Santorini in detail

Activities

There's more than just the spectacular caldera and sunset views to keep visitors busy on Santorini. Head out to visit impressive ancient sites, black-sand beaches, wineries (and a brewery), take a boat tour to an active volcanic island in the caldera or explore Santorini's underwater topography.

Walking Trails

Santorini may not be as well-known for its hiking as some of its neighbours, but there are over a dozen diverse trails varying in difficulty and length (from 600m to 9.1km), some of them well-marked and signposted. The best hiking routes include:

  • #9: Fira to Oia (three hours, 9.1km) Stunning walk along the rim of the caldera via Imerovigli, with some moderate ascents/descents.
  • #1: Pyrgos to Ancient Thera (2¼ hours, 4.8km) Cobbled path ascent to the Profitis Ilias monastery, followed by descent to Ancient Thera. Great views.
  • #12: Akrotiri to the lighthouse (three hours, 7.8km) Beautiful coastal walk past the Red Beach and to the westernmost tip of the island. Some precipitous clifftop sections; arrange for pickup from the lighthouse.

Diving

Santorini's underwater topography is no less spectacular than the land above water. Volcanic caves, abrupt drop-offs into the deep blue, reefs teeming with life, and wrecks are all part of a diver's playground here. Visibility is terrific – 20 to 30 metres – and diving season is typically from April to November, with the seas being warmest from September. Atlantis Oia is working with Pierre Cousteau in petitioning the Greek government to create a protected marine area around the island, though the plans have not yet come to fruition.

There are 14 main dive sites around Santorini, with highlights including the wreck of the MS Sea Diamond, the wall dives of White Island, the coral and volcanic rock labyrinth of Perissa and Kamari Rock, the lava caves off the south coast, Volcano, and the Adivatous reef, near the rim of the caldera.

There are numerous diving operators, but ones that stand out include Atlantis Oia, a member of Cousteau Divers with a stellar record in marine conservation. Other recommended operators include Navy's Waterworld Dive Center and Santorini Dive Center.