One Day in Santorini – The Top Things to Do and See

One Day in Santorini – The Top Things to Do and See

Santorini Greece is probably one of the most popular and picturesque destinations in Europe. People flock from all over the world for the famous sunsets, iconic white roofs, and luxury travel experiences. While summer in Santorini is incredible, it is also incredibly crowded and expensive. If you want to visit without breaking the bank, visiting on a cruise might be the best option. This guide to one day in Santorini shares the best things to do and travel tips for your quick visit.

I’ve visited Santorini on a cruise twice, and it’s always blown be away. The views and scenery are truly incredible. Santorini also has some of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen. I love this destination so much; I plan to go back someday for a longer trip.

If you only have one day in Santorini, like I have in the past, this guide will help you make the most of your time. Learn how to navigate the island and what you can’t miss during your day trip.

Frequently Asked Questions about Santorini Greece

Before we get into what to do in Santorini in one day, here’s a glance at some frequently asked questions about the island.

When is the best time to visit Greece?

The most popular time to visit Santorini is during the summer. This is when the weather is warm and sunny, and the island is the most crowded. To take advantage of the warm weather and avoid some crowds, I recommend shoulder season in May or September. Greece is beautiful year-round, but can be a bit chilly in the winter.

How to get to Oia from the cruise port?

Cruises will port in the town of Thira, which has some restaurants and shops, but is not the most popular place to visit on the island. To get to Oia, the main town on the island, you can either take a boat, bus, or taxi. Cruise lines will offer different excursion options for transportation from the port to Oia. We opted for a one-way boat trip and one-way bus trip. This allowed us to experience both options and see a bit more of the island. Note, these options are a bit chaotic and crowded, but still easier than finding a taxi on your own.

What is the currency in Greece?

The currency in Greece is the Euro, but credit cards are widely accepted.

Where to Stay in Santorini

If you’ve stumbled upon this blog and are fortunate to be spending more than one day in Santorini, here are the top two hotels I recommend. I haven’t personally stayed in either of them but have heard great things about them. Being familiar with the island, I can also confirm the location of these hotels is great.

Kirini Santorini – This hotel is around 5 minutes outside of Oia, making it a tranquil, yet convenient option. It has one of the most beautiful infinity pools I’ve seen, overlooking the Mediterranean. Rooms come with nice patios, overlooking the water, and some have private pools or hot tubs. The hotel also has a fine-dining restaurant and spa.

Kima Oia Suites – This hotel is the perfect way to experience Santorini luxury without completely breaking the bank. The hotel has a small pool area with huge views of the water. The rooms are modern, large, bring the bright white style of Oia architecture inside.

Itinerary for One Day in Santorini

With one day in Santorini, I recommend choosing one excursion to do. This will allow you to experience one highlight of the island, while having additional time to explore Oia.

Before or after your tour, spend some time walking around Oia and checking out local shops. Oia is the most popular town on the island, where you will find the white buildings and great ocean views. Its also a great place to grab a bite if you are there around mealtime.

There are three excursions in Santorini that I recommend depending on what type of traveler you are:

For the Adventurer: ATV Island Tour

This ATV tour allows you to see a ton of the island in a short amount of time. You will split your time between the roads and natural terrain. See sights like a black sand beach, volcano, and scenic cliffs. You’ll also pass through some lesser-known villages and enjoy a local fish lunch. I recommend this ATV your if you like adrenaline, want to avoid the crowds, and appreciate natural beauty.

For the Wine-Lover: Wine Tasting Experience

When I think of wine tasting, I think of destinations like France or Tuscany. There is also great wine produced in Greece! This wine tour takes you to three popular wineries in Santorini to taste local wines with some food pairings. This tour is great if you appreciate wine but is also a great way to see more of the island beyond Oia.

For the Laid-Back Traveler: Small Group Luxury Catamaran

If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you know I’ll take any excuse to get on a boat. This luxury catamaran day trip is a fantastic way to see the island from the water. You will sail to scenic areas around the island, have the opportunity to swim twice, and enjoy a BBQ lunch with unlimited beer and wine. I recommend this option if you want to kick back and relax.

Summary of One Day in Santorini

I’ll be honest, one day in Santorini is not long enough and will leave you wanting more. However, that is a perk to visiting places on a cruise; you can get a taste for destinations and decide where to go back for longer.

To make the most of your day in Santorini, choose one of the three activities listed above. Whether you see the nature, enjoy some wine, or kick back on a boat, your day in Santorini will be incredible. In addition to your excursion, take some time to wander the white streets of Oia, stopping for shopping and photo ops as you go.

If your ship departs in the evening, be sure to catch a famous Santorini sunset to round out your perfect day trip to the island.

For more European vacation inspiration, check out my complete three-week Europe itinerary.