Santorini – Best Things To Do

Updated: October 5, 2016

Santorini Essentials

The Best Tours on Santorini

The best tours on Santorini
Every tour I’ve taken on Santorini has been good or great – and I’ve never had a bad experience. It’s not absolutely necessary to pre-book tours before arriving but if you’re on a short visit (less than a week) it’s probably a good idea to reserve your tour in advance.

Recommended Tours on Santorini

  • Get Your Guide – Great site for finding tours and getting good discounts.
  • Santorini Half-Day Private Wine Tour – Santorini has some great fucking wine (Assyrtiko is my favorite). You’ve just gotta try it. The island is small so it’s fairly easy to visit the wineries on your own. That said, the whole drinking and driving thing isn’t cool and finding each winery always takes way more time than you expect, so if you want to visit more than one winery then do the tour. And since this is a small group/private tour you don’t have to deal with the tour bus scene.
  • 5-Hour Catamaran Sunset Cruise – Every boat tour is different. The options include: hike the volcano, swim in the hot springs, visit Thirassia and explore its villages, stop at Red Beach and White Beach to swim and snorkel, eat lunch or dinner on board, and watch the sunset below Oia. This one is the simplest (but still awesome) – it’s basically just sailing through the caldera, stopping at a few beaches (outside of the caldera, so this is the only boat tour that leaves the caldera), then the hot springs, with swimming, eating, relaxing, and finally watching the sunset. So, no volcano hike or Thirassia. All boat tours mentioned here provide meals onboard and have hotel pickup to start and finish the tour.
  • 7-Hour Volcano Adventure with Cruise – This is almost the opposite of the 5-hour Catamaran tour. You get the volcano, hot springs (with swimming), Thirassia – but no beaches or going outside the caldera, and no sunset.
  • Volcano Island Tour & Oia Sunset Cruise – This is my favorite. You get the volcano hike, the hot spring swimming, Thirassia, and the sunset (pretty awesome from the location below Oia). You don’t visit the beaches (but you can get to these on a different day without taking a tour). 8 hours long.
  • Traditional Villages and Oia Sunset Tour – No boats, this is a tour of Santorini itself, not the caldera and volcano. The tour visits three of my favorite places on the island: Akrotiri (the fantastic ruins of the ancient town destroyed by the volcano eruption), Pyrgos (old town with twisting pathways and churches galore, incredible views too), and Oia (watch the sunset from the island’s most iconic town). Hotel pickup and drop off make this a super easy way to see the island in one day.
  • Santorini Cooking Class and Wine-Tasting Tour – This is a good one if you’re on a cruise as the timing and length work well with the typical shore visit. The tour visits 2 wineries, then you cook with a local chef and finish off by eating what you made. Pickup from hotel or cruise port is included.
  • Helicopter Tours of Santorini – Unlike the boat tours these do get fully booked, so reserve early. Tours last 20 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour and you get incredible views of the caldera, cliffs, volcano, vineyards, and towns.

Recommended Website for Renting a Car

  • Auto Europe – Super simple site that finds the best rates from Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, and Thrifty. If you need to get a rental car on Santorini this is the best website.

The 33 Best Things To Do on Santorini

1. Hike From Fira to Oia

This is the single best thing to do on Santorini – and it’s free! The views are incredible. The hike takes somewhere between 2 and 5 hours depending on your speed and how many pictures you take along the way. The walk starts in Fira and moves north through Firostefani and then Imerovigli (this part of the path feels more like a village sidewalk). From Imerovigli to Oia it’s largely rural with only a few shops or restaurants on this stretch of path. Most people will want to wear a sturdy running shoe for the walk but I’ve certainly seen people do it in flip flops. The route isn’t completely marked but it’s fairly intuitive: stay on the path that follows the edge of the caldera and walk north. Of course, it’s fine to do the walk in the opposite direction but it feels more natural (to me) to walk north to Oia and the island’s tip. And walking into Oia from the hills above is an awesome finish. If it’s July or August I’d highly recommend starting before 8am.
The best thing to do in Santorini is the hike from Fira to Oia.

2. Santorini Photography Tour

I can not say enough great things about this wonderful tour. It’s run by a guy from New Zealand named Olaf. The tour is for small groups of 1 to 4 and he tailors it based on the skill and interests of the group. Are you just figuring how to use your new camera? Olaf’s your man. Are you a serious enthusiast looking to find the best shots on Santorini? Olaf knows the places. It’s a little expensive but this is a great way to see the island from a number of unique spots. Highly recommended – but book far in advance.
Santorini Photo Tour of the Best Shots

3. Cable Car from Old Port to Fira

Walk down the stairs to the Old Port, grab a drink, then take the cable car back up (though you can walk or cable car both ways if you want). From May to October the cable car runs every 20 minutes, 6:30 to 22:00 – a little longer hours in July and August, and a reduced schedule from November until April. It costs 4€ for adults and 2€ for children.
Cable car views in Fira.

4. Santorini Winery Tour

Santorini wine is great, the wineries are beautiful, and the people super friendly. It’s a fun and easy way to see the island away from the caldera. A tour is the best way of exploring more than one winery.
Wine and Cheese Tour on Santorini

5. Walk the Volcano

The island in the middle of caldera is Nea Kameni and where you’ll find the most active volcano on Santorini. The crater is 130 meters up and takes about 20 minutes to walk to. Sulfur vents are found along the way. The only way to get here is by doing a volcano boat tour or hiring a chartered boat.
Hiking up the volcano in Santorini.

6. Ancient Akrotiri

See the village left behind after the devastating volcanic eruption that made the island uninhabitable. The site is very well done and I highly recommend getting a guide to show about the site and discuss the history of the island.
Archaeological Museum in Akrotiri.

7. Outdoor Cinema in Kamari

This is so much fun. Watch a movie outside as the sun sets and the sky grows dark. Wine, beer, and simple snacks available. Movies start around 9:30pm.
Watching a movie outside in Kamari.

8. Swim at Amoudi Bay

One of the best swimming spots on Santorini is down the cliff from Oia at a spot just south of the Amoudi port. Take the path that leads south from the restaurants in the port. Amoudi is the clump of white buildings you see in the bottom left of the photo. It’s a 5 minute walk to a ledge you can jump from and swim out to the little island you see on the right of the picture.
Best swimming spot near Oia at Amoudi.

9. Sunset, Caldera, and Volcano Boat Tour

You can do both the volcano walk and the hot springs as part of a boat tour. Be sure to get a tour that takes in the sunset too. There are also tour option to visit Thirassia (a small populated island that forms part of the caldera ring with Santorini) and Red and Black beach. The boats start from either Athinios port (where the ferries arrive) or the Old Port below Fira (for this you can take the cable car down) and most offer hotel pickup to get you to the boat. All the tour companies are legitimate so buy the tour that suits your needs best as far as timing, interests, and transportation.
The boat tour of the caldera.

10. Explore the Paths, Alleys, and Stairwells of Fira, Firostefani, and Imerovigli

This is similar to the hike from Fira to Oia but instead of staying on the foot path you need to descend, wander, and explore.
Walking path along the caldera in Imerovigli.

11. Explore the Paths, Alleys, and Stairwells of Oia

Oia has even more hidden pathways than Fira. Be sure to get off the main path and explore the magical views you’ll stumble upon. A good place to start is to find the restaurant Lotza then take the path down the cliff directly to the right of the restaurant.
Exploring Santorini's cliffs.

12. Perissa Beach

Perissa is the best swimming beach on Santorini and has the nicest sand. Good restaurants are spread along the beach front. Perissa is about a 30 minute drive from Fira and 45 minutes from Oia.
The best sandy beach on Santorini is at Perissa.

