A guide to going to Santorini on a Holiday

If you’re going for a budget-friendly room, reserve at least half a year earlier because quality cheap rooms in Santoriniget booked fast. 

The best time for your vacation to Santorinidepends on what you want to enjoy most on the island. Are you going for the view, then come between April-November. Santorini enjoys good weather at that time of the year so it’s a great time to walk around and explore. If you’re going to the island for all those pristine beaches, come in May to October. It’s a great time to hit the beaches and go swimming. 

It’s never a good idea to go for all-in vacation packages when visiting Santorini. Just get your flight and hotel separately. You’ll get better deals that way. It’s not hard to secure spots on the island as long as you book early.

The four caldera towns are the best places you can find accommodations in when in Santorini. They have the best views that the island can offer. Plus they’re the busiest parts of the island so the best restaurants, stores, and hotels are located on them. 

Commuting in Santorini is not very hard. The buses have a great system of going around and there’re plenty of them. The island is a great place to walk around to get to places. You could also get a car rental if you really want to explore every part of Santorini

Don’t worry about language barriers because Santorini is very good with English. They have a lot of tourists every year that establishments and even locals can speak the language very well.

Santorini has unique black and red sand beaches. Santorini’s beaches are beautifuland are some of the best things about the island that you definitely don’t want to pass up on. They’re about 20 minutes away from the town of Fira so it’s good to visit them during the day. 

The best part of the island

The best part of Santorini really depends on your tastes. If you’re heavy on the view, and you love the busy and active life in towns. Then the western part of the island is for you. It has the view of the caldera and therefore, has more tourists than the other side. It also has more restaurants, bars, and stores than anywhere else on the island. But if you’re going for the black and red beaches, the eastern coast of Santorini is for you. It has a looser atmosphere and fewer tourists. Accommodations here are much cheaper than the caldera side. There aren’t as many establishments on this side but that just means it’s quieter. 

Is there an airport on the island?

Santorini, like Mykonos, has its own airport. It’s really close to Fira and Oia and is located near the center of the island. 

Santorini is one of Greece’s most beautiful islands. There’s so many things to like about it. It has the best hotelsamazing tours of the caldera by boat,great tours around wineries, and some ofthe best dishesyou’ll ever have in your life. 

The island is a popular honeymoon destination. It’s also great for romantic dates and holiday vacations.

There are so much you can do while in Santorini that a week won’t even be enough. Aim to save at least three days on the island before moving on to the next one. 

Planning a holiday on the island is not very hard. It’s best to do it by yourself instead of getting a travel agency to take care of it for you. That way, you have control over the quality of your hotels, and how much they would cost you

The Katikies in Oia and Imerovigli’s Grace Santorini are the best hotels on the island. They are the most recommended hotels, even online.  

Holidaying in Santorini this 2019

Where to stay on your vacation in Santorini?

Grace Santorini in Imerovigli is the best place to book a room. It has an infinity pool and an amazing view of the caldera from every part of the hotel.

The Weather on the island

 Between June and September

  • Expect the heat. These months are when Santorini gets its hottest days. 
  • The months of July and August are when Santorini’s foreign visitors reach their highest number. This is when Santorini is most expensive.
  • June and September, the start and the end, are less busy and more relaxed. 

 Between March and May, October to November

  • It’s warm at this on the island. It’s still warm enough to hit the beach without suffering too much from the heat.
  • The best months for swimming are from May up until October.
  • March up until the start of June are the best months for exploring and sightseeing. The months after September and before November are good too. 

 Between December and February

These are Santorini’s quietest months. The island mostly has rain and gray skies at this time. Not a good time to drop by for a visit. 

Every season except winter is a great time to visit Santorini.

Getting to Santorini from Ireland and the UK

Before booking anything, browse through Kayak.co.ukand see if you can find yourself a better and much cheaper deal. 

There are two ways to get to Santorini from this part of the world. You can either go to Athens and then to Santorini or fly straight to the island. It has its own airport anyway. 

