3 Days in Santorini: What To See

3 Days in Santorini is perfect for a stressless, but eventful vacation.

You will have the chance to see everything the island has to offer without being in a rush. The best thing about staying 3 days? You get to try out so many lunch and dinner spots. Sounds good to us.

Here’s a list of things to do if you have 3 days in Santorini.

Day 1 in Santorini: Bottom of the Island

Your first day in Santorini should be focused on spending the day at the bottom of the island.

This part of the island features the beautiful black sand and red sand beaches. These beaches offer hiking and relaxation, depending on how you’re feeling. This part of the island will also be cheaper than your Day 2, top of the island, adventure.

You should start off your day at Perissa Beach.

Sunrise at Perissa Beach (Black Sand Beach)

If you’re in the area of Perissa Beach, the sunrise is top tier.

One thing we noticed about Santorini is most people do not wake up early. There were a few tourists walking the beach at sunrise, but only a few. The sunrise paired with the mountain makes for a beautiful view. The sound of the ocean makes this peaceful.

Since most people on the island do not wake up early, you may have to wait an hour or so after sunrise to grab a coffee. The best thing, it’s worth the wait.

Sunrise at Perissa Beach must see for 3 days in Santorini
Sunrise at Perissa Beach, Santorini, Greece

Breakfast or Coffee at Perissa Beach

There were multiple restaurants and bars along the Perissa strip that served coffee.

Most of the breakfast food is not served until 10:00am/11:00am, but from our experience they will still let you buy a coffee until then. One of the first things the workers do in the morning is set up the beach chairs and restaurant tables. You will be able to have your coffee and relax by the ocean.

What is more perfect than that?

Our hotel at Perissa Beach had complimentary breakfast, so we did not eat breakfast at a restaurant. We loved our hotel’s breakfast, but if you are hungry, grab something out because you’re about to go on an adventure to the Red Sand Beach.

Coffee on Perissa Beach, Santorini, Greece

Visit Vlychada Beach

The Vlychada Beach is another black beach, but with different views in the front and back.

Only a 5.5KM, 11 minute, drive from Perissa Beach, you will get to experience another beautiful landmark with gigantic cliffs as the back drop.

Ocean View at Vlychada Beach, Santorini, Greece

The parking lot for this is easy accessible, especially by 4-wheeler. The google maps link for the parking lot is here.

If you want to walk this (and other) beaches, it is highly recommend bringing some beach shoes. The sand is not like any sand I’ve ever experienced before. It’s more of a crushed rock base than a soft sand base. You feet will start hurting and it is hard to walk either way.

Rock Formations at Vlychada Beach, Santorini, Greece

Lunch at Psaraki

Psaraki is a delicious restaurant close to the parking lot of the Vlychada Beach.

This restaurant specializes in seafood from around the island. We tried the shrimp, salmon, and tilapia here. All of them were great. If you are not feeling seafood, there are a few more places near this area for lunch.

It is best to stay in this area as you are in route to your next adventure for the day: the Red Sand Beach.

Explore the Red Sand Beach

The Red Sand Beach is one of the coolest parts of the island.

The parking lot is quite big for the beach, but you might need to walk if the front lot is full. Once you get to the start, there is a bit of “hiking” involved to get from the parking lot to the beach. Hiking is the best world I can come up with, but it’s more walking down a hill (and then back up). It’s a relatively easy hike, just be sure you have proper footwear on. There are drop offs on one side of the “trail”.

The free parking is located here.

There is also a beautiful church located near the parking lot. Definitely check this out. This area, as well as Akrotiri (where you will be finishing the day) are known for their churches.

The church near the Red Sand Beach is known as Ιερός Ναός Αγίου Νικολάου.

Red Sand Beach must see for 3 days in Santorini
Red Sand Beach, Santorini, Greece

Dinner in Akrotiri

The best place for dinner would be somewhere in Akrotiri.

We never had a dinner here, but it is close to the Akrotiri lighthouse. This will be your final destination on the day, so you should hang around the area. If you arrive early to the lighthouse, you may get a better parking spot.

Akrotiri Church, Santorini, Greece

Sunset at Akrotiri Lighthouse

The sunset is one of the most romantic, magical places on the island.

This location can compete with the famous town of Oia for sunsets. With the competition, comes more people. You will need to arrive at the lighthouse early to get a good parking spot.

The parking at the lighthouse is not your normal parking lot like the rest of the island. You will be expected to park along the winding road that leads all the way up to the lighthouse.

After you’ve finished catching your first sunset in Santorini, get some sleep because Day 2 will be another eventful day. If you’re staying in or near Perissa, you only have a short trip back to the room.

Day 2 in Santorini: Middle of the Island

Breakfast in Emporio

Emporio is a small village outside Perissa. This village has a few spots to grab some food. Maybe even a bit of breakfast. Emporio is on the way out of the village to a bigger place known as Imerovigli.

Lunch in Megacholori

Megacholori is known as a local village, where not many tourists are. The traditional scenery will leave you in awe with the bell tower arches, domed churches, and central square.

If you visit here, you will get a bird’s-eye view of how the locals live their everyday lives. You can catch a few cafes in this village for a cup of coffee. There are lunch restaurants as well.

Megacholori View Point - Must see for 3 days in Santorini

Wine Tour at Santo Wines

Megacholori is home to the three most popular wineries on the island.

Santo Wines is the tourist spot that everyone recommends. With that recommendation comes a lot of people. You will need a reservation the closer you get to high season. We went in May and lucked out with not needing a reservation during the day.

