3 Days in Santorini: The Perfect Itinerary (First Time Visit)


How to spend 3 Days in Santorini: The Best Itinerary + Where to Stay

You’re planning to spend 3 days in Santorini?

Great idea!

In order to help you plan your stay, I have prepared for you the perfect itinerary to visit Santorini in 3 days.

I will start with my optimized and detailed 3-day itinerary to make the most of your stay on this iconic island of Cyclades.

In addition to the best places to visit and activities for each stage of your itinerary, I will also give you all my best tips and accommodation suggestions depending on your budget.

And at the end of this guide, you will also find my recommended itineraries if you plan to continue your trip on other Greek islands.

So, what are the best things to do in Santorini in 3 days? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

3-day Trip to Santorini: My Best Tips

Book your ferry crossing

Before starting your 3-day visit to Santorini , you will have to reach the island.

To get to Santorini by boat, you can take the crossing from Athens or from another island of the Cyclades like e.g. Amorgos or Naxos.

I particularly recommend that you book your trip in advance, especially in peak season, so that you can choose the schedule that suits you best.

The fare of the crossing will depend on the speed of the boat and the time when you take this trip to Santorini for 3 days.

To make your reservations for all your ferry journeys in Greece, you can click on the green button below:

Voyage Tips - Advice

The port of Santorini is about ten km away from Fira, the closest village.

Buses and taxis are available to connect you. You can also pick up your rental car directly at the port upon arrival (see the section on car rental in Santorini).

If your hotel is located in a village other than Fira, you won’t necessarily have public transport. It is best to take a taxi or check with the hotel if it offers a shuttle service (free or for an extra charge).

Ferry Amorgos
Prendre le ferry pour visiter Santorin en 3 jours

Go to Santorini for 3 days: flight prices

A second option to reach Santorini: take a flight.

The island has a fairly well-connected international airport, especially between June and September.

If you plan to arrive first in Athens and then leave for Santorini, taking a flight may be a good alternative to the boat. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not necessarily more expensive and it’s faster.

And for people who have seasickness, it can avoid quite a bit of inconvenience!

The prices of flights to Santorini vary greatly, it is a good idea to compare them as soon as possible. To do this, you can use our flight comparison tool, in partnership with Skyscanner. It is the assurance of getting the best price.

Do not hesitate to enter the dates of your 3-day trip in Santorini and your departure airport to see the timings and prices.

Voyage Tips - Advice

From the airport, as well as from the port, you can easily and quickly get to Fira by bus. Taxis and car rental are also an option.

To go to the other villages, ask your hotel if it provides a shuttle service. Otherwise, you will have to travel by car or taxi for those 72 h in Santorini.

3 days in Santorini by car?

Renting a car to spend 3 days in Santorini is not necessarily mandatory, but it can still be very convenient.

You should know that if you want to get around by public transport, not all the villages on the island are well-connected. And you should also remember that in high season, buses are crowded and the driver will not stop to pick you up if his bus is full.

So it’s very possible that you have to wait for more than an hour in the sun before you can get on one and that will also waste your time from the schedule of the day.

There are also a few taxis on the island, but you’ll suspect that the prices are rather prohibitively high.

If you want to rent a car in Santorini for 3 days, I advise you to go through Rentalcars.com.

I find it very convenient to compare the prices of all rental companies and, above all, it offers a complete protection insurance that is really effective and cheaper than those that the rental companies will try to get you to buy.

This insurance ensures you are reimbursed for all costs in case of damage, accident or even theft of your car.

In addition, there is no risk in booking in advance because modification or cancellation is free.

Book as early as possible and get the best price!

To compare car rental prices in Santorini, click on the green button:

Voyage Tips - Advice

To get around Santorini during these 3 days, you can also consider hiring a scooter or a quad bike. But I’ll only advise you to go for that if you’re used to riding one because with the crowds and the condition of the roads, an accident can happen quickly.

Renting a car is not necessarily more expensive than making more trips by taxi. Parking is free on the island!

One Last Tip for a Perfect 3-Day Stay in Santorini

If you already know your travel dates (or as soon as you will have them!), you should really book your accommodation.

As Santorini is one of the most touristic places in the world, the hotels offering the best value for money are often fully booked months in advance.

As a seasoned traveler, I can assure you that it’s always by planning as far in advance as possible that I’ve found the best hotels or apartments deals.

You agree that it would be a shame to somewhat ruin your stay in Santorini by ending up in a not-so-great hotel that costed you a fortune, right? 😅

So your best bet is to take 5 minutes now to have a look at traveler’s favorite hotels in Santorini.

And if you like one of the hotels you find, book it!

