The Ultimate Travel Guide to Santorini – Updated April 9, 2014

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The Ultimate Guide to Santorini

Q. What are the best places on Santorini – and what town should I stay in?

  • Best nightlife on Santorini: Fira
  • Best beach on Santorini: Perissa or Kamari
  • Best restaurants on Santorini: Fira or Oia
  • Best sunsets on Santorini: Imerovigli
  • Best for peace and quiet: Imerovigli
  • Best budget choice: Perissa
  • Best for families: Fira, Firostefani, Kamari, or Perissa (which has a waterpark). Monolithos has the most kid-friendly beach.

The first and most basic decision that needs to be made is do you want to stay at the beach or in the towns along the caldera? The beaches are situated along the eastern coast of the island. The towns (Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, Oia) are located on the western edge of the island, are perched on the caldera cliff, and look out towards the volcano.

The caldera towns are trendier, the restaurants better, the clubs more sophisticated, and the hotels more luxurious. The beach towns are more relaxed, less expensive, and have a feel closer to the other Greek islands.

Fira is the island’s largest town and one of the most picturesque spots in all of Greece. Fira has the most restaurants, shops, and hotels and is the center of Santorini’s nightlife. If you like action, lots of choice for where to eat, and the most-happening clubs then this is where you’ll want to be. Many of the hotels and restaurants in Fira have stunning views of the caldera.

Firostefani is a short 10 minute walk along a footpath from Fira. If you want to be close to the action of Fira but don’t want the crowds then Firostefani is a great choice. Views are equally wonderful.

Imerovigli is Santorini’s quietest town along the caldera and has the island’s best sunset views.. The cliff is higher here and the view of the sunset is unimpeded by any neighboring islands – which isn’t always the case in Fira and Firostefani. Imerovigli is a 25 minute walk from Fira (or a very short bus or taxi ride).

Oia is Santorini’s most romantic town and has some of the island’s best hotels. It’s located at the northern tip of the island and is famous for its fabulous sunset views. The town is busy through the day up until sunset but then grows much quieter. There are many restaurants in Oia but no nightlife to speak of. The southern portion of Oia looks into the caldera. The northern portion does not have views of the caldera but does have perfect sunset views. (Only a few Oia hotels have sunset views.) The walk from Oia to Fira is beautiful but takes several hours so for the most part Oia is a taxi or bus ride away from the hub of the island.

Santorini is small and getting from one town or beach to the next is quick and easy so you don’t have to feel limited by the place you pick. (It’s less than 30 minutes from Fira to the beaches by bus or taxi. 15 minutes longer from Oia to the beaches.)

Obviously, if you’re primarily looking to spend time lying on a beach then stay there and commute to Fira and Oia for sunsets and dinner. If you’re more interested in shopping, eating, and sightseeing then Fira, Oia, Firostefani, and Imerovigli are a better base.

The beach towns are fun, full, and busy from June to September. The weather is consistently great for swimming from late May to early October. Outside of these months the beach towns will be very quiet and the weather usually isn’t warm enough for swimming.

If you’re looking to save money then the beach towns offer better value hotels for the money. Restaurants in Oia, Imerovigli, and Fira are also quite expensive (though there are cheaper options away from the views of the caldera). The beaches tend towards pub food that is not so pricey – though there are many exceptions.

As for Oia or Fira, both towns are very touristy but in different ways. Oia is quieter, more romantic, generally has more expensive hotels, and higher-end restaurants. After the sunset, Oia gets very quiet. Fira has the nightlife and lively restaurants. Fira is also closer to most of the beaches.

Fira itself can be quite busy (especially when a cruise ship or two are in port – though cruise passengers will return to their ships by late afternoon) so if you’re looking for peace and quiet but still want to be near the restaurants and nightlife then Firostefani and Imerovigli are good options. Both towns are uphill from Fira so the walk into town is easy and relaxing. If you find the uphill walk back to your hotel too taxing after a large dinner it’s easy to find a cab in Fira.

Like the beach towns, if you’re visiting outside of June to September then Oia will be very quiet – with many shops and restaurants closing from November to March. If you’re visiting Santorini in winter then Fira is by far the best choice.

See Also:

Q. What are the best beaches on Santorini?

Santorini is not known for its beaches. They are good but not great – so don’t be expecting those idyllic stretches of sand you’ve seen in pictures of Greece. (That said, many people love the beaches of Santorini and find their unique sand and natural setting to be more memorable than “just another sandy beach”.)

Most of Santorini’s beaches are composed of dark volcanic sand that gets searingly hot in the mid-day sun. Beach sandals or water shoes are highly recommended for getting around on the sand.

But what the beaches lack in typical sandy splendor they make up for with breathtaking views and scenery. The cliffs that loom around some of the beaches and the nature of the sand itself make a surreal setting for swimming and sunning. And the sea water is always cool and refreshing.

These are the most popular beaches on Santorini:

Kamari – The most upscale and touristy of the beach towns. The path along the beach is a fun and relaxing place to stroll in the evening. Lots of places to eat and drink. Kamari has a very fun vibe and one of the most family-friendly towns on Santorini. Very close to the airport.

Perissa and Perivolos Beaches – These 3 beaches are essentially one very long beach that caters to the backpacker crowd and party scene but still has a wide range of accommodations and restaurants. The beach becomes progressively quiet as you move south towards Agios Georgios.

Monolithos – The nicest sand and most family-friendly beach on Santorini. Very quiet with a small collection of hotels and restaurants. The shallow slope of the seafloor make it better for kids than the steep drop-offs at Perissa and Kamari. There’s a small play area for the kids on the sand.

Red Beach – The pebbly sand here is red and the backdrop is stunning. There’s not a lot here besides the unique scenery. To get to Red Beach you need to take a taxi, a bus to Akrotiri from Fira, or a boat from Perissa. The walk down to the beach can be steep for some.

Amoudi Bay – The best swimming spot on Santorini – but not a beach. Take the path down from Oia and jump from the rocks into beautiful blue water. There’s a small island that you can swim out to that has glorious views of the caldera. The best swimming is at the end of a seawall that begins at the wharf. The walk from Oia takes about 15 to 20 minutes and can be tricky in spots.

See Also:

Q. What is the best website for booking hotels? – My current favorite (as of February, 2014). It’s the best website for booking a particular hotel and finding specific rooms (e.g. “Caldera View Honeymoon Suite”). – Awesome for finding discounts and last minute deals.

Both websites have been around for years and are very reliable.

I typically use these sites to find the hotels with the best rates and then phone or email them directly to see if they’ll match the price I found online. About half the time they’ll offer the same rate. And even when they don’t you can ask detailed questions about any concerns you might have which can be helpful if you’re traveling with kids or a large group. Also, if you’re a member of a hotel rewards program then you’re more likely to get points if you book directly rather than through CheapZebra (though whether that’s worth paying a little more is obviously dependent on the details).

Booking your hotel is absolutely mandatory if you’re visiting in July and August. It’s recommended for June and September. You can get away with not booking for visits in May and October. On other islands showing up without a booking can be half the fun but that doesn’t apply to Santorini which is packed with tourists from June to September.

If you do arrive on Santorini without a hotel reservation during high season take anything you can find for the first night and then look around for a better place once you’ve put down your bags. If there are hotel owners meeting your ferry at the port they’re an easy way to get a place to stay and a free ride into town. Be aware if they say you’re staying “right in Fira” you’re still probably going to be outside the town a little way (often in Karterados). If you’re really concerned about location get them to point to the hotel on a map. Almost all of these hotel owners are legitimate and trustworthy, though, as I say, they will fudge a little on the true location of their hotel.

Q. What are the best hotels in Fira?

Fira is the largest town on Santorini and where you’ll find the most restaurants (many with amazing views of the caldera), clubs, and shops. In high season it gets busy (especially through the day when cruise ships are in port) – but it never seems to lose its charm.

  • Cosmopolitan Suites Hotel – An infinity pool perched right on the cliffs overlooking the caldera. This is one of the most praised hotels in Fira. Only 10 rooms here (individually furnished) so it’s perfect for honeymooners – yet located in the heart of Fira. (Hotel phone: +30 22860 25632)Reviews
  • Aria Suites – An amazing mix of luxury and friendliness, incredible views and exemplary service. Suites are beautifully decorated. The pool is one of the best in Fira and comes with views of the caldera. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 028650)Reviews
  • Anteliz Suites – Small family run hotel located on the foot path that runs along the caldera. Spectacular views. Nice pool that looks out onto the caldera. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 028842)Reviews
  • Aigialos Luxury Traditional Houses – Large rooms with private balconies. Incredible views of the water and volcano. Located very close to the center of Fira. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 025191)Reviews
  • Kavalari Hotel – The best value hotel in Fira. Not as luxurious as the other 4 hotels but so affordable it’s one of my favorites. Central location, incredible views, simple clean rooms. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 022455)Reviews

Q. What are the best hotels in Oia?

Oia is the 2nd busiest town on Santorini’s caldera. It’s filled with visitors through the day until sunset then quiets quickly. There are many great restaurants here but for any nightlife you’ll need to head to Fira – 15 minutes away by taxi or bus.

  • Canaves Oia Hotel – A small intimate luxury hotel with few peers on the island. The view is absolutely stunning – perhaps the best hotel view on Santorini. Small pool with views of the caldera. Rooms are simple in a traditional Greek ambience. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 071453)Reviews
  • Katikies Hotel – A larger resort than Canaves with 5 star everything. Incredible swimming pool, fantastic service, surreal architecture. All suites have their own plunge pool (honeymoon suite has a jacuzzi too). This is one of the best hotels in Greece. (Hotel phone: +30 22860 71401)Reviews
  • Mystique – An incredibly special and unique hotel. Wonderful “cave” suites each with a private patio. Infinity pool with gorgeous views of the caldera. Great breakfasts served overlooking the cliff edge. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 071114)Reviews
  • Oia Castle Hotel – Luxurious boutique hotel. Wonderful views and private jacuzzis. Aqua suite has a small private indoor pool as well. One of the few hotels in Oia with sunset views. (Hotel phone: +30 22860 71831)Reviews
  • Ikies – Traditional Houses – Great choice if you want a quiet hotel away from the crowds. Small plunge pool and private jacuzzis. Beautiful 10 minute walk into Oia along a foot path. Staff are wonderful. (Hotel phone: +30 22 860 71 311)Reviews

Q. What are the best hotels in Imerovigli?

Imerovigli has wonderful views of the caldera and the best sunset views of any town in Santorini. Some of the best hotels on Santorini make their home on Imerovigli’s cliffside perch. (It’s a beautiful 30 minute walk from Fira to Imerovigli – or a very short taxi ride.)

  • Astra Suites – A cliffside perch offers incredible views. Great pool, friendly staff, kitchenettes in all rooms. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 023641)Reviews
  • Chromata Hotel – Fantastic in every way. Stunning pool and wonderful service. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 024850)Reviews
  • Absolute Bliss – Wonderful honeymoon hotel. Romantic, quiet, picturesque. Incredible views of both the caldera and sunset. All rooms have private balconies, some with jacuzzis. Breakfast delivered to your room every morning. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 021310)Reviews
  • Aenaon Villas – A small intimate hotel that exudes luxury and romance. A great choice but book far in advance. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 027014)Reviews
  • Aqua Luxury Suites – Large suites, some with plunge pool or hot tub, and all with above average privacy for Santorini. Located right on the caldera with great views. A little piece of paradise but not for someone with mobility problems as there are many steps. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 023107)Reviews

Q. What are the best hotels in Firostefani?

Firostefani is a 10 minute walk from central Fira. So you get easy access to the restaurants and clubs of Fira – but without the crowds. Great views too. These five hotels are all fantastic.

Q. What are the best hotels in Kamari?

Kamari is a wonderful beach town on the east coast of the island – the opposite side of the island from the caldera. The town is filled with restaurants, bars, and shops and always has a very relaxed feel. It’s an easy bus or taxi ride from Kamari to Fira (to get to Oia you’ll have to change buses in Fira). In summer there are late buses running from Fira to Kamari – the last one will leave Fira after midnight sometimes as late as 3:30am. A taxi from Fira to Kamari will be about 15€. Taxi from Oia to Kamari is 20€ to 25€.

Q. What are the best family hotels on Santorini?

On Santorini – for a family – a large hotel room probably means something around $150 to $200. Hotel rooms along the caldera (which include the towns of Fira, Imerovigli, Oia, and Firostefani) are priced at a premium. Families needing larger rooms or a bigger pool are better off at the beach resorts on the opposite side of the island. It’s about 30 minutes by bus from Perissa or Kamari beaches to Fira.

Large rooms are rare and fill quickly. Book early!

  • Astra Suites – incredible 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite with full kitchenette and private balcony with caldera and sunset views. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 024763)Reviews
  • Caldera Butterfly Villas, Fira – great pool with caldera views, large family suites have kitchenettes. (Hotel phone: +30 22860 24856)Reviews
  • Pension George, Karterados – large rooms and a nice pool, 15 minute walk to Fira. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 022351)Reviews
  • Smaragdi Hotel, Perivolos – great pool near Perissa beach. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 082701)Reviews
  • Aegean Plaza Hotel, Kamari – friendly staff, nice pool, minutes from the beach. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 028740)Reviews
  • Vallas Apartments, Firostefani – for the location and amenities these are good value. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 022050)Reviews

More family hotels in Santorini:

Q. What are the best hotels for a honeymoon on Santorini?

Some slightly cheaper hotels for romantic honeymoon lodging are the following.

Q. How do I book a honeymoon vacation package to Santorini?

Answer: You don’t.

You can get better deals and have a more interesting vacation by booking your air and hotel separately.

You get the dates you truly want, the flights that work best for you, the hotel with the best reviews. With packages it’s all about compromise. Agents have blocks of reservations for certain flights and certain hotels. Their goal is to squeeze you into one of those blocks. I’m not suggesting this can never workout. It can.

But Santorini is such a unique treasure this is one trip you don’t want to be a cookie-cutter experience.

  • For flights to Santorini use – Great site and very easy to use. (If you want a direct flight to Santorini from Europe – without going through Athens – then search these airlines.)
  • For hotels in Santorini use – A very easy to use site and awesome customer service on changes and cancelations.
  • For ferries to Santorini use – Booking ferries more than a few days in advance is rarely necessary (so you can wait to buy most ferry tickets until after you arrive – when it’s super simple). But if you need to book ferries in advance this is the site to use.

And that’s it. It’s pretty easy.

But if you still want the names of respected travel agents that offer honeymoon vacation packages to Santorini here are two of the best: Dolphin Hellas and Fantasy Travel

Santorini Weddings

Getting married in Santorini is not easy. It takes a lot of preparation, planning, and paperwork. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from doing a Santorini wedding. But you need to know from the start what’s involved. Much of the wedding can be prepared by wedding planners in Santorini (including getting your personal documents translated into Greek) but there is still much to be done so be prepared.

