Santorini Tours and Things To Do

Updated: May 6, 2017

  • One Day in Santorini: Hike the caldera path between Fira and Oia. Boat tour of the caldera. Dinner at Mezzo or Metaxy Mas.
  • Two Days: Add a wine, food, or photography tour.
  • Three Days Or More: Visit ancient Akrotiri and Pyrgos. Lots more walking (the best way to explore Santorini).

The Best Tours in Santorini

The boat tour of the caldera and volcano is one of the best tours on Santorini
Every tour I’ve taken on Santorini has been great (or very very good) – 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 Santorini Tours

  • Get Your Guide – Great site for finding tours and getting good discounts.
  • Santorini Private Wine Tour – Santorini has some great fucking wine (Assyrtiko is my favorite – a must when visiting Santorini). 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. The tour visits different vineyards depending on the day but it almost always goes to the Santo Winery which has incredible caldera views.
  • 5-Hour 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/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 on the boat from below the Oia cliffs (the highlight). 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 Cruise – This tour is almost the opposite of the 5-hour sunset cruise. You get the volcano, hot springs (with swimming), and a visit to Thirassia island – but no beaches or going outside the caldera, and no sunset.
  • 5-Hour Cruise with BBQ Meal and Drinks – The most luxurious boat tour with the best food and friendliest smallest group. This is a caldera boat tour with lots of swimming and snorkeling. Unlimited drinks and free hotel pickup and drop-off.
  • 6-Hour Best of Santorini Tour – No boats, this is a tour of Santorini itself with a professional guide. The tour visits three of my favorite places: 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 (the single most beautiful village on Santorini). There are also stops at Red and Black beaches, a local winery (Venetsanos), and the picturesque town of Firostefani. Hotel pickup and drop-off make this a super easy way to see the island in one day.
  • 4-Hour Sunset Wine Tour – Great tour of 3 wineries (Boutari, Gavalas, and Santo wineries) with 12 tastings, cheese, and olives. Hotel pickup and drop-off is included.
  • Santorini Helicopter Flight – Unlike the boat tours these do get fully booked in advance, so reserve early. Incredible views of the caldera, cliffs, volcano, vineyards, and towns. They’re 20 minutes long, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s plenty to get a good tour of the island from above.
  • Santorini Photography Tour – Amazing tour of Santorini’s best views and shots. (For all photographers: from beginner to expert.)

The 43 Best Things To Do in Santorini

1. Hike From Fira to Oia

The best thing to do in Santorini is the 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. Start in Fira and move 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 (when in doubt stay to the left/west). 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.

2. Santorini Photography Tour

Santorini Photo Tour of the best spots on the island
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.

3. Cable Car from Old Port to Fira

Cable car views in 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.

4. Santorini Winery Tour

Santorini food and wine 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.

5. Jet Ski Tour to Volcano

Tour of caldera and volcano on jet ski in Santorini.
A fun and unique way of seeing the caldera. There are different tours that go different places – all leave from Perivolos in the south of the island. Short tours visit nearby Red Beach and White Beach. Longer tours go all the way to the caldera (and volcano) and stop for a swim in the hot springs. Email Wavesports to enquire about openings on required dates: [email protected]. Staff are friendly and helpful. They also do parasailing, tubing, and water skiing.

6. Walk the Volcano

Hiking up the volcano in Santorini.
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.

7. Ancient Akrotiri

Archaeological Museum in 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 you around the site and discuss the history of the island, the eruption, and the following destruction. Sometimes there can be guides waiting at the entrance but it’s better to book a good tour guide in advance.

8. Outdoor Cinema in Kamari

Watching a movie outside in Kamari.
Family-friendly fun (depending on what’s playing, of course). Watch a movie outside as the sun sets and the sky grows dark. Wine, beer, and simple snacks available. Movies start around 9:30pm.

9. Sunset, Caldera, and Volcano Boat Tour

The boat tour of the caldera.
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.

10. Swim at Ammoudi Bay

Cliff jumping in Santorini.
One of the best swimming spots on Santorini is down the cliff from Oia at a spot just south of the Ammoudi port. Walk or drive to Ammoudi Bay then take the path that leads south from the restaurants in the port (can’t miss it, there’s only one way to go). It’s a 5 minute walk to a small island (Agios Nikolaos) that you can swim out to. Then jump from the ledge (if you want).