13. Ride the Donkeys

Ride the donkeys either from the Old Port up to Fira or from Amoudi Bay up to Oia.
A donkey tour in Santorini.

14. Explore the Santorini Countryside

This is one of the advantages of renting a car – you can get away from the main towns and explore the beautiful Santorini countryside. The island’s small – you can almost always see the sea – but there’s lots of farmland (especially in the south) and you can’t drive for very long without stumbling across a winery.
The Santorini countryside is filled with wineries.

15. Dinner with a View

The food is often better when you go to a restaurant without a view. But regardless, you have to have dinner with a view of the caldera at least one night while in Santorini. Mezzo is my favorite restaurant with a view on Santorini.
Best view restaurant in Oia.

16. Kamari Beach

Good swimming and lots of restaurants. The pedestrian only street along the beach is fun to walk along at night when it gets quite busy.
The best resort in Santorini – Kamari Beach.

16. Swim in the Hot Springs

Jump from the boat into the cold water of the caldera then swim towards the warm water of the volcanic hot springs. It never gets hot but it’s warm enough to never feel the need to get out.
The boat tour to the hot springs and swimming.

17. Emborio

On the way to Perissa beach in the south of Santorini you’ll find this magical little town. There’s almost never any tourists here and though it’s small it’s still plenty big enough to get good and lost in the tangle of alleyways.
Old Town in Emborio near Perissa Beach.

18. Lioyerma Public Swimming Pool

If your hotel doesn’t have a pool this is a good option if you’re staying in Oia – but I don’t think I’d come all the way from Fira just for the pool. No fee, just buy a drink or some food and you can sit all day. Nice view too.
Public swimming pool in Santorini.

19. Watch The Sunset In Oia

Bring a bottle of wine and hang out on the cliffs of Oia watching the sun set. It is busy so be prepared for crowds. Forget about finding a taxi back to Fira or Imerovigli but there are extra buses waiting for the crowds after the sunset so there’s often no wait at all.
The best place to watch the sunset in Santorini is in Oia.

20. The Seafood Restaurants Of Amoudi Bay

Walk down the stairs from Oia to Amoudi and find a little port with 4 or 5 restaurants serving ridiculously fresh seafood. All the restaurants are good but Katina’s is my favorite. It’s surprisingly quiet down here and you can usually get away without a reservation.
The best seafood restaurants are found in Amoudi Bay (near to Oia).

21. Atlantis Books in Oia

This is a classic little bookstore. Simply wonderful. (Nice piece in the NY Times about it.)
Atlantis Bookstore in Oia.

22. Museum of Prehistoric Fira

On the main street in Fira this small museum is worth a 45 minute visit. It’s not huge but is especially interesting if you visit Akrotiri first.
Museum of Prehistoric Fira in Santorini.

23. Red Beach

Just down the road from the Akrotiri ruins, red beach is the most spectacular and picturesque of any Santorini beach. From the bus stop or car park it’s about a 15 minute walk into the beach. Oh, and watch for falling rock.
The most beautiful beach on Santorini.

24. Best Dance Bar

The Koo Club is in central Fira gets going about 11pm.
The best dance bar in Santorini.

25. Funnest Bar in Santorini

200 meters south of the Koo Club is the crazy little bar 2 Brothers. If you let the bartender hit you over the head with a bat (while wearing a helmet) you get a free shot. It sounds obnoxious (and it is) but the saving grace is that everyone here is super friendly and there’s very little attitude. Good times.
The funnest bar in Fira is 2 Brothers.

26. Best Greek Bar

If you want to party with the locals (or Greeks from the mainland) then Mamounia is the place. Of course, being a Greek bar, it doesn’t get busy until after 1pm.
Best Greek Bar in Fira.

27. Best Singles Bar or Place to Meet Other Travelers

Murphy’s is a two-level bar that’s probably Fira’s most popular – and the most likely to be open if you visit between November and March.
The best singles bar in Santorini is Murphy's Pub.

28. Best Bar in Oia

Hasapiko (also called Mary Kay) is a great throwback bar with old timers and tourists sitting around while the music thumps. A small crowd usually moves about on the tiny dance floor.
Hasapiko is the best bar in Oia.

29. Best Dessert

You have to try a baklava and ice cream if you’re in Greece. Lotza in Oia serves the best baklava on the island. (Cafe Hausbrandt in Fira has the best gelato on Santorini.)
Best desserts in Santorini.

30. Best View Of Santorini

Walk up the meandering lanes of Pyrgos (15 minutes south of Fira) to the top of the hill. There you’ll find a castle, a church, and these marvelous views of the entire island. The 6-hour Pyrgos, Wine Tasting, and Sunset tour is an easy way to kill a couple birds with one stone.
Best view of Santorini.

31. Best Gyro In Santorini

Since many of the gyro and souvlaki shops target tourists they sell some pretty average food. Not Lucky’s. This is the real thing and just as good as anything you’ll find in Athens or mainland Greece. Lucky’s is on the main street of Fira and a 3 minute walk from the bus station. (Ask anyone and they’ll point you in the right direction.)
Best gyro and souvlaki in Santorini is at Lucky's in Fira.

32. Day Trip or Overnight Trip to Ios

The great beaches on Ios and its proximity to Santorini make it the best day trip island from Santorini.
Day trip from Santorini to nearby island of Ios.

33. Most Unique Place To Stay On Santorini

You can stay in this windmill. Really! It’s the Windmills Suite at Golden Sunset Villas in Oia and it’s pretty incredible. It sits at the tip of Oia where everyone gathers to watch the sunset – but you have this huge patio with incredible views all to yourself (it can easily fit 20 people if you had friends staying nearby and wanted to host a sunset party). My wife, 2 kids, and I stayed in the windmill this summer and absolutely loved it. There’s a kitchen, full bathroom, 2 “bedrooms”, and plenty of room. The stairs are steep, narrow, and admittedly, a little tricky. The good news: there’s only one windmill suite on Santorini. The bad news: there’s only one windmill suite on Santorini. – So book early. Free breakfast is included.
Stay in a Windmill on Santorini.

See Also

119 Questions and Comments

  1. 10 Days in Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks so much for the website. It’s extremely helpful. I’m planning our 25th wedding anniversary and have a few questions for you:

    1) We’ll likely spend 10 days in Greece. We’re thinking 2 days in Athens, 4 in Mykonos, and 4 in Santorini. Would you suggest another island or skip Athens and extend our stays on the islands?
    2) My wife loves to snorkel. Is there good snorkeling on either of the islands? Any specific recommendations?

    Thanks for your help – Mike

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      1 full day in Athens is enough for most people and enables you to see most of the highlights though if you really want to see the National Archaeological Museum (which is not in the Plaka/Acropolis area and is the best museum in Greece) then having 2 days makes it more practicable. Otherwise 4 days in both Mykonos and Santorini is perfect. If you did free up an extra day then Naxos is a good in-between island. Drop Mykonos to 3 days and do 2 days in Naxos. There’s very little good snorkeling in Greece and almost none in Santorini and Mykonos – best to leave the snorkel gear at home.

  2. Things To Do in Oia and Imerovigli

    Hi Dave,
    My fiancé and I are planning on spending 6 nights (5.5 days) in santorini – split between Oia and Imerovigli. Which activities are more convenient from imerogvli? From your blog, looks like there’s a lot to do in/around (sunset, amoudi bay, hike). What about renting a car and seeing the beaches or going to volcano tour? Is this easier from Imerovigli? Chen

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Boat tours of the caldera (which have hotel pickup but mostly depart from the ferry port south of Fira), Akrotiri, the beaches, and exploring the quieter corners of the island are easier from Imerovigli than Oia. But it’s not a huge difference – Oia just adds another 15 minutes of travel to do any of the above. So, yes, I’d try to arrange these to do from Imerovigli rather than Oia but it’s not a deal breaker if they have to be during the Oia-part of your stay. There are also regular small boats from Amoudi to Thirassia island which are a fun outing from Oia.