Direct flights to the island are available at Leeds, Manchester, and London from the following airports:

British Airway

EasyJet

Thomas Cook Airlines

Heathrow and Gatwick are where your flights are going to be connected if you’re coming from  Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast, or Dublin

If you’re already in Athens, book at Ryan Air or Aegean Airlines going to Santorini. 

Getting to Santorini from Australia, Canada and the USA

Go to Kayak.com, browse through the flights and see which is the closest city that offers a direct flight to Santorini. Only European cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, and London offer flights directly to the island. So you have to go to them first in order to get to the island. Another option is to fly to Athens. You can either take the plane to the island from there or get a ticket to the ferry.  

Getting to Santorini from Athens Via Ferry

Visiting Athens before moving on to Santorini is not a bad idea. It’s cheaper to go to Athens first and then to Santorini instead of just flying directly. You can then take the ferry to go to the island. Ferries are almost always on time and they leave Athens’ port really early. Stay around the are if you’re thinking of catching the earliest ride. You can either buy tickets right on the port before you go or book them early just to be safe. If you booked your tickets, arrive extra early at the port since you still need to them up from the ticket booth. The Blue starand the Hellenic seawaysare the two best ferries to take to Santorini.  

Exploring Athens

Athens is not the best city to go sightseeing in, but it does have its good parts. You can visit the Acropolis and its museum and immerse yourself in ancient culture. You can also walk around the warm and accommodating neighborhood of Plaka and have a taste of their authentic Greek dishes. You can stay at great hotels like the Electra PalaceKing Georgeand the Grande Bretagne. Walk around the neighborhoods of Monastiraki, Syntagma and Plaka to find great foods, close to the best sightseeing spots in the city. If you’re trying to catch the early-morning ferry, and you want to stay close to the port, stay at the A for Athensor the 360 degreeshotel in Monastiraki. It’s close to the train that can take you to Piraeus Port, and it’s not so luxurious and expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, the Myrto Hotelis one of the cheapest accommodations you can find in the city.  

Staying in Santorini

Best accommodation on a holiday

The Katikies in Oia is one of the best hotels you can get in Santorini. 

Finding accommodations on the island

The caldera is Santorini’s crowning jewel. It’s the main things that set the island apart from other Greek Islands. The fours caldera towns in western Santorini are the best places to find hotels in.They are the most touristy places on the island. Visit booking.com to find vacancies in those areas. 

The town of Fira is the unofficial center of tourism in Santorini. It’s the center of the bus system. It has the most number of stores and restaurants, and it’s where Santorini’s night scene is. It’s also the busiest and the noisiest so if you’re looking for something quieter, then find a hotel in nearby Firostefani. It’s really close to Fira but has fewer tourists and is much quieter. It also has a lot of restaurants but not a single bar or any kind of night scene. Imerovigli, on the other hand, is a little farther from Fira but is still of walking distance. Located on the highest point in Santorini, it boasts having the best views in Santorini. It has even fewer establishments than Firostefani, but they’re far more luxurious. Imerovigli has some of the best restaurants on the island. The town has a more romantic feel to it. The town of Oia is also very romantic. It’s a little cut off from the other three islands. It has only a single bar and a couple of great restaurants but still, it has far more tourists and establishments than Imerovigli. 

Staying on the beach in Santorini

Staying in the Caldera towns is always the best option when finding accommodations on the island. However, if you like the beach so much and want to stay near it more than the caldera, that’s fine too. The beaches in Santorini are on the eastern side of the island, directly opposite the caldera towns. Of course, you can choose to stay on the beach and visit the towns during the day. Choose between the touristy Kamari or the more beautiful Perissa. Kamari has more tourists. It has plenty of restaurants, hotels, and bars. It’s a good place to stay in especially if you have children. Perissa is more of a party scene. It has a lot of great bars and is far too cut off for anyone to be bothered by the loud music. It has plenty of hotels and restaurants to choose from. Both beaches are beautiful. The water in both of them is sparkling and refreshing. Plus, accommodations on the beach are cheaper than those at caldera towns. 

