42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini
Santorini is one of the favourite vacation spots for honeymooners and people in love.
Where you can sleep in luxury suites with a private pool with a sea view, have all your meal on a terrace while looking at the famous "caldera" and walk around white-washed houses taking stunning pictures.
Santorini is not only for couples looking for a romantic holiday, it offers the perfect vacation for everyone, a group of friends and families. You only need to do your research and find what is best for you.
Have a look at my article "7 Best Stylish Accommodations on a Budget in Santorini" in case you don't want to break the bank, or "7 Most Amazing Hotels with Private Pool in Santorini" if you are looking for something more expensive and luxury.
Anything you need to know about how to plan the perfect visit to Santorini is on my "The Most Complete Guide of Santorini" where you will find all the articles I wrote about this magical island.
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1. Plan to spend more than one day in Santorini:
If there is also a visit to the famous island of Santorini in your Greece itinerary, please keep in mind that this island is more than just the little town of Oia and Fira where to take Instagrammable pictures.
Of course, it is mainly famous for that, but there are so many lovely beaches, boat trips and restaurants try that you cannot see all its beauty in one day.
2. Santorini is extremely busy and crowded during the high season (June-August):
I went there in the middle of September, and even though it wasn't crazy busy, I could not walk freely and take pictures in the main streets because there were too many people passing by.
Not to mention the famous sunset in Oia. It was so crowded that I did not enjoy it at all.
My advice is to visit Santorini in May when it's already warm or at the beginning of October when it's still hot, and it is undoubtedly less crowded.
Also, check which days the cruise ships arrive in Santorini here. In those days, the islands got crazy crowded with thousands of people running, trying to see as much as possible.
Prices will be much lower in the low season, and you will not need to book every restaurant you wish to go to.
3. Make sure to learn some essential words:
I know, the Greek language might be intimidating for some of us. Still, you have no idea how hospitable Greek people are. They will appreciate the effort, so learn some essential words on Duolingo to use at your accommodation or in a restaurant, like good morning, good evening, thank you, etc.
You might end up becoming friends with some locals just because you show them how much you like your country and your culture just only by saying a few Greek words.
Cannot wait to Eat Santorini Delicacies?
4. In case you want to visit more islands, check how far they are from Santorini:
Greece is a vast country and some islands are next to each other, and you can travel between them in only 30 minutes by ferry.
But some of them can be 10 or more hours of travel distant, so check a Greece map and make sure you have enough time to travel to every place you wish to see.
Tip: The islands around Santorini are Crete, Ios, Amorgos, Paros, Milos and Naxos.
These are only a few of them, and even if you have never heard of them, it doesn't mean they are not worth a visit.
Every Greek island is beautiful. You only didn't hear about them all because they are not part of the most advertised ones where everyone goes.
5. Sleeping on a ferry overnight can be a good option sometimes:
If you have to spend 8 hours on a ferry to reach Santorini, travelling at night is excellent to save time and money. It is cheaper, and you will be spending all the time sleeping.
In this way, you are also going to save money for one night of accommodation.
Have a look at the Ferryhopper widget down here, book in advance and save money!
6. In case you want to stop in Santorini while doing island hopping, plan enough time:
Every Greek island is beautiful, and of course, you wish to visit many of them, but keep in mind that your ferry might not always leave early in the morning.
You might get to your next destination after lunchtime, then go to your accommodation, check-in, get ready to go out, and more than half-day is gone.
I highly recommend you to make sure to have at least two full days at each place.
In this way, you can explore around and have some time to enjoy the beach.
And in the evening, go to a nice restaurant.
Have time to have fun and relax. It is your holiday, after all, so don't plan a too tight trip. Otherwise, you are going to risk ruining your travel by being tired all the time.
7. Make sure to always print out your ferry tickets:
When I planned a Greek islands tour, I booked everything in advance (like I always do to save money) and printed all the tickets I had.
It was a great choice because they want to see your paper copy while embarking on a ferry.
Book all your tickets on Ferryhopper, save money and time.
Otherwise, if you prefer to buy your ticket on the spot, make sure to arrive at the ferry pier in advance and buy your tickets at the ticket office. The queue might be pretty long in some places and during high season, so make sure to arrive a lot in advance.
Another thing you can do in case you leave Athens port and do a hopping island tour is to buy all your tickets at the same time (and a lot in advance) and then print them all out.
8. Beaches are free:
All the beaches in Greece are accessible, but you will have to pay if you want to relax on a more comfortable sunbed.
The price depends on the month and the location, some are free only if you purchase a drink at the bar and you can use them all day.
Prices start from 10 euro per sunbed.
Want to Know Everything About Santorini?
9. Always apply good sunscreen:
Sun can be scorching and damage your skin during the Greeks summers, so be smart and buy a good aloe vera sunscreen lotion, and please do not forget to apply it more times a day.
It is essential to avoid looking like a lobster and spend the rest of your holiday indoors and in pain. Also, always apply an aloe vera aftersun lotion, it will make your skin heal from the sun damage.
10. Bring your sunscreen from home or buy it at the airport before you leave:
You have no idea how expensive sunscreen can be in Greece, mainly in the most popular islands. A regular sunscreen that you might pay 5/8 euros/pounds at home, in Greece can cost you even twice the price, so plan and save money.
11. Bring with you water shoes:
Water shoes are a holiday saver. They are very colourful, comfortable, and trust me, they will save you a lot of pain while walking on the rocks or on the beautiful pebble beach (there is not only sand in Greece).
12. Avoid going up to the cliff riding a poor donkey:
I am absolutely pro of horse riding (I did it for two years, and I always do it while on holiday) but this "local thing" to use a donkey in the worst and hottest weather to bring very heavy tourists up to very steep stairs, is unfortunate.
I know donkeys are very strong, but you will understand what I am talking about when you see those stairs.
So please don't do it.
13. If travelling with friends, please share your meal:
And saying this, I mean that there is so much delicious food in Greece, that you cannot just order a starter and a main course for yourself and try only two things that a restaurant has to offer.
Unless you are travelling alone, share all the food with your travel mates, order different dishes and share everything.
In this way, you are going to try most of the options on the menu, still feeling satisfied but not fully ready to explode (or maybe yes. Greek food is so good you won't be able to stop eating everything), and you will try most of the delicious food Greece has to offer.
14. Book a seat inside the ferry:
If you are going to Santorini by ferry, trust me that travelling on the hot open deck in the middle of the day with 40 degrees or even more is not funny at all.
Make sure to book a seat when purchasing your ferry tickets and ensure that your seat is inside where the air conditioning is always on.
Book Your Accommodation Today
If you have already decided on your travel dates, you should book your accommodation as soon as possible. Prices changes overnight and accommodations in very tourists places are the first ones to get fully booked.
Book your favourite accommodation before someone else does.
15. If you are travelling to Santorini from a very distant place, check what the best travelling option is:
Sometimes the ferry travel can last more than 8 hours, so if there is a direct flight between your destinations, see it as an option instead of travelling by ferry if the price is not exceptionally high. In this way, you will save a lot of time that you might spend at the beach instead.