An alternative to an official wedding in Santorini is to have a symbolic ceremony that doesn’t require the legal documentation. The vows, ceremony, location, and wedding reception are all the same but without all the extra hassle. (You would, of course, have to take vows in your home country before or after your trip to make it official.)

What documents are needed for a wedding in Santorini?

Passports, full birth certificates, certificate of non-impediment to marry from both bride and groom, affidavits stating the bride and groom are free to marry, as well as a few more depending on circumstances. (More info on required documents for a greek marriage for: American citizens, Canadian citizens, British citizens, Australian citizens, Chinese citizens.)

All documents related to the marriage must be translated into Greek, certified in the Greek embassy or consulate in your home country or certain documents must also have an apostille stamp.

Can you recommend any wedding planners in Santorini?

Nicholas at Santorini Weddings and Michael from Wedding’s Santorini come highly recommended from several people.

What venues are available for a wedding in Santorini?

Popular choices for a Santorini wedding are the Santorini Princess Hotel in Imerovigli, Katikies Hotel in Oia, Dana Villas in Firostefani, Suites of the Gods in Megalochori, Pyrgos restaurant in Pyrgos village, Sphinx restaurant in Fira, Santo winery in Pyrgos, and Santa Irini Chapel with caldera views.

Q. What are the best cave hotels on Santorini?

Watch this video for a great introduction to Santorini and its cave hotels.

Cave hotels are very popular in Oia and are pretty much what they sound like – rooms and suites that are built into the cliffside to form a cave. They’re usually decorated simply and sparsely, but when done right they’re close to magical.

Two of the best cave hotels are Perivolas (+30 22860 71308) and Aris Caves (+30 2286 071511) – both of these are drop dead gorgeous. (The Perivolos is the hotel seen in the video above.)

If you’re looking for a cave hotel that’s a little “cheaper” then Lena’s House (+30 22860 71910) and Delfini Villas (+ 30 22860 71600) are both great picks.

If you need a cave house then Dream Blue (+30 21080 02307) is a privately owned home that sleeps 6, has a fully equipped kitchen, a hot tub, 2 bathrooms, and free wi-fi. It’s 350€ to 450€ a night (depending on season and number of guests) but it’s an amazing house and worth it if you can afford it. The owner also rents a smaller house, My Blue, with traditional Santorini architecture. It sleeps up to 4 and costs between 290€ and 390€.

Q. What are the best hotels for quiet and solitude?

Three hotels stand out as providing a quiet and peaceful setting far from the crowds of Fira and Oia.

Q. What affordable hotels have caldera views?

These hotels are not cheap but for budget-minded travelers that still want a caldera view they’re the best hotels.

Q. What hotels are near the ferry port?

Fira is only 8 km from the port so you’re fine staying there if you have an early or late ferry. But there are closer hotels in Megalachori and Pyrgos – which are just a few km from the port.

Good hotels near the port:

And these hotels offer free transportation to and from the ferry port:

  • Villa Manos, Karterados – Free pickup to and from ferry port and airport with stay.
  • Anemomilos Suites, Fira – Free pickup to and from ferry port and airport with stay. Hotel is a 10 minute walk to central Fira.
  • Stelios Place Hotel Perissa, Perissa – Free pickup with stay. Must stay 2 nights for free ride to port. Close to the beach.

Q. What hotels are near the airport?

Santorini is not a large island so getting from even the most distant town (Oia) to the airport takes no longer than 40 minutes. Unless being close to the airport is super important to you I’d stay in your preferred town and not try to get a hotel near the airport.

If you do need a hotel near the airport the closest are in the beach towns of Monolithos and Kamari just minutes from the airport. These 2 hotels come highly recommended.

  • Scorpios Beach Hotel, Monolithos – 2 minutes from the airport. Near the beach, small pool, family rooms. Free airport transfers and 24 hour check in.
  • The Boathouse Hotel, Kamari – On the beach, in the center of Kamari with lots of shops and restaurants within steps. Very nice pool. 5 minutes from the airport. Free airport transfers.

Q. What hotels on Santorini have the best infinity pools?

The best infinity pools with views of the caldera are at these hotels.

Most pools on Santorini are heated by the sun so won’t be terribly warm outside of June to September – and perhaps closed from November to April.

Q. What are some (good) cheap hotels on Santorini?

Occasionally I get emails with questions like, “We’re looking for a cheap hotel that has a caldera view, infinity pool, and private balcony. What do you recommend?”

Santorini (like Mykonos) is not cheap and hotels are more expensive here than any other island. Hotels that have views and swimming pools are not found in the budget category – so adjust your wishes accordingly.

If you’re looking for a cheap room don’t try to book specific hotels – instead pick a town and search for hotel discounts on CheapZebra. Go with the hotel that has the best mix of amenities you’re looking for.

I know this sounds vague and perhaps not all that helpful but it really is the best way to find a cheap hotel. Rates will vary depending on how many bookings the hotel currently has. And there are so many hotels of similar quality in the budget and moderate price ranges it’s silly to single out specific hotels when they’re all quite good.

I have never stayed in a bad hotel on Santorini. Even the budget ones are clean and refreshingly simple. And every owner I’ve dealt with has been friendly and honest.

Here are the best links for finding cheap hotels on Santorini:

Generally, the hotels on the west side of the island that overlook the caldera (Fira, Imerovigli, Oia, and Firostefani) are more expensive than the hotels on the east side of island where the beaches are located (Kamari and Perissa).

Of the towns near the caldera, the one that will have the least expensive hotels is Karterados. It’s 1 mile from Fira and does not have views of the caldera but it’s an easy walk into town and has much cheaper accommodations – nothing fancy though.

There is also a very good youth hostel in Oia with rates between €16 and €18 (Phone: +30 2286 071465) and a campsite near Fira (with private rooms, dorms, and a swimming pool).

Q. Are there yacht tours to Santorini?

I am not a big fan of package tours – they’re usually lame and boring – and have little to do with exploration and travel.

But the packages put together by Gap Adventures are truly unique, lots of fun, and run by a great group of people.

In 2014 they’re offering a handful of small-group yacht trips around the Greek islands. There are a maximum of 8 guests on each yacht. You do have to get yourself to Greece but travel and accommodations are handled from there.

I also love these tours because they begin and end at interesting places. One of the huge disadvantages of a typical cruise or tour group is that you never get time to stay on the Greek islands – apart from a few hours with a hoard of fellow travelers. But with Gap you can begin or end your trip on Santorini (or Mykonos or Athens) and then spend a few days on your own exploring the island. A perfect mix.

We go way way off the beaten tourist path.” – watch this short video from the yacht’s skipper with Gap Adventures.

Yacht Trips Around the Greek Islands in 2014

All trips are aboard a 15m (50 ft) sailing yacht. Fully licensed skipper. Snorkelling equipment. Some food and meals onboard. Trips run from May to October.

Q. What is the best company for booking a package holiday to Santorini?

Package holidays are not my favorite way to see Greece – traveling independently and booking your own hotel and flights is a much more rewarding way to see the islands (and it’s far from difficult). But if you’re short on time or only going to Santorini then package trips can provide good value.

Sunshine Holidays offers some cheap flight and hotel packages to Santorini from the UK.

Vacation packages from North America or Australia are not as common and thus have limited variety and choice. It’s much better to book travel on your own.

Q. What’s the best way to get to Santorini?

Flying to Santorini is the quickest and easiest way. You can fly to Santorini from Athens or directly from cities in western Europe such as London, Manchester, Paris, and Amsterdam.

For summer 2014, there are no flights to Santorini from other Greek islands – though this changes from year to year and some summers there will be flights from Heraklion (Crete) and Rhodes to Santorini. Also for summer 2014, there are no flights from Istanbul to Santorini.

If you’re already in the center of Athens it can be easier to take a high speed ferry or catamaran from Piraeus (the Athens port) than to deal with getting to the airport and through security. But flying would still be a few hours faster.

The big advantage of flying to Santorini is that it’s much easier to book flights in advance than to book ferries in advance (see below). But if you’re on a flexible schedule or you’re already in Greece (and can book the ferry at a travel agency) it’s very easy to book ferry tickets. It’s the booking in advance, figuring out routes and timetables from outside the country, that makes ferry planning difficult.

Arriving by ferry in Santorini is a great experience. The cliffs loom over your boat and it’s a really awesome first impression of the island. (Less so if you arrive by a high speed ferry as you’re trapped inside, behind sea-sprayed windows.) On the Blue Star ferry you can wander the decks and you’ll have a great view of the volcano and caldera.

There are cabins available on the Blue Star ferry to Santorini. But since the most popular ferry leaves form Athens early in the morning it seems silly to spend the time in a cabin when you could be walking the decks and enjoying the view of passing islands. A 2nd class or “deck” ticket is the cheapest and the ticket I recommend you buy.

A good compromise between flying and ferry is to take the ferry to Santorini and then fly back. It does take some planning to find the right tickets but the perfect route is to fly to Athens, ferry to Santorini (perhaps stopping at a few islands along the way), then flying from Santorini back to Athens – or fly directly from Athens to Western Europe as you will have already been to Athens and don’t need to visit again.

If you’re island hopping Santorini has good connections with most of the other popular islands like Crete, Mykonos, Naxos, and Paros. Rhodes is more difficult to get to from Santorini (and a longer ferry ride) but still doable.

There are no direct ferries or flights from Santorini to Istanbul. If you want to travel from Santorini to Istanbul the quickest and easiest way is to fly to Athens and then fly to Istanbul. If you want to take the ferry from Santorini to Turkey the easiest route is to ferry to Rhodes (usually an overnight ferry where a cabin would be recommended) and then a short 90 minute ferry to Marmaris on the Turkish coast. Ferries between Santorini and Rhodes run 2 or 3 times per week and take 7 to 15 hours.

Q. What airlines fly to Santorini?

Direct Flights from Europe to Santorini

A great way to see more than one island is to fly into one island (e.g. Santorini), take a ferry to another island (e.g. Mykonos), and then fly home from there. You save the time, hassle, and cost of returning to your initial destination.

Many airlines fly to Santorini from large cities in Western and Northern Europe. Here are some of them though the list is constantly changing:

  • EasyJet – Flights from Rome, Milan, London Gatwick, and Manchester to Santorini. Also has flights from Western Europe to Athens, Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes, and several other islands.
  • Air Berlin – Flights from Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, many more German cities, Paris, and Copenhagen to Santorini and many other Greek Islands.
  • FlyThomasCook – Flights from Manchester, London Gatwick, and Birmingham to Santorini. Also flights between the UK and Rhodes and Heraklion, Crete.
  • Thomson Flights – Flights from Manchester, Birmingham, and London Gatwick to Santorini. Flights from many UK cities to Rhodes, Crete, and Mykonos. Also, if you’re traveling to Turkey there are flights from Bodrum, Dalaman, and Antalya to the UK.
  • Lauda Air – Flights from Vienna to Santorini.
  • NIKI – Flights from London, Paris, Copenhagen, Munich, Berlin, Milan, Rome, and Vienna to Santorini. Flights between Europe and Rhodes, Crete, Athens, Samos, Kos, Lesvos, and Corfu. One of the few airlines to offer flights from Barcelona to Mykonos.
  • Germanwings – Flights from Bonn/Cologne to Santorini. Flights from Crete and Rhodes to many European cities as well as Crete to Izmir which could be handy if you’re traveling to Turkey.
  • TUI Fly – Flights from many German cities and Vienna to Santorini, Crete, Karpathos, Rhodes, and Kos, as well as several cities in Turkey.
  • Transavia – Flights from Paris and Amsterdam to Santorini. Also flights from many European cities to many Greek islands including flights to and from Chania which could be of interest to travelers who want to see Crete.
  • Norwegian – Flights from Stockholm, Oslo, and Copenhagen to Santorini. Connecting flights to New York City.
  • Meridiana – Flights from Rome, Milan, Verona, and Bologna to Santorini and Mykonos.
  • Condor Air – Flights from Dussledorf, Hamburg, Bonn/Cologne, Frankfurt, and Munich.
  • Jetairfly – Flights from Brussels to Santorini. Also flights from Brussels to Chania, Heraklion, Rhodes, Kos, Samos, and Mykonos.
  • Edelweiss Air – Flights from Zurich to Santorini. Flights from Zurich to Mykonos. And flights from Zurich and Geneva to Heraklion, Crete.
  • Air Baltic – Flights to Athens and Santorini from Riga and other European capitals (though as of spring 2013 not showing many flights).
  • AtlasJet – No direct flights to Santorini but does have flights from Istanbul to Mykonos making it the most direct way from Turkey to Santorini.

Flights from Athens to Santorini

  • Olympic Air – 4 to 6 flights a day from Athens to Santorini.
  • Aegean Airlines – 3 flights per day from Athens to Santorini. 1 flight per day from Thessaloniki to Santorini for late June to early September.
  • SkyExpress has a route map that is always changing but will sometimes have flights from Crete to Santorini and Rhodes to Santorini. (Update February, 2014: It does not appear that SkyExpress is flying to Santorini for the summer of 2014. There are flights from Crete to Rhodes that might be of interest to visitors to Santorini.)
  • Astra Airlines – In summers past has run flights from Thessaloniki to Santorini but as of Spring 2014 nothing planned.
  • AirSeaLines has ceased operations so if you read they have flights from Santorini to Athens, Crete, and Rhodes this is no longer the case.
  • Athens Airways ceased operations in the fall of 2012.

Q. How do I get to Santorini by ferry?

Up to 8 ferries a day sail the route from the Athens’ port (Piraeus) to Santorini. The ferry from Piraeus to Santorini takes 5 hours by high speed ferry or catamaran (cost: 60 euros) and 8 hours by the slower car ferries (cost: 34 euros).

During rough seas and windy weather the large car ferries (e.g. the Blue Star ferry) provide a much smoother ride than the high speed ferries. If you’re sensitive to seasickness then avoid the high speed ferries (and definitely avoid the flying cat and flying dolpin).

Ferry Schedule: Athens to Santorini for 2014

These are the 2 most popular routes from Athens (Piraeus) to Santorini:

  • Blue Star Ferry
    Leaves Athens at 7:25 every morning with stops in Paros, Naxos, and Ios (doesn’t stop in Ios on Wednesday and Saturday). Return trip from Santorini to Athens leaves at 19:00.
  • Highspeed 6
    Dates 30th June to 7th September 2014: Daily from Athens (departs 7:15) to Ios and Santorini. Return Santorini (departs 12:00) to Ios and Athens.
    Dates 16th June to 29th June 2014: Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays: Athens (07:15) to Ios and Santorini. Santorini (12:00) to Ios and Athens (*except Sundays when departure is at 17:00).