11. Santorini Cooking Course

This is so much fun. Start with a visit to two wineries for 9 tastings then move to a kitchen to cook your lunch (traditional greek dishes) and eat what you’ve made.
The best food and cooking course on Santorini.

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

Walking path along the caldera in 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.

13. Walk to Skaros Rock

Walk to Skaros Rock in Santorini.
Descend the cliff to the path to Skaros Rock and explore the far side of the outcrop (there’s a little church hidden on the far side) and climb to the top of the rock if you’re brave enough. Great views too. The path starts just south of Grace Santorini hotel.

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

Exploring Santorini's cliffs.
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.

15. Perissa Beach

The best sandy beach on Santorini is at Perissa.
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.

16. Ride the Donkeys

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

17. Explore the Santorini Countryside

The Santorini countryside is filled with wineries.
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.

18. Dinner with a View

Best view restaurant in Oia.
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. (And these are my favorite restaurants on Santorini.)

19. Kamari Beach

The best resort in Santorini – 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.

20. Swim in the Hot Springs

The boat tour to the hot springs and swimming.
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.

21. Emborio

Old Town in Emborio near Perissa Beach.
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.

22. Lioyerma Public Swimming Pool

Public swimming pool in Santorini.
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.

23. Watch the Sunset in Oia

The best place to watch the sunset in Santorini is 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.

24. The Seafood Restaurants Of Amoudi Bay

Eating at Ammoudi Bay in Santorini.
Walk down the stairs from Oia to the Ammoudi Port and find a little port with 4 or 5 restaurants serving ridiculously fresh seafood. All the restaurants are good but Ammoudi Taverna is my favorite but they’re all good. It’s surprisingly quiet down here and you can usually get away without a reservation.

25. Atlantis Books in Oia

Atlantis Bookstore in Oia.
This is a classic little bookstore. Simply wonderful. Be sure to support the store and buy something. (Nice piece in the NY Times about it. And Vanity Fair.)

26. Museum of Prehistoric Fira

Museum of Prehistoric Fira in Santorini.
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.

27. Red Beach

The most beautiful beach on Santorini.
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.

28. Lighthouse on Southern Tip of Santorini

Lighthouse in Akrotiri.
The lighthouse is the destination but the draw is the incredible views looking north into the caldera – very different than the views from Fira or Oia and you can really see the circular nature of the caldera from this vantage point.

29. Explore the Fishing Villages on East Coast of Island

Fishing villages in Santorini.
There are several small villages on the east coast of the island (north of Monolithos) that are worth a visit. Yalos is one of the better restaurants on the island and a good stop.

30. Take the Boat to Thirassia Island

Day trip to Thirassia from Santorini
Thirassia forms the western side of the caldera and was connected to Santorini before the volcanic eruption. It’s inhabited, has some good tavernas, and is worth the 1€ boat ride to visit. Boats leave several times a day from Ammoudi and the Old Fira port. Last one back is usually around 5pm so plan wisely or you’ll be spending the night on the island.

31. Santorini Wine Museum

Wine Museum in Santorini.
The winery has a 300meter long wine cave that shows the history and development of Santorini wine over the previous 5 centuries. Admission to the museum includes 4 wine tastings from the Koutsoyannopoulos winery.

32. Best Dance Bar

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

33. Funnest Bar in Santorini

The funnest bar in Fira is 2 Brothers.
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.

34. Best Greek Bar

Best Greek Bar in Fira.
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.

35. Best Singles Bar or Place to Meet Other Travelers

The best singles bar in Santorini is Murphy's Pub.
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. Good: Fun atmosphere that’s the most conducive to meeting other (solo) travelers. Bad: Expensive drinks, unfriendly staff.

36. Best Bar in Oia

Hasapiko is the 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.

37. Best Dessert

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

38. Best View of Santorini

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 Best of Santorini is an easy way to visit the most interesting Santorini villages (Pyrgos, Oia, and others).

39. Eat Local Farm Food

Farm fresh organic food in Santorini.
There are lots of little farms on Santorini and they produce some wonderful local food. A good way to experience this is at the rustic Good Heart restaurant in south Santorini (about a 15 minute drive from Fira and easy to find).

40. Best Gyro In Santorini

Best gyro and souvlaki in Santorini is at Lucky's in Fira.
Many of the gyro and souvlaki shops that target tourists make 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.) Pito Gyros in Oia is also good.

