Best of Santorini in 3 Days (2023)
No longer off the beaten path, Santorini is a popular island destination that offers stunning views and a taste of Greek island life. With just a long weekend to explore, here’s how to make the most of your time in idyllic Santorini in 3 days.
As you’ll notice from the tips throughout, this Santorini itinerary is intentionally written for the first time Santorini solo traveler and/or older traveler (I am over 50 and have been traveling solo FOREVER). Yet, anyone can use this travel itinerary it to plan and book 3-day Santorini travel or more.
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All You Need for 3 Days in Santorini
Here are all of the sites you need to successfully book this perfect 3 days in Santorini itinerary. I even give you my Fira hotel pick as a wonderful, sustainable and budget friendly option for long weekend Santorini solo travel.
I recommend you bookmark and use these sites early to lock in your 3-day Santorini itinerary and get the best Santorini Greece travel deals.
Why You Don’t Need a Santorini Car Rental
Being an island, you’ll find that renting a car or ATV is popular. However, you don’t need to rent a car or ATV in Santorini to get around on this Santorini itinerary.
When you stay centrally in Fira, as on this itinerary, you can rely on walking and the public bus service for most of your transportation needs.
Catching a taxi (you’ll find many are shuttle buses) works for trips to wineries for self-guided trips. Your hotel and winery will be happy to call a taxi for you. Typical one-way fare is approximately 15 Euros plus tip.
If you really wish to drive between all points (I do not recommend when wine tasting, however), I would advise renting a car not an ATV. ATV’s are (obnoxiously) loud and not as convenient as a small rental car (think navigation and air conditioning needs).
The Ultimate Santorini Solo Travel Guide
In addition to this 3 day Santorini itinerary, don’t forget to use my Ultimate Guide to Santorini Solo Travel to plan your Greece solo travel. It is the ultimate one-stop-shop guide for all you need to know to plan a Santorini solo trip with:
- Best Time to Visit Santorini
- Getting to Santorini Greece
- How to Get Around Santorini
- Santorini Solo Travel Safety
- Essentials to Pack for Santorini
- Best Places to Stay in Santorini
- Best Things to Do in Santorini
- Santorini Dining, Nightlife and Shopping
- Best Booking Sites for Santorini Travel
- Top Santorini Budget and Ecotourism Travel Tips
If you’re a first-time traveler to Greece, also use my amazing Greece Solo Travel Guide full of tips on culture, entry requirements, currency, tipping, using electronics, safety, and a lot more.
More Greece Solo Travel
- Best of Zakynthos Greece in 3 Days
- The Ultimate Zakynthos Solo Travel Guide
- 7 Best Europe Beach Destinations for Solo Travelers
5 MUST DOs in Santorini
Yes, you will get to do all of these top Santorini activities in Santorini in three days. Watch the video and get inspired to start packing your bags.
Ways to Do Santorini MUST DOs
Book Your Flight to Santorini Early to Save Money
Best Three Days in Santorini Itinerary
I was first in Santorini in 1995 when it was off the beaten path, as far as Greek islands go, and had a rustic feel to it. Now, that Santorini is a thing of the past.
More and more tourists flock to Santorini. It’s better known towns, Fira and Oia, have more of a glitzy-glammy feel now with the high-end shopping and dining options. There are also more wine tasting tours.
Today’s Santorini can still provide, however, a mix of the rustic with the cosmopolitan befitting all tourist types, making this long weekend Santorini itinerary ideal.
That said, get ready to discover the best of today’s Santorini in just three days. From watching the sunset in Oia to exploring the ancient ruins of Akrotiri, exploring Fira to unforgettable wines, food, and friendly locals, this Santorini itinerary will help you make the most of your long weekend in Santorini, a stunning Greek island.
You won’t be rushed, but do put on your exploration hat and get ready to fall in love with the white-washed buildings, turquoise waters, ancient history, incredible wines, and the world-famous cuisine of Santorini.
You’ll leave realizing, yes, 3 days is enough in Santorini to capture some of its best attributes. You’ll also be planning your trip back.
