Where to Watch the Best Sunsets in Santorini Greece
An insider’s guide to the best sunsets in Santorini Greece.
There are few things more breathtaking than a Santorini sunset. With its stunning blue waters and picturesque white buildings, Santorini is a photographer’s dream. The island of Santorini is located in the Aegean Sea and is truly one of the most picturesque places in the Greek Islands. The whitewashed houses, iconic blue domes, and ancient windmills are a trademark of the island, as are the black volcanic rocks that surround it. The Caldera, a giant crater formed by a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago, is now filled with crystal-clear water and makes for a stunning view.
Seeking a Santorini Sunset
While there is so much to see and do in Santorini, one of the most memorable experiences will be watching the evening sunset paint the sky in a vibrant spectrum of oranges and pinks as it slowly fades beyond the glistening waters of the Aegean sea. Yet, with Santorini being one of the most famous of the Greek Islands, it’s becoming increasingly harder to catch a sunset without the crowds.
From the world-famous sunsets of Oia to stunning sunset views you can only capture from the water, read on for the spots to avoid and where to go instead to capture the best sunsets in Santorini.
The Best Spots for Sunset Viewing in Santorini
The Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Oia
Tucked away on the north side of the island on Santorini’s west coast, Oia is one of the most photographed places in the world. This charming village is home to the world-famous blue-domed churches and winding narrow streets, but most notably, Oia is known for its stunning sunsets, which can be enjoyed from one of the many breathtaking vantage points throughout the village.
Byzantine Castle Ruins (Oia Castle)
While endless travelers herald Oia Castle as one of the best sunset spots, standing shoulder to shoulder with droves of tourists in the castle watchtower is not our idea of serene sunset viewing. If like us, you prefer to capture a captivating sunset without the crowds and chaos of possibly the most famous sunset spot, you can capture almost the same view by taking a slight detour.
What to Do Instead:
The Old Castle Walls
When it comes to sunset watching, Oia still reigns supreme. While this is a slightly lower view of the iconic Oia Castle Santorini sunset, instead of heading up to the Oia Castle watchtower with other tourists, follow the path down past the famous Kastro Oia House and watch the sunset along the old castle walls. One of the lesser-known sunset spots than the Oia Castle watchtower, you’ll capture the same iconic view with fewer crowds.
Blue-Domed Churches at Sunset
While there are many lovely laneways around these iconic churches that are the perfect place to catch the Santorini sunset at golden hour, unfortunately, this is another sunset spot brimming with tourists during sundown, especially in peak season.
People flock to this extremely popular sunset spot to take sunset photos and admire the view. It’s easy to see why this spot is so popular with the blue-domed churches providing a breathtaking setting for that Instagram-worthy shot everyone is seeking when capturing the sunset in Santorini.
If you’re planning on visiting these churches at sunset despite the large crowds, be sure to arrive early. If you wish to capture the same stunning photo without the crowds, set your alarm for an early wake-up.
What to Do Instead:
Blue-Domed Churches at Sunrise
If you don’t mind trading in a glass of wine for a cup of coffee, the blue-domed churches of Oia are a sight to behold at sunrise. As the sun slowly rises, the sky radiates a deep shade of orange which contrasts beautifully against the bright blue domes perfectly perched on the cliff’s edge. This stunning scene will allow you to take the same post-card perfect photo you would capture at sunset without the busy crowds. Plus, wandering the winding laneways of Oia before the world wakes up makes for a magical experience.
Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Imerovigli
The charming town of Imerovigli is nestled between Fira and Oia with many beautiful spots to watch the sunset in Santorini. While this area of the island can still get busy in peak season, this remains one of the areas of the island with fewer crowds.
Skaros Rock is a rocky cape in a secluded part of the little village of Imerovigli which was once the site of a 13th-century fortress. With its elevated position extending towards the Aegean Sea overlooking Ammoudi Bay, it offers magical sunset views accessed just off the famous hiking trail from Fira to Oia.
While this spot undoubtedly will have amazing views with fewer crowds than the sunset viewing spots in Oia, we only recommend this sunset spot if you have ample time to hike during your Santorini trip.
If time allows and you love the outdoors, Skaros Rock is a welcomed addition to your Santorini itinerary, but if time is limited, there are other great spots in Imerovigli along the Caldera to savor the sunset in Santorini.
What to Do Instead:
Kapari Wine Restaurant at Sunset
While you can pick the perfect spot anywhere along the Fira to Oia hike to capture the beautiful sunset, Kapari Wine Restaurant has one of the best Santorini sunsets paired with fine wine and delicious Mediterranean fare. After hiking along the Caldera, book a reservation for sundown and surrender to the dramatic sunset views for a memorable experience.
