Ultimate Guide to Santorini Solo Travel

If you heard that Santorini is romantic, you’re not alone. It is. 

Known as one of the most romantic destinations in the world, couples flee to Santorini for engagements, weddings, and honeymoons. 

But that’s not all Santorini is. If you’re traveling solo and looking for an island of adventure, Santorini could be the next place to unlock your wanderlust.

Here is my ultimate guide to convince and prepare you for your solo trip to Santorini because it’s better suited for solo travelers than the internet makes it out to be. 

Affiliate Disclaimer: Certain links in this article are affiliate links. When you click on one of those links and purchase, I will earn a small commission at absolutely no cost to you. Please note that I only promote products and services I believe will provide value.

Wide sunset view from Pyrgos, Santorini

Table of Contents

Why Santorini is Great for Solo Travel

Meet Locals and Other Travelers

There are plenty of people to meet in Santorini. Despite being a couples' paradise, there are solo travelers in Santorini. I met people at my accommodation and boat tour.

The island is also filled with welcoming locals. Santorini seeks to maintain a welcoming reputation for tourists, which is why the hospitality workers are friendly. But even the locals that don’t speak English were friendly despite not being obligated to.

Which leads to my next point–I felt incredibly safe. 

Locals in Santorini, Greece

It’s Safe

As a petite, female traveler, I felt safe in Santorini. 

Santorini values its travelers as we are their bread and butter. Additionally, Santorini has a relatively low crime rate compared to many other tourist destinations. Even instances of theft or petty crime are infrequent.

Great Island to Explore

Santorini is unique in its volcanic history, mountain views, and iconic blue dome architecture.

It is not a party island, which offers solo travelers the opportunity to enjoy time alone with an abundance of activities.

It embodies a sense of peaceful adventure that party destinations do not. I enjoyed exploring at my own pace and soaking in the moment.

And for this reason, I’m glad I chose Santorini as my first purely solo destination. 

Good Variety of Activities

Santorini offers a vast range of activities for solo travelers–activities that couples might miss if they’re too occupied being romantic in their honeymoon suite or taking engagement photos. 

This is because despite its picturesque exterior, Santorini is not skin-deep. It is anything but a simple island. Even the history behind how it was formed is fascinating.

The crescent island was created due to a deadly volcanic eruption roughly 3,600 years ago during the Minoan civilization. This event has given the island unique views, wine, and archeological sites that 2 million visitors go to see each year.

And going there solo means you’ll have the time to explore the depth of the island.

Annie sitting on a cliff top (left), Imerovigli village blue and white views (right)

Best Things to do in Santorini as a Solo Traveler

Wander Through Traditional Villages

Visit the traditional villages that many tourists overlook to get a glimpse into local life and truly immerse yourself into a different culture. 

Although Oia is well known for its picture-perfect scenes, I found it to be too touristy and almost felt like Greek Disneyland. The traditional Greek villages hold much more charm. 

  • Side Tip: Oia starts to get crowded by 11am so I recommend visiting in the morning.

Megalochori and Emporio traditional villages in Santorini, Greece

    Book a Sunset Cruise Tour

    This Half-Day Exclusive Catamaran Cruise Tour was one of my highlight experiences in Santorini. I recommend booking the sunset slot as you’ll get to see the gorgeous Santorini sunset from the sea. The photographs that I captured during this cruise were among the most memorable I’ve taken in my life. 

    Everything about the tour was amazing. The food, music, views, and service were all beyond my expectations. Despite being the sole solo traveler among ~15 individuals, both the crew members and other travelers made me feel entirely welcomed.

    We also went for a few swims and visited a hot spring. The water was still a bit chilly when I went in April, but it was still worth it!

    Sunset Cruise in Santorini, Greece

    Ocean views from the sunset cruise boat tour

    Book a Volcano Tour

    If you’re up for a challenge, you can also book a volcano tour to hike the active volcano. They’re usually combined with a hot spring tour and can last 3 to 5 hours. 

    Relax at a Beach

    Unlike other islands, Santorini is a rocky mountain terrain rather than a tropical beach paradise. Nevertheless, there are still a few beaches to enjoy an afternoon. 