Santorini Greece Itinerary and Pro Travel Tips
- This itinerary assumes staying in Fira, or within walking distance of Fira, as my Santorini Solo Travel Guide suggests for first time Santorini travel.
- This itinerary works best checking into (or checking bags at) your hotel no later than noon.
- Travel in the shoulder season for good weather and daylight hours, less tourists, and lower costs, but no later than October to take advantage Santorini bus‘ highest operating times.
- Always have cash on you for public bus tickets, shuttle services and tipping.
- It can get hot in Santorini. Make sure you stay hydrated and wear your good marine and reef safe sunscreen all day and for protecting the Greek marine environment.
- Stay hydrated, especially if your solo travel in Santorini is in peak season.
- Pack a light jacket or wrap for evenings. It can get pretty windy in Santorini and when the sun goes down, it can also get chilly.
- When at all possible, make an outdoor seating reservation in advance for a half-hour to hour before sunset for Fira, Firostefani and Oia restaurants and bars.
- If you ditch this itinerary for lounging on the black or red beaches, use the 25 solo travel essentials for going to the beach alone and top tips on how to do a solo beach trip.
Santorini Day 1 – Fira and Sunset
After checking your bags at your Fira hotel, change into something comfortable for walking and dining and hit the town of Fira.
Fira Walking Tour
The capital of Santorini, Fira has much to keep you occupied for an afternoon. Take a Fira self-guided walking tour to explore the dining options, shops, art studios, and historical spots such as the Three Bells of Fira, Candlemas Holy Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral of Thera, the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, or the MATI Art Gallery.
While walking, don’t forget to scope out the dining options facing the caldera for your first sunset in Santorini (if you don’t have a reservation). Need a recommendation? Try Argo Restaurant, V Lounge, The Vine, Nektar Lounge, or La Colline.
Oia is not the only place to enjoy the sunset with caldera views in Santorini. Fira has lovely sunsets, too.
If you weren’t able to make a reservation as a solo diner, get back to your restaurant or bar of choice early. I mean, early. Take a seat at the bar, if need be, as bars tend to have a “Greek Meze-style” menu. Seating in these strategically placed restaurants and bars fill up quickly with “campers” who will not move for hours until after the sun goes down.
Once seated, become a camper yourself and sip and dine at your leisure. The sun will do the rest.
Don’t wish to be alone your first night in Fira? Here are some walking tour and sunset cruise options with food and drinks for enjoying the afternoon and sunset in Fira and/or Firostefani (the town 15 minutes’ walking distance next door) as a solo traveler.
Dining and Sunset Alternatives for Santorini Day 1
After the sky has turned dark, easily walk back to your hotel for check in. Even if your hotel provides some bottled water daily, it’s best to get some more of your own to keep in your hotel room.
To be the most eco-friendly, do not buy a package of individual 8 or 16 oz bottles. Instead, buy one very large bottle (2 or 3 gallon) and simply refill your own re-usable water bottle you’ll be slinging all weekend in Santorini. Yes, it may be a little heavy, but it’s a one-time purchase which not only cuts down on plastic waste but will also save you money. Bonus.
After getting situated in your hotel, head back out to enjoy the nightlife in Fira. It’s known for it.
Popular night spots include the PK Cocktail Bar, with it’s multiple-tiered layout facing the caldera, ΑΙΩΝ Cocktail Bar on the water, and the Stoa Bar. If you like live music, try Kira Thira Jazz Bar.
After a long day of travel, fun and sun and you don’t want to walk back to your hotel, call a taxi or have the bar call one for you.
Santorini Day 2 – Wine Tasting and Oia Sunset
Start your day leisurely with breakfast, blue sky and sunshine at your hotel. Hang out and swim in the pool. Relax and store your energy for the fun day ahead.
With your winery reservation ready (just in case), have your taxi pick you up before noon for Domaine Sagalis in Oia, a winery in Santorini I highly recommend. You’ll be seated in a shaded spot of their unassuming patio.
