Santorini in a Day: A Whirlwind Adventure for Cruise Ship Explorers

Spending one day in Santorini is like stepping into a dreamy postcard come to life. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be captivated by the island’s beauty and charm. Wander through the narrow streets of Oia, with its iconic blue-domed churches and whitewashed buildings perched on the cliffs. Take in the breathtaking views of the caldera and the shimmering Aegean Sea as you explore the picturesque villages and boutique shops.

Indulge in the delectable local cuisine, savoring traditional Greek dishes and sipping on refreshing local wines. Don’t forget to immerse yourself in the island’s rich history and culture by visiting ancient sites like Akrotiri or exploring the fascinating museums. As the sun begins to set, find a cozy spot to witness the famous Santorini sunset, painting the sky with hues of gold, pink, and orange.

One day in Santorini is a whirlwind of beauty, tranquility, and unforgettable moments that will leave you longing to return for more.

To help you make the most of your one day in Santorini, Greece, this itinerary will not only help you navigate the island’s highlights, but also soak up it’s wonderful beaches, from Red Beach to Black Sand Beach!

Start your Morning Cruising the Caldera

Climb aboard the 74-foot Ocean Voyager or the 80-foot Tahiti catamaran for a 5-hour cruise around Santorini in the Aegean Sea. Set off on a journey of discovery that will first take you to the hot springs, then the Red Beach, and finally the White Beach. Swim and snorkel and tuck into a delicious meal onboard.

Start your adventure with a comfortable hotel pickup and set sail for beautiful Red Beach (picture below) to swim and snorkel.

Continue to a secluded White Beach, only accessible from the sea, for more swimming and snorkeling in the shadow of the towering white cliffs. Onboard the catamaran, savor a barbecue supper of salads and grilled meat and veggie options.

Buy a ticket in advance to make sure that you have a ticket for the specific day you want to go.

Hike to Skaros Rock

Embark on an unforgettable hiking adventure to Skaros Rock in Santorini. Your hike to the Skaros rock starts in Imerovigli and the church of Agios Georgios (Saint George). The church is the perfect place for preparation and relaxation before the hiking.

This iconic landmark perched atop a dramatic cliff offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the island’s picturesque caldera. As you navigate the winding path (see picture below), you’ll be immersed in the island’s natural beauty, passing by charming villages and vineyards along the way.

The reward at the end of the trail is truly awe-inspiring, with the opportunity to witness a magical sunset or simply soak in the awe-inspiring vistas.

How to Get to Skaros Rock

The Skaros Rock hike is really pretty straightforward, with one way down and back.

The path is clearly marked and begins in Imerovigli, on the stairs that lead down from the Grace Hotel (I can guarantee you’ll be staring at their pool enviously as you make the sweaty return journey back up the stairs to Imerovigli!).

Alternatively, if you’re completing the Fira to Oia hike, you can follow the path left from Blue Note Restaurant.

How Long is the Skaros Rock Hike?

The hike takes about 45 minutes one way from the edge of Imerovigli to the outcrop, but shouldn’t be underestimated; it’s mostly up and down, and absolutely should be avoided in the middle of the day when the heat is searing (we know this because we made this mistake so you don’t have to).

You could also do the Skaros Rock hike as part of your longer Fira to Oia hike (guide coming soon!) – just add another 1-1.5 hours to your total itinerary.

Hiking to Skaros Rock is not just an exploration of nature, but also a journey into the history and charm of Santorini. So lace up your hiking boots (or gym shoes), breathe in the fresh island air, and get ready for an adventure that will leave you with lasting memories.

Best of all, the hike is FREE but make sure to bring plenty of water! Try to avoid hiking this in the middle of the day (I learned the hard way) and please wear proper sun protection!

Take a Sunset Winery Tour

Are you ready for some relaxation after your busy day?

How about learning about the history of winemaking in Santorini and what makes it so famous all over the world?

Visit both traditional and modern wineries and have the chance to witness how Santorinian winemaking has grown over time. Taste unique signature wines at each location.

Immerse yourself in Koutsoyannopoulos, which hosts important artwork by Greek and foreign artists in its old winery dating back to 1861. Discover the fascinating grounds, including a modern winery offering renowned products of high quality. 

Admire incredible views over the Caldera and volcanic islands from Venetsanos winery. First built in 1947, take the chance to discover the history and traditions as well as new winemaking techniques. Finally, visit Roussos, one of the most traditional wineries in Santorini.

Enjoy an Evening Stroll

You’ve had an extremely long day by now and it’s time to wind down.

Take in the last views of the caldera or grab a traditional Greek dish on the balcony of the many restaurants above the Aegean Sea. Look for crowded restaurants (worth the wait) or highly rated restaurants using Google Maps or Apple Maps before you even step foot into a restaurant. 

You don’t want to get stuck with an incredible view and a less than desirable palette of food. 

Traveler Tip: The restaurants overlooking the caldera will be much more expensive than those inland.

In Conclusion

If you have more time: If you’re lucky enough to have more than one day in Santorini, consider exploring other parts of the island. Visit the ancient site of Akrotiri, an archaeological wonder that offers a glimpse into the Minoan civilization. Relax on the unique black sand beaches of Perissa or Kamari. Take a wine tour and visit local vineyards to sample Santorini’s famous wines. And don’t forget to take a boat tour to explore the island’s impressive coastline and swim in the crystal-clear waters.

Remember, Santorini is a place of beauty and relaxation, so take some time to soak in the island’s ambiance and enjoy the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle.

While its popularity means more visitors than ever, if you visit during the shoulder season, you’ll be able to appreciate this beautiful destination with fewer crowds. 

For more information, check out this super detailed Santorini Travel Guide I wrote that includes more things to do, costs, safety tips, transportation advice, and ways to save money

Book Your Trip Now!

Below are my favorite companies I use time and time again when I book my travel. 

  • Rakuten – Get the Best Coupons & Promo Codes at places like, Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline and many more. Sign Up for a Free Account with Rakuten to Save Today!
  • Chase Travel Portal – If you have a Chase account, this is by far the best way to book travel and earn miles/points while doing so. If you don’t have a Chase account, I highly suggest getting the best travel rewards credit card in the Chase Sapphire Prefered
  • CapitalOne Travel – In my opinion, the second best travel rewards credit card. Use the CapitalOne travel portal to book airfare, hotels and rental cars using your points & miles.
  • HomeStay – Homestay is a popular form of hospitality and lodging whereby visitors share a residence with a local of the city to which they are traveling.
  • SkyScanner – Skyscanner is a great flight search engine which searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. While I always start with Momondo, I use this site too as a way to compare prices.
  • – Booking probably has the widest selection of budget accommodation in the world. In our studies, they constantly found the cheapest rooms. I also like their easy-to-use interface and no-money-down policy.
  • RocketMiles – Book hotels on Rocketmiles and earn thousands of miles and points per night on every booking. Or, earn gift cards for your favorite purchases.
  • Selina Hostel – This is the best hostel accommodation in the world. Their unique CoLive stays, artwork and location are the best. Not to mention, they are a great value travel brand!

For companies, check out my favorite travel companies section that includes even more of my favorite travel companies that will help you value travel!

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