The tips and advice for visitors in this Santorini travel blog will help you plan a trip to Santorini, Greece. Includes the best things to do in Santorini, and where to see the Santorini sunset.
If you’re looking for a vacation that will leave you breathless, then Santorini is the place to go!
Hi – My name is Dave, and I've been living in and writing about Greece for over 6 years. Yes, I know I'm lucky!
During that time, I've created a number of Santorini travel guides to help independent minded people plan a trip to this beautiful Greek island. This Santorini travel blog page is the main hub from where you can find all the deep dive guides.
It's definitely worth spending some time on this page – even the smallest travel tip or insight might enhance your experience in Santorini, save you some money, or both!
If you're just after specific information though, perhaps these might be what you are looking for:
- Best time to visit Santorini
- How to get to Santorini
- Santorini Airport Transfers
- Things to do in Santorini
- Fira to Oia hike in Santorini
- Santorini day trips
- Santorini Sunset Hotels
- Red Beach Santorini
- Itinerary for 3 days in Santorini
- Greece Itinerary 7 days
- Traveling in Greece on a Budget
- Santorini Island Hopping
By the way, if you see any text in orange on this page, that's a link to another post you can open.
Still with me? Cool, let's take a look at some of the things to know as you plan a trip to Santorini.
Santorini travel blog
Many travelers agree that the most beautiful of all the Greek islands is Santorini. With its colorful villages and notable sunsets, it truly is a must-see destination.
You won’t be able to stop taking photos once you arrive on this island. The white-washed buildings, blue skies, and unique architecture are unlike anything else you have seen before.
Let's take a look at some of the most notable facts about Santorini, things to see in Santorini, and how to get around.
Where is Santorini?
Santorini is a Greek Island and one of the Cyclades islands group in the Aegean Sea. It is about an hour by plane from Athens, and between 5 and 8 hours by ferry, depending on which ferry you take.
Best time to visit Santorini
Santorini has a long tourist season often starting in March and finishing in November. In fact you can visit Santorini all the year around, but not so many places will be open in the winter.
In my opinion, the best months to visit are early June and October. If possible, avoid July and August as Santorini hotel prices, especially for places with sunset views, are exorbitant.
Related: Best time to go to Greece
How to get to Santorini?
Santorini has a small international airport with flight connections to some European cities. The airport also has regular flight connections with Athens Airport on the mainland. Another way to reach Santorini is by ferry from either the Athens port of Piraeus, or the other Greek islands in the Cyclades.
What is the best place to find flights to Santorini?
A good idea is to start off by using a comparison site such as Skyscanner. You can see the availability and prices for a range of different airlines going to Santorini.
Important travel tips about flying to Santorini
You should be aware that some of the lowest priced airlines flying into Santorini often have ‘hidden extras' such as charging extra money for hold luggage, and perhaps even having restrictions on how much cabin baggage can be taken. When comparing prices, look into the finer details such as these!
Flights to Santorini land at the island's airport which is located just 3.72 miles (6 km) from Fira, and 10.5 miles (17 km) from Oia.
It has to be said that Santorini Airport is a bit small and crowded. Originally built as a regional airport, it struggles to keep up with the popularity Santorini has achieved as a bucket list destination from people all over the world.
As such, I'd recommend organising transfers from the airport to be waiting for you on arrival.
Santorini Airport Taxi
It's very easy to book Santorini transfers from the airport to your hotel online. The price is exactly the same as if you take one from the queue, but the added bonus is that your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals area. Take a look at the link below to find out more about a pre-booked Santorini airport taxi.
Where is the best place to find information on ferries to Santorini?
I highly recommend the Ferryhopper website. Here, you'll see which ferry companies sail to Santorini, current timetables, and can easily book ferry tickets to Santorini online.
Important tips about taking a ferry to Santorini
Greek ferry timetables are often only released a quarter of a year at a time. This means that if you are planning to book tickets in November for a trip in July, you might not find anything online. You'll just need to be patient, and check every week or so to see if there are any updates.
Arriving by cruise boat
People visiting Greece on a boat cruise might only have a few hours on shore in Santorini. If you have a tour booked through your cruise company, a tender boat will drop you off at Athinios Port (the main ferry port in Santorini), where a bus will be waiting.
If you haven't got a tour booked through your cruise company, a tender boat will drop you at the Old Port at the bottom of the caldera.
