Top 10 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting SANTORINI Greece: Travel Planning

Top 10 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting SANTORINI Greece: Travel Planning

While editing our recent Santorini vlog, I
found there were a number of tips, suggestions and observations that just didn’t fit into
the story. Talking points such as how much cash should
you take with you, are there any vital items to pack, the need for booking restaurants
in advance, where are the best places to stay, what to expect at the airport and a few things
in between. If you’re new to the channel, we aim to
make travel movies where the location is king, hoping you might just find your next holiday
inspiration. If you’re also looking for things to do
on this beautiful island, take a look at our full length travel vlog which I’ll link
to below. This is Suitcase Monkey with 10 things to
get the most out of visiting Santorini. First up I want to talk about things that
will need to know before you arrive and then I’ll get on to things that will help once
you are there. So the first question is, where should you
stay. And for me, it starts with 2 distinct choices. Do you want to be in the heart of the action,
meaning everything’s on your doorstep but with extra cost and more noise? Or, do you want to be outside the main towns,
in a more relaxed environment: Does anyone want to stay in a Windmill?! Power generating buildings aside, living off
the beaten track is usually cheaper but can require extra travel time. For us, we wanted to be in the thick of things,
so that meant it was between Thira and Oia. And spoiler alert we ultimately settled on
Thira and for a couple of reasons, mostly practical ones since I am a very practical
man, much to my wife’s disappointment. Compared to Oia, Thira is the more central
of the two. So if you are going to be travelling around
the island, then you are usually halfway to your destination before you’ve even begun. Second, if you are going to be using public
transport, Thira is the main terminal on the island, meaning it goes everywhere. Whereas, coming from Oia, you can often find
yourself needing to change buses at Thira station. More on transport later. For a bit of balance however, the main benefit
I could see of staying in Oia is that it is arguably the more picturesque of the two,
and definitely has more of those classic Santorini sunset locations. Knowing that your bed is just around the corner
means getting back home is a lot easier when compared to Thira. Next, how many days should you stay for? We opted for 4 nights which worked great for
us but potentially, we could have had one extra day if anything. If you really want to explore everything Santorini
has to offer with some extra relaxation thrown in, then 7 nights would be ideal. Our 4 nights gave us a full day at both Oia
and Thira, a more relaxing excursion day (which I’ll cover later also) and a final day of
milling around our favourite spots. Again, take a look at our full length Santorini
vlog which covers everything we did over these 4 days. In terms of the best times to visit, the peak
is July and August, which is the hottest time, the most expensive and easily the busiest. The shoulder months on either side can therefore
be a great option and so we visited in mid June which was still busy but not overbearing. December and January are in the early teens
temperature wise, with more chance of rain and more chance of places being closed but
crowds will be scarce and prices at their lowest. Once you have all that decided, let’s get
into once you’ve actually arrived. One thing I wish I’d known beforehand is
to book your favourite restaurant ahead of time. If you really have your heart set on a particular
dining spot, be sure to speak to them the day of or the day before to secure your table. We saw some great reviews for places you could enjoy the sunset from but, it seems, so had everyone else. The first day we went here, they were completely
full, so we ended up booking the next night and were treated to this awesome view as a
reward. We also had the same thing happen to us on
day 2, where we wanted to eat at Melitini in Oia, but being the number 1 rated restaurant
on Trip Advisor meant we had little to no chance of sitting down without a reservation. And quickly while we’re on the subject,
my 3 favourite restaurants we visited were Moji, a sushi place with an amazing view of
the caldera, which was perfect for lunch. Rastoni which is split over multiple levels,
again with great views for the sunset and Parea Tavern, which was facing away from the
sun, but we had a really tasty Greek shared starter and this amazing fish course which
was prepared right in front of us. All links below. On the topic of paying for things, we found
the acceptance of credit and debit cards to be a bit hit and miss overall. Although most places accepted card, a few
smaller shops flatly denied them. We did however have 3 mysterious occasions
where technical difficulties meant their payment device wasn’t working so it’s always good
to have some cash as a backup. There are a few ATMs dotted around in the
more populated areas, so you wont ever have to sell your body for some feta cheese. Unless, that’s what you’re into. But overall, have enough cash for maybe a