Get the full wine tasting with food pairing, or order lunch a-la-carte from their menu. No matter what you pick, it’s all incredible.
Enjoy a presentation by your server on the making of their wines and gaining an understanding of the Greek whites (Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri) and reds (Mandilaria and Mavrotragano).
Kickback and indulge while absorbing the breeze from the Aegean Sea. You’re not in a hurry so make this lunch as long as you like.
Before paying your bill, your server would be happy to call you a taxi for downtown Oia, a mere 10 minute ride away.
Arriving Oai, you’ll get a chance to walk off your lunch with a stroll through Oia’s pedestrian streets. Shop or explore the pathways leading to a great sunset viewing spot.
Oia will undoubtedly be crowded with tourists all trying to do the same thing. So, again, try to plan with a reservation at an ideal dining spot in advance. Recommendations are: Elinikon, Armeni Restaurant, Pelekanos, Black Rock, and Sunsets Bar.
Additionally, you could walk down the Oia Stairs to Ammoudi Bay for dinner at Dimitris Taverna, for example, or just viewing the sunset.
You have the rest of the night to enjoy Oia or back in Fira. When ready to head back to Fira, line up at the Oia bus stop. Have your 1.80 euro cash ready for the driver. On a busy night, don’t be surprised to ride standing in the aisle or having to wait for a second bus.
Santorini Day 3 – Akrotiri History and Wine Tasting
Your morning on day three is also lazy with plenty of time for breakfast and sunbathing at your hotel pool.
Late morning, walk to the Fira bus stop to ride the bus to the Akrotiri Archeological Site, a must do historical and cultural stop in Santorini. The ride is approximately 30 minutes.
The bus will drop you off by the water, just steps from the entry to the archeological site. Entry can be paid by credit card on site or, if you’re traveling during peak season, online in advance.
Spend at least an hour to wander the perimeter and interior of the site, marveling at the excavated rooms and restored pottery. The building, alone, is awesome, as well as cooled for a pleasant educational experience.
When you leave and the weather is nice, forgo catching the bus at the site and walk 15 minutes to Akrotiri Village, a tiny town with a couple of great outdoor dining spots, like Zafora, for a cool beer and chicken gyro lunch.
Just steps from the restaurant, catch the bus back to Fira to switch buses to Kamari for an afternoon wine tasting at Estate Argyros. Allow an hour from Akrotiri to the winery.
Having made your Taste the Real Santorini tour reservation in advance, ideally for no later than 5pm, you’ll be greeted in their beautiful tasting room ready to direct you to your small tour group.
Estate Argyros is a wine experience not to miss in Santorini. Situated on the hill overlooking the Aegean Sea, your informative and friendly guide (I hope you get Ellie) will take you around the grounds for an immersive lesson in Greek wine making, followed up by several tastings with fresh food pairing on their outdoor patio.
There is no better way to learn more about the local culture than through their wine making, don’t you think?
Enjoy the vast, vineyard scenery as the sun sets on day 3 in Santorini. The winery will be happy to call you a taxi so you’re on your way back to Fira before closing.
The remainder of the night is in Fira with shopping, late night dining, a gelato dessert, or dancing. It’s up to you on how you wish to fill your last night in Santorini.
If you’d like to do a wine tour experience on day 3 instead of self-guided, here are some tour great options you can partake in that start in the afternoon start, ideal for after the archeological site and lunch in Akrotiri Village, that include Estate Argyros.
Wine Tasting Alternatives for Santorini Day 3
Start Planning Your Santorini Travel Budget
Have Only 2 Days in Santorini?
Two days in Santorini is also doable, and certainly better than no time at all in Santorini.
For a Santorini 2 day itinerary, pick any of the two days above. Ultimately, do not miss an opportunity to do a wine tasting at either winery, a visit to the archeological site and, of course, sunset dining and drinks in either Fira or Oia. These are unforgettable must-do’s in Santorini.
Let Me Hear From You
I would love to hear if this solo Santorini in 3 days itinerary was helpful to you. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!