In Fira:

            With Caldera View

  • Aria Suites- Very high end but good for families
  • Cosmopolitan-has a great infinity pool and is really well decorated
  • Kavalari

Without the view and cheaper

  • San Girogio- is really well located, close to everything

In Firostefani:

            With Caldera View

  • Belvedere
  • Tsitouras Collection– Accommodating owners with a beautiful place
  • Homeric Collection– great views of the place

Without the view and cheaper

  • Hotel Sofia

In Imerovigli:

            With Caldera View

  • Cavo Tagoo– new and stylish hotel
  • Grace Santorini– One of the best hotels on the island
  • Astra suites– Great private hotel with a pool and other great perks

Without the view and cheaper

  • Imerovigliosso

In Oia:

            With Caldera View

  • Canaves– luxurious hotel in Oia
  • Perivolas– Great hotel with top-notch service
  • Katikies-One of the best hotels on the island
  • Oia Castle– has great views of the sunset

Without the view and cheaper

  • Anemomilis

Here are some of the best restaurants and bars on the island

  • If you’re in Fira, check out
    • Restaurants: Lucky’s Souvlaki,Naoussa
    • Bars: Tropical, Kira Thira Jazz, Koo Bar, Two Brothers
    • If you’re in Oia, check out
      • Restaurants: Roka
      • Bars: Hasapiko 
    • If you’re in Pyrgos, check out
      • Restaurants: Cava Alta
    • If you’re in Ammoudi, check out
      • Restaurants: Ammoudi Fish Taverna
    • If you’re in Imerovigli, check out
      • Restaurants: Anogi, Avocado, Mezzo
    • If you’re in Exo Gonia, check out
      • Restaurants: Metaxy Mas

When is Santorini,activities you can’t pass up oninclude the Fira to Oia footpath hike at least once, Explore the historical site of Akrotiri and go swimming below Oia in Ammoudi Bay. 

Tours you can’t miss

The photography tour

Wine tour that lasts half a day

A Beautiful Sunset Cruise

See the highlights of Santorini 

Things to remember during your vacation in Santorini 

Imerovigli rests on the highest point of the island. It has an unblocked view of everything. It has the best sunset and the best view of the caldera.

Fira has great views of the caldera. But because of its location, the view of the sunset can be blocked by other islands near Santorini. In Oia, you have to position yourself well to get good views. You can enjoy the caldera on one side and the sunset on the other. There is no in-between. 

If you’re looking for a great place to see the sunset in, go to the Athenian House in Imerovigli. You can enjoy their great food while watching the sun dive down on the horizon. Oia’s Sunset cafehas a good view of the sunset too, but the food is not as great as that in the Athenian House.  

Absolute bliss in Imerovigli has the best sunset on the island. It’s located in one of the highest points in Imerovigli and has the most beautiful uninterrupted views. It also has a great pool, not an infinity pool, and lots of other perks. Like most hotels in Santorini, it also fills up fast but not as fast as Grace Santorini. If you’re looking for infinity pools in Santorini, check out this article. 

If you’re going swimming in Santorini, you can either go to the Kamari beach or Perissa Beach. Both are very good and clean beaches with sparkling blue waters. Although Perissa is more beautiful, it’s secluded and hard to reach by commute. Kamari, on the other hand, is not very far from Fira and has more hotels, restaurants, a crazy night scene. There are also good hotels in this part of the island and are much cheaper than those in the caldera towns. Learn more with this article about Beaches in Santorini.

If you’re having a hard time choosing hotels, see this article about the best hotels in Santorini. The best of the best among them is theKatikies in Oiaand the Grace in Imerovigli.

