The Complete Santorini Travel Guide – Greece
Currently the 4th most visited place in the world, Santorini is one for everyone’s bucket list and this is why I had to create this Santorini travel guide guide for you. The picturesque whitewashed buildings and the bright blue domed rooftops make this place one of the most photographed areas in Greece and make one for a great insta pic!
The island has lots of charm and is perfect for those looking for a romantic getaway, especially to experience the famous sunsets, ancient vineyards, black volcanic beaches and crystal clear waters. These are just some of the awesome things to do on Santorini. People often wonder what is Santorini Greece know for? This amazing volcanic island is located between the two island of Anafi and Ios. Santorini is very famous for the Oia town sunsets and Thira town.
Let’s look what’s included in this post for you;
- When to visit Santorini
- How to get to Santorini
- Best things to do in Santorini
- Getting around Santorini
- Best places to stay
- Final thoughts
When to visit Santorini?
The best time to visit Santorini is May-October when the weather is warm and there’s little rain. July and August are classified as peak season, where the island becomes overwhelmed with tourists wanting to experience the best of Santorini, so I’d suggest visiting in June or September when the weather in Santorini is slightly cooler making it a perfect temperature to explore the island and the crowds are smaller.
How to get to Santorini?
Ferry to Santorini
If you’re already in Greece you can get to Santorini by ferry from Athens, with the journey taking between 6-9 hours depending on the ferry type. Yes, that sounds like a long time but it allows you to enjoy the Aegean Sea and get a glimpse of other Greek islands on the route.The most convenient port in Athens is Piraeus, which is located 20 minutes from Athens centre and you can catch the X80 express bus which arrives directly outside the port for a few Euros. The ferry arrives in Athinios, which is the main port in Santorini and lies approximately 10km from Fira.
Side note – We visited the amazing Acropolis in Athens whilst we was there
Flight to Snatorini
Most major International Airports will fly to Santorini Airport, also known as Thira Airport, which is located on the Eastern part of the island near Kamari. It’s only 6km from the capital Fira and 17km from the famous Oia, meaning transfer often only take 20-30 minutes. It’s important to book in advance during the peak season to find the best deals and compare the multiple airlines that fly to Santorini, including Thomas Cook Airlines, TUI, EasyJet, Norwegian, and British Airways.
A direct fight from the UK takes approximately 4 hours, so you’ll soon be sipping a cocktail on the beach.
If you’re looking to for Santorini holidays in the winter months, the only way to reach this incredible island via air is to fly via the Capital of Greece, Athens or Thessaloniki airport. The flight time from Athens to Santorini is only 45 minutes, making a very convenient choice.
Cruise to Santorini
Accommodation in Santorini can be very expensive especially during peak season, so why not tick this amazing island of your bucket list by taking a cruise that docks in Santorini for the day. This is the option we choose as we wanted to visit a number of Greek Islands in a short amount of time. The cruise docked at 8am meaning we had the full day to explore at our own leisure.
Best things to do in Santorini
Oia (pronounced e-ah) is one of the most picturesque places in Santorini and has become world famous through social media for its whitewashed house and domed blue roofs set amongst the rugged coastline. The amazing Oia is lined with narrow walkways filled with shops, art galleries, restaurants and bars that overlook the crystal clear waters. You can spend hours walking around admiring the views, taking pictures and exploring the little shops.
I’d recommend visiting Lioyerma Lounge Cafe Pool Bar, a tropical paradise perfect to grab a tasty cocktail and cool off in the pool after a day of exploring Oia. All you have to do is buy a drink and you can use all the facilities for free!
Red Beach is located near Akrotiri Village, 12km from Fira and as it says in the name, is famous for its red rock cliffs captivating the dramatic scenery against the deep blue sea.
There are plenty of parking spaces for both cars and motorbikes which are a short walking distance from the beach or you can catch the local bus from Fira. Just be careful when walking down to the beach as the pathway can be rocky so I’d recommend wearing sensible footwear. There are also small shops and cafes to buy some tasty traditional Greek food and re-hydrate on water.
It can get extremely busy during peak season so get there early to avoid the crowds and the midday sun. Personally, I feel Red Beach is nice for a cool insta picture, but the quality of the beach is quite poor with better beaches located throughout Santorini.
