Have you seen stunning Santorini pictures and want to photograph the picturesque Greek island yourself? Then, this Santorini photography guide is perfect for you! In this article, I share the best Santorini photo spots and a map to make it a lot easier to find the spots.
I have to warn you: the towns on Santorini can be a real maze. My best advice is to use Google Maps and turn the layout into ‘satellite’ so you can see the buildings and get a better feeling for the place.
You might wonder: what is the most beautiful part of Santorini? Picturesque Oia (pronounced ‘ee-a’) is the most famous village to photograph, but I want to encourage you to visit more photo spots in Santorini.
But if you’re only here for the Santorini Instagram spots, feel free to scroll down for all the specific Oia photo spots!
Without further ado, let’s get started. First we’ll share some practical tips about getting around, tips on where to stay (there are many photo-worthy hotels in Santorini!). Then, we dive into the photo spots, from south to north on the island.
How to Get Around Santorini
- BY BUS
Fira is the hub of the buses in Santorini. You can take the bus from and to Fira, from most places in Santorini. Ticket prices vary from €1.60 / $1.95 to €2.30 / $2.80 one way per ride, depending on the location. You can find more information on the KTEL website.
- BY TAXI
Taxis are not used a lot, and you have to negotiate a price (varying from €20-40 / $24-48 per ride), but you can call for a taxi, or your hotel can organize transport. There is no Uber or Lyft in Santorini.
- BY RENTAL CAR / ATV / SCOOTER
It’s highly recommended renting a car, ATV, or scooter/moped if you’re looking to explore a lot of the island and want to have the freedom to go wherever, whenever.
The roads in Santorini are decent, but hills can be steep. For renting a scooter of 125cc or higher, you need a motorbike license.
EU licenses are accepted, but from outside the EU, it’s recommended to bring an international driver’s license.
- BY FOOT
If you’re only interested in exploring the famous part of the island, you can walk the Fira to Oia hike. It’s a 10 km / 6-mile walk and takes about 3-5 hours.
Make sure to also read our 3 days in Santorini itinerary with the top things to do on the island!
Where to Stay in Santorini
As we mentioned before, Fira is the hub for buses. If you’re going to travel by bus and want to explore the whole island of Santorini, we highly recommend staying in Fira.
Good to know: prices are always higher in high season
- LUXURY: Trieris Villa & Suites. Stay in a cave suite and truly enjoy Santorini from your own cave-style jacuzzi. The hotel offers panoramic Aegean Sea and caldera views.
- MID-RANGE: Hotel Thireas. The hotel is located in the heart of Fira and offers amazing views over the sea, caldera and the town Fira.
- BUDGET-FRIENDLY: Fira Livin Cave Room. There are cave rooms, but don’t expect a cave room like at the luxurious hotels.
If you’re only looking to explore the most picturesque town of Santorini, we recommend staying in Oia.
- LUXURY: Art Maisons Oia Castle. Enjoy Santorini’s amazing sunset from your own swimming pool. Art Maisons Oia has amazing suits, offers the best service, and you truly have amazing postcard views from the hotel.
- MID-RANGE: Kastro Oia Houses. One of the most photographed buildings on Santorini. Located in the heart of Oia, this is a beautiful location to stay.
- BUDGET-FRIENDLY: Laokasti Villas. If you want to stay in Oia and if you are on a budget, then Laokasti is a great choice. Especially if you still want to enjoy a bit of luxury with a swimming pool.
Best Photo Spots Santorini
We’re starting our Santorini photography journey in the south of the island, and will make our way up north – to the famous Santorini photo spots in Oia.
Akrotiri Photo Spots
- Red Beach
Truth be told: Santorini isn’t famous for its tropical beaches. For that, you’d have to travel to another Greek island like Milos or Mykonos.
But Santorini’s Red Beach is something quite special! The red and black volcanic rocks make for a unique beach. You can walk to the viewpoint from the parking lot, and make your way down to the beach.
NOTE: signs will warn you of falling rocks.
- Akrotiri Lighthouse
There is something intriguing about lighthouses, right? The Akrotiri lighthouse is especially beautiful to photograph during sunset.
This lighthouse was actually one of the first lighthouses in all of Greece! The lighthouse is situated near the sea, and it’s a truly peaceful and romantic place.
