Santorini, Greece is famous for the nickname “Paradise on Earth”. Any visitor who has the opportunity to visit Santorini is passionate about the unique architectural beauty with a perfect combination of white and blue tones. Santorini, an island in the southern Aegean Sea, known as a popular holiday paradise not only in Greece but also in Southern Europe. The island covers an area of 73km² and is a remnant of a crater. This place is famous for two peaceful white-green tones, these are also two colors in the national flag of Greece. In Greek, the island is called Thira, but Santorini (Latin name) is still most commonly used. Traveling to Santorini, you will feel the enchanting beauty of architecture, landscape and people here. Not only that, Santorini is also one of the most beautiful for watching sunsets in the world. Now, let’s check it out our Santorini travel blog (Santorini blog post, Santorini blog) — The fullest Santorini travel guide for a budget and great trip to Santorini for the first-timers to Santorini and the suggested Santorini itinerary 2 days from how to get to Santorini, when is the best time to visit Santorini to best places to visit and top things to do in Santorini for the first-time below.
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Santorini travel blog: When is the best time to visit Santorini?
The peak tourist season in Santorini is around July and August with the bright sunshine and the blue sky. Because it is a peak season, if you travel to Santorini at this time, you will meet a lot of tourists and the service price will be very expensive. If possible, you should go to this paradise island around June or September and October because this time the weather is cooler, not too sunny, not too crowded and the prices of tourist activities are also cheaper. You should not travel to Santorini from November to March, because this is a low tourist season, most Greek islands are closed and all services are very sparse.
Santorini travel guide: How to get to Santorini?
There are two main vehicles to getting to Santorini from Athens – Greece, which are plane and ferry
You can also directly fly from other European countries to Santorini, but you will often have to transit in Athens (there is no need for transit from Rome to Santorini). One day there are quite a few flights to Santorini by Greek airlines such as Aegean Airlines, Olympic Air, or some low-cost European airlines such as EasyJet, Ryan Air, which take about 45-50 minutes from Athens to Santorini.
Santorini airport is quite small, so if you depart from Santorini you should go to the airport early to avoid have to long queues. Between the airport and Santorini villages there are cheap buses running back and forth, or you can choose a taxi, rent a motorbike and a car as a means of transportation.
If you depart from Athens or other places by plane, you should pay attention to go early because the tourists are very crowded and the airport is small. If you come close to the flight time it is very likely that you have to queue for a long time and the risk of missed flights is also higher.
Note: From Paris you can fly directly to Santorini by Transavia Airlines CV and from Orly airport, however the fare seems quite high.
To getting to Santorini island in the cheapest way and most popular, you should take a ferry. Called a ferry but it is a very large high-speed ship that operating by many operators such as Blue Star Ferries, Hellenic Seaways Ferries, Seajets … but the most famous is probably still the Blue Star Ferries. In summer (from April to October – the peak tourist season), Blue Star Ferries usually takes a trip from Athens from the previous afternoon to arrive early in the morning, saving a hotel night, or having a quick trip more than just 11, 12 am to arrive, and there are many other day trips of other firms. But in winter (low season), there is only one trip during the day from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm will arrive.
You can reserve ferry tickets through the websites below for a ticket price of 37.5 euros / way.
If you have pre-booked a ticket online, you should take a bus from the airport when you arrive in Athens to Piraeus port to get a printed ticket. When departing, you take the train from the center to the port again. After that, when you leave Athens, you need to go early for 1 hour in advance to avoid missed your trip, and remember to check carefully to see where the ferry boarding gate of your ferry is where, what is the symbol of the ferry boarding gate. This is very important because this port is very large, you are easily lost.
In fact, you usually do not need to book in advance because every day there are ferries to Santorini and with very large ships, they are very wide and many seats, you rest assured that there are always empty seats, but in the peak months, booking in advance is better. Ferry tickets can be purchased directly from the shipping company’s offices at the port or tour agents. Another means you might consider is the small wooden boats, which is slower but is also an option for your plan.
Santorini travel blog: Getting around Santorini
There are many means of transport in Santorini, such as taxis, buses travel between villages, shuttle buses to the airport, or most convenient, you should rent a scooter, a tricycle, ATV, or a quad bike to travel for the few days. If you have good financial conditions, you can rent a small car if traveling in a group.
If you take a ferry to Santorini, at the ferry terminal there will be a taxi or big bus to bring you to the villages on the island, the bus is much cheaper at about 1-2 euros / person. To move from the hotel to the airport you can take a public bus, or ask the hotel owner to call a taxi to transport passengers to the airport for a more expensive price (about 10 euro / person).
All buses, if you want to go to any places in Santorini, you have to change your car at Fira, not straight forward. For example, if you want to go from Akrotiri to Oia, you still have to go from Akrotiri to Fira, then transfer to the car from Fira – Oia.
Before getting on the bus, ask everyone around you carefully, and pay attention to the signboard at the top of the car to know if you are on the right trip, because it is known as the central bus station of the island but employees can not speak English and there is no any signboard.
The operating time, prices, routes of public buses on the island can be found here: https://ktel-santorini.gr/index.php/en/.
To move between villages or places and beaches on the island, you can rent a scooter or a three wheeled motorcycle that look very style. You should refer the prices at anywhere because as in my case, near my hostel I have rent a motorbike cheaper than other places, only 12 euros / car / day while at the shops in Thira center are fully priced at 15 euros / day but still quite complicated about the driver’s license. Gasoline you will have to fill up yourself. Note that Santorini fuel prices are very expensive, about 1.5 euros / liter.
