8 day trips from Santorini

Excursions Santorin

Are you in Santorini and want to explore the region and surrounding islands? Here are our 8 recommended day trips from Santorini!

A dream destination for many holidaymakers, Greece is famous for its scattered islands. Each has its own identity and history. Travelling to the Greek islands means escaping for a happy vacation!

With its white houses, Santorini is presented as the showcase island of the Cyclades archipelago. Although little known to visitors, Santorini is actually formed by a volcanic caldera, now largely submerged, which has given the island its distinctive shape. This caldera is the subject of day trips from Santorini.

Speaking of escapades, here are the 8 excursions from Santorini we’ve selected for you!

1. Thirassía

Thirassía - excursions Santorin

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Ciro Orabona Creative

  • 📍 20 kilometers
  • ⛴️ By boat: between 10 and 50 minutes
  • 📷 Things to see and do: visit Manolas, hiking, beach

In all honesty, it’s hard to separate Thirassía from Nea Kameni. Both are essential day-trip destinations from Santorini. Which makes sense, given that they’re both part of the Santorini archipelago! Nevertheless, some excursions give priority to Thirassía, which is different from Nea Kameni.

Thirassía is one of the landward parts of Santorini’s volcanic caldera. Thirassía’s particular formation is a worthy representation of what a volcanic island is: small in area but high in relief, with no vegetation and difficult to get around. Thirassía is therefore a unique destination, different and very much appreciated.

In Thirassía, once you’ve discovered the village of Manolas, you’ll have the chance to do some great hiking with a steep gradient! The reward is sublime views from the top of the cliffs. Although there are a few beaches, the particularity of the area means that they can’t be as pure blue as those on Santorini. But we appreciate it all the same!

2. Nea Kameni

Nea Kameni - excursions Santorin

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Philip Lange

  • 📍 10 kilometers
  • 📷 What to see/do: hike the volcano crater, enjoy the hot springs, visit Manolas in Thirassía

When local agencies tell you about an excursion to Santorini’s caldera, they mention Nea Kameni rather than Thirassía, where you’re just passing through. Nea Kameni is therefore the most popular day trip from Santorini. The tour we suggest combines a visit to Nea Kameni with free time at Thirassía, to at least enjoy the view from the top of the cliffs.

Nea Kameni is a volcanic island, the heart of the submerged caldera. Its volcano, Tholos Naftilos, is relatively active, having last erupted in 1950. The crater is easy to reach, and the hike is not particularly difficult. In addition to the particularity of hiking around a crater, the view of the island of Santorini from the heights is particularly enjoyable.

Nea Kameni also boasts hot springs, which you can enjoy during your excursion. Finally, when you stop off at Thirassía, you can stay in Manolas for a drink and a magnificent view.

3. Heraklion

Héraklion - excursions Santorin

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Georgios Tsichlis

  • 📍 145 kilometers
  • ⛴️ By boat: 1h50
  • 📷 Things to see/do: Heraklion archaeological museum, Crete historical museum, old town, Rocca a Mare fortress, Knossos palace, culinary specialties

Although the two islands are far apart, it’s perfectly possible to take a day trip to Crete from Santorini. The best-served city on the large southern island is its « capital », Heraklion. And there’s plenty to do there!

First and foremost, Heraklion is a city of culture, with two of Crete’s three most important museums: the city’s archaeological museum and the island’s historical museum. Here, visitors can learn a great deal about the history of Crete, its various occupations and the relics found over the last few decades. The museums are also a great place to cool off in the scorchingly hot summer months!

Although not quite as enchanting as Chania, Heraklion’s old town is well worth a visit. You’ll love discovering its narrow streets and hidden treasures. Located at the end of the old town, the port is a popular place to stroll, and ideal for dining out and discovering the local culinary specialties based on fish and seafood. Finally, weather permitting, don’t miss the palace of Knossos, not in the town itself but just outside.

4. Paros

Paros

Photo credit: Shutterstock – saiko3p

  • 📍 135 kilometers
  • ⛴️ By boat: 1h50
  • 📷 Things to see and do: narrow streets of Parikia, Panagia Ekatontapiliani, village of Lefkes, old port of Naoussa, archaeological museum, beaches

Its location in the center of the Cyclades archipelago makes Paros an ideal excursion from Santorini. The island is particularly appreciated for its superb beaches and white houses, as on Santorini. Once you’ve arrived in Paros, your steps will lead you to the villages of Parikia, Naoussa and Lefkes.

Parikia is the port of Paros, famous for its pretty winding lanes, overlooked by the castle built from the marble of an ancient temple. Parikia is also home to the immense Byzantine church of Panagia Ekatontapilian (« Church of a Hundred Doors »), built in 326 and still standing despite an earthquake in the 18th century.

