Planning a trip to Santorini, Greece? Here are some things I think everyone should know before visiting this gorgeous island.
1. Rent a Quad/ ATV
Getting around Santorini can be difficult if you aren’t renting a car. Taxi’s are a bit harder to find if you are not staying in Oia and they are pretty expensive if you want to explore other parts of the island (at least 20 euros each way during peak season). I would recommend renting a scooter or an ATV, it is definitely cheaper, especially if you aren’t by yourself and it gives you the freedom to go explore on your own. Precaution: I did hear a lot of stories about people driving drunk on the ATV’s so just be careful if you are driving them at night.
2. Fira to Oia Hike
You can start this hike from either Fira or Oia, there are signs along the way to guide you to the starting point. I would HIGHLY recommend going early in the morning or in the evening, basically, anytime the sun won’t be beaming in your face. Unfortunately, because of a late night, I got a late start in starting the hike and because of all of the white buildings, it was extremely hot. The hike itself is not difficult, there are not steep inclines, and it takes you through all of the different parts of Santorini. Plan on this hike taking you at least 3 and 1/2 to finish and this is if you aren’t stopping at a bunch of places on the way. It is not a leisurely walk and there are a lot of rocks so just make sure to take water and wear comfortable shoes.
3. Prepare to pay a lot for your hotel room
Santorini is not cheap by any means but if you plan on vacationing there, you probably already know that. The hotels are extremely expensive, especially during peak season and book up rather quickly. Be diligent in doing your research on your hotel. Be open to staying in other parts of the island other than Oia. Also, don’t be afraid to stay at a smaller place. Most of the places in Santorini have a gorgeous view.
Oia is where most people stay because it’s basically the epitome of the photos of Santorini you see online, and don’t get me wrong, it is gorgeous. However, it is definitely more touristy, which means there is always a lot of foot traffic. It’s harder to get privacy in Oia.
Fira is another popular location and I personally preferred staying here. It has beautiful caldera views and most of the nightlife is in that location as well. That being said, it will still pretty expensive but at least the room I stayed in was really nice. I stayed in Azzurro Suites, little further than the busy party of Fira and it had the perfect amount of privacy.
Imerovigli is another popular option, especially for honeymooners. It is more secluded and definitely more quiet because you don’t have the nightlife of Fira or the tourists of Oia. The properties are also gorgeous and so are the views.
4. Go on a Sunset wine tour
Santorini has wineries and specifically, is known for their white wine because of the volcanic ash on the island. I figured I would check out the wineries. I’m not a huge fan of white wine but decided to go anyway for the experience. I ended up taking a tour (Santorini Day Tours) because I definitely did not want to drive around after wine tasting and it was a great experience. I got picked up at the hotel and was on the tour with a lot of other people my age. The tour took you to three wineries and the last winery ends with you watching a beautiful sunset. It was a great evening and night and I would highly recommend going.
The wineries we visited that were memorable consisted of :
3. Santo Wines is also extremely popular for the sunset tour.
5. Go on a sunset boat tour
You will find so many tour companies offering sunset yacht cruises. There is definitely nothing like a Santorini sunset and is worth the experience and trip. The tour I ended up taking was with Caldera Yachting. It starts at 4 p.m. but that means you will likely be picked up from your hotel around 1:30- 2 p.m. depending on where you are staying. You will embark on a one-hour drive or so to Ammoudi Bay and get on your yacht. The sunset cruise includes snacks, dinner, and all you can drink wine, beer, and soft beverages.
The sunset tour will take you all the parts of Santorini you should visit such as Read Beach the hot springs and more. The tour also allows you to snorkel and swim in different parts of the island. You will watch the sunset and head back to the port to be dropped off. This was probably the best experience of my time in Santorini.