Highspeed ferries are more likely to sell out than the large conventional ferries. Buying tickets a few days in advance should be enough to secure a 2nd class seat on most high speed ferries (airplane style seating) – but there are no guarantees in July and August so if you’re on a tight schedule then buy in advance. Tickets for the Blue Star ferry rarely sell out so you should be fine buying a ticket the day before or even the morning of your trip. (The days before and after the national holiday of August 15th are one time all ferries can be full.) Book several weeks in advance if you want a cabin or need to take a vehicle.

The highspeed ferries between Crete and Santorini do regularly sell out in July and August so this is one route that should be purchased in advance.

Buying tickets online in advance is a pain (routes aren’t officially published until 2 or 3 weeks before the date, the websites are confusing, and you need to visit 3 or more websites to see all the available ferries) – but you’ll sometimes need to book in advance (or want to for peace of mind). You’ll rarely, if ever, need advance tickets for ferries to Santorini from other Cycladic islands so just purchase these a day or 2 before sailing at a travel agent on whatever island you happen to be on. When you do need to buy tickets in advance these are the most useful websites:

  • Pelican Travel – If you need help from a travel agency to book your ferry tickets then Pelican can do it for you (with added fees). Then pick up your tickets after you arrive in Santorini. Their office is in central Fira.
  • Greek Travel Pages – This is the single best page for finding routes and timetables for all Greek ferries – but it is still challenging to use.
  • Hellenic Seaways – The fastest ferries to Santorini from Piraeus but only one departure a day, usually in the early morning. Also have ferries from Santorini to Heraklion, Paros, and Ios and the only service between Mykonos and Santorini.
  • Blue Star Ferries – Departures everyday from Piraeus. Also ferries from Santorini to Naxos and Santorini to Rhodes.
  • Anek Ferries – Departures most days from Piraeus. Also ferries from Heraklion, Crete and Rhodes to Santorini.
  • SeaJets – Runs from Santorini to Crete and several Cycladic islands. These are the smaller catamarans and the route to Crete can be especially rough.

Q. What is the Santorini ferry schedule?

The most important ferries to and from Santorini are:

  • Blue Star – Daily ferries to Santorini from Piraeus, Naxos, Paros, and Ios. And from Santorini to Ios, Paros, Naxos, Piraeus and Rhodes (summer only). If you’re prone to seasickness this is the best ferry to take..
  • Flying Cat 4 – From Heraklion (Crete) to Santorini continuing on to Paros and Mykonos.
  • Sea Jets – High speed catamarans between Santorini and Heraklion, Ios, Paros, Naxos, and Mykonos.
  • Anek Ferries – The only year-round ferry from Santorini to Rhodes. Also service to Heraklion, Karpathos, and Piraeus.

Santorini Ferry Schedule, Summer 2014

  • Heraklion (Iraklio), Crete
    1 to 2 highspeed ferries per day: 2 hours, 56€ (schedule for Hellenic Highspeed5). Also 1 large ferry per week.
  • Milos
    2 large ferries weekly: 3.5 hours, 17€. 1 highspeed daily: 2 hours, 40€.
  • Mykonos
    2 highspeed daily: 2.5 hours, 50€ (schedule for Highspeed5).
  • Ios
    2 highspeed ferries daily: 40 minutes, 18€. 4 weekly large ferries: 1.5 hours, 8€.
  • Naxos
    2 highspeed ferries dayily: 1.5 hours 37€. 5 large ferries daily: 2 hours, 17€.
  • Paros
    2 highspeed ferries daily: 2.5 hours, 45€. 5 large ferries daily: 3 to 4 hours, 19€.
  • Piraeus (Athens)
    3 highspeed ferries daily: 5 hours, 60€. 4 large ferries: 9 hours, 34€.
  • Rhodes
    2 to 4 large ferries weekly: 9 to 18 hours (Blue Star is faster than ANEK), 36€ (cabins are more expensive but recommended).
  • Kos
    2 ferries weekly: 5 hours, 30€.
  • Sikinos
    1 to 4 large ferries daily: 3 hour, 14€.

High speed ferries are about twice as fast as conventional car ferries and cost about twice as much. During rough seas high speed ferries are canceled much more frequently than the slower conventional ferries. When they do run during rough or windy conditions life on board can be brutal for those prone to seasickness.

If you want to avoid taking a highspeed ferry from Santorini to Mykonos (or vice versa) take the Blue Star ferry to Paros and then switch to a high speed ferry for the short trip to Mykonos.

Q. Should I book my ferry ticket in advance?

If you have a car and need a spot on the ferry for your vehicle then yes, you need to book your ferry in advance.

If you are traveling overnight to Rhodes, Crete, or Athens and want a cabin then yes, booking in advance is a good idea as well.

Otherwise, the large ferries almost never sell out. Occasionally the high speed ferries will sell out but usually buying a day or 2 in advance is fine. Purchasing ferry tickets from outside the country is a pain and if you can avoid doing so you should.

Once again (repeating myself here), booking ferry tickets in advance from outside the country is head-bangingly difficult. But in-person, and in-country, it’s pretty easy. Ferries rarely sell out so if you can buy a day or two in advance you’ll be fine most of the time. On the popular routes there will be more than one ferry a day (e.g. Athens to Santorini) so even if a ferry did sell out, as long as you have a flexible schedule, you can jump on a later ferry, or at worse, one the next day.

Oh, and ferries can be cancelled due to rough seas, high winds, and strikes. (It’s always a good idea to arrive in Athens a full day before your flight home to allow for any ferry cancellations.)

But, all in all, traveling by ferry is fun and an authentic way of seeing the country. Just be flexible and patient.

Q. How do I get from the airport to Fira and the rest of the island?

  • Taxi – The easiest and quickest way to get into Fira and to the rest of the island is by taxi. There will always be taxis available at the airport though it can involve a long wait (especially if 2 flights arrive at the same time). It costs about 15 euros to Fira and 20 to 25 euros to go to the rest of the island. Taxi rates and reservation info. Taxi phone number: 22860-22555.
  • Bus – In high season (roughly June to September) buses run every hour between Fira and the airport. Most of these buses are running the Fira to Monolithos route and make a stop at the airport – although there might be a few additional buses each day that do only the Fira to airport run. There are fewer buses on the weekend and also fewer buses during the low season. It takes about 15 minutes to get from the airport to Fira by bus and costs about 2 euros. Plan to have small change available so that you don’t need to ask for change from a 50 euro note. If you want to go anywhere else other than Fira (or Monolithos) you’ll need to change buses in Fira (which is easy enough, but time consuming). Santorini bus schedule.
  • Minivan/Airport Transfer – This is a good choice for singles going anywhere or couples going to a town other than Fira (if there are no buses or you don’t want to take a bus). But for 3 or more it’s cheaper to take a taxi as the fare is about 9 euros/per person. Contact Santorini Transfers to arrange pick up at the airport or your hotel.
  • Hotel Pickup – If your hotel offers free pickup and dropoff be sure to take advantage. Most do charge but as long as it’s close to the taxi rate it’s a good choice.

Q. How do I get to and from the ferry port in Santorini?

    All ferries arrive at Athinios port. If you’re arriving by cruise ship you’ll be tendered in a small boat from the ship to the Skalafira port directly below Fira. From there you can either climb the steps (a lot of them) or take a cable car (which will probably involve waiting some time in a line). There are also donkey rides up the path you walk but many find their use offensive so be prepared for some dirty looks by people who don’t think donkeys should be used (abused) in this manner.
  • Bus – A bus leaves from Fira to the ferry port about 1 hour before every ferry departure and arrival. There will always be a bus waiting as your ferry arrives at the port no matter what time of day or night. If you’re staying in a town other than Fira you’ll need to get to Fira first and then switch buses there. The cost form the port to Fira is about 2 euros. The bus from the port to Fira takes about 20 minutes and drops you at the bus station in the middle of Fira. The bus, like all buses on Santorini, is air conditioned and has plenty of room for luggage.
  • Taxi – There will usually be taxis waiting as ferries arrive but if it’s late at night you might want to arrange pickup in advance. It costs about 15 euros from the ferry port to Fira, 25 euros from the ferry port to Oia, and somewhere in-between to go anywhere else on the island. A taxi ride from the port to Fira takes about 15 minutes. Taxi phone number: 22860-22555.

Q. What are the best tours of Santorini?

There are 2 main types of tours in Santorini: boat and bus tours.

  • Bus tours visit the following attractions: Akrotiri, Ancient Thira, different wineries, Oia, Pyrgos and potentially a few other sites. If you’re able to rent a car you’re probably better doing it yourself but if you’re short on time, don’t feel like driving, or want a quick sprint around the highlights they’re a good choice.
  • Dakoutros Bros has the glass bottomed Calypso boat that visits the nearby islands in the Santorini caldera. There are full and half day tours that take in Thirassia, Nea Kameni (where you climb the volcano and swim in a hot spring), and Red Beach. (There are also sunset boat tours as well.) Tours will leave from both Amoudi Bay (near Oia) and Athinios (near Fira) with bus connections from both towns included. Tickets are available from any travel agent in Santorini so don’t bother booking in advance unless you’re on a very tight schedule. Tickets coast between 20 euros and 40 euros. This is a cheap way to do a boat tour but be warned you could be on a boat with up to 50 other guests and this can turn some people off.
  • For a much more intimate (and costly) tour of the same attractions you can do a semi-private boat tour with Captain George or Captain Ted. These are on smaller yachts or catamarans with 6 to 12 guests. You can charter the whole boat too if you’re willing to pay a bit more. Per person these tours run about 150 euros or 600 to 1000 euros for a private charter.
  • Santorini Wine Adventure does half and full day tours of 3 wineries around Santorini. They also offer a Wine and Food Lovers tour that combines visits to 2 wineries with a Greek food cooking class.

Q. Where and how do I rent a car or scooter?

Auto Europe is a large rental company that probably has the best rates for car rentals on Santorini.

There are also local rental offices all over the island that will rent a car or scooter to you. Two that are reliable are Vazeos in Oia and Spiridakos (which offers free pickup at the port, airport, or your hotel).

Booking in advance is not absolutely necessary but if you require an automatic transmission during July and August then it’s recommended (most cars are standard).

If you have a young child it’s best to bring a car seat from home – some rental agencies do have a few but they tend to be older and not up to British or American standards (though they’ll do in a pinch).

EU drivers licenses are perfectly acceptable for renting a car. But if you’re not from the EU be sure to get an International Drivers permit before leaving home. Some places will rent to you without an EU or international drivers license but if you get into an accident your insurance will be not be valid because you will have been driving illegally. If you don’t have the International Drivers Permit the Greek police will have a lot of questions too. Greek Law requires an IDP and if you don’t have it, you could be detained until you pay for repairs to the damaged vehicles.

It’s fine to rent a motorbike, scooter, or ATV by showing your passport and a current drivers license from your home country.

Q. What are the best wineries to tour on Santorini?

Santorini is famous for its wine. Many wineries offer tours and wine tasting. Most wineries are closed on Sunday so check their schedules online before visiting. If you want to visit multiple wineries (or combine a wine tour with a Greek cooking course) then contact Santorini Wine Adventure.

  • Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum, Kamari – A 300 meter long cellar (8 meters underground) that hosts a wine museum. The museum presents the history of Greek wine and the life of vine-growers in Santorini since the 1600s.
  • Santo Wines, Pyrgos – The most comprehensive tours of any winery. It has a large shop filled with wines and local food specialties. Fantastic views of the cliffs and caldera.
  • Boutari, Megalohori – Taste 8 high quality wines for 8 euros from Santorini’s largest winery.
  • Sigalas, Oia – A small winery a short walk from a bus stop on the Fira-Oia bus route. It has wine tastings with appetizers from April to October.

Q. What are the best things to do on Santorini?

Q. What’s the best town for sunsets on Santorini?

Imerovigli has the best sunsets of any town on Santorini. The hotels in Oia generally have either a view of the caldera or views of the sunset (this is a simplification as it also depends on the time of the year but for the most part it’s true). Fira’s sunset views are often blocked by the small island of Thirassia out in the caldera. Imerovigli has neither of the these problems and is perched high on a cliff with great views of both the sunset and the caldera. Another plus is that it doesn’t have the crowds that gather in Oia as the sun sets.

Q. Where can I go on a day trip from Santorini?

Besides the islands visible in the caldera, Santorini does not have any nearby islands which makes a day trip impractical for most visitors. Most ferries are based on other islands or back in Athens and thus it’s usually mid-day before they even arrive in Santorini.

If you really want to make a day trip to another Greek island your best bet is to wait until you’ve arrived in Santorini. Then visit a travel agency and enquire about the ferry schedule to and from Santorini’s neighboring islands. If it seems like the amount of time you’ll get on the island is worth the journey then book the ticket. If not, then don’t. Ferry schedules are always changing and rarely are released more than a few weeks in advance. A day trip requires fairly precise timing to pull off so it’s best to wait to arrange until you’re in Greece and can be certain of the schedule. Ferries on these short routes from Santorini will almost never sell out so don’t worry about finding a spot onboard.

The most likely candidate for a day trip from Santorini is Ios. It has fantastic beaches and a young and fun party vibe – though the clubbing doesn’t get going until late at night so day-trippers won’t encounter anything too hedonistic. With a little luck you could have 6 or 7 hours on the island making the 35 minute boat trip from Santorini worth the effort. Mylopotas Beach (one of the best in Greece) and the Chora (the main town up a steep cliff from the port) are well connected to the harbor by a short bus ride. The ferry from Santorini to Ios is €20 one way.

Naxos and Paros are both (just) possible but even with the best possible ferry connections you’d have little more than 2 or 3 hours to explore the island. Except in rare circumstances a day trip to Mykonos is not possible from Santorini. The journey from Santorini to Mykonos is more than 2 hours and 30 minutes and there are rarely returning boats that make the trip doable in a day.

A day trip from Crete to Santorini is sometimes possible with Hellenic Seaways from Heraklion. But a trip going from Santorini to Crete does not work with the ferry timetable.

Anafi is another island that would seem to allow for a day trip but since ferries run to Santorini in the morning and back to Anafi in the afternoon any visit would require staying a night on Anafi.

Q. What cruises go to Santorini?

Santorini is a very popular cruise destination but I don’t recommend visiting Santorini on a cruise ship as you get a limited amount of time on the island (just a few hours) and only see the island when it’s inundated by cruise ship passengers (your shipmates).

After the cruise passengers have departed the island returns to a calmer and more tranquil pace. So if you can stay a few nights on the Santorini you’ll see a completely different side of the towns, restaurants, and attractions.

If you insist on doing a cruise to Santorini then the best site to search for good deals is

Q. How do you charter a yacht or boat on Santorini?

Renting a yacht is a great way to see Santorini and a few neighboring islands at your own pace. Sleep and eat on board and stop at lots of interesting out-of-the-way sights you wouldn’t see on the scheduled ferry.

