In the second part of this travel series we continue from where we left off in the previous article, where the focus was on the history of the island, it’s romantic aura and the experience we had on our trip. This second part covers the topics of accommodation, sightseeing, transportation and a few things you should avoid when visiting Santorini.
Where To Stay
Before deciding on the location you want to stay, you have to keep two components in mind. The amount of money you are able to spend on accommodation and the proximity you want to have on parts of the island. Oia and Fira are a much better choice if you are able to afford it, understanding that you are in the center of the island with the most sights to see. The downside is that there’s no substitute for a good ocean swim and a pool just won’t fill in that gap. The places we mentioned above are far from the best beaches, great restaurants and archeological sights which are located in the southern part of the island making it tough for a visitor to enjoy daily if you are living in the North part.
Our recommendation is to enjoy Fira and Oia but not necessarily stay there if you are a visitor who wants to swim in the open ocean every day and see the whole of the island. There a lot of high-end hotel choices in Perissa enabling you to enjoy top luxury in close proximity to amazing restaurants, taverns, and beaches. Otherwise, you can enjoy the sunset view from your pool and stroll much easier on the towns of Santorini on a daily basis choosing to stay in one of the thousand private areas.
Where To Go
Avoiding unnecessary details this is a list of places you must visit during your stay at the island:
- Fira-Firostefani-Imerovigli (Strolling around the whole region, enjoying its restaurants and shopping at the local shops)
- Oia (One thing and one thing only is a must when visiting Santorini. Watching the sunset from Oia)
- Hot Springs & The Volcano via private or open boat tour
- Black Sand Beach (Perissa), Vlichada Beach, Red Beach
- Pyrgos (Tower) and Kamari
- Akrotiri (witnessing the sunset from Faros, and eating in one of the local taverns)
Why Rent Transportation
Renting transportation isn’t for everyone especially if you can afford to have a private driver every day. Below I list the key elements on why I believe renting transportation is the best choice.
- Santorini is a small island and renting transportation is much easier and cheaper.
Having your own mean of transport enables you to save time, park wherever you want (scooter and ATV preferably), explore the island as much as you want and the only thing you have to worry about is paying the rental office and of course putting gas. Aside from that if you are a fairly experienced driver then you have nothing to fear (crazy-drunk drivers, bad roads). Being self-sufficient and enjoying your holiday is different for everybody but as a young couple wanting to save smart and spend smart while visiting the whole of the island and going/leaving whenever we wanted this was by far the best choice.
Things To Avoid
Santorini is truly a great island with a variety of things to do, to see and experience. But as every tourist attraction and island, there are things that are best when avoided. Here is a rather short list:
- Overly Expensive Restaurants and sunbeds
Santorini was much better than described as far as prices go. But especially in Perissa there where certain taverns that charged food, shower, and sunbeds separately which as a local greek tourist was outrageous and overpriced in my opinion understanding that sometimes local business owners take advantage of the opportunity to fool visitors.
- Using taxis and minibusses frequently
As mentioned above when inviting you to rent transportation, taxis, and minibusses by nature are much more expensive charging up to 30-80 euros per ride.
- Not having a pool
Santorini is most certainly a great island but some of its beaches are far from swim-friendly (i.e Red Beach). Having a pool in your hotel is definitely an advantage especially if you want to go for a quick swim in the morning after breakfast or in the afternoon before going out for the night.
- Not having a timetable
Without a daily timetable of activities you want to do and places you want to visit, your holidays can quickly turn into a boring experience. Make the best use of your resources, especially the most valuable of all which is time and scan the island and experience its food, people, and sights.
- Not researching on hotel prices and bargaining on transportation rentals
Hotel prices vary depending on the month and location so its best to start early to gain the best room possible at a great price. In addition renting transportation can be done either online or on the day of arrival. We, for example, had pre-rented an ATV through the hotel but upon arrival, the hotel informed us that the one we rented was unavailable. Losing no time and with little effort, we went to one of the rental offices down the street from our hotel and rented a much higher horsepower ATV at a lower price than the one we had pre-rented. Most rentals don’t require down payment so that situation not only saved us money on the spot but actually enabled us to get a better deal on the ground of the island. Either way, you can choose a much safer option which is renting online (incidents like the one we occurred don’t happen often) at a fixed price or go with higher risk and bargain a much better deal when arriving at the island.
In closing, I invite you to see as much as possible and experience even more when visiting Santorini. It is a beautiful island with great sights to see especially if going with your partner. If you have a good camera (most decent smartphones do), then your phone will be full of photos from the elegance and nature that this island offers. Search for great food, great service and great places to enjoy and don’t be satisfied unless you get it. It is your holiday and you deserve to spend your money and your time on something worthwhile. So treat your downtime with extreme care helping ultimately yourself get rejuvenated for the upcoming winter. In addition and with no affiliation, I invite you to buy amazing jewelry from Athens Protasis located in the center of Fira. That way you will have something simple but beautiful to remember this world famous Greek island made of lava and stone.