  3. Getting to Mykonos from Santorini in November

    Hi Dave… This is an amazing information website for the travelers. I should have read it before planning to Greece. I have reached Santorini today without booking ferry to Mykonos and after reading your answers I got to realize there is no ferry in Nov. Now I’m feeling lost and all my plans are cancelled. I’m thinking of extending at Santorini till 4th of Nov. and not sure what to do. Is this a right move? Or by any chance can I reach Mykonos without burning my pocket? Please advise, Yograj

  4. Ferry from Santorini to Mykonos in November

    Thanks so much for all of this wonderful information! We’re using a ton of is to plan our upcoming trip.

    We’re leaving in a couple of weeks and I’m having trouble figuring out how to book the ferry from Santorini to Mykonos (we’d go on November 20th). Is that because the ferry shuts down in the off season? I found one ferry going to Naxos, but couldn’t find anything going from Naxos to Mykonos. We are fine booking a flight, but would much rather take the ferry, for time, cost and experience sake.

    Tomika

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      You’re correct. There are no ferries between Santorini and Mykonos in November. You’d need to fly or ferry via Athens. In any case, Naxos has more off-season charm than Mykonos so I’d recommend visiting Santorini and Naxos.

  5. Wedding for 40 Guests in Santorini

    Hi, I have come across your site while looking for help and advise. I am due to get Married in Santorini in Sep 2018 and planning on bringing 40 ish guests to the island.
    Some family members are a little worried about the price as many reviews are advising that Staying in Santorini is very expensive. From research I can see that Oia and Fira can be expensive however Perisssa is showing as a more suitable option for families.
    Do you have any tips or contacts on where I can possibly look into a villa complex ? Where the whole wedding party can stay and share the same pool?

    Thank you for you help

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I don’t know of any villas that are that big. With 40 guests you could consider renting out an entire hotel. (Most hotels on Santorini are not that big.) And yes, Perissa is cheaper than Fira or Oia.

  6. Oia and Fira in December

    Hey Dave,
    Stumbled across your website and there is some detailed information here so thanks for that.
    Am sure you have been asked this a million times, but we are planning to visit this beautiful island from 25 – 30 December, 2016 and going by what I read a lot of establishments around Fira and some around Oia are now open for tourists like us? Wanted to know what’s the situation on ground there actually?
    We are planning to be 2 nights in Fira and 2 nights in Oia as of now.
    Thanks in advance and if you can even share the link of any of your posts on this topic will be helpful.
    Cheers,
    Uttie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Fira will have more open restaurants and hotels than Oia but both will be fine. It gets a little busier every year as Santorini becomes more of a year-round destination but it’s still certainly quiet.

  7. Renting Car at Airport

    Hi Dave- thank you for your information. You’ve answered many questions about car rentals, but I haven’t read anything about renting at the airport. We are flying in from a 2 night stay in Athens to Santorini and want to rent a car directly from the airport and drive to our hotel Gold Suites in Imerovigli. We are celebrating our 30th anniversary and bringing our 25 and 22 yr old with us. We want to see EVERYTHING in the 4 nights that we are here, so a car seems to be the way. However, saw many horror stories about renting from the town’s rentals, but nothing about the airport rentals. Budget looks like it has a kiosk there at the airport.
    Thanks
    Jordan family

  8. Walking from Kamari to Oia

    This might be a really crazy question but how easy is it to walk around the island, we are going to be in Kamari, could you walk from there to Oia or is that just mad?! We’re keen walkers but I dont know if the paths are ok? We will be there 1st week of October. Thanks

    Nisha

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      You certainly “could” walk it, but you’re better to bus it from Kamari to Fira and then do the caldera foot path to Oia from there. The walk from Kamari to Fira is not very interesting – but, as I say, certainly doable. A better walk from Kamari is over the mountain that lies between Kamari and Perissa, and where the ruins of ancient Thira are located. Great views from the top of the mountain to all of Santorini.

  9. Greece in November

    Hi Dave. Your blog has been informational. I’d like to know the best time to visit Greece. Me and my husband are planning a trip to Greece this December. Is it the best time?

    Many Thanks,
    Precilla Bobby

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      It’s a great time to save money and experience local life. It’s not great if you want warm weather. The best months for a beach holiday are early June to late September. If you’re primarily focused on history, sightseeing, and exploring then you can included the months of April, May, October, and early November. Late November through March are cool and grey on the islands and along the coastal regions, cold and even snowy inland. Athens is interesting year-round and Crete is the best island for a winter visit.

  10. Activities for a Group on Santorini

    Hi Dave, thanks for sharing your site and expert suggestions!

    We are planning a team building trip of 11 of us this month for 2 nights. We are staying between Fira and Imerovigli. We will do a sunset cruise on our final night to see some of the sights by sea one evening, and likely will then go out and about in Fira that evening as we see you’ve listed some fun bars.

    But we are torn for dinner the other evening and also are curious of your suggestion for getting around the island. For instance, we see that Oia is about 20 minutes from car from where we stay. Any restaurants that come to mind that are suitable for groups of our size in Oia, or would you recommend we plan to explore Oia during the day and see another nearby town for dinner? And, for us in getting back / forth, would you suggest hiring taxis for pick up and drop off, or rely on the buses?

    Lastly, we are trying to plan a group challenge or team competition of sorts. We have a running list of a treasure or scavenger hunt going, but we likely would need to keep this to a certain part of the island for ease of getting around. Do you have any suggestions for something like this?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Buses are great for getting around Santorini and will likely work best for a group of 11. But taxis are easy to find in Oia (as long as it’s not right after sunset) if you change your mind. Karma is a great restaurant in Oia that should easily accommodate 11 people. Not sure on the scavenger hunt (so many variables) but I would definitely include the hike from Fira to Oia as one of your activities – it’s perfectly suited for a group and really amazing too.

  11. Getting Around Santorini by Bus

    Hi! Are you able to get from these locations to Fira? I know that sounds like a silly question but the KTEL only shows Fira as the starting locations and all these places as destinations.

    Tabitha Larkan

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Al bus routes begin and end at Fira. So there’s a bus north to Oia, a bus to Kamari, a bus to Perissa, a bus to Akrotiri. And all return on the same route back to Fira. So, for example, if you’re going from Oia to Akrotiri you have to take the bus to Fira, switch buses, then continue to Akrotiri. Then the same thing for the return.

  12. Short Visit to Santorini on Cruise

    Hey Dave! This site is a real lifesaver!
    My family and a few friends (Group of 6 in total) are stopping at Santorini as part of a cruise. I know that’s not the best way to fully see Santorini so I was hoping you’d give me your opinion on how to make the most out of it.

    Ship arrives 7:00 am and departs 5:00 pm. So the options are:
    1) Going from Fira to Oia, to save time it would be better to take your advice and take the bus half way, but maybe cable car would be more fun? In that case we’d stop by the places you’ve mentioned and try the Gyros, baklava and gelato.
    2) Exploring Pygros and checking out the castle and church you’ve mentioned.
    3) Hiking the volcano.
    The first two would be on top of my list but I don’t know if it’s possible to do both in the little time we have? So if not, which would you choose? Also, the trip is around the end of August so I don’t know how crowded it’ll be and how busy transportation (whether bus or cable car) would be.
    What would you recommend we do? How long do you think it will take? And what combination of hiking and transportation do you think would help us have the most fun in the limited time we have. I thought I’d ask for your- apparent- expert help because I’m afraid of over cramming stuff and ending up not enjoying it.

    Sorry my thoughts are so disorganised, and thank you so much for your help!

