains of a Venetian castle. It is ideal for a coffee break in one of the many cafeterias along the narrow streets.

Feel fascinated by Fira

Even if you went out at night in Fira during Day 1 of your 3 day Santorini itinerary, it is a completely different experience to visit it during the daytime. Bursting with boutique shops, beautiful blue dome churches, and quaint cafes, you could spend the whole afternoon twisting through the narrow streets. For excellent panoramic views of the island, consider hopping on a cable car that goes from the village down to the port. Get ready for unparalleled picture opportunities!

Exploring Fira is one of the things to do in Santorini

Day 3 Afternoon, Option 2: Take a trip to Thirassia

One of the most immersive things to do in Santorini is visiting the nearby island Thirassia. Join one of our organized Santorini Private Tours that leave the mainland for an all-day outing of walking, hiking, and sightseeing.

Join a tour to Thirassia

The volcanic eruption in Santorini created small islets around the island, one of them being Thirassia. The tiny island has distinct features like pristine-water beaches, a colorful church, spectacular wildflowers, and few inhabitants. Take a guided Thirassia day trip from Santorini, which leaves from Ammoudi at 12:30 p.m. and returns at 5:30 p.m. Find out what the islet is all about, and treat yourself to an amazing lunch with local wine.

Discover the old houses of Thirassia with the 3 day Santorini itinerary

Savor the last dinner drinks of your 3 days Santorini itinerary

For the final night of your time in Santorιni, we have crafted a night for you to remember. Head to the southern part of the island to enjoy one more night with views of the sea while you partake in a nice evening of laid-back Greek enjoyment. Grab a cocktail, glass of local wine, or some ouzo if you’re feeling adventurous, and say yeia mas (cheers) to your amazing Santorini 3 day itinerary.

Relish in an open-air cinema

A genuine Greek summer element is catching a movie at an open-air cinema and watching it under the clear sky while the leaves rustle subtly in the distance. The ultimate place to indulge in the open-air experience is the cinema in Kamari with films in English. A beautiful setting organized with snacks and drinks awaits.

Drink cocktails in Kamari

On the southeastern part of Santorini sits Kamari beach, which is home to some of the best nightlife. It should be one of your Santorini travel itinerary’s go-to for a combination of relaxed beach bars and lively clubs. In Kamari, the music pulses all night long which allows travelers to dance on the sand, or luxuriate in a margarita cocktail on a sunbed. All bars and clubs are practically on the beach, making for a dreamy night of dancing.

Have more drinks in Perissa

Hop in a 15-minute taxi and head over to Perissa, another southern beach that is a great alternative to Fira when it comes to partying. The options here are plenty, and you can find both high-end bars and beach bars for groups of friends who still have their bathing suits on. Especially in the peak season, many events are hosted with guest DJs from around Europe. End your 3-day Santorini itinerary with an enticing night out.

Spend the evening on the beach

A 3-Day Santorini Visit – the Holiday of Your Dreams

If you’re planning a Santorini itinerary for three days, more or less, there is time to navigate through the island and discover all the fascinating things it is known for. From the moment you set foot on the volcanic island, you can take advantage of every single aspect. A world-class destination like Santorini deserves top-notch holiday tours.

The Cycladic gem is a wonderful display of worthwhile adventures and inspiring things to do in Santorini that stay with you forever. Getting around Santorini and exploring paths off the beaten track is absolutely addictive. Join Santorini day tours or give the Santorini Experts a call to craft the ultimate 3-day itinerary brimming with activities such as cooking classes, a sunset cruise, or a sightseeing excursion totally adjusted to your needs!

FAQs about your 3-day Santorini itinerary

Are 3 days enough in Santorini, Greece?

A 3 day Santorini itinerary is more than enough to fully grasp the island’s ambiance and see the most prominent attractions. You can spend your time visiting famous beaches like Red Beach or Ammoudi Bay, walking along the caldera from Fira to Oia, and sampling local Santorinian wine.

How to spend 3 days in Santorini

Santorini offers a wide variety of experiences for you to cherish an unbeatable stay. From exploring the picturesque caldera villages, such as Oia, Fira and Imerovigli, to sailing to nearby villages, relaxing on volcanic beaches and witnessing the famous blue-domed churches, there are ample things to do in Santorini during your 3-day trip.

What is the most beautiful part of Santorini?

There are quite a few places on the island renowned for their beauty that are integral in any Santorini travel guide. However, the village of Oia features the best sunset view, and the town of Fira has spectacular views of the volcano and is on any well-thought-out Santorini itinerary.

Do you need a car in Santorini?

Getting around Santorini is relatively easy as buses frequently run to major villages, and you can find taxis all day. Renting a car is an option that makes things to do in Santorini on every corner more attainable, but keep in mind that finding a parking spot is not always easy.

How many days in Santorini?

It depends on your preferences and the time you can spend on this enchanting island during your Greek holidays. Whether a short weekend, 3 days or a full week, Santorini has much to showcase!

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