Santo Wines - Must see for 3 days in Santorini

Visit Imerovigli

Imerovigli is known as “The balcony to the Aegean” sea.

It is the highest standing village on the island of Santorini. While it is one of the quieter villages in Santorini, you will get beautiful pictures here. The blue domes tower over the Caldera and offer a panoramic view of the sea.

Hiking in Imerovigli

If you are interested in hiking around this area, there are 2 different adventures:

  1. Skaros – This famous rock looks over Caldera to the ocean.
  2. Hike to Fira – There is a gigantic hiking trail there stretches from Fira to Oia. It is 6 miles and takes 3-5 hours. You can always just do a few miles if you wish!

Dinner & Sunset in Imerovigli

There are numerous upscale, and middle scale restaurants in Imerovigli.

If you are interested in something more upscale, you could Kapari. This is upscale, but you won’t regret the sky colors of the sunset while you sip wine and enjoy Mediterranean dishes.

Athenian House is a more casual restaurant, but you still get the views. Honestly any of the restaurants in Imerovigli will have amazing food and a perfect sunset.

You could even stay in Imerovigli if you wanted to. This wraps up day 2 of your 3 days in Santorini!

Day 3 in Santorini: Top of the Island

Your final day of 3 days in Santorini will focus more on the top of the island.

Today will be the day you visit the Capitol, the Volcano, and finish up with a sunset at the best location in the world. Hope you got some rest! It’s another eventful day.

Hike to Ancient Thira

Ancient Thira is an archaeology site at the main top of Santorini.

You will know the spot, just by looking at the gigantic rock when standing on Perissa Beach. On top of the mountain you will find historic ruins and burials from the early days of Santorini.

If you plan to hike Ancient Thira, we recommend you going early in the day. The sun is scorching and you have little-to-no shade on top of the mountain.

The climb to the top of Santorini is long and windy. You will come across 15 switchbacks, but it is worth the drive to the top.

After you get done with the hike, and seeing the Aegean Sea from a different perspective, you’re off to the Capitol!

Explore Fira for Lunch

Fira (Thira) is the Capitol of Santorini, and there is plenty to do.

With it being the Capitol, it is recommended you park outside of the city. This will involve a bit of walking, but you will be able to get in and out of town quickly. We parked here and we passed tons of restaurants. This was a great place beside the main road to park, but it does fill up quickly.

If you have a 4-wheeler, you will have no problem squeezing in somewhere. Not to mention it’s free!

We walked to the Main Town Square of Fira to find lunch. You will find outdoor seating and an abundance of restaurants. We went with gyros of course (for the 8th time).

What’s better than that?

The best thing about being in Fira, you are close to the cable car that takes you down to the old bay. Down here are where most of the boat tours begin.

It is recommended you reserve your spots on these tours, as they fill up quickly.

Boat Tour to the Volcano of Santorini

The boat tour to the volcano of Santorini is a must-see.

The tour we took had 2 stops:

  • Volcano of Santorini
  • Hot Springs

The volcano of Santorini was the first stop, and it requires a bit of hiking.

Hiking to the Volcano of Santorini

The hike to the volcano is rated as “easy”, but there are no trees and shade. If you go on a hot day, BRING WATER. Maybe even some extra, you will need it.

You will not see actual lava, but you will see smoldering rock. The wildest thing is feeling heat from the sun above and heat from the volcano below you at the same time. There are beautiful views from all around the volcano. The Aegean Sea and hot springs offer views for miles.

Swimming the Hot Springs of Santorini

After you hike in the heat of the volcano, you are taken to the hot springs of Santorini.

We loved this, even though in May it was a bit cold. We were given pool floats to use in the water and it was necessary after a hot hike.

This boat tour will last a few hours, getting you back to the cable car just in time for dinner and a sunset in the famous town of Oia.

Dinner in Oia

Oia is the most known town of all in Santorini.

This is where you see all the famous sunset and blue dome photos. With it being the most known town, it is also the most popular. We recommend you making a reservation for Dinner in Oia, especially nearing sunset.

Some of the restaurants in Oia will offer a sunset view just from your dinner table. These will be more expensive and harder to find a reservation for. If you luck out and find one you should do it!

We ate at Blue Sky three times and we loved every dish from there. This restaurant does not have a sunset or caldera view, we found it for lunch and kept going back.

Blue Money Beer at Blue Sky Restaurant in Oia, Santorini, Greece

One night we decided to go a bit more upscale and eat at Karma. We loved the dishes here as well. Nick got the lamb with sweet potatoes and he gave it 5 stars.

Karma Restaurant must try for 3 days in Santorini
Dinner at Karma in Oia, Santorini, Greece

If you do not have a sunset view at the restaurant, pay the bill and go on an adventure to find a perfect sunset spot.

Sunset in Oia

If you are staying in Oia on this night, you will have no problem finding a view of the sunset.

You will have a view from your balcony (or hot tub). These rooms are more expensive, but the private sunset and views are the reason why.

If you do not have a room, there are an abundance of spots to view the sunset anyway. You will find the best views where the most people are.

Oia is a town that is only accessible by foot, so feel free to explore and find a private view of the caldera.

3 Days in Santorini FAQs

Is 3 days enough in Santorini?

3 days in Santorini is the perfect amount of days if you want to take in the scenery in a stress-free way.

How many days in Santorini is enough?

You should do at least 2 days in Santorini, but 3 days in Santorini would be better to see everything the island has.

Is 4 days in Santorini too much?

No, you can find plenty to do between eating, hiking, museums, swimming, and more!

Is 2 days in Santorini enough?

2 days in Santorini is on the fine line of not being enough, but you will get to see all the main points of the island.