With its beautiful white edifices topped with blue domes, charming and vivacious tavernas, and gorgeous beaches in hues of red, black, and white, Santorini is the quintessential Greek island. It’s also small enough to get a good feel for even if you only have one day. Here’s how to maximize 24 hours on Santorini.
One of the best ways to see Santorini is from the sea, and most visitors to the island make a point to sail out into the caldera, where there’s a small mass of still steaming volcanic land known as Nea Kameni and a pleasantly warm hot springs that spills out into the sea. Numerous boat tours go out to the island and usually stop long enough for you to have time to hike up to the top of the islet. It’s best to go in the morning when temperatures are coolest, particularly if you’re visiting during the hot summer months.
After returning to shore, grab lunch and then head south to check out two of Santorini’s most important sights: Red Beach and ancient Akrotiri. Start with Akrotiri, where you can see old Minoan Bronze Age settlements that were covered during an eruption around 1613 BC. Excavations to the area have brought up everything from pottery to buildings, and much of the excavated areas are shielded from the sun. From here it’s just a short drive to Red Beach, named as such because of the rusty hue of its volcanic rocks and sand.
Finish up at the beach in time to make it up north by the time the sun goes down. Santorini is known for its amazingly vivid, colorful sunsets, and the coastal town of Oia is considered the best place to watch them—there are also plenty of great places to eat in the area once night has fallen. Alternatively, head out to a local dinner show where you can watch live music and traditional Greek dancing as you dine on local cuisine.