4 Days in Santorini: A Complete Guide

4 Days in Santorini is your dream vacation.

Do you want to see everything the island has to offer and have a relaxing time doing it? 4 days is a perfect amount of time to spend on the island.

If you want to make the most of your 4 days in Santorini, we recommend getting your own vehicle. This allows you to do everything on your time and not the buses’ time.

Here is a complete itinerary if you have 4 days in Santorini:

Day 1 in Santorini: Bottom of the Island

Your first day in Santorini will be focused around the bottom of the island.

The island of Santorini is crescent moon-shaped and surrounding a volcano. This means one side of the island will get sunrise views and the other will get sunset views.

You’ve more than likely seen pictures and heard about the sunset in Oia, but the sunrise at Perissa Beach is just as stunning.

Your first day in Santorini will be relaxing at the beaches and recovering from your crazy flight in.

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 not many. The sunrise paired with the mountain makes for a beautiful view. The sound of the ocean during this time is 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, Santorini, Greece

Relaxing 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.

Coffee on Perissa Beach, Santorini, Greece

Hanging around Perissa and Perivolos beach until the afternoon sounds like a perfect day. If you need some ideas of things to do in Perissa Beach, there are plenty of ideas.

Perivolos beach is connected to Perissa beach. If you walk along the beach (away from the big mountain) you will end up in Perivolos. This beach is just as safe, relaxing, and has great food.

Grabbing some lunch here is a good plan.

Next up you will go see the other cool beaches on this side of the island.

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 we’ve ever experienced before. It’s more of a crushed rock base than a soft sand base. Your feet will start hurting and it is hard to walk. The sand is from a volcano, after all.

Rock Formations at Vlychada Beach, Santorini, Greece

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 word 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 and archaeological site.

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

Red Sand Beach must see for 4 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.

Wine Tour at Santo Wines

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

  • Venetsanos Winery
  • Santo Wines
  • Gavalas Winery

Venetsanos Winery 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 4 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: Volcano of Santorini

Most of the boat tours take off from the Old Fira Port. Which is at the bottom of Fira. You must ride the cable car down from Fira to the Old Port to get there.

The volcano of Santorini is one of the most fascinating and important parts of the island.

Yes, it is an active volcano. The active volcano is actually beneath the water, but tours will take people to the lava-created islands near the volcano.

These islands are known as Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni.

Nea Kameni is the island which you can hike, and Palea Kameni is the island featuring a hot springs you can swim.

The tour we booked took us to both. We recommend booking the tour ahead of time.

We went to Nea Kameni first for the hike.

Hiking Nea Kameni (Volcano of Santorini)

The hike is rated as “easy”.

The worst part?

There are no trees and shade. If you go on a hot day, BRING WATER. Maybe even some extra, you will need it.

You can feel the heat beneath the ground while you’re hiking it! The hiking tour is one of the coolest thing we got to experience. The views of the Caldera and Aegean Sea are breath-taking.

Nea Kameni Hiking Information

Distance: 1.6 miles (Loop)
Elevation Gain: 
314 ft
Estimated Time: 
45 minutes
 Nea Kameni Trailhead

Swimming Palea Kameni (Hot Springs of Santorini)

The hot springs of Santorini was the second leg of our boat tour.

After hiking in the heat, you will want to cool off in the hot springs. The hot springs is known to be therapeutic effect because of the high sulfur count. Relax in the springs and have the most beautiful views of the Aegean Sea there are.

Our tour gave us foam noodles to use as a float. After the heat drained us on the hike, the noodles were a life saver.

After being exhausted from the boat tour, you will probably want something easy for dinner. There are plenty of things to grab in the Fira Square.

Coming back to spend time in Fira is on the to do list!

Hot springs of Santorini is a must see for 4 days in Santorini
Palea Kameni (Hot Springs of Santorini)

Day 4 in Santorini: Top of the Island

Your final day of your 4 days in Santorini will focus on the top part of the island.

Today is the day you will get to see the famous the Capitol of Fira and finish up with the most beautiful sunset in the world in Oia.

We highly recommend starting your day with Ancient Thira. It is not a hard hike. If you go in the morning you will beat the heat. Like the volcano, there is no shade. You are in direct sun the entire hike.

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.

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?

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 4 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 views are the reason why.

If there isn’t room, find a spot in the square. 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.

This finishes up your final night of 4 days in Santorini. You’ve seen most of the best things the island has to offer a tourist!

4 Days in Santorini FAQs

Is 4 days in Santorini enough?

4 days in Santorini is the perfect amount. You will get to see almost everything the island has to offer in a relaxed setting.

What is there to do in Santorini in 4 days?

Spending 4 days in Santorini would allow you to:

  • Sunrise from Perissa Beach
  • Relax on Perissa Beach
  • Walk the Red Sand Beach
  • Visit Akrotiri Archaeological Site and Lighthouse
  • Hike Ancient Thira
  • Explore the Volcano of Santorini
  • View an Oia Sunset

How many days should you spend in Santorini?

We think 4 days in Santorini is the recommended amount. 1 day in Santorini is hectic, 2 days in Santorini is still action packed, and 3 days in Santorini is finally slowing down and enjoying the island.

Is 4 nights in Santorini too much?

4 nights in Santorini is not too much. You will need to the after exploring all day and getting back to your room after the beautiful sunsets.