Top Things To Do In Santorini Greece
White houses, blue domes and some of the world’s most beautiful sunsets! That is what we experienced in Santorini. We based ourselves in Fira which is where you will find most of the nightlife and less expensive accomodations. Transportation is very affordable from Fira to Oia. (Oia is where you will find most of the white houses with blue domes. You will see some of these in Fira, but Oia is the spot for this.) The following were the highlights of our trip to this exquisite island!
EAT AUTHENTIC GREEK FOOD
Although there are many delicious options for food in Santorini, our favorite spot was in Fira and it was called Nicks the Grill. They have tasty food options at a great price. Their Gyros start at €2.50 ($3USD). If you did not know, the authentic Greek Gyro is made of pork or chicken. Another one of our favorites was the Greek salad. There are many Greek Tavernas so the food options in Greece will be endless and the best part is that there is something for all budgets.
HIKE FROM FIRA TO OIA
This 10-11km hike (approx 3 hrs) is totally worth it for the great views you will get. The best part, it’s totally FREE! The path will give you great views of Fira’s Caldera, the Volcano which created the islands, Fira and Oia.
Start your hike by following the cable car sign in Fira. From there make sure to always keep the caldera and the sea to the left of you. If you follow these instructions you won’t get lost from the path.
Start your hike as early as possible to avoid the heat during summer months. Most parts do not have shade.
Bring comfortable shoes, SPF, water and your camera. The path is very rocky in some parts so try to avoid wearing sandals.
There is no better way to see the entire island than by having the flexibility of going where ever your heart desires! There is so much to see aside from the normal touristy stuff.
Average cost of renting an ATV is €40 ($47.87USD) for 24hrs. ATV's accommodate two people comfortably. Most of them have a storage area that locks to keep your belongings safe.(Make sure to check it works on the ATV you are renting before leaving the rental shop)
To make the most out of your time on the ATV make a plan. Have a list of the places you want to cover. We took a map that was given to us by our hostel and planned all the places we wanted to visit. Using Google Maps we were able to cover most of the places we wanted to see in one day.
Take plenty SPF and water! If going during the summer months it will be very hot!
CATCH THE SUNSET IN OIA
This is not to be missed! The caldera provides the best view of Oia and the sunset.
Go to the caldera early to make sure you grab a spot since it will start getting full of people about an hour before sunset, specially during high season. One of the most popular sunset spots is Oia's Byzantine Castle.
Grab some beers or wine at a nearby shop so you can best enjoy the sunset and the magnificent views.
RELAX AT THE BEACH
Santorini has many beaches and each one very different from the next. You can chose one to spend your day at or you can do it like us and take your ATV and go beach hopping! Our highlights were: Red Beach, White Beach, Kamari Beach, Vlyshada Beach, and Perissa Beach.
Red Beach: You will be able to see beautiful shades of red all along the cliffs and beach. There is a small beach you can swim in if you dare cross the small path that takes you to the other side. You will also need to park at a parking lot nearby and walk through a rocky narrow path to get to Red Beach. Bring comfortable shoes!
White Beach: This one was a little tricky to get to. You will need to walk or be brave enough to take your ATV up the rocky hill to even get a glimpse of the white beach and cliffs. You will only see the beach and white cliffs from far away since the only way to actually get to the beach is by boat.
Perissa and Perivolos Beach: This beach is essentially the same one. What's unique about this one is its black sand. You can lay out on the sand or you can also grab a lounge chair for comfort.
Vlyshada Beach: Here you will find some amazing volcanic rock formations. This beach is a relaxing beach where you can enjoy lounging around, taking a nap, or reading a book.
Kamari Beach: Made out of black sand, this beach has all the beach amenities you need to spend an entire day at the beach. It has plenty of restaurants for you to enjoy a bite to eat. It has beautiful rock formations to the right side, perfect for some great pictures. It also has a nice promenade you can enjoy and do some shopping!
Kantharos Beach: Another black/rocky beach is Kantharos Beach. You do have to go a few steps downhill to reach the beach. It is a very secluded beach with no amenities. Perfect place to make a picnic and enjoy the fresh water!
HIKE DOWN 300 STEPS TO AMOUDI BAY
Located below Oia, you can really get your exercise for the day by going up and down 300 steps each way! When you reach the bay, you can grab a bite to eat at the tavernas which offer fresh seafood and enjoy the views of the crystal clear waters. Be careful with the donkeys and their droppings. You will pass some by as they take tourists up the 300 stairs. We would not recommend riding the donkeys as they have them out in the heat all day. We experienced a donkey running up the rocky steps at full speed with a lady on top. The donkey almost ran over us. Not only can this be dangerous for the donkey and the rider, but also the people trying to walk up or down these stairs.
Although Santorini has been a honeymoon destination for many years, don’t let this discourage you from visiting even if you are not on a honeymoon! Santorini is very doable on a budget if you plan accordingly. There are very cheap tickets available from many major cities in the U.S. if you plan in advance. There are also some great hostels for as low as €25 ($28.75USD)/night for a private room and even cheaper for a dorm. The best part of visiting Greece is that you can hit up a few cities in one visit. We flew into Santorini and worked our way up to MyKonos and then Athens. You can make your own itinerary based on what islands you want to visit and trust us, there are many more islands aside from MyKonos and Santorini that are less touristy and waiting to be explored!
Looking for Things To Do In Mykonos? Click here.
Also check out our Budget Guide for Athens!
In Santorini you will find many locals that speak English.
Download the XE Currency App to get live exchange rate info anytime, anywhere!
CREDIT CARDS AND BANKS
Cash is best for buying at small shops or street food as these do not accept credit cards.
ATMs are readily available. We preferred EuroNet ATM (blue/yellow) since no fees were charged from our bank or EuroNet. We also always took our banks conversion vs the ATM’s since the exchange rate from our bank was very good.
VISA REQUIRED FOR US CITIZENS:
Greece is part of the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Greece without a visa for stays of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. For more details on the Schengen Area click here.
(Make sure to check with your local embassy for visa updates.)
We found Greece to be very safe. Take normal precautions like you would in any other city in the world.
We decided to book our accommodations in Fira since it was cheaper than staying in Oia. You will have different options to get to Oia from Fira, but we highly recommend using the local bus. Fira has a Central Bus Station and buses leave towards Oia frequently. Once you arrive to the station, you should be able to find a schedule or ask around which bus goes to Oia. A roundtrip to Oia from Fira was about €3.60 ($4.31USD) per person. We avoided taxis since they are expensive compared to the bus. You can also use the bus to go to the beaches, but since we rented an ATV we decided to use it for our beach hopping adventure.
Island Hopping? When visiting Greece, people tend to visit more than one place. Normally everyone flies into Athens and starts their journey there. Due to a cheap flight we found, we ended up flying into Santorini taking a ferry to Mykonos then flew to Athens. Regardless of how you get from one place to the other, there are only two choices. 1) Take a ferry 2) Fly.
Ferry: These run frequently between islands. The cost of our ferry from Santorini to Mykonos was an estimated €57 ($66.03) per person one way. It takes about 2.5 hrs to get from one island to the other. There are many ferries available throughout the day. We recommend to purchase your ticket in advance and it can also be done online. We used Golden Star Ferries. The ferry is very comfortable and come with an assigned seat. There are also snacks and drinks you can purchase.
Flying: Use Skyscanner.net to check for flight tickets in advance for inexpensive options.