Santorini Greece Travel Guide
I just recently returned from a special anniversary trip to Santorini with my hubby, and it was everything I hoped it would be and more!
I’ve dreamed of taking a trip to Santorini since I was in third grade. Yep, you read that right – THIRD GRADE.
My elementary teacher at the time had taken a vacation to Santorini and brought back pictures to share with our class. In that moment, I fell in love with the enchanting white-washed buildings and blue-domed churches.
Santorini is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. People flock to Santorini every year for the dramatic scenery, picturesque villages, and breathtaking sunsets.
Being able to see this awe-inspiring place in person was literally a lifelong dream come true for me.
Below are the answers to the most frequently asked questions for those who may want to visit Santorini.
Where is Santorini?
Santorini is an island in Greece located in the Aegean Sea. It is the southern most island in a group of islands known as the Cyclades.
Present-day Santorini is the result of a major volcanic eruption that occurred about 3500 years ago. The crater that was left after the explosion filled with water creating the unique crescent-shaped caldera you see today.
PRO TIP: Santorini was originally known as Thera/Thira in ancient times; it was given the name Santorini by crusaders in reference to a small chapel they found on the island called Santa Irini.
How to get to Santorini?
Santorini is one of the most easily accessible islands in Greece. You have two options for traveling to Santorini: you can take a ferry or you can fly, depending on your itinerary and your preference.
To get to Santorini from Athens, the average ferry takes about five hours, but can range from four to eight hours. The flight from Athens to Santorini is about 50 minutes.
Santorini is also connected to other nearby islands via ferry or you can fly into its international airport from places like London, Paris, Rome, etc.
PRO TIP: If you’re prone to seasickness, then I’d recommend taking a slower ferry to Santorini. These ferries are usually larger, more stable, and will give you the option of walking around outside. In comparison, the faster high-speed ferries are typically smaller, more rocky, and don’t have any open-air deck areas.
When is the best time to visit Santorini?
The weather in Santorini is the warmest and driest from about April to October. Peak season is in July and August, which makes these two months the busiest and most expensive time to visit.
If hot weather isn’t a priority, then April/May and September/October tend to be the best time to go to Santorini because the weather is still warm, but it’s not as crowded as the summer months.
PRO TIP: Ferries and flights from Athens to Santorini are operated throughout the year, but there aren’t typically as many available in the winter months. Some resorts and restaurants are also closed during the off season.
How much is Santorini?
Santorini is one of the most expensive Greek Islands, but it is still possible to visit on a modest budget. There are a range of accommodations styles available, but if you have your heart set on a room with a caldera view and a private pool or hot tub on your terrace, then that does come with a higher price tag.
The overall cost will depend on the type of accommodations you choose, how long you stay, and how you spend your time on the island.
PRO TIP: Grabbing a low cost lunch from a place like PitoGyros in Oia, Santorini is a great way to save some money – you can get delicious gyros here for about $5.
Where to stay in Santorini?
The three most popular villages in Santorini are Oia, Fira, and Imerovigli. All three are perched along the cliffs and offer stunning views of the caldera and Aegean sea.
Oia is the village where most of the iconic photos you see of Santorini are taken, so even though it can get crowded at times, I usually recommend staying here if budget allows. Fira is known for its nightlife and Imerovigli is quieter and has more affordable resort options.
PRO TIP: There is a public bus (more like a nice motorcoach) that runs between Oia and Fira regularly for about $2 per person each way, so it's quite easy to get between these two villages.
What are the best things to do in Santorini?
Besides watching the mesmerizing sunsets in the evening, one of the most popular things to do is visit a Santorini winery. There are several on the island with Santo Wines being the most well known.
Checking out the ancient ruins of Akrotiri is a must for any history lover, and hiking from Fira to Oia offers incredible vistas along the six-mile trek for active travelers.
You can take a catamaran ride during the day and go swimming in the hot springs, or enjoy a sunset catamaran cruise around the caldera. Santorini doesn’t have soft sandy beaches like some other Greek islands, but you can still get your beach time in on the volcanic black sand beach in Perissa.
You can also take a cooking class, do some shopping, and head to Ammoudi Bay for an excellent fresh seafood meal. And, if you want to get off the beaten path a little, then I recommend checking out Profitis Ilias (highest point on the island) and the charming traditional Greek villages of Megalochori and Pyrgos.
PRO TIP: You can hire a professional photographer to do a “flying dress” dress photo shoot (Google it, the pictures are amazing!) or you can just do a regular photo session…although, I don’t think any photo session on the island of Santorini can really be called regular.
Time Zone: Greece is 8 hours ahead of CST (Greece observes daylight savings time)
Currency: Euros (EUR), credit cards are accepted in most tourist areas
Voltage: 230 volt (two round prong outlet plugs)
Language: Greek is the official language and English in widely spoken in tourist areas
Cuisine: Mediterranean with staples like grilled meat, fresh fish, olive oil, tomatoes, eggplant, honey, yogurt, and feta cheese.
PRO TIP: “Yassas” (YEA-sahs) means Hello and “Efcharistó” (eff-har-ee-STO) means Thank You. Learning even just a couple of simple words like this is very much appreciated by locals.
Santorini is a once-in-a-lifetime trip with an undeniable "wow" factor and I’m so thankful I had the opportunity to visit. It truly made for the most romantic backdrop for my anniversary trip, and I can’t wait for you to experience it too!
If you’d like me to help you plan your vacation to Santorini and share more of my pro tips, let’s connect and get started : )
CLICK HERE to schedule your complimentary vacation planning session.
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