41. Greek Easter

Enjoying Greek Easter on Santorini for tourists.
If you happen to be in Santorini for Greek Easter (usually different dates than western Easter) be prepared for something special. On the night of Easter Friday go to Pyrgos where the whole town is magically lit with candles. Saturday night be prepared for fireworks (Fira is the best spot to see them) when the fast at midnight. And on Easter Sunday many Greek restaurants will have a special menu with roasted pork and greek dishes (be sure to reserve a table in advance).

42. Day Trip or Overnight Trip to Ios

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

43. Most Unique Place To Stay On Santorini

Stay in a Windmill 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 past 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.

Santorini Day Trips

Tip: Don’t do day trips from Santorini to other islands. Santorini has so much to see and do you’re better to focus on staying and enjoying it. If you really want to see other islands then you’re better off traveling there and spending a few nights rather than wasting your time going there and back on a ferry.

Besides the islands visible in the caldera (like nearby Thirassia and Nea Kameni), Santorini doesn’t have great day trip options. To visit an island on a day trip you need to get an early morning ferry from Santorini and a late-day ferry returning to Santorini. Since most ferries are based on other islands (or back in Athens) it’s usually mid-day before they arrive in Santorini. And even when there is an early morning ferry there likely won’t be an evening ferry that would provide you with the time necessary to make the journey worthwhile.

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 ask 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. If the schedule works for a day trip then you’ll have no problem buying tickets.

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 get to partake. 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 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.

See Also

161 Questions and Comments

  1. Most Hotels Fully Booked

    Hi Dave,

    Your hotel recommendations are incredible, but unfortunately I was a little late to the game when booking and therefore wasn’t able to make any reservations at the places you suggested on your site. I made a reservation at the Afrodete Hotel in Firostefani, and was just curious to see if you had heard anything about it/what your take on it is? I read the reviews thoroughly, but I just wanted to see if you had an opinion about it. Any insider knowledge would be greatly appreciated!(:

    Thank you in advance!
    Jamie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Yes, everything is booking very early this year, but Afrodete is a fine simple hotel. It doesn’t have caldera views (the views you see in the photos look east and are not over the volcano). You’re a short walk to the caldera and views. When you walk into Fira be sure to get to the caldera path first, then turn towards Fira. If you walk along the road you’re really missing out.

  2. Traveling Alone in Oia

    Hi Dave! Great site! I’ll be staying in Oia for a few days by myself (single female) – are there any restaurants or bars you could suggest that are good for solo travellers in Oia in June?
    Hema

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Your best bet (maybe only bet) is Mary Kay’s. Get there a little early (say 9pm) and get a seat at the bar. It’s usually a very friendly crowd and solo travelers will fit right in. The two greek brothers (with facial hair) working the bar, look a little intimidating at first but are actually very friendly.

  3. Bike from Fira to Oia on Bike

    Hi!
    I will start by saying: your website is very useful, thank you.
    Is it possible to do the Fira-Oia “hike” with a rented bike?
    Valérie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      From Fira to Imerovigli it’s mainly a pedestrian path – so here you’d have to ride on the road and that doesn’t have any view. From Imerovigli to Oia a very talented mountain biker could ride the path but for any average rider you’d be walking your bike through plenty of spots.

  4. How To Avoid Cruise Ship Crowds on Santorini?

    Thanks to your fantastic website, my daughter and her friend have booked a wonderful trip to Greece (1.5 days in Athens, as you recommend!), then 5 days on Naxos to relax and explore, and visit Delos, and finally 3 nights on Santorini at Agali Houses, a fantastic recommendation from your site.
    So the question is, how to avoid the cruise ship crowds on Santorini? Is is just a question of getting out early, or are there are other tricks to being where the crowds are a bit thinner?
    Thanks for your help, Santorini Dave!
    Elizabeth

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Do things early (cruise ship crowds typically won’t arrive until after 11am) or later (and they usually leave by 4 or 5pm). Oia is the town that gets most overwhelmed by cruise crowds. If it’s mid-day and you see 2 or more cruise ships anchored out in the caldera then don’t go to Oia – it will be busy.

      (Note: I say anchored but cruise ships don’t put down their anchors here – the caldera is too deep. That’s why you’ll see smoke coming from their engines even when they seem to be stationary. They have to keep the motors going to maintain their position.)

