Santorini sunrise at Oia Castle looking over the town and sea.

Santorini is one of the most famous and photographed islands in the Cyclades. Many tourists flock to see the blue-domed churches, the bougainvillea flowers, the white-washed buildings and the crystal waters of the Aegean Sea. And while you could spend longer in this beautiful destination, we are jam packing all the best bits into 48 hours in Santorini. 

This guide will help you discover why Santorini needs to be on your Greek island hopping itinerary.

How to spend 48 hours in Santorini

This budget-friendly travel plan will help uncover the best sunset spots, where the instagramable pictures are, how to find affordable but delicious food and so much more.

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Are 2 days enough in Santorini

2 days is more than enough time to see the hotspots of Oia, Imerovigli, Fira and Akrotiri in Santorini. I have put together the perfect itinerary to get the most out of your 48 hours. 

How to get to Santorini

There are two ways to get to this Greek island: 

  1. You can fly into Santorini airport. This has half a dozen international pathways from the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Mainland Greece.
  2. You can get a ferry to the island of Santorini. This is my choice of travel as you can island hop around the Cyclades using the website/app Ferry Hopper.
Cat sitting on a scooter with Santorini in the background

How to get around the island of Santorini

I chose to get around Santorini by walking and using the bus system. The buses run frequently and go all over the island. The routes are all year round but slow down and offer fewer services in the lower season. 

The main bus routes I used were: 

The Port to Fira / 10 minutes / €1.60 

Bus Route Fira to Oia / 25 minutes / €1.80

Fira to Imerovigli / 7 minutes / €1.60

Fira to Akrotiri / 25 minutes / €2.00

To the airport (as it was my last island before home) / 10 minutes / €1.60

The cost of each ticket is paid to the driver in cash. 

Here is a link to the bus timetable.

If you want more freedom, then you can rent a car. This option will get you to more of the hidden gems on the island. But I do not think it is necessary for a 2 day Santorini itinerary.

Where to stay for 48 hours in Santorini 

Staying on a luxurious island like Santorini does come with a higher price tag for accommodation. Even if you are looking at hostels, which I always recommend, they will be more expensive than other islands. 

Santorini Camping 

Price:  €36pn 

Accommodation: Camping and Dormitories 

Why you should book: 350m from Fira center, free wifi, swimming pool.

Bedspot Hostel 

Price: €51pn

Accommodation: Dorm rooms and private rooms 

Why should you book here: It’s Boujee! Rated highly on Hostelworld, Agoda and, privacy curtain, USB charger and reading light.


Price: €36pn

Accommodation: Dorm rooms and private rooms

Why should you book it: the complex consists of 8 traditional caves, a donation-based coffee corner, a noticeboard full of weekly dinners, movie nights and yoga classes.

Villa Manos

Price: €15pn

Accommodation: Hotel

Why you should book it: It’s cheaper than a hostel, received 10 stars on Hostelworld, swimming pool, clean and quiet and free wifi.

2 Day Itinerary in Santorini Greece 

Bedspot hostel Santorini dom room
Photo taken from Bedspot Hostel Website

Day 1 of 48 hours in Santorini 

  1. Wander around the city of Oia 
  2. Amoudi Bay
  3. Oia to Fira walking trail (optional)
  4. 587 karavolades stairs 
  5. Tavern 
  6. Santorini Cable Car 
  7. Sunset spot (Fira)

Wander around the streets of Oia. 

2 full days in Santorini is plenty of time to see all the beautiful tourist hotspots. I highly recommend getting up early on both days to avoid crowds of people. 

We start our itinerary in Oia as this is probably the city that made you want to visit Santorini in the first place. 

Most people suggest going to Oia Castle for sunset, but I prefer to recommend sunrise. This beautiful spot holds fewer travellers at that hour of the morning and I have 2 other magical spots for sunset with fewer people. 

Although not much remains of the castle because of the 1956 earthquake, it is probably one of the most popular attractions in Oia. The castle was built in the 15th Century to watch for threats like pirates. Pirates were a real issue for the Greeks back in the day and were the reason they created homes in the cliffs all on top of each other. 

Grab a coffee and a morning snack and wander around the streets of Oia. The place feels truly magical when it’s only you and a handful of people. 

Being up that early in the morning also allows you to get those “instagrammable shots” without feeling conscious. 

Girl sitting on a step in Santorini infrront of a blue door and plant pots

What to do with 2 days in Santorini

Check out Atlantis Books. This cute, eccentric little bookshop has been serving customers for over 2 decades. The store holds old, new and rare books, which makes it an interesting place to adventure in. 

The famous Orange Kastro House is actually a hotel and restaurant. Which is hard to believe when you look at how small it is. 