  • Santorini Yachting – Captain George has a crew of 3 and a 55-foot boat that will hold up to 22 passengers. Chartered trips around the caldera or a full day trip to nearby Anafi.
  • Santorini Sailing – Captain Ted does hourly, sunset, full day, or overnight trips around the caldera.
  • Spiridakos Yacht Cruises – Yacht, catamaran, and motor boat charters.
  • Archipel Club – Private yacht charters for 2, 4, 6 passengers or large families.

Q. What are the best things to do with kids?

Santorini is one of the 6 best Greek islands for kids. There’s lots to do to keep kids busy – but I will say it’s not the typical Greek island with beautiful sandy beaches – so be prepared for a vacation with more hiking and sightseeing. If you want the best beaches for kids look to the nearby islands of Naxos, Paros, and Crete.

Santorini has a water park in Perissa, the boat tours around the caldera are great for kids and feature plenty of activity (including swimming and hiking), and, of course, swimming at the beaches is always fun (Monolithos has a kids’ play area, nice sand, and a shallow slope to the water). Kamari has a very family-friendly vibe. And the beach towns of Perissa and Perivolos are great for families too.

Read 11 Tips for visiting Santorini with kids for a full rundown.

Q. What are the best restaurants on Santorini?

Selene in Pyrgos (10 minutes from Fira) is widely considered the best restaurant in Santorini and one of the top in Greece. Reservations are (almost) mandatory in summer and must be made at least 48 hours in advance – though I would reserve as soon as you have a date in mind. The restaurant also offers one and three day cooking courses for traditional Greek food.

In Oia, for a romantic dinner with cliffside views of the caldera try Ambrosia. 1800 is also very good (and very expensive). Below Oia in Amoudi Bay are several excellent tavernas with great seafood fresh off the boat. Taverna Katina is among the best.

In Fira, the best restaurant is likely Koukoumavlos. Housed in a former sea captain’s house and with good views, wonderful service, and inventive local food. Reservations recommended. The best taverna in Fira (and great value) is Naoussa.

Q. What are some good traditional restaurants on Santorini?

All restaurants receive tourists but some that have a more Greek feel (and might be less expensive) are:

Q. Is gluten free food available at restaurants and grocery stores?

Finding gluten free food is relatively easy in Santorini. Fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and seafood are readily available and form the basis of traditional Greek cooking. Grocery store sell some gluten free items but not as many as you’ll find in Athens or Western Europe. Most restaurants cook from scratch which makes it easier to derive the ingredients of different dishes. Most servers and cooks on Santorini will have heard of gluten free diets (this might not apply if you’re traveling to other smaller Greek Islands). If you’re ordering a meal without bread you might also want to say no pita as your server might not equate the two.

Print or bookmark this glossary of eating, cooking, and food terms in Greek and this card which explains gluten free dietary requirements in Greek (here’s the english version).

Q. What hotels on Santorini have kitchens?

These hotels have fully equipped kitchens with cutlery, dishes, and some cookware. (Almost every hotel on Santorini will have a fridge and coffee maker.)

Q. How do I see Santorini on a budget?

4 tips for saving money while visiting Santorini.

  • Search for hotel deals on – This is the best way to find discounts, rather than looking at specific hotels.
  • Get a room without a view – If you’re staying at any of the towns along the caldera having a view will cost a premium. Many restaurants have views of the caldera and there are great walks along the caldera edge – so it’s not as if you’re foregoing the enjoyment of the Santorini cliffside.
  • Eat where the locals eat – Santorini is mainly geared around the tourist trade but there is still a vibrant local community that has its favorite restaurants. If a restaurant has a touristy feel (which will of course include the restaurants along the caldera) then you’ll be paying more for food. Look away from the touristy areas for less-trendy local eateries that will be less than half the price of the touristy restaurants.
  • Get a hotel with kitchenette – Eating in for one or two meals a day is a great way to save a lot of money. (Breakfast is an especially easy meal to prepare in a hotel.) Grocery stores and fresh produce markets are easy to find. See above for a list of hotels with kitchenettes.

Q. Is there a hospital on Santorini?

The Central Clinic of Santorini is a small medical clinic located in Fira, near the bus station. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (although serious medical issues will need to be evacuated to Athens). Map of clinic. Emergency phone number: +30 22860 21728. Email:

Q. Do I need health insurance for Santorini

Travel health insurance is as much about peace of mind as the actual benefit. Myself, I always get some before a trip.

The big thing you want covered in a location like Santorini is emergency evacuation coverage so be sure any policy you get has this covered. (Some plans don’t so read the fine print.)

World Nomads is my favorite. They offer full coverage plans at very affordable rates.

Tripadvisor Awards: Best of Santorini

Best Luxury Hotels in Greece

Best Small Hotels in Greece

Best Bargain Hotels in Greece


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Need more info? Ask a question below.

Q. I have a question about Santorini but don’t feel like reading through your entire website – can I ask it anyways?
A. Please no. I know it’s a pain but please read everything (including other comments) before asking a question.

214 questions and comments

  1. Manny

    Hi Dave, thank you for the incredibly helpful tips!! Do you know if any of the top upscale/luxury hotels in Santorini allow non-guests to make lunch or dinner reservations at their restaurants?

    1. Dave Post author

      I’ve never heard of any that don’t take reservations. The hardest reservation of all is for the Katikies restaurant which only has 4 tables. Book far in advance. Good luck.

  2. Matt

    Dave – love the website, my fiance and I are planning our Honeymoon to Santorini and Mykonos in September and your website has been by far the most helpful guide we have came across. Do you recommend any travel guides / websites for Mykonos? Also we will have 8 full days to split between the islands, any recommendations on how to split them up?

  3. Darcy Stingerie

    Hi Dave – I wanted to get your opinion. I have read your 11Tips for Santorini with Kids as well as the review of the person with the 4 mo old baby. We will be in Santorini for one day with our cruise ship in April and I wondered if your opinion was different regarding hiking Fira to Oia this time of year. I guess I am uncertain if the person’s only discouragement for doing the hike with a little one was the heat as opposed to the technical difficulty of the hike. If you don’t recommend hiking that (since it seems like that would be our only activity for the time we are there), what would you recommend instead? Thanks for your help.

  4. Mallory

    Hi Dave,

    Thank’s so much for the informative website! I am trying to coordinate a flight out of Santorini (to Athens) on October 27th, 2014 but am coming up with NOTHING after the 25th. Is this normal? Any suggestions on something I may have missed would be appreciated!

    If we can’t fly back, any other suggestions?

    Thanks again!!

    1. Dave Post author

      The schedule for the fall will not be out yet. Keep checking back at the Olympic and Aegean websites until something appears (Olympic usually posts its schedules a few weeks before Aegean). Good luck.

  5. Leah

    Hi Dave,
    Holy cow – this website has been a load of help! I am traveling to Greece this April for my honeymoon and had a question (also any advice or recommendations for the month of April would be amazing!)

    1. If I am booking a flight from Athens to Santorini, what would be the best website to do so? I am located in the United States.

  6. iman

    Dear Dave,
    Love your website so much but i have a question, can one swim at other hotels pools (specially those with sea view) in Santorini even if I’m not staying at that hotel?

    1. Dave Post author

      Generally no. Guests staying at those hotels and paying 400+ euros a night would understandably not be pleased if they were sharing the pool with non-guests just so the hotel could make a few more euros. In the beachside towns you will find some hotels that allow the use of their pool for a fee. These pools also tend to me bigger and better able to accommodate extra people. Hope that helps.

  7. Kate

    Dave! You’re a lifesaver with this site.
    One question: what is your recommendation for the most efficient way to get from Santorini to Naples? We are leaving Santorini in the beginning of July 2014. I’m wondering if we may need to take a ferry to Athens, spend a night and then fly to Naples or is flying direct from santorini an option? Do you have any experience with Volotea? Thanks!

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Kate. Meridiana is showing flights between Naples and Santorini – but at this point only for August. I’d keep looking as I suspect they’ll add dates for July. Easy Jet has flights between Mykonos and Naples and there’s a highspeed ferry from Santorini to Mykonos – so that’s an option. And FlyNiki has flights between Crete and Naples. But if they don’t work out then ferry to Athens and fly from there. The only ferries between Greece and Italy go between Corfu and Igoumenitsa in Greece and Bari, Brindisi, and Venice in Italy. And those places are a long way from Santorini and Naples. Volotea looks like it might work for you, but no I have not flown with them. Good luck.

  8. Adam

    Hi Dave, just great info here and really helping! I’m looking for a villa and come across Divine Villas in megalochori. It’s the iVI villa. Do you know if this is a reputable company and we won’t be scammed? I can’t really find much on the internet or many reviews…


    1. Dave Post author

      I believe you’re referring to this villa. I think it’s an individual owner – not a true company. (Which is fine.) If you book through flipkey they guarantee payments up to $10,000 – so I’d do it that way.

  9. Wendy

    There are rumors that the boat from the dock at Fira to Oia will not be running anymore because the Port Authority has denied it from continuing? Is this true and are there any other options to go from the port at Fira to Oia? Any information you can provide would be appreciated. Thank you so much!

    1. Dave Post author

      I know it was running in October of 2013. I haven’t heard anything about 2014. Just so people know, Wendy is referring to a boat that runs from Firaskala port to Amoudi Bay below Oia. At the Fira port, beside the cable car line, there are two stores offering boat transfers to Oia. Tickets are 20€ and you don’t need a reservation. There are 2 bus tickets included with the boat ticket that get you from the Oia port up to Oia town and from Oia to Fira where you can return to the Firaskala port by cable car. The boat ride takes 10 minutes and you get to bypass the cable car up and bus to Oia (if that’s where you’re going). If it’s running it’s a great trick for getting away (or ahead of) the crowds.

  10. Sharon

    FANTASTIC site!!!
    Staying in Kamari in August 2014, want to have a couple of sunset nights in Fira and Oia returning around 10pm to Kamari, will there be buses at this time and/or what is the average taxi fare back to Kamari from both locations….also very confused about being able to rent a small scooter, do you need a motorbike licence and do the rental places also rent helmets? Thank you!

    1. Dave Post author

      In summer there are late buses running from Fira to Kamari – at least to midnight and some summers they run until 3:30am. Several buses wait in Oia to take tourists to Fira (then you change buses and go to Kamari). Taxi fare from Fira to Kamari will be about 15€. Taxi from Oia to Kamari is about 20€ to 25€.

      If you’re from outside the EU you need a motorbike license to rent a true motorcycle. But for an ATV or scooter all anyone needs is a vehicle license. All rental shops will have helmets available.

  11. Iris

    Hi Dave! Great website! I really appreciate your attention to detail and dedication to finding the most useful and up to date information.

    I will be in Santorini April 17-20 during Easter week and Easter Sunday. Should we anticipate any closures of buses, restaurants, museums or shops? Our flight out of Santorini is on Easter Sunday morning. I already checked the bus schedule- there aren’t any buses to and from the airport on the weekends right now. Will I have problems reserving a taxi or shared van? I was planning on contacting them directly but thought I would ask anyways.


    1. Dave Post author

      Easter is a huge celebration in Santorini. Be sure to get to the village of Pyrgos on Good Friday – the town is lit up with candles. Some things will be closed but in the touristy areas there will still be plenty open. Arrange a taxi in advance (a day or two before – I don’t think you have to do it before your arrival).

  12. Kevin

    Hello Dave,

    This is a wonderful guide, it has really helped me with my planning. We plan on visiting Santorini in the first week of August for our honeymoon. We decided that we’ll stay in Oia, as it seems that is the most romantic location. I was hoping you could help me with a couple questions I had:
    1) What location in Oia do you recommend staying i.e. hotels on the northwest tip (e.g. Kirini, Farani) or those facing south (e.g. Katikies)? Since we are on our honeymoon we’d love for a hotel that has beautiful views of the caldera, sea and sunset. I learned from your post that not all hotels in Oia have sunset views which led me to ask for your advice. Normally do people go to a specific place for just the sunset and the hotels usually don’t have those views?
    2) Although the sunset views are important we’d also like to be able to walk into the main town easily during the day for shopping, meals etc. Could you point me to where exactly on the map the main town is?

    Again, just need your guidance on the best area to stay in Oia for our honeymoon that will accommodate our preferences. Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Kevin.

      For me, I would recommend a hotel with a caldera view over a hotel with a sunset view. The caldera is there all day not just a few minutes. A sunset you can see anywhere – the Santorini caldera you can only see here. People collect in the northwest area of Oia as the sun begins to set. People congregate on the walkways, steps, and ledges. It’s a scene in itself. The Kastro is the best restaurant in Oia for the sunset views.

      On this map the town square is located in square 5 in the 2nd and 3rd square from the bottom (by Karvounis Tours). If you need a hotel reference Chelidonia Villas are very close to the town square.

      Hope that helps.

    1. Dave Post author

      Santorini is a windy island and certainly May can be windy. It’s different every year so can’t make any predictions.

  13. Johnny


    Awesome website! It’s got all the information anyone could ever need. I’ll be taking a trip to Santorini in late July with my girlfriend and am planning to propose while we’re there. If you could pick one hotel for that sort of trip which one would it be? I’ve been looking st the Imerovigli hotels you’ve listed but was wondering if there was one you thought was THE best.


      1. Johnny


        One more question, do you think Imerovigli is the best place to stay on a trip like this? We’re a young couple and enjoy hiking so I thought walking the trails to Oia and Fira would be a good time for us. If you had your choice as a visitor to stay anywhere on the island where would it be?

        Thanks again!

        1. Dave Post author

          I would personally stay in Fira or Firostefani – because I like being close to the buzz of the main town. But Imerovigli is great as long as you want a more quiet and relaxed visit. Still plenty of places to eat and get a drink. People often walk into town from Imerovigli and then taxi home after dinner and perhaps a little nightlife.

  14. Brian

    Dave, we are seniors. I want to see the Islands and decided a few hours on a cruise ship would not do it. Tendering; queuing for cable cars etc did not seem attractive.
    We decided to do 2 islands in September 2014 as we only have a week including Athens. So on advice from my daughter who was there last year I have chosen Santorini (3 nights) and Sifnos (2 nights). Mykonis seems to be for partying; the beach and the young. Knowing us she recommended Firostefani or Imerovigli. My one concern is steps. We are not disabled, but also can’t overdo it. So something ‘manageable’.
    Having done a lot of research and reading, I thought Stefani Suites would be good, but only the studio is in my budget and it has 100 steps down from the road.
    Sunset Hotel gets great reviews on TripAdvisor and is pretty inexpensive with not many stairs. It has no pool though. Blue Dolphin also looks good but is about the same price as Stefani and also no pool. Reverie Apartments also gets good reviews; amazingly inexpensive and with a pool. A pool is nice but not mandatory.
    Are you familiar with any of these and have any advice? My pick from research and reviews would be Sunset.
    Great site.

    1. Dave Post author

      Sunset Hotel is great – I’d go with it. I emailed the owner and he said there were 15 steps from the sidewalk to the hotel and all the rooms. Hope that helps.