The Wine Bar
If you don’t want to indulge in a full dinner, the sunset watching at The Wine Bar in Imerovigli is equally as stunning. This natural cave transformed into an atmospheric wine bar is the perfect vantage point to view a stunning sunset in Santorini. In summer months, the best sunset view is savored with wine from their sweeping terrace. To ensure your sunset gazing is stress-free, book your reservation well in advance.
Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Pyrgos
Perched on a mountaintop, Pyrgos is the highest village in Santorini offering sweeping panoramic views of the entire island. Located a bit further from the famous caldera, Pyrgos is a charming Medieval town that looks as if it’s frozen in time and is often overlooked by tourists. The village is home to a number of vineyards, and its wine is considered to be some of the best in the world. Pyrgos is also home to a number of historical sites, including the ruins of an ancient Greek temple.
Secluded from the crowds of tourists, there isn’t anything we would recommend skipping in Pyrgos. In fact, Pyrgos is not to be missed if you are seeking the best sunset in Santorini and a much-needed respite from the crowds.
What to Do:
Pyrgos Castle (Pygros Kasteli)
Built in 1580, The Castle of Pyrgos offers the ultimate sunset in Santorini with spectacular views of the entire island. Looking out from Pygros Castle, you can see the sweeping views of Santorini and the vast Aegean Sea unfold with cinematic magic. As day turns to night, the town below is drenched in golden light while you watch the world unwind.
The best part? This sunset spot gets little foot traffic making it the perfect perch for a romantic evening while you watch the sun setting over the whitewashed houses and winding laneways of Santorini – just don’t forget the wine.
Originally started in 1911, Santo Winery maintains a privately owned organic vineyard offering a breathtaking view of the Caldera. From red to white and sparkling rose wines, take in the sunset with an unparalleled view of this beautiful island and enjoy a wine tasting unique to the region.
Not to be confused with Franco’s Bar in Fira, with its location on the Kastelli and views of Santorini’s charming towns, Franco’s Cafe has become a must-visit spot to watch the sunset in Santorini. Sip a cocktail and savor the sunset in a relaxing setting second to none.
Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Akrotiri
Known for its rugged beauty and rich history, Akrotiri is a beautiful town on the southwest corner of Santorini. Not only does this town have some of the best views on the island, reaching as far as Oia, but it is also home to Santorini’s hidden gems including the red beach, Venetian Castle of Akrotiri, and the Akrotiri Lighthouse.
Venetian Castle of Akrotiri
From April to October there are daily guided tours where visitors have the opportunity to learn about the history of the tower, learn how traditional Greek musical instruments are made, and even buy handcrafted musical instruments. This idyllic setting has a spectacular view, but the only downside is this spot receives a lot of foot traffic from guided tours.
What to Do Instead:
The Akrotiri Lighthouse sunset is truly breathtaking. One of Greece’s oldest lighthouses, this hidden gem boasts stunning views day or night. You’ll find locals gathering at this unique spot to watch the sunset in all its glory, and there are many nearby paths where you can capture The Akrotiri Lighthouse with the golden hues playing backdrop in your photo.
Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Fira
Centrally located on the west coast of the island, Fira is the capital of Santorini. With a wide variety of shopping, dining, museums, and nightlife, Fira is one of the most popular tourist destinations and is brimming with crowds almost year-round. While the Fira sunset is not world-famous like that of Oia or Pyrgos, there are still some beautiful places to watch the sunset.
Three Bells of Fira
The Instagram-famous Three Bells of Fira is the most popular spot to take sunset photos in Fira. Similar to Oia Castle, this landmark becomes flooded with tourists, especially in the summer months. We highly recommend you skip this altogether and take in the sunset from one of Fira’s restaurants or bars.
What to Do Instead:
PK Cocktail Bar
Skip the crowds at The Three Bells cathedral and reserve a front-row seat to the sunset at PK Cocktail Bar. Boasting stunning sunsets and unrivaled vistas, PK Cocktail Bar has been perfecting the art of craft cocktails for 46 years. Unwind with a menu of classic cocktails and innovative creations, or book the champagne sunset offer for the perfect sunset view from their best table over a selection of French champagne.
This famous bar is heralded as one of the best balconies at the caldera of Santorini, making its way into many Santorini travel guides. Here you will indulge in cocktails and classical music while watching the breathtaking sunsets over the volcano. Just be sure to make a reservation as this is a very popular place to watch the sunset in Santorini.
Our Favorite Way to Capture the Santorini Sunset
Santorini Sunset Cruise
Few things are more breathtaking than watching the sunset in Santorini from the water. For a truly memorable experience, take a sunset cruise to capture one of the most beautiful Santorini sunsets from the deck of your own catamaran. Not only is this the most romantic way to savor the sunset view, but you also won’t have to worry about droves of tourists.
Most sailing tours on Santorini have an open bar and tasty Greek food to enjoy which will make your sunset viewing truly stress-free.