Like Mykonos, Santorini is very famous, sees a lot of older tourists, and is a frequent stop for cruise ships. The cliffside towns of Oia and Fira are the two main towns on the inner side of the island. Both towns overlook the famous caldera and both these towns offer great sunset views and angles to get photos of blue-topped churches and blue-rimmed houses.
Getting to Santorini
There are a few things to keep in mind when travelling to Santorini. From the time of year you book your tickets, to the time of year you visit & even where you plan to fly in. Here are the top tips for getting to Santorini while at the same time avoiding extra costs.
Visit Santorini during the shoulder or off-seasons
Booking in the off-season can cut both your accommodations and flight by up to half! Here is what to expect when booking Santorini in the shoulder & off-seasons:
- Peak Season is May-June and September-October
- Off Season is November – April
- Although June and September are technically considered shoulder season, traffic and tourism are quickly ramping up in June and slowly slowing down in September so prices haven’t quite dropped yet. However, we visited Santorini in September and we were quite happy with the prices during that time.
- March/April/May/October/November have reduced hotel prices. This is a great time to book if you would like to get everything on lower cost but you might not be lucky with the weather conditions.
- If you care about the weather on top of keeping your trip low cost your best bet for good weather and great prices is May or September.
- Thanks to social media, the crowds here, especially in Oia, are just nuts and the prices reflect that too. We would really avoid peak summer season if you can help it!
Make sure to Book in advance
It is important to book your flights in advance. Ideally, try to book around January/February for the summer. If you get too close to your travel dates, the prices can go up quite a lot or sell out. Usual prices vary between 50 to 150 Euro depending on the chosen dates.
However, if you are travelling to multiple islands the ferries can be a great money-saving way to hop around. We took the ferry from Mykonos to Santorini and it was only 3 hours and very cheap! You can have a look at ferry’s prices here
Rent a car
We rented a car while staying in Santorini and it definitely helped us save money. Plus when you have a car you can not only visit Oia and Fira but also explore other parts of the island like Akrotiri. You can book your car rental here.
Take the bus between Fira and Oia
A great option if you’re looking to keep your costs really low in Santorini is to take the public bus between Fira and Oia. From the bus terminal in Fira you can take a bus for 1.60 euros all the way to Oia and it takes about 30 minutes. The bus will drop you off fairly close to the city centre of Oia and the ride is honestly not much longer than driving.
Fira or Oia, which one is cheaper?
Oia is the most famous part of Santorini. It is where most people stay and it sees the highest volume of tourists. But it might also have some disadvantages including the cost that you will pay to accommodate there, all the stairs which are also typical for Fira, in the end, this is Santorini or the privacy which is difficult to get due to the tourists almost climbing on every corner to take the best photo for Instagram.
We stayed in Fira, which is the second most popular village in Santorini and in our opinion, is just as beautiful. Now although we did not pick the cheapest option in Fira, we got an incredibly large hotel suite at Modernity Suites with 1 bedroom, a massive bathroom, and a private outdoor hot tube and front yard space for £180 a night including the Caldera View & Breakfasts. Split between the 2 of us it was £90 a night each. And did I mention the private hot tube?
On the other hand, we spend several nights in Oia, where we got a cheap and slightly expensive accommodation. One of the nights we booked a staying at Finesse Suites which was a really cheap option for Oia – only £90 and we got a bedroom, small terrace with a Caldera view, but no breakfast included. We also wanted to check quite mid-range accommodation and we got a Jacuzzi Suite Room with Caldera View for £380 including breakfast (off-peak season price) at Old Castle Oia.
You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in GBP.
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How to stay Safe in Santorini?
Santorini is a very safe place to travel. Violent crime is rare and very unlikely to happen. Petty crime like pick-pocketing is your only real concern. Keep your valuables close at the beach, or leave them behind in your hotel room. Theft is pretty common during peak season!
Much of Santorini is exposed to the elements, so if you’re visiting during the summer months and plan on spending lots of time outdoors, be prepared! Carry a hat, drink lots of water, and stock up on sunscreen.
If you’re an inexperienced driver, you may want to pass on the scooter rental. Natives to the island zip around chaotically, and the hairpin turns and hills sometimes make for dangerous driving.
Hang out on the beaches
As far as Greek beaches go, Santorini lacks the idyllic, white sandy beachfront that the other islands have. Instead, they’re made up of volcanic rock and pebbles. This doesn’t discourage anyone, though, and you’ll find most beaches constantly full of people in the summer months as travellers come to soak up the hot sun and Mediterranean vibes. Kamari and Perissa have the most action, especially for the bars and restaurants right on the water. To escape the crowds, go to Monolithos. Also, consider visiting White and Red Beach.
We hope you enjoy Santorini as much as we do!
Victoria & Christoph