When I started planning my trip to Santorini, I commonly heard, "There is no such thing as a bad view," and while that's true, it also makes planning activities overwhelming. I felt I needed to see all the things, so before our trip, as I do with most trips—and most things in life—I researched the top activities on the Island. Here's my list of what to do in Santorini on a budget.
Santorini Catamaran Tour ($109 USD)
With little time to do it all, a 5 hour catamaran tour around the island will allow you to see many of the different towns and beaches and eliminate the aforementioned FOMO (fear of missing out).
The tour includes an amazing cooked meal and free beverages, including wine and beer, so eat, drink, and sail merry. On our tour, we swam between the volcanos, through the hot springs—a highlight of my trip.
Insider tip: Take the sunset tour. The catamaran starts and stops in Amoudi Bay, giving you the best seat in the house for those famous Santorini sunsets.
Hike from Fira to Oia (Free)
This 6.5 mile hike takes between 2-5 hours. It's considered a highlight of Santorini since you get to explore the caldera cliff through several villages: Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia. It's also considered one of the most Instagram-able activities.
Note: Do not wear sandals. If you're planning to do this, pack a pair of sneakers. In fact, I wore sneakers often because some of the stairways around Oia are a bit steep, and I'm more than a bit clumsy.
Anthropologie Lace Top (last seen here | similar here), AE Jeans, Michael Kors Wristlet
If you go between June—September, there are buses to take you back to your starting point. If you're going off-season, then you can take a taxi back. There are also great restaurants along the way to take a pit stop, like Avocado in Imervigoli. If you're not super adventurous,or you like to be social, book a Caldera Walking Tour instead of going it alone.
Santorini Wine Tour ($92.68)
If you're a wine lover, Santorini wine is really special from the unique features of the plants to the history the the wineries.
We booked a wine tour that went to the Venetsanos Winery, Canava Roussos Winery, and Estate Argyros. Venetsanos has a gorgeous sunset view, and the Roussos Winery is historic and eclectic. It continues to be a family run business, which I love.
If you're traveling off-season, like we did, there aren't nearly as many people booking tours. Our tour included one other couple. It felt like a private tour on a group rate. Much like the catamaran tour, it was one of my favorite parts of the trip.
Visit Amoudi Bay (Free)
This was a top place to visit from my photographer neighbor, so we made sure to stay within walking distance. If you're feeling extra touristy, or sedentary, you can ride a donkey to the bay.
Here you'll find several great restaurants, a gorgeous view, and a swimming spot a short walk away. If you want to stay on a tight budget, stop at the market, pack a lunch, and go cliff diving after your picnic.
Sunset View from Oia Castle (Free)
I have to admit—although this is not a new sentiment—I don't like being around hordes of people. It's 100% the reason I opted to stay in Oia and find my own little private nook for sunset views, crowds not included, but street dogs very much welcomed. If you come to Santorini, you have to view the world famous Sunset from Oia Castle. There are no wavering opinions about this. I'm pretty sure it's a fact!
If you stay in another village, don't fret, there are busses that take people to and from the Castle, but make sure you get there about 1-2 hours early because it gets crowded. It's really lovely when everyone claps after the sunsets displays its lavender hues. It reminds you to appreciate the little things in life.
The amazing thing about Santorini is that you can find things to do at different price points, many even free. If a catamaran tour for $109 is too expensive, opt for a walking tour or head to the beaches. Rent an ATV for the day and create your own tour or research places to photograph and create a free photography walking tour. All the options are beautiful, and you won't be sorry you did!