  5. Best Things To Do in Oia

    We are spending 5 days in Imerovigli and 2 days in Oia. While in Imerovigli we are going to do tours and visit your suggestions in southern Santorini. But while in Oia we want to focus on the best attractions in Oia or nearby. In your opinion, what are the best things to do in Oia?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      The best things to do in Oia:
      -eat at one of the tavernas in Ammoudi Bay.
      -swim and jump from the ledges at Agios Nikolaos islet (walk down to Ammoudi Bay, turn left, and walk south along the foot path – in 5 minutes you’ll come to the best swimming spot on the island).
      -take small ferry boat across the caldera to the island of Thirassia, have lunch and walk about, don’t miss last ferry back.
      -go to Sigalas Winery for a tasting/tour (5 minute drive from Oia, walkable if you’re an active type).
      -watch sunset from Oia Castle.
      -late night drinks at Mary Kay’s (popular with locals and Oia’s only true bar).

  6. Should I Book Santorini Tours in Advance?

    Hi Dave,

    Traveling to Santorini at the end of May for 7 days. Do you recommend booking tours online or upon arrival? Is there significant cost savings, if you wait until your on the island. (Coming from the states.)

    Great blog – appreciate the help!

    Best,
    Frank

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      It depends. Since you’re going for 7 days (and that gives you flexibility if some tours sellout) and you’re going in May (when it’s not as busy as high season), I think you’ll be fine booking when you get there. That said, if there are some tours you specifically want there’s little harm booking in advance.

  7. Water Temperature for Boat Tour

    We are considering booking one of the boat tours for our upcoming trip to Santorini May 16-21, but we are concerned that the water will be too cold for swimming. What do you think?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Water will be chilly but tolerable for most. You typically swim from the boat to the hot springs which are always warmish. If the suns out (which it should be) you’ll be fine. Boat tours are so much fun. I’d be shocked if you did the tour and said afterwards, “that water was so cold, I wish we hadn’t done that tour.”

  8. Tour from Crete to Santorini with Catamaran Cruise

    Hi Dave!

    Are there any boat tours to Santorini (from Crete) that include the Catamaran Cruise?
    Aliya Bedejim

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      There is not enough time to do a catamaran tour while in Santorini given the timing of the ferries (between Crete and Santorini) that all tours to Santorini use.

  9. Santorini in December

    Hi Dave great photos and information! My husband and I are heading from Australia to the UK for a family birthday end of November. As its my 60th birthday end of December we thought we’d incorporate a holiday into this time and I’ve never been to Greece. I know December isn’t really a good holiday time over there but we both love photography and the quiet and don’t care about shopping. What’s the weather like end of December? Are we likely to get some good days out of 2 weeks. Oia looks like a nice place to be for my 60th birthday… Thanks
    Annie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      As long as you know what to expect (lots of closed shops and quiet restaurants) you’ll enjoy it. Santorini gets busier every year as they’re starting to promote year-round tourism. It’s still quiet but not as dead as it used to be. Some people absolutely love Santorini in the quiet winter months. Here’s an interesting post on visiting Santorini in winter. (It’s a few years old so expect there to be a bit more activity than what is described here.)

  10. Fira Best Things To Do

    We have 1 full day in Fira (arrive Tuesday night by plane, leave Thursday morning to Crete where we’ll spend 2 weeks). We’re not interested in a tour as not sure how early we’ll be moving on Wednesday morning but would like to be busy and see the area. What do you think are the best things to do in Fira for the day? (We won’t have a rental car. We’re coming in late June.)

    Thanks,
    Sauvy

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Best Things To Do in Fira:
      –Hike to Oia on the footpath, or at very least walk to Imerovigli (about 1/3 of the way); bus back.
      –Lunch at Lucky’s (delicious gyros).
      –Visit Museum of Prehistoric Thira.
      –Dinner at Ouzeri (no view), Argo (partial views), or Naoussa (great views).
      –Sunset views and drinks from Franco’s Bar or Tropical; party at 2 Brothers; dance at Koo Club or Enigma.

  11. Fun Sunset Cruise with Open Bar

    My girlfriend and I are headed to Santorini for 11 days in late July / early August, and are interested in booking a fun sunset cruise of the caldera. We’re pretty social and love meeting new people, so we were hoping you could recommend one that has an open bar and is known for having a younger, fun-loving crowd… maybe even music/dancing? Many thanks, Jeff.

