Santorini is one of the most visited islands in not only the Cyclades, but all of Greece. The island has the perfect combination of scenery, weather, picturesque views, and food. Visitors may be surprised to learn that there are ways to visit Santorini and avoid the high prices and high number of tourists. All you have to do is stick to these quick five tips to visiting Santorini and you’ll wonder why you were even stressing out.
To Save Money Don’t Stay in Oia
Santorini can be one of the most expensive locations in the Greek Islands. But there are ways around the high price tag. For starters, don’t stay in Oia. If you have the money, then Oia is amazing but to save some pennies stay in Fira, the main city, or in Kamari or Perissa. The island is small enough that staying on the beach side of the island doesn’t mean you will be missing out on anything. There are plenty of hotels, guesthouses, and Airbnb’s on the island so finding a place to stay in your budget won’t be difficult.
Use the Bus System
Santorini has a user-friendly and affordable bus system. The KTEL (bus system) runs from the main bus station in Fira to destinations all over the island. Routes run multiple times a day, but depending on the location and time of year, the buses may run infrequently. A ticket costs around 2 each way and can be bought on the bus. Each station has schedules posted or you can access the schedule online.
Take the Ferry to the Island
Santorini can be reached by either ferry or boat. The island has a regional airport with multiple flights a day to the two main cities in Greece — Athens and Thessaloniki.
Another option is to take the ferry. Santorini is connected to Athens and other islands by the ferry systems. If you are traveling from Athens, you can reach Santorini on a few different ferries. The longest ferry ride will take you 10 hours and the shortest will be five hours. However, as you might expect, the longer ride is cheaper, and the shorter ride is more expensive. A good middle ground is with Blue Star Ferries which takes only 7 hours. Prices vary depending on the time of year and what ticket class you select, so book either your flight or ferry tickets well in advance.
Visit the Black Sand Beaches
While Santorini is known for views of the blue-dome, white buildings overlooking the caldera, there is a whole other side to Santorini that many forget about. On the eastern side of the island are some of the most interesting beaches in the world. Because Santorini was formed by a volcanic eruption, the beaches of Santorini are black and are made up of volcanic ash and pebbles. The beaches may not be the most comfortable or the perfect white-sandy beaches of other islands, but they have their own beauty to them. Not everyone can say they have visited black sand beaches.
But don’t forget during the summer, the beaches get extremely warm because of the volcanic ash so visit the beaches in the late morning before the sun becomes too warm.
Visit During the Shoulder Seasons
Like most places in Europe, the summer months are the high-season for Santorini. But that doesn’t mean you have to visit Santorini during those months. The shoulder season (May or September) are both great options to discover what Santorini has to offer. These months are still warm enough to enjoy the days but are not as busy as other times of the year. Prices are also lower than the summer months.
Remember to follow these quick five tips and you’ll be saying geia sas (“hello”) to Santorini in no time.
Guest Author: Chris Slack
Chris is a travel and lifestyle blogger who left the legal field and office world in 2017 to experience the world around her. Chris has traveled to 25 different countries and is looking to travel to more in the future. Chris’s blog, Wandering Feathers, focuses not only on her travels and experiences but also how these travels have affected her day-to-day life and future. Check out her blog: http://wanderingfeathers.com/