    Here are the top beaches in Santorini:
    • Kamari Beach
      • Long stretch of black sand
      • Clear, calm waters perfect for swimming
      • Beachfront cafes and tavernas for refreshments and relaxation
    • Perissa Beach
      • Stunning black sand beach with crystalline waters
      • Serene ambiance ideal for sunbathing and leisurely swims
      • Variety of beachside amenities including sunbeds, restaurants, and bars
    • Red Beach
      • Unique red volcanic cliffs and pebbly shore
      • Secluded atmosphere offering tranquility and privacy
      • Spectacular coastal scenery for picturesque relaxation experiences

    Single umbrella at Perissa Beach

    Experience Sunsets from Various Viewpoints

    The sun sets on the west side of the island. Therefore, villages along the western coastline, such as Oia, Imerovigli, and Fira, offer some of the most spectacular sunset views. 

    Below is a list of the best vantage points to witness a Santorini sunset.


      • Oia Castle: Perched on the northern tip of the village, it provides a panoramic view of the caldera and surrounding sea. However, this destination is popular, so it’ll likely be crowded during sunset.
        • Byzantine Castle Ruins: Located near the Oia Castle, these ruins offer a quieter alternative for sunset viewing, with stunning vistas of the village and caldera.
          • Ammoudi Bay: Down the steps from Oia, Ammoudi Bay offers a picturesque setting to watch the sunset while enjoying fresh seafood at waterfront tavernas.


              • Skaros Rock: This rugged promontory juts out into the sea, providing a secluded spot to enjoy the sunset away from the crowds. 
                • Agios Georgios Church: Perched atop the highest point in Imerovigli, this church offers stunning sunset views over the caldera and neighboring islands.


                    • Fira Caldera: Along the cliffside pathways and terraces overlooking the caldera, you can find numerous spots to watch the sunset with uninterrupted views of the sea and surrounding cliffs.
                      • Three Bells of Fira: This iconic blue-domed church offers a picturesque setting for sunset photography, with panoramic views of the caldera and neighboring villages.


                          • Akrotiri Lighthouse: Perched on a rocky outcrop, it offers panoramic views of the sea and rugged coastline.


                              • Pyrgos Castle: Pyrgos was a village built at the top of the island to serve as a clear vantage point against pirates during the medieval period. Today, it’s a quiet spot for great sunset views on the island.
                                • Santo Winery: Located near Pyrgos, Santo Winery offers a unique setting to watch the sunset while sampling local wines. The terrace provides panoramic views of the caldera and surrounding vineyards. 

                                Watching the sunset from Pyrgos with other solo travelers

                                            Hike from Fira to Oia

                                            Traveling solo includes taking time for self-care and reflection. A morning hike from Fira to Oia with breathtaking mountain views is perfect for it. 

                                            Here are details on what to expect:

                                            • Duration: The hike from Fira to Oia typically takes around 3 to 4 hours.
                                            • Views: You’ll get breathtaking vistas of the caldera, Aegean Sea, and neighboring islands throughout the hike. The route offers panoramic views of picturesque villages, rugged coastline, and iconic whitewashed buildings.
                                            • Villages: The hike passes through several charming villages, including Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia. Each village offers unique architectural features, quaint cafes, and stunning viewpoints.
                                            • Safety: The hike is considered safe, with well-marked trails and minimal elevation gain.
                                            • Difficulty: The hike is moderately difficult, with some sections of uphill and downhill terrain. While not overly challenging, you should be prepared for a few steep inclines and rocky paths along the route.
                                            • Best time to go: The best time to hike from Fira to Oia is during the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday heat. 
                                            • Starting location: The starting point for the hike is in Fira town center. While there isn't a specific address for the starting point, most hikers begin their journey from the central square or main street in Fira, where they can access the trailhead and simply start walking in the direction toward Oia.

                                            View of the Santorini mountain during the hike from Fira to Oia

                                                              Learn About Its Rich History

                                                              Learning about Santorini's rich history was invaluable as it helped me connect with the location and understand its past. If you’re a history lover, Santorini won’t disappoint. 

                                                              Visit the Akrotiri Archaeological Site and Museum to learn about the Minoan civilization and the deadly eruption. I took the guided tour there for a small price and left having 100x more knowledge compared to if I were to skip the tour. 