meal and a shopping trip per day where your plastic is not accepted and that along with
your card should easily see you through. Next up is Cost and this is really just so
you have the best expectation. As with everything you can always find expensive
or cheaper eats wherever you go. But overall I would say compared with other
European cities we’ve been to, Santorini ranks around the higher end of cost but mostly
not insane levels. To throw out a few real world examples, these
2 lattes came to €10 as a take away, an evening meal soft drink could be €4, a starter
around €8, mains anywhere from €10 to €20 on average. So I’d suggest if it’s something that
concerns you, use a filter on Trip Advisor and you’ll be fine. One important thing to mention when it comes
to packing, is to not underestimate the power of Santorini’s sun. This was us after climbing the 300 steps from
Amoudi Bay in the afternoon heat. We travelled in late June, which although
isn’t the hottest time to go, was probably the hottest late 20s I’ve ever felt and
I found myself shadow hunting just for a bit of respite. And I’m also not ashamed to say I often
found myself drawn into the many boutiques, not only for their creative displays, but
for their lovely air conditioning. So definitely be prepared with a good hat,
clothes that breathe, sunglasses and plenty of water. I would also recommend a good pair of walking
shoes. You will probably be doing lots of it, but
there are also a number of unexpected steps dotted around. My scuffed shoes were either evidence of surprising
stairs, or a sign of fatigue. There are a number of options you have in
terms of getting around Santorini. First I’ll go through a quick overview of
the ones we didn’t use but have some research on and then what we finally chose ourselves. The two main taxi ranks are again based Oia
and Thira, both near the bus terminals. There may be a wait sometimes but despite
this, it is obviously the most expensive but simple way to get around. Your hotel can often help you with this also. A second popular option is to rent either
a car, scooter or quad bike. This obviously works best when staying outside
of Thira and Oia since parking is easier. We also walked passed loads of places advertising
them so it could even be booked on a whim to help getting to that hard to reach location. It’s probably the best way of getting around
and seeing all of Santorini’s multi coloured beaches, smaller towns, lighthouses, and ancient
ruins. Personally speaking, when I think of myself
riding a quad bike, all I see are the headlines, “Silly English YouTuber tragically dies
after road accident”. And that my friends, is why we chose option
C, which was the bus. Without repeating what I mentioned earlier,
the most important good news is that for €1.80 you can get to pretty much anywhere. And because we were staying near the bus terminal
it was even easier. The buses are of good quality, they take cash
only and tickets can only be bought on the bus itself. There are a number of downsides however. The buses can easily reach capacity. And we saw numerous occasions where passengers
were left waiting at the bus stop because of this. Again, the benefit of staying near the first
stop meant we always got a seat, except for our late night return from Oia where we were
stood crammed into the exit steps. Santorini’s airport is incredibly small
for the number of passengers wanting to go through it. Maybe we just saw them at their worst and
it’s not normally like this, so please comment below with your own stories if you have them. For your return flight, I would suggest getting
there with plenty of time to spare. There was this massive queue snaking all the
way outside just to get into the building and through security. Once inside, there were no seats and barely
any floor to sit on, and with only 2 overwhelmed places to grab some food and drink. There isn’t much you can do with this information,
apart from managing your expectations for this busy end to your trip. On arrival into the airport, we had booked
a taxi through Hoppa which I’ll link to below. We’ve used them on a number of holidays
and generally found everything to go as planned. It cost us £30 for a return trip to and from
the airport which worked for us. You can as alluded to before, get the local
bus for €1.80 which will go straight to Thira so that would be the cheapest option. I would strongly recommend you spend a day
on a Santorini excursion. Again, there were loads of shops all offering
pretty much the same packages and you can also book them easily though your hotel but
I’m pretty confident there will be something in there for everyone. Trips to historical sites, beach days, boat
trips, helicopter rides, wine tastings, it’s all there. We opted for the popular Volcano tour with
Hot Springs swim, which was good fun and I’d suggest to check out my full length Santorini
vlog which covers this in more detail. If you think there’s something I missed,
please share your knowledge in the comments below and give us a thumbs up to help us spread
the word. If you are looking for inspiration on where
to travel to next, please hit that subscribe button to join our growing community and take
a look at our other full length travel vlogs until the next one. Thanks for watching Suitcase Monkey.