It’s fast, it’s easy and most accommodation offer free cancellation. That’s the best way to protect yourself from the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the best hotels deals in Santorini, simply click on the green button below:

After securing your dream stay, it’s time to continue reading this guide!

3 days in Santorini: the best itinerary

Once you arrive on the island, you are ready to begin this 72-hour itinerary in Santorini!

I have organised a tour for you based on 3 full days, with a map of places to see for each day.

If you still have questions about organising your holiday after reading it, please feel free to ask me your questions in the comments section at the very end of the article.

So, what are the best things to do and see when you have 3 days to spend in Santorini?

Itinerary in Santorini: Day 1 – The iconic villages

A: Visit to Fira

I suggest that you start your 3-day stay in Santorini by discovering one of the most beautiful villages on the island: Fira.

An icon of Santorini with its white houses, luxury hotels with infinity pool and its exceptional view, Fira is simply magnificent!

As you stroll through the cobbled alleys, you can admire the postcard landscapes and the breath-taking views of the caldera everywhere.

Fira is clearly a must-see during a 3-day visit to Santorini!

During your walk, you can also go down to the small port of Fira, on foot or by cable car, and go up with the cable car to enjoy a clear view of the village.

There are no specific monuments to see in the village, but there are 2 museums worth visiting if you are interested in the history of the island:

  • The prehistoric Thera museum where you can find the remains discovered on the site of Akrotiri
  • The archaeological museum with many elements from Akrotiri as well as from Ancient Thera.

For the others, you can combine the walk with a bit of shopping in the many chic and trendy boutiques.

Fira, premier village à voir pour cet itinéraire de 3 jours à Santorin

B: Hiking from Fira to Oia

After having gone through Fira, I suggest you continue to walk a little but this time by taking the path that runs along the top of the cliffs.

From the end of the village, you can first reach Firostefani in 10 minutes before continuing to Imerovigli in another 20 minutes.

Walking times are given without taking into accountthe countless photo stops so don’t blame me if you take a little more time!

And the walk is not over because it is from Imerovigli that the part of the island’s most famous path begins; it is most famous for its sublime views. A must-do during your 3-day itinerary in Santorini!

The path is almost 9 km long, and leads from Imerovigli to Oia, passing right along the edge of the caldera. There isn’t really any particular difficulty here, but it would be better if you are wearing proper shoes and have enough water and a hat, as the sun is quite strong.

It took me about 2 hours to walk, stopping every 50 metres for a photo! My favourite part is the one right before we get to Oia.

Voyage Tips - Advice

If you don’t feel you can do the whole walk, I recommend you at least go to Imerovigli. It is not every day that you are lucky enough to be able to admire such beautiful landscapes and it is well worth a little effort.

In this case, to reach Oia from Fira, you can take the bus (but they are often full), a taxi or go there by car (if you have rented one).

Hiking from Fira to Oia

C: Walk to Oia

You have now arrived in Oia and this is where I propose you to end your first day of your 3-day trip in Santorini.

Oia is nothing less than the second iconic village of Santorini. Just like in Fira, you will find the white terraced houses, churches with a blue dome and the 5* hotels with fantastic views.

But Oia is, above all, the best place on the island to watch the sunset! Every evening, hundreds of people come together in the village to watch the show.

The best places, like the location of the ruins of the Byzantine castle, are taken at least one to 2 hours before. So take it early enough to identify the most beautiful photo spot.

To be more comfortable, you can also book a table in one of the bars or restaurants with a view. But be prepared to pay more than ten Euros for a cocktail.

After a good meal, head to your hotel in Santorini for the night. I have selected the best accommodations on the island a little further down in the article.

Visite de Oia, voyage de 3 jours à Santorin

Day 2 – Boat trip around Santorini

Spending 3 days in Santorini is also taking time to relax and enjoy being by the sea.

For this, there is nothing better than to opt for a boat trip for the second day of this 3-day trip in Santorini. This type of outing is ultra-popular and ranks at the top of the list of things to do on the island.

Everything is perfectly organised and well-managed.

The typical full-day trip includes:

  • A visit to the volcanic island of Nea Kamini that has a volcano that is still active. You will be given time to climb up to the crater.
  • Swimming in the hot springs at the level of Palea Kameni, so don’t forget your bathing suit!
  • The discovery of the island of Thirassia, which you may have seen on the first day because it is located right in front of Santorini. You will have free time to explore it.

The trip that I recommend also includes the pick-up and drop-off in front of your hotel and audio commentary during the trip.

I recommend that you book it in advance to make sure there is room for you as there is only one departure per day.

You must book by directly clicking the green button below:

There is also another version of this trip, which takes place with a smaller group and on a beautiful catamaran.

You can choose a morning or afternoon departure to enjoy the sunset over Santorini from the boat.

