Best Santorini travel attractions today? Fira, Santorini’s capital, is one of the best places to see on the island. It’s the perfect Cycladic town, a real postcard scenery. Wander in the city’s alleys and discover the breathtaking viewpoints of the sea and the caldera. You will for sure fall in love with the island (even if it’s often crowded!). From Fira, follow the beautiful walking trail to reach the villages of Firostefani (only a 10-minute walk) and Imerovigli (the highest point of the caldera, 30 minutes away from Fira). Plan at least between 1 and 2 hours, as you will stop every 2 meters to enjoy the view and take pictures! You can also walk to the small port of Fira Skala. It’s quite easy to get down the 587 steps, but getting back up can be more difficult, especially under the sun! See even more details on Perissa.
The peninsula on which Oia is located is limited from the west by the 331 m a.s.l. high volcanic peak of Mavro Vouno (Greek Μαύρο Βουνό) and 293 m a.s.l. high peak of Kokkino Vouno (Greek Κοκκινό Βουνό) (More on this topic: Volcanoes Mavro Vouno and Kokkingo Vouno) Oia belongs to the administration of the Aegean Islands, South Aegean region, the regional unit of Oia, of which it is the capital. In addition to Oia with its neighboring towns, the Oia regional unit also includes the second inhabited island of the archipelago – Thirassia.
Near the village of modern Akrotiri, 12 kilometers southwest of Fira, the ancient Minoan settlement of Akrotiri was buried below lava following the 16th-century BC volcanic explosion that created the caldera. At the Akrotiri Archaeological Site, visitors can walk on pathways through the debris of the town to see remains of the clay buildings of this once thriving town. It is so well preserved that it’s often compared to Pompeii. The site has remnants of multi-level buildings, pottery, and drainage systems, proving that Santorini was a flourishing and prosperous island before the eruption and probably lived from shipping and trading. Santorini’s connections with North Africa can be deduced from the outstanding frescoes (most of which are now in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens) that decorated its houses. The site of the Akrotiri ruins reopened to the public in 2012, following several years of closure.
How many days to visit Santorini? Ideally, you should spend at least 3 days in Santorini. You can visit Fira and Oia on your 1st day, then explore the rest of the island, go on a tour, or relax at the beach during the next 2 days. Here are my recommended Santorini itineraries depending on the duration of your stay. If you don’t feel like walking too much, you can take a guided bus tour. You need to book it in advance here. During the day, you will visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri, then stop at the Red Beach and discover the village of Emporio. You will also swim in Perissa, taste wines and admire the sunset in Oia. This excursion is a great way to discover the best of Santorini in only 1 day!
The capital of Santorini, Fira (Thira) is made up of whitewashed cubic houses and terraces, winding lanes, little squares, and blue-domed churches perched on the cliffs 300 meters above the caldera. From the small port of Skala, Fira can be reached either by walking or riding (mules are for hire) up the steep and winding stepped path (587 steps) or by taking the cable-car. It can also be reached from neighboring towns via the Fira to Oia scenic trail that takes you along the caldera cliff. Ferries dock at the port of Athinios, connected to Fira by road, while cruise ships put down anchor in the caldera, and passengers are transported to Skala by tender. Fira lives principally from tourism, and many of its buildings now serve as small hotels, apartments, restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, and jewelers. See additional info on santorini-more.com.