Santorini lies in the Aegean Sea and is one of the Cyclades islands. Many people don’t know this, but the rugged landscape comes from a volcanic eruption (woah!).
Santorini used to be fairly inexpensive to visit, but it’s blown into a huge tourist destination, leading to more expensive prices.
Fortunately, there are several ways to save money. Santorini is such a majestic and beautiful landscape, simply walking around and enjoying the scenery is a great way to spend a day.
Quick tips to save money in Santorini:
- Use Airbnb in Santorini. Here is the code to get $55 on your first Airbnb stay.
- Save money on flights with Ebates, a (legit!) cashback website. Create an Ebates account here. Make an online purchase of $25 and get $10 as a welcome bonus! So easy.
- Read this list of budget travel tips.
Here is a list of the 10 best free things to do in Santorini.
One of the best things to do while traveling is to go on a hike. It’s free fun and you get to explore an entirely different landscape.
Santorini has several hikes to choose from that lead to amazing views. To beat the crowds, hike early in the morning.
Fira to Oia is a highly recommended hike rated as moderate in difficulty. It’s a heavily trafficked hike because of its views and scenic landscapes. It’s a point to point hike at 6 miles or round trip at 12 miles. Most people do the point to point hike only. You can learn more about this hike here.
Imerovigli to Skaros Rock is about a mile hike (round trip) heavily trafficked trail. The hike is rated as moderate and offers incredible views. You can learn more about this hike here.
Even though Santorini is a small island, there are hundreds of religious monuments including churches, chapels, and monasteries. They each offer a wide variety of special architecture, colors, and bell towers.
The Orthodox Metropolitan Church of Santorini sits at the bottom of the town of Fira and can also be seen from various parts of Santorini. This church was built in 1827. From here, you get an incredible view of the volcano of Santorini. The artwork within this church offers a beautiful mosaic on the outside and a bell tower, along with rolling arches in the courtyard. The interior of the church is adorned with frescoes made by a local artist.
The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist is an absolutely stunning piece of art. Opened in 1823, the church is located in the city center.
Related: 12 Week Travel Savings Plan
3. Amoudi Bay
Amoudi Bay is one of the top sights people come to see when they visit Santorini.
That that also means it’s going to be really busy, so keep that in mind.
It’s an incredible view and is a great place for photos. The water is crystal clear blue and offer a stunning landscape.
There are a lot of stairs to get here, so keep that in mind. A good thing to note is there will be donkeys to ride – but don’t! Reviews have come in saying these animals are overworked and look like they’re regularly abused, as most animals are when they are involved in tourist activities. The donkeys also cover the paths to Amoudi Bay with poo that (obviously) leaves a strong stench.
4. Three Bells of Fira
The Three Bells of Fira is actually a church, but it’s also known for it’s perfect spot to take photos overlooking Santorini. Spotting this church is fairly easily, as it’s the most photographed church in Santorini, so you’ve probably seen it in photos before.
If you walk passed the front of the church from Fira, you will see a staircase on the right which leads to incredible, iconic views for photos.
This is a popular spot for sunset photos, which obviously means it’ll be crowded.
5. Perivolos Beach
Perivolos Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Santorini. It’s a famous location for weddings and has a lively beach resort.
This beach offers beautiful views, water, and black lava sand. If you’re not much of a play in the water type of person, Perivolos Beach offers umbrellas, beach volleyball courts, beach bars, restaurants, and dancing areas.
People also enjoy coming here at night for a nice moonlight walk.
6. Vlychada Beach
Vlychada Beach is located on the south coast of Santorini. Not only do you get a stunning beach, but you also get incredible carved cliff views that formed from a natural process of a volcano, wind, and the sea.
This area is also known for the Sailing and Yachting Center. Various small boats anchor in the marina here. Vlychada Beach is also home to the Tomato Industrial Museum, which was a former tomato factory. You can enjoy a guided tour here that shares the traditional methods of using tomatoes, which is popular in Santorini.
7. Monastery of Profitis Ilias
The Monastery of Profitis Ilias offers one of the best views of Santorini due to it being at the highest point of the island.
This chapel is small, but offers beautiful art and woodwork.
8. Byzantine Castle Ruins
The Byzantine Castle Ruins is one of the most photographed sites in Santorini. The ruins are essentially the remains of a 15th-century castle. There is not much left of the castle, so most people only come here for the incredible location for photos.
This is a great location to visit during both the sunrise and sunset.
9. Akrotiri Ruins
Akrotiri is a must while visiting Santorini due to its well-preserved site that is most oftentimes referred to as the Pompeii of the Aegean.
Visiting the ancient ruins costs about $13 U.S. dollars depending on when you’re visiting. Though this isn’t totally free, I had to put the Akrotiri Ruins on this list due to it providing such an incredible and unique inside look at Santorini.
It is recommended to get a guide while you’re visiting this site to explain the history of the area.
10. Walk around at night
Santorini offers incredible views during the day, but the evening views are just as amazing. There’s no wonder so many couples come here for their wedding or honeymoon as it’s a very romantic setting.
Even if you’re traveling solo or with a family, taking an evening stroll is a must.
Santorini is fairly safe, so walking around at night shouldn’t cause any problems. As always with anywhere in the world, it’s best to stay aware of your surroundings and if anything feels odd, peace out.
An important thing to remember any time you’re visiting a new city or country is to be respectful of the area and the people. Santorini is an incredibly beautiful country, but it’s also become overcrowded with tourists.
Make sure to pick up your trash (or trash that isn’t even yours), be nice to locals, and support local small businesses.
What do you recommend doing in Santorini?
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For all the photography lovers, this place is a heaven! Also known as Theraion Polis (city of the Therans), this place attracts plenty of tourists every year. enjoy the spectacular views of Santorini from here. Byzantine castle ruins are basically the remains of a 15th-century castle located between Oia and Ormos. As you reach the citadel, you will be able to see whitewashed buildings, a windmill, and deep blue ocean roaring through the cliffs. This is one of the most photographed places. It would be great if you come little early and watch the sunset from here.