8 Things Tourists Should Never Do in Santorini

Santorini
Santorini | © Anastasios71 / Shutterstock
Ethel Dilouambaka

Each summer, thousands of people flock to the marvelous island of Santorini. The white houses with blue doors covered in stunning bougainvillea, the sunset, the volcano, and the caldera are some of the reasons why the island has become such a popular destination over the past decade. But there are some things a visitor should never do in Santorini. Find out what they are below.

Don’t limit yourself to Oia

The lovely village of Oia, at the northern tip of the island, is undeniably one of the most photographed places in Greece, and rightly so. But there is much more to Santorini than its caldera views and sunset. The island is home to a plethora of villages, ancient sites, stunning beaches and even wineries worth discovering beyond the blue-domed whitewashed churches of Oia—make sure to explore it.

View of the caldera

Don’t break the bank on a meal for the view

The rule in Santorini is that you pay more for location and a view than for the food. Yes, some of the top restaurants offering splendid views over the sea are, in fact, worth it, but they shouldn’t be the only places where you dine. A delicious meal by the sea in Akrotiri or with a view of the black sand beach of Perissa may be just as delicious and cost you less than in Oia or Fira.

Don’t fall for the tourist traps

A sunset cruise or a donkey ride may all sound good—well maybe not the donkey ride—but more often than not, you will end up paying a lot to be squeezed in a sailing boat with big crowds just to enjoy the view or the sunset while you could comfortably be sitting on a chair in Imerovigli. While sailing around the volcano is not a bad thing, not doing it won’t make your visit any less spectacular.

Donkeys heading up to Fira

Don’t invade someone’s private home to get the view

Every day during the peak season, thousands of tourists flock to Oia in the afternoon to find the ultimate spot to watch as the sun sets on the sea and colors the sky with warm hues. More often than not, people sit for hours before the show to secure a good spot, sometimes overstepping on someone’s backyard or over their fence. Don’t be that person.

Don’t think Oia is the only option for the sunset

Speaking of the sunset, while Oia is undeniably one of the best places to watch it, it is not the only one. There are plenty of options across the island where you can hang out and enjoy the show, without stepping on someone else’s toes.

Sunset at the Akrotiri Lighthouse

Don’t think Santorini is like Mykonos

There is a reason why Santorini is considered one of the most romantic islands in Greece and is a top destination for weddings. As such, the island often attracts couples and not necessarily party animals like in Mykonos or Ios. While you will find clubs and bars in Kamari and Fira or hear of a beach party on Perissa Beach, you shouldn’t expect these to be all-night ragers.

Don’t be afraid to explore the hidden side of the island

Yes, Santorini is truly a unique island with fantastic views and picturesque caldera villages. But there are so many things you can see and do other than sitting by the hotel pool or shopping in Fira. For example, step back in time with a visit to ancient Akrotiri, and stop by the Museum of Prehistoric Thera and the archaeological museum in Fira to learn about this ancient civilization. Also, take a wine tour or a cooking lesson, and explore the hidden coves and beaches near the airport.

White Beach, Santorini, Greece

Don’t waste time looking for the perfect shot

A mistake that too many people make is to focus their time on capturing the most picturesque and stunning photos of Santorini rather than basking in the joy of simply being there. Don’t spend your time on your phone retouching photos before posting them online. Just enjoy the fact that you are there. Granted, you may never get another chance to visit, but no one can take those fantastic memories you make there away from you. Technology, on the other hand, is less reliable.

Santorini sunset
culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider

Hanna

women sitting on iceberg

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?

2 years.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?

It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.

WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?

I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.