Santorini. The one island in Greece everyone wants to see. The beautiful white buildings, and the out of this world sunsets. Yes, we all want to see it, but sometimes we think it is out of our price range. That’s where I come in to give you tips to save money so you can see all these places you’ve dreamt about.
How to get there
There’s two ways to get to the island. You can either fly or take a ferry. Flights go from some greek islands, but mostly they will go to and from Athens. If you book flights with Ryanair they are very cheap, just make sure you print out you boarding passes in advance. There are ferry’s from most islands around Santorini if that’s where you’re coming from. Prices will vary depending on the time of year, but for near by island you’re looking at around 30 euros. But, most people are coming from Athens. which will take about 4-5 hours, if you’re up for the trip.
Where to Stay
If you’re a backpacker like me, then you want to see all these amazing places but can not afford the luxury hotels. Oia is the main town where you see the pictures of the sunsets and white buildings, but it is also very expensive to stay there. Thira (Fira) and Perissa are your best options. When I was there I stayed at two hostels, one in each place. The first was called Anny Studios. This place was beautiful. It was a one minute walk from Perissa beach and had a pool and bar to relax at. They have dorm rooms but also very cheap private rooms. The staff is amazing and they’re there to help you with everything. I have been warned though, that in the months from June to September they can be very busy or fully booked. The other place I stayed at is actually ran by the same people, but it’s in Thira. It is called Fira Backpackers Place. If you are wanting to be close to the city and are up for a lot of partying this is your place to stay. It had a great atmosphere and a nice communal kitchen.
How to Get Around on the Island
There are two main ways to get around Santorini. The first is by renting an ATV or by taking the bus. Usually you can get an ATV from 15-25 euros. You can also rent scooters and motorbikes but for that you will need a special license. There is also the option of renting a car, which is cheaper than taking a taxi. If you take the bus, there is multiple stops on the main road in Perissa. There’s a main station in Thira and one stop in Oia. From Perissa to Thira is about thirty minutes and from there to Oia is another twenty. The total trip one way will cost you about 5 euros.
What to See
- Red Sand beach – This is the beach in the south west corner of the island. It’s easily reachable by ATV and is just a couple minute hike from the parking lot.
- Sunset it Oia- The famous sunset pictures that are known worldwide are from Oia. Theres a great lookout on the edge of the town. If you want to get a good view I suggest going there a couple hours early, as large crowds gather and wait for the sun to go down. There are also a lot of rooftop restaurants in the area, but be warned a lot of them have the best tables previously reserved.
- Perissa or Kamari black sand beach- Both beaches are beautiful. If you don’t end up staying in Perissa, then I suggest to at least checking out the beach one day. The beach stretches out for miles and is lined with plenty of restaurants and bars offering traditional greek food and sea food. Also the drinks are a nice touch to add to a tropical atmosphere.
- Fira- Fira also offers some nice views, but mainly there are plenty of shops. If you want any souvenirs this would be the place to do it.
- Hike from Fira to Oia- If you’re up for it, theres a very scenic hike between the two towns. It should take around 2-3 hours, so bring plenty of water. If you want to hike one way and take the bus back, it’s a very good idea, especially if you’re staying for sunset.
There are also many other tours you can do, but they will cost money, for example: Sunset cruise, The volcano/hot springs tour, or guided history tours. There is also a few museums and historical sites if you’re interested in that, but they will have an entrance fee.
Where to Party
If you’re staying in Perissa, there’s almost no where. A bar by the beach does stay open quite late and offer good drinks. It’s called Tranquilo. Fira is where most of the club are. The two main ones known to locals are The Koo Club and Enigma. They offer a different vibe, and you’ll find more locals than tourists inside. If you go to the streets they’re located on there are plenty of other bars that are filled with heaps of people. Overall, if you go to the bar street you can hop from one club to the next with taking more than ten steps.
- If you’re staying in Perissa there is a grocery store on the right hand side of the main road when entering. They offer the best prices and widest selection, and it is walkable from anywhere in Perissa, as it’s not that big.
- If you end up staying at either hostel, they will arrange a transfer from the airport or ferry to the hostel for free. You just have to let them know in advance.
- If you get food to take-away it is cheaper than having it in the restaurant.
- There’s on section on Perissa beach across from Aqua Blue Hotel that are free to sit on. (Or at least they were when I was there)
- Drinks in Perissa and Fira are very expensive at the bars, so I suggest buying your own