Top Places to See the Fantastic Santorini Sunset
The Greek island of Santorini has become synonymous with spectacular sunsets. National Geographic Magazine included the magical sunset of Santorini in a list of Top 10 Summer Sunsets for good reason.
Before I visited I was sceptical about how much better the magnificent Santorini sunset could be than the ones I watched all winter from Naxos.
But, once I visited I understood. The unobstructed view of the sun going down into the Aegean Sea from the height of the caldera really is breathtaking.
Unfortunately, if you visit Santorini in the summer months you’re going to be sharing these amazing sunset views with lots of other people. Hordes of tourists crowd into the northern village of Oia and its narrow streets.
Table of Contents
- Oia Village
- Oia’s Blue Domes
- Oia Castle
- Oia Hotel Rooms With a Sunset View
- Profitis Ilias, Oia
- Sky Dome, Pyrgos
- Ammoudi Bay
- Imerovigli Village
- Church Behind Skaros Rock
- Pyrgos Village
- Santo Wines, Pyrgos
- Sunset Cruise
- Profit Ilias Monastery, Pyrgos
- Fira Hotels or Restaurants
- Akrotiri Lighthouse
The good news is that you can get great sunset views from anywhere along the west of the island. So as well as sharing the best sunset spots in Oia I have some others from around this beautiful island. That way you can get the best view of the sunset wherever you’re staying.
Watching the sunset from the picturesque village of Oia has to be at the top of the list. People will you that it’s hands-down the best location on the island. The gorgeous colours dance on the white houses and then as it starts to get dark everything is lit up and twinkly.
It makes it one of the most romantic places. If you don’t have much time on the island then make the sunset at Oia a priority.
As the sun starts to go down the narrow streets fill with tourists and it can get pretty crowded. The best time to arrive at your spot on the street is about 90 minutes or more before the sun actually sets.
Oia’s Blue Domes
Near the blue domes is a popular spot for pictures and Instagram shots. Turns out, it’s a great place for sunset watching too.
Get to the Castle of Oia at least half an hour beforehand so you can bag a space at the front to see the stunning sunset from here.
Be warned, it gets busy! This was in May after people started to leave. In the peak season, it’s packed from hours before.
Oia Hotel Rooms With a Sunset View
Booking a hotel room along the Oia caldera gives you some space to watch the sunset. You won’t necessarily have privacy because there’s often public access along the streets in front. But at least you’re not standing shoulder to shoulder with everyone else.
Double-check your particular room has a sunset view when booking.
Profitis Ilias, Oia
If you’re happy to take a little walk along the hiking path out of Oia village you can stop at Profitis Ilias Church. On a hill, it’s a great vantage point with a bit more space to yourself.
Sky Dome, Pyrgos
For a special occasion and a private sunset experience, you can book the Sky Dome at Santorini Sky hotel.
Your booking is for two hours and starts one hour before sunset. A bottle of wine and snacks are included.
The old harbour sitting at the foot of Oia is the perfect spot to combine dinner with Santorini’s sunset. It’s a famous spot for fish restaurants.
You can get there on food down some really steep stairs but I wouldn’t recommend walking back up them, especially in the hot high season. If you’ve taken advantage of car rental then drive down and park on the road before the bottom. Otherwise, get a taxi.
Another upmarket and popular place with stunning properties and beautiful sunsets is Imerovigli.
Cavo Tagoo Hotel is a good hotel to watch Santorini’s sunset from the hot tub. Nearby Santorini Princess, East West Hotel and Rocabella are on the same stretch with an unobstructed view.
If you’re not staying in one of Imerovigli’s luxurious hotels then head to Fly Away Creative Restaurant & Bar for a top experience.
Great food, attentive service and a seat in one of the best Santorini sunset spots. Make sure you reserve a table in peak season.
Church Behind Skaros Rock
Skaros rock at Imerovigli has the remains of an old castle at the top and a great caldera and sunset view. Unfortunately, Skaros Rock closed at the moment and access is prohibited for safety while work is taking place.
However, just before the access to the rock itself, there’s a small hiking path to the left of the signs. It’ll take you around the rock to the church. You should still take care because it looks to me like loose rocks could fall on your head (like at Red Beach) but the path is accessible.
From Imerovigli, it doesn’t take long to get there although there are a lot of steps.
This is one of the traditional villages of Santorini. It’s worth a half-day trip and coinciding with the sunset is a great idea. Climb up to Franco’s Bar or Peneleope’s Ouzerie on the hill for a prime spot.
