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Epic 3 Days in Santorini Itinerary, Greece

CREATE THE BEST SANTORINI ITINERARY FOR 3 DAYS

Planning a perfect 3-day Santorini itinerary can be overwhelming as there is more to do and see than you might initially think. But 3 days in Santorini is a good amount of time to experience this exceptionally beautiful island and visit the main sights.

Before (finally) visiting, I was worried I would be disappointed. The pictures from Santorini looked perfect… too perfect. Oia, in particular, seemed unrealistically beautiful. So, to avoid disappointment, I postponed the Santorini trip several times. However, when I finally visited, I was anything but disappointed. Santorini is like a dream!

SANTORINI TRAVEL TIPS FOR 3 DAYS

If you are here to find out about the best activities for Santorini in 3 days, read on as I will share my tips for your itinerary: what to do and see plus travel tips.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via my link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.

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How to Get Around

Here are my thoughts on the best ways to get around Santorini.

  • If you want absolute independence, you will need to rent a (small) car or ATV (quad bike), both of which are pretty popular among visitors. 
  • I, however, solely used public transportation and was absolutely fine with it. 
  • From Santorini Airport, a bus gets you to the main town/village centers (which, in my case, was in Fira). There is a central stop in each village, which means you might have to walk for a few minutes to your accommodation (for me, this was a 5-minute walk). But personally, I would rather walk than worry about finding a parking space.
  • I used the bus every day. Tickets start from less than 2€ and provide excellent value for money. You buy the ticket once you are on the bus. Cash only.
  • Besides that, I walked a lot. I spent 5 days in/on Santorini and probably walked around 10-20 kilometers (6-12 miles) each day. If you want to explore Santorini on foot, wear comfy shoes because there is a lot of uphill and downhill walking, and there are some cobblestone streets.

Where to Stay in Santorini

I loved several areas in Santorini.

  • Fira is a good place to stay as it is the busiest village and it is very easy to get around from there.  If you plan to use public transportation, it is the best place to stay as there are many bus connections. You can find budget hotels in Fira. Check out this unique hostel close to the main bus station and the city center. It is not the cheapest hostel but probably the best.
  • Oia is quite remarkable, but accommodations here are pretty expensive. For luxury accommodation, Oia is the perfect place to stay. Charisma Suites seems like the perfect choice for anyone who wants to splurge. Check out prices here.
  • If you are looking for a quieter place, consider staying in Pyrgos. It is a beautiful gem that is getting more popular but is less crowded yet a charming village. Check out this 4* hotel in Pyrgos seems a good place to stay if you look for a decent boutique hotel that is quite unique.

THINGS TO DO – 3-DAY SANTORINI ITINERARY

Of course, it really depends on the time of your arrival and on the village you choose to stay in. I stayed in Fira and had 5 days in Santorini. You can use this Santorini itinerary regardless of where you stay, but you might have to tweak it so that it is perfect for you, too.

DAY 1 OF 3 DAYS IN SANTORINI

If you stay in Fira, perfect. If you stay in another village (even Oia), I recommend taking a bus early in the morning to Fira and then following this itinerary for the first day. If you arrive during the day, feel free to swap the days.

Hiking From Fira to Oia

This day is dedicated to the most famous hike on the island – from Fira to Oia. The hiking trail from Fira to Oia is under 11 km (6.5 miles) and you will pass several other cute villages before arriving in the most beautiful village of Oia.

These will be the main stops along the way:

FIRA – FIROSTANI – IMMEROVIGLI – SKAROS ROCK – OIA

The hike took me almost a full day as I stopped many times, had lunch along the way, enjoyed the cute villages I came across, and took trillions of pictures. I walked more than 20 km that day because I did a few detours. However, it could be done in 2-3 hours if you wanted and just rush.

  • Along your hike, you might come across people offering donkey rides. Please, do not support this. You directly support animal abuse. 
  • Security: Santorini felt super safe but I had one very unpleasant encounter. On my hike, a guy who offered donkey rides left his work and followed me for some time. He would not leave me alone until I started screaming loudly. If you are a solo female traveler, be aware! It was after passing the villages and before the uphill hike close to Oia – keep that in mind.

Fira & Firostefani

Fira will be your starting point today but not the main stop today. It is best to start the hike here – you will get an idea and see some of the main places of Fira already on this day. With 3 days in Santorini, you can spend an afternoon/evening here on day 2 or 3. 

Fira is Santorini´s capital – it is quite big and busy. You have plenty of shops, restaurants and of course, churches. Even if you do not spend much time in Fira, you will get a glimpse of the village before continuing your walk to Firostefani.  

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Best things to do in Santorini, Greece with Arzo Travels
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I did not even really realize I was in another village as Firostefani starts right after Fira. The footpaths between the two towns/villages are paved, and it is an easy walk. While this is also a beautiful place, there is not much to do and see and so I recommend not spending too much time here.

Slowly walk towards one of the most beautiful villages on Santorini – Imergovli.

Imergovli

Imergovli is stunning and one of my favorite places in all of Santorini. Of course, you have another (famous) white church with a blue dome (Anastasia Church). It is probably one of the most picturesque places in all of Santorini – also because of the flowers. 

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Santorini hike, Greece with Arzo Travels
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Beautiful places in Santorni alog a hike in 3 days Arzo Travels
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Many take a detour to Skaros Rock from Imergovli. The walk to the rock should take about 60-90 minutes.

Keep in mind that you still have to do some walking, so if you are still super fit and it really is of interest, visit the rock.  I skipped it and rather used this “energy” for strolling Oia

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After leaving all the villages and Skaros Rock, it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere.