100 thoughts on “Top 10 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting SANTORINI Greece: Travel Planning”

  • If you enjoy this video, please give it the usual thumbs up as it really helps us. I’ve also done an accompanying video to this one which is a 4 day Santorini travel vlog:

  • In Santorini now it’s so cool good tip is to ride cable car down the mountain and then get a donkey ride back up lol saves time and you enjoy it well

    Also very quiet here this time so no rush for anything it’s great

  • I’m from Greece and I think this is genuinely good information!
    You can also check if you want to visit through ferry!

  • Thank you so much! This is such a helpful video. We leave in just over a month and our first stop is Santorini, so glad I stumbled across your vid!

  • Maciej Rassmus says:

    I was in Santorini and it's hugely overrated. Prices are like Dubai x3 and except for the view there's hardly anything exciting

  • Alexia Areanna says:

    My family and I took a bus tour of some of the best spots on the island, it was amazing. It was an all day tour and the tour guide explained everything. It was also affordable only 40 euros. So beautiful and worth it! Great tips thank you!

  • I LOVE the amount of dedication you have towards giving out useful information. We are travelling to Santorini in May with a 3 year old so every little bit of information helps. Thanks for the info on airports. I am hoping its not so crazy in May *fingers crossed*. Do you have any recommendations for good eating spots in Oia?

  • Tahlia Bellamy says:

    My husband and I just came back from Greece, spending most of our time in Santorini, a few weeks ago and thought of a few additional tips that may helps.

    1. We went in mid April. This is perfect as the busy season has not started yet all the restaurants and attractions begin to open early April. The weather although not always perfect was the beginning of spring and we had some beautiful sunny days that weren’t overbearing. This also meant we didn’t have to pre book restaurants as there was always room.

    2. We stayed in Firastenafi. This is a 10 minute walk from Fira so nice and close but away from the busy Fira, meaning you avoided the noise. The accommodation here is also incredible. We stayed at Agali house and it was absolute luxury at its finest. Plenty of places to eat also.

    3. Anyone visiting Greece and Santorini should try the Yiros or a the greeks call it “Gyros” if they come here. I also recommend other dishes such as Mousaka, tomato and zucchini balls and sagnaki (cheese) to really make this trip authentic. Santorini are well known for their tomatoes and they are amazing

    4. Santorini is covered in wineries and would make a great afternoon trip for anyone travelling in groups or as a couple. We did an excursion through ‘Eat and Walk Santorini food tour’ and I cannot recommend this enough!

    5. To avoid; do not use the quads or donkeys in Santorini. As you said, tourists without any knowledge on how to use the quads ride them and cause accidents. While we were there there was a massive quad accident involving two tourists where the quad went over the cliff. It did not end well to say the least.

  • Rhoda Whitfield says:

    Hi the video was really helpful. Would you also happen to know the taxi cost from Kamari to Oia and if it is easy to access them?

  • heres one more travel tip : have a strong stomach because animal cruelty is everywhere,including the rest of Greece. if you can save an animal or please take pics & videos and upload them because the government does nothing to help or save innocent animals from torture and enslavement!!!

  • Oh and also when you went to the bus terminal, I don't know if they told you but right across there is a. high-school, that's my school

  • Adebowale Adekunle says:

    We took a boat cruise that cost 2 of us 180 Euros. It was an evening cruise which is one of the best ways to enjoy the sunset. We were there for 5 nights and stayed in Fira and felt like we stayed in the best spot.

  • Marianne Yag says:

    Oh my gosh, this was the most informative and comprehensive holiday tips, video I have ever watched. You have given us many tips, that will become very valuable and very appreciated from our family. Thank you very much 🙂

  • Brandon Jackson says:

    I don't think I'd go to Santorini during peak season as that airport footage was super off putting. I'll visit during off peak season though

  • Henry Raniera says:

    Great video mate 🙂 I'm in santorini now just got engaged here absolutely beautiful place. Everything including the airport is much quieter right now haven't needed to book anywhere unless it's to make sure the table is on the first row of the view 🙂

  • Thank you for all the good info. We’re going to Santorini in July. I was looking up the links you added for the restaurants and noticed the menus don’t have prices! How do we know how much the meal will cost? Are all the restaurants there the same as much as you know?