  15. jonathan

    Hi Dave, My partner and I are looking for our first visit to Santorini, we are edging towards Kamari. We would ideally love a beach near by, hotel with a pool, plenty of beds in the sun and more importantly quite a few bars and tavernas for eating out on an evening.. We visited Potos in Thassos last year and would love to find a place similar in Santorini… Would you think that Kamari is the right choice? and if so could advise us on hotels?

  16. Steve


    A group of 6 adults will be arriving on Santorini by privat chartered yacht in late June. We are spending two nights at Ampelonas Apartments, in Imerovigli. We were wondering what the best mode of transportation would be? Should we rent 2 cars, 3 ATVs, or take a taxi to the hotel and then rent mopeds? Can you fit luggage for two people onto the ATVs? Can we rent from where our yacht will dock and return at the airport since we will be flying out?

    1. Dave Post author

      The Santorini ATVs will not be able to take much luggage. If you only had backpacks and a small carry on you might be able to manage. But the ATVs will not handle full suitcases. For car rentals it depends where your yacht docks. It could land at the Oia port, at the Fira Skala port, or the ferry port. The ferry port does have car rentals, taxis and buses are available to get to Fira and beyond. The Fira Skala port does not have car rentals. The only way up from the Skala port to Fira is by cable car or a steep foot path (donkey rentals available). There are no car rentals at the Oia port either. It’s situated just below Oia. You can pick up your car rental from the ferry port and return it to the airport, but with most car rental companies there will be a fee unless you have the car for 3 days or more (this varies of course). Having said all that I would take a taxi to your hotel and again to the airport. During your stay I would rent 3 ATVs to get around the island. I hope that helps.

  17. Cecilia

    Hi Dave,

    Considering visiting Santorini (actually debating how long should I stay in Santorini vs Mykonos too)…and wondering if the water is still warm at the end of September.

    1. Dave Post author

      Both Santorini and Mykonos are wonderful islands. Santorini is better for sightseeing, views, boat tours (around the volcano), wineries. Mykonos is better for partying, beach time, and day trips to the ancient site of Delos. Split your time depending on your interests. And yes, the weather is still warm at the end of September on Mykonos and Santorini.

  18. Vidya

    Hi Dave, I have been doing a lot of research on Santorini and stumbled upon your blog! Must say, you have provided really good info.
    So Me, my husband along with another couple are planning to go to Athens and Santorini. Whats the best and the cheaper way to go to Santorini from Athens..Ferry or Flight? Also, We are planning to stay at Astro Palace, Fira! What do you think about the hotel?

    1. Dave Post author

      The Astro Palace (link to hotel) is nice. If you want a pool in Fira it’s a great bargain. Two things you should know about the hotel: 1) It doesn’t have caldera views. The views of the ocean you see on the website are towards the east. You do get to see the sunrise but you can’t in any way see the volcano/caldera. 2) The hotel is a 5 to 8 minute walk from the center of Fira. This is up a moderately steep hill. As long as you’re fine with those 2 caveats it’s a great choice (especially if you want to be close to Fira but need a break from the busyness).

      The cheapest way to Santorini is by ferry. The fastest way to Santorini is by plane. The difference in speed is less pronounced if you’re already in central Athens and need to get back out to the airport to get your flight. In that case the difference in total travel time might be only a few hours. But if you’re already at the airport and don’t have any desire to go into Athens then the difference is likely 5 to 7 hours when you account for getting from the airport to the ferry port. Hope that helps. Good luck.

    1. Dave Post author

      There is a pool open to the public at Lioyerma cafe pool bar in Oia (link here). It’s free but you need to buy drinks and food. It’s not an infinity pool but it does have views. It’s the only pool of its kind on Santorini.

  19. paulo

    Hello David,
    Great site! My wife and I would like to visit Santorini, Milos and Chios in June. Are there flights connecting these islands or is it necessary to make connecting flights in Athens? How would you do it?

    thanks for your help, Paulo

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Paulo. There are no flights between any of those islands but all have flights to and from Athens. I would recommend flying from Athens to Santorini (with Olympic) then ferry to Milos, fly or ferry back to Athens, and then fly to Chios. Chios is a long way from Milos and Santorini so a ferry journey would be a long haul.

      There are usually 3 large car ferries per week from Santorini to Milos. Sometimes there is a Seajet catamaran that runs as well in the high season – but since June is one of the windier months it’s common for it to be canceled due to rough seas. If possible book your flights in advance but wait on booking your ferry tickets until after you arrive on Santorini – it’s much easier in person and ferries won’t sell out in June. Check for ferry schedules but these are unreliable and can change with little notice. Good luck.

  20. Ruth

    Hi Dave – there is so much choice I am struggling to find a hotel for my honeymoon and you seem to be the man in the know! So…. I am looking for a hotel for around £180 – £200 per night, with a nice pool, serving breakfast on the balcony and with a pool bar or social area. Thinking of Aigialos but seem to be too many to look through and I am going round in circle! Help :o)

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Ruth. I’ve just added a few picks to my list of favorite honeymoon hotels. Aigialos is a great choice. Breakfasts are consistently well done at the mid-range and above hotels on Santorini – though not all offer room service to your patio, sometimes you have to grab your plate and return to your room by yourself.

  21. Anna

    Hi Dave, firstly just wanted to say what a great site! Really helpful.

    We are hoping to travel to Santorini in the first week of June for 2 weeks staying at Orion Star,Kamari. Do you think there is enough to do in that time or are there any other islands near that we could do in the second week?

    Ideally we want to do sightseeing, white sandy beaches/warm seas for swimming, walking, watersports/theme parks and good photography locations. Is there much to do/see in Santorini?

    Many thanks.

    1. Dave Post author

      I think Santorini is great for one week but for the 2nd week I would venture out to another island. Santorini has many sites and decent beaches – but it doesn’t have the beautiful sandy beaches you’re probably dreaming about. For the best beaches in Greece that are close to Santorini I would recommend Milos, Naxos, Paros, or Crete.

        1. Dave Post author

          Crete definitely has the most to do. But it’s also much bigger and needs more time to explore – so there’s a trade off. A week should be enough time to take in a good bit of it though.

  22. Daniela

    Hi Dave! My husband and I are planning to got to Europe and specifically Greece the last days of july. We are planning 2 days in Athens (from what I see it should be the last part of the trip) and have 4 more days and would like Santorini. We are in our mid 30′s and are looking for relaxing time, more sunbathing and poolside drinks than anything, although we would still would like to visit the must see spots. Our hotel budget is 150-180 Euros and we would like something romantic, we like drinking but more of a bar (not a night club) and we like eating great food. With that in mind, is our decision for Santorini ok? Do you recommend some other island? What hotels do you recommend? Thank you!

    1. Dave Post author

      Santorini has pretty much everything you’re looking for except “great” beaches. There are good beaches but not the idyllic sandy beaches you’ll find on Milos, Naxos, Paros, Antiparos, or Crete. Many hotels on Santorini have pools (usually on the smallish side) so if you’re happy with that then it’s great. Food, restaurants, a variety of clubs, good sightseeing and day trips – Santorini has all that covered. Hope that helps.

  23. Diana a

    My fiancé and I are planning to go to santorini in our honeymoon on June 2014 I’m a little pit confused what to choose oia or imerovigli ? And if oia which is better canaves oia hotel or katikies hotel ? Thank you in advance

    1. Dave Post author

      Oia is a picturesque little village with many shops and restaurants. Imerovigli is much quieter with just a handful of restaurants. Imerovigli is walking distance to Fira. Oia is a bus ride from Fira. Imerovigli has the best sunsets views on Santorini. In Oia not all hotels will have sunsets views – often it’s a choice between views of the caldera or views of the sunset. In Oia you can walk down to Amoudi and have a dip in the water (though there’s no beach). Imerovigli has no access to the water. Both Canaves and Katikies are great hotels. Can’t go wrong. Hope that helps.

  24. Craig

    Torn between Oia and Imervoglia. We are going next august on our honeymoon and travel agent recommends Canaves and Chromata. Oia appears more quiet, which we are looking for and dont mind being away from the busy part of Fira. Chromata hotel is more expensive and as you said that part of the island offers better views. Any guidance you could give and what the distinction is between them?

    1. Dave Post author

      Both are great. You can’t go wrong. In Imerovigli it’s nice to be an easy walk from Fira. In Oia it’s nice to be able to pop down to Amoudi for a swim and the port-feel of the tavernas. What about splitting your time between the two?

      1. Craig

        Thanks for the advice. We would split, but we are going to spend a couple of days in Athens when we arrive and a few days in naxos then on to santorini. Going to choose Canaves in Oia, but now the option is Canaves Oia and the Canaves Suites. They seem like the same thing. Any insight on the difference between the properties?

        Thanks again

        1. Dave Post author

          Canaves Oia Hotel vs Canaves Oia Suites. These are 3 minutes apart and guests can use the facilities at either site. There is a separate reception, pool, and restaurants at both. The Hotel (Canaves I) is more modern with recently renovated rooms. Other than that the Suites (Canaves II) are nicer in every way. They have a much larger deeper pool, nicer breakfast area, and larger more luxurious suites. They have easier foot access to the town of Oia (the Hotel is down a busy road that lacks sidewalks – it’s just a short distance but not a great setup). The suites are more expensive. Hope that helps.

  25. Jenny

    Hi Dave, your site is so helpful. We’re having our honeymoon in Santorini during mid October – staying in Imerovigli. We’re hiring a car to be able to explore the island fully – would you recommend that by the way?!

    My main question is that as a vegetarian will I find it easy to eat out? Are there usually plenty of options – eg. halloumi, hummus, feta etc?

    Thank you!

    1. Dave Post author

      There’s plenty of vegetarian food to be found in Greece. My favorite dishes (besides souvlaki and gyro) are veg. You won’t have any trouble.

      And yes, renting a car is great. The buses are good but they all go through Fira so coming from Imerovigli you’d have 2 buses to get anywhere (and 2 back). It gets tiring after a day or two.

  26. Linda I.

    Hello Dave,
    Great information! My friend and I are flying from Heraklion to Rhodes 30th September 2013. Should we purchase flights in advance via website or can we wait until we arrive in Heraklion a few days prior to departure? Looked at SkyExpress Airlines so far. Will airfare increase if we wait to buy at Heraklion and is it best to purchase from travel agency there? How long does it take to get through Heraklion security and checkin queues? Thank you in advance!

    1. Dave Post author

      I would purchase them in advance. And get to the Heraklion airport with plenty of time (2 hours at least). For international flights there are 4 queues to negotiate: check in, bags scanned, passport control, and the body scanner. It might be a little different for a domestic flight but still have plenty of time. Good luck.

  27. Patricia

    My husband and i are planning our 1st trip to Santorini towards the end of October. Ideally would like to go earlier, but schedule will not allow. Will a decent portion of restaurants, shops, etc… will still be operating at this time.
    Thanks for any, and all suggestions.

    1. Dave Post author

      By the end of October the beaches will be very quiet with just a few things open. But Fira and Oia will have most of their shops and restaurants open. The cruise ships visit Santorini until mid-November. When they stop that’s when the island really shuts down.

  28. Jenn

    Hi Dave,

    First off, great site! I am heading to Santorini the first week in October and just found your site which i will be spending a lot of time on in the next few weeks. Are you familiar with Rena’s Rooms & Suites in Fira Tiown? We are booked there and its looks great and the reviews are good. Just curious if you know of it?


  29. Siobhan Trelford

    Hi Dave

    Brilliant site!! Thank you for all the info!

    I am off to Santorini for a week at the end of this month and would like to have a lobster meal whilst there with my partner. I don’t want to spend too much (not much more than €50 each) so any recommendations for a reasonable lobster supper with a bit of wow factor?


  30. Marie

    Hi Dave, I have to tell you, this site is fabulous, I keep going back to it for reference. We are planning a family trip with 2 families summer 2014, I and my cousin Toula are Greek but our husbands are Canadian, we both have 18 and 16 year old boys that will be travelling with us. We are all very excited my question is what are some of the better hotels for our kids I am sure they would want to be in the hub and can you tell me if you have a website like this for Mykonos?


  31. Lucy

    Hi Dave, thanks for all the info on this site. So helpful.
    I have one question! What is the mosquito population like on the island. I seem to be very popular with these annoying critters so a heads up about whether I need potions/lotions etc would be greatly appreciated. I am going to be in Santorini late September and staying in the Smaragdi Hotel,but will be visiting all the island.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Dave Post author

      Mosquitoes are not bad on Santorini. They do exist (along with noseeuhms) but are rarely a problem even for those most prone to bites. I would still take repellent.

  32. Tiffany

    I am going on my honeymoon in April and was considering staying at Voreina Gallery Suites for the pool. Will it be too cold to swim in the pool or swim in the ocean? I was considering delaying the honeymoon a month so the weather would be a bit warmer.

    Also, what is the best way to get to Santorini from the States? We were considering booking our flight to Athens now and staying there for a night and then taking a quick flight or ferry to Santorini.

    1. Dave Post author

      I believe the private pools at Voreina are heated so you’ll be able to swim there. But you won’t be swimming at the beach in April. The water can still be quite cool in May making swimming a challenge. By June you should be fine going in the water.

      And yes, flying through Athens (if you’re interested in Athens) is the most common route to Santorini from the US. If you weren’t interested in Athens you could fly to a Western European city and then take a charter flight from there directly to Santorini.

  33. Jay

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for taking the time to put the site together and bring information across for us all to enjoy about santorini.

    I am looking at planning a last minute trip within next few weeks and was wondering if you knew best way to try get hold of a last minute deal staying for 5 nights at one of the nicer locations?

    If we are able to get to Mykonos for a day trip that would be great or even if there are ways to set up santorini for 3 nights and Mykonos for 3 nights to stay at both?

    Your advice would be greatly appreciated. It is for a young couple looking to take in the islands and hopefully warm weather at this time.

  34. Lee Wai Sim

    Hi Dave,

    We have booked Caldera Butterfly Villa from 22Oct -26Oct. Would like to know which is the best way to reach this hotel from airport around 2030pm on 22 Oct and go to airport on 26 Oct for 0700am flight? We have 11 person in total.

    Is the local bus able to bring us there? How much will be the taxi fare? Any surcharge for midnight like 5am? Do we required to book any transfer in advance and what will be the acceptable rate ?



    1. Dave Post author

      Buses from the airport are infrequent. There can be a late night one (but not always). For a group of 11, unless your hotel offers airport transfers, I would prebook a taxi van.

  35. Amira

    Hi Dave,

    If my husband and I are willing to visit Athens & Santorini in September, will the weather to be fine? will we be able to swim?
    I also wanted to check if both will be dead during that time or lively and crowded.

    Thank you
    Amira Omar

  36. Barry

    Hi Dave,

    Great website!

    I’m a photographer going to Santorini in mid-October for 5 days. I want to find the best vantage points to take photos of the architecture during sunset, rather than taking photos of the sunset itself. I’m assuming Oia has the best picture postcard type buildings?