    Mae

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I would do the walk from Fira to Oia. You’ll take the cable car up from the cruise port (it’s either that or walk, there’s no bus for cruise passengers). Then just start walking north. Assuming you just ate breakfast and get up to Fira about 8 or 9am, you’ll make it to Oia in time for lunch. (Just make sure you have water for your walk.) If you’re really motivated you could jump in a taxi and go to Pyrgos – you should have enough time to get there and back to the cable car in time (there can be a very long lineup to get on the cable car in the afternoon).

  13. Day Trips from Santorini

    Hi Dave!!

    Wonderful tips and ideas on Greece! My husband and I will be arriving in Santorini in a few weeks for our honeymoon and wanted some advice for day trips to different islands. We will be in Santorini for 9 nights and want to explore as much as possible. We do not want to spend a lot of time traveling (on the ferry), what island would you say is a must see while we are there? I am open to a day trip or even spending the night on a different island.

    Thank you!!

    Andreana Tassopoulos

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Day trips are difficult to do from Santorini as ferry schedules usually don’t lend themselves to an early morning departure from Santorini and a later return. Much better to do an overnight trip to one or more islands. Ios is the closest and a beautiful island with incredible beaches. Naxos is a little farther, also has great beaches but more cultural and historical sights as well. Folegandros is another nearby island with great food and wonderful walks/hikes. These would be my top picks for an overnight trip from Santorini.

  14. 1 Week in Mykonos, Santorini, and Athens

    First & Foremost, Thank you for sharing your expertise & insight. It has been very helpful in my planning. I’m heading to Greece October 20th-28th with my best friend to celebrate her 30th Birthday. She lives in Scottsdale AZ and I’m in Los Angeles so this is a pretty big trip for us. We’re doing Paris days before and Italy following our week in Greece.

    We’ll arrive in Mykonos (From Paris) around 7am Saturday Morning, hypothetically staying in Mykonos 3 days Sat-Mon, Santorini for 3 days, and 1 full day in Athens as that’s where we’ll be flying out of when we leave for Rome. I’ve travelled a lot, studied abroad, did the back packing through Europe in College etc, so I’m pretty independent and have gotten good at routing vacations for my friends and I HOWEVER I have some anxiety about this trip and so many questions and decisions to make. Another concern was the weather. I’d probably sit in the hotel room and cry if it rained on my vacation parade lol.

    So the main question is do we do Mykonos or Santorini longer, should we take a ferry instead of a flight from Mykonos to Santorini for the experience? And is there one that doesn’t take 6-8 hours taking up a full day? I’ve searched extensively for the best and most conveniently located hotels throughout the islands (with price in consideration). We’re not honeymooning, we’re young, and both single so this isn’t a vacation to stay in the hotel most of the time. We want to explore hidden gems, deep sea dive, hang out at trendy bars, and go dancing at night (which Is why I initially booked Mykonos longer). Also am I cheating the experience for not exploring Crete or Rhodes or any other tourist-neglected Island…. Do we REALLY need to rent a car? Can we rent an ATV in Mykonos & call it a day?

    Sorry for rambling, really looking forward to this trip but the planning, again, has been overwhelming.

    Nikki

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      If you have more time then yes, definitely add another day or two to Santorini (3 is plenty for Mykonos) and add Crete to your itinerary. Naxos or Paros are easier destinations (than Rhodes) to get to from Mykonos and Santorini so do one of those instead. But if you are truly limited to a week then your current plan is perfect. The ferry from Mykonos to Santorini takes less than two hours so no need to fly.

  15. Trip to Mainland Greece and Islands

    Hi Dave – This is a very helpful site, thanks for your efforts to help other travelers. As we prepare for our 3rd trip to Greece, my wife and I are struggling to narrow down our destinations. Some are required, due to family commitments. We have family in Athens, Nafpaktos and Mesolongi. Here is some background –

    First trip – 1995 – Honeymoon. 4 weeks in Greece, rented a car and saw alot of the country. Also spent 1 week in Corfu and 1 week in Rome. Spent multiple days in Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, and Paros. Got a great feel for all of these islands. 4 or 5 days in Athens, 2 days in Meteora.

    Second trip – 2009 – With two daughters, ages 10 and 8 at the time. Three weeks total – Athens 4 days – Acropolis and museum, 5 day cruise to Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete (Knossos), and Turkey (Ephesus). All of these stops were one day port calls and way too quick to see much of the island. Then rented a car and traveled to Nafpaktos and Mesolongi. Spent a few days with family. Then went to Corfu for 5 days, took the car on the ferry, so we saw most of the island. Came back to mainland and drove to Ioanina, spent 1 night. Drove to Meteora, spent 3 days. Then drove to Mt. Olympus. Spent 2 nights in Litochoro – girls toured the town while I climbed to the summit of Mt. Olympus (Mytikas peak). We saw alot of the country, but the 8 year old, who is now 15, does not remember alot of it.

    Third trip – this summer. Girls will be 18 and 15. We only have two weeks. Actually, 12 days in Greece minus travel time. I have not been to Delphi or Olympia. I would love to go back to Meteora (too far for this trip). We have some ideas, but I was looking for advice to get between locations. Fly or ferry, tickets have not been purchased yet. Rent a car or take a bus? Is this plan doable in your honest opinion? Or is too much for 12 days? Open to suggestions…….Thanks so much! Sam

    Day 1 – Arrive in Athens at 9:15am. See family
    Day 2 – Acropolis, Plaka and other sites in Athens
    Day 3 – Fly to Santorini on 7:20 am flight, spend day in Santorini
    Day 4 – Spend morning in Santorini, afternoon or evening ferry to Mykonos
    Day 5 – Mykonos
    Day 6 – Morning flight or ferry to Athens, then drive or take bus to Nafpaktos
    Day 7 – Nafpaktos w/ family. Half day trip to Delphi (not sure if it is worth the trip?)
    Day 8 – Travel to Mesolongi. See family
    Day 9 – Morning, travel to Olympia then go to Kyllini to catch ferry to Zakynthos
    Day 10 – Zakynthos
    Day 11 – Zakynthos, catch evening flight to Athens or early morning flight on day 12 to catch flight to the states.
    Day 12 – Leave Athens at 11:30 am

    Sam Costanzo

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The first observation is that you are packing too much into your (active) 12 days. Your plan is doable, but may not be enjoyable as you will spend a lot of time travelling and potentially reducing your enjoyment. On the assumption that you want to see the main places: Athens (family), Santorini and Mykonos (sightseeing), Nafpaktos (family), Mesolongi (family), Olympia (sightseeing) and Zakynthos (sightseeing?) here are some thoughts.

      The route you designate is a complex and slow one and will inevitably chew up your precious time. For example getting from Athens to Nafpaktos by bus is nominally a short(ish) run (218 km or 2.45 hours), but by the time you get to the bus station from your location in Athens and depending on when the Athens Nafpaktos bus runs (they probably won’t be hourly), you will consume a minimum of half a day. Local buses will connect Nafpaktos with Mesolongi which is not too far (45 km or 50 minutes). While Delphi is definitely worth it … you will need a full day to get there and back from Nafpaktos. Already running out of time!

      Mesolongi to Olympia will inevitably involve two buses (Mesolongi to Patra and Patra to Olympia) and then you want to get to Kyllini – all in one day?! And have you worked out when the Kyllini-Zakynthos ferries run? Zakynthos is a big island and if you want to do it any justice – like visiting shipwreck beach – the time you have allocated makes it very tight.

      Going back to to the beginning of your itinerary, Santorini and Mykonos are quite doable in the timeframe, though you have not mentioned the dates. If it is high or shoulder season and you have not booked air tickets yet, you may be disappointed. You can usually squeeze on to a ferry, but air tickets go fast. The time you have allocated for both islands is not a lot, but you will get a meze-style taste of two rather extraordinary destinations.