As the city is built on the cliff tops, you get beautiful views of the Aegean Sea. 

Visit the many blue-domed churches that make Santorini so picturesque, including the Church of Panagia. The Church of Panagia was originally within the walls of the Venetian Castle, but after an earthquake in 1956 it was moved to its present location. 

You are able to go inside the church and look around. 

Go to the Oia windmill. Although not operational anymore, the building’s structure is still in excellent condition. 

One thing I think that is worth mentioning is a lot of areas in Oia are gated off and restricted from the public. I had to turn back on myself a lot. And it is worth mentioning that Instagram isn’t always the truth. 

Some creators either pay for photoshoots and get a pass to certain areas or they step over the chained areas for the “shot”.

View of an Oia Blue dome church with houses and mountain in background

Amoudi Bay 

From Oia Castle, we walk down the Oia Steps, which consist of 278 steps. According to Google, it takes 13 minutes! But for non-athletic folk, give yourself 20. (Try not to think of the way back up). 

When you get down there you will be rewarded by the picturesque little fisherman’s village of Amoudi Bay.

There are many restaurants boasting the best seafood on the island. 5 minutes down past the restaurants is a dirt road that takes you to a good swimming spot to cool off from the Greek heat. There is a popular ledge you can jump off if you are feeling brave. 

I know climbing steps isn’t enjoyable, but please do not pay for a donkey ride back up to the top. The poor animals are exploited and overworked. They are in the hot Greek sun all day and it breaks my heart to see them chained up with no shade all day.

Trail from Oia to Fira or visa versa (optional)

In the heat of the Greek sun, this walk is not for the faint hearted. It is 6 miles (10km) one way.

This scenic hike takes 3 to 5 hours and gives you stunning viewpoints, quaint white-washed buildings, blue-domed churches and a mixture of dirt tracks, cobbled and paved streets. 

Explore Fira

Fira is the capital city of Santorini. It is not as busy as Oia, making it the perfect place to stay.

Get lost in the boutique stores, the many art galleries and the forever intertwining cobbled streets. 

Fira is home to 3 museums, giving you the history of how Santorini came to be. It wasn’t always this picture perfect. Each museum gives you information on their culture and traditions, architecture and artifacts over the years and explains the different periods that Santorini went through.

587 karavolades stairs

I can hear you through the airways saying no more stairs but it’s worth it, I promise! 

These steps will take you down a zigzagging path to the old port Gialos. The steps are long and wide, so it doesn’t feel as strenuous as if they were bunched up together. The walk is relatively easy but it does take time and lots of water if you are doing it in the sun. 

You will see a lot of donkeys on the way down, either standing with no shade or being ridden. It is honestly quite sad to see, and again, I do not encourage anyone to partake in this activity. 

Also be careful to dodge the donkey poo! 

When you finally make it down the 587th step, you will be rewarded with a charming harbour that has boats, restaurants and souvenir shops. Walk along the harbour and try to locate where you want to eat lunch/dinner.

Karavolades stairs leading down to the old port

Taverne Syrtaki 

An affordable restaurant down by the water that I recommend visiting is Taverne Syrtaki

Their outdoor seating is perfect to watch the waves and the world go by. 

They give out free bread for the table, which I always appreciate a freebie, and have such welcoming hosts.

I went for a cheap and cheerful Greek Salad with a sprite and it was delicious! If you are a seafood person, then I would definitely get it down in this port as it will be fresh. 

Greek salad, bread and a sprite with views of the sea at the old port in Santorini

Santorini Cable Car

The good thing about the karavolades stairs is that they have a Gondola that can take you back up!

The ride takes 3 minutes to get from the bottom to the top and costs €6. 

Money well spent if you ask me!

There is no need to book the cable car in advance as they can house 1,200 per hour. You can buy tickets at the top or bottom booth. 

You will get views of the sea, the Caldera and the volcano.

Sunset spot in Fira, Santorini

48 hours in Santorini will allow you to see two incredible sunsets. 

Santorini is known for having some of the best sunsets disappearing into the ocean. 

And while one of the most popular spots is the Oia Castle, I recommend actually staying in Fira. 

This spot has a lot fewer people and a picture perfect view. 

Head to the La Scala restaurant and you will see a wall that is overlooking Fira, the sea and the surrounding islands. Map attached here.

This amazing spot also has the added bonus of people watching. There is a restaurant on the lower set of buildings. I was fortunate to see a man propose to his girlfriend. 

If you have the funds to eat La Scala, then the food views would be incredible. But as it is in a prime viewing location, it is a little pricey. 

This spot and sunset was probably one of my favourite moments in Santorini.

