Santorini is known worldwide for its stunning views, landscapes, sunsets, and vistas as well as the iconic white, sugar-cube cave houses and blue church domes. These places make it one of the most photographed locations on the planet and a huge hit on social media. This article will ensure you find the very best Santorini Instagram Spots and that your vacation captures are perfectly on point.
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Three Blue Church Domes of Oia
Right in the heart of Oia, on the northwest side of Santorini, you will find the iconic Three Blue Church Domes, an absolute must if you are looking for the best Santorini Instagram Spot.
Although it’s the most photographed place in Santorini, finding the three-domed church is not straightforward.
To get there, the best way is to start at Melenio Cafes, on the main street of Oia. Face the cafe and continue to your right along the main street. Then take the first left after the café and turn right to the first street.
The stunning Three Blue Church Domes is located on private property, but since there are always tourists there, the locals have decided to permit people to enter the site – the only important thing is to be respectful of the property and to be quiet as people live in its proximity.
The three-domed church is the most popular spot in Santorini to take pictures because it is the quintessential postcard picture of the Greek Islands, with the whitewashed walls of the church and the blue of the domes, the sea, and the sky. There is nothing more “Greek” than this combo of colors!
The beautiful blue domes and the shimmering sea are the perfect subjects to shoot with the rim of the brown caldera in the background.
image credit: @mybeautyfavs
Kastro Orange Houses in Oia
One of the most photographed spots in Santorini is the orange house. Located in the center of Oia town, the Kastro Orange Houses are actually a hotel. You can stay there for unlimited access to the best photo locations or, if you’re lucky, you might be allowed in for a few minutes.
The Kastro Orange Houses are so much photographed because it has such a unique color: the orange walls with the turquoise door and windows are a fun pop of color against the white buildings in the surroundings. The whole town of Oia looks like a postcard, and this picturesque orange building is just perfect with the blue sea in the background.
There are several different angles you can shoot at this spot. One of the most popular photos is taken with the subject in front of the house’s door, framed by the beautiful Bougainville. Another great shooting angle is by standing on the stairs that lead to the Kastro Oia Houses.
The best times of the day to shoot Instagram pictures of the orange house are sunset and sunrise. The orange and pinkish sky is the perfect background for the Kastro Oia house! However, consider that the spot gets insanely crowded at sunset, so if you want to have some time to find the best angle, come here mid-day.
Ammoudi Bay is one of Santorini’s most popular dining spots, but it is also very instagrammable! The Bay has a colorful port, and it is located on a volcanic cliff right below the town of Oia.
To reach the northwestern spur of Santorini, you can either drive or take a public bus to Oia and then hike down to the bay. To descend to Ammoudi Bay, you need to walk down a long staircase (with 278 steps!) which takes around 15-20 minutes. The walk is quite a workout, especially on the way back up to Oia, but it’s also incredibly picturesque and gives plenty of fantastic photo opportunities! The pathway to Ammoudi Bay is well sign-posted and starts just below Oia castle.
You can also drive down or catch a taxi.
The route is very scenic: the bright brown of the caldera slope, with the small pastel-colored houses and the colorful boats anchored in the glistening blue Aegean sea, make a perfect photo!
From Ammoudi Bay, you can also capture a unique perspective of the town of Oia from below.
For more Instagram shots, walk around the port and catch different perspectives of the bay, the picturesque restaurants, and the cute boats bobbing just offshore.
The Three Bells of Fira
Usually referred to as the Three Bells of Fira, the Catholic Church of the Dormition is one of the most iconic places in Santorini and, as such, is a perfect spot for taking a photo to post on Instagram.
Located on the island’s western coast, in Fira, there were originally two mid-17th-century cave churches. Unfortunately, they were destroyed due to the lowering of the cliff, and they were replaced by the three bells church in 1757.
It’s very easy to get to the Three Bells of Fira. From the center of Fira town, you just need to follow the road along the caldera, and you will be there after around 7 minutes.
There are signs directing you to the exact spot on the top of the slope: the walk up to the stairs gets gradually steeper, but it’s not particularly challenging. Keep in mind that, on the way up, you will go past another church that is not the Three Bells of Fira one. Once at the top, you will be behind the church, as the road leads there.
The Three Bells of Fira church stands in an extremely picturesque location. The church’s dome and characteristic three-belled tower look out over the caldera and the deep blue of the sea.
Due to its location, the Three Bells of Fira church is not the easiest place to photograph. However, since the pic background will be the church and the sea, every time of the day is fantastic for shooting, and you won’t ever have other people in your pictures.
This is a particularly popular spot for ladies doing a ‘flying-dress shoot‘, a unique activity that captures locations like this with a difference!
If you’re looking for an amazing viewpoint to put on Instagram, Skaros Rock is the place to go.