A small note is that Google Maps should not be used on the island because the directions are so silly. If you want to find your own way, ask the hotel reception first.
Santorini blog post: Where to stay in Santorini?
Room rates at resorts, hotels and hostels in Santorini has many levels for you to choose from, if you stay in a hostel and rent a bed, the price is only 10-15 euro / person / night. You should stay in Fira village (Thira) for convenience to travel because it is the largest and busiest village in Santorini, the price of everything is cheaper than in Oia village (Ia). The farther away from the center, the cheaper the price. Before you go you should email to the hotel in advance to ask for information about where you will stay, see what is there, what facilities are available, or have a shuttle from the airport or ferry to the hotel or not?
Tourists traveling to Santorini will stay in the hotels or hotels in the following areas: Fira village, Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostafani. These are the most beautiful and convenient areas in Santorini Island, due to located along the western cliff of the island, overlooking the Nea Kameni volcano.
Oia and Imerovigli are villages with the best views and also the most romantic places in Santorini island. In addition, Imerovigli also has the most famous and highly rated restaurants in Santorini. And these are also the two places with the highest room rates in Santorini.
Hotel room rates in Oia with sea view, the cheapest price is also around $300 / night, the rest is almost $400 / night or more. Airbnb in Oia, renting a private apartment is about $220 – $350, located close to the cliff, overlooking to the sea, very beautiful and cheaper than the hotel. However, Airbnb will run out of rooms very soon. Sometimes you have to book before half a year to have a nice room depending on luck.
If you go to Santorini to watch the sunset, Oia and Imerovigli are the two most ideal places. While Oia is the most beautiful place but also the most crowded, in Imerovigli you can leisurely recline on a long cushion and sip a glass of wine and relax watching the sunrise. No need worry about crowd to looking for a beautiful spot to watch the sunset as in Oia.
If you have more than one night in Santorini, we recommend the first night to go to Oia watching the sun set, and the second night stay at the Imerovigli hotel to watch the sunset with quiet space completely relaxed but the view is still beautiful almost equal to Oia. Imerovigli is also an ideal place for couples who want a romantic space.
Hotel room rates in Imerovigli are a bit cheaper than Oia. With about $100 – $300 for 1 night in a hotel close to the cliff with a view straight to Nea Kameni volcano or / and view to Oia village. The more expensive, the more beautiful the view. Airbnb in Imerovigli offers a private apartment price of $100 – $250 / night. According to our observations, any apartment with a range price of ~ $130 or more will have an extremely beautiful view including Nea Kameni volcano and sunset view at Oia village.
Recommend some hotels in Imerovigli we went through and see a very nice view: Ira Hotel, Blue Dolphin Apartment.
For those who love shopping, clubbing and nightlife, Fira village is your ideal place. However, in Fira, the view is still considered so-so but cannot be compared to Oia and Imerovigli. And even some hotels / guesthouses have no beautiful views to Nea Kameni volcano or sunset view. So, room rates here are much cheaper than Oia and Imerovigli.
The cheapest hotel room rates for those who have low budget that is in Firostafani village. The hotels in Firostefani are the cheapest in the above areas but still has views towards the volcano. Firostafani is only a 10-minute walk from the central village of Fira and not too crowded like Fira.
In Kamari will have Santorini’s most beautiful beaches for those who enjoy swimming and beach activities. However, you will not have a volcanic view or admire beautiful sunset scene. Furthermore, as a Santorini’s villager said, you shouldn’t go to Santorini just for the beaches here. It does not have stretches of white sand with clear blue sea.
Some luxury hotels you may consider below, all are high-end and view to the Aegean Sea, with swimming pool, massage, breathtaking scenery!
- Fira Village: Cosmopolitan Suites; Fanari Vista Suites;
- Oia Village: Katikies Hotel; Canvas Suites;
- Imerovigli Village: Grace Santorini; Condo Hotel Aqua Luxury Suites Santorini
- Firostefani Village: The Tsitouras Collection
Below are some best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Oia Mare Villas (Address: ΟIA Santorini Cyclades, Oía 847 02, Greece, Philippines / Phone: +30 2286 071070), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $174/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Anemomilos Hotel And Villas (Address: Oia, Thira 847 02, Greece / Phone: +30 2286 071410), a 2-star hotel with room rates from $54/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Apanemo Hotel & Suites (Address: Akrotiri 847 00, Greece / Phone: +30 2286 082831), a aparment with room rates from $142/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Costa Marina Villas (Address: Agiou Athanasiou 2, Thira 847 00, Greece / Phone: +30 2286 028923), a villa room rates from $66/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Blue Dolphins Apartments & Suites (Address: Firostefani, Thira 847 00, Greece / Phone: +30 2286 023173), aparments with room rates from $93/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Hotel Kavalari (Address: Ipapantis, Fira 847 00, Greece / Phone: +30 2286 022455), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $105/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
- Rocabella Santorini Hotel & Spa (Address: Imerovigli 847 00, Greece / Phone: +30 2286 110000), a 4-star hotel with room rates from $266/night. (Check rates and reviews on Agoda.com or Booking.com).
Santorini travel guide blog: Best places to visit & top things to do in Santorini
Fira (Thira) Village
The central village of Santorini, home to play and entertainment services on the island. This is the largest and most populous village in Santorini. You can buy everything here with cheaper prices than other places, from restaurants, hotels or supermarkets that are diverse. Due to located in the center of the island, you can easily go from Thira to other villages like Oia or Perissa and come back easily. Particularly, going to see the houses stretching on the cliffs in Thira also takes you all day, and especially watching the sunset here is also great.