The island is well served by bus and cab. This will allow you to admire the village of Naoussa to the north, a pretty old typical port with superb white houses. Further south and inland is Lefkes, which resembles the narrow streets of Santorini. It’s clearly the best place on the island to enjoy a coffee on the terrace or have lunch! Finally, there’s nothing to stop you visiting the magnificent beaches of Paros at the end of the day!

5. Naxos

Naxos - excursions Santorin

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Aetherial Images

  • 📍 104 kilometers
  • ⛴️ By boat: 1h30
  • 📷 What to see/do: Temple of Apollo, Temple of Demeter, Agios Prokopios beach and other beaches, hiking, archaeological museum

Even though we’ve never set foot in Greece, the name Naxos resonates in our minds. Naxos is a very important island in the Cyclades archipelago and in Greek history. A day trip from Santorini is therefore a natural choice.

As soon as we arrive at the port, Greek mythology greets us with the remains of Apollo’s temple, ideally situated on a small promontory. It’s possible to go there, where, let’s be honest, the view is more attractive than the few remaining vestiges.

By contrast, the Temple of Demeter, located in the center of the island, is much better preserved. It is close to several old Orthodox churches and the Apano Kastro. The latter represents the ruins of an old castle. Weather permitting, we recommend a visit, at least for the panoramic view from the heights!

The climb to Apano Kastro is just one of the many hikes on offer on Naxos, and walkers will be spoilt for choice. Fancy a relaxing moment on the beach at the end of the day? The beach at Agios Prokopios is perhaps the most accessible for you, and you’ll find it impossible to resist its crystalline color!

6. Anafi

Anafi

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Cortyn

  • 📍 65 kilometers
  • ⛴️ By boat: 1h10 to 1h45
  • 📷 Things to see/do: monastery, beaches, hiking

Looking for a little peace and quiet on an excursion from Santorini? Then don’t hesitate to take a trip to the island of Anafi! Anafi is a small, isolated island in the southeast of the Cyclades archipelago. The island’s tourism development is one of the weakest in the whole of Greece.

As a result of this lack of tourist development, activities are rather limited, but in exchange you benefit from a certain tranquility. Hiking is therefore the most popular activity on Anafi, and sometimes even necessary, as the island has few vehicles. There’s an old monastery with a splendid view… but not everyone can get there by foot, and it’s a rather long walk!

Finally, if you love the beach but don’t like crowds, Anafi will be your dream destination. Here, in addition to being sublime, the beaches are relatively uncrowded.

7. Ios

Ios - excursions Santorin

Photo credit: Shutterstock – vivooo

  • 📍 53 kilometers
  • ⛴️ By boat: 35 to 55 minutes
  • 📷 Things to see/do: Chora old town, beaches, Homer’s tomb, hiking, culinary specialties

A classic day trip from Santorini, the island of Ios bears many similarities to its famous neighbor. As soon as you arrive at the port of Chora, the view of the white houses is reminiscent of Santorini! We love to lose ourselves in the cobbled streets, rising and falling, with their little houses, cafés and bars.

For fans of ancient literature, Ios is said to be the final resting place of the famous poet Homer. It’s hard to know the exact truth, but Homer loved to spend time on Ios, and his tomb is located on the north side of the island. You can also go there for the exceptional view of the deep blue sea from the promontory.

Speaking of the deep blue sea, Ios boasts a number of magnificent beaches, perfect for relaxing and taking a dip before heading off for a few more hikes around the island. Finally, be sure to try one of the many local restaurants to sample the culinary specialties of the famous Cretan diet.

8. Folegandros

Folégandros - excursions Santorin

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Aerial-motion

  • 📍 63 kilometers
  • ⛴️ By boat: 50 minutes
  • 📷 What to see / What to do: Chora village, beaches, Folegandros folklore museum, hiking

A lesser-known island in the Cyclades archipelago, Folegandros is an excellent idea for an excursion from Santorini. Like Anafi, Folegandros is less touristy than its neighbors. As a result, it’s still a pristine paradise, renowned for its pleasant hikes along cliffs and rocky hills.

As far as villages are concerned, Chora stands out. Aside from the name, which can be found on other islands, Chora is typical of the Cyclades, with its pretty white houses. But what makes it unique is that all motorized vehicles are prohibited! So you can enjoy it without a sound. The view from the Church of the Virgin Mary is also splendid.

If you have a little time, don’t miss the small Folegandros Folklore Museum, located in the middle of nowhere. It’s a typical museum from a bygone age, when the Greek islands were not yet overrun by mass tourism. And don’t forget to take a trip to the beach and sample the local culinary specialities in one of the many tavernas in Kastro, a district of the village of Chora!