Today we are going to go over the top things to KNOW about Santorini. We are going to share our tips and what to know before and while you are there in Santorini. We will be talking about our experience of going there 2 times in 2 years and what you should know if you are planning to visit with a cruise ship, ferry, or by Plane.

Not only Santorini is a beautiful place on a high cliff with its blue domes and whitewashed walls. Most people know Santorini from pictures of white walls with blue domes. The views from up top and from below are just spectacular. Santorini is the place where so many people want to go for their honeymoon or to get married.  Not many people get to go there since it’s very expensive. The tips below will help you plan and know what you can do once you are there so you are not surprised when you arrive.

This is what we will cover in detail

  • Travel
  • Where you can go
  • How to get to the top of the cliff and back down
  • Transportation
  • Weather and clothing

How and when to travel to Santorini

The best way to get to Santorini’s in our opinion is by cruise. Getting there by Cruise is the easiest way and without breaking the bank. We will talk more about that later. When you arrive you have a few ways to get to the top of the mountain. There are 2 main cities when you get there. Oia and Fira. The spot where you want to is Oia where the whitewashed walls and blue domes are at.

Traveling to Santorini can happen in a few ways.  You can fly, ferry or cruise ship. So if you are coming from the United States there are no direct flights to the Island. In order to get to Santorini, you will have to take a couple of flights.  Depending on the time of year matters as well.  Most flights to Santorini come from Major Cities like London or Athens. Depending on the time of year you are traveling to Santorini matters. Why? Because during peak season you will be able to get into the island easier from major cities then if you travel off-peak. During the off-peak season, you most likely travel to Athens then take a ferry from Athens or fly from Athens. You are limited on how you can get to Santorini during the low seasons. When you arrive on the island you can get anywhere within 30 min since Santorini is not a big island.

When is best to visit (low – high season)

January – April (Low season) Flights are limited
May (midseason)
June – September (very high season)
October – December (Low Season) Flights are limited

 

Should you Fly or Cruise to Santorini

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Cruise Information

Getting to Santorini we think by cruise ship is the best bang for your buck.  All you need to do is hop on your cruise ship and arrive. The Cruise ships usually have about 8-12 hours on the island.  Time does fly so planning before you go there will help you a lot. Getting to Santorini on a cruise ship in our opinion is not expensive. Why because with cruise ships they are your transportation on and off the island. Not only will you visit one of the most famous and beautiful places on earth that so many people would want to visit but you are able to do it while visiting other places as well.

We paid about $1000 (Includes Taxes and port fees) for 11 days when we visited Santorini. Not only did we visit Santorini we also visited other Greek islands and Italy as well for the amount we spent.

Below is an example of cost at the time we posted this. We searched the prices you would pay to if you were to fly and stay in Santorini. Depending on the time of year will make a difference.

Hotel and Flight Price Estimates

Below are some examples of what I found if you were going to travel to Santorini.

Flights from 800-1450€  ($888.72-$1610.81) each from the United States with a minimum of 2 Stops.

Hotels from March 2 people cost from $100 a night.  June $92-$1366. It all depends on where the hotel is at.  Hotels that are on the Cliff are more expensive then if it was away from the cliff.

We wrote a post on avoiding baggage fees which you can find here. You may find this post useful when traveling anyplace.

Stunning View – Sunset at Oia

When we went to Santorini our second time our cruise ship arrived at 12pm in the afternoon. So that we could see the sunset at around 9pm. The best place to watch the sunset in Santorini would be in the city of Oia. They are the famous blue dome tops and whitewashed houses you see in pictures.

Gaze the caldera – From Oia

Once you are in the top cliff of Santorini and you look out on the water and see the view. You will be looking out from the caldera. The caldera basically what you see looking at of the water and seeing the active volcano. Not only do you see the volcano from a distance but you also see a view that you will not forget.

 

Boat trip to the volcano

You can book a 3hr trip to the active volcano in Santorini for about 20-30€ Euro per person. You can find places that take you to visit the volcano as soon as you arrive. There are other trips there for about half a day but it all depends on how long you are on the island.  If you are only there during your cruise then think and plan wisely before you arrive to know what you are going to go and visit so you have enough time. Now if you are there for a couple of days and you don’t mind going to a volcano and spending about 20-30€ Euro if that’s in your budget then go ahead and do it. I would suggest to make sure you have enough time and maybe not do it during a high peak and there are so many visitors on the island. On our first trip to Santorini, there were 12,000 visitors visiting that day with 4 Cruise ships docked at the same time. The local person that we talked to the day was telling us there were more visitors on the island that day than residents.