    Should I be staying in Fira, Oia or splitting my time between the two (or somewhere else)?

    Note I will not be renting a car.


  37. Jennifer Martin

    Hi Dave,

    First off I absolutely LOVE your website. We are travelling to Santorini on a cruise and there are 7 of us. We would like to do lunch at a local “typically greek” restaurant but the most important thing to us is the view. A few people in our party arenot very adventurous when it comes to food so looking for something fairly basic/reasonably priced but great view. greek salad/souvlaki/hummus that type of thing. What would be your recommendation and do you suggest making a reservation before arriving on the cruise ship.

    1. Dave Post author

      Personally I wouldn’t make a reservation. If it were dinner during August that might be different but lunch shouldn’t be a problem. Walk around until you find something you can agree on. In Fira and Oia you can easily walk between a large number of restaurants in just a few minutes.

  38. kshitij

    Hi Dave

    me and my partner wants to go to santorinin in November end.
    We need a very nice accommodation with private heated pool or something similar and our budget is like 170-200 euro.
    we need a good accommodation but something reliabke and secure.
    Also I am confused where to stay in santorini like fira imo oia etc..
    we need a place where we can use a nightclub once and good to move around in a month of November.
    please do get back on

    1. Dave Post author

      If you want easy access to nightclubs then you’ll have to choose Fira. Imerovigli and Oia don’t have much nightlife.

  39. Catherine Pearce

    Hi Dave. We aretravelling to Santorini early October staying at Volcano View Hotel cliff side sea view room. I really want a great view of the Caldera and sunset etc from our balcony. Will this be ok. Thankyou

    1. Dave Post author

      I can’t speak to your specific room but this hotel does have great views of the caldera. Note: It’s a little outside of Fira so you’ll be taking a taxi or the hotel shuttle every time you go into town.

  40. Wafik

    My ferry will arrive at 0:30, i will need a taxi to Thira. Would i find a taxi easily at this late time, or i should try to book one earlier. Around how much will it cost.

  41. Theresa Nuy

    I’m planning to leave Bodrum on Sept 8 (sun) to either Kos or Rhodes. I’m meeting 2 friends in Santorini on that day. They are coming to Santorini from Athens. This is our first time in Greece. could you give me a suggestion on best way for me to get to Santorini?

    1. Dave Post author

      There should be ferries with Anek (2 times per week) and Blue Star (3 times per week) from Rhodes to Santorini. It will take a good day of travel (probably overnight) to get from Rhodes to Santorini.

  42. Kacy

    Hi Dave
    My husband and I are staying in Kamari Beach for 2 and half days. We are looking for advice on if our itinerary is good enough to see all the best things in Santorini. I regret not booking a hotel in Oia now but its too late so we will have to make do with the best of what we have. So we arrive in Athens on Day 1 at 3pm. We get out ferry tickets at the airport and go to the hotel.(Is this the best way to get them?) We have Day 2 to explore Athens. Day 3 we board the ferry and go to Santorini and reach at noon. We then go to Kamari. (Do you know best way to get there from the port in Fira?)

    So basically in Santorini we have rest of day 3, a full day 4 and a full day 5. Im thinking, on day 3 we relax at the Beach and explore Kamari, eat dinner there? (Do you know a recommended restaurant there?)

    The next day we will be taking a sunset cruise (snorkeling, and hot springs included) for 5 hours. We eat dinner at the cruise. I dont know if the cruise is the best way to see the sunset or if we should climb the cliffs of the Oia sunset spot to do this? Which do you recommend? Also we do not know what to do until the cruise which starts 3.5 hours before sunset? Do you have suggestions?

    The last day we thought we would do this bustour which ends at 5pm…

    So you see I dont know when we can squeeze in walking around OIA and watching the sunset from the Cliffs and having dinner there??…:( Or when we can see Fira city a little and maybe go out for drinks and some snacks in Fira??

    I would absolutely love it if you could recommend us what we should actually do day to day and if/how our itinerary should change according to your opinion!! Thank you!!!

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Kacy.

      To get to Kamari from the port there will be a bus waiting as your ferry arrives. It will take you to Fira. From there you’ll get a bus to Kamari. There are sometimes taxis waiting for ferry passengers but not always and sometimes they can be grabbed up quickly. But there is alway a bus so don’t worry.

      It sounds like you’ll have time to walk around Oia and Fira on day 4 and day 5. You don’t necessarily need a lot of time – a few hours should suffice. My only hesitation on the bus tour is the time spent at Perivolos beach (why do you need a tour to go to the beach?) which seems like a waste of precious time. Other than that sounds great. As for sunsets hard to know where the boat will drop anchor so can’t comment on the view (though I’d assume they’ll pick a good spot). Note: Imerovigli has the best sunsets on Santorini.

      Hope that helps.

  43. Marlene

    Hi Dave. Thanks for your great information. What hotel suggestions do you have in Santorini for a small group of single professional women – early 30′s. So many hotels seem geared to honeymooners. Any place better for single men and women ?

    1. Dave Post author

      I would stay in Fira but other than that its hard to say as a lot depends on the crowd you’ll find at any specific hotel when you visit.

  44. Cecily

    Hi Dave, love your site so much AND it is very detailed.

    Do you know whether the ferry price is same from what i check from internet (around 37 euros) or buy it on the day (from athens to santorini), i would think on the day price will be expensiver than buy in advance….
    **Deck price means no seat with blowing wind on the boat?

    Two of us going to attend my Best friend wedding in santorini, wedding day on 23/9, we have holidays from 20-28/9 and traveling from uk. I am still checking how to get to santorini cheaply. I never been to any places in Euro, would you recommend any places where can explore a bit and can reach to santorini cheaply?

    Also, apart from beaches/swimming, what else can do on those islands?
    many thanks

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Marlene. The price of ferry tickets does not increase (or decrease) depending on when you book them. The prices are set by the government and do not change. Booking agencies (for example, travel agents at the Athen’s airport) will charge a fee – however this can be worth it if you’re short on time.

      There are a bunch of great islands that are in between Athens and Santorini and thus are a good way to break the trip to Santorini in two. Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, and Milos are great choices but pretty much every Cycladic island has its merits. I highly recommend seeing at least one other island in the Cyclades.

      Hiking, boat tours, exploring smaller villages, visiting a winery are some of the best things to do besides hitting the beach.

      Hope that helps.

      1. Cecily

        Hi Dave
        Thanks for reply!

        Would you say Corfu worth to go? And is the only way to go santorini from Corfu is taking flight to Athens first and then ferry to santorini?

        Would you say the local bus reliable on time?
        Many thanks

        1. Dave Post author

          I love Corfu. A beautiful island with lots to see. There are some very touristy spots but get away from them – or go inland – and you’ll love it. Pelekas is a great little town perched on a cliff over a couple nice beaches. Highly recommended. As for getting there, yes, flying is the quickest and easiest. There are no direct flights from Corfu to Santorini so it takes two flights, Corfu to Athens, then Athens to Santorini. They’re both short flights. You can also take the bus from Corfu to Athens (then fly or ferry from there to Santorini). The interior of Greece through which the bus travels is stunningly beautiful. The area around the Meteora is one of the highlights of Greece. (Amazing photos of the Meteora.)

          Buses in Greece are reliable (and enjoyable) but not necessarily on time.

          Good luck.

  45. Jackie

    Hi Dave
    Arriving 31 Aug, last minute honeymoon! We are after 5 nights on the Caldera with a sunset view and a decent sized balcony with sunloungers so we can be alone and enjoy the sunbathing and sunsets in comfort. Would also like a kichenette. Please can you help?

    Oh we have a budget of around £200 per night.

  46. Alan Bakahos


    Thanks for putting together such a great website–TONS of helpful information. However, after reading your website I am having huge regrets. I was choosing between San Antonio and Chromata, and ultimately went with San Antonio. Have you heard anything about this hotel? Can you get a nice view of the sunset from there?

    Thank you so much in advance.

    Warm regards,

    1. Dave Post author

      The views are incredible from the San Antonio. My only concern is the location – it’s a good walk to either Imerovigli or Oia fraom the SAS so you’ll likely need a rental car. But if you’re fine with that then it’s a great hotel. Cheers.

  47. Dorte Gjerlov

    dear dave,..thanks alot for making this web,..its so great.

    my name is dorte, im from denmark and an artist.
    i would like to make a small gallery in santorini, and live there,- all this about a year from now.
    i cant seem to find anything about renting shops or a room for all year. its all for turistes or still turistpricy for long renting.
    do you know any sites, neewpapers or companies, where i can find anything about this. altso the best for me would be to have a small shop towards the street and then live in the back. but someone told me thats it ilegal?
    ill come down soon,- sept or okt.- to research, but it could be so nice to know who to speak with or what to do in advance,…i can only stay for about 10 dayes.

    cheers and goods speed to you from dorte

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Dorte. That sounds like something you’ll need to do in person and I doubt you’ll find much info in advance. You’ll need to walk and talk and knock on doors and pop your head into every little shop – and just keep asking people until you find something that works. I doubt there’s any easy way to get a rental over the internet in advance. One idea would be to post on the Santorini Tripadvisor forum asking if anyone has seen rental notices around the island – but I wouldn’t get your hopes too high. Good luck.

      1. Dorte Gjerlov

        thanks so much for your answer,..i was afraid you would say so,..well i found some pages with renting and houses also shops as well,.. but they don’t seem to be updated a lot. so i’m sure you’re are right about it all.
        anyway i’m aware its a longer process.
        and i’m in fact looking foreward to it.
        big hugs from denmark

  48. Riks

    Hi. We are a family of 5 including a 6 month old baby. Planning to visit Athens and Santorini end of September. My first question is am I crazy thinking of bringing an infant to Santorini? Will there be baby food there? Will the ferry be suitable for infant?

    Next, where do you recommend we stay? My 2 older kids are seasoned travelers. They love the outdoors.


    1. Dave Post author

      Yes, there is baby food on Santorini. The high speed catamarans can be rough (when the sea is rough) so consider going on the car ferry with Blue Star. This is a large conventional ferry with a smooth ride. If you have two active kids probably best to stay at one of the beaches: Kamari, Perivolos, or Perissa.

  49. Emma

    My friend and I are in our young 20′s and are going to santorini for 2 days. I’m trying to decide between oia and fira to stay. Also what is your best option to get from Mykonos to santorini? We are on a budget but will splurge to see everything we can. So what are the top things to do in santorini?

    1. Dave Post author

      I’m guessing that you’ll like Fira better than Oia – more nightlife and young people. Here’s the schedule and pricing for the catamaran that goes from Santorini to Mykonos. For things to do I’d probably tour Akrotiri (closed Mondays), visit a winery, and take a boat to Thirassia (the smaller the tour the better). Good luck.

  50. Suchit Puri

    Hi Dave , thanks for such an informative and comprehensive information on santorini , its the best out there.

    Me and my girlfriend are planning to visit santorini in early november for honeymoon.

    Can you please let me know if things(ferries , hotels ) will be open during that time or should we reconsider santorini as an option.

    1. Dave Post author

      There should be plenty of activity in early November. Yes, it will be much slower than in the summer – or even September or October – but there will still be restaurants and hotels open. There will be at least one ferry a day from Athens to Santorini in November (with stops in Paros and Naxos). It makes the same route when returning to Athens. There are usually 2 ferries a week between Crete and Santorini in winter though this can vary. The catamarans between the Cyclades do stop running from November to April so there will not be a direct route to Mykonos from Santorini. Santorini (and Crete) are the busiest islands during the off season so unless you’re thinking of a different country then one of these islands should be your destination. I hope that helps.

  51. Rick

    You kindly answered a couple of questions on another section of your kid greece website. To refresh, my family — wife, four kids 9ages 4, 5, 10, 12), and i — will be in Greece for two weeks August 2014. We’ll be in both Santorini and Mykonos for a few days each. Seems like SO many options for towns, area, etc. of both islands. If it was YOU and YOUR FAMILY, in what areas on each respective island would you stay? For price, we’re in the middle: not looking for five-star luxe, but not budget either. Our kids are good travelers and enjoy swimming and sightseeing. Thanks kindly, Rick

    1. Dave Post author

      In Mykonos with kids I would stay in Mykonos Town. It has a fun vibe, good connections to the beaches, a playground, and some pelicans wandering about. (The best beach on Mykonos for kids is Ornos.) Mykonos Town is also where the boats leave for Delos (one of the best attractions in the Cyclades for Greek history and ruins) which makes it convenient.

      On Santorini it’s really a choice between the towns on the caldera and the beaches. Which do you want to experience? For the towns Fira has the most to do and is closest to the beaches. If you want to stay on the beaches (which have a more family vibe) then Kamari or Perissa are the best choices.

      Hope that helps, good luck.

  52. JoHay

    Hello Dave,

    Just wondering if there are any rock and roll bars here. I hear Ios has an alternative rock scene. Would it be worth going over for the night? How much is a ferry and is it pretty much the same as Santorini?

    1. Dave Post author

      On most days there are 4 to 5 ferries going between from Santorini to Ios (in summer). They’ll cost between 8 and 15 euros and the trip takes an hour on a slow ferry and 35 minutes on a highspeed catamaran.

      Ios is very different than Santorini. A younger crowd with more partying and dance clubs. Good list of the dj and music scene in Ios here. (The beaches are much better in Ios than Santorini too – Mylopotas is one of my favorite beaches in Greece).

      Good luck.

  53. tanya

    My husband and I are planning our honeymoon to Turkey/Greece from Sept 13-28 2013. I have already booked hotesl for Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Athens. The last two places I need to plan for are Santorini and Crete. We will have 2 nights in Athen and are planning 2-3 nights in Santorini and 2-3 nights in Crete. I am overwhelmed with the number of hotels and different cities to visit. We would like this part of our trip to be relaxing. We don’t need 5star hotesl and don’t need clubbing/nightclubs…do you have recommendations how to spend the last part of our trip? blue lagoon and samaria gorge were things we might be interested in in crete. also someone told me there are no ferrys from santorini to crete on Sep 24, Tuesday…do you know if this is true? thanks!

    1. Dave Post author

      There should be a CAT5 on Hellenic Seaways leaving Santorini at 17:55 and getting into Heraklion at 19:30 (though you won’t know for sure until a few weeks before your travel date). I’d recommend Chania on Crete as a place to explore the rest of the island and do the Samaria Gorge. Crete’s best beaches are in the west and south and Chania is a good place to get to some of the better ones.

  54. Sonali D

    Hi Dave – We, a group of 20 – including kids are planning to visit Santorini in March. Flying in from Istanbul. What would be your advise?

  55. Ash

    We are planning to visit Santorini from Athens on 2 day Ferry trip by Key Tours on September 13, 2013. Arriving around 3 PM. Are their any group bus tours available that can take us to key sites. We are staying overnight and leaving next morning. Private tour seem expensive for 2 persons.

