Ultimate guide to Santorini: Summer vacation 2022

Find out what to see and do as well as top restaurant recommendations in our ultimate guide to Santorini

– Contact the MCC Bookings team for all your holiday reservations

It’s holiday time and thoughts turn to fine weather, beautiful scenery and plenty of activities to interest everyone – which is possibly why the picture-postcard Greek island of Santorini is top of so many lists the world over.

This half-moon island is set in the Aegean Sea about 120 miles southeast of mainland Greece in the Cyclades islands. It gets its shape and rugged scenery from the ancient caldera of the still-active volcano around which it sits, but it’s mainly known for the blue roofs and white walls of the traditional buildings clinging to the cliffs, and for the balmy climate, beautiful beaches and amazing views from almost every spot on the island.

It’s been called the most beautiful island in the world and its popularity keeps on growing. More than two million visitors flock there each year and it’s considered a luxury destination, with top hotels and restaurants to match. The climate is balmy all year round – rarely over 30C in summer or below 10C in winter – but it’s worth noting, though, that it’s often breezy due to its geography.

Here our team has put together a selection of the best things to do and places to eat in Santorini.

THINGS TO DO

Santorini skyline / Shutterstock

Greek Cuisine Cooking Class

Whether or not you know your souvlaki from your spanakopita, this small-group class taken by a professional chef in local restaurant Raki will teach you the basics of classic Greek cookery – and you can then have a four-course lunch or dinner from the dishes you’ve prepared.
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Petra Kuzina cooking class

Set in one of the traditional ‘cave houses’ in the village of Megalochori, this cookery class is set in the home of the couple who run it, and offers a quirky and unusual backdrop to a short immersion course in Greek cuisine. You’ll be greeted with appetizers and then after the class you’ll sit on the beautiful terrace and eat the dishes you cooked.
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Santorini tour on electric bike

For a great way to enjoy the fresh air and amazing scenery of Santorini, an e-bike tour can range from general sightseeing, to food tours and even a romantic tour to catch the sunset. Great fun and you don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to take part.
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Sunset sea kayak and snorkel with dinner

For anyone over 10 years old and with a reasonable swimming ability, this kayak tour with snorkeling might be just the thing. You’ll visit black, white and red beaches and sea caves. Afterwards there’ll be dinner at a traditional taverna.
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Scuba diving experience in Santorini

This three-hour session with a professional instructor will introduce the basics and then take you on a closely supervised 45-minute dive over the volcanic reef. All equipment is provided.
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Private helicopter sightseeing tour

This Austrian-based company offers sightseeing tours as well as excursions and transfers by helicopter. Up to three passengers can enjoy a 30-minute trip to see the sights, high up above the shimmering heat and very suitable for those with limited time. These will be private tours – no sharing of groups. The sunset tour is particularly popular.
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Morning sea kayak and snorkel with lunch 

This morning trip is just the thing to start the day. Starting from Mesa Pigadia on the island’s south coast,  you’ll kayak past sea caves and the Akrotiri lighthouse, one of the oldest in Greece. After a break at secluded Kampia Beach, you’ll snorkel to spot marine life and then lunch at a traditional taverna.
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Private catamaran in Santorini with BBQ meal and drinks

Have a gorgeous half-day day in private on a catamaran, swimming, snorkeling and visiting beaches only accessible by boat. You can even have a soak in the hot springs near the volcano’s crater. And when it’s time to eat, enjoy a barbecue cooked by the crew.
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Ancient Thera

Ancient Thera – the island’s original name – was a city founded at the top of Mesa Vouno mountain near the village of Kamiri. Founded in the 9th century BC by Dorian settlers, it was named after their king, Theras, and was strategically important in its high position. History buffs will want to get tickets for both the site and the museums associated with it.
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Traditional fishing trip and fresh fish lunch

Take a trip on a traditional fishing boat, with instruction from the experienced crew, stops-offs at secluded beaches, and stops at sea for you to try your hand at fishing, after which the catch of the day is cooked on board.
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Santorini Wine Tour

The island is well known for its wines, but these tours are not just about vineyards. They will also take you in luxury transport to places you may not have read about in the guide books, and there are historical tours and food experiences as well. The Discover Santorini tour, for example, goes all over the island, calling at historical sites before visiting a wine estate for a tasting.
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WHERE TO EAT

