9+ Hidden Things to Do in Santorini Gems

Stroll the cobblestone streets of Megalochori, where secrets of old whisper, but one hidden alley holds a mystery untold...
Date Published
March 8, 2024

Table of Contents

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But there's so much more to this island than just postcard-perfect views and Insta-bragging rights. Whether you're imbibing the rich flavors during a cooking class in Santorini or tracing the history embedded in every stone and ruin, this volcanic paradise offers you a treasure trove of experiences. From the serene strokes of creativity at Vlychada Sculpture Park to the adrenaline-pumping ascent up Skaros Rock, each moment here promises to etch memories on your soul. Can't you almost feel the sand between your toes as you lounge on the less traversed Perivolos Beach or the tantalizing breeze on a sunset photography hunt in Oia's lesser-known spots?

Grab your hat and sunglasses, because we're diving into

Wander Around the Traditional Village of Megalochori

Picture this: You're strolling down cobblestone streets, surrounded by quaint white-washed houses, vibrant bougainvillea flowers draping over the walls, and the air is filled with the scent of fresh baklava from a nearby bakery. Welcome to Megalochori, a village bursting with traditional charm.

Step into Megalochori and you're stepping into a world where time slows down. This village is the perfect spot for those who crave a glimpse into the simpler, yet enchantingly beautiful way of living on the island.

  • Immerse yourself in Greek culture: Unlike the bustling tourist streets of Fira, Megalochori lets you rub elbows with the locals. Indulge in hearty Greek dishes at a local taverna, and watch the world go by with a cup of rich Greek coffee in hand.
  • Photograph the stunning architecture: Megalochori is a photographer's paradise. Every turn offers a new view, with historical churches and intricate bell towers waiting for their close-up. Don't miss the chance to snap photos of the sun-drenched, timeless alleys.
  • Take a leisurely pace: In Megalochori, nobody's rushing. Spend a lazy afternoon exploring without a care in the world. A couple of hours here feels like a serene retreat from modern hustle.

While Megalochori might not offer the adrenaline of a zip line or the wild nightlife some seek, it's a haven for couples, families, or anyone who delights in culture-soaked wanderings. It is an escape that beckons visitors to breathe in the serene atmosphere and just be.

Before you leave, don't forget to check out the local pottery shops for some unique, handcrafted souvenirs. Spend a morning or an afternoon here, and let Megalochori's charm work its magic on you. Trust me, this place is good for the soul.

Discover the History of Emporio Village

Tucked away from the postcard-perfect caldera, Emporio village is a gem brimming with history that's just waiting for you to explore. Imagine wandering through narrow pathways, framed by Venetian castles and old-world charm, where every cobblestone whispers a thousand tales. Emporio isn't just a village; it's a leap back in time.

What makes Emporio's history unique? This little spot packs a mighty historical punch as it's the largest village on Santorini, and it thrived during the medieval era. Its stone-crafted homes and Byzantine churches were built as a fortress, meant to shelter locals from pirate attacks. Now that's some serious backstory!

  • Step back into medieval times as you trek through the Castle of Kasteli, one of the best-preserved castles of the island.
  • Marvel at the picturesque blue-domed churches, ensuring you have your camera ready because every angle is Insta-worthy.
  • Bask in the vibes of the Tower of Nimborio, a historical monument that exudes as much grandeur today as it did centuries ago.

For a genuine immerse-yourself-in-the-story moment, spend a morning or an afternoon here. You're not just passing through; you're part of Emporio's ongoing narrative. It's perfect for history buffs, families on the hunt for a teaching moment, or romantics ready to be captivated by stories of old.

Emporio village isn't just for the quiet contemplator; it's an exciting historian's playground. And trust me, you don't have to be a history geek to appreciate the feels of this place—it has a knack for turning everyone into a time-hopping enthusiast!

