Santorini, Oia, Imerovigli, Firostefani, Fira, Kamari, Perissa, Pyrgos, Thirassia, Akrotiri, Nea Kameni, Agios Nikolaos, Mesa Vouno, Emporio
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Welcome to Santorini, the most iconic of all the Greek islands. Blue and white villages look like a fairytale, beaches of red and black sand abound, and the famous sunsets land over the brilliant turquoise waters. The steps, alleys, tavernas, and chatter fill every corner, and you will truly be able to relax. This best-of tour ensures that you will experience it all, but in keeping with the island, your vacation pace is relaxed, the vibe is laid-back, and there will always be a show-stopping view...
Oia – Checking Out the Famous Sunset Views
Fly into Santorini and meet with your local guide, and travel straight to Oia. It will likely be mid-afternoon, and the sun will be bouncing down on the whitewashed walls with the Aegean Sea stretching out in all of the turquoise splendor. The colors are bright, and likely far more vibrant than the postcards have led you to believe. Check into your hotel and relax, and then venture out to take your first steps through the old town with a map in your hand. As the sun slowly fades, you can watch the show from your hotel terrace as the whitewashed houses reflect the color changes, and the sun dips slowly into the Aegean, creating one of the world’s most famous sunset scenes. You will have a private viewing, just like you do for the next week on this beautiful island.
Oia – Relaxed Day on Santorini
Start your day slowly and sip your coffee on your terrace as the day begins. Perhaps you will go for a dip in the pool, or maybe you will read a book and feel the light breeze. Santorini is a slow island, and nothing happens quickly, and that is the main appeal. You may still be getting over the flight today, so it may be a good idea not to try anything too energetic. But more importantly, it will be good to settle into the laid-back rhythm of island life.
There is only one experience you will not want to miss today, and that is your treatment at the hotel’s spa. Choose your treatment and feel everything from beyond the island drift away. By evening, you should be walking slower, thinking less, and enjoying that feeling that only an island break can create.
Oia – Luxury Catamaran Day Cruise
Nothing happens too early on the island, so even a full-day cruise will not require you to set your alarm. However, it is good to get out in the morning so that you can maximize the hours before the mid-afternoon sun beats down. Begin in the mid-morning with a luxury small-group catamaran tour taking you all around the island. Stop at a small islet and jump off into the Aegean, and then discover some hot springs, where the water is not quite hot but is both warm and very refreshing. Cruise along the cliffs and find some shade, and then stop beside a tiny beach as the crew cooks up a lush seafood lunch.
Keep cruising in the afternoon as there are places to snorkel, beaches to walk on, and a beautiful place to sunbathe on your private deck. Drinks are included, and a fruit platter is part of the afternoon, as you cruise back around the coast towards Oia. Back in the town, you will probably seek a shaded space, so it is likely to be another sunset back at the hotel. Your hotel provides excellent dining recommendations, and there are plenty of restaurants to try in Oia, along with those in the villages nearby. Your hotel is also home to the oldest restaurant in Oia, where it’s been cooking up traditional food since long before tourists arrived on the island.
Oia – Villages and Ruins of Santorini Private Tour
After a day on the water, a day on the land, a local historian will take you on a tour of the island’s remarkable history. Akrotiri is still being excavated, with just a tip of the town uncovered so far. Most of it is entombed in the solidified ash of Thera volcano, yet the historian can tell you more about what has been found. Civilization thrived here some 5,000 years ago with houses that were three stories high alongside a sophisticated drainage system. So while you can only glimpse what it once was, there is still a wonderful historical show with frescoes on the walls, ceramic jars, alleyways of multi-tiered stone houses, and evidence of mills and masonry.
When the volcano erupted, everyone had to leave, meaning Santorini was empty and barren for many years. Pyrgos was one of the first Cyclades settlements when people returned. For many years it was the island’s capital, and it is now the least touristic of all Santorini villages. From this hilltop settlement, you can gaze across the island, all the way to Oia. You can walk the mazy medieval alleyways, and the unruffled air brings you back to a time centuries ago. As with Akrotiri, having a local guide is essential, so you can start understanding the stories as well as seeing the sights. Today’s tour will be private, and you can return to Oia late in the afternoon or can choose to dine in Pyrgos before returning.
Oia – Santorini Winery Tour
Vineyards tumble down volcanic island slopes as roots stretch deep into the mineral-rich volcanic terroir. The climate is benign here with grapes thriving in warm temperatures while taking a lot of their moisture from the sea breeze. When Venice ruled Greece, Santorini’s wine became the most famous in the world. It was revered all across Europe and was even spared the Ottoman Turks crackdown on alcohol production in the 16thcentury. The vines are old, most of them the flagship Assyrtiko grape, but also Athiri, Aidani, Mavrotragano, and Mandalieria.
Go tasting at three different vineyards, beginning with a cellar-master that will take you around the farm before you go tasting amid the musty smells of an oak cellar. At another farm, you will taste outside, trying different vintages and some new-world Santorini wines. At the third vineyard, you can eat while pairing wines with local food delicacies. Finish each tasting with a Vinsanto, sweet late-harvest wine in a style that was later popularized in Italy as holy wine labeled vin santoor vino santo. After three vineyards, you will probably drift off to sleep later this afternoon, perhaps on a beach or by your swimming pool.
