The Best Santorini Photo Locations
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Santorini, one of the most beautiful and well known of the Greek Islands, is home to breathtaking sunsets, blue domed churches and stunning infinity pools and is crammed full of iconic photo locations just waiting to be captured! Having spent time photographing the incredible island we’ve put together a guide to our 11 best photo spots in Santorini: it’s our guide on where to take the best pictures. Enjoy!
How to get around in Santorini?
Santorini is stunning and there are beautiful photo locations dotted around the island. Most visitors to Santorini rent either a car, a quad bike/ATV or a scooter to get around. Public transport is an option but the buses are often very crowded and the routes cumbersome. We opted for a car as, although the ATVs and scooters looked fun, we had camera equipment and also preferred the safety of a car among heavy Santorini traffic.
Renting a car in Santorini can be relatively cheap. Make sure to shop around and book your rental car in advance for the best price and to secure availability in peak season. We recommend using RentalCars.com to reserve your car. They have the best selection and prices that we’ve found – click here to book now!
Photo Location 1: Oia
Having adorned a million postcards Oia is the picture perfect Santorini town that draws millions of visitors to the island. Its sunset is one of the most photographed in the world and it was both our favourite photo location and favourite town in all of Santorini. We stayed in Oia and adored its picturesque setting, the maze of narrow streets lined with shops and cafes and the cliffside views.
1 | Sunset from Oia Castle
Oia Castle is the most popular spot for sunset photos in all of Santorini and, justifiably so, its sunsets were among best we’ve ever seen. The best view of the the sunset is over Amoudi Bay against the backdrop of the gorgeous Oia buildings. The best angle we found was sitting on the wall of the Castle facing towards the bay.
Santorini photo tip: As sunset approaches the crowds pour into Oia from all over the island. We grabbed our spot on the castle walls over an hour before sunset so be sure to arrive early if you want to set up for some shots.
2 | The Oia cliffside
The pastel buildings lining the cliffside of Oia are at their finest when bathed in the glow of sunset so be sure to point your camera in their direction. The famous Oia windmill, one of the most recognised buildings in Santorini, overlooks the cliffside making for an iconic Santorini shot.
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3 | Amoudi Bay
Overlooked by Oia, Amoudi Bay is a picturesque port and is home to the iconic Santorini caldera views that you’ll see in every guidebook! It’s every bit as beautiful in real life and is a great photo spot. As with Oia castle we found the best time for exploring was late evening in the run up to sunset when the warm Greek sunlight illuminates the buildings and windmill.
Santorini Photo Tip: We highly reccommend staying in Oia when visiting Santorini as it means you can spend time visiting the castle and wandering the streets of Oia in between the crowds: both early in the morning and late in the evening you will almost have the place to yourself. Plus it’s home to many of the famous Santorini cave hotels which are a real treat to experience!
Where to stay in Oia
- Oia Collection: We stayed in a fantastic cave suite overlooking the caldera just a few minutes walk from Oia Castle and its sunset views. It’s the perfect spot to relax on the terrace and chill in the outdoor tub while gazing out over the caldera – click here for prices!
- Esperas Traditional Houses: One of the best hotels in all of Santorini for watching the sunset as it’s located at the top of Oia town. The rooms are traditional cave suites and are quiet and secluded – click here for prices!
- Art Maisons Oia Castle: Another fantastic hotel in Oia and the perfect escape from the crowds that flock to the old town. One of the rooms even has a private cave Jacuzzi – click here for prices!
4 | Atlantis Books
Atlantis books is another Oia gem. Tucked away in the basement of one of Oia’s white houses, Atlantis books is one of the quirkiest book shops we’ve ever visited and makes for some unique photo opportunities. Although it’s a small book store you’ll find yourself spending at least an hour here poking through its collection. Don’t forget to say hello to the resident cat and dog too!
Santorini photo tip: You can’t miss Atlantis Books as you walk from the car park in Oia on the way to Oia castle.
5 | The Caldera Views
One of the best locations for photos was actually from our cave hotel room itself (the Oia Collection) which had a view over the Caldera looking south from Oia. If you’re not staying in Oia, have dinner on one of the town’s many terrace restaurants which offer a similar view.