  12. Is Santorini Safe for Single Women Travelers?

    Hi! I’m making my way to Santorini April 24th and have 3 days there. I came across your blog while searching what to do! What a great find and extremely helpful!! As my trip is a solo trip would you say it’s safe enough for solo female travellers? Many thanks! Samina

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Keeping in mind that no place is definitively “safe” then yes, I would say Santorini is very safe for solo female travelers.

  13. Sea Kayaking Tours in Santorini

    Hey Dave,

    I will be traveling to Santorini April 7th and I was wondering if there will be any kayaking tours available? Would you recommend renting an ATV for traveling around Santorini?
    Kevin Foong

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Santorini kayaking tours run from May to October (usually) so don’t think they’ll be anything in early April. Many people enjoy the ATVs but I prefer a car.

  14. What Will Be Open on Santorini in April?

    Hi Dave, My friend and I are going to Santorini April 7-13th… Will places (restaurants, shops, bars, clubs, etc) be open for business? Also, I have been reading a bunch about the weather and what to pack. Any suggestions for that time of year? This blog is awesome!
    Thanks so much,
    Elissa

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Restaurants and shops will generally be open. There will be a few bars open but not all of them. There won’t be any clubs open.

  15. Getting to Firostefani from Port

    Hi Dave,
    My husband and I just booked tickets to Greece for our 12th anniversary. We booked for 9days and would want to split between Athens and Santorini.

    From Athens we intend to take the Blue Star Ferry to Santorini to enjoy the sights. Though 8 hours travel is quite a long ride. And based on your replies, It made me decide to spend our nights at Firostetani. Since we don’t prefer to drive, how do we go to our hotel from the port? And are bus stops accessible once we are at Firostetani? Berna

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      There will be taxis at the ferry port to get you to Firostefani – but they can be snatched up quickly so get off the ferry as quickly as you can. Or take the bus (always lots of room) to Fira. Then switch buses and take the next bus to Oia but get off in Firostefani (about 5 minutes). Or you can arrange with your hotel for a port pickup.

  16. Best 3 Santorini Towns

    Hi Dave, thanks for all you share. We have a week in Santorini in September and are considering staying at 3 different places to get a feel of different parts of the island. Do you have a recommendation as to the 3 locations to base ourselves over that week, the order to do it in, whether to hire a car from day 1, or only at stage 2, etc.? (e.g. I imagine parking in some areas is a nightmare, so better not to have a car for those areas)

    Any recommendations helpful. Regards Deb

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Oia and Imerovigli for sure. Then decide between Fira (busy but lots of shops and restaurants) or Firostefani (10 minute uphill walk from Fira). Fira is the hardest place to find parking but even there it’s not impossible, you just need to search, park, and then walk back to the town (usually about 5 minutes). Fira also has the best bus connections with the rest of the island and that makes a car less necessary when staying there.

  17. Best Route for Italy and Greece

    Hi Dave! Thank you so much for this wonderful sight, you really know your information!

    My sisters and I are planning to visit Italy and Greece in the beginning of July. We have 12 days total and really want to see Milan, Rome, and Venice in Italy and Athens and Santorini in Greece. What are your suggestions to accomplishing most of this or what do you think is the best route? We are in our early 20’s and looking for history, relaxation, and gorgeous views. How many days do you believe is reasonable?

    Thank you 🙂
    Heba

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Fly Venice to Athens, ferry Athens to Santorini, fly Santorini to Rome. Visit Milan at the beginning or end of this, doesn’t matter. The above itinerary will reduce travel time and you won’t have to retrace your steps.

  18. Athens and Santorini OR Athens, Santorini, and Crete?

    Dave,
    We will have 7 days in Greece in and out of Athens June 21-28th. We want to see the main sights in Athens and go to Santorini. Should we go to Crete too or just stay in Santorini? We are from California so we don’t need good beaches but I’m sure kids would love it. They have Mama Mia in their heads. We have 3 kids, 18, 16, and 12, all good travelers. Would love your recommendation! I’m inclined to just stay on one island perhaps Santorini the whole time to be more relaxed and really get to know it if you think there’s enough to do. Do you recommend flying? We usually rent houses or apartments when we travel. What area of Santorini would you recommend? Thanks.