Someone wrote that it is one of the most beautiful hikes in the world. I’m afraid I have to disagree and thought it was somewhat boring at times (surely an unpopular opinion). However, I loooooved strolling the villages, and I think this hike is a must for anyone who can do it. 

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Hiking From Fira to Oia Arzo Travels
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From Skaros Rock, it is about 8,5 kilometers (5 miles) to the next and last village we will visit on his hike: Oa.

Oia

Oia is absolutely breathtaking! This is especially true if you hike and do not arrive at the bus station, because you will see the prettiest buildings if you hike into Oia, in my opinion.

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  • For the sunset, I, like most other people, headed to Oia Castle. Unfortunately, this is the place where almost everyone is headed to. It gets very crowded and busy. 
  • If you want to have dinner with an ocean view, you should hurry as the restaurants fill up quickly.

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Ammoudi Bay in Oia

Ammoudi Bay is a small port located 200 steps below Oia and popular because of its many seafood restaurants. Though it looks beautiful, I wasn’t the biggest fan for several reasons.

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  • Please only go down it if you have the energy to go all steps up again.
  • You could use donkeys and horses to get up/down. I watched how the people treated their animals. I cannot say something bad – however, those animals are being tied up, not able to move in the hot sun unless they carry around (heavy) people.
  • So, if you ride donkeys or horses in Santorini, you support animal abuse!
  • If you are tired and know you cannot walk up and down yourself, skip Ammoudi Bay.

I came to Oia again on another day, just really loved it, and wanted to see every single street. It is quite small, so normally a few hours should be fine to see everything.

This is how I define a busy but perfect day in Santorini.

DAY 2 OF 3 DAYS IN SANTORINI

Day 2 is going to be another beautiful day – though not the typical Santorini activity.

Pyrgos

So, this time is for exploring the beautiful yet very underrated village of Pyrgos, which is inland of Santorini. Tiny, yet gorgeous, it makes for a perfect day trip (okay, half a day is great, too).

  • Pyrgos is about 5 km from Fira.
  • You can get there by bus or car (or just by walking).
  • I took the bus and got dropped off at the “main square,“ and from there, I walked around Pyrgos

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  • Explore the few streets and their pretty buildings.
  • If you have to do some souvenir shopping, do it here.
  • There are not many streets, and if you are a “fast walker,“ you will see everything in an hour.
  • However, take your time. Walk every street and take it easy for the day. 

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Also, enjoy lunch here before spending the afternoon at the beach. Which one? Well, you can choose between several.

Perissa Beach

I feel like Santorini isn’t the best place for a beach vacation in Greece. There are definitely better options. But after 1,5 busy days in Santorini, you will be happy to find somewhere you can relax and maybe even swim in the ocean. 

Fira to Oia Santorini Arzo Travels
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I suggest an afternoon at Perissa Beach.

  • It is one of several black beaches on the island with a laid-back atmosphere.
  • And though there are better beaches in Greece, there are not many black beaches outside of Santorini, so check it out.
  • Whether you rent sunbeds or lay on your own towel, this is a great time to rest and swim.
  • Besides the black beach, you’ll also find many restaurants, bars, and little shops lined up, as well as a big church – just next to the beach. 
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Church in Perissa

DAY 3 OF 3 DAYS IN SANTORINI

If you have 3 days in Santorini, I suggest doing a volcano tour.

Volcano Tour

I booked a volcano tour at the last minute and then did not receive my confirmation on time, so I was not picked up (but the company refunded me without problems).

  • Some very affordable volcano tours include a cruise to the volcanic islands. Depending on the tour, you can also swim in hot springs and see an active volcano.
  • There are many tours offered, so you can see which one is best for you: Check out this Volcano tour in Santorini here.
  • This cruise is more luxurious.

Fira

For the afternoon, I suggest spending your time in Fira. It is much bigger than Oia and has a town rather than a village feel. 

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  • It does get busy in the afternoons, so do not expect tranquility, but rather a lively and busy atmosphere. 
  • There are several beautiful churches to see and many shops, cute streets, bars, and restaurants.
  • The prettiest restaurant in Fira is surely Kaliya – though it turned out that the flowers were fake.

Beautiful restaurant in Fira Arzo Travels
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 After all the walking on Santorini, I also went to a fish spa and got a different kind of pedicure.

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  • The sunset here is, if you ask me, as beautiful as in Oia.
  • I got to watch several sunsets from here, and my favorite spot was at Keti Hotel – away from the crowds.
  • Once the sun sets and it gets dark, I suggest enjoying night views close to the cable car station in Fira.

Fira Santorini sunset, Greece with Arzo Travels
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Fira Santorini at night, Greece with Arzo Travels
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FINAL THOUGHTS ON THIS 3 DAYS IN SANTORINI ITINERARY

Santorini was like a dream come true, and if you do not have the crowds (so avoid the busy summer months), I am sure you will enjoy it, too.I had an amazing time in/at/on Santorini. I stayed 5 days, and in hindsight, I think 3 days is a good amount of time to spend in Santorini. Many people come and see Santorini in a few hours – you can get an idea of what the island is about. However, to see it without the crowds (and without the stress), you should stay three days in Santorini.

You can see some hidden gems like Pyrgos and also do some tours.  This Santorini itinerary for 3 days will allow you to see some of the best the island has to offer. 

  • Check out more gorgeous places to visit in Greece.

Stay safe!

Safe Travels, Arzo
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