Santorini Photo tip: it was too cold for us to indulge, but this is where you will get the amazing Santorini infinity pool pics!
6 | The Blue Dome Churches of Oia
The blue dome churches of Oia are an iconic Santorini postcard image. Try to get here just before sunset, during the golden hour, for the best light and to capture the sun going down behind the blue domed churches.
Photo Location: The best location for this photo took a little time to find while exploring the caldera side of Oia. Turn off Nomikou street at Patisserie Medevio until you come to the end of the buildings. On your right, just down the steps you’ll see a stunning view of the blue domes.
Want to improve your photos? We use Adobe Lightroom (the best photo cataloging and editing program out there) to edit all our photos and highly recommend it. The photography package also includes Photoshop for less than €13/$10 a month. Take your photos to the next level now, plus it includes Photoshop
Photo Location 2: Fira
7 | The Church Bells in Fira Town
Fira town is essentially a busier, bigger version of Oia with lots of restaurants and nightlife. Despite this it still has its share of beautiful views and quiet winding streets and you can get completely lost exploring the many alleys and streets that meander the hillside overlooking the caldera. Our favourite view was this signature Santorini photo of the blue domed church bells overlooking the caldera.
Photo Location 3: Emporio Town
8 | Emporio Town
This beautiful little town is on the road to Perissa beach and is easy to pass without ever knowing it’s hidden away. Quiet streets, adorable resident dogs and friendly locals make this a must see in Santorini and every street offers fantastic photo opportunities.
Photo Location 4: Perissa Beach
9 | Perissa Beach
Known locally as the black beach, due to the volcanic black sand, Perissa Beach is another great photo location in Santorini.
Santorini photo tip: When visiting Perissa Beach make sure to check out Tranquilo Bar, located right on the beach front, for some colourful shots.
10 | Blue Domed Church at Perissa
Located in the central square of Perissa the Church of the Holy Cross offers another great opportunity to capture the famous Santorini blue domes.
Photo Location 5: Akrotiri
10 | Red Beach
The soaring red lava cliffs and red sand of Akrotiri’s Red Beach is a unique sight in Santorini. Even on the gloomy Santorini day we visited the red pebble sand and cliffs were incredible to see, just be careful of potential rock falls.
Santorini photo tip: The Red Beach is located on the southern side of Santorini and best reached by car or ATV.
Santorini Photography tips
Our equipment: My main camera is currently a Nikon D7200 with the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 and the Sigma 70-200 f2.8. Elaine uses a Fuji XT 10 for all her shots. We use Adobe Lightroom for editing all our photos and highly recommend it. You can check out our photography gear page to see what else is in our bag.
Rent a car to explore the island. A rental car will allow you to get to the various photo locations on the island quickly and easily. In Santorini the smaller the car the better as parking is limited and the roads can be very narrow. We found driving on the island to be safe and the roads good. ATV rental is another popular option in Santorini and you will pass many visitors zipping along on quads.
- Stay in Oia or Fira: Our experience in Santorini would definitely not have been nearly as special had we not stayed in our cave hotel in Oia and we loved relaxing in our room with the stunning views in between exploring Oia. Waking up to the views over the caldera and watching the sun set from the Jacuzzi is simply unforgettable. There is a reason the hotels in Oia and Fira are expensive, they offer some of the best views and infinity pools of all the hotels on the island.
- Prepare for crowds: The crowds in Oia for sunset were some of the busiest we’ve ever experienced with Oia castle itself being particularly busy. Arrive early if you have a particular shot in mind and want to grab your space.
- Be respectful: Santorini is one of the most photogenic places we’ve ever visited and the unique towns and villages on the island are maintained immaculately by the locals. That said, when exploring the villages, especially Fira and Oia, please be respectful of property and, however tempting, don’t step onto private property or on to the roof of buildings in order to get a better angle on a shot.
- Sunrises and sunsets: As will most trips we recommend catching as many sunrises and sunsets as you can! Both are stunning in Santorini but we found the sunsets, with the golden hour light, spectacular. Plan to do most of your shooting during these times.
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