Let yourself get lost among the labyrinthine alleys. Who needs a map? Discovery is all about the surprise turns and the hidden corners, which, by the way, are fabulous for a spontaneous photo session. Just imagine the likes rolling in when your followers see you chilling in an ancient castle.

So, ready to join the club of those in the know? Emporio is more than just a history lesson—it's your chance to truly connect with the essence of Santorini beyond the typical.

Take a Scenic Walk in Firostefani

Picture this: Cobblestoned paths winding through whitewashed homes, blue domes dotting the skyline, and the sun casting a golden glow over the caldera. This is Firostefani, folks, not just a village but a ticket to blissful serenity. Slip on your comfiest shoes and get ready for a stroll that'll skyrocket your heart rate (because of the beauty, not the exertion, I promise).

A leisurely amble through Firostefani village is all about soaking in the Cycladic charm without the elbow nudges of mainstream locations. It's the kind of place where you can pause, take a deep breath, and actually hear your own awe. As you strut along the cliff, you'll be following a trail with the kind of views that'll make your Instagram followers green with envy.

Need to know how much time you'll spend here? Pace it out for a couple of hours if you're the mosey-along-and-smell-the-bougainvillea type or zip through in 30 minutes if you're on a mission (but seriously, don't rush it).

Parents, lovebirds, solo adventurers—Firostefani welcomes you all. The vibe is chill enough for granny to enjoy yet stunning enough to make that special someone’s heart skip a beat. Adrenaline junkies, sorry, but the biggest rush here is the view (which is pretty heart-pounding, to be honest).

So, let's raise the curtain on what's nearby! From Firostefani, you're just a gracious stroll away from the capital, Fira. It's close enough to brag about but far enough to escape the tourist hustle when you need some peace. Wrap up your explorations with a sunset that's so beautiful it'll feel like Mother Nature is flirting with you.

Remember, Firostefani isn't just a spot on the map; it's a place where memories cling to your heart like the ivy on Santorini's walls. Enjoy every second, you lovely people!

Indulge in a Santorini Cooking Class

Ever fancied yourself whisking batter with the azure waters of the Aegean Sea as your backdrop? Picture this: you're drenched in the warmth of Greek hospitality, surrounded by the heavenly scent of fresh herbs and olive oil, and hands deep in dough. Cooking classes in Santorini are not just about savoring flavors; they're a plunge into the Cycladic culture.

You, dear food enthusiast, can transform into a Greek cuisine prodigy for a day. Cooking classes in this island paradise aren't merely about learning to replicate a dish; they're about the laughter, stories, and customs that simmer alongside those pots and pans.

  • Discover the secret to a perfect tzatziki
  • Knead dough the traditional Greek way for that impeccable pita
  • Sauté locally grown veggies that taste like sunshine on a plate

Casting you in the lead role, these intimate classes are often hosted by local chefs or passionate cooks eager to share their culinary secrets. Spend some few hours here, and you'll leave not just with recipes, but with tales and an understanding of the Santorinian way of life.

Is it great for families? Absolutely. A dash of teamwork, a sprinkle of fun, and a bucketful of memories make it an ideal bonding activity. Couples, too, will relish the chance to flame up their romance over a shared love for food. And don’t worry, solo food warriors, there’s a warm seat at the table for you as well.

As you relish your homemade feast with newfound friends, gaze out, take in the views, and trust me, you'll feel like a local musing over the good life – Greek style. It’s not just a course; it's a tale of flavors waiting to be told through your very own epic culinary adventure.

Enjoy Peaceful Moments at Vlychada Sculpture Park

The Vlychada Sculpture Park is your go-to spot for tranquility cut with a dash of artistic flair. Imagine wandering amongst unique sculptures crafted by local artists, all while the Mediterranean breeze softly whispers through your hair. This isn't your average tourist trap; it's an open-air gallery set against a backdrop of dramatic cliffs and the serene sea.

If you're the type that craves a break from the usual sun-and-sand routine, this is where you'll find your bliss. The park boasts a collection of artworks that blend effortlessly with the natural landscape, giving you a cultural fix and a nature retreat all in one.

