Last Updated on: 16th May 2024, 03:11 pm

#1 top pick

santorini cruise ship colorful

Private Driver 6-Hour Santorini Sightseeing Tour

  • -> Skip the stress of rushed group tours on this private shore excursion
  • -> See the top highlights of Santorini
  • -> Take photos with the iconic blue domed churches behind you
  • -> Visit the traditional village of Megalochori
  • -> Duration: 5 hours
  • -> Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (263 reviews)

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Over two million cruise passengers flock to the Greek island of Santorini each year, with most ships docking along the central east coast.

But with only a single day to experience Santorini’s majesty, determining the best shore excursions is key to creating unforgettable memories.

From volcano hikes to wine tours and secret beaches and flying dress photo shoots, here are the 7 best Santorini shore excursions for cruise passengers.

Very important for all Santorini shore excursions: there’s no vehicle access to the old port of Fira. Tour operators can’t come to pick you up at the port. You need to take the cable car to meet your excursion guide.

santorini three bells church greece flag

1. 5-Hour Private Driver Custom Sightseeing Tour

For ultimate flexibility to customize a cruise shore excursion, private drivers deliver personalized sightseeing experiences based on passengers specific interests.

Build a custom itinerary to hit top sites like Oia village, the three bells of Fira, Akrotiri, and black sand beaches.

Many private tour companies offer luxury vehicles with expert English-speaking guides to provide cultural insights and navigate logistics. Create your perfect day exploring Santorini’s treasures stress-free.

This shore excursion is suitable for groups up to 7 people. The driver will wait for you at the top cable car stop in Fira.

Click here to see more details and to book your trip now!

oia instagram spot white dress

2. Santorini Private Instagram Tour

This private tour focuses on the most beautiful, iconic locations in Santorini, with the purpose of helping you make your Instagram account shine.

You’ll go directly to some of Santorini’s most Instagrammable spots, without needing to spend time on research.

You’ll visit a good mix of locations such as a lighthouse, a church, and a winery.

The tour is designed to allow you plenty of time to take the photos you want.

You’ll travel in a private vehicle with wi-fi, so you’ll be able to post your best photos and reels directly to Instagram while moving from one location to the next.

Click here to see more details about this tour and to book your date.

perissa church tower

3. Santorini Highlights Shore Excursion for Cruise Ships

Tour starting location: at the top of cable car exit in Fira Town. The organizers adjust the starting time for each date individually, to ensure it fits all ships docking and that all guests will be brought back to their ships on time.

This popular shore excursion combines several of Santorini’s top attractions – Firostefani, Oia, Profitis Illias, the village of Megalochori, and Perivolos Beach.

Swimming in the sea is possible, so bring your bathing suit.

This is not a private excursion, hence its affordable price. The transportation by air-conditioned bus is as comfy as possible, the sights are magnificent, and the professional local guide is there for you at all times.

Click here to see more details and to book this shore excursion now.

octopus vinaigrette

4. Private Wine & Tapas Tasting Tour

Santorini’s famed Assyrtiko white wines and world-class Greek cuisine can both be discovered on sensational wine and food pairing tours across the island.

Guests are transported to multiple wineries to learn about winemaking processes and sample vintages straight from the barrel. Lunch or dinner at renowned restaurants serves up regional delicacies expertly matched with the perfect wine.

Offerings range from private luxury excursions to more affordable group tours.

When it comes to shore excursions, it’s best to take a private wine tasting tour like this one, here.

This tour can accommodate up to 15 people, so you can bring all of your cruise friends over.

You’ll experience a scenic journey through the charming countryside and beautiful villages of Santorini on a private tour, guided by a knowledgeable sommelier.
This shore excursion includes visits to three renowned wineries – Gaia Winery, Art Space Wine Museum & Art Gallery, and Venetsanos Winery.
You’ll indulge in a guided tasting of 12 exquisite wines, including the acclaimed Nycteri, Assyrtiko, and Vinsanto, expertly paired with local delicacies like artisanal cheeses, crispy crackers, and savory nuts.
You’ll learn about the traditional wine-making techniques of Santorini as you explore the cellars of each winery and learn from local wine-makers.
Click here to book your Santorini wine tasting tour now!
santorini church dome moon

5. Hike from Fira to Oia

For active cruise guests, hiking along the 10 km clifftop trail connecting the cosmopolitan capitals of Fira and Oia makes for an adventurous shore excursion. Pass through lesser-known villages like Firostefani and Imerovigli with incredible caldera viewpoints along the way.

To avoid going up and down the winding path between the old port and Fira, take the cable car. Expect huge lines, particularly in high season.

Once you get to the end point of the hike, in Oia, take a private vehicle or a bus to return to Fira.

Ammoudara Bay in Santorini by sunset

Boats in the sunset in Santorini, at Ammoudara Bay

6. Catamaran Sail & Seafood Feast

Full or half-day catamaran sailing trips enable passengers to revel amidst Santorini island views and Aegean Sea breezes. Multi-level catamarans like luxury Clipper boats or traditional Greek schooners anchor in secluded bays and lagoons for swimming, snorkeling or beach time.

The onboard Greek feast is freshly prepared, accompanied by an open bar to keep everyone satisfied. Some excursions include volcano sightseeing or hot springs visits too.

Always check the arrival time, in order to ensure you can safely return to your cruise vessel.

7. ATV Quad Bike Adventure

For thrill-seeking cruise guests, hopping atop a quad bike or ATV is a phenomenally fun way to hit prime Santorini sights. Following a safety briefing, drivers follow guides across open roads with incredible coastal lookouts over world-famous caldera views.

Most half or full day quad bike excursions also stop at Black Beach, Red Beach, ancient sites, and more.

Tour organizers handle all logistics details.

Click here to see more details about this Santorini shore experience.

The Quad bike tour of Santorini is about 3 hours long. Add the time you need to get off your ship, plus the time you need to get from the port to the meeting point (and back).

Before booking, ensure you check the time you have to be back on your cruise ship.

With countless Santorini shore excursion possibilities available for every budget and interest, cruise passengers are spoiled for choice.


Just be sure to book these sought-after tours online many months in advance to lock in availability. That way you can simply disembark your ship and revel in Greek island magic across this breathtaking Mediterranean jewel.

7 best Santorini shore excursions for cruise ships

Violeta Matei