You can either walk up the steps or take a cable car. Please don't use the donkeys. While they are adapted to carrying loads around the narrow alleyways of the Cycladic islands, they are not suited to take heavy tourists!
Cruise boats generally arrange to pick passengers up from the Old Port. Make sure any activities you do in Santorini leave you plenty of time to get back on your cruise ship!
How many days in Santorini?
This is a commonly asked question, and most people are surprised to discover they need less time in Santorini than they think. If you are tight on time, 2 days in Santorini is enough to cover the main highlights of the island. 3 days in Santorini is more recommended, and would provide the time needed to enjoy an additional day trip to nearby islands or other excursions.
I've some Santorini itineraries here that you can adapt depending on how long you plan to spend on the island:
How big is Santorini?
Santorini is a fairly small island, and with a total area of 29.42 miles (47.34 km), can be crossed from one end to the other in roughly forty minutes by car. Although the island is small, it is packed with beautiful towns and villages, the largest of which is Fira.
Where to stay in Santorini
The best places to stay in Santorini are Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostefani. All of these towns offer a view of the volcano and caldera from their cliffside locations on the western side of the island. I recommend Booking for choosing a hotel room as they have the largest selection on the island.
Hotels in Santorini
There are plenty of places to stay in Santorini to suit all budgets, BUT (did you notice the big but??).
Hotel rooms book up fast in Santorini. It really does pay to plan some months ahead of time. Additionally, if you are flexible on when to visit Santorini, I'd suggest not even considering August. It's far too crowded and expensive.
Santorini has a reputation as being one of the more expensive Greek islands. However, it is possible to get cheaper accommodation if you know how. This travel blog post explains it all – How To Book A Santorini Hotel Without Breaking The Bank
Santorini Hotels – Tips and Advice
- Getting a hotel in Santorini can be challenging because the best hotels sell out 6 to 10 months in advance.
- Hotel prices are lower outside the peak season. May and October might be good months to consider visiting Santorini.
- (Booking.com has free cancellation for most hotels, so it is safer to book early and then cancel if you need to.)
- Santorini Boutique Hotels: Cosmopolitan Suites, Art Maisons Luxury Santorini Hotels Aspaki & Oia Castle, Carpe Diem, Tsitouras Collection
Fira in Santorini
Fira is not only the biggest town in Santorini, it is also the island's capital. This cosmopolitan town is located along the western edge of the island, and is quite easy to access from any point on the island.
It lies only 3.72 miles (6 km) from the Kamari airport, and 5.6 miles (9 km) from the Athinios port.
Oia in Santorini
Oia is located 7.45 miles (12 km) from Fira, and is considered the most beautiful of the Santorini villages. Many Santorini blog writers agree that Oia is the best spot for viewing what is considered the most famous sunset in the world.
Because of its unprecedented beauty, Oia has been the site of many movie sets. The pink and ocher details on the churches, offset by the white and blue houses paint a portrait of village life that is too colorful to put into words.
This idyllic village is quaint and peaceful during the day, but comes alive in the evening as tourists flock to catch a glimpse of the spectacular sunset.
Note – Oia is VERY busy for the famous Santorini sunset, especially during the peak months of July and August.
Hiking from Fira to Oia in Santorini
The walk from Fira to Oia is highly recommended. You'll walk along the Caldera with breathtaking views all the way. This full guide to the Fira – Oia hike will help you prepare. Note – It's an easy, non-technical walk, but keep in mind it can get hot in Santorini!
Getting around Santorini
Although the island itself isn't very large, there are numerous ways to travel from point to point. One of the best (and most flexible) ways to tour Santorini is by car or motorbike. Other options to get around Santorini include taxi and local bus.
Car rental Santorini
Several companies located throughout Santorini offer car, quad and motorbike rentals. Rental cars are available in both manual and automatic varieties, and can be rented by the day. Prices for a rental car are reasonable, and fluctuate between low and high season.
For more Santorini car hire information, use this link: ** Click here for car rentals in Santorini **
Santorini also has its own line of buses called a ‘KTEL', which travel to the main bus station located in Fira. This means that if you want to visit villages on opposite sides of the island, you would have to board a bus in one village, and then switch buses in Fira to travel to the other village. Costs for this service can vary depending on where you want to go.
Bus tickets are purchased and issues from inside the bus itself. If you want to travel by car, and not have to drive it yourself, then you can utilize the island's taxi service.