It’s perfect for:

  • Creative types looking to soak up some inspiration.
  • Couples seeking a romantic stroll away from the crowds.
  • Families wanting to spark a love for art in their kids.

Set aside a good hour or two to really take in the compelling works on display. You'll want to capture some photos, so charge that camera! And since it's nestled away from the strip of buzzing cafes and shops, why not pack a picnic? Just imagine, a feast for your stomach with a side order of feast for your eyes!

The Vlychada Sculpture Park is fitting for all ages and is especially a treat for those with a keen eye for art. It's a wonderful diversion for both locals who pass by to relish in their island’s artistic scene, and for wide-eyed tourists desirous of a unique slice of Santorini.

So the next time you're on the island, sidestep the well-trodden path and let your curiosity lead you to this hidden gem. Trust me, your Instagram will thank you for the one-of-a-kind photos you’ll snap! And don’t forget to wear your comfiest shoes—this is an experience that's as much about the journey as it is about the destination.

Hike to the Top of Skaros Rock

When you lace up your hiking boots and aim for an adventure off-the-beaten-path in Santorini, Skaros Rock beckons! This isn't your selfie-stick waving, elbow-jostling crowd scene. Nope. It's a serene escape where you challenge yourself with a bit of a climb and get rewarded with jaw-dropping views. Trust me, your Instagram feed will thank you.

Park yourself at Skaros Rock for a two to three-hour adventure that will have both your calves and your phone storage asking for mercy. Picture this: you're scaling the remnants of a 15th-century fortress, each step taking you higher above the caldera edge. The Aegean breeze? Your constant companion.

Now, if we jab our fingers at the 'who's-this-for' button, Skaros Rock is fantastic for folks who want a hit of adrenaline without the extreme-sport panic mode—it’s a moderate hike. Families brave enough to keep their tots close will find this journey just as enriching as singles or couples. However, little legs might tire quickly, so pack snacks and water.

Pssst... let me tell you a secret. The tippy-top is where you'll want to spend some quality time. So, pack a picnic, find your rock-throne, and bask in the glory of Santorini spread out below you. It’s rarely crowded, so it's like finding your own private viewing spot for the show put on by Mother Nature herself.

The scoop for local flavor? Meander back down and find a nook in the nearby village where a frosty frappe or a sweet scoop of gelato is never too far away (Ileana's Gelato is a must!).

Remember, you're here for the peace, the colors painting the sky as the sun arcs lazily—we're talking life-affirming stuff folks! And if you whisper sweet nothings to the universe, maybe it'll whisper back the secret to that Greek-island glow.

So, ready to step, leap, and live a bit of the Santorini magic? Lace up!

Visit the Less Traveled Perivolos Beach

Got your sunblock? Great, because you're about to take a trip to the serene Perivolos Beach, a hidden gem where the sand feels like warm sugar between your toes. Imagine stretching out on a sunbed and having all the space you could dream of because, guess what? This spot is a secret that tourists haven't completely caught onto yet—shh, keep it on the down-low.

Perivolos Beach is perfect for:

  • Lounging: With fewer crowds, you're in for uninterrupted sunbathing and relaxation.
  • Enjoying local cuisine: You can nibble on fresh Greek mezes at the charming beachside tavernas.
  • Spending quality time: Whether you're flying solo, with your significant other, or have the kids in tow, everyone has a spot on this expansive beach.

Here's the scoop: Perivolos beach boasts a coastline with onyx-colored sand—a unique sight that can make your beach experience quite the Instagram sensation. Plus, don't you worry about the amenities; despite being less traveled, this place has got you covered with trendy beach bars and cozy eateries sprinkled along the shore.

You should plan to spend at least 2-3 hours here—I mean, why rush when you've got paradise at your feet? Dive into a book, take a leisurely swim in the crystal-clear waters, or simply doze off to the sound of gentle waves. Bliss, I tell ya!