    Annie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      With just a week I’d recommend a full day of sightseeing in Athens and then Santorini for the rest of your trip. There’s more than enough there to keep you busy and entertained. Staying along the caldera (the towns of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, or Oia) is best. Not a lot of rentals with views so you’ll probably end up in a hotel (and there are lots of great ones). Flying is quickest but ferry is fun and something to remember for the kids. Blue Star ferry takes longer than the fast ferries but you get to walk about the decks and see the caldera as you arrive in Santorini – once again this makes it more memorable for kids (and adults).

  19. Birthday in Santorini

    Hi Dave, I am planning a European holiday for my 40th. I land in Athens midday 15/7. I had originally planned Santorini 15/7-18/7 then ferry to Mykonos 18/7-22/7. I need to be in Split for a cruise by 6pm 22/7. Unfortunately there are no reasonable flights Mykonos-Split that day, but there is one Santorini to Split, so thinking I may need to swap my itinerary around and go Mykonos first. Problem is I turn 40 on 20/7. Don’t really want to change locations on my bday and if I go from Mykonos to Santorini the day before will I be able to have the bar hoping party I had originally planned on in Santorini?
    My husband and I have been to Santorini (and loved it) but never Mykonos. My best friend + husband will be joining us as well. Would love your recommendation as to whether Santorini would be appropriate for big birthday festivities.
    Many thanks
    Sara

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Santorini will be great for a birthday. Definitely be in Fira. There are 7 or 8 really good places to go out.

  20. Good Bar in Oia

    Hi Dave, have found your answers really informative. Myself, my wife and my friend are going to Santorini at the beginning of June (Mystique hotel Oia) and wondered if there are any good bars in Oia?
    Many thanks
    Hugh McInulty

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Marykay’s (also called Hassapiko) is great. Very small but gets busy after 11pm. It’s your only choice in Oia. (Lots more in Fira.)

  21. Best Island for Day Trips

    Hi Dave,
    My family (husband and teen age daughters 15/17 will be traveling to Greece and the end of June/July. We have about 10 days. 1-2 days in Athens and Santorini is a must for my daughters. Some friends rented a house on Paros(Luxury Retreats) and did day trips to Mykonos and Anti Paros and an all day boat excursions. I like the idea of being on a smaller, less touristy island but 10 days in tough to fit this all in. What would you suggest? How many days on Santorini? Would you suggest making Santorini our home base or elsewhere? We like being active but don’t want to rush around or spend days on ferries. What itinerary would you suggest?
    Thank you!
    Beth Handa

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      If you want to do day trips then Paros is the best islands (easy day trips to both Naxos and Antiparos which should be enough). If you go to Santorini then stay on Santorini – day trips are not easy with ferry schedule and you’d never want to leave anyways.

  22. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  23. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  24. 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

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Your only option is to fly via Athens. Search Kayak for prices. (Technically, you can ferry but that’s a two-day trip via Athens.)

  25. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  26. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  27. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  28. 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

  29. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  30. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  31. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  32. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  33. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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).

  34. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  35. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  36. 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 Guide to Greece

      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.

  37. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  38. Yoga Retreats on Santorini

    Hello Dave,

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

  39. 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. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      I agree. Good footwear makes it more enjoyable, for sure.

    2. 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.

  40. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

      1. Andy

        This is so incredibly helpful! Thank you so so much, Dave!!!

  41. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  42. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  43. 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

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Yes, buses will be running on Easter.

  44. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  45. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  46. 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 Guide to Greece

      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.

  47. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  48. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  49. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  50. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  51. 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

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      The direction doesn’t matter. Views are great both ways.

  52. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  53. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  54. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  55. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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).

  56. 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.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      It’s a pretty good path but no, you can’t take a stroller on it.

  57. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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!

  58. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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).

  59. 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

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Santorini, for sure. That’s a phenomenal setting to charter a boat.

  60. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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).

  61. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  62. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  63. 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 Guide to Greece

      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.

  64. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  65. 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 Guide to Greece

      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.

  66. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  67. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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

        1. DaveDave The Guide to Greece

          Yes, walk is great in either direction.

  68. 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 Guide to Greece

      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).

  69. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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 The Guide to Greece

          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).

  70. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  71. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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).

  72. 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

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Murphy’s Pub in central Fira shows all sorts of sports. I imagine they’ll have it on.

  73. 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

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Guide to Greece

      Thanks for catching that. It’s fixed now.

  74. 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 The Guide to Greece

      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.

  75. 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 Guide to Greece

      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 The Guide to Greece

          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.

  76. 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 Guide to Greece

      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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