A tiny slice of paradise in the Mediterranean, the iconic Cycladic island of Santorini is a picture-perfect holiday destination. In fact, it looks exactly like the photographs you see in brochures and on Instagram. The white-washed buildings really do cling to the cliffs on this volcanic island, as do blue-domed churches that match the sea and the sky.
Santorini’s main town, Fira, is beautiful, as is Oia, another much-photographed village on the island with views that extend to the horizon. Taking in the magnificent panorama at sunset is a great way to end another perfect day. Hiring a scooter will take you all over the island to explore its many treasures, including vineyards where the island’s legendary white wine is produced. You can also island-hop to discover tiny islands offshore, including Anafi, which boasts a sandy beach.
Why we love Santorini holidays
- Santorini is the ideal romantic honeymoon destination.
- The island boasts black volcanic sand and pebble beaches including Kamari and Perissa.
- This is where to travel for the perfect sunset.
- Oia one of the most beautiful places in Greece.
- We love dining on fresh seafood and locally-produced white wine.
- Visit ancient ruins from Byzantine, Roman and Hellenistic times.
- Santorini is a living active volcano – and it is spectacular.
On the volcanic island of Santorini, life continues as it has for centuries. Still, the island’s popularity and its beauty keep it up to date, as do the numerous shops and restaurants where you can dine and enjoy breathtaking views. Visit Santorini, Greece, with a holiday package from Thompsons Holidays.
Things to do in Santorini
Holidays in Santorini are unlike any other island vacation. Instead of white sandy shores and swaying palms, there are volcanic black sand beaches, rugged cliffs and white-washed villages. Things to do in Santorini include exploring the villages, dining on the freshest seafood and best local wines, enjoying the water sports and experiencing the nightlife. Santorini holidays are unique because the island is so distinctive.
Things to do in Santorini
- Sail around the island on a catamaran to see the dormant volcano, craters and hot springs.
- Explore the narrow, cobbled streets of Fira to see cave dwellings and sacred churches.
- Visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thera.
- Take a scuba diving lesson to see a magical underwater world.
- Explore Akrotiri Lighthouse with its dramatic coastline and gorgeous views.
- Enjoy hiking along the caldera to see where the city of Atlantis is rumoured to have once stood.
- Discover the charming port of Amoudi Bay below Oia, a little fishing village with quaint tavernas.
- Walk from Fira to Oia through some fascinating villages.
- Taste gorgeous white wine in one of the island’s wineries.
- Head to Santorini’s highest point, Profitis Ilias, with a monastery on top of the mountain.
Santorini holidays are the perfect choice for romantic honeymoons and anniversary celebrations. Families love the island because of its wide variety of activities. And if you’re travelling in a group of friends on a Greek island-hopping adventure, Santorini will be a highlight! It’s all available to you when you book your Santorini holiday package with Thompsons Holidays.
Know before you go...
- The best time to visit Santorini is in the warmer months, late April to early November.
- High season (summer – late June to early September) experiences very high temperatures and can be crowded.
- Low season is winter, from November to March.
- You will fly from Johannesburg to Athens and either fly or take a ferry to Santorini.
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to Athens direct: 9 hours, 30 minutes. Flight from Athens to Santorini: 45 minutes. Ferry from Athens to Santorini: 5.5 to 8 hours.
- The best way to get around Santorini is to hire a scooter.
- Avoid supporting the donkey rides (see ‘how to be a responsible traveller’).
- Lightweight clothing and beachwear! Because of the uneven cobbled streets and steep alleys, be sure to pack plenty of flats – sandals are best.
- Dress modestly when visiting religious sites.
- Santorini enjoys 13 hours of sunshine a day in summer – make sure you protect yourself with sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical, including the donkey rides as these animals are often poorly treated. There are alternatives if you don’t wish to walk, such as hiring a scooter.
- Santorini is an island, so be mindful of the waste you create.
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; instead take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other’s cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
Out of season
We’re sorry! The holiday you’re looking for is not in season. Luckily, we have loads of other exciting options. Take a look!