For families, this beach is a win-win. There's room to play and build epic sand castles while you kick back with a cool drink. For the adrenaline junkies, try out some water sports available along the beach. And when the sun begins to set, oh boy, the sky turns into an artist's palette. It's not just a beach; it's nature's theater.

Enjoy Sunset Photography in Lesser-Known Spots

Picture this: You’re perched on a secluded cliff, the sun is dipping low on the horizon, splashing the sky with colors only a painter could dream up. That's sunset photography in Santorini for you, but it's not just any sunset—it's the kind of spectacle that captures the very essence of Grecian magic, and you, my friend, have found one of Santorini's secret spots, far from the selfie sticks and jostling elbows in Oia.

Oia is renowned for its sunset views, but let's be real, everyone and their brother is going to be there. Wouldn't you rather enjoy a serene spot where you can actually hear the whisper of the sea and snap that perfect, crowd-free shot? Now that's the vibe you came for.

Take a leisurely stroll down cobbled paths less traveled and you'll be charmed by the hushed whispers of history and beauty that surround you. They say the best camera is the one you have with you, but in places like these, every shot is a postcard waiting to happen.

Set up your tripod in peace, or heck, just prop your phone against a rock (ancient Greek ruins will do the trick—sorry, historians!), and wait for the magic hour. It's just you, the sinking sun, and maybe a curious cat or two that call the surrounding white-washed houses home. And when the sky puts on its nightly show, you'll be ready to capture the spectacle without a tour group in sight.

You're not here for typical tourist traps; you're here to mingle with the locals, find your own rhythm, and create memories that are as unique as you are. So, whether you're a photography pro or just love a good sunset, stray from the beaten path and discover the quiet corners of Santorini that offer the perfect backdrop for your evening.

Remember, it's all about losing the crowd and finding your moment. Are you ready to take a shot at capturing Santorini's underrated sunset scenes? Dive in and let the island's hidden palette inspire you.

Sail the Aegean on an Eco-Friendly Tour

Imagine the breeze in your hair, the sun on your skin, and the smell of the sea – you're on a boat, but not just any boat. You're cruising the Aegean Sea in the most Earth-loving way possible. Yes, ecotourism in Santorini isn't just about staying on land; it's about taking to the waves without making them mad.

The blue waters beckon, calling you to a kind of adventure that feels both thrilling and responsible. On an eco-friendly boat tour, you can glide across the water on vessels that are designed to respect the marine environment. With sails billowing above you, you'll rely on the wind – a natural and renewable energy source that's as free as the spirits of the dolphins that might just leap alongside.

Don't forget, though, this isn’t a speedboat extravaganza. It’s a sweet, take-it-easy journey that's perfect for families or even a group of friends looking to escape the buzz of their phones and the hum of AC. Onboard, learn about the local sea life, the ecosystem, and how Santorini’s community keeps the waters pristine. You're not just a tourist; you're a protector of the sea, and that feels pretty darn good, doesn't it?

Spend a half-day or even a full day if you're feeling extra seafaring. Between the sun, the sea, and the sail, it's an experience that ties you to the elements. You'll return to shore not just with a sun-kissed glow but with a deeper understanding of what it means to travel gently on our planet.

Now, lean back, sip some locally-sourced refreshment, and let the horizon dazzle you with its endless dance of waves. Ready to set sail? Make sure you embark on an eco-friendly boat tour that aligns with your love for nature and adventure!

Discover the Byzantine Castle Ruins

Picture this: you're standing atop a sunset-kissed hill, the azure of the Aegean Sea stretching into infinity before you. Ruins whisper tales of bygone eras around you — welcome to the Byzantine Castle Ruins of Santorini.

If you're itching to time travel, this is your ticket back to a Santorini that once was. The Byzantine castle ruins beckon with a walk through history that's as visually stunning as it is enriching. If you're the intrepid explorer or history buff, earmark 2-3 hours for a visit that'll take your breath away—not just with the climb, but with the views, too.