Or just walk up the streets of the village and find a spot you like. There might be a smattering of other tourists there but nothing like the crowds in Oia’s streets.
Santo Wines, Pyrgos
Just outside Pyrgos is Santo Winery, perched at the top of the caldera. It’s another famous place with spectacular views of Santorini’s sunset. As well as winetasting the winery has a restaurant where you can pair your wine with Mediterranean food from local products.
One of the best things you can do is take a sunset cruise and watch Santorini’s sunset from the water. You’ll get a different view than from the island but the caldera itself is so breathtaking it’s great to sail along it.
The sunset cruises usually start in the late afternoon and include a stop at the volcanic island where you can walk to the top of the volcano and then enjoy the hot springs. After stopping just off the small island of Thirassia for dinner you’ll sail off into the sunset.
There’s a lovely space on the caldera at Megalochori where you can watch the sunset over the caldera. Look for Heart of Santorini parking on Google Maps. You can park there and walk to the cliff for an amazing view.
There’s a church near the top, tucked into the cliff. And it was open when I went so you can go inside too.
If you’re feeling active (and have decent shoes on) you can walk down the (steep) hiking path to the sea.
But come back up as soon as the sunsets because it’s not a path to do in the dark.
Profit Ilias Monastery, Pyrgos
Staying in the area but on the opposite side of Pyrgos village is Profit Elias Monastery, the highest point on the island. It’s one of the best places to be at the end of the day because you get panoramic views of the whole island and beyond.
Go at golden hour to see the monastery and then watch the colours of the sunset surrounding the island.
Close to the actual monastery are a couple of viewpoints on the road where you can also see the sunset. If you stop on the way up you don’t get the panoramic views.
But you do see straight to the sunset without the military base and all the antennae in the foreground.
Fira Hotels or Restaurants
Fira, the capital of Santorini is another popular sunset spot since its streets share Oia’s beautiful view of the Caldera. If you’d like incredible views with a seat then book a table for sunset time at somewhere like Argo or Marinera Restaurant & Cocktail Bar. Ideal place for pics!
Along the main road to Fira, there’s another to watch the sunset above Petite Palace Hotel. It has the best views.
It’s not as romantic as the quaint streets of Oia but the sunset is unobstructed. There is free space beside the hotel’s own parking spots so pull in there.
Note that the land next to it is private property so stay off it. Don’t be disrespectful and clamour over the wall to get pictures right on the cliff edge.
The last time I was there hotel management was moving people off that area, so save them a job and observe the signs.
This isn’t exactly an undiscovered spot so don’t expect to be alone. However, you be with fewer people than in Oia. If you’re in that part of the island the lighthouse could be a good spot for you.
Aim to be there about 45 minutes before sundown to choose the best spot. It gets busier about 30 – 40 minutes before the actual sunset. Just be careful around the area as there’s a bit of drop with no guardrails.
Parking is a bit limited. But there are actually some good spots to see Santorini’s sunset from the road itself so they might be the best option for you.
Where is the famous sunset in Santorini?
Oia is the most famous place to watch the sunset in Santorini. But you can get fabulous views all the way along the west coast, right down to Akrotiri lighthouse. If you’re worried about the crowds choose another spot, Imerovigli, Megalochori and Pyrgos all have great viewpoints.
Where in Santorini is best for Sunset?
Oia is the standout location but it gets incredibly crowded in peak season and trying to get out of the village after is a nightmare. The best places for the Santorini sunset are where you feel comfortable crowd-wise and can get a great view. You might much prefer to see it from a boat, a hiking trail or a luxury hotel room. See the list above.
When is the Best Time to See the Santorini Sunset?
The Santorini sunset is outstanding all year round. As you can imagine, the best sunset spots are mobbed in the summer. Visiting outwith those months gives you room to breathe and the same fantastic view of the caldera.
During the winter and the shoulder seasons, the weather can be very changeable. But in my opinion, the sunset can be just as amazing as the cloudless summer sky, it’s just different.
The light bounces off the cloud and after the sunset, the sky can be filled with incredible colours. Don’t leave too early.
When I was in Oia in May everyone left when the huge sun went behind a cloud because they thought the sunset was over. But not long later the sky was absolutely beautiful and the panoramic colours were breathtaking.
What Else to Do in Santorini?
If you only have a day in Santorini here are some more things to do in Oia. With more time on the island you can discover Santorini’s black sand beaches and chill at the best beach clubs.