The white churches with blue domes, the cave houses, the whitewashed alleys decorated with blooming bougainvillea and geraniums, the picturesque squares and the grandiose view of the volcanic rocks and the volcano, create a breathtaking scenery that best justifies the island's reputation as one of the most exciting destinations in the world that everyone must visit at least once in their lifetime.
There are endless traditional neighbourhoods and villages... Firostefani -the “crown of Fira” with the blue dome of the Panagia “of St. Theodore” church that has been the theme of many photographs (1 km away from Fira), Imerovigli -the “balcony of Santorini”(1.5 km away from Fira)-, and breathtaking Oia, with its colourful Venetian-style houses (9.5 km away from Fira), are your primary places to visit. Try also to walk along the path with the 600 steps leading to Yialos. The view is captivating.
On your way up, you can either choose the same uphill road or the donkeys and mules, the speed and deftness of which will take your breath away.
Leaving Fira behind, you will come across many attractions and picturesque villages one after another, presenting countless options: the caved village of Karterados, with the church of the Saviour Ascension influenced by Italian ecclesiastical architecture (2 km away from Fira), Messaria, a lively village and the centre of industrial development in Santorini during the 19th century (3.5 km away from Fira), Vothonas with its high ceiling and spacious cave houses & their stately gates (3.3 km away from Fira), Episkopi Gonias with the church of Panagia Episkopi or Panagia of Gonia, dedicated to the Assumption and considered the most important Byzantine monument of Santorini (6 km away from Fira), the Tower - “historical monument” of Unesco since 1995 (7.5 km away from Fira), Megalochori with the old mansions, the cave kanaves and houses built in the local architectural style (9.5 km away from Fira), the Apano Gonia with beautiful mansions (8 km away from Fira), where you can tour the castle with the Cycladic and neoclassical buildings and visit the wineries of Santo Wines and Hatzidakis, Kasteli at the top of Akrotiri village with Goulas (tower) in the centre of the castle, the lighthouse of Akrotiri, one of the most beautiful in the Cyclades, with a tower height of 10 meters and of course, the archaeological site of Ancient Thira, at an altitude of 396 m. are just some of the island's attractions that should be included in your tour schedule.
You can reach the most striking beauties of Santorini by traditional boat, catamaran or speedboat, allowing you to make several stops for swimming and diving. The most popular sea tour of Santorini is that to Palaia and Nea Kameni (volcano), the Hot Springs and the small picturesque island of Thirasia. The diving enthusiasts have the opportunity to explore the underwater slopes of Caldera, caves or shipwrecks, choosing diving trips lead by certified and experienced divers. In the enchanting seabed around the caldera, you will discover colourful sponges, sea slugs with flashy colours (Nudibranchs), groupers, redfish, barracuda and many schools of other fish. Fishing trips are equally popular.
As for the beaches, you can choose out of many and for any taste. You can choose the organised beaches of Monolithos, a family beach with shallow waters, black sand, parasols and sunbeds and, specially for windsurfers, the beach of AVIS or Exo Gonia which is an extension of Monolithos beach. Particularly popular is the beach triptych of Perivolos, with black sand and clear waters, Perissa, with fine black sand, and Kamari, with dark sand and clear waters, parasols and sunbeds.
One of the most particular beaches is the White beach with white, towering rocks, pumice, black sand and white pebbles, clear waters, and the nearby Red beach with red, vertical volcanic rocks and fine, reddish pebbles.
In sharp contrast there are quieter, non-organised beaches like that of Kouloumpos with fine black and red pebbles, Pori a family beach near Kouloumpos and Vourvoulos, a relatively quiet beach with black pebbles, a few parasols and tamarisks. Whatever you choose, the magical waters of Santorini will not let you down.
Before leaving Santorini, it is worth to visit some of the many local wineries: ART SPACE WINERY-ANTONIS ARGYROS, KARAMOLEGOU ARTEMIS WINERY & GAIA WINERY (Exo gonia), CANAVA ROUSSOS & ARGYROS ESTATE (Episkopi Gonia), KASTELI WINES & KOUTSOGIANNOPOULOU WINERY/ VOLCAN WINES (Vothonas), SIGALAS ESTATE (Oia Baxedes), BOUTARIS SANTORINI WINERY & GAVALAS WINERY (Megalochori), CHATZIDAKIS WINERY & SANTOWINES (Pyrgos).