                                                              Santorini Nightlife

                                                              While Santorini is not a party island, it does have a vibrant nightlife for social travelers. Below are a few of the best night clubs in Santorini, all located in Fira.

                                                              • Enigma Club: Known as one of the liveliest spots on the island and has both indoor and outdoor spaces. 
                                                              • Koo Club: Has an underground setting and eclectic music selection.
                                                              • Tango Bar: Popular nightlife spot known for creative cocktails and stunning views of the caldera. 

                                                                Best Months to Visit Santorini

                                                                The best months to visit Santorini are April to early November for the warm weather and clear skies.

                                                                I don’t recommend visiting during winter months (December - February) as some of the top restaurants are temporarily closed for the season.

                                                                • Spring (April - May): The weather is warming up and the island is blooming with flowers but it’s not too touristy yet. The bougainvillea flowers start to bloom late spring (April/May) and stay through the summer months (June to August). I visited during the last week of April and personally found the bougainvillea flowers to be a lovely addition to the timeless Greek architecture. If you’re looking to take floral photos, there’s no better time than the spring.

                                                                Bougainvillea flowers in Santorini, Greece during the springtime

                                                                • Summer (June - August): This is peak tourist season in Santorini. The weather is hot, and the island can get crowded, especially in July and August. However, this is also when most of the island's festivities and events take place.
                                                                • Fall (September - Early November): September and October are also great months to visit as the weather is still warm and the crowds start thinning out. 

                                                                How Long to Stay in Santorini

                                                                4 to 7 days in Santorini offers the perfect balance between exploration and relaxation. 

                                                                As there’s a lot of physical activities available on the island, this time frame allows you to immerse in the island's nature without feeling rushed or exhausted.

                                                                It’ll also give you enough time to explore less touristy spots to discover hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path treasures. As a travel photographer, I find that giving myself extra time has a huge impact on allowing my curiosity to flow. 

                                                                Creative photography by Annie of boats between wires

                                                                Budgeting for Santorini

                                                                Santorini is more expensive compared to other Greek islands due to its popularity. Here are the daily spendings for each budget range to give you an idea of the daily cost. 

                                                                Low Budget (Economical):

                                                                • Accommodation: €30-€60 per night (hostels, budget hotels, or Airbnb shared accommodations).
                                                                • Food: €5-€20 per meal (eating at local tavernas, street food, groceries for self-catering).
                                                                • Transportation: €5-€15 per day (using local buses, walking, or renting a bike).
                                                                • Activities: €10-€20 per day (hiking, visiting free attractions, beach lounging).
                                                                • Total Daily Budget Range: €55-€100

                                                                Mid-Range Budget (Comfortable):

                                                                • Accommodation: €80-€150 per night (mid-range hotels, guesthouses, or Airbnb private rooms).
                                                                • Food: €20-€40 per meal (dining at mid-range restaurants or tavernas).
                                                                • Transportation: €15-€30 per day (local buses, occasional taxi rides, or renting a scooter).
                                                                • Activities: €20-€50 per day (boat tours, wine tastings, guided tours).
                                                                • Total Daily Budget Range: €135-€270

                                                                High Budget (Luxury):

                                                                • Accommodation: €200-€500+ per night (luxury resorts, boutique hotels, or private villas).
                                                                • Food: €50-€100+ per meal (fine dining restaurants, upscale tavernas).
                                                                • Transportation: €30-€100+ per day (renting a car with driver, private transfers, yacht rentals).
                                                                • Activities: €50-€200+ per day (private tours, exclusive experiences, spa treatments).
                                                                • Total Daily Budget Range: €330-€900+

                                                                Luxury accommodation with a view of the caldera in Santorini

                                                                Getting to Santorini 

                                                                You can get to Santorini via plane or boat. I chose to fly directly into Santorini since I wasn’t planning to visit other Greek destinations and a ferry from Athens can take up to 8 hours.

                                                                Getting to Santorini by Plane

                                                                The island has an airport, Santorini (Thira) Airport (JTR), which serves both domestic and international flights.

                                                                Getting to Santorini by Boat

                                                                If you’re visiting Greece from another country, you can take a ferry from Athens' port of Piraeus. Alternatively, you can also take a boat from a nearby Greek island if you’re stopping there first.

