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33 Mistakes to Avoid to Do in Santorini

Updated: Jun 18, 2023

Oh, Santorini, a beautiful island in the middle of the Aegean Sea, where people from all over the world fly to see what all this fuss is about.


Santorini is an unmissable island to visit while exploring Greece, even just for a day; walk along its narrow alleys with marvelous views of Fira and Oia, take stunning pictures on top of the cliffs with the Caldera in front of you, and try some of the delicacies that this island has to offer.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

Some things are better not to be done, and by avoiding them, your vacation will surely be a success. Because nobody wants to wait months to finally visit such a famous island like Santorini and end up doing something that could ruin it, am I right?


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Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

1. Don't avoid planning a holiday to Santorini only because it is expensive:


Yes, it is much more expensive than any other island and highly crowded during high season, so you only need to avoid getting there during high season.


The high season in Greece goes from the second half of June and the beginning of September.

That means that if you book a vacation at the end of May/beginning of June or at the end of September, everything will be much cheaper, and you can enjoy the island at your peace.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

2. Don't expect Santorini to be a Party island:


Santorini is one of the most romantic places to spend a honeymoon or a romantic holiday with your partner. That is why you will see how streets get empty after dinner time.


Of course, there are a couple of bars with DJs, some beach bars where you listen to music while sipping a cocktail, or restaurants with some live music, but don't expect more than that.


If you are looking for parties, you should go to Mykonos first then to Santorini by ferry for a couple of days or more.


Check out Ferry prices on FerryHopper, the website I used, and love to book all my ferry tickets.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

3. Don't plan to visit Santorini during winter if you are looking for hot temperatures:


If you look at flights and accommodations prices for Greece during the winter season, you are going to see that prices drop a lot, and yes, you are going to save a lot of money and avoid the summer crowd, but you will also find cold weather (unless you like it, of course).

But what is the point of going to Santorini if it's cold, rainy, and most restaurants and hotels are closed?

Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

Greek is a summer destination, perfect from May to October, but the weather is not sunny and hot as usual from November to April.


I think the best period to visit Santorini is in May, the beginning of June, and at the end of September and October, when kids are at school. No families mean fewer people (unless you travel with kids, of course), it is less crowded, the temperature is already or still warm but not so hot like July, and prices are lower.


 

Want to eat Santorini delicacies?


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

4. Don't book a flight with an arrival time after dark:


Santorini Island can be pretty challenging to drive at night. There are few indications, and if you are looking for your hotel for the first time while driving your rental car or walking with your heavy luggage, it can be challenging, and you might end up lost.


So book an early flight to get there and have plenty of time and light to look for your accommodation.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

5. Don't visit Santorini on the same day as the cruise ships arrive:


I did it. My first day in Santorini was very crowded. Once I got to Fira, it was so crowded you have no idea. Then I realized two cruise ships were in front of the island, and I understood.


Luckily they left that night, so the two days after, Santorini was much quieter, and easier to take pictures.


So check which days cruise ships are there, and if you can, at least during high season, try to avoid those days or plan to spend that day on the beach because most cruisers only spend the day in Fira and Oia.


Don't you know how to check when cruise ships visit Santorini? Don't worry; my job is to make your life easier. Click here and see all dates. You are welcome!

Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

6. Don't expect to find every little street on Google Maps:


Santorini has so many little alleys down the cliffs, where all the resorts and hotels are, that some of them are not even present on Google Maps. They are so small and exclusive for the hotel guests to reach their accommodation that you won't find them so quickly.


But don't worry, you will find all the important ones so you won't get lost.

Plan Your Vacation in Santorini

Check out all my articles in the "Most Complete Guide of Santorini" and get all the information you need to make your next travel successful.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

7. Don't forget to watch your step:


Donkeys don't go everywhere, but they are present in the main towns, so please be careful and watch your steps. They leave unpleasant droppings behind them, and no one will clean after them.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

8. Don't drink and drive:


I don't want to sound like your mother, but when I got to Mykonos (I know I am talking about Santorini here, but it works for Santorini as well) and I met the guy who brought my rental car to the port for me, the first thing he told me was: "Please if you drive, do not drink, hire a taxi.


Only this 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 Greece, I saw kids driving scooters; trust me, 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 while in Santorini.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

9. Don't be afraid to learn some basic sentences in Greek:


I know the Greek language might be intimidating for some of us, but you have no idea how hospitable Greek people are.


They will appreciate the effort, so learn some essential words to use at your accommodation or in a restaurant, like good morning, good evening, thank you, etc.


You might become friends with some locals just because you show them how much you like your country and culture just by saying a few Greek words.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

10. Don't spend all your holiday only in Fira and Oia:


Yes, Fira and Oia are beautiful, and you are going to love to explore them, stopping to take pictures every five meters (you will, and maybe your boyfriend or Travelmate will get fed up with it, as mine did), but still, there is more to explore on this beautiful island.