Located on Santorini’s west coast, Skaros is a rocky promontory near the village of Imerovigli. Skaros was the capital of Santorini until the 18th century, which is why a majestic castle used to stand at the edge of the cliff. Today, ruins are all that is left of the castle, but the place is still an incredible spot for taking photos!
You have to work for a little bit to get to Skaros Rock, as the road up the cliff involves some climbing.
The trail is not difficult to find: in the center of Imerovigli, you will find stairs leading down to the base of the rock. Here starts the trail you have to climb all the way up. Be mindful that the last section of the path turns into a small rock-climbing adventure, so you should wear sneakers and pants if you decide to attempt it. Once at the top, be careful because there is a sheer drop-off, and there are no safety rails.
So yeah, it may be challenging to reach the top of Skaros Rock, but you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view! The brown promontory sticks out towards the azure blue of the Aegean Sea, creating a fabulous combo of colors.
There are excellent photo opportunities at Skaros Rock, as the tip of the promontory allows you to play with different angles to take pictures with various depths and dimensions.
Skaros Rock is one of the most popular things to see on the Fira to Oia Hike, which itself is one of the most popular activities in Santorini.
Akrotiri lighthouse is one of the many wonderful lookout points you will find in Santorini – so it’s a perfect Instagram photo spot!
Located on the tip of Santorini’s southwestern coast, Akrotiri is a small village at the end of which there is the oldest lighthouse in all of Greece.
Akrotiri is roughly a 50-minute drive from Oia and a 25-minute drive from Fira. If you don’t have a rental car, Akrotiri is not easy to reach. Once at the village, you can park the car along the road close to the lighthouse and walk there.
Akrotiri lighthouse is not so popular among tourists, so you will have plenty of opportunities to shoot the best photos. To get the very best conditions for your Instagram photo, be at the lighthouse when the sun sets. Given it is on the western tip of the southern peninsula it is perfectly placed to see the sunset.
The only area accessible is in front of the lighthouse, so you won’t be able to get a shot with the lighthouse and the sea in the same frame. However, the spot still provides an amazing view of the entire caldera!
Be sure to drop into Akrotiri Archaeological site too. This is one of the most important historical sites in Greece and a fascinating way to spend an hour or two.
Pyrgos Village – the Kasteli
The charming little village of Pyrgos offers plenty of scenographic spots to shoot incredible Instagram photos.
Located in the foothills of Mount Profitis Ilias, Pyrgos village is the largest preserved village on Santorini, and it was once the island’s capital. Pyrgos is the newest of the five castles (‘kasteli’) that characterize Santorini, and the village used to be called Pyrgos Kallistis, which means ‘the most beautiful tower’.
To get to Pyrgos, you just need to drive for 10 minutes from the nearby town of Fira or catch a public bus.
The village looks super picturesque thanks to the characteristic Cycladic architecture with the narrow streets and stairs, the Venetian castle, the white houses, and the many gorgeous churches.
Walking up and down Pyrgos, you will be spoiled for choice when shooting photos! As the village is nestled around the highest point of Santorini, hiking up to Pyrgos Castle gives you plenty of opportunities to take pictures of the white houses with the panoramic view of the island and the shimmering sea.
The village of Pyrgos is home to 56 churches, and they are all very Instagram-worthy! Among the best spots to capture the classic Greek colors (the white-blue combo) and an authentic feel, strike a pose in front of the Saint George Church, the Agios Nikolaos Theotokaki, and the Monastery of Profitis Ilias.
The Saint George Church is one of the most beautiful churches in Pyrgos: head to the stairway right in front of the all-white church to shoot a perfect Instagram photo!
The Agios Nikolaos Theotokaki has a traditional blue dome with a tall bell tower: you can take an up-close photo of the church or walk the streets nearby to find more creative angles.
The Monastery of Profitis Ilias is located on the summit of Mount Profitis Ilias, and it offers a breathtaking view of Santorini. With the bell tower, the monastery is surrounded by four other churches and chapels, which gives you many photo options.
Caldera Catamaran Cruise
Doing a boat trip on the Caldera is the #1 most popular activity in Santorini and for good reason.
Being out on the water is always a special experience and doing it in the Greek Islands is something you will never forget. Add to that sailing in the caldera of an active ( although very sleepy) volcano, where you can swim in the hot springs and even walk on the plug, visit some of the islands’ beaches, snorkel or dive and if you book an evening cruise you can see the sunset from the water which is truly breathtaking.
There are a number of excellent tours you can do.
There are inexpensive daytime cruises you can do that focus on swimming and exploring the volcano and beaches. They include a BBQ lunch and drinks. Or you can do a semi-private or even fully private boat tour which is a splurge that few people regret.
Then there are the evening cruises that include a swim and a stop at the volcano and the sunset. Again ranging from inexpensive on bigger boats to more intimate experiences for smaller groups or private luxury charters.