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42 Essential Tips to Know to Visit Santorini in Summer 2024

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

Santorini is one of the favorite vacation spots for honeymooners and people in love.

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 research and find what is best for you.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini
Andronis Luxury Suites

Have a look at my article "7 Best Stylish Hotels 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 planning 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.



*Disclosure: This article contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you I guarantee, if you purchase through my links. See it as a way to thank me and support my travel blog for all the information I provide.


42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

Enjoy!


If you will like this article, feel free to leave a comment below and share it with your friends, maybe someone you know is planning to visit Santorini.

*All links in every article open on a new page so you won’t lose this page while looking around!


santorini Perissa beach, valentina's travel guide, essential tips to visit santorini

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 remember 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 in Santorini that you cannot see all its beauty in one day.



Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

2. Santorini is extremely busy and crowded during the high season (June-August):


I went to visit Santorini 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 too many people passed by.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini
During the sunset in Oia

Not to mention the famous sunset in Oia. It was so crowded that I did not enjoy it at all.


I advise visiting 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.



Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

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.


Locals 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 their country and their culture.

 

Want to eat Santorini delicacies?


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

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 distance, so check a Greece map and ensure you have enough time to travel to every place you wish to see.


Travel Tip: The islands around Santorini are Crete, Ios, Amorgos, Paros, Milos, and Naxos. These are only a few of them; even if you have never heard of them all, it doesn't mean they are not worth visiting.

Every Greek island is beautiful. You only didn't hear about them because they are not part of the most advertised ones where everyone goes.


There are more islands to see in Greece than only Mykonos and Santorini.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

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, traveling 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 will also save money for one night of accommodation.

Look at the Ferryhopper widget down here, book in advance, and save money!



Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

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 remember that your ferry might not always leave early in the morning.


You might get to your next destination after lunchtime, thn 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 schedule. Otherwise, you will risk ruining your travel by being tired all the time.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

7. Make sure always to print 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 in advance to save some cash.

Otherwise, if you prefer to buy your ticket on the spot, arrive at the ferry pier in advance and buy your tickets at the ticket office. The queue might be long in some places and during high season, so arrive early.


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.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

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 more 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.


essential tips to visit santorini

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.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

11. Bring with you water shoes:


Water shoes are a holiday saver. They are very colorful, and comfortable, and they will save you a lot of pain while walking on the rocks or the beautiful pebble beach (there is not only sand in Greece).


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

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 heavy tourists up to very steep stairs is unfortunate.


I know donkeys are very strong, but when you see those stairs, you will understand what I am talking about.

So please don't do it.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

13. If traveling with friends, please share your meal:


And by 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 traveling 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 Santorini has to offer.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

14. Book a seat inside the ferry:


If you are going to Santorini by ferry, trust me that traveling 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.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

15. If you are traveling to Santorini from a very distant place, check what the best traveling option is:


Sometimes 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 traveling 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.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

16. You don't have to stay in those beautiful but costly hotels on the cliff to get suitable accommodation:


Santorini is full of beautiful hotels with lovely terraces and a blue swimming pool with a stunning view.


I saved a lot of money by staying at a hotel only 10 minutes by bus from Fira (one of the main towns on the famous west side cliff in Santorini).


Orizontes Hotel and Villas

We got a massive room at the Orizontes Hotel and Villas with a huge bathroom.


The breakfast was delicious and was served in a nice restaurant with an island view, there was a big swimming pool, and by doing this, we saved a lot of money.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

17. Eat local:


Greek food in Greece is much different from what you might have eaten in your own country at a Greek restaurant. My advice is always to do your research about the local cuisine.



Also, when you go to a restaurant, ask your waiter about the local dishes. Every region has different local delicious food, not only gyros, greek salad, and moussaka (that are delicious), but trust me, there is much more to try while exploring Greece.



buy souvenirs in santorini, Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

18. Buy local products as souvenirs:


I think the best way to bring your holiday back home with you and give it to your family and friends (if you used to bring back some souvenirs for them) is by buying local products.


In Greece, you can find delicious infused olive oils, olives of every kind and color, dry herbs, infused honey (I bought delicious Thyme honey in Ios, for example), some almond cookies, handmade soaps, lava items, donkey milk face creams and much more.




Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

19. If you wish to dine on a terrace and enjoy the sunset, book a table in advance:


I wanted a romantic dinner on a terrace on the cliff's edge while enjoying the famous Santorini sunset. So I chose one that, in my opinion, was perfect for the location and the prices, and I booked it as soon as we arrived on the island.


I wanted to get the table in the first row, so I wouldn't have anyone in front of me, only the sea. It was a wonderful, very romantic experience, and the food was pretty good, too, and not expensive.



Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

20. four days are the perfect time to explore Santorini:


Santorini offers a lot to its visitors. There are beautiful towns to explore, lovely local shops where to shop, incredible restaurants, lovely black sand beaches to take stunning pictures, unique sunset spots (not only from Oia), and boat trips to explore places you cannot reach by car.


If you want to see everything on the island of Santorini, I think you should stay a whole week to have time for some relaxation at the beach.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

21. Take your time while eating at a restaurant:


While in Greece, take your time to enjoy your holiday, do not rush running up and down, eating fast, and pretending that your waiter will give you the bill even before you have finished your meal.


Enjoy an excellent cold espresso and maybe a glass of Ouzo or one of the other typical drinks after your meal (in some restaurants, they will give it to you as a complimentary drink with your bill, so please leave a tip).


Greece is a place to relax, so enjoy every little detail.