Megalochori Photo Spots
- Bell Tower
An underrated village in Santorini is Megalochori. There’s a beautiful bell tower arching over a quaint little street. A street that’s surprisingly also used by vehicles – not only pedestrians – so watch out.
- The Heart of Santorini
Sometimes, places live up to the expectations, and sometimes they don’t. The latter is the case for this place. There’s this unique rock formation that – from the right angle – used to look like a heart shape.
Unfortunately, I could not find the angle and I suspect erosion has done its thing and the shape has softened.
Nevertheless, this place is worth visiting because of the next Santorini photo spots (that’s just a few meters further).
- Church of Agios Nikolaos
There are bell towers and churches to be found everywhere on the island, but the Church of Agios Nikolaos is quite special.
As you’re walking to the church, the only thing you see from the top is the bell tower. This makes for fascinating photos of the bell tower and the sea, and even Akrotiri!
As Santorini is half-moon shaped, you can see the south and the north part of the island from this spot. It’s also an incredible spot for sunset.
Do you like our photo-editing? Shop our Lightroom presets and give your photos that extra – that vibe that takes you right back to the magical moment!
Pyrgos Photo Spots
- Theotokaki Church
This is one of the oldest churches on the island. Of course, it also has a beautiful blue dome, but we have to admit: it’s up for some painting.
Pyrgos is often overlooked by tourists, but it’s well worth your visit.
TIP: The Saint Nicholas Church (Agios Nikolaos) nearby also has a beautiful bell tower worth capturing on your camera!
- Pyrgos Castle + Pyrgos Streets
The actual Pyrgos Castle nowadays are ruins, but from the Pyrgos Castle, you have a gorgeous panoramic view of the island. It makes for great Santorini photography.
So yes, it’s a bit of a climb-up. Pyrgos is actually the highest village on the island!
Walk around the village of Pyrgos and you will find the town to be very picturesque and much quieter than Fira-Oia.
Fira Photo Spots
Fira is one of the best places to stay on the island of Santorini if you want to explore most of the island. All the bus routes go to Fira, or start there. Fira is also a pretty place for your Santorini photography, with plenty of churches and bell towers.
- St. John the Theologian Church
This church looks very different from all the other white ones, as the dome is worn out. But it has its charm, don’t you think?
From here, you have a beautiful view of the caldera. Caldera means volcanic crater and the half-moon shape bay of Santorini is the center of the caldera! You’ll see ‘caldera view’ advertised everywhere in Santorini.
- St. John the Baptist Cathedral
A fun, colorful addition to this list is the St. John the Baptist Cathedral. It’s a fun baroque yellow, blue and white-colored building.
While many Santorini churches are Greek orthodox churches, this is a Roman Catholic Church.
- Saint Minas Holy Orthodox Church at Keti Hotel
Also, no blue dome here, but a beautiful white orthodox church with a cute small alleyway. It’s located near the center of Fira, but it feels like a quiet hidden gem if you walk here.
- Three Bells of Fira
Technically, the Bells of Fira are located in Firostefani, a village that is an extension of Fira to the north.
These famous bells can be photographed from the parking lot above the church, but you can’t access the church from this point. Bring a good zoom lens for this! The island you see is actually a volcano, pretty cool, right?
A bit north of the Bells of Fira, the Church of St. Mark the Evangelist is worth a photo visit too in Firostefani.
Curious what camera gear we use? See what’s in my camera bag and what stuff I always bring with me on a trip.
Imerovigli Photo Spots
As we’re traveling north on the island, we’ll get to the most popular Santorini photography spots. Imerovigli is one of the prettiest villages of Santorini and yet, it’s still much quieter than Oia.
Imerovigli can feel like a bit of a maze, but once you’re walking in the village, the roads do make sense. There are two easy ways to enter the town.
Either turn right when you’re in front of the coffee place ‘Street Coffee’, or go up and pass by ‘Confetti Dessert Boutique’. Once you’re walking on the ‘seaside’ of the town, the roads are easy to follow.
- Anastasi Orthodox Church
This might be my favorite church on the island. Especially because you can photograph it from so many angles! And when the gates are open, you can sometimes even go up to the dome (please be respectful at all times).
