Popular Santorini Shore Excursions
In Fira you'll find cobbled streets, whitewashed houses and churches, lots of jewelry and craft shops, a small archaeological museum open 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day except Monday (Fira Santorini 847 00, near the cable car station; +30 22860 22217), clifftop restaurants and cafes with terrific views of the sparkling seas below.
Also worth visiting is Oia (pronounced Eeh-Ah), a pretty village of pastel-tinted and whitewashed houses set into the cliffside. Here you'll find leafy squares, picturesque restaurants, art galleries and decent craft shops -- good for a browse and a pleasant lunch. There are also paths down to two black-sand volcanic beaches.
Go up any of the streets facing the cable car station and you'll find yourself on the shop- and restaurant-lined main thoroughfare, Erythrou Stavrou. Here you can book a local excursion from one of the numerous travel agencies, or shop for jewelry and designer goods. But your best bet if you're in search of the offbeat is simply to follow your nose down cobbled alleyways, some of which contain quite upmarket shops. If you're buying several things at one store, it's worth asking for a bulk discount -- but this isn't the place for really serious haggling.
The beaches at Kamari, about 10 kilometers southeast of Fira, and Perissa, about 15 kilometers southeast, have amenities for rent, such as sun chairs, umbrellas and water-sports equipment. There are plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes, too.
Akrotiri lies at the southwestern tip of Santorini and is Greece's answer to Pompeii. Though covered in a sea of lava by Thera's cataclysmic eruption (four times the strength of Krakatoa) in 1450 B.C., it has now been partially excavated, revealing some beautiful frescoes and buildings dating as far back as the 16th century B.C. Amazingly, many of these remain intact -- including some huge clay storage jars that survived the eruption. Open Tuesday - Sunday 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. (south of modern Akrotiri; +30 22860 81366)
Wine Road: There are 10 wineries that make up the Wine Road. Seeing the sunset from Amoudi (the only place on the island where from sea level you can see the sun disappear beneath the horizon) is such a "Santorini thing to do" that it borders on clich? but still worth it. Book a quayside table at Dmitri's Taverna (00 30 22860 71 606), in advance.