A visit here is an authentic step back in time, and what you'll discover is that these ruins aren't just rubble. They stand guard to the island’s past glory, and fittingly so, as they were once the island's vigilant watchtowers. You don't need an old map to find treasure here; every turned stone is a testament to the rich tapestry of Santorini's storied past.

You can't miss the allure that calls to couples seeking that perfect romantic backdrop, but it's just as magnetic for solo travelers and families. Want to rally the youngsters on an adventure of knightly tales? This is the spot.

Here's the skinny: the ruins are a sightseer's delight and the perfect insta-worthy locale, but they're also a peaceful escape from the tourist hustle. Take in a 360-degree panorama that's a full-on feast for your eyes — and don't forget to pack a snack, because you'll want to linger awhile.

So you see, the Byzantine Castle Ruins aren't just a stop on the map. They're a bona fide time capsule where each stone holds a story, waiting for you to uncover it. You won't just visit — you'll be part of its continuing tale.

Relish a Wine Tasting at a Local Vineyard

Imagine sipping on a crisp glass of Assyrtiko, with hints of citrus and volcanic minerality tickling your taste buds. You're at a local Santorini vineyard, where rows of gnarled grapevines stretch out like sunbathers soaking up the Grecian sun. This is no mere wine tasting; it's an experience, one that perfectly marries the island's ancient traditions with modern indulgence.

Santorini vineyards are unlike any others in the world, thanks to their basket-shaped vines that hug the ground, a technique developed to protect the grapes from fierce winds and scorching sun. Your wine tasting journey here isn't just about guzzling down glass after glass; it's more like taking a course in liquid history.

At the heart of this vineyard experience, you'll get to:

  • Understand how the unique volcanic soil contributes to the aromas and flavors of the local wines.
  • Discover age-old winemaking techniques passed down through generations.
  • Sip your way through different varietals, from the crisp whites to the sun-drenched reds.
  • Bask in the warm hospitality of the winery's hosts, who treat you like family and dish out stories as rich as the wine.

And the best part? You're in for more than just the vino. As you gaze upon the caldera's edge, you'll be treated to a panorama that's as intoxicating as the wine in your hand. This kind of magic doesn't happen in just any tasting room.

Whether you're a connoisseur or just curious, a visit to a Santorini vineyard offers a blend of sensory delights fit for everyone. Plan to spend a leisurely afternoon here, because once you've taken your first sip, you're going to want to savor every single moment. Trust me, this is the kind of place where memories are made, one toast at a time. Cheers to that!

Explore the Mystical Caves of Pyrgos

Imagine yourself wandering through the charming streets of Pyrgos village, where every turn brings a picture-perfect scene straight out of a postcard. And then, you stumble upon them—the mystical caves of Pyrgos. There's an air of mystery that hugs the entrance like a centuries-old secret just waiting for you to uncover.

Why are the caves in Pyrgos so unique?

The caves of Pyrgos served as homes and storerooms back in the day, carved directly into the rock, they kept locals safe and sound from pirate invasions (yeah, real-life pirates!). They're not just holes in the ground, they're incredible feats of historical ingenuity.

Now, these aren’t your everyday tourist caves. They're a bit off the beaten path, which means fewer crowds and more authentic vibes. So, what makes them a must-visit?

  • Historic Significance: Discover how locals lived in the past while keeping yourself cool, just like they did in the blistering summer months.
  • Unique Architecture: These are no mere holes in a cliff; they're a testament to human creativity, shaping their homes from the very earth beneath their feet.
  • Peaceful Exploration: Without the buzz of tourist chatter, you can hear the whispers of history echoing off the walls.

While in these caves, let the cool air give you a break from the Grecian sun. And with layers of history surrounding you, it's like stepping into a time machine but without any pesky paradoxes.