Seaside dining / Santorini / Shutterstock

Argo Restaurant

Classy and elegant, Argo is located in Fira, sitting high up with amazing views of the caldera and volcano. Its varied menu includes grilled meats and pasta, but the seafood is one of its glories. If you’re having nibbles before the meal, even the potato chips are made with truffle and parmesan.
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Pyto Gyros Traditional Grill House

Small, uncomplicated, casual dining restaurant with a terrace, preparing local comfort food including souvlaki and the eponymous pita gyros – pita breads wrapped around various meaty and vegetarian fillings.
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1800-Floga Restaurant

The award-winning 1800-Floga restaurant is housed in the 19th-century mansion of a former sea captain and offers fine dining with a Mediterranean menu to savor while enjoying stunning views both from the restaurant and the roof terrace.
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Vezené

Vezené is a Greek bistro from renowned chef Ari Vezené, who also runs its sister branch in Athens. Housed in the new Cavo Tagoo hotel in Imerovigli, it has great views. The menu, which runs from breakfast onwards, includes super-fresh seafood and meat cooked classically and traditionally, with many dishes prepared in a wood-fired oven.
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Selene 

Selene is a fine-dining restaurant serving top-notch Greek cuisine, housed inside a stunning former monastery. The menu has been developed in collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Ettore Botrini and is well worth a visit.
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Seaside 

Seaside Santorini offers beachfront fine-dining – including a sushi bar – sunbeds, a boutique and a lounge bar to give discerning clients a great seaside experience.
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Ovac Cavo Tagoo 

Cavo Tagoo Santorini is a brand new luxury hotel in Imerovigli and its Ovac Mediterranean Fusion restaurant has a growing reputation as a fine-dining destination.
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Buddha-Bar Beach Santorini

The vibrant Buddha-Bar Beach concept is now an international group and on Santorini it is part of the La Maltese estate, offering a beach venue with a touch of luxury, sharing plates of food and plenty of music.
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Ginger Sushi Lounge

This sushi restaurant in Firostefani, a village on the volcano’s rim, offers authentic Japanese dining either indoors or in its garden, and there’s a drinks lounge for relaxing even further
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Mylos

This award-winning restaurant from Santorini-born chef Spyros Asimis offers fine-dining Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, music and high quality service, all experienced in a dining room with beautiful views of the volcano.
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Roka

Roka is set in a former sea captain’s house built in 1912, with three cozy dining rooms and an outside flower-filled courtyard. There are good sea views to the north west from the rear of the restaurant. The menu is refined traditional cuisine with elegant touches.
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Kapari Wine Restaurant

This elegant restaurant perched high up with beautiful views of the caldera – especially at sunset – is part of a resort complex built within restored 300-year-old houses.  The food is refined Greek cuisine with touches from around the Mediterranean.
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Anogi

Traditional Greek food served in a casual setting, with an outside courtyard as well as inside seating. There is no view of the caldera, but the fresh, simple food is excellent and the atmosphere welcoming.
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Mezzo

Located in an old building built high into the rock in 1891 and with stunning views of the volcano, Mezzo is part of a hotel, and offers traditional Greek dining on three levels. Dishes range from simple Greek staples through to seafood with imaginative sauces, many with an oriental flair.
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Onar 

Simple, casual decor belies an interesting menu of simple but very fresh Greek dishes, all served in a setting high on the cliffs, with great views towards the volcano.
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Feggera 

Set in an old stone house in Megalochori, Feggera offers an inspiring Aegean menu with organic food from Cyprus as well as traditional dishes from Santorini. There are beautiful views from the terrace.
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Melina’s Tavern

Perched on Akrotiri beach with the sea lapping close by, Melina’s Tavern is a family-run local taverna serving the freshest local dishes in pretty surroundings and with a welcoming atmosphere. Sit inside or out on the terrace, and perhaps stop to check out and buy the authentic local art on the walls.
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Aktaion Restaurant

Family-run Aktaion has been serving local and Mediterranean cuisine in Firostefani since 1922 and they have perfected the art of beautiful fresh food served simply – with beautiful views to match.
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White houses in Santorini / Shutterstock

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