                                                                Ferry rides from Athens’ port of Piraeus to Santorini takes 5 to 8 hours, depending on the type of ferry you choose and the specific route. High-speed ferries have shorter travel times, usually around 5 to 6 hours, while conventional ferries may take up to 8 hours. 

                                                                It's important to check the ferry schedules and durations beforehand, as they can vary based on factors such as weather conditions and seasonal demand. 

                                                                Piraeus Port in Athens address:

                                                                Piraeus Port Authority S.A.
                                                                10 Akti Miaouli
                                                                Piraeus 185 38

                                                                Transportation After Arriving in Santorini

                                                                Once you’ve arrived in Santorini, there are several ways to reach your accommodation. 

                                                                Taxi from the Santorini Airport

                                                                Taxis are readily available at Santorini Airport and can take you directly to your accommodation. It's convenient if you prefer a hassle-free transfer. However, it's essential to be aware that taxi lines can be long during peak tourist seasons.

                                                                Private Car Service from Your Accommodation

                                                                Many accommodations offer private car services for their guests. This option offers convenience and peace of mind, especially if you're arriving late at night. 

                                                                To set up the car service, check your accommodation’s website or reach out to your host to ask if they provide this service. As Santorini is a tourist destination, many places will. And if they do, they’ll schedule to pick you up at a designated time and you can maintain on-going communication with them in case your flight gets delayed. 

                                                                Payment is generally paid upon arrival at your accommodation. Double check if you’re paying the front desk or the driver directly. If you’re paying the driver, be sure to ask beforehand if they require cash only (Euros ). 

                                                                Rental Car

                                                                Renting a car is great for flexibility and independence. Several car rental agencies have counters at Santorini Airport, allowing you to pick up your vehicle there. 

                                                                I met other solo travelers on my first day and found that renting a car was the most convenient way to enjoy every corner of the island. 

                                                                Rental car in Santorini, Greece

                                                                Rental ATV

                                                                Although you won’t be able to rent an ATV at the airport, you can at one of the popular Santorini villages. Similar to cars, it’ll give you the freedom to navigate narrow alleys, winding paths, and off-the-beaten-track locations. 

                                                                Santorini is a volcanic island so an ATV is helpful for the uneven terrain. You’ll be better suited to explore the island's hidden gems like ancient ruins and vineyards. Plus, having the wind in your hair and sun in your face will create a memorable experience.


                                                                Santorini has a bus network that connects the airport with various villages. Bus services are affordable and it runs every 30-60 minutes. Frequency can depend on the season.

                                                                At Santorini Airport, you can locate the bus terminal just outside the arrivals area, where you can board buses heading to your accommodation village.

                                                                I took the bus for the majority of my time in Santorini and here are my pros and cons. 

                                                                 Pros Cons


                                                                • Buses generally run on time according to their schedule.
                                                                • It’s inexpensive, costing €1.80 to €2.50 per ride, depending on the destination.
                                                                • Great if you’re staying in Fira. Almost all of the buses in Santorini stop at Fira as it is centrally located on the island and serves as a bus transfer point.


                                                                  • If you’re traveling when it’s not peak season, some buses only come once an hour.
                                                                  • Santorini buses primarily require cash.
                                                                  • As buses stop at designated stops, getting to smaller corners of the island will still require walking.
                                                                  • Buses don’t run early in the morning so it's not feasible for catching sunrises.

                                                                  Where to Stay as a Solo Traveler 

                                                                  Fira is the best village to stay at for solo travelers. It has a vibrant atmosphere and convenient location. It is the island’s transportation hub, making it easy for solo travelers to explore other parts of Santorini, whether by bus, taxi, or rental car. 

                                                                  As the island's capital, Fira offers a wide range of accommodations, from hostels, boutique hotels, and guesthouses that cater to various price points. You’ll also be in close proximity to stunning caldera views, which actually took me by surprise.

                                                                  The streets in Fira are lined with charming resaturants and shops. This village is great for socializing and meeting fellow adventurers.

                                                                  Personally, I think staying in Fira was by far the best decision I’ve made as a solo traveler as it made my whole trip 10x more convenient. 