  • The first thing to know is that Santorini, like most Greek islands, is a tourist trap.  You will be milked for cash at every opportunity.  Everything is astronomically priced, service is terrible and provided by surly, disinterested people, you'll wait for everything, your hotel room is unlikely to be as advertised, the food is crap but you'll pay high prices for it and sometimes be forced to pay for things you didn't even order, anything you buy in the shop will be absurdly priced, taxi drivers are jerks to the highest order, and etc.  The tourist trap nature of the island is simply not offset by the few places on the shitty island with good views.  It's just not worth it.  There are many other and nicer places to visit in Greece (Olympia for instance).  Avoid Santorini and most Greek islands at all costs.

  • Stephen Moore says:

    Great video. Thank you. Would you mind me asking which iphone you used for your video. Also did you take video in portrait or landscape mode?

  • Wife & i are just back from 11 days in Santorini (May) …We stayed in Kamari which is on the east side of the island…Great spot & the bus into Thira was 1.80 euros each….A little tip if you want to see the sunset in Oia… Take a boat trip …We went to Oia on the bus & the best spots to watch the sunset were taken at least 1 hour 30 mins before hand…Took a boat excursion a few days later & the sunset was amazing … Kamari is great with a real chilled out atmosphere ..Definitely going back next year… PS… The Airport is a nightmare for departures.

  • I’m Greek, and I recommend not taking a plane there, but if you can to book with a tour group. Most tour groups will drop you in good locations and you can tell them that you’ll just meet them at the hotel so you can go exploring on your own. With most tour groups in Greece you land in a different island and take a boat there, less traffic and it’s included in the price! There are also many cafes and restaurants along the dock for you to wait


    Great Video Sir! I'm heading to Santorini next month and was wondering, how long would you estimate the wait is at the airport on the way home as I'm from the UK. Cheers

  • Miranda Bradley says:

    Reviews for Rastoni say that they bring water and bread to your table and then charge you for it. Did you find this to be true?

  • Efstathios Dimopoulos says:

    Pro tip from a guy in Athens: Whenever the store owner says the point of sales terminal is not "working" say "OK I will pay it when you fix it". If you are paying with a credit card even when the network connection goes down you can still pay. Also most of these machines nowadays have mobile data modems ( no cables only a charging cradle) so it will always work. Usually the POS terminal works if you threaten the owner to leave without paying. Also by law every legal store ( not a guy selling counterfeit products in a shadowy alley) are obliged to accept plastic. Additionally if you don't get a legitimate receipt ( usually at dining places this happens) you are not obliged to pay. If you get a hand written note or a thermal print that does not indicate net cost/VAT/total /timestamp and the store's tax number it's a phony receipt and you may leave without paying.

  • About the airport, i visited in mid April of this year -solo, no crowds , rather relaxed pace, beautiful air approach -sitting on the left side of the plane, needed a few more seats at departure lounge though, stayed in Imerovigli, excellent caldera views, very postcard i must say, and no crowds just like i hoped and wanted, loved your video, i just have to visit again, Zakynthos is amazing too, Greece was at the top of my bucket list. (Trinidad and Tobago)

  • Santorini is highly overrated/crowded/expensive. If you want to visit a truly spectacularly beautiful and authentic Greek island, go to Karpathos.

  • Sean Washington says:

    Great information! I wish I had seen this video before I made my trip. I stayed three nights but I could have very well stayed four or five nights. I stayed June 15-18, 2019 and it was very hot with lots of tourists. I hope to go back in September when it’s cooler. You paid WAY too much for “good” food! There are some really good ”cheap” eats. I enjoyed Roku. No view but the food was pretty good.

  • George Macpherson says:

    I think the minimum you should take with you obviously including the cost of the hotel is about €400 the most I would say is €800. I’m from England but have family in Greece. I have also lived in Athens for a couple of years.