      For your mainland leg you are advised to hire a car and you would be better served if you forego Zakynthos. With a hire car you can maximise time and movement to your daily needs AND easily get to Nafpaktos, Mesolongi and Olympia and even Delphi. In fact you would be better advised to drive to Delphi from Athens (it will take you about 2.5 hours allowing for the time to get out of Athens). You could visit Delphi for 2-3 hours then take the lovely coastal run along the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth and be in Nafpaktos for dinner and meet the family.

      Make an afternoon start for Mesolongi the next day and do dinner and family. Stay an extra day if need be, or the family insists. When ready, drive to Ancient Olympia (165 km or 2 hours 15 minutes) and perhaps spend the night there (it’s a very pleasant little village). See the wonderful ancient site at your leisure and choose the time of your return leg (by car) to Athens along the southern Gulf of Corinth Highway, according to your US departure plans.

      If you hire a car in Athens, it will be a lot cheaper to drop it off where you pick it up from rather than try to drop it off somewhere else. Your car hire company may not even give you that option. If, by omitting Zakynthos you free up an extra day, then on your drive back to Athens try to take in either Mycenae or Epidaurus, if you are keen to see more ancient sites.

      Your trip is adventurous, but more sensible if you modify it as suggested.

  16. Sunset in Oia with Kids

    Fab site! We’ve just booked a week in Perissa at the Arapiou apartments for 19th July 2016. Our sons are aged 10 and 7 so we want to balance sightseeing with keeping them entertained. Thinking the sunset in Oia might be a bit much for the boys with the crowds and we’re wondering if Fira might be better. Although we’ll drive into Oia at some point, probably an early morning. Thoughts welcome!

    Gemma Davies

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I think the crowds would be fine. It’s a fun festive crowd and pretty easy going. The bigger problem is getting back to Perissa from Oia after sunset. It’s not a long ways but if you don’t know your way around it can feel like a long drive on these rural-like roads.

  17. Yoga Retreats on Santorini

    Hello Dave,

    Do you know of any yoga retreats or holidays on Santorini?

  18. Good Footwear for Hike

    Hi Dave and readers, a little note regarding footware and the Imero-Oia hike. Today we did it; it took just under 3.5 hours (early 50’s couple in fine health) including many photo stops and worth every moment, the views were tremendous. We wore pumps and light trainers but have promised ourselves to pack walking shoes next time. Trainers should be the absolute minimum; flip flops are bonkers in our opinion!!

    Allan Apel

    1. Trace Main

      We just did that hike today too. Wore trail running shoes and light hikers, which made it easy. Little tip, tighten up those laces, especially in the front of your shoes when you’re going down hill to avoid that painful toe bump. You can loosen them back up when the trail flattens out, or starts uphill if you want to ease them off again. I agree with Dave, though. Most of the trail is paved, aside from the monolith detour near Fira Stefanis (optional, but definitely recommend it) and a lot of cobble near Oia, so flip flops would work. I hiked Cinca Terre in flip flops and that was definitely more tricky. However, if you have better shoes, wear them. Lots of amazing panoramic views.

  19. Pottery In Greece

    Hi Dave,
    I’ll be visiting Greece in a few weeks (Athens, Thessaloniki, Santorini, Naxos) and I’ve been trying to find pottery studios to visit. The problem is that every google search comes up with Ancient Greek Pottery, and I’m looking for (and hoping to find) modern potters that are actually working and producing right now. Any suggestions?
    Thanks!
    Andy

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Unsurprisingly for a country with a rich tradition in pottery from Classical times, Greece has a thriving pottery industry that you can tap into if you search appropriately. Try re-wording your search string to “pottery workshops in Greece” or “traditional pottery lessons in Greece” and you will have much more success. Here a few links in English to get you started: 1, 2, 3, 4.

      Alternately and additionally you can find many more by entering your search terms in Greek. Of course if you don’t speak or write Greek this can get tricky so here are a few cheat phrases for you to try. Copy and paste into Google the Greek phrases.

      Pottery in Greek is αγγειοπλαστική. It also means angioplasty (the medical term, so you will get mixed results). Try also κεραμικά. Pottery lessons is μαθήματα αγγειοπλαστικής.

      Here are some results from searching on the Greek terms: PotteryMuseum.gr. This places offers lessons in theory and practice that run once a week from 18:00 to 21:00 and combines excursions and other activities. The cost is €80. The site is in Greek so try e-mailing them in English to [email protected] and see if they can accommodate you in English.

      Try this one also and scroll to the bottom to swap language to English. They have two hour sessions on Wednesday and Thursday from 17:00 to 19:00 for €50 a month.

      Finally, here they run both adults and children’s pottery lessons. The site once more is only in Greek but you can see their contact details on the first page. Try dropping an email to either [email protected] or [email protected].

      There are plenty more out there, but you need a link to the network and you can ask around the various schools once you make contact. Best of luck.

  20. Renting an Automatic Car on Santorini

    Hey Dave,
    I can’t walk very well and when we want to hire a few days an automatic car in May, is it necessary to hire it at home?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      You should be fine renting it after you arrive. If you ask the hotel to arrange they’ll even deliver it right to your hotel.

  21. Renting a Car without International Drivers License

    Hey Dave –

    I will be in Santorini during 2nd week of May with my wife and 3.5 yrs old son. Though i wish to drive around, but I do not have IDP and inquiring about it in India made me realize that i am now late to get one. I have a valid Driving License. Would I be able to rent a car in Santorini?

    Thanks,
    Tushar

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Technically you are supposed to have an international drivers license if you come from outside the EU and rent a car in Greece. On most of the islands this is relaxed and someone with a Canadian, American, or Australian drivers license will have no problem renting a car. Now, do these informal rules apply for an Indian drivers license? – probably, but not for sure. I think you’ll be fine. If one company doesn’t rent to you just walk down the street and ask the next rental company. Pretty sure you’ll find something.

  22. Buses on Easter

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your website with lots of good info.

    Wonder if the public bus will be running on Easter Sunday? I am hoping to catch the bus from Fira to Oia on that Sunday.

    Thanks.
    Peggy

  23. Santorini without Pre-Booked Hotel

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you for providing great information about santorini. I plan to visit Santorini around end of July. I read that we have to booked at least 3 months in advance. The thing is I’m flying on standby tickets, so there’s no way that I can do that. Do you suggest that i still go ahead with my plan or not? I have 2 kids, 9 and 5. Do you think it will be too crowded to visit around that time with kids?
    Thank you,
    Julie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I would not arrive on Santorini at the end of July without a pre-booked hotel room. If you were a backpacker who could take pretty much any size room, then OK. But with two kids, I wouldn’t risk it. That said, you say you’re on stand-by tickets – I’m assuming these are to Athens. So, if you arrived in Athens and then attempted to book hotels for Santorini (say, 2 or 3 days out) I think you’d be able to find something. Nothing fabulous with a view but something.

  24. Rental Car on Santorini

    Hi Dave!

    Thank you for your site and all the incite you provide on beautiful Santorini! I am really enjoying your site and learning so much!
    My hubby to be and I are going on our honeymoon in beginning of September for a week. We would like to book a car rental but after reading some many reviews on our people get scammed we are very hesitate. Can you please recommend a good trust worthy company to meet us at the port?
    Thank you so much!
    Melanie Joaquim

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I’ve rented with Spiridakos and they’re fine. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’re “trust worthy.” In fact, you should probably go into the process assuming that they’re not trust worthy and double check everything on the forms you sign. Get the extra insurance they offer and bargain with them (try to knock off 10% or 20% from the first price they offer – maybe in the form of including the extra insurance at no cost). Take pictures of the car (interior and exterior) before you drive away with it.