Santorini’s coastline is filled with volcanic pebbled beaches, it’s not quite the picture postcard white sandy beaches you find elsewhere in Greece and I wouldn’t primarily visit Santorini just for its beaches. However, for what the beaches lack in your typical sandy splendour make up for in breathtaking scenery, high-quality food and warm crystal waters.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly beach in Santorini vibe visit Kamari Beach or if you want more of a nightlife vibe check out Perissa Beach.
Fira is the biggest town in Santorini filled with bars, restaurants, souvenir shops, high-end boutiques, churches and art galleries. During the day Fira is a natural tranquil beauty and night turns in a sophisticated big party, giving visitors the best of both worlds!
You can access Fira via road or from the port via a cable car or traditional donkey ride. The cable car cost 6 Euros for a one-way ride and takes a few minutes. I wouldn’t recommend the donkey ride up Firas 600 zigzag steep steps due to donkeys suffering from exhaustion, injuries and saddle sores.
There are a number of different wine tasting experiences in Santorini to enjoy, with some being the oldest vineyards in the world. You can book any tour online in advance to avoid disappoint of being sold out, especially during peak season. Sip your way around Santorini as the sun begins to set and learn about the unique history of Santorini wines.
Transport around Santorini
If you’re an adrenaline junkie like us why not hire a quad bike, scooter or buggy to cruise around the island. All you need is a valid driving license and you’re good to go.
We hired a quad for the day online, it was super easy and convenient. One of the guys met us at the Atlantis Hotel in Fira at the designated time, showed us the basics and we were good to go. They provide helmets and please wear them, it’s not worth the potential injury if you have an accident.
If you’re not a confident rider don’t worry the roads are pretty smooth and the traffic is minimal, everyone is very relaxed and there’s no rushing to get around. So take your time, enjoy the scenery and go explore! Plus there’s plenty of parking around the towns which is free, bonus!!
If you’re not into quads or scooters, there’s the option to take the local bus between the towns and beaches so you won’t miss out.
Best places to stay Santorini
Are you interested in where to stay in Santorini? This is some of the best places to stay;
Blue Island Studios & Apartments – (Approx £60 per night)
This self-catering hotel is located a few yards from Perissa Beach and offers guests a relaxing break with friendly staff on hand to help you plan your trip. Conveniently located near, bars, restaurants and supermarkets, you’ll always find something to keep you entertained. Check out the rooms.
VP Belair – (Approx £60 per night)
Located 100 yards from Perissa Beach, these modern suites come with air conditioning, WIFI, a flat-screen TV and refrigerator. You’ll be welcomed by friendly faces at reception who will strive to make your trip a memory of a lifetime. There’s even a small pool to enjoy and cool off in the Santorini sun, as well as a relaxing garden area to sit out and enjoy a continental breakfast. Check out rooms
Andreas Studio – (Approx £100 per night)
Boasting a large outdoor swimming pool, balcony rooms with a view, restaurants, bar and spacious air-conditioned rooms, these studios are perfect for both families and couples. There’s a bus stop nearby, making it easy to visit neighb2ouring towns and the beach is only a few minutes’ walks away, where you can find plenty of fun-filled activities. See the rooms
Villa Anto – (Approx £100 per night)
Vill Anto Suites is located 500 yards from Fira town centre and includes an outdoor pool and spa bath. The accommodation offers self-catering option perfect for trying the numerous restaurants nearby for some traditional Greek food. Some of the spotless apartments come with incredible sea views too! Check out the accommodation
Daedalus Hotel – (Approx £200 per night)
This 5-star luxury hotel is located in the centre of Fira and offers an outdoor fresh-water pool with seating areas, sun beds and umbrellas. Treat yourself to the hydro-massage and sauna after a busy day exploring the island and end the evening with a traditional Greek meal at the nearby restaurants. The staff are extremely friendly and will go above and beyond to make sure you get the most out of your holiday. See the rooms
Zannos Melathron – (Approx £200 per night)
Zannos Melathron is a 19th-century mansion adjoined to a historic villa, perfectly located on Santorini’s highest hilltop. This 5-star hotel provides an impressive swimming pool area and a wellness spa. Breakfast is served every day on the veranda serving delicate pastries and speciality teas. If you’re looking for a romantic breakaway, this place is perfect! See the rooms
You have every thing you need now in this Santorini travel guide. From the Santoring sunset to the amazing accommodation, this epic island in Greece really does have it all.