On the east of the church (in front of ‘Blue Dolphins Hideaway House’), there’s a beautiful bougainvillea tree. Late May 2021 it wasn’t blooming, sadly, but usually the tree blooms in summer.
The city behind the church in the photos is Fira. The mountain you see is where Pyrgos is (remember that it’s the highest village on Santorini?).
- Caldera View Rooftops
I totally made up the name of this spot, but in this spot there are a couple of roofs that are easily accessible for a ‘standing on a rooftop’ photo. These are no churches, but cave hotels.
See the exact location in the photo spots map below!
Of course, be respectful and take your shoes off. In Oia, we saw many signs that said ‘do not climb the roof’ and they might do that in Imerovigli in the future, but at the time of our visit (May 2021) they were still accessible.
- Skaros Rock
One of the famous Imerovigli photo spots: Skaros Rock. Especially beautiful during sunset. And you can also walk all the way to the other side of the rock, or to the top!
We highly recommend doing this, because on the other side you’ll find a surprise (spoiler: it’s another great Santorini photo spot!).
- Theoskepasti Church
Completely hidden by the rock, you’ll find Theoskepasti Church on the other side. This is also a gorgeous spot for sunset Santorini photography.
From this side of the rock (or from the top), you can see the entire caldera without any obstructions. On the right you will see the village of Oia at the tip of the island.
On the left, you’ll see Fira, and all the way through the tip of Akrotiri (bring binoculars, and you might see the lighthouse).
Bring wide-angle- and zoom lenses for this spot – it’s such a joy to play with focal length and capture it all.
Oia Photo Spots
And yes, we’re finally moving up north to the most photographed village of Santorini. These Oia photo spots are absolutely a must-capture.
Oia is very famous for its magical, soft sunsets, but it can get packed during sunset. We’ve explored Oia during sunrise as well as sunset, and I have to say: sunrise is absolutely worth it.
Yes, the sun hits the village differently, but there is something magical about exploring the place with little to none other tourists (you will probably only meet other photographers).
As for navigating the streets of Oia, it’s honestly most fun to wander and get lost. But, you don’t want to miss any famous Santorini photography locations, so keep Google Maps at hand (and set the map to ‘satellite’).
We recommend entering Oia from the location ‘Bus Stop to Fira’.
- Chapel at the Park
Before you enter the maze of Oia, you want to check out this cute (and easily accessible) chapel at a little park close to ‘Oia parking’.
At the square you’ll find the Oia Fighters Memorial Column, a playground, and the chapel. The chapel is well photographed, especially during wedding or engagement photoshoots.
It’s also one of the famous Santorini Instagram spots!
- Amoudi Bay
Technically, Ammoudi Bay is located below the village of Oia. By foot, you can walk the Oia steps down to this fishing village. But if you rent a vehicle, it’s easier to drive here.
This place is perfect for dinner, there are a handful of taverns that have very cute terraces. You might recognize this place from The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2 movie.
If you walk further, you’ll find a secluded little swimming spot around the corner (warning: the walking path isn’t great, be careful!).
- Viewpoint Oia at Aspaki by Art Maisons
Let’s explore the maze of Oia. If you walked in from the bus stop, you’ll want to turn right at the square with the Virgin Mary Platsani Holy Orthodox Church. Follow the ‘main road’ called Nikolaou Nomikou.
Turn left after passing another church, just before the jewelry shop. Continue walking the street and keep left.
That’s where you’ll find the first two Oia photo spots. On the right, you’ll find the roofs of a church, with the famous Oia backdrop of the white houses on the cliff.
We have seen photos of people standing on the roofs, but there are now clear lines and signs prohibiting to climb on them.
Now, on the other side, there’s another beautiful rooftop of a hotel that was accessible during our visit (we could step on it via the left side). This spot is incredible during sunrise – if you’re into backlit photography!
- Three Blue Domes Viewpoint
If you wondered where the famous blue domes in Santorini are? That’s where we’re headed now.
If you walk further down, you’ll get to the famous Three Blue Domes viewpoint in Oia. You’ll see the Saint Spyridon Church first, with a gorgeous bell tower.
In the morning, the light will hit this place from your back (last 2 photos below). Late in the afternoon, it’ll become more backlit (first 2 photos below). Keep this in mind with the shadows. In the middle of the day, it can get really hot here and there’s barely any shade.