      1. Melanie Joaquim

        Thank you for getting back to me Dave!
        Much appreciate your tips. I will let you know how it all goes.

  25. Airport to Oia

    Hi Dave.
    So glad I found your site before our trip to Santorini at the end of this month (March 2016). Our plan arrives at the airport on Santorini on March 23 at 7:15pm and our flight takes off from the airport in Santorini at 8:20am on March 26th. I’ve been searching for a bus schedule and saw the KTEL schedule but cannot make heads or tails of it. We are staying in Oia. Does the bus run at those times between Oia and the airport? Or should we take a taxi? How much should a taxi cost at those times of day? Do we need to get to the airport 2 hours in advance of our flight out?

    A lot of your recommendations revolve around swimming, which I absolutely love to do, but I am guessing it will be too cold at the end of March. Would the hot springs be bearable? Hope I haven’t overloaded you with questions. So excited about our trip!!
    Sincerely,
    Sally

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The bus will be running for your arrival but there are no direct buses from the airport to Oia. You’d need to take a bus to Fira then switch to the Oia-bound bus. The whole trip (including waiting at the airport for the bus) could easily take 1.5 hours. I’d take a taxi. There should be taxis waiting there when you arrive. Taxi from the airport to Oia should cost €25 to €30. And get to the airport 1 to 1.5 hours in advance. The water will be too cold to swim and hot springs are not that hot – more warmish springs. Not sure if there will be tours going to the volcano yet and even if there are you have to jump in the sea first and then swim towards the hot springs about 100m from the boat.

  26. Visiting Santorini on a Cruise

    Hi Dave ,
    Love your site it’s amazingly perfect.
    We are a group of 150 people coming to Santorini on a cruise in May and the time given at Santorini is from 4.30pm to 9.30pm. But I assume the time to get in and out of cruise we will be left with 3 hours.
    I Wanted to get an idea on what shall we do. As the shore excursions by the cruise are expensive.
    1. Is it possible for our group to take the cable car up and come back to the port in 3 hours time?
    2. What are the things to do around the port?
    Please suggest what we should do?
    Thanks
    Regards,
    Bhakti

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      It’s hard to see much of Santorini when you visit as part of a cruise. The lines to go up and down on the cable car will likely be huge and you’ll be visiting when everyone else from the ships are coming ashore. If you could walk down on your way back to the ship that would save you some time. There is little to see at the port so getting up to Fira is necessary to experience Santorini. With such limited time I would simply spend it walking north (towards Imerovigli) along the caldera path then turn around and walk back when you’ve had enough or run out of time.

      Hopefully you’ll get to return to Santorini and stay on the island for a few nights. It’s the only way to really see the island.

  27. Ferry between Rethymnon and Santorini

    Hi Dave we are visiting Santorini in June and wound like to get a ferry to Rethymon Crete as it’s the nearest port to where we are staying in Crete.The only problem is Seajets are saying there is no ferry to Rethymon only to Heraklion? I have read your website and you said there are ferries to Rethymnon, is the service discontinued you that are in the know?
    Anne Farrell

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      There was a ferry between Rethymnon and Santorini in 2015 but that does not appear to be running for 2016. Could change but that’s how it currently stands.

  28. How Long at Absolute Bliss for 25th Anniversary

    Dave –

    I have really enjoyed all of the information here! My husband and I are planning a 25th Wedding Anniversary trip in April and have been looking at Absolute Bliss as our hotel. How long would you suggest a couple would need to stay on Santorini to really capture the essence of the island? I have been considering another island but not sure yet.

    Also, do you suggest the rental of a 4-wheeler to get around the island?

    Thanks so much for any information you share!

    Suzanne

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      2 nights minimum but 3 to 5 nights is best to really explore the island. Some people like 4-wheelers but I prefer a car. The ATVs are fine for short distances but taking it up to Oia then down to the south is a long windy trip in my opinion.

  29. Oia with Family of 5

    Wow Dave! Even your answers to others’ questions are helpful! Anyway, our family of 5 will be coming the first week of August and staying at the Katikes in Oia for 4 nights. We love to explore so planning on renting a car and getting in as much as possible. Should we rent at the airport and drive ourselves to the hotel or rent from the hotel? Also, do most locals on the island speak English (i.e if we get lost, can people help us)? Lastly, there are usually cars available to accommodate 5? Thanks so much for providing this wonderful site!

    Christine Tran

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Getting from the airport to Oia is easy in daylight but I wouldn’t want to do if you’re arriving after dusk. Katikies does not have parking and it will be tricky around the hotel. (You’ll always be able to find something but it can take some effort.) I suppose I’m almost talking myself into thinking it’s better to just take a taxi when you first arrive, then get a rental car the next day – it will be delivered right to the hotel and is super easy. You should be able to find a car for 5 without a problem but it being August I would probably arrange in advance. Definitely arrange in advance if you need a vehicle for 5 and it must be automatic (most cars are manual). Yes, most people speak english and getting directions is always easy. The island is small enough that you can usually “see” where you want to go (sort of) and then take the most obvious road in that direction. Obviously this isn’t full proof but it will generally get you to where you want to be as long as you aren’t on a tight schedule.

  30. Which Direction to do the Oia-Fira Hike?

    Hi Dave,
    We are going to Santorini in August and staying in Oia. Most sites I visit talk about the hike going TO Oia from Fira. Are the views as wonderful going in reverse, Oia to Fira, or do you recommend taking the bus to Fira and hiking to Oia?

    Thanks!
    Kim

  31. Getting Around Santorini

    Hi Dave I love your site! It’s been so helpful in planning my trip to Fira! I was hoping you could give me advice on taking the bus around the island. I’ve tried looking for maps and schedules of the public bus, but I can’t seem to find them anywhere (at least not in English!) Would you recommend travelling around with a private bus company and if so, which one? Thank you so much!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      There is only one public bus schedule (KTEL). Fira is the hub of all bus routes. The main routes from Fira are north to Imerovigli and Oia. South to Akrotiri. Southeast to Perissa and Perivolos. Southeast to Kamari. And east to Monolithos and the airport. There are a few other less frequent routes too. Bus tickets cost between €1.60 and €2.20

      Here’s an example of the schedule you’ll see at the Fira bus station in high season:
      Santorini Bus Schedule

      The schedule to the ferry port changes often and is based on the arrival and departure times of the ferries.

  32. Santorini to Shipwreck Beach

    HI Dave – Great site you have here! We are going to Santorini for my wife’s birthday and she really would like to see Shipwreck beach on Zakynthos island. How can we access that beach from Santorini? Is a day trip possible or is it too far? We are flying in on an overnight flight from NY and staying 2 nights in Athens & 5 nights in Santorini.

    Thanks!
    Eugene

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Shipwreck Beach is on the opposite side of Greece from Santorini. So you’d have 2 flights there and 2 flights back. Sorry, not doable.

  33. Hotel or Villa on Santorini

    Hello Dave and Thank you very much for your comprehensive guidance while for Santorini.
    We are going for Easter this year and would like to know if renting a private villa will be better then if we are to stay in a hotel and what area will be best for the great views, maybe you know some good sits to get in touch with private landlords for 10 days stay for 4 young children and 4 Adults, for easy reach of the sea side and things to do with kids.
    Thank you very much,
    Maria Morris

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      There are very few villas that have locations as good as the best hotels. I prefer staying at a hotel, getting pampered, and having the fantastic views to being out in the countryside where most of the villas are located (not all, but most). In any case, you have to choose between great view and easy-reach of the seaside as you can’t have both.

