Mini Guide For First Time Visitors To Santorini
You are planning a trip to Santorini, but you know nothing about it. Where to start and what to look for? Here is everything you will need to know.
How to Get to Santorini
Santorini is an island in Cyclades, Greece. There is a port and an airport here so you can choose between the ferry and the plane. The ferry ride takes 5 to 8 hours from Athens (depending on the ferry). The flight from Athens is about 45 minutes.
Where To Stay in Santorini
Fira is the capital of Santorini. Oia is the most popular place (and where people go to watch the sunset). The best beach is Perissa/Perivolos.
To move between these places you need a car, these are not within walking distance. If you plan on enjoying the nightlife, stay in Fira (all the nightlife is here). If you just want to chillout by the beach, stay in Perissa/Perivolos or Kamari (this is the other black sand beach). Oia has all the amazing views, but is more expensive and crazy busy in the summer. A good solution is to stay in Imerovigli, which is half way through Oia and Fira. Imerovigli offers all the amazing views, plus privacy and quiet away from the crowds. And you can easily get to Fira and Oia within a 15-minute drive.
The currency in Santorini
You will need Euros to pay for everything in Santorini. Most places accept credit cards, but you should check in advance. You might have problems with card payments especially in small shops and bars.
If you are looking to change money while you are here, you will find a few places for currency exchange. There is one at the airport, you will see it as soon as you exit the baggage reclaim area. There is also one in Fira I usually go to. You can find it on the map below:
Before you change money, do check the commission fee. Some hotels also offer money exchange services, but they tend to charge very high commissions, so you should probably avoid that.
If you are looking to tip someone, you can do so using dollars, pounds, or any other currency. These are accepted for tips, but not for official payments.
The weather in Santorini
Santorini has hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters.
July and August are the hottest months with an average temperature of 26°C/79°F. December and January are the coldest ones with average temperatures of 10°C/50°F.
Santorini tends to get very windy, so bring a jacket just in case.
How to get around Santorini
You can hire a car, an ATV or a scooter as long as you have an international driver's license.
There is also a local bus that can take you to most places. The bus station is in Fira. There you will also find the taxi station, but please be aware that there are only a few taxis on the island (less than 40 if I am not mistaken) so during high season you might have to wait.
Last but not least, there are many companies offering transfer services.
Things you shouldn't miss in Santorini
There are many things to do in Santorini, but if this is your first time on the island then there are certain places you need to see. These are:
Things you could avoid in Santorini
If I were visiting in high season, I would avoid the sunset in Oia. I know this is against everything you might have read. Just my personal opinion. I find it very crowded.
Also, maybe avoid riding the donkeys. There are other ways to get around, this is 2017.
The best beach on Santorini
is Perissa/Perivolos on the south part of Santorini. There are many restaurants, beach bars, water sports over there so you can spend the whole day at the beach.
Hiking in Santorini
There are many hiking routes for you around the island. The most popular one is the hike from Fira to Oia. There is also a hike to the mountain of Prophet Elias and Ancient Thira. You can read about it here and find more walking routes around Pyrgos here.
Traditional Santorini Food
The Santorini products you absolutely must try are:
- Cherry Tomatoes and Tomatoballs
- White eggplant (and anything with it, such as eggplant salad, mousaka etc.)
- Capers (their leaves too)
- Fava Beans
- The local cheese (it is called chloro)
and gyros of course! Okay, not from Santorini but still counts!
Santorini Nightlife Guide
If you are coming here to party, you are my kind of people and this guide will tell you everything I know about the nightlife in Santorini. It is one of my favorite articles that one.
Cruising to Santorini
I know cruise passengers have limited time on the island and they want to make the most of it. Going on a tour is really the best way to discover the best spots in Santorini within the limited time you have. Please keep in mind that there are queues that will delay you. Most of the times cruise passengers have about 6 hours to spend in Santorini.
You can learn about the history of Santorini here and there is also this amazing video with the history of the volcano. You should visit the Pre-historic museum in Fira and the Excavations in Akrotiri if you are a history fan. The museum first and then the excavations after if you ask me.
You already know where you want to go back to, but this article may give you some ideas as well. Especially if you are a foodie like me!
Santorini Photos for inspiration
Santorini movies (for more inspiration)
Here are some movies that will get you all excited about your trip to Santorini (as if you are not already, right?)
Santorini Useful Phones & Links
- Country Code: +30
- Local Code: 22860
- Hospital: +30 22863 60300/4
- Police: +30 22860 22649
- Local Bus: +30 22860 25404 & Website
- Taxi: +30 22860 22555
- Port Authority: +30 22860 22239
- Airport: +30 22860 28400 & Website
Last but not least, you can check out the reasons that make me love Santorini.
Get in touch if you have any questions, I would be happy to help!