This boat trip includes 3 bathing stops including one with hot springs, and a barbecue dinner.

The all-you-can-drink drinks, pick-up and drop-off at your hotel and snorkelling equipment are included in the price.

Here too, it is best to book in advance.

You can book this catamaran ride in Santorini with meals and drinks with the following button:

Finally, for a ride on a luxury catamaran and with onlyabout 20 people on board, I advise you to book this outing.

This boat ride is so good that it is “GetYourGuide Originals” certified, which means that it has a ‘satisfied or reimbursed’ guarantee!

Book by clicking below:

Voyage Tips - Advice

Do read my article dedicated to boat rides around the island to find the boat ride of your dreams: The 7 best boat trips in Santorini.

Boat trip Santorini
Boat trip around Santorini

Day 3 – The best things to do and see in Santorini

For the third and last day of your 3-day stay in Santorini, I leave the choice to you:

  • If you have rented a car or a scooter, I suggest you discover the island in road trip mode.
  • If you don’t have any means of transport, you can choose an organised tour from the ones I recommend below.

For those who don’t have a car but don’t want to go on an organised tour either, you can still pick up some ideas for things to do from these options and see if you can get there by public transport or taxi.

Option 1: Road trip in Santorini

Get in the car and go for a day to go around the island.

I recommend that you do not miss:

  • The other typical small villages of Santorini. Some of my favourites include: Pyrgos, Megalochori and Emporio.
  • One of the 2 archaeological sites: Akrotiri, an ancient Minoan city buried under the ashes in 1613; Ancient Thera, founded in the 9th century B.C.
  • The island’s most famous beaches, including Red Beach and its red cliffs, the beaches of Perissa and Kamari with black sand of volcanic origin.
Red Beach Santorini
The Red Beach, in Santorini

Option 2: All-Inclusive Organised trip in Santorini

Second possibility for this 3-day trip in Santorini: go on an organised tour.

The most practical way to see as many things as possible, get explanations about the places and not have to bother with organising anything.

You will find a list of all the trips and activities to do on the island in this article: The 17 best tour in Santorini.

Here are my 3 favourite trips:

1) A bus trip with a guided tour in English.

Very well done, this minibus ride covers a lot of places that I recommend in the road trip itinerary. You will pass through Emporio, Red Beach and even the site of Akrotiri.

During the day, you can also swim at the Perissa beach and take part in a wine tasting.

This is for me the best 3-day trip to do in Santorini if you don’t have a car!

Book directly by clicking on the following green button:

2) An oenological visit

The island of Santorini produces one of the most famous wines in all of Greece.

And what better than a tour including the visit to several vineyards and numerous tastings to discover them!

The visit that lasts for about 5 hours is done as a semi- private tour with a maximum of 8 people to enjoy as much as possible. You will be picked up in front of your hotel and accompanied by a guide specialised in oenology throughout the day.

Reserve using the following button:

Wine Santorini
Wine tasting in Santorini

3) A private 6-hour tour.

Choose the places yourself that you want to visit and plan your schedule with your guide. The tour is flexible and customisable.

Voyage Tips - Advice

The oenological tour also exists with an additional cooking workshop. You can taste wines as well as cook some typical Greek dishes under the guidance of a local chef.

Information and reservations here:

Where to stay in Santorini?

I have to admit that to stay in Oia or Fira, which are located at the caldera’s edge, it is better to have a fairly high budget. The hotels are certainly splendid and for some ultra-luxurious, but the prices are owing to their exceptional location!

If you have a smaller budget, I recommend that you direct your search to the other villages of the island by choosing an accommodation located a little further away from the 2 main villages.

It is also a good choice if you want to be close to the beach. 

In any case, it is best you do all your bookings as early as possible!

To help you, I have prepared a selection of the best hotels according to location and for all budgets.

Best hotels in Oia

  • Aethrio Hotel: Located in Oia, only a few steps away from the main square. You can rent double rooms, studio flats or apartments with balcony for most of them. The price starts from 160€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the swimming pool, the large rooms, the rooftop to admire the sunset. It’s one of the cheapest places in Oia, and it offers a great value for money!
  • Caldera Premium Villas: Located in the centre of Oia. You will love the troglodyte suites with a breathtaking view of the sea and the caldera, starting from 290€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the pool, the design of the rooms, and the location.
  • Theodora Suites Apartment: Located in the heart of the city. Studio flats with small kitchen, fridge, private terrace and hot tub, starting from 350€, breakfast included. What I loved: the hot tubs, the breathtaking view, the kind staff.
  • Andronis Boutique Hotel: 5-star hotel located in Oia. You’ll enjoy large suites with a view of the caldera, private balcony and private hot tub or pool, starting from 800€ with breakfast included. Strong points: the idyllic scenery and the calm. It’s my recommendation for a one-week romantic stay in Greece!
  • Katikies Hotel – The Leading Hotels of the World: This luxurious hotel offers rooms and suites with a great view, bathtub and spa. The price starts from 1000€ with breakfast included. What I loved: the pools, the spas, the splendid views and the food! It’s my recommendation for a luxury stay in Santorini!
Katikies Hotel The Leading Hotels of the World
Katikies Hotel – The Leading Hotels of the World

