Perissa, on the southeastern coast of Santorini, is one of the best places to stay if you want to be by the beach. Away from the cruise ship crowds, it’s much more affordable than Oia. And it’s a good choice for families as well as other travellers.
From here, I’d definitely take the time to explore the rest of Santorini (although maybe not by ATV). But there’s enough going on locally when you don’t want to venture too far.
Enjoy Perissa Beach
This is the obvious main attraction if your accommodation in Santorini is in or near Perissa. The Blue Flag Award beach here is a typical black sand beach that Santorini is known for.
It’s one of the longest beaches, stretching out far along the coast and merging into Perivolos Beach along the way.
There’s a beach club and several restaurants with sun loungers and umbrellas if you want them. Otherwise, the sand is wide, and you can put down a towel in between the organised sections even in peak season.
In my opinion, the best beach bars are further down on Perivolos Beach. It’s certainly walkable from Perissa, but if you want to visit them, you could rent a bike, too. (See below.)
Perissa Beach Santorini
Cycle with COCO-MAT Bikes
Exi Sea Side Suites accommodation is just a short walk from the village terminal bus stop. You can hire one of the wooden COCO-MAT bikes from there and explore.
It’s an easy ride down to the beach clubs at Perivolos (although watch the cocktails for the ride back!). But you can explore wherever you want.
Exi lets you rent a bike for 1 hour up to a full day, and you can also join one of their organised rides. So choose your adventure.
Swim and Snorkel
If you like to do more than laze about with a book – perfectly fine if you don’t – then take to the water at the beach.
(You can pick up English books in Perissa if needed.)
There are some rocky sections of Perissa Beach where you can snorkel to see more sea life. As you move down towards Perivolos Beach, it becomes sandier. So go the other way to find the rocks.
There are souvenir shops and mini markets along the little road behind the beach where you can get snorkel masks.
🤿 Here’s some advice on what to wear when snorkelling. And by the way, water shoes are a good idea in Santorini because of the rocks and the hot volcanic sand.
Do Some Easy or Extreme Water Sports
You can check the reviews on Google Maps to see what others think. They all come highly reviewed, so choose the one you like the look of, is closest to where you’re staying, or has the availability you want.
This post has info about GoogleMaps and 📱 other apps that I find useful when travelling in Greece.
Extreme Watersports has the biggest selection of activities and offers:
- jet ski safari and rental if you want to go jet skiing on your own
- wake surfing and wakeboarding
- water skiing
- SUP and
If banana boats are more your thing, you can book to go on their fun inflatables instead.
Rent a Boat
If you fancy a boat trip to the Red, Black and White Beaches, hot springs or beyond, you can hire a boat.
Extreme Watersports lets you hire a boat with a skipper to take you on a 1 – 3 hour tour of some of the beaches or further to Oia and Thirassia Island. Or you can explore on your own with full or half-day boat hire.
At the very start of the beach, Santorini Sea Breeze has a fleet of brand-new boats that you can rent or hire with a skipper. As well as touring locally, you can book a skipper to take you to some small Greek islands like Anafi, Amorgos, Ios and Folegandros.
Since getting my diving qualification in Athens, I’ve been conscious that I must keep it topped up every six months. If you’re the same or want to go scuba diving for the first time, visit the Caldera Diving Center.
Technically, I think it’s in Perivolos, but if so, it’s just over the invisible boundary of the two beaches.
They offer snorkelling trips, try dives and dives for experienced and technical divers, including wrecks and lava caves. They run all sorts of courses if you want to get qualified or even try free diving.
Hop Round to Kamari Beach
Another beach you can go to visit is Kamari on the east coast. A taxi boat goes from beside the mountain every 40 minutes starting at 10:15am. The last boat back from Kamari to Perissa is at 16:30. It takes about 10 minutes and, in 2023, costs 8 euro.
Eat Seafood with a View
Perissa is the perfect spot to enjoy some great food with a view of the Aegean Sea. There are several places along the seafront, and Fratzeskos Tavern has traditionally been the go-to spot.
In my experience, the service is a bit inconsistent, and I personally didn’t feel very welcomed when I went. Such is life sometimes as a solo traveller. Just make sure you choose your own piece of fish from inside to get the freshest one the size you want.