There are black and red volcanic sandy beaches and volcanic hiking. If you love trying new drinks and cuisines, you should book a food and wine tasting. If, like me, you love spending some time on a boat exploring the coast and doing some snorkeling, have a look at the boat tours available.


Santorini offers every kind of experience for every budget and taste, so look here, to get the best price, book in advance, before it gets sod out!

Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

11. Don't skip the beaches:


The beaches in Santorini are excellent. There is the red beach in Akrotiri with red cliffs and the black one in Perissa and Kamari.


They are easy to reach by car or bus (as I did).


There are very comfortable sunbeds with umbrellas, some of them you have to pay for, and other ones are free if you get lunch at their restaurants (you order and you will receive your lunch straight at your sunbed, very cool indeed, and also not so expensive as in Mykonos).


There are many shops and other restaurants all along the beach so you will have things to do.


Do you want to see everything Santorini has to offer and save money?


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

12. Don't go up to the cliff riding a poor donkey:


I am pro of horse riding (I did it for two years, and I always do it while on holiday), but this "local thing" to use donkeys in the worst and hottest weather to bring very heavy tourists and their luggage 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 and feel how hot it can get during summer.

So please don't do it.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

13. Don't end up in tourists' traps:


As you probably know, my dear traveler, every tourist place has plenty of tourist traps.


So please do your research in advance. Check my article "9 Best Restaurants in Santorini" or "9 est Places Where to Eat Local on a Budget in Santorini" or ask locals where they eat.


You won't regret it. You will taste delicious local food and probably also save some money.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

14. Don't be afraid to talk to locals:


Locals know the area, and they can give you advice, like where to eat, how to get from A to B in the cheapest and fastest way, they know the hidden gems and much more, so don't be afraid to talk to them and ask for advice.


You should see me when I travel! I talk to everybody, I ask every kind of question. When they see me so enthusiastic to know more about their city, they open up and tell me everything I need to know. That is why you can find so much information and tips on my Travel Blog!


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

15. Don't forget to research where to eat local food:


We all have a budget when we travel (at least I do), and the best way to experience the place we visit is through the local food.


I think it is probably the first thing I research as soon as I choose a destination, where and what to eat, for me that I would spend all day eating, is an essential part of my travel.



Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

16. Don't be scared to share your meal with your travel mates:


And by saying this, I mean that there are so many delicious foods in Greece you cannot just order a starter and a main course for yourself and try only two things a restaurant offers.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

Unless you are traveling alone, share all the food with your travel mates. Order different dishes and share everything with them. Order a mixed meze as Greeks do.


In this way, you will try most of the options on the menu, still feeling satisfied but not fully ready to explode (or maybe yes. Greek food in Santorini is so good you won't be able to stop eating everything).


 

Want to know everything about Santorini?


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

17. Don't eat only Greek food you have heard about:


Greece is a vast country, and every region has some specialty you may not have heard about yet.


Please do your research ahead, or when visiting, ask your waiter, or at your accommodation, what the local gastronomy has to offer, trust me, you will be very surprised.


Read my article "39 Delicious Food and Drinks You Have to Try in Greece" to have a better idea about Greef food, and if like me, you love sweets, don't miss "20 most amazing sweets you have to try in Greece".


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

18. Don't talk about politics or country issues:


As you might have heard, Greece has a vast financial issue, so please avoid the subject unless a local starts to talk about it with you.


Plan Your Vacation in Santorini

Check out all my articles in the "Most Complete Guide of Santorini" and get all the information you need to make your next travel successful.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

19. Don't forget to bring a gift when a local invites you to their house:


Greeks are very hospitable people, so if some of them invite you to their home, please be a perfect guest and bring something to say thank you.


It might be just a bunch of flowers, a bottle of wine, or some sweets bought at a local bakery. You will see how much they will appreciate your gesture.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

20. Don't forget to be extra careful when crossing the road:


Greeks are a little bit crazy while driving (or at least this is what everyone says, but hey, have you ever been to south Italy? Those are crazy drivers), not all of them, of course, but keep that in mind and please be always careful and vigilant.


Also, Santorini is full of tourists that don't know the area or they might have drunk too much and still driving, so keep your guard up all the time.



Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

21. Don't expect everything or everyone to be on time:


Trains and buses might not be on time like in London (to give you an example), so you might have to wait a couple of minutes for your bus to leave or wait a bit longer than usual to meet a local.

My advice is always to be there a lot in advance if you have to catch a ferry or a bus, just in case it leaves right on time or in case you find traffic on your way. Traffic can be horrible in high season with locals going to work plus tourists not knowing the area.


Use the widget below to see prices and availability for ferries in Greece. Purchase them in advance and save a lot of money as I did.


Please leave your accommodation in advance and be there with plenty of time ahead of you, do not risk losing it please, bring with you a novel or have with you some music to listen to, to avoid getting bored while you wait (if this could be your case).


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

22. Don't show your hand palm:


It may mean nothing to you, but in Greece, it is a well-known insulting gesture. It is showing your middle finger, so please avoid it.