  • Mohamed Al Mansoori says:

    Very helpful video and thanks for the effort. I want to visit Santorini in August. I am little worry about arriving and departing at the airport whether I would get stuck in a long line queue. Any advice

  • Cool video. Kamari is a much better choice to stay than Fira or Oia in my opinion. Busy but not hectic like Fira and Oia were when we visited in mid June. Plenty of shops, bars, restaurants etc. Plus it has one of the best restaurants on the island – Fistikies 👍

  • keaven guillory says:

    SANTORINI Airport is the worst Ive visited their 3 times # 1 TIP TAKE THE FERRY to Athens YES its a long trip HOWEVER you will spend 4 hours in the heat at the Santorini Airport the ferry has AC its comfortable when you book your trip Take the Ferry to Athens Fly home from Athens

  • I was planning to travel to Santorini to do the great travel of my life with my children who are already adults. I'm sick and this would surely be the last travel with my wife and all of them. From now on it will be really difficult because they have their own lives and it isn't easy to coordinate a trip like this.

    I was thinking as we say in Spanish "throw the house through the window", in short, spend all the necessary so that none of us forgets this travel, no matter the money. Also, I'm really interested in Santorini History, the ancient Akrotiri city, the archeologic museums… There are awesome rests of the ancient Minoan civilization.

    I'm starting to consider not to travel to Santorini. I love the place and some small luxury hotels are awesome but I hate places too crowded and that airport makes me feel afraid. I have my heart sick and I can't bear the hot or to walk too much. I will consider Mykonos maybe…

  • 5.50 for the frappe, yeap that keeps on reminding me why I was never able to visit Santorini, although I am Greek.
    The going into shops for the air-conditioning we are doing it too hahahahaha.
    The airport is normal for a non big city airport. Immagine that this number of people you get them 2 max 3 months per year. Plus a bigger airport would mean higher expenses to maintain it, and guess who pays those in all airports around the globe.

  • Great video, what I needed 👌🏻
    When is the latest bus? Also is it possible to visit most important points in one day?

  • Shankar Venkat says:

    Traveling to Greece in couple of weeks from now. Thanks for this Vlog. Any recommendation instead of Santorini is welcome. I prefer an island which is not as crowded as Santorini. Thanks in advance

  • great tips thanks , I found out that BlackLane has fast pass in JTR airport , I'm leaving tomorrow to Santorini thru Athens and return to Athens in 11 August , its expensive (500 USD) for the pass , my question has anyone purchased BlackLane pass? how was it? thanks again.

  • I lived and worked in the island and I have a question for ya all, are you interested for the video how to stay in santorini for one month for the same money that you will spend for 5 days and still have a good time?

  • Just came back from Greece Saturday and I'm all smiles watching this video. Did the sunset dinner cruise which included the volcano excursion it was amazing. The food at Rastoni restaurant was amazing. Yes the airport was a bit much to deal with with limited seating, especially if your flight is delayed. The nights were very cool temp wise. I wish we had spent extra days to see more of the island. We only did 3 days in Santorini. Before that we did 3 days in Mykonos and 4 days in Athens. Mykonos was my fave but i loved Greece overall🥰 having serious withdrawals 😣

  • A magical place to visit… the lovely Thera , Sunset of Oia, Old Village of Pyrgos .. and my favorite Kamari beach .. if you have the money, ignore all the negatives and visit Santorini.. and do it before the peak season starts to avoid the crowds .. ignore the negatives and visit … it will change your life ☺️

  • Been to Santorini 4 times now and I love it , but Santorini airport is the worst , it is always busy , kamari is lovely but my favourite place is perrissa it's just lovely and for that reason I'm going again next year , it does get very hot in June , July and August , and if your visiting Thia or Oia , best not going on the days when the cruise ships are there as it gets very busy .

  • i went to santorini, and it was soo crowded it was not enjoyable. mykonos was better and had the same aesthetic vibe and less crowded

  • Here is my pro tip – visit in August, nice and hot. Don’t stay in Oia no matter what anyone promised you it’s too crowded. Stay in Fira or Imerovigli. Much cheaper. Way better sunsets. Pin drop silence.

  • Great tips and vids – after watching this vid – seems like the place is overrun by the tourists and requires a lot of work to get around – so where is the enjoyment? perhaps one of the best recommendations is to go in January and stay put in a secluded area 🙂

  • I’d recommend staying in firastefani. It’s a 10 minute picturesque walk to Fira and it’s nowhere near as crowded. There’s lots of restaurants nearby too and you don’t really need to book.

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