Santorini is one of those idyllic travel destinations people dream about for years. This Greek island in the southern Aegean Sea is a top contender for your travel bucket list, boasting clear blue waters, impeccable beaches, and dramatic views.
When it comes to watching the sun go down, Santorini sunsets are arguably the ones to beat. The lava pebbles scattered along the beach glisten under the Grecian sun, and you can bask in the warm sunlight from one of the many cliffside spots on the island.
This post covers all the best Santorini sunset spots, as well as the best time to visit the island to enjoy the scenic views.
Never been to Greece before? Check out this guide for first-timers for a 10-day itinerary in Greece.
Santorini Sunsets: When to Visit for the Best Ones
Table of Contents
- Santorini Sunsets: When to Visit for the Best Ones
- 13 Best Santorini Sunset Spots
- 1. Hike Skaros Rock
- 2. Eat fresh seafood at Ammoudi Bay
- 3. Visit the Charming Oia Village
- 4. Enjoy a Santorini Sunset Cruise
- 5. Go Wine-tasting at Santo Winery
- 6. Akrotiri Lighthouse
- 7. Pyrgos
- 8. Imerovigli
- 9. Thirasia
- 10. Fira
- 11. Prophet Elias Monastery
- 12. Nea Kameni Volcano
- 13. Perissa Beach
- Enjoy the Santorini sunset!
- How to Get To Santorini
Santorini sees its ups and downs in terms of the weather and the crowds. So, it may help to know what to expect before you embark on your island vacation. More and more people are going to Santorini during the low season when the crowds are sparser.
Keep in mind that the weather will be more cold and rainy during these winter months (December – March). It doesn’t get too cold on the island, though, with temperatures averaging about 18°C in winter.
If you’re ready to contend with thousands of tourists, Santorini’s high season offers splendid weather conditions. The high season’s peak happens in summer (June – September) but can start as early as April.
Of course, summer is the best time for swimming on the beaches, but you can enjoy touring the island in the winter, too.
What’s excellent about Santorini is that all of the best locations face the ocean basin. So, you won’t have any trouble locating the sunset each evening, especially if you visit one of the sunset spots on this list.
In general, though, you’ll want to be facing the ocean to the west to get the best view.
In winter, the sunsets happen as early as 17:30 in the evening. So, make sure you’ve got your glass of wine in hand by that time to enjoy the view. Sunsets happen a lot later during the summer months, though.
In August, for example, you can expect the sun to go down as late as 20:30.
13 Best Santorini Sunset Spots
Santorini is picture-perfect at sunset, especially if viewed from the locations on this list. If you’re looking for the best way to enjoy that magical transition from day to night, keep reading! From outdoor activities to luxurious wineries, this list covers it all.
1. Hike Skaros Rock
Skaros Rock is a popular destination for hikers and photographers. If you’re looking for an excellent view, this rock formation protrudes out over the Aegean sea at a height of about 20 meters.
Hiking Skaros Rock is an unforgettable experience, with the houses of Imerovigli village growing smaller and smaller behind you as you ascend this unique mountain.
From the height of Skaros, you can see the magnificent turquoise ocean waters below. You’ll also see the two Kameni Islands wrapping around the basin in the distance.
Sunset from Skaros Rock feels like being at the edge of the world, with the entire Santorini caldera behind you and the ocean bleeding into the horizon before you. There are also some curious abandoned houses along the hiking trail, for those interested in Santorini’s obscurities.
After you’ve bathed in the sunset, you’ll also find Saint John’s chapel on your way down the hill. This quaint church is built on the caldera to your right – another stellar photo opportunity for the photographers and influencers out there.
Hiking Skaras Rock will take you anywhere between two to five hours, depending on which path you choose.
2. Eat fresh seafood at Ammoudi Bay
If you fancy a waterside dining experience, Ammoudi Bay is the perfect place to enjoy a meal as the sun settles over the ocean. This small port is lined with seafood restaurants that sit right on the water’s edge.
Catamarans dock is a mere stone’s throw from the dining areas, so you’ll feel truly immersed in Santorini’s seaside culture.
Ammoudi Bay is rife with activity, with boat tours arriving and departing throughout the day. You’ll also see tourists and locals alike weave through the boats and dock bridges. Enjoy a glass of wine or a plate of oysters – most of the seafood served is fresh off the boat.
This area is a hotspot for tourists, so you may have to wait a while to get a table. But the view from Ammoudi Bay is well worth it.
There is also a fantastic cliff-jumping spot just around the corner. To get there, walk to the last restaurant on the strip and follow the footpath around the cove.
You’ll find a 6-meter cliff you can dive off, straight into the Meditteranean waters. This spot is also a great location to take a photo of the sunset.
3. Visit the Charming Oia Village
Oia (pronounced “ee-a”) is Santorini’s most famous village. This coastal town on the northwestern tip of the island is like a postcard come to life. You’ll find a maze of whitewashed houses rising out of the clifftops, as well as a sweeping view of the island over the horizon.
Oia is always brimming with tourists, and when you see twilight descend on the village, you’ll understand why. The warm yellow light of sunset seeps between Oia’s narrow streets, bathing the white houses in a buttery hue.
Oia truly lives up to the phrase “golden hour” with a dependable magical atmosphere visiting the village each evening.
One of the best sunset views is seen from Oia Castle, also known as Fort Londsa. This 15th-century citadel offers a unique sunset experience. You’ll be able to see the Grecian sun setting over Ammoudi Bay from the castle ruins.
Be sure to get there in the late afternoon to secure the best spot possible, as Fort Londsa is usually buzzing with people.
Oia Castle is one of the most impressive Greek landmarks, and definitely worth a visit for the unique architectural landscape.