    1. Dave Post author

      There is a sunset and volcano tour that starts in the evening. Captain Ted has a sunset tour that is highly regarded: There are many others too. If you want to tour the island in the evening I think your only practical choice is a private tour – but, of course, many attractions will be closed after 5pm.

  56. Bob

    Hi Dave,

    My wife and I wish to visit Santorini, however the only time we are available for travel is on the first half of November. I read that it’s not the best time to go as most tourist establishments and ferries would be closed, not to mention that the weather will be typically cold and rainy by then. But if my purpose is just to sightsee and not to swim, dive or sail, do you think it would still be worthwhile to come over? Or better not press my luck at all?



    1. Dave Post author

      I have been in November and loved it. The weather can still be sunny and warm (though the nights will be very cool). Hotel rates are much lower too. Yes, you could get some truly lousy weather but as long as your expectations are in check then chances are you’ll have a great visit. The beaches will definitely be off the itinerary and don’t bother getting a hotel with a pool as most are not heated and thus very cool outside of summer. Some restaurants will be closed but the island isn’t “dead” by any means. Hope that helps.

  57. Sam

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for all the information above. Very helpful.
    My friend and I are planning to go to Santorini in early September and am not sure if 3 day is enough or shall we add another full day! We are staying in Imerovigli.
    The activities that we are interested in doing is walk around/explore Oia and watch the sunset, walk around Fira and Imerovigli, go the Red Beach and Black beach and do a caldera/volcano boat trip. But mainly we want to relax sitting by the pool or the balcony and enjoy the views.
    Do you think we do all this in 3 days or 4 days is a must?

    (After Santorini we are in Mykonos for 2 days and Athens for half a day).

    Thanks ,


    1. Dave Post author

      It sounds like you’re really into Santorini and excited for your trip so I’m tempted to say do the fourth day there. I doubt you’ll regret it. There’s much more to see in Santorini than in Mykonos. I wish you had more time in Athens as it’s a great place with lots of must-see attractions. (It’s very urban and rough around the edges and thus many people hate it – but I love it. If you like history, ruins, and museums it’s the top stop in Greece.) Good luck.

  58. cole

    We are taking our family of 4 teenagers and my husband and I to Santorini on a cruise. We arrive at 2pm and depart at 10pm – we have a tour guide who is offering a 5 hr tour for 400Euro’s – does this sound reasonable? Your recommendations on what to do/see would be helpful. Thanks

    1. Dave Post author

      Yes, the price sounds reasonable assuming that it’s a private tour. I imagine he has an itinerary planned so ask where it’s going and what will be included.

  59. islam

    Hi Dave,
    very very helpful site…
    i am traveling to Greece on my honeymoon and planning to visit Crete and Santorini. Which island do I start with (Crete or santorini)? and where do I stay in santorini?, we are coming in August and planning for a 12 days stay total in the Greek islands.


    1. Dave Post author

      There’s no good reasons to visit either Santorini or Crete first. So look at the direct flights to both islands and let the schedule and availability determine your itinerary. As for where to stay take a look at the FAQ above. Good luck.

  60. Steve

    Hi Dave,

    Love the site.

    Thinking of going for a week at the end of October to Fira. Will the weather still be warm and will there be enough restaurants and bars open?



    1. Dave Post author

      There will be plenty of restaurants and bars open but the weather could be chilly. Some years it’s still beach weather at the end of October and some years fall has definitely taken hold.

  61. Bridget

    Hi Dave! Our cruise ship is stopping in Santorini in July. If we take a donkey ride, should we pre-arrange it?

    1. Dave Post author

      You should be fine without pre-arranging (though your ship might have specific info). Be aware many people (locals and fellow travelers) are very opposed to the donkey rides, equating it with animal abuse. So be prepared for some dirty looks. There’s a cable car up and down the hill right by where the tender drops you on the shore so the donkeys are not the only option. Be sure to return early for the returning cable car ride as the line grows very long when there are ships in port.

  62. Alan

    Hi Dave,
    Have found this site incredibly helpful. As such I have booked accommodation this coming summer in Santorini. Something that I am very much looking forward to. I have accommodation booked in a lovely hotel, Summertime, have organised a lovely apartment.
    I was wondering if 100 – 120 a day for a couple is enough of a budget during the first week of August. We would prefer to get a feel for the island and local scene more-so than the touristy side of things. Could you give any advice on some very good local restaurants with the real Greek feel and ambiance?

    1. Dave Post author

      Not sure if you’re quoting $ or Euros but in either case it’s a doable budget (assuming that it doesn’t include your hotel).

      I added your question about non-touristy restaurants to the FAQ. Thanks for input.

  63. Georgie

    Hi Dave. Thanks for all the helpful recommendations! A group of 8 friends are considering Santorini for 4-5 nights August of next year (2014). We are in our 30s and looking for accommodation options to accommodate a group – a large villa or home. Preferably somewhere with a swimming pool and kitchen, lounge etc. Can you recommend where I could find this type of accommo?? Thanks in advance.

  64. Caroline

    Hi Dave

    Very helpful site – thank you. Just wanting to double check on your comment re driving and Greek Law requiring an IDP. The gov.UK site* indicates this isn’t necessary if you are in the EU, but do you think we should still get one? We are coming from the UK & may want to hire a car or scooter.

    1. David

      You’re right Caroline. If you have an EU drivers license you’re able to rent a car legally and without any problem. I guess I was writing from a Canadian/American perspective. I’ll go back and update that section now. Thanks for pointing it out. Cheers.

  65. Derick

    Dave, I have seen you mention the nightclub scene numerous times, I am a bit concerned with my packing list now! I had intended to only bring shorts, light khaki pants and T-shirts (late June trip), can you tell me what the dress code/standard for the night life in Fira is like?

    1. Dave Post author

      That sounds fine. I don’t know of any restaurant or club on Santorini that has a dress code. Pretty much anything goes on the beaches and it’s very casual. At the nicer places in Oia and Fira there will be some people who are dressed up at night but you’ll still see everything from beach wear on up to trendy.

  66. Shaz

    Hi Dave,

    Awesome site – thanks so much!

    Husband and I are hoping to visit in either June or September.

    We would ideally like to hire a small, high quality/high spec villa with a private pool in a quiet part of the island.

    Our main aim during the day is to relax in the sun, swim and chill in beautiful surroundings.

    We don’t want noisy nightlife but would like to be able to walk to nice restaurants/bars in the evening.

    Where would you suggest and can you recommend villas?

    Best regards,


  67. Lynda

    Hi Dave…we are heading to santorini in September. I am trying to decide between staying at the beach in perissa or in imerovigli or Oia for the view. Budget is not a concern, we are only there 3 nites and I had already decided to find luxury accomodations and enjoy it. My dilemma in finding a place to stay in Imerovigli or Oia is that I don’t think I can stay in a cave room as I am claustrophobic and I can’t have too many stairs for my husband, which is why I was leaning towards the beach in perissa but there really is not a luxury hotel that I can find there which i really wanted for this part of our vacation. Can you recommend a few places where we would have the view but not a cave room and not too many stairs. Alternatively what would be your recommendation at the beach.

    If you could give me a few suggestions that would be wonderful, i can tell by your website that you definately are the go to man for santorini info, fabulous website by the way, I am loving all the info


      1. Lynda

        I am actually looking at smaragdi in perissa, looks like its about the closest to the beach with sea view rooms, but the veggera looks good as well, thanks for the tips, appreciate it

  68. manda

    Dave, your blog is really useful and amazing!!

    I want to ask your suggestion if I have a plan to go Santorini from Italy. Do you have the cheapest way? I just have 3 day, from 14 at mite to17 june in the morning.

    Thank youu

    1. Dave Post author

      Meridiana Air has direct flights from Italy to Santorini. The schedule changes often but Milan, Bologna, Rome, Verona, and Naples are usually served. Hope that helps.

  69. Dalia

    Hello Dave, great job , this website is great! A friend of mine and I are planning to be in Santorini in july, we’re 20 years old. Do you think that Perissa could be a good compromise , given that we would like to enjoy the beach and the nightlife? Or would you choose somewhere else ? Thank you very much.

    1. Dave Post author

      Perissa is a good choice for night life and beach. I’m somewhat partial to staying in Fira, commuting to the beach through the day, and then being back in Fira for dinner, sunset, partying – it sort of feels like you’ve left the beach behind, showered and dressed up, and now you’re in the town. But Fira’s hotels are more expensive too, so if you’re on a budget Perissa is the way to go.

  70. wilfreda jo u villamayor

    hi,this is gonna be my third visit to the island through a cruise line but normally lm with my family of 5,this Oct lm going back again with friends and there are 24 of us:(. l dont like the ship excursion as its too customed and pricey,can you recommend a coach rental with a guide? thanks so much,appreciate your help:)…wilfreda

  71. Trinny

    HI Dave-Thanks for this great site-My husband and I are taking our(2 year overdue) honeymoon to Greece. Would love some advice.

    We have our tickets booked in Mid June. We will get into Athens on June 12-We have gone back and forth about whether to spend 7 nights in Santorini and 3 nights in Athens at the end of the trip ~ or 2 nights in Athens then go to Santorini for 5 nights and then come back to Athens for 3 nights. We tentatively have plans for 3 nights at Heliotops in imerovigli and 4 nights and Nostos Apt. in Oia and then come back to Athens for 3 nights.

    We also are going back and forth about weather to take a Ferry-The thought of taking a FERRY directly after 16 hours of FLYING does not sound too smart for us, but THE idea of the FERRY in general sounds very nice-I would love to come into Santorini that way. So that is why we may consider Athens for a two days -We would definitely fly back from Santorini to Athens. Money is not a huge consideration on the trip.

    Our thought of staying 7 days in Santorini sounded very nice-but now I am a little worried that we may not have enough to do there? Also not sure how many days is right to stay in Athens.

    Oh one other pretty big details is I can not eat any gluten so many restaurants may be out – we booked hotels that had kitchennettes so we could cook a lot? Any ideas of what kind of foods we would find in the markets at Santorini-ANY suggestions of where to look online to see-what kind of food I can prepare.

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Trinny.

      The highlights of Athens can be visited in one full day but could easily fill 3 days. There are several great islands between Santorini and Athens (Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Milos, and Folegandros are all wonderful) if you wanted to break up your ferry trip. I would probably recommend splitting those 7 days between 2 islands and seeing something a little different. The other island also have nicer beaches than Santorini so if some beach time is a priority then the islands mentioned above would be perfect.

      Your question about gluten free eating on Santorini is a great one so I added it the faq above:

      Hope that helps.


      1. Trinny

        Thanks Dave, -Will the stores on Santorini sell ground beef, chicken broth, rice, potatoes. I know this might seem strange-But I am trying to not be caught off guard. Thanks for your great advice -we might look into going to one of the other islands. Which is your favorite? Is there one halfway between Athens and Santorini?

        1. Dave Post author

          Yes, no problem with most/all of those ingredients. My favorite island in the Cyclades is probably Naxos – though all are great and you can’t really go wrong. Good luck.

      2. Trinny

        So does this plan seem like too much to squeeze in:-Two nights in Athens and One night in Naxos and 4 nights in Santorini and then back to Athens for the last few days.Getting to Athens is going to have us pretty jet legged that first day(we transfer flights a bunch of times and will be traveling for many hours-so we figure we will need the extra day in Athens just to get our bearings.) Is it silly to go to Naxos for two days and one night? Or worth it? We like the idea of breaking up the ferry ride so we are not going for 8+ hours on one day! We are sure we want to arrive Santorini by Ferry.

        1. Dave Post author

          That sounds fine. One night is not a lot, of course, but the town is small and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can get a sense of it, and feel like you’ve “seen” Naxos – though you’d have to go some to get out and around the island with so little time.

  72. dom

    Hi Dave,

    I have a question i was looking at Dream Island Hotel
    Fira Santorini, and they say its on the east side of the island, but if i google map it , it seems like its on the west side? It seems to be more inland aka i guess more east then some other hotels, but still seems like it is on the west side of the island in general. do you know anything about this hotel?

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi dom.

      If you look at this map of Dream Island Hotel you’ll see it’s located a short walk back from the edge of the caldera in the center of Fira.

      Maps of Santorini can be a little deceiving because that western edge of green (as shown on the map) makes it appear that there’s land between Fira and the sea. While in reality that’s a cliff that precipitously drops to the sea and the port below. So, you’re right it’s not right on the edge of the caldera, but it’s within Fira – and the caldera is just a minute or two walk away. However the views from Dream Island are almost entirely to the east – so you’ll see sunrises (not sunsets) and the Santorini countryside with good views of the ocean. It’s still a very nice view and there’s a beautiful blue and white Santorini church in view too. (I stayed in a room just off that church on my first or second trip to Santorini back in the ’90s.) I’m actually very fond of those views off to the east.

      Hope that helps.

  73. Selene

    Hi Dave,my husband and i are planning to go to Santorini in Sept for 4 days,i wanted to know,if it was ok for him,as he underwent a big heart op a few months ago,as i heard that there are lots of stairs to climb before reaching the various hotels.pls give e some info..
    thank you.

    1. Dave Post author

      There are a lot of steps but I think if you tried you could avoid doing too many and still enjoy the island – though I suppose it depends on how many is too many. Most hotels do have a lot of steps.

      A good hotel that is close to shops and restaurants but doesn’t have many steps to get into town is the Atlantis.

  74. Michelle Mussafi

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for this awesome site!! This is soooo helpful.

    My fiance and I are coming to Santorini for the last week in May and would like to stay in Oia. We are looking for a (cave) room with a private balcony with caldera views and ideally a jacuzzi. Our price range is 225 – 390 euros/night (or $300-$500).

    What hotels would you recommend?

    Thank you,

  75. Claris

    Hi Dave
    Well, you have become such a help to us, you are a hero to us :)
    I love your site, so helpful, I have a question for you
    which hotel whould you recommend
    Canaves or Andronis luxury hotel?
    It seems like Andronis has private balconies, and Canaves does not
    so sorry if I am bothering you, also do you have any recomendation for mykonos?
    thank you so much

    1. Dave Post author

      Both Andronis and Canaves are great – really – so don’t sweat it. Andronis would be better if you’re a family as their “apartments” can easily sleep five.

  76. elena

    Hi Dave,

    I want to ask some questions- Which is better to book a hotel on the beach I mean in Perivolos or is better in the main town Fira?
    How long does it take to get from hotels which are on the beach to the main attractions? Is there some kind of public transport to use not to rent a car?
    If you know more useful tips please write.

    All you best,

    1. Dave Post author

      Perivolos and the beaches have cheaper hotels than Fira and Oia. Restaurants tend to be cheaper and less formal at the beaches. Restaurants in Oia and Fira will be trendier and more expensive (though there are exceptions). It takes about 30 minutes to get from the beaches to Fira. Fira is the hub of the island so you’ll need to switch buses there to get to other places, eg. Oia. The bus is cheap, reliable, and will get you almost everywhere though it does require walking for a few of the sites in the south of the island.