  34. Gabbiano Apartments and the Best Hotel in Kamari

    Hey Dave, we’re in Santorini for a lovely 9 days next July. We’re looking to split it 4 in Oia (looking at Gabbiano Apartments??) and then 4 on the beach with a pool. Where would you recommend and on which beach? As others have said your site is amazing. Cheers, Russ.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Gabbiano is a great little place in the quiet section of Oia. Wonderful views and a small market just up the lane. It does require a bit of walk (and a portion of that is on the road) into central Oia but it’s a very good value for what you get. Kamari and Persia are the 2 best beach towns. I slightly prefer the vibe in Perissa (fewer package tourists) and the sand is nicer but favor Kamari as it’s closer to the caldera towns than Perissa. (Since, you’ll already be spending 4 night in Oia perhaps that distinction is not as important.) In Kamari, Kastelli Resort is my favorite hotel. Two other pluses about Kamari are the open air cinema and the proximity to Metaxi Mas (one of the very best restaurants on Santorini and a short drive from Kamari).

  35. Hiking with Baby

    Hi There,
    My and husband and me a re much interested in hiking, but we had a 2 year old baby, just wondering would the road be reliable to take baby on a buggy … or is there any alternative way to do this hike? … Could you please let us know.
    Thanks,
    Keerthi.

  36. Helicopter Tour of Santorini

    Can you recommend a helicopter tour? I have only seen one company offering this: “Santorini Day Tours”. They charge quite a lot, so do you know of other ways to see Santorini by air? Morten

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Santorini Day Tours is the main/biggest/most consistent company that does helicopter tours on Santorini. There is ABI and Interjet as well but all 3 have about the same rates: €400 per 10 minutes and up to 5 passengers. Not cheap!

  37. Hotel in Oia with Pool and Caldera View (with Kids)

    Hi Dave,

    We are travelling from Australia (2 Adults, 2 Kids – age 15 and 12) and are wanting to stay in Oia (we are there August 6-August12). Do you have any recommendations for accomodation that has Caldera views and use of a pool. We would appreciate a kitchenette for basic breakfasts but want to experience some great traditional Greek food too. We visited in 2012 on a cruise ship and simply had to come back! Looking forward to any suggestions you may have.

    Kind regards,

    Lisa Durran.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Two hotels with rooms that allow kids your age and have caldera view and pool are the Family Room at Armeni Village (very small pool, great caldera view but no sunset view) and the Junior Suite at Esperas (pool is larger, great sunset views but not full caldera view).

  38. Charter a Boat on Mykonos or Santorini

    Hi Dave! Thanks for all of your help! I am going to both Mykonos and to Santorini and would like to charter a boat for a day. Which island do you think would be a better place (prettiest, most unique views/destinations/experiences) to charter a boat? Thanks again, you are awesome!!

    Sarah

  39. Fira in April / Syrian Refugees on Greek Islands

    2 Questions:
    1) Are the crowds or noise an issue at all in Fira for mid-April?
    2) Does the Syrian refugee issue impact Santorini or Crete?

    And your site is phenomenal!

    Dave Simon

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      1) Fira is quiet in April and noise will not be a problem at all.
      2) The Greek islands that have lots of Syrian refugees are the ones close to Turkey – Kos, Rhodes, and Lesvos. Crete has had some boats arrive but much fewer. Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, and Paros have had zero refugee boats arrive (it’s not close to Turkey and not on the direct route to Western Europe).

  40. Greece Itinerary

    Hey Dave,

    Great website, super helpful!

    Trying to plan a 2 week trip to Greece. Thinking 2 days in Athens, 6 days in Santorini, and 4 days in Naxos.
    Do you think 6 days in Santorini is too many? Should we consider adding a 4th place?

    Thanks,
    Shreyas

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      I would probably add another island for the sake of diversity but I wouldn’t do because 6 days is too much on Santorini. It’s easy to spend 2 weeks on the island and not feel like you’ve had enough.

  41. Restaurants near Santorini Princess

    Hi Dave .
    We are staying in Santorini princess in april 2016, can you recommend restaurants and bars nearby also if you can suggest the mode of transport to see around and is Santorini Princess good enough? Or should we change.
    Utsah

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      There is not much nearby to the Santorini Princess. Tasos Taverna is out on the main road from Imerovigli to Oia and is pretty good. There are many great restaurants in Imerovigli (about a 15 to 20 minute walk from the Princess). Imerovigli has a few places to get a drink with a view but for a true bar you’ll need to go to Fira. Renting a car is the best way to really see the island but there is a bus stop (with buses going to both Oia and Fira) a short walk from the Princess.

  42. Amber Lights Villas in Santorini

    Hello

    We are looking to book for our honeymoon in around 11th May 2016. We have looked at the Amber Lights Villas, Imerovigili. The reviews look good but we are concerned we might be out of the way? Would you recommend this hotel? Also would you recommend us to stay in Imerovigili as we are looking for good views and to not too far from bars and restaurants. Will the weather be warm in early May? Your help would be very much appreciated! Thank you

    Liz Deegan

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The good: New hotel, good-sized pool, good value, nice view looking east. The not so good: Lousy location, nothing within walking distance, would need to rent a car, no caldera view (it’s on the opposite side of the island from the caldera). The weather in early May can be anything from beautiful warm sunny days to cloudy days with crisp nights and some rain showers, so be prepared for anything.

  43. Anastasis and Grace or Santorini

    Hi Dave – your site is just AWESOME! Better than a travel book. I’m going to Santorini (5 days) to celebrate my 40th bday which is end of Sept. Being that is still considered peak season, I’m willing to delay into 2nd week of Oct where rates are lower. Am I compromising good (aka SUNNY/WARM) weather by delaying? Also, was planning to book at Anastasis Apartments (outskirts of Imerovigli) – what do you think? However, may want to splurge for 2 nights of luxe (what’s your pick? Grace or Katikies? for overall experience)? Thank you kindly!!

    Sophia

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Anastasis is wonderful with great views. A 10 minute walk north of Imerovigli. If you stay at Anastasis then definitely go with Katikies so you get to experience Oia instead of another Imerovigli hotel. Both Grace and Katikies are great hotels though. You can save some money by coming later in the fall but if you can swing it budget-wise then late September is the best time to visit Santorini. The weather is usually perfect and crowds have thinned a little. The 2nd week of October is usually still nice but you are starting to risk whether it will be beach weather or not.

  44. Santorini in December

    Hi Dave,
    So glad I found this gem. Love it! My friends and I are visiting Santorini in the first week of December, but we are a little worried that a lot of activities we are interested in may be closed.
    Please could you advise on how true this is? Would we be able to do any tourist-y activities at all?

    Thanks in advance,
    Jola

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The views and caldera walks are always “open”, of course. The tourist attractions (e.g. the Akrotiri archaeological site) will be on reduced hours but still open. Pretty much all the tours (e.g. boat tours of the caldera) will not be running in December, though there might be some wine tours that are still available.

  45. Imerovigli to Oia Walk

    Hi Dave,

    The hike from Fira to Oia sounds gorgeous. For a shorter hike would starting in Imerovigli and walking towards Oia knock some time/distance off without missing some of the nicer views? And if so, where would you access the path in Imerovigli?

    Thanks a bunch!
    SK

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Yes, this will definitely make it shorter. Take the bus from Fira (heading to Oia) and ask to get off at the Santorini Princess (just north of Imerovigli) – this is about half way between Fira and Oia. Still many of the best views are between here and Oia.

  46. What To Do for One Day on Santorini

    Hello Dave! As everyone had already mentioned, your guide has been super helpful. I will be staying at the dream island hotel for only a day. What do you recommend are the best/top spots/activities I should look into? I’ll be arriving to the island around 3 and leaving the next day around the same time. So my time is limited/precious. Any advice/recommendations would be great. Thanks!
    Jacky

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Walking the path along the caldera from Fira to Imerovigli (and all the way to Oia if you want) is the single best thing to do. Try to get to Oia to wander around. Explore Pyrgos and the views of the island.