Pyrgos itself offers a mix of quaint village life and panoramic views that make you want to pinch yourself. Are those blue-domed churches for real? Yes, they are! After exploring the caves, meaningfully meander around the village. Revel in the slow pace, treat yourself to a local snack, or capture those Instagram-worthy shots.

So, who's this little adventure for? It's a bullseye for history buffs, lovers of the unique, and those who enjoy the thrill of finding something different. Whether you're seeking a respite from the sun, a touch of history, or just a cool story to tell, the caves of Pyrgos are calling your name.

Spend an hour, or linger a little longer—but remember, stories like these are the treasures you’ll take home, not just another souvenir. Welcome to Pyrgos, where every step is a story, and every cavern a world of its own. Now, isn't that worth the trek?


Q: Things to do in Santorini for couples?

A: You'll find plenty of romance with sunset views in Oia, wine tasting tours, and private sailing excursions.

Q: Things to do in Santorini Greece in September?

A: Enjoy the warm weather with a beach day at Perissa, visit the ancient ruins of Akrotiri, or savor the quieter crowds at local wineries.

Q: Things to do in Mykonos Greece?

A: Hit the famous beaches like Paradise and Super Paradise, explore the charming town of Chora, and dance the night away in vibrant clubs.

Q: Free things to do in Santorini?

A: Stroll through the picturesque alleys of Fira, watch the sunset in Imerovigli, and visit the ancient Thera ruins without spending a dime.

Q: Things to do in Santorini for young adults?

A: Young adults will love quad biking around the island, cliff jumping at Amoudi Bay, and partying at beach clubs in Kamari.

Q: What to do in Santorini for a day?

A: Maximize your day by touring the caldera, dining on Greek cuisine with a view in Fira, and ending with a sunset in Oia.

Q: What is Santorini best known for?

A: Santorini is famous for its dramatic cliffs, striking sunsets, white-washed buildings with blue domes, and vibrant volcanic beaches.

Q: What you can't miss in Santorini?

A: Don't miss the breathtaking Oia sunset, the stunning views from Fira, and a visit to the volcanic Red Beach.

Q: How many days do I need in Santorini?

A: Ideally, spend at least three days to explore the island's highlights, relax, and immerse yourself in the local culture.

Q: Is there a lot to do on Santorini?

A: Absolutely, from historical sites like Akrotiri to wine tasting, hiking the caldera edge, and soaking up the sun at unique beaches.

Final Words

Well, there you have it – from the charm of Megalochori and the history in Emporio, to the jaw-dropping views in Firostefani and the culinary delights of a Santorini cooking class. We've trekked to Skaros Rock, relaxed at Vlychada Sculpture Park, and chilled on the sands of Perivolos Beach.

You're now in the know about capturing stunning sunset snaps away from the crowds and sailing the Aegean with the wind in your hair. Remember those Byzantine castle ruins? Definitely worth the visit. And let's not forget about the mouth-watering wine tasting experiences and the enchanting caves of Pyrgos.

Each spot has its unique story, inviting you to create your own adventures. So pack your bags and make lasting memories doing all the incredible things to do in Santorini, Greece. Trust me, you'll thank yourself later.Ever wonder if heaven on Earth is real? Look no further than the sun-kissed, iconic caldera cliffs of Santorini, Greece. It's one thing to daydream about the perfect azure blue domes—the kind you've double-tapped a million times on Instagram—but it's another to walk the age-old cobblestones of quaint villages like Megalochori, each whispers of traditional charm and tucked-away tales that almost demand to be explored. Imagine waking up to a horizon that's been painted with the world's most awe-inspiring sunrises and heading out for a leisurely stroll in the staggeringly picturesque village of Firostefani.

Meet the Author
Aria Ohlsson
Aria Ohlsson, the Instagram storyteller extraordinaire, takes you on adventures through her enchanting narratives. An avid hiker, she scales peaks and weaves tales of mountaintop triumphs. When she's not conquering trails, you'll find her immersed in classic novels, finding inspiration for her next tale.
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