The idyllic island of Santorini has long haunted the popular imagination, leading tourists to flock towards its labyrinthine alleys, blood-orange sunsets, and blue-domed churches. It is one of my most favourite destinations in the world and its unearthly beauty even prompted Plato to contemplate the legend of Atlantis’s lost paradise. Santorini has its share of sightseers, but it remains unspoilt and breathtaking – an island of churches, beaches, light, and of course, wine. Touring the Red Beach and archaeological sites at Akrotiri is a great way to spend an afternoon, and action-seekers can cliff-jump at Amoudi Bay. Those wanting to relax will find plenty of restaurants and nightlife, as well as some of the most stunning sunsets in the world! I recently started my Italy Travel series and my obsession with the country is really starting to show, check it out if Italy is on your travel list too!
So this post lays out the all essential information you need to help plan your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Greece. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from the airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need? I have included all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips. The featured Image on the right can be purchased by you as a ready to hang painting exclusively on Utravlr Print Shop! After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip to Santorini:
Best time to travel to Santorini
Santorini has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, with average temperatures ranging from 12°C in winter to 26°C in summer.
- The rainiest time of the year is between November and March, with an average of 9 rainy days per month.
- The warmest time of the year is between May and September.
- June–August is the most popular time to visit Santorini. That means that it’s peak season, so hotel and flight prices rise accordingly.
- March–May and September–November are great times to visit Santorini. The weather and temperature are fine, you’ll avoid the summer’s crowds, and hotel and flight prices are lower.
- Languages: Primary language spoken and understood is Greek; however most people working in the tourist industry speak/understand English
- Plug types: C and F types
- Electricity: 230 V
- Currency: Euro (€)
- International dialling codes: +30 22860
- Emergency telephone number: 112
Santorini International Airport
Also known as Thira Airport, Santorini International Airport sits on the east coast of the island, 5 km northwest of Thira – aka Fira – the capital town of Santorini. There is 1 passenger terminal and 2 runways. The terminal is home to dining and shopping options, as well as facilities including free Wi-Fi, banking and currency exchange services. There are several transfer options to take you to Fira:
- A taxicab takes around 15-20 minutes and costs roughly €20-25. Note that you may have to queue for a while if you come in July–August. The taxi rank can be found right outside the terminal.
- A pre-booked shared shuttle express van takes around 20-25 minutes and costs €12. They’ll wait for you in the Arrivals hall.
- The Santorini Airport Bus takes around 20-25 minutes and costs €1.70 to get to Fira Central Bus Station. The bus stop can be found outside the Arrivals hall. It’s the cheapest but far from the most comfortable way to be transferred from the airport.
- Car rental agencies can be found in the Arrivals Hall.
If you come to Santorini by ferry
Getting to Santorini by ferry from Athens is a cool and convenient option. The journey takes 5-8 hours and costs €20-80, depending on the ferry. It gives you the opportunity to relax after your flight and get ready to enjoy all that Santorini has to offer. There are 2 ports in Santorini: Fira and Athinios. The latter is the main arrival port on the island. It sits 4 km south of Fira. From there, you can get to your hotel by taxi, bus or rental car.
Getting Around Santorini
Santorini’s capital town, Fira, is compact enough to be explored on foot. You’ll find many landmarks and attractions, such as the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, Skaros Rock, and the Catholic Cathedral Church of Saint John the Baptist within walking distance of each other. Fira also hosts a great choice of dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment options. For journeys to the island’s other towns and villages, there’s a good choice of public and private transport services available.
Santorini public transport networks – KTEL is in charge of public transport in Santorini. It’s the main intercity bus operator in Greece. You can reach most of the villages on the island by bus, but note that all lines depart from and end at the main bus station in Fira.
- The price of a single fare starts from €1.80. All lines have a different price according to the distance of the journey. Prices increase between 12.30am and 5am.
- Tickets can be purchased on the bus.
- Expect the buses to be crowded in summer.
Taking a Taxi – Most of the taxis in Santorini are not metered. You have to negotiate the fare before you get in. It’s common to have to share the taxi with other people in the Greek islands.
- The main taxi rank in Fira is right next to the Central Bus Station.
- You can directly call companies such as Santorini Transport (698 463 7384) or Santorini Transfer (697 228 7072).
- Taxi rates change depending on the season. On average, expect to pay about €25–30 for a 10-kilometre ride.
Car and Bike Rental – This might be the easiest option if you plan on moving around the Islands a lot. However, you might want to know the following things before you rent:
- You need an international driving licence to renting a car, motorbike or ATV.
- A motorcycle driving licence is legally required to rent a bike, yet most rental companies do not ask for it.
- For safety reasons – including sandy roads and chaotic road rules – it’s generally more comfortable to rent a car.
- It’s best to book a rental car in advance if you come in high season.
- Always take pictures of the vehicle (inside and out) before driving away from the parking lot to record the condition you received it in.
- Rental prices start from €18 per day for a scooter and from €30 per day for a car in high season.
- Browse different companies to find the best rates.
Annual Events to look out for in Santorini
- What: Ifestia Festival celebrates the eruption of the volcano, which changed the island’s topography thousands of years ago. The eruption is re-enacted with an impressive fireworks display, best seen from one of the boat tours available. Music and dance performances are also part of this festive event.
- When: September
- Where: All around Santorini
Santorini Jazz Festival
- What: Santorini Jazz Festival is one of the major music events on the island. Not limited to jazz, it showcases talented artists playing funk, ethnic and fusion music.
- When: July
- Where: Open-air theatre of Kamari
Megaron Gyzi Festival
- What: Megaron Gyzi Festival is a multicultural event which combines jazz and classical music with art exhibitions and performances.
- When: August
- Where: Gyzi Cultural Centre, Fira
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