Oia – Walking the Volcano and Santorini By Helicopter
Take a short boat ride to Nea Kameni, an active volcano that stands less than a mile away from the island. The caldera still bubbles away, and you can sense the power of nature, especially on the 130-meter walk up to its peak. Sulfur vents dot the route, and you smell them as much as you see them, an indication that something powerful lies deep beneath the ground. Take a walk in the morning, when there are fewer people on the volcano and the heat is far more manageable, and then cruise to Fira for lunch at one of the coastal cafes, and then move next to fly around Santorini by helicopter. From the sky, you appreciate the island’s geography and see how the volcanic eruptions have shaped everything. Fly along the cliffs and look down on white and blue villages to compare the red beach and the black beach, such vibrant hues to the sand. You can choose to fly all the way to neighboring Mykonos if you would like, as a helicopter is the easiest and fastest way to reach Santorini’s neighbor for a few hours of exploring somewhere new before the last ferry back to Athinios and the western Santorini coast.
Oia – Food Walking Tour in Fira
You will wake ready to explore Fira, the iconic village where whitewashed alleyways pass blue church domes. Travel beneath a small house, and then out into the magical views of the Aegean. With every corner you round, you can get even more lost, but that is the fun in Fira and Oia as you explore alongside your guide. Rather than wandering aimlessly, you will be walking in search of the best Fira tavernas, the places where locals continue to dine. Stop for a traditional Greek breakfast at a tiny taverna, where the products are exclusively from the island. Visit two more tavernas in search of the best fava, yellow split beans ground into a food similar to hummus, chlorocheese, and capers.
Leaving Fira, you can then tour the island for its best produce. Stop at a tomato farm and pluck straight from the plant. Visit a microbrewery to try the new breed of Santorini alcohol, before continuing the wine exploration at a vineyard. Return to Fira to a beautiful little restaurant overlooking the water, where dinner is a traditional meze of different dishes. After that, you will need to do some walking, through the hidden alleyways to the beach, or perhaps along the cliffs all the way back to Oia.
Oia – Flexible Private Boat Tour
Your final full day will be spent with both a boat and a captain at your disposal. You can travel anywhere along the coast, or you may choose to travel further into the Aegean, perhaps using one of the boat’s fishing rods to see what you can bring up. The itinerary is up to you, and the captain will talk you through what is realistic, dependent on what time you start, and the conditions of the waters.
Cruise to Perissa and lay back on the Black Beach, or stop at the Red Beach. Cruise beneath all the villages, passing Fira, Firostefani, and Imerovigli, and then travel past the volcano. Lay anchor in quiet places where you can swim and snorkel in private, toast with fine Santorini wines, and sunbathe on the deck. Return to Oia for your final sunset or watch the sun go down from the deck. You can disembark at any of the villages, meaning you can walk straight into dinner reservations anywhere along the western coast.
Oia – Departure
Wake to your final morning in Oia and take one last stroll through the mazy streets. Gaze over the waters and visit your favorite local tavern for coffee as your tour ends with a private transfer to the airport.
- Immerse yourself in the blue and white village of Oia with just over a week in Santorini’s quiet old town
- Fly above Santorini on a helicopter tour, with the option of touching down in nearby Mykonos
- Cruise around the Santorini coastline on a catamaran, stopping at beaches, hot springs and swimming spots
- Discover the island’s tavernas and local food haunts on a private culinary tour
- Spend a day tasting and touring your way through Santorini’s vineyards
- Take a coastal walk from Oia to Fira and hike the volcanic caldera of Nea Kameni
- Explore all the Santorini villages, including church-dominated Pyrgos and coastal Firostefani
- Spend quiet time on the beaches, comparing the stretches of red and black sand
- Set out on a private boat tour with your choice of destination
- Travel back in history with an archaeological guide at the Akrotiri ruins
Santorini is far more magical than it looks, as so much treasure is found as you engage with the culture of the island. You have probably seen the postcards of blue and white villages shimmering beneath the late-afternoon sun with the hot springs, the ruins, volcanoes, tiny villages, and luxurious swimming pools overlooking it all. Photos are just a snapshot and Santorini is never still as the water changes color through the day. Those mazy streets are animated by the sound of clinking glasses and quiet footsteps while local taverns are alive with laughter as fresh aromas greet you around every corner. Photos make Santorini seem fictional, but immerse yourself in the island, and its magic knows no bounds.
This handcrafted tour celebrates the very best of Santorini. Ultimately, this will be a relaxing vacation as you spend the week in the old town of Oia on the island’s western coast. Oia is quieter than Fira and is the largest of the old villages, so even on the last day of your vacation, you may turn up an alley you had not yet noticed. You will also be ideally situated to get out and explore the rest of the island, either on water or land. From Oia, there is a beautiful coastal walk to Firostefani and Fira, but a journey by road is also quick and easy, giving you the option to spend your evenings in either of these villages as well.
Oia is quiet most of the year and most of each day. There is a surge of visitors around dusk as it is the ideal place to watch the Santorini sunset. But even then, these people are easily avoided as you can relax in your private hotel terrace towards the top of the village. Gaze out on the world-famous sunset in privacy, or you can enjoy it from the swimming pool. Your boutique hotel is one of the finest in Greece and celebrates the unique character of Oia with signature décor and a very laid-back atmosphere.
Most days include a private tour or activity, so throughout your vacation, you will experience everything the island has to offer. Begin with a spa treatment to ease you into relaxation, and then take a luxurious catamaran cruise with a stop at beaches, islands, and hot springs. Discover the ancient village of Pyrgos and the ruins at Akrotiri, and spend a day at the best Santorini vineyards. Fly over the island by helicopter and walk on a volcanic caldera before finding the best local food in Fira’s taverns. You will take it all in with the best of Santorini over a very relaxing week.
$2,245 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
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- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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