Get Some Greek Sandals
On the main road through Perissa village, there’s a sandal workshop where you can pick up some traditional Greek sandals. There are several options to choose from, and you can see the owner creating sandals while you visit.
Sandal Workshop in Perissa Santorini
Climb to the Viewpoint
There’s a small church and viewpoint above Perissa where you can look out over the village and sea. It’s an uphill climb but not too far up the mountain. Head out past the bus stop at the end of the village to pick up the track.
Hike to Ancient Thera
If you’re keen on outdoor activities and want to continue hiking up Mesa Vouno, you’ll get to the ruins at the Ancient Thera site. The site is quite interesting, and the views are spectacular.
From the vantage point, you can look out over Perissa and Perivolos and the other way over Kamari Beach and Santorini International Airport. It’s quite fun to see the planes taking off and landing.
This archaeological site is open all year and closed every Wednesday. You can see the official site for opening times and details of free admission days.
Have a Massage
Anastasia Princess offers various massages, including couple, hot stone, relaxing, deep and lymphatic drainage face massage. You can use their spa without being a guest of the hotel.
Whether all the activities and sports above have left your muscles aching or you just want to continue your relaxing holiday/vacation in Greece, they have something for you.
My suggestions are here if you feel like going further afield and trying one of the bigger spas.
Buy Greek Souvenirs
The souvenirs and gifts you’ll find in Perissa are pretty standard. There are loads of evil eye items, linen towels, traditional Greek food and drink, tee shirts, bags, leather goods and the like.
🧿Have a look at this post if you need gift ideas from Greece.
Experience a Greek Night with Plate-breaking
Fancy some live music, plate breaking and Greek dancing? Taverna Perissa puts on a show for tourists every Thursday. Go for the atmosphere and fun rather than with too high expectations of the food.
Visit the Church of the Holy Cross
You can’t miss the blue-domed church while waiting for the bus. If you’d like to look inside your best chance is on a Sunday.
Have Some Tasty Greek Street Food
I haven’t done a thorough analysis of Santorini’s gyros as I have in Athens, but you can certainly get a tasty, cheap wrap from Gyros Place in Perissa. Expect friendly service and fast food.
Get Your Laundry Done
Ok, it’s not the most exciting thing to do in Santorini. But I’m adding it because if you’re packing light and are mid-island-hopping, you might be quite relieved to find somewhere to do your washing.
It’s not common to find laundrettes/laundromats on many of the islands. But there is a little laundry here that will take your dirty clothes off you and hand them back clean two hours later. I’ve used this one before and it was really handy.
It’s just before the main bus stop.
Go on a Day Trip
If you want to join a tour or visit some of the best things on the island, some of the favourite half and full-day trips include:
- Oia for the sunset (here are some good sunset spots to go to)
- traditional sightseeing bus tour
- a self or guided wine-tasting tour
- guided tour of Akrotiri Archaeological Site and visit to the viewing point for the Red Beach
- boat trip to the volcano and hot springs with swimming. You can choose the daytime or sunset option
- kayak trip (here’s my experience of a kayaking trip on the island, I loved it)
- see the ruins of Ancient Thera (you can get a private transfer up there or join as part of a small group tour around various spots on the island if you don’t want to hike up there.)
Some of the island’s organised tours offer a pick-up service from the village bus stop or your hotel if it’s accessible. Obviously, that’s ideal and makes your life easier.
If you’re organising your own trip, you can catch the bus to the main bus station at Fira for onward travel, for example, to Oia.
Some of the Perissa to Fira buses stop at the Akrotiri crossroads if you want to visit Akrotiri, so you don’t have to go all the way to Fira and then back out.
Note that the buses with an E next to them are express buses that only go directly to Fira though. So choose one of the others, and from the crossroad, you can catch another bus down to the archaeological site and Red Beach.
The picture below has an example timetable from October. The schedules do change seasonally, so take it as a guide. The KTEL Santorini site is kept fairly up-to-date.
More Useful Information About Santorini
This summary page has all the posts I have about Santorini. Good things to look up are what to wear, whether April is a good month on the island and information about getting around. Have a browse for everything there or use the search box at the top of this page.
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