      1. Walk from Oia to Fira

        Hi Dave!

        Quick question, and maybe stupid, but can we walk from Oia to Fira? Or is the view the best going the opposite direction. I ask because we are staying in Oia but very much still want to do the hike.

        Jessica Mickles

  47. Shannon

    Dear Dave,
    My husband and I will be traveling with our three children (11,13 & 14) in March 2016. Can you suggest a hotel that would accommodate our family?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The Carmen and Norma suites at Aria Suites in Fira easily sleep a family of 5. Beautiful hotel too. Not 100% sure if they’ll be open in March, so you’ll need to check (some hotels don’t open until April).

  48. What To Do on Santorini for 3 Days

    I’m so glad I found your site, Dave! Lots of great suggestions! I am traveling to Santorini solo for three days in October, staying at Lilium Villas. I was planning to do a morning hike from Fira to Oia/Amoudi and a sailing tour and I would like to hit a winery and the brewery and check out Akrotiri. Is this all reasonable to do in just three days or am I cramming too much? How safe is it for a solo female to walk and ride the buses? Thanks!!
    Rebecca

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Yes, that itinerary is totally reasonable. But you can skip the brewery as there isn’t much to see there. Santorini is very safe for solo female travelers (though use common sense after midnight when walking between the villages).

      1. Cash or Credit Card

        Thanks! One more question. Credit cards – do most restaurants or tours on the island accept them? With the whole financial situation there, I want to make sure I bring enough euros with me (without having to bring too much cash) and I usually prefer to put bigger things on credit card when possible.
        Rebecca

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

          Most travel agents (that sell the tours) and some of the nicer restaurants will accept credit cards. But most prefer cash and you’ll feel a subtle pressure to only pay in cash. Lots of ATMs on Santorini and I’ve never seen one that was out of cash (though I have heard of some).

  49. Should We Get a Rental Car

    Hi Dave this may seem like forward planning but booked Imerovigli for next summer and had an email from the holiday company offering us very reasonable car hire if we book early. There are 5 of us (3 celebrating 50th birthdays) and wondered if you would suggest a car to see all the sights of the island (don’t want to spend a full week around a pool!!!). We know the island is small but for £30 each would it be worth getting a car to save time and effort in the heat getting a bus. How is thwe parking and how mad are the greek roads???? Cheers Sharon. PS great site.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      A car does make seeing the rest of the island easy and time efficient. So yes, I would get one. But you don’t need it for the full week and you don’t need to book in advance (unless you need an automatic – and even then you can probably find something on short notice). Parking is tricky but the rental car agency will give you a map and some tips on where to find parking.

  50. Getting Around / Eating / Shopping

    Dave,

    Your site is such a treasure!! My husband and I are planning a little trip to Greece in the first week of October and are flying into Santorini from Athens. We will be staying at Villa Lukas. What are your thoughts on getting from the airport to the hotel? Also, what is the best way to get around there? Any recommendations to eat nearby? Also, shopping??!! 🙂

    Thanks!

    – Pia

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      Villa Lukas will pick you up from the airport for 23€ for 2 people, one way. Email Babis Kafouros at [email protected] to arrange. It’s easy to take the bus from Villa Lukas to either Oia or Fira. If you want to explore more than that (which I recommend) then renting a car is a good idea. It’s easy to rent a car after arrival or ask Babis to arrange for you in advance. Avocado restaurant is just across the road from Lukas Villa and is delicious. Fira and Oia have lots of shops but there’s nothing close to Lukas Villas (though there are a few small markets nearby).

  51. Best Place for Sports in Fira

    Hi Dave

    Your blog is fantastic!
    Can you recommend anywhere to watch the rugby World Cup opening ceremony and game on TV next Friday night, preferably in Fira, but we are willing to travel!
    Thanks in advance!
    Bex

  52. Names of the Best Bars

    Dear Dave,

    It goes without saying. This site is indispensable. Seriously impressive. Beats any travel book. Your attention to detail and everyday suggestions are excellent.

    One question. Some of the bars mentioned above (the helmet, the travelers bar, and the throwback bar) all seem to be unnamed in the text (unless I’m totally missing it). Which are they?

    Alex

  53. Traditional Greek Food & Wine on Santorini

    Howdy Dave!
    Great site. My girlfriend and I will be visiting Santorini November 10-14 after running the Athens Marathon. We’ll be hungry after all that running but have heard that many of the restaurants will be closed at this time. I would love a couple of restaurant suggestions for traditional Greek food and wine at this time of year. We are staying in Imerovigli but plan to bus it and walk to see the island. The hike from Fira to Oia is first on my list.
    Thanks for what you do!

    Roger and Maya

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      There is lots of great traditional Greek food on Santorini. Though it’s a touristy island it’s still easy to find wonderful food. One tip, if you’re just out wandering around and have a choice between a restaurant with a view and a restaurant without a view, go with no-view. There are restaurants that have a view AND good food but if you err on the side of no-view you’ll come out better on average. Those places need to survive on what they serve, not on their surroundings. I’m no wine connoisseur but Santorini wine is my favorite. Sigalas, in particular, is wonderful – their winery near Oia offers tours and tastings. For good traditional Greek food try Metaxy Max (Exo Gonia), Nikolas Taverna (Fira), and Roka (Oia). They all should still be open in November.

  54. Getting Around Santorini

    Hi Dave – We are staying at Villa Maria Damigou for 4 nights/5 days and wondering what’s the best way to get around Santorini to tap into your list? We’ve heard about renting a 4 wheeler… would this be the most fun/economical? I haven’t read much about bus/public transportation system?

    Also, I thought I posted before (but can’t find where I posted or even if I did!), but do you have any advice for activities in Crete/know of any good bloggers who outline things like you do? Looking to explore the culture of Crete/outdoor activities.

    Thanks!!!
    Katie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The bus is an excellent way for getting around Santorini. They run often and go everywhere of interest (almost, anyways). That said, if you’re really trying to take in a lot then a rental car is the way to go. The bus is time consuming and does get tiring if you’re taking it everywhere. If you’re staying in Fira it’s much easier as that’s the hub for the bus system but if you’re in Oia then you have to take a bus to Fira then a bus to wherever you’re going. ATVs do look fun and easy but they have a very high accident rate. Unless you’re very experienced with them I would not recommend renting an ATV.

      Crete is great and there’s tonnes to do (especially outdoorsy stuff). But I don’t know of a blog about Crete. Agios Nikolaos, Heraklion, and Chania are the most interesting places on Crete and all make a good base for exploring different parts of the island.

      1. Katie

        Thank you for the feedback Dave. If we were to rent a car, how easy/difficult is it to navigate your own way around? Are road signs in Greek? Do the rental cars come with english GPS? Simple maps to follow?

        Thank you,

        Katie

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

          Santorini is easy to get around and road signs are in Greek and English. You will get lost here and there but it’s never a stressful issue. Half the time you can see the town in the distance you want to get to and you just sort of look down the hill and try to figure which road to take by eyeballing it. Yes, there are maps but they’re not very helpful (they look like a treasure map you’d see in a children’s book). Don’t worry though, it won’t be a problem.

  55. Restaurants near Absolute Bliss?

    We have booked a stay in The Absolute Bliss hotel next August. Are there restaurants nearby to the hotel?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave

      The restaurant Avocado is one of the best in Imerovigli and directly across the street/parking lot from Absolute Bliss. Two other favorites of mine are Anogi (in the main square, 3 minute walk) and Mezzo (on the caldera, 3 minute walk).

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