 Day 2 of 48 hours in Santorini 

  1. Imerovigli
  2. Skaros Rock 
  3. Red Beach 
  4. Gyros
  5. Sunset spot 


To make the most out of your 2 days in Santorini, you will want to get up early. 

Imerovigli, when the sun is rising, is such a beautiful place. 

I preferred this little town to Oia as it was full of charm and charisma. I can not stress enough how beautiful this place is. Only a 20 minute walk from Fira, it is worth the early morning stroll to wake yourselves up. 

Get lost in the numerous cobbled streets of Imerovigli where bougainvillea flowers frame every corner. 

A picture perfect and instagrammable spot in Imerovigli is the Church of the Resurrection of the lord (map attached here). This blue domed church also comes with a little wooden picket fence and a flower garden. You also have beautiful views of the sea and the surrounding villages.

4 minutes’ walk from the church is an impressive brunch place called Confetti Dessert Boutique. They have everything from benny, to omelets, to fluffy pancakes to smoothie bowls. 

The brunch prices are affordable, ranging from €10 – €16. And the coffee menu ranges from €2.50 to €4.50.

Skaros Rock 

After that breakfast, it is time to work it off. The start of Skaros Rock walk is a 12 minute walk from Confetti. 

Trek 20 minutes each way out to this rock formation and castle ruins. The castle stood for 600 years until the 19th Century volcano demolished it. 

The hike isn’t strenuous but does include a lot of stairs, which should be considered before taking this route. 

Once you reach the protruding rock, you will be treated to views of Imerovigli, surrounding islands and the Aegean sea carrying in cruise ships.

Red Beach 

Catch a bus and head to Akrotiri, which is home to Red Beach.

Be prepared for the walk from the bus stop. Although short, it is rocky and narrow in places. You will be wowed by this volcanic red beach. 

The cliffs surrounding this beach are a dirty red and you can see why it gets its name. 

This is a great spot for some afternoon sunbathing and cooling off in the clear waters. 

Fun fact: The Red beach is at a higher temperature than other parts of the island because of its dark colour and soil quality. 

So, why is the beach red? 

Well, after the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the cliffs corroded, revealing this rock that was rich in iron.

Make sure you pay attention to the signs and stay off the barricaded areas, as this is to stop landslides and falling debris.

Red beach in Santorini

Yogi Gyros 

After you have soaked up the Greek sun and showered off from the day, head into the center of Fira and go to Yogis.

This little restaurant has €2.60 Gyros and they are delicious. 

I loved that they are affordable and tasty takeaway food. 

If you haven’t tried a Gyros yet, they are a staple of Greece! 

Gyros is a Greek dish of sliced pork or chicken with chips/fries, onions, tomatoes and Tzatziki wrapped in a flatbread pita. The price of this delicacy is between €2 – €7.

I suggest taking your Gyros and heading to a spot for sunset.

Gyros greek food

Second day in Santorini sunset spot 

The second sunset spot I would like to share with you is also in Fira. 

Head to the Atlantis hotel/Atlantis Cafe Bar (map attached here) and along there is another wall with the perfect view of the sun setting over the Aegean sea. 

Although this isn’t as spectacular as the first location, it still shows you an epic sunset.

Sunset over the ocean in Fira Santorini

How much to budget per day for Santorini 

Although you pay a higher premium for accommodation in Santorini, the rest of the trip is pretty inexpensive. 

If you take the bus, you will be looking at no more €5 depending on how many journeys you take.

If you decide to eat at non-fancy restaurants you will pay between  €10 –  €30 a day. 

Buying water will cost around  €3 for 2 litres. 

Alcohol is cheap, depending where you go. You can buy a beer for €1 at a bottle shop or at a restaurant for €3.  

And souvenirs will be anything from  €1. I bought a nice tea towel, the “evil eye” decoration and a postcard for  €10.

Frequently asked Questions

Can you walk around Santorini in a day? 

No. Santorini is a relatively big island and will require transport to each village. However, you can very easily see several of these villages in a day. 

Is it easy to island hop from Santorini? 

It is very easy to island hop from Santorini. The website Ferry hopper is a great tool to help you find the most affordable and quickest ferries from each island. 

Is it worth going to Santorini for 2 days? 

Absolutely! Going to Santorini for 2 days is the perfect amount of time to see all the best bits that this beautiful island has to offer. 

Which is better, Santorini or Mykonos? 

This is a difficult question, as both Santorini and Mykonos are both beautiful and both offer different experiences. However, if I am being completely honest, I prefer Mykonos.

Final Thoughts

In summary, this Santorini itinerary has all my favourite highlights packed into 48 hours. This beautiful island will take a piece of your heart and is well worth adding to your Greek island hopping itinerary

As Always, 

Happy Exploring! 

Ginger and White cat sleeping outside a shop

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