Best hotels in Fira

  • Galatia Villas: Located 10 minutes away from Fira’s city centre. The double rooms are quite basic but nice, and the price starts from only 80€ per night. Strong points: the hot tub on the roof, the kind staff, the great value for money for Santorini.
  • Lilium Santorini Villa: Located on the edge of the caldera. These elegant and modern double rooms with sea view are available starting from 315€, breakfast included. What I loved: the pool, the exceptionnal location, the warm and welcoming staff.
  • Cosmopolitan Suites – Small Luxury Hotels of the World: Located in the heart of Fira. You will enjoy lovely rooms with private balcony, decorated in the purest Cycladian style, starting from 550€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the infinity pool over the cliff, and the luxury hotel services. This is the perfect place to stay with your lover in Santorini!
  • Aria Suites: Located in Fira, this high standard hotel offers only 6 suites and luxury villas, fully equipped (you even get a laptop), starting from 700€ per night. What I loved: the magnificent place, the pool and the staff availability. This is a great choice for a luxurious and romantic stay in Fira!
Arias Suites
Arias Suites

Other best places to stay in Santorini island

  • Memories Beach Hotel: Located just accross Monolithos beach. These comfortable modern rooms starts from 65€ per night, with breakfast included. Strong points: the pool, the calm and the adorable staff.
  • Rose Suites: Located in Vourvoulos, only 4 kilometers away from Fira. Those studio flats and apartments are well equiped and decorated, with a small kitchen and a private terrace. The prices are starting from 75€ per night. What I loved: the pool, the calm, the decoration. The fridge is also full with everything you need for breakfast.This is the best choice in Santorini for its exceptional value for money!
  • Hippocampus Hotel: Located in Kamari, only 50 meters away from the beach. The rooms, with a view on the swimming pool or the garden, are starting from 85€ per night, breakfast included. Strong points: the pool, the ideal location close to the beach, and the really kind staff.
  • Meltemi Village Hotel: Located in Perissa, only 5 minutes away from the Black beach. The rooms and suites with hot tubs are starting from 100€ per night, with the breakfast included. What I loved: the pools, the spa, and the great breakfast. A great choice for a stay on Santorini’s shore!
Meltemi Village Hotel
Meltemi Village Hotel

More things to do and see in Santorini in 3 days

This schedule to spend 3 days in Santorini is already very comprehensive and includes the majority of the must-see places on the island.

But if you want to organise your own schedule or if you have time left, you will find other ideas for things to do in this article: The 17 best things to do in Santorini.

mill Santorin

Continue your stay in Greece after these 3 days in Santorini

These few days in Santorini will surely make you want to discover the Cyclades. Why not extend your vacation to another nearby island?

To make your choice among the most beautiful Greek islands, I advise you to read this article: The 15 best things to do in the Cyclades.

And to get the details of what to do on each island, go here:

And if you are lucky enough to be able to take a week, 10 or even 15 days off, then do not hesitate to consult my detailed itineraries to organise your trip in Greece:

Voyage Tips - Advice

Before or after your 3-day stay in Santorini, if you have to go through Athens to take the boat or flight, you can also read my complete guide to the city: The best things to do in Athens.

Agia Anna cove, in Amorgos

Rent a boat in Santorini

If you want to rent a boat for a nice day at sea during your 3 days in Santorini, you should book it with Samboat.

Motorboats, sailboats, yachts, small boats without a license, with or without a skipper: they simply have the most complete offer for boat rental!

So, what are you waiting for to book your boat trip in Santorini? 😊

Map of your 3-day itinerary in Santorini

To help you visualize your itineraries during your 3 days in Santorini, I have created a map for you listing the places to visit each day. You can display the map legend by clicking the button on the top left with a small arrow.

You will then be able to view the itineraries for each day.

Do you need help in organising your 3-day itinerary in Santorini? Feel free to ask me any questions you may have in the comments section.

Book your trip now and save money!

Greece travel guides

You’re traveling to Greece ? These articles will help you !

Discover all my articles about Greece: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Greece are listed there.

Cyclades (Greek islands)


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Santorini 3 days itinerary
Santorini 3 days itinerary

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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