 

Visiting Santorini on a budget?



22. People are allowed to smoke inside restaurants and bars:


In Greece, most people smoke, and they do it inside bars and restaurants.

If you cannot eat where people are smoking at the table next to you, I highly recommend choosing a location with a garden or a terrace.


Also, check if the people at the table next to you are smoking or have an ashtray at their table. You can always ask to be seated at another table.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

23. Leave a tip at the restaurant:


If you went out to eat and liked the food and the service, please leave at least a 10% tip.


It is essential to show appreciation (it is also part of their salary because salaries in hospitality are usually relatively low); most of the restaurants in Santorini and some in Athens are open only during the summer season.


They also work very hard thanks to the affluence of tourists, so let them know you appreciate their work and service.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

24. Gyros can be incredibly cheap:


In case you are on a budget, or even not, you will be surprised about how cheap Gyros can be. And they are also delicious. I ate them a lot while traveling around Greece.


They are fast to get. You can eat them everywhere to save time while traveling.

You will find different Gyros, with varying types of meat and vegetarians, with delicious falafel inside.



Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

25. Always bring cash with you:


Many small bars, tavernas, and shops still do not accept card payments, so keep that in mind and always have some cash with you.


Also, if you are not sure, ask the waiter before ordering if they accept card payments so you can withdraw some money before enjoying your meal.


You should always have a prepaid travel card for all the card payments to get the best money exchange. Get here the travel card I could never travel without.



26. Cash machines are everywhere:


And I mean everywhere.

They are very well signposted. But if you don't see any, don't be shy and enter a shop to ask where you can find one. It doesn't matter if you don't speak Greek.


Most locals who work with tourists understand some English in tourist places.

Otherwise, make sure to always have google translate offline on your phone. It can save your life while traveling abroad.


book your accommodation in santorini

27. Book your accommodation a lot in advance:


Greece is a top-rated summer destination, so if you want to get the best deal for the best accommodation that suits all your needs, book as soon as possible.


Greek accommodation, especially in the most famous islands, can get fully booked very soon, so keep that in mind.


Use the Agoda Widget down below to book your accommodation in Santorini and save money



28. Book everything a lot in advance:


Santorini is so famous that everything can go sold out pretty fast.

I advise booking flights and accommodations as soon as you know your holiday dates and everything you wish to do, like activities in Santorini, restaurants, bars, tables, and much more.


Yes, I wrote bar tables because there are some fantastic bars in perfect places to enjoy stunning views and sunset. In my opinion, getting the correct table is very important to avoid having people obstructing the view.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini


29. Sunbeds and umbrellas are free in some areas:


By saying they are free, I mean you don't have to pay for them, but you must purchase something at the bar/restaurant adjacent.


This is a very cool thing in Greece. Of course, it is not the same everywhere, but it works very well in some areas of Greece (I found this in Santorini, Paros, and Ios).


You can lie down for free and only have to get lunch at their restaurant.

You will find the menu attached to the umbrella (so you can check prices), someone will come to take your order, and you will get lunch served while getting tan.

Isn't it amazing?


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

30. Book a room with no breakfast included might save you money:


Most hotels charge 10 euros per person to have breakfast. Greece has bakeries everywhere, and their sweets and savories are delicious.


This is an excellent way to try local food and save money. While in Ios and Mykonos, I only book a room without breakfast, and I ate in a different bakery every morning. Guys, I tried so much fantastic local food; you have no idea.


So, if you want to try as many local dishes as possible while in Greece, try this option. Greek food in bakeries is exceptionally cheap. You can have breakfast by spending only a couple of euros.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini
Pegasus Suites & Spa

31. If money is not an issue, book an excellent room in Oia or Fira:


These two towns, on top of the cliffs in the western area of the island, are where you will find all the best hotels and resorts.


Do you remember those perfect rooms you saw on Instagram with the private swimming pool? They are there at a high price (like a private cave pool, around 900 euros, but it depends on the hotel's location).


Read "Stunning Hotels with Cave Pool in Santorini" or "Most Amazing Hotels with Private Pool in Santorini," where you will find everything you need to know about these stunning hotels and how to book them.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

32. Bring with you an international driver's license:


Unfortunately, you might end up without the chance to rent a car if you don't have an international driver's license.


So check how to do it in your country (it is just a translation of your driver's license, usually valid for one year). If you are from Europe, you won't have any problems but plan to come from outside the EU.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

33. Don't drink and drive:


I don't want to sound like your mother, but when I got to Mykonos, and I met the guy who brought my rental car to the port for me, the first thing he told me was that only that summer more than 50 people died because they got in a scooter or quad crash.


I am not joking, guys, more than 50 people in only three months.

Greece has the third-highest motorcycle deaths in Europe, and the cause is that kids go there on holiday, rent a scooter even if they have never driven one, get drunk, and lose their life crashing against something or falling from a cliff.


While in Mykonos, I saw many kids driving scooters.
It was terrifying. It was evident that it was their first time on a scooter. Imagine them driving in the middle of the night, on streets they do not know, under the effect of alcohol.

So, please, be careful.


I know this article is about Santorini, but I still want to let you know how dangerous it can be to hire a scooter when you don't know how to drive it.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 42 Essential Tips to Know Before Visiting Santorini

34. Choose to explore the island by bus:


I highly recommend you to do as I did, travel the island by bus.

They are as cheap as 1.80 euros per way, they are very frequent and will take you everywhere around the island.


The only issue is if you visit Santorini during the high season because buses can be very crowded.