Taxi on Santorini
The main taxi company is located beside the KTEL terminal in Fira. The taxis travel to any point on the island, and are just a phone call away. Unlike the daily car rentals, the taxis charge per mile.
Tours of Santorini
For tours around Santorini, trips to the volcano, sunset cruises, and other day trips, I recommend using Get Your Guide.
Day trips from Santorini
Most people stay in Santorini for a couple of days, but if you're staying longer, you'll want to think about a day trips or two. This guide to Santorini day trips goes through the most popular, including the Santorini Volcano trip.
The Best Boat Tours in Santorini
Complete your Santorini experience with a boat trip. There's plenty to choose from – Santorini catamaran cruises, sunset boat trips, and private sailing trips. This post will help you choose the best boat trip in Santorini.
Santorini weather by season
In the winter (from December to mid-March), the temperature in Santorini is fairly mild, with occasional bouts of foul weather that includes rain and high winds. The average winter temperature hovers near or slightly below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celcius). The chance of rainfall during the winter is generally higher than in the summer/spring months. More here: Winter in Santorini.
Springtime is from mid-March to the end of May, and has a more stable, mild weather front than the winter. Rainfall is less frequent, and the temperatures can range from 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celcius) to 72 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celcius).
The Summer months from June to mid-September can become quite arid, as the rainfall is rare during these months. Although the temperatures can soar, the winds blowing in from the North makes it bearable. Temperatures can range from 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celcius) to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celcius).
Autumn, which ranges from mid-September to November in Santorini can fluctuate as far as weather goes, as the days may be mostly warm and sunny, but rains can move in an stay for days at a time. The temperatures during this time can range from 66 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celcius) to 55 degrees Fahrenheit (19 degrees Celcius).
The Best Beaches in Santorini
The beaches along the Santorini coast are comprised mainly of a dark, volcanic sand, giving them quite a different appearance than your typical sandy beach. YOu can take a look here at my guide to beaches on Santorini.
In my opinion, Santorini doesn't have great beaches, and beach lovers should instead think about the Greek island of Milos.
If you're looking for a ‘touristy' spot, Kamari Beach is at the top of the list. There are many restaurants offering local food and drink, and the whole area has a very upbeat feel. Perissa Beach is popular among the backpacker crowd, and is a bit more quiet than Kamari, especially as you travel southward.
The black sand is quite unique, but does get very hot! There are numerous restaurants here as well.
The aptly-named Red Beach is a popular destination because of its red-hued sand. This beach is only a 20-minute drive south of Fira, and is a stunning visual as the red sand offsets against the blue seas and sky.
Be careful traveling by foot here, as the descent from the mainland to the actual beach can be a bit steep. I've written a Santorini travel blog post just about Red Beach which you can find through the links at the top of the page.
Monolithos is a more family-oriented beach, and has sand that most tourists are used to seeing. This beach has a very small selection of restaurants and hotels.
This is the most quiet beach on our list, and is recommended for families with small children as there is a sandy play area, and the descent into the sea is sloped rather than a steep drop off like most of the other beaches.
Greek islands near Santorini
FAQ About Santorini in Greece
Readers planning a vacation in Santorini often ask questions similar to these:
How many days should you spend in Santorini?
If you have time to spend 3 full days in Santorini, you will be able to see all the major highlights of this beautiful Greek island in the Cyclades at a comfortable pace. Most people feel that 3 days is about the right amount of time in Santorini, preferring to move on afterwards to another Greek island.
What is the best month to go to Santorini?
The months of September and October are the best time to visit Santorini, because the weather is still nice and warm, and there are fewer tourists at this time of year.
Is Santorini expensive to visit?
Santorini can be as expensive or as cheap as you want to make it. Caldera view hotels are notoriously expensive, however you can find cheaper accommodation in Perissa where rooms can cost less than 50 Euros a night in the off-season.
How do I plan a trip to Santorini?
Use Dave's Travel Pages as a source of information for Santorini, and you'll soon be able to start planning your perfect vacation in Santorini!
Can you island hop from Santorini?
There are plenty of opportunities for island hopping from Santorini, and some of the destinations you can easily reach from Santorini include Mykonos, Ios, Thirassia, Naxos, Folegandros, Sikinos, and Anafi.
What are some of the most popular activities to do in Santorini?
Visitors spending time on the iconic Greek island of Santorini always prioritize making time for the incredible sunsets. Other activities include visiting the hot springs and volcano, and going on a winery tour.
Pin this Santorini Travel Guide for later