Other than the sunsets and the shopping, Fira's streets are enjoyable to wander, and there is a very good archeological museum which houses many of the findings from Akrotiri in the inland's south. Akrotiri can be visited on excursions. The Minoan settlement has been excavated since 1967 where an sophisticated ancient city has been discovered under the volcanic ash. The nearest town to the site is Megalahori, a charming traditional village.
The town of Oia is the northern most caldera town and a place that many visit to see the sunsets. In the summer, the streets are crowded with visitors there to watch the sun slowly disappear into the ocean. There is a small port and swimming beach at Ammoudi at the base of the cliffs at Oia, but be warned that the only ways to the top of the 300 steps that scale the cliffs is by foot or by donkey. This is the place to say if you wish to treat yourself as many of the domatias and hotels have been lovingly restored in the traditional way, where homes were cut into the cliffs. A day trip to the volcano, Nea Kameni, the hot springs of Palea Kameni and the island of Thirasia, on the opposite side of the bay, can be booked in advance and are a wonderful way to spend a day. The volcano is still active and guides take you up the black, rocky moonface to the crater from where volcanic gas still emerges. Walking shoes are needed for this part of the visit. There has not been a major eruption for over a century. The hot springs trip can be an adventure as visitors are encouraged to jump off the side of the boat and swim over to the springs. Thirasia has a number of restaurants and tourist shops at the base of the cliffs. The day is often finished at Oia to watch the sunset.
Santorini's other claim to fame is the black sand beaches found on the island's east and south. The volcanic ash replaces the regular golden sand found elsewhere in Greece, the sand can get very hot in the summer sun. The other amazing thing about the beaches is that on entering the water the shallows only run to a few metres before the bottom falls away, many hundreds of fathoms in places. The water, however, is warm, calm and perfect for swimming. Kamari, Karterados and Perissa are some of the popular beach resorts on Santorini, which have a beat of their own in the summer months. These towns have a real party atmosphere and are often feel friendlier and more laidback than the caldera towns.
Santorini is good to explore by motorbike or car, but the public transport on the island is very reliable and an option for those on a budget.
This island should not be missed, even if it is only to witness to amazing sight of the sunset from the caldera. It caters for visitors, from those on a tight budget to those looking to take in the absolute opulence that is available for those with more to spend. Once visited, Santorini is never forgotten.