Like Santorini, Venice is super romantic and magical too!
- Famous Blue Domes in Santorini
The other famous blue comes viewpoint in Oia is actually on the opposite side, so it’s the same blue domes! It’s easiest to walk back to the main road, and turn left on the second street (the first left is a dead end).
After about 15 meters / 50 feet you’ll find a little gate on the left. That’s where the famous steps are with the blue domes, and the small orange/pink colored bell tower.
NOTE: we believe the gate is the access for a hotel, so if it’s closed, we don’t recommend accessing the staircase. We also saw many people climb on the roof. Please don’t do this, we saw many signs that it’s forbidden.
The photos below were taken during and after sunrise.
- Oia Castle (Iconic Santorini Sunset Spot)
This is probably THE reason any photographer comes to Santorini. The famous Santorini sunset photo spot is at Oia Castle.
Be in time! It gets super packed here. If you’re hoping for a perfect Instagram photo with you in frame, this might not be the best place, as it’s simply too crowded.
PRO TIP: stay after the sun went down. Most people will leave, but you might get lucky and get a colorful sky like we did. For a fun Instagram photo, bring fairy lights.
Also, Santorini photography by night is gorgeous. Bring your tripod for a long shutter speed photo (or use night-mode on your phone), as it gets dark quickly, and you probably don’t want grainy photos.
On a clear night, you might even be able to capture a starry sky! I thought the light pollution would be too much, but it’s actually possible.
For sunrise or during the day, Oia Castle is also a beautiful place to take photos of the other side. You’ll see the other cliff-side of Oia.
- Oia Steps (Sunset Viewpoint)
So this is quite the ‘hack’ for perfect Santorini sunset photography. If you walk the Oia steps down (toward Ammoudi Bay), you’ll find some great, more ‘secret’ spots to watch the Oia sunset.
The photos will be nearly the same, but you’ll have more space, and you can probably even get a nice photo of yourself.
For us, this was definitely one of our favorite Santorini photo spots.
- Kastro Oia Terracotta House
One of the most famous Instagram spots in Oia (or well, Santorini even) is this terracotta-colored building. The steps lead to the restaurant Kastro, but in the building you can find accommodation too.
It’s a popular restaurant for sunset, so book a table if you’re planning on dining there at that time.
The picture below was taken after sunrise, and you can see the sun hasn’t reached the steps yet.
The light is definitely more special before and during sunset, but it is also the hot spot for sunset, so it will be too crowded to get a good Instagram photo.
Curious what food in Greece to eat? See our article about the Greek dishes you have to try!
- Oia Santorini Windmills
The Santorini windmills are fun to photograph from many angles! Like our Dutch windmills, these mills were historically used for grounding flour, and the building even functioned as a bakery.
Nowadays, most of the windmills are converted into (vacation) homes.
Santorini, and especially Oia, is beautiful to see from the island, but there’s something special about seeing the island from the water.
You can clearly see Ammoudi Bay, the Oia steps, and another special angle to capture the iconic windmills!
From the water, you have a view of the island that’s unique. As drone-flying is prohibited in all of Santorini, a boat trip is the only way to capture the island from further away!
Another smart way to see Santorini is when you go island hopping. For only €7 / $8.50 you can take a Ferry to Ios for example, and during the ride you will drive along Oia.
Santorini Photo Spots Map
And because it’s always easier to see places on a map: here’s our Santorini photo spots map. Remember: it’s most convenient to turn on the ‘satellite’ base map.
You can click on the ‘expand’ icon (top right) to load the photo spots as an overlay in your Google Maps app.
If you’re not into getting lost in a maze, and want a guide to lead you to the best photo spots: we got you! There are great Santorini photography tours for you to join.
Are you on a special vacation, maybe a honeymoon? Hire a Santorini photographer for the perfect Santorini pictures!
We can highly recommend Flytographer – a network of vacation photographers all around the world. It’s easy to find your destination and book a photographer that fits you.
That’s it! All the best Santorini photo spots and Santorini photography tips for your holiday. Did we miss a spot or you’d like to chat? Feel free to leave a comment below.
And don’t forget to read our Santorini Itinerary article too!
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