By Soren Rivero
The Greek island of Santorini is famed for its breathtaking sunsets, crystal-clear waters, and iconic white-washed structures, making it one of the most popular travel destinations.
One of the best things about Santorini is that if you dive beneath the surface, you'll discover an array of budget-friendly activities that will immerse you in the island's natural beauty and cultural richness. Read on to discover 12 free things to do in Santorini!
Relax on Perissa Beach
Perissa Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Santorini. Known for its volcanic black sand, azure waters, and clear seas, this beach is a fantastic spot to unwind and relax. Entry to the beach is free, and you can spend your day sunbathing or taking refreshing swims in the crystal-clear waters. You might see some local vendors, but consider taking your own refreshments to keep costs down.
Explore Pyrgos Village
Santorini can become quite crowded throughout the days, even more so if you’re visiting during peak travel season. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or just crave a more relaxed environment, escape to the charming village of Pyrgos. This hidden gem in Santorini provides endless winding alleys, traditional houses, and even a stunning castle with incredible views of the island. Pyrgos offers a more authentic experience, filled with tons of free things to do in Santorini.
Stroll Through Oia
Another classic spot for escaping the crowds is Oia. This picturesque village features narrow cobblestone streets, Cycladic architecture, and plenty of opportunities for adventure. Start by wandering through the village’s labyrinthine walkways (adorned with colorful bougainvillea and blue-domed churches), then take a minute to simply soak in the refreshing breeze.
Watch the Sunset at Castle of Oia
While in Oia, you might as well stay to watch the sunset! Plenty of cruises and other viewing platforms are popular places to see the sunsets in Santorini, but the enchanting atmosphere found at the Castle of Oia is truly unique. Climb to a comfortable spot on the castle ruins right before the sun sets, and find yourself immersed in breathtaking panoramic views of the caldera, just near the Aegean Sea.
Hike from Fira to Oia
More Oia? Yes please! Before embarking to Oia, adventurous souls may want to consider taking the scenic hike from Fira to Oia. This trail stretches right along the caldera cliffs, offering phenomenal views of the sea as well as iconic Santorini architecture. Try out this free thing to do in Santorini as a budget-friendly alternative to pricier transport methods!
Attend a Cultural Event
Santorini hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, many of which are free to attend. These events are great ways to fill in your day-to-day itinerary, as well as get acquainted with local culture. You can experience anything from traditional music performances to art exhibitions, depending on the event you attend. Check local calendars to time your visit with one of these enriching experiences.
Uncover Ancient Thera
Right atop Mesa Vuono is the ancient archaeological site known as Thera. If you’re a history enthusiast looking for free things to do in Santorini, this one's for you. Admiring the panoramic views on the hike up is completely free, however, entrance to the actual site may be subject to a small fee. Still, it’s a small price to pay for dozens of old houses, theaters, and the ruins of ancient temples. Otherwise, simply viewing the atmosphere is something you can’t miss when visiting Santorini.
Experience Akrotiri Lighthouse at Sunset
Looking for something romantic to do in Santorini without breaking the bank? Take a small trip over to Akrotiri Lighthouse to view the sunset in an unparalleled tranquil setting. From the lighthouse, you’ll get to witness the caldera and the surrounding islands unobstructed. Try out this free thing to do in Santorini for a serene and romantic experience!
Wine Tasting at Santo Wines
Santorini is renowned for its wines, yes, but many wine tasting activities can run up a high bill. That’s where Santo Wines comes into play. At this unique establishment, you can sample a selection of local wines all while gazing at the breathtaking caldera.
Photograph the Mysterious Skaros Rock
Skaros Rock, located in Imerovigli, is an imposing rock formation with a history as fascinating as its appearance. Although a challenging climb, the views from the top are worth the effort, offering a unique perspective of Santorini. Capture the beauty of the caldera and the Aegean Sea as you explore these free things to do in Santorini.
Visit the Megalochori Village Square
Megalochori is a traditional Greek village that boasts a charming square surrounded by taverns and quaint cafes. During downtime, spend an afternoon sipping Greek coffee and soaking in the relaxed atmosphere. You’ll also get a glimpse into the island’s authenticity, allowing you to enjoy its beauty without going over your budget.
Admire the Blue Domed Churches of Firostefani
You might know of the iconic blue-domed churches in Oia, but did you know there are equally intriguing ones in Firostefani? These churches offer peaceful scenery, perfect for taking a walk against the backdrop of unique architecture and the deep blue sea.