      1. elena

        Thank you Dave for your advice, just one more thing. In your opinion it is better to stay at Perivolos or at Perissa and from there to use the buses every night to go for walk in the center of Santorini or reverse version to stay in Fira and during the day to go for walk to explore the rest of the island.Is there a nightlife and movement , and things to do in the evenings in resorts or it is just in Fira?

        1. Dave Post author

          Fira has the most nightlife – louder and more clubby – of any town on Santorini. Perissa is quieter but still plenty of nightlife, tavernas, bars. Perivolos is quieter still. Kamari is another good choice if you’re looking for something a bit more lively at night. It has a pedestrian zone that’s nice for a nighttime stroll. There’s also an outdoor cinema – which are common in the towns of mainland Greece and so much fun. As for whether to stay at the beach or in Fira, it comes down to which you’re more interested in, as you likely won’t make the bus trip every day and you’ll spend the majority of your time where ever your hotel is.

          Hope that helps.

  77. Josh

    Hi Dave,

    Great website, very helpful information, thank you! My bride-to-be and I will be coming to Santorini at the beginning of June for our honeymoon, staying in Firostefani at Sunrocks Hotel for a week. I’ve got a few questions for you:

    1.) What are some good restaurants to try that are reasonably priced, not too cheap and not too expensive? While a view would be nice sometimes, it’s not essential. Also, do the restaurant staff usually speak and understand English well? How tough are the language barriers on the island, overall?

    2.) Do you have any suggestions for good guide books while we’re on the island? Your website is excellent, but it would be nice to have something to refer to while we’re on the island.

    Thanks for your help and for your outstanding website!

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Josh.

      1) English is widely spoken among hotel and restaurant staff and there is very little language barrier in the main towns. Check out Simos Taverna. Santorini does not have many cheap restaurants.

      2) The Blue Guides are excellent for detailed info about the islands. You can purchase just the one chapter on Santorini on the Kindle version: Santorini and Therasia.

  78. Mary

    Dave – trying to plan first ever trip to Greece – very excited. My friend and I will have about 4 days before we leave on a cruise. We thought 1 day Athens, 1 day Mykonos and then 2 days Santorini. Here’s what we thought: fly to Athens, then fly to Mykonos. Then: should we fly or take a ferry to Santorini? How long is the ferry and is it reliable? What town is the best to stay in (we’re sorta middle-aged) Fira or Oia? and we like to sight see – want to see all the sites and views – one of us in an amateur photographer. Where to get the best sunset photos? Thanks

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Mary. It’s sounds like a nice plan but I’d make a few suggestions.

      1. Visit Athens at the end of your trip. (I’m assuming you’ll be flying home from Athens.) Ferries can be cancelled for any reason (but usually due to high winds) so if you leave your day in Athens until the end and your ferry is cancelled for a day then you’ll still be fine catching your flight.

      2. Fly to Santorini as it’s a farther trip than to Mykonos. Then take the ferry to Mykonos. There should be at least one every day in high season. It takes about 2.5 hours from Santorini to Mykonos. On Santorini Fira is the most central place to stay to see the sights. Oia is a little more picturesque but not by much. Firostefani and Imerovigli have the best sunsets on Santorini – though Oia and Fira are fine too.

      3. If you’re into sightseeing you’ll likely enjoy Paros more than Mykonos. Paros has great small towns (in the mountains and along the coast) and the Church of 100 Doors. It’s closer to Santorini than Mykonos and has good ferry connections to it and Athens.

      Hope that helps.

  79. karina

    Hi Dave, We plan to visit in mid-April w our 3 boys 5-14yo. They’re active and will likely wade and play in the sand. Where would you recommend staying for a good view, but still good food? If we don’t stay in Fira, how long of a potential drive would it be to get closer to other entertainment for them? Thx!

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Karina. You can either have the beach or the views but you can’t have both. The views of the caldera are on the west side of the island in towns like Fira, Oia, and Imerovigli. The beaches are on the south and southeast side of the island. I’m sure your kids would prefer the beach. It’s about 20 or 25 minutes by bus from Fira to the beaches of Kamari and Perissa (the two most popular ones). It’s farther still to Oia as all buses go through Fira. Stay at the beach then do day trips into the towns in the early morning (before it’s hot and the cruise ships have arrived) or in the late afternoon (many cruise passengers will depart the island around 3pm or 4pm).

      Hope that helps,

  80. janna

    Great website Dave. We are a family of 5 with daughters aged 12, 10, and 6. We would like to go to Oia, Santorini for a few nights in late June. I saw your recos regarding family hotels. Would you have any recos for luxury family hotels that are located on the cliffs with a view of the caldera, a large infinity pool, and family friendly? (We don’t love the black sand beaches & stair climbing does not intimidate us.) So many of the luxury hotels are set up for honeymooners and so we don’t want to be someplace where we won’t feel comfortable or wanted. We also have the never-ending challenge of find accommodations for 5. We would appreciate any leads on hotels. Thank you so much!

  81. Diane

    Thanks, Dave. Information very much appreciated. Can you tell us if there is a form of transport which runs directly from Scala to Oia please, or Scala to Fira.

    1. Dave Post author

      From Skala to Fira there is cable car or donkey – or walking. You’d need to go up to Fira to catch the bus or a taxi to Oia. It’s possible there is a boat directly from Skala to Ammoudi Bay but these things change all the time so you’ll just have to see if that service is running when you arrive. Good luck.

  82. diane hill

    Hi Dave We are 2 older woman, who will be on a cruise next May and would like your advice on how to spend our day on Santorina . After reading about the problems of the crowd and the access to Fira , we wonder if we should or could hire a car at the port Athinios? If so , in what places should we leave the car and walk?We are keen to take a swim along the way if possible, but not essential.

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Diane. I doubt you’ll be landing at Athinios. Most cruise ships anchor away from shore and a small boat takes you to the port at Skala. From there you can climb, ride a donkey, or take the cable car, up to Fira. From Fira it would be no problem finding a car or tour, though arranging it would eat up some of your time. Your cruise should have an island tour available. Though these can be expensive and you’ll lack the freedom to stop where you want, in this case it might be the best way to see the island. And just so you know, be sure to leave lots of time to get back to your ship. As evening approaches and all the passengers need to take the cable car down to the port a long line forms.

      The best place to swim in Santorini is at Ammoudi Bay just below Oia. You could take a bus or taxi to Oia, explore the town, walk down the path to the sea and have a swim, then return to Fira and your boat. Just an idea.

      Good luck.

  83. Evan

    We’ll be staying in Oia (2 nights) and Fira (3 nights). I thought we were close to the beach but can’t really tell from the map. What’s are best bet for go for a swim in the sea? I talked to someone at my work and they mentioned the wind on Santorini. So maybe is there somewhere protected from the wind.


    1. Dave Post author

      There are no beaches near Fira. All the beaches are on the eastern and southern coasts of the island. Fira is on the west side. Your best option for a nice swim is in Amoudi Bay at the base of the cliff that Oia sits on. So you’d walk down from Oia to the water (there’s a road and a path and it takes 15 or 20 minutes, I’m sure a taxi would take you as well) and there are a couple different spots to hop in the water and jump off some rocks. It’s beautiful. As for the wind, it can get windy on Santorini. The wind usually comes from the northwest and the beaches, as I said, are on the east and south so they’re somewhat protected, particularly from Perissa south to Perivolos and around the corner to Red Beach. Hope that helps.

  84. mark

    HI. I’d like to do a day trip to Thirassia but don’t want to do a tour. Just want to go for the day and swim and walk around Manolas. Can I take a tour boat, but not do the tour?

    1. Dave Post author

      There’s a boat that leaves from Amoudi Bay (just below Oia) that takes you across to Thirassia. It leaves early, I think around 8am and returns at 5pm or 6pm. It’s cheap, something like 1 or 2 euros. These aren’t big boats so if the sea is at all rough be prepared for some jostling. Good luck.

  85. zoe

    What will the weather be like in early November? Is there any way we’ll be swimming at the beach? Or will we be restricted to our pool?

    1. Dave Post author

      Unlikely to be swimming in November – anywhere. Pools at most hotels are not heated so they’ll be cool. Of course, there could be a late heat wave that makes it possible in very early November.

  86. Nick Constanti

    Hello Dave. We’ll be arriving on a catamaran from Athens in late September. Is getting from the ferry terminal to Fira something we should pre-arrange? Thanks.

    1. Dave Post author

      There are buses (and usually taxis and hoteliers) that meet every ferry and take you to Fira. Don’t worry about prearranging anything.

  87. Nikole

    Hi David – your site has some great info. Thanks for taking the time.

    My boyfriend and I are planning to spend 2 nights in Santorini in mid-October. We don’t want high-end luxury, but also could skip the backpacker feel. Looking for something that’s very cute and cozy with great proprietors for $50-80 per night. Any suggestions?


  88. Holly

    You site is so helpful, thank you very much. My partner and I are staying in Imerovigli in mid October, how warm do you think it will be (as people who don’t like heat) and are you able to do Greece eating out cheaply?


    1. Dave Post author

      The weather in October won’t be nearly as hot as July and August, of course. You’ll definitely want a sweater for evenings. You can see a wide range of temperatures during October. There can be a cool few days and it seems like beach weather is long in the past. Then a mini-heat wave can hit and you can see temps approach the 30s.

      It’s tough to find cheap eats on Santorini but the usual advice still follows. Try to eat where the locals eat, away from the touristy areas and the beautiful views. Both Fira and Oia have souvlaki to-go restaurants that serve cheap food. 2 filling gyros shouldn’t be more than €5. In Imerovigli the Estia Traditional Grill House is probably the cheapest restaurant.

  89. Louise

    Hi, looking for advice on what hotel you would suggest for a couple with a 7 year old boy in Santorini, late August? Many thanks.

  90. daniel browne

    Hi Dave, my wife and son (13) are heading to santorini in august, do you know if there is snorkelling, diving, sailing and other water based activities available around the fiorostifani area? we are looking at hotels on the Caldera but want to be able to jump in the sea for a swim when the notion takes us. Is there access to the sea in that area?

    1. Dave Post author

      There are no beaches below Firostefani. Here’s what the coast of Firostefani looks like. That’s a long way down.

      Vourvoulos or Monolithos are the closest beaches to Fira and Firostefani. Amoudi beach is 214 steps below Oia and is great for swimming – but it’s not really a beach. So if you want swimming to be easily accessible then best get a hotel with a swimming pool or stay on the east coast of Santorini.

      Good luck.

      1. daniel browne

        thanks dave, is the water warm enough in august to be in the sea a lot? Also if if we stayed at amoudi would it be a good enough area for swimming and sunbathing that we wouldn’t need a pool?

        1. Dave Post author

          The only hotel in Amoudi is Amoudi Villas. It’s nice and the swimming is great but I don’t think it would replace a beach or pool if sunbathing were high on your list of things to do. Unique setting though. Right on the bay with fishing boats and a few tavernas.

          And yes the water is warm in August.

  91. Ken

    Brilliant site mate! I will be going to Santorini in Sept as well for 4 days/5 nights for honeymoon, I am leaning towards staying in Fira or Imerovigli. Would you recommend those towns to stay in? I am looking for something that is more romantic, easy to get in and out of, places that is still lively at night time not necessarily noisy, is accessible to beaches, plenty of places to eat, any suggestions there

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Ken. Imerovigli is the better fit for a honeymoon. It’s quieter than Fira but still has some great places to eat, superb sunsets, and Fira (and the nightclubs) are not far away.

      Two hotels in Imerovigli that are great are Astra Suites and Chromata Hotel.

      The beaches are on the opposite coast but the island is small so getting there won’t take too long.

      1. Ken

        Thanks for the quick response David! After continuing to look further, I definitely like Imerovigli more for a honeymoon. Are there any other hotels you would recommend within Imerovigli that are not as pricy as the two you mentioned?

  92. Glenn

    Dave… your site is wonderful! Thank you so much for all of the wonderful information. My girlfriend and I will be visiting the greek islands of Santorini and Mykonos from September 22nd through September 29th. I wanted to know if you could recommend a few romantic hotels in both places and also wanted to know if there was a nearby island we could hop to for the day. Thanks in advance for your help.

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Glenn.

      For absolute luxury on Santorini stay at Perivolas Hotel.

      In Mykonos, the Belvedere Hotel Mykonos.

      Recommended day trips from Santorini would be the islets out in the caldera. Here’s a day cruise that takes in Thirassia (one of the islets) and some other nearby sites:

      In Mykonos the big day trip is definitely to Delos – it’s the Delphi of the Cyclades with lots of great stuff to see. Good info here:

      I hope you have a great trip. Good luck.

  93. Mayu

    We stayed in both Oia and Fira on our last trip and much preferred Fira. Oia is easy to take in with a visit or 2 but gets a little boring after that. Unless you’re looking for a very very relaxed holiday then Fira or one of the nearby villages to it are the places to stay.

    Food is expensive so don’t be expecting a budget destination. Plan for spending a bit and you’ll really enjoy yourself.

  94. Lori

    We’re going to be in Europe from June until October, living in London, and one thing we HAVE TO DO is get to the Greek Islands. When would you suggest going for the absolute best time? Santorini is a must for me but where else would you suggest? We’ll probably have 3 weeks and really want to make the best of it. Thx.

    1. Dave Post author

      Hi Lori. The best time to visit Greece? September. It’s nearly perfect and the weather is wonderful. The crowds (and high prices) have subsided. The water is nearly at it’s warmest (it warms throughout the summer and is probably the warmest sometime in late August to early September). For Santorini you’d still want to book hotels in advance. And Athens too – especially if you’re staying at a luxury hotel as they see an influx of tours in September. But everywhere else you could probably get away with showing up and bargaining at the pier with the touts or walking around the town looking for that idyllic hotel. As for other islands, Crete is great but it needs time to explore and see properly so give it at least a week. Naxos and Paros for the typical beach scene. Folegandros for great walks. Antiparos, Ikaria, Sifnos for a quieter island with great beaches. Ios and Mykonos for partying. Lesvos and Corfu are wonderful too but harder to get to if you’re going to Santorini (though not impossible). I hope that helps.

      1. BAELE Guido

        Are there in Santorini small shuttle boats going around the coastal villages and if so where do I find info ?
        I can’t find anything . Thank You for helping me if You can

        1. Dave Post author

          There are water taxis that run from Kamari to Perissa beach. These run from about 10am in the morning to 6pm at night and take about 15 minutes one-way. There are also water taxis from Perissa beach to Red Beach and White Beach and between Red Beach and White Beach. These do not run as regularly or with a set schedule. There sometimes is a boat that runs from the old Fira port (at the base of the cable car) to Amoudi Bay below Oia. Amoudi Bay usually has a few boats hanging about that you can hire though they don’t work on a regular schedule.


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