Santorini is undeniably expensive. There are very few cheap hotels on the island, but all of them are of high quality. They’re very clean. The rooms are great; they’re well located, and the people who run them are friendly. Read this article that goes into detail about all the cheap hotels on the island. Here are the best of them:

  • Fira’s Pelican Hotel
  • Oia’s Anemomilos Hotel Apartments
  • Firostefani’s Blue Dolphin Apartments 
  • Kamari’s Narkissos Hotel

When planning your vacation, avoid cheap bundled holiday packages. It’s better to book your hotel and plane separately. This way, you’ll have absolute control over the price and the quality of your flight and your accommodation. Bundles are often pre-arranged by hotels with travel agencies. 

Don’t jump to all free meals when booking hotels. Santorini is a foodie’s paradise. When you walk around the island, there no helping the fact that you’re going to eat. You’re missing out on one of the best things about the island by grabbing deals like that thinking you can save money with them. Just go with hotels that have complimentary breakfast and no other meals. 

It’s always recommended to book hotels and flights early when going to Santorini. The luxury rooms have to be secured months in advance. Of course, a last minute trip to the island is still possible. But be prepared to stay in cheap to average hotels because they will have the only room available at the last minute. 

If you’re looking for a room with a kitchen, go for villas and secure them in advance. There aren’t many villas on the island, but they are very much in demand. Start searching at least a year in advance and book months before your actual trip to the island. 

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to book your accommodations early. Santorini is a hot tourist destination. Hotel rooms here sell out like hotcakes. Establishments in Santorini are often small. Even the hotels only have an average of 20 rooms max. With that number, it’s understandable why accommodations on the island are hard to find. Don’t worry too much about which hotel you should book. It’s not an exaggeration to say that all of Santorini’s hotels are good quality. You would never hear a bad hotel experience on the island. Just get yourself a room and enjoy your vacation. You’re going to one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The last thing that will ruin it is your choice in hotel rooms. Here’s a helpful article that will help you find a good hotel room in Greece.

Introducing the island of Santorini

Here is an outline you can follow in Planning your Santorini vacation

Time your vacation

If you’re going to explore and admire the view, the months before and after peak tourist season is the best time to schedule your vacation. These are the months of April-May and October-November. If you’re planning to go swimming, come from June-September. Those are Santorini’s hottest summer months. The water is going to be really great at that time.

If you’re still unsure, and you want more details about the weather on the island, read this article about when to visit Santorini.

How to get there

You can get to Santorini either by flying directly from some cities in Europe, or going to Athens and traveling to Santorini from there. 

Taking the ferry is one of the most popular ways to travel around the Aegean Sea. If you want to find a ferry that could take you to Santorini, book a ticket with Blue Star. It’s not a high-speed ferry and would actually take a longer time to travel to the island, but it’s cheaper and it has an open-air deck. If you don’t think the deck is worth taking the ride for, wait until you get close to Santorini. Your eyes are going to get a treat with the view. The Blue star has big boats, one of the reasons why it’s cheap. It also means that because of its size, it’s more stable than most other ferries. 

Blue star has schedules going to Santorini everyday of the week and it’s earliest departure from Athens is around 7:30 am. Arrive at the port early if you want to catch it. 

Some parts of Europe offer direct flights to the island. If you’re lucky enough to be close to them, just get a cheap flight going to the island. However, if you’re from somewhere else, going to Athens first is your best option. You can take the ferry or book a ticket to Olympic Air going to the island. 

  • Read more about Going to Santorini via Blue Star Ferry
  • Visit Kayak.comto get the best flight deals to Europe and to Santorini
  • Some things you should know about flying to Greece
  • Some things you should know about taking the ferry from Athens to Santorini
  • Some things you should know about taking the ferry from Mykonos to Santorini
  • Some things you should know about taking the ferry from Crete to Santorini

Cruises to Santorini are a waste of time and good money. The island has too much to offer that stopping by for a few hours won’t work for you. 

Staying in Santorini

The best part of Santorini is its caldera side. Choose a hotel that’s located in the four caldera towns. If you want to be part of the night scene and like busy towns, book a room in Fira. If you want to be a part of the busy Fira but can’t stand the noise at night, find accommodations in Firostefani. Fira is walking distance from there. If you’re heavy on the view, choose between the towns of Oia and Imerovigli. 