                                                                  I stayed at a luxury hostel called Bedspot Hostel. It is conveniently located near the bus station and right around the corner from the town center. This hostel offers the perfect balance between being economical and experiencing an elevated space.

                                                                  Food Recommendations

                                                                  Greek cuisine is uniquely known for its fresh and flavorful ingredients, Mediterranean flavors, and rich coffee culture. 

                                                                  Many of the restaurants in Santorini are overpriced due to tourists, hence finding local food for a good price is always a win.

                                                                  Seaside restaurant in Akrotiri, Santorini on a rainy day.

                                                                  Recommended Restaurants on the Island

                                                                  • To Psaraki: Nestled in the picturesque village of Vlychada on Santorini island, offers an unforgettable dining experience with its fresh seafood delicacies served against the backdrop of breathtaking caldera views.
                                                                  • Yogi - Gyro: The casual gyro place in Fira, approximately 4 minutes walk from the Bedspot Hostel, serves delicious gyro wraps at prices that won't break the bank.
                                                                  • Steki Tou Psara: This is a fish tavern well-known among locals. It’s situated by the fishing port docks in Vlychada village. Although it doesn’t look fancy on the outside, the prices are stellar compared to other restaurants of that caliber. A large platter goes for 12-15 € (compared to 20-30 € at competing locations).
                                                                    • Important note: This restaurants accepts cash only.
                                                                    • Culture tip: If you want to eat seafood like a local, order horta (a vegetable dish) and ouzo (a Greek liquorice alcohol reserved for fish).
                                                                  • Kali Kardia (The Good Heart): This is a family owned restaurant in Akrotiri (approximately 1.7 miles from the Akrotiri Lighthouse) that specializes in traditional Greek cuisine and locally grown ingredients. They also have the local cheese of Santorini, hloro, which few restaurants offer.
                                                                  • Metaxi Mas: Located in the village of Exo Gonia, the restaurant is celebrated for its warm hospitality, cozy atmosphere, and stunning views of the Santorini landscape in addition to its traditional Greek dishes.

                                                                  Recommended Cafes on the Island

                                                                  • KooKoo Bar Restaurant Rooftop View: Located away from the touristy streets in Oia, this cafe has a nice rooftop but it’s better known as a great breakfast/brunch spot and well-made coffee. I found the interior to be lovely as it’s filled with floral designs and plants.
                                                                  • Cafe Galini: Offers stunning views of the caldera in Fira. This traditional Greek cafe serves up a variety of coffees, including Greek-style frappes and traditional Greek coffee, along with a selection of pastries and desserts. 
                                                                  • Franco's Cafe: Popular spot in Pyrgos known for its laid-back ambiance and excellent coffee. Situated in a historic building, it has a stylish interior with modern decor. The cafe serves a range of specialty coffees, freshly squeezed juices, and light platters.

                                                                        Wrapping it Up

                                                                        Embarking on a solo trip to Santorini will be a unique experience. While it's true that this island is often seen as a romantic retreat, it holds just as much for solo travelers. 

                                                                        One of the most delightful aspects of solo travel in Santorini is the opportunity to immerse oneself in its rich history and breathtaking landscape. Whether you're wandering through quaint villages, savoring sunset views, or indulging in local cuisine, there's a sense of discovery that accompanies solo exploration on this island.

                                                                        And while Santorini may be touristy compared to other Greek islands, there are still plenty of hidden gems waiting to be uncovered. From off-the-beaten-path villages to local restaurants and cafes, the island offers endless opportunities for curiosity.

                                                                        So, if you're considering a solo trip to Santorini, I encourage you to take the plunge. Get ready to discover the freedom of solo travel on a one-of-a-kind island.

                                                                        If you’re looking to bring the timelessness of Greece to your space, check out my Greek photography print collection below.

                                                                        Santorini's cliff view (left), boats (middle), and Perissa beach (right)

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                                                                        Hi, I'm Annie

                                                                        Thanks for reading my blog!

                                                                        I'm a travel photographer from NYC who discovered her love for photography in middle school. After I started my corporate job, I turned to photography as my escape. It was then that I decided photography wasn't just a hobby, and start Annie Ambience to inspire others to connect with the world.

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