4. Enjoy a Santorini Sunset Cruise
Santorini offers an abundance of sunset cruises – one of the more luxurious ways to enjoy the island’s incredible views. As fantastic as sunset looks from the island, you cannot beat the pink and red sun rays twinkling over the ocean waters.
If you’re lucky enough to enjoy a Santorini catamaran tour, the sunset view will take your breath away.
Depending on what tour you choose, you can enjoy your view from a private catamaran, or share the experience with a few other travellers. Either way, the view from the water is impeccable.
5. Go Wine-tasting at Santo Winery
Santo Winery is one of the most scenic spots in all of Santorini, thanks to the spacious terrace that looks out over the caldera and surrounding islands. You can visit this hillside vineyard for a wine-tasting experience, a winery tour, or some light bites at the scenic cafe.
Santo has delicious cheese, meat, and olive platters, which you can pair with the finest local Santorinian wines.
Santo Winery offers a unique cultural excursion for those interested in the island’s viticulture history. Santorini has a strong agricultural tradition that dates back to the volcanic eruptions that made the island what it is today.
The soil’s distinctive texture, which includes lava, volcanic ash, and pumice stone, contributes to the local wines’ quality and flavour profiles. One of Santo’s professional sommeliers will guide you through the vineyard’s best wines so you can taste the history for yourself.
The vineyard isn’t all that’s on offer at Santo. You can also peak at the tomato processing factory on-site. Tomato cultivation is another of Santorini’s most famous exports, dating back to the 18th century.
The factory was built in 1952, and the beautiful architecture has been restored to its original glory today. This also happens to be the only tomato processing factory that still operates on the island.
If you want to visit Santo Winery as well as some other famous Santorini spots, you can take a private sightseeing tour of the island.
6. Akrotiri Lighthouse
This lighthouse on the tip of the south west of Santorini was built in 1892. It is a wonderful spot to watch the sunset in Santorini and the lighthouse itself makes for a great silhouette in the foreground of a photograph. There isn’t much space here – the car park is small and Akrotiri Lighthouse is at the end of a skinny street – but the views are fantastic.
This small village in the hills of Santorini has protection from tourism and a more authentic feel than other areas in Santorini. Head to the ruins of Pyrgos Castle or St George Church or best of all Franco’s Cafe to enjoy the sunset in Pyrgos.
This pretty village is about halfway between Thira and Oia on the west side of Santorini. The view from Imerovigli allows visitors to watch the sun drop over the small island of Thirasia. Head up to Skaros, the castle in Thirasia, for some great views or enjoy the view with a drink at one of Imerovigli’s cafes.
Or why not head to the island of Thirasia itself? This small, rocky island is west of Santorini and its hilltops have fantastic views of the sun setting over Santorini itself. The best views are of Oia and some of the small towns on Santorini’s west coast. There is some accommodation on Thirasia but not a lot. Make sure you book ahead or don’t miss the last ferry back to Santorini.
Fira is Santorini’s major town and it is generally a busy place. There are a large range of rooftop bars and restaurants in Fira which offer great views of the sunset whilst enjoying some Greek wine and calamari. Try the PK Cocktail Bar or the Tropical Bar. For dinner try Argo restaurant or Volcano Blue.
11. Prophet Elias Monastery
Prophet Elias Monastery sits at the top of Santorini and is 565 metres above sea level. The monastery was built in 1711 and unfortunately, it was somewhat damaged in the earthquake in 1956. There is still quite a bit to see although the inside and facilities will be closed at sunset. But the view won’t be so head up here to see one of the widest sunset vistas in Santorini.
12. Nea Kameni Volcano
This now dormant volcano is a popular Santorini day trip. From the crater, it is a 400 metre climb to reach the top viewing platform and an amazing Santorini sunset view.
13. Perissa Beach
Perissa Beach is located near the base of Mt Mesa Vouna and is a relatively short taxi or bus ride from Fira. There are sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach so you can relax and enjoy the stunning sunset whilst reclining. Or head into the water for a sunset swim.
Enjoy the Santorini sunset!
No matter which location you choose, the Santorini sunsets are simply unforgettable. Whether you’re atop Skaras Rock, sipping on the local wines at Santo, or out on the waters on a catamaran cruise, the sunset views are bound to take your breath away.
Santorini is an incredible travel destination, with unique architecture that makes viewing the sunset much more special. With one of these stops, you’ll certainly have a memorable experience of your first sunset viewing in Santorini.
How to Get To Santorini
If you’re coming from outside the Greek islands the nearest airport to Ios is Santorini.
Santorini airport is very busy and currently being upgraded. The good news is that there are quite a few flight options available. The bad news is that the upgrade won’t be completed until at least 2020.
In the meantime, there is literally not enough room for the passengers coming in.
I would very much recommend booking a car to pick you up at Santorini airport – whether you are heading to the ferry port or into Santorini. Believe it or not, I was told that there are only 36 taxis on the island of Santorini. That isn’t a typo – 36 taxis.
I had my hotel organise my airport pick up (if you are heading straight to the ferry port (click here for taxi options).
If you are heading straight to the ferry port I would suggest that pre-booking your airport pick up is pretty much mandatory if you want a smooth journey.
And I have a fantastic boutique hotel for you to stay at in Santorini – which has amazing views of the sunset – and a large deck area designed to help you enjoy that view. I stayed at the Anteliz Suites and absolutely loved it. This charming Santorini boutique hotel is perched on the top of Fira.
My room at Anteliz Suite Santorini was beautiful. It was a nice size and simply decorated in blue and white. The furniture and fixtures of this Santorini boutique hotel were of high quality.
I virtually didn’t leave this lovely hotel whilst I was there so this is a strong recommendation.
This Santorini sunsets post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.