To make you understand, I am not saying you cannot let other people see your palms. The gesture I am talking about is when you are talking to someone, and you lift your hand and show your hand palm in a very straightforward way.


23. Don't forget to apply sunscreen:


The sun is ill, and we have heard about it many times, so please buy good aloe vera sunscreen lotion and apply it many times daily.


The sun in Greece is powerful, so if you come from a country where you don't sunbed very often, please do not forget!


Save your delicate skin and your holiday because sunburns can turn your holiday into a nightmare.

Also, when it's windy, you might feel that you are not so hot, but trust me that the sun will make you look like a lobster by the evening, so apply an aloe vera sunscreen every couple of hours and a good aftersun cream after the shower.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

24. Don't spend all your holiday only in one place:


Of course, if you are planning to visit Greece just for a weekend, you won't have time to see much, but if you are lucky enough to have one or two weeks to spend in this beautiful country, my advice is to visit more than just one place or one island.


All the mainland is well connected by bus and trains, and all the islands are well connected by ferries, so it will be elementary for you to move around.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

A few years ago, I started my holiday in Athens, where I spent three days (I had 16 days to spend in Greece).


I moved to Mykonos for four days, then Paros for three days, Ios for three days and I ended my holiday in Santorini for another three days. I am not saying you have to do the same as I did, but honestly, ferries can be so fast, and the islands are not so big.


I rented a car everywhere, just not in Athens, where I moved by public transport and by walking during the day and by taxi at night, and I saw everything I wanted and had much time to spent at the beach relaxing and swimming.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

25. Don't forget to bargain:


In Greece, buying souvenirs or other things in shops or at the local markets is common to bargain and get the best price.


Even if you have never done it, try it. They won't get upset because this is part of their customs, and you might save some money.


Don't forget, the only way to lower the prices is by paying cash.


 

Visiting Santorini on a Budget?


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

26. Don't forget you will need an international driver's license to rent a car in Greece:


Unfortunately, you might end up without the chance to rent a car without an international driver's license, so check how to do it in your own country (it is basically just a translation of your driver's license and is usually valid for one year).


If you are from Europe, you won't have any problems but plan if you come from a country outside the EU.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

27. Don't forget to buy local products as souvenirs:


Greece has a lot to offer, from wine, olive oils, olives, honey, and herbs, so research the place you will visit, buy and eat locally, your friends at home will love to receive your gift in food form.


28. Don't throw toilet paper or anything else inside the toilet:


If you see a little bin next to it, the pipes are pretty much smaller than in any other country. If you start to throw a lot of toilet paper in it, it will clog, and trust me. You don't want to be in a situation when you and your travel mate cannot use the toilet in the morning, so keep this in mind.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

29. Don't forget to withdraw money:


While in Greece, always have some cash with you. In many restaurants, bars, and shops can pay by credit card, (in that case I highly recommend to get a Revolut Card) while in some other ones, like in small towns, card payments are not always accepted, so keep that in mind, and never leave without some cash in your pocket.


 

Romantic vacation in Santorini?


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

30. Don't waste your time looking for a smoke-free bar or restaurant:


In Greece, most people smoke, and local owners let them do it, so if you cannot eat in a place where people are smoking at the table next to you, I highly recommend you choose a location with a garden or garden terrace.


Do you want to see everything Santorini has to offer and save money?

Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

31. Don't forget to bring with you an adapter:


Greek plugs are different than in the US, Uk, and other countries. Make sure to buy a universal adaptor before your departure. It is always cheaper to buy it while you are home than buy it at the airport in a very tourist spot, so plan and buy everything necessary for your trip.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

32. Don't get to the airport too early:


Santorini Airport is tiny, so if you get there three hours in advance, you will end up waiting outside the airport (I am not joking).


Also, there is not a proper waiting room inside, so be prepared to sit on the floor or on your luggage as we all did.


Valentina's Travel Guide, 33 Things to Don't do in Santorini

33. Don't forget to save the emergency numbers:


I wish you all the luck in this world and that nothing terrible happens to you, honestly, but sometimes bad things happen at home or while traveling, so save up all the numbers you might need in case of an emergency in Santorini.


  • General Hospital of Thira: +302286035300

  • Santorini Central Clinic (Fira): +302286021728

  • Port Authority of Santorini: +302286022239

  • Athinios Port Authority: +302286025015

  • Information Office: +302286025940

  • Public bus service (KTEL): +302286025404

  • Police Station: +302286022649

  • Citizen Service Center: +302286360123

  • Municipality of Thira: +302286360101

  • Santorini International Airport: +302286028400


In Greece, the numbers to dial are:

police emergency is 100

to call an ambulance is 166.


In every place I visited and wrote about, I added all the numbers you may need in the main article, so check them out.


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Feel free to leave a comment below and share this article with your friends, maybe someone you know is planning to visit Santorini.


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About me

Hi! I'm Valentina,

but you can call me Vale.

I'm an Italian with a passion for well-planned travels and food.

In my Travel Guide, you will find everything you need to plan your perfect travel around the world.

Valentina

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