If you’re going for the beach, find accommodations in either the Perissa beach or the Kamari beach. Kamari is more touristy of the two. There are twice more activities in here than Perissa and much more establishments. Perissa, on the other hand, is the more beautiful of the two. It’s quieter and harder to commute to. It has plenty of bars and a surprisingly active night scene. If you have kids, beach towns are a good place to find accommodations in. 

Which of the towns in Santorini is the best

The most beautiful beach on the island

Picking hotels

Think of booking hotels in Santorini as hunger games. You literally have to fight for the best rooms. The key to getting the best accommodations on the island is to start booking early, especially if you’re gunning for the rooms with a view, the cheap but quality accommodations and the most luxurious ones. 

If you’re backed into a corner, and you have no other choice, try visiting Hotelscombined.com. It’s a really helpful website that combs through many hotel websites to find out if they have vacancies. You can also walk around the port when you get off the ferry. There are hotel owners who wait there and offer rooms. They don’t have the best rooms on the island, but it beats sleeping on the streets, so they’ll have to do. 

The best accommodations on the island. 

How to get a good room in Greece

Finding good villas on the island

Cheap but quality accommodations in Santorini

Exploring the place

Buses are the most reliable and most common way to go around Santorini. They’re very cheap, and they’re comfortable enough. Each trip would only cost $2 except or the port to Fira trip, which costs just  a little more than that. All the buses in Santorini begin and end in Fira. If you’re transferring from one place to another, you have to go to Fira first and transfer buses from there. 

Don’t worry about your arrival, there will always be a bus waiting in the port at all times. Those buses also go through the airport and wait for passengers coming from there. During peak tourist season, buses are in operation until after midnight.

Buses don’t reach the entire island. If you really want to explore every part of Santorini, Get a rental car. It’s more a more convenient way to go around. This way you don’t have to waste your time traveling back to Fira and getting in line to board another bus. Rentals in Santorini also get book fast, especially for Automatic transmissions. So secure your car really early. 

Small vehicles like ATV and scooters are only available on local renting companies. 

Get a rental car in Santorini

See the island’s bus schedule 

Taxi Reservation(probably a good idea if you’re coming in on an airport)

Visit the websiteCars for rent in Santorinito see available models for rental cars on the island.

Activities that you shouldn’t miss

Santorini is action packed. There are so many things to do in your little time there. 

Here are some of the most important things that you have to do when you’ Santorini(or you’ll miss out)

Stand anywhere in Oia during the sunset

The sunset in Santorini is famous. It’s one of the first things people will talk to you about when you mention Santorini. One of the best places to see the sun diving into the horizon is Oia’s Sunset Cafe. Have a drink in your hand while enjoying the view. 

Join a boat tour

Get close to the view you’ve been staring at from Santorini. A boat tourwill take you to the caldera, the volcano, and all the little islands around them.

Dive into Oia’s Ammoudi bay

The waters at the bottom of Oia’s cliff are legendary. It’s a well-recommended by the locals and there are a couple of good restaurants around so be sure to give it a try when you’re in Santorini. 

Make the Fira-Oia footpath journey

One of the most beautiful things you can do in Santorini. This activity should be on everyone’s list. Walking through the Fira to Oia path can take about 3 hours. But given the view that will accompany you on your way there, you won’t even feel the time. 

Explore a winery

Santorini’s wine is famous. Explore a wineryand learn their wine-making process. Some wineries on the island have great views of the caldera from their location like the winery Santo. 

The best dishes on the island

Don’t forget to reserve a seat before knocking on a restaurant. The best ones that you could find yourself in are Metaxy Mas,Ammoudi Fish Taverna in Oia, and Noussa in Fira. These restaurants serve authentic Greek seafood, and they have some of the best dishes that would ever touch your tongue in your entire lifetime. Here’s an article that goes into detail about the best restaurants on the island

Santorini is going to be a trip to remember. You will never regret going on this trip. Just get yourself a room and a flight to the island. All of your worries are going to dissolve once you see it with your own eyes.