 

Food

Many if not all places are closed during the low season. But during the midseason to the high season, you can find places to eat. Once you find your way to Oia where the whitewashed walls and blue domes are at. You can walk the marble streets that are there while looking at the shops and looking for a place to eat. There are many places to choose from. Just be smart about where you go since it will be expensive. But since you are there you might as well try some Greek food if you haven’t already done it.

 

Visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri

Akrotiri is an archaeological site located in the south part of Santorini. From the 17th century B.C. It is an excavation preserved from the bronze age. This was destroyed in the Theran eruption and buried in volcanic ash. For more information about this City check here. This was a place I wanted to visit when I was here last but I didn’t have enough time. Based on the research I saw it looks a lot like Pompeii. Which we did visit. We love visiting Archaeological sites like this. If you are in Santorini for more then a day or just have been here a few times take a moment and visit this place. You can reach this place by car or bus in about 30 min. All depending on the time of day. But since the island isn’t that big it won’t take that long.

For information on prices and what days are free, you can visit their website. Here

How to get around – Transportation

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Picture of us on the speedboat and of the cable car on our way down.

If you did not know you can get to the island by Cruise, Airplane or Ferry. (Don’t expect to see a ferry from the United States. Ferries are coming from Greece or other European counties.) If you arrive by plane then you can take a cab or whichever way you like to whatever destination you want.  Since the island isn’t, that big it doesn’t take more than 30 min to get where you need. Except for those times that the tour buses are around and there is a lot of buses around that may take a little longer.

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This was us walking to get the bus after the Speedboat

Watch for ATV while you are there. They are all over the place and a lot of tourists using them are not the greatest drivers.

If you are arriving at the port near Fia you will need to choose 1 of 4 options to get to the top of the Cliff. (Cruise ships cannot dock so they tender bring everyone to shore.) Where they leave you is where you need to decide where to go next.

  1. You can choose to go up the Cable car which costs about 6€ euro per person. (Lines can be long since everyone is using the cable car.
  2. Go up with a Donkey to Fia is about 20€ per person. This is one way.
  3. You can walk up the same stairs that are used by the Donkeys. The walk up and down is not easy and is at times slippery. (We did this our first time in Santorini and we almost slipped while walking down and a Donkey almost hit us. We did this option because we love to walk and wanted to try it)
  4. Take a speed boat to Oia. We paid about 12€ each person which included The speed boat to the port of Oia about 15-20 min Ride. The view of the top cliff was amazing. Then they take us to the top and we hop on the bus that takes us to Oia (15 min) Then after we arrived they let us know the times the buses will be back. The bus then takes us to Fira. (Which is where the cruise ships locations are at) Once we are in Fira we need to find our way down. Either walking down or taking the cable car or by Donkey. So the price you pay doesn’t include the way back down. So remember to give yourself enough time to see Fira once you are done in Oia.

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We saw Fira as a shopping place. Fira has lots of stores and small shops where you can shop on your way down.

Weather and clothing

The weather both times we visited was hot and sunny. Make sure to take water and stay hydrated. You will wind up drinking a lot when you are there. If you have a sun hat or a fishing hat you might as well bring it since it will help you a lot. I know since I brought mine before the trip because I knew we were visiting Europe in July and all the places were hot and sunny. Put some sunblock on to make sure you don’t get a sunburn. During the summer months, the weather is very hot. You will feel the heat all throughout the day. To avoid getting headaches and dehydration is best to wear protective items like sunglasses and a hat. Drink plenty of water.

 

Summarizing

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Our opinion is you just want to visit and not spend a lot go on a cruise and at the same time you can see other places as well. If you want to spend more then a day and see all of Santorini then fly there and stay a few days. Visit during the low to midseason to avoid all the large crowds of tourists.
If you are only there for half a day or 1 full day. Plan ahead to make the most of your trip.
Example
  • Watch the sunset
  • Take a walk in the city of Oia
  • Visit the site of Akrotiri
  • Visit the active volcano in Santorini
  • Enjoy the views from the top of Oia (They are breathtaking)
  • Find a place to eat.
  • Decide how to get to Oia
  • Wear comfortable shoes. There will be a lot of walking.
Santorini is known for relaxation and to just relax.  It is a place you want to visit at least once. It’s not a place were you go partying or staying up all night to drink. Maybe you were thinking about why I did not mention any beaches. That’s because they have very few beaches in Santorini. It’s not known for beaches. Beaches are located on the east side of the island.
I hope you enjoyed this post on Things to KNOW about Santorini. If there are any questions or comments please let us know. We will do our best to answer them.
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If you like to know about some travel tips you can read this post here.