Planning a perfect 3-day Santorini itinerary can be overwhelming as there is more to do and see than you might initially think and 3 days in Santorini isn’t that much actually but enough to see some of the most beautiful places on the island.
SANTORINI ITINERARY FOR 3 DAYS
Santorini is really like a dream come true – 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.
As a solo female traveler I headed to one of the most romantic and popular destinations for love birds… and I loved it! So, if you are here to find out how to spend 3 days in Santorini, read on as I will share my tips for your Santorini itinerary, and you will also get some travel tips for your Santorini trip!
SANTORINI PIN FOR LATER
HOW TO GET AROUND
If you want absolute independence, you will need to rent a (small) car or ATV, both of which are quite 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 (for me, this was a 5-minute walk), but I would personally rather walk than worry about finding a parking space.
I used the bus basically every day. Tickets start from less than 2€ and provide great value for the money. You just buy the ticket once you are on the bus.
WHERE TO STAY
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 really the best place to stay as there are many bus connections.
Oia is quite awesome actually, but accommodations here are pretty expensive and it is located on the north of the island – quite far from other villages and attractions.
If you are looking for a quiet place, consider staying in Pyrgos which is a beautiful gem that is getting more popular but is less crowded yet a very cute village.
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. This itinerary can be used regardless of where you stay, but you might have to tweak it so that it is perfect for you, too.
DAY 1 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.
This day is dedicated to the most famous hike on the island – from Fira to Oia. Passing several other cute villages before arriving in the most beautiful village of Oia is a must-do in Santorini.
The hiking trail from Fira to Oia is under 11 km (6.5 miles) and it took me almost a day as I stopped many times, had lunch along the way, and enjoyed the cute villages I came across and took trillion of pictures. I walked more than 20 km that day, so I did a few detours.
However, if could be done in 2-3 hours if you wanted.
Depending on where exactly your hike in Fira starts, you will get to see quite a bit of Fira already before continuing your walk to Firostafani. I did not even really realise I was in another village as it starts right after Fira.
Then there is a small village named Imergovli – another beautiful village (one of my top 3 in all of Santorini) with another famous white church with a blue dome (Anastasia Church). However, because of the flowers, it is probably one of the most picturesque places in all of Santorini.
You can either quickly pass all the villages or take your time and roam the streets and check out the shops (and cute cafes and restaurants).
Many take a detour to Skaros Rock from Imergovli – I did not (add an additional 60-90 minutes to your hike if you do).
After leaving all the villages, it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere. The views of Santorini are beautiful. Someone wrote that it is one of the most beautiful hikes in the world – I disagree and thought it was somewhat boring at times (unpopular opinion), but I loooooved strolling the villages and I think this hike is a must for anyone who is able to do it.
I took the time to walk around Oia. It 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, in my opinion.
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.
This is a busy, but perfect, day in Santorini.
Ammoudi Bay is a small port located 200 steps below Oia and popular as it has also many seafood restaurants.Though it looks beautiful, I wasn’t the biggest fan. Most likely because I do not like seeing dead animals hanging on some ropes.
TIP: However, if you have energy left, go down but please only do it if you have energy to go all steps up again.You could use donkeys and horses to get up. I watched how treated their animals. I cannot say something bad.
However, those animals are being tied up, not being 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. So, if you are tired and know, cannot way by yourself, skip Ammoudi Bay.
I came to Oia again on another day, just because I had more time and really loved it. But it is quite small, so normally a few hours should be fine to see everything.
DAY 2 IN SANTORINI
Day 2 is going to be another beautiful day – though not the typical Santorini activity.
So, this time is for exploring the beautiful, yet very underrated, village of Pyrgos, which is on the inland of Santorini. It is about 5 km from Fira and can be reached by bus or car (or just by walking). I took the bus and got dropped off at the “main square,“ and from there, walked around Pyrgos.
Tiny, yet gorgeous, it makes a perfect day trip (okay, half a day is great, too).
Explore the few streets and its pretty buildings, and 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.
Also, enjoy a lunch here before spending the afternoon at the beach. Which one? Well, you can choose between several.
I feel like Santorini isn’t the best place for a beach vacation in Greece. There are definitely better options. But after 2 busy days in Santorini, you will be happy to find a place where you can just relax and maybe even swim in the ocean.
I suggest an afternoon at Perissa Beach – one of several black beaches on the island with a laid-back atmosphere. Besides the black beach, you’ll also find many restaurants, bars, and little restaurants lined up, as well as a big church – just next to the beach.
Whether you rent sun-beds or lay on your own towel, this is the time to rest and swim. And though there are better beaches in the country, there are not many black beaches in Greece, so at least check it out.
3 DAYS IN SANTORINI
If you have 3 days in Santorini, I suggest doing a volcano tour in Santorini. I booked a 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).
However, there are some very affordable volcano tours that 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.
For the afternoon, I suggest spending your time in Fira – it is much bigger than Oia and has a town rather than a village feeling.
It does get busy in the afternoons, so do not expect tranquility, but rather liveliness and a busy atmosphere. There are several beautiful churches to see, as well as many shops, cute streets, bars, and restaurants.
The prettiest restaurant in Fira is surely Kaliya – though it turned out that the flowers were fake.
After all the walking on Santorini, I also went to a fish spa and got a different kind of pedicure.
The sunset here is, if you ask me, as beautiful as in Oia. I got to watch several sunsets from here and my favourite 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.
This Santorini itinerary for 3 days will allow you to see some of the best the island has to offer. However, you will also notice that there is even more to do and see, and thus, you might want to come back to explore other places and attractions another time as 3 days in Santorini is a good time to spend on the island but it surely is not enough. Check out more gorgeous places to visit in Greece.