Santorini: Things to know before you go

Fira cadera

Santorini is really picture perfect! It was everything that I imagined and more. They say that Santorini is a place for a romantic getaway or a honeymoon, but I was there with my two cousins (all of us girls) and we had a blast! I would even recommend that place shortly after a break-up! I mean, I went there with that occasion and the deep blue rooftops and amazing sun sets made me forget all about it! (Or, at least most of it…)

So what have I learned from my trip to Santorini? Well check out the below.

Where to stay in Santorini: Oia or Fira?

Oia panoramic view

Well…it depends.

Are you going it alone or with a group of friends? Then I suggest Fira:

  • It’s in the center of the island
  •  you can find good connections to all sightseeing places
  •  most of the tours start from Fira (some offer pick-up in Oia as well)
  • it has an amazing night life!

If you are on a romantic trip, then probably your place of choice should be Oia:

  • the sunset view from the Oia Castle is amazing
  • it’s a more quite place (in the evening, after the sunset)
  • it has some amazing restaurants with view
  • high-end shopping (of course, it comes with a price tag…)
  • It’s close to Amoudi Bay (300 steps down the cliff), which is the place with the best seafood on the island!

Nightlife in Santorini

I stayed in Oia for my trip, however I regretted it a bit. The view of the caldera was fantastic, but I wanted to enjoy a bit the night life and Oia has none. Basically after dinner it is half dead. But originally my trip was booked with a different intention…I guess life changes, but I still went anyway. Also, if you do want to enjoy the night life, then you can always take the night bus to Fira though. They ride until 11:30 PM, but then you have to wait for the morning bus to return (which is around 5 AM)… so long night ahead. Of course you can always take a taxi, but that gets a bit expensive (I think it was around 25 EUR for a one way trip).

Santorini: Airbnb, Hotels or Hostels?

If you choose to stay in Oia, I recommend booking with Airbnb. There are some lovely, traditional cave house apartments on the caldera with direct view for the sunset. I stayed here and I loved it! You just have to walk out your balcony and you can enjoy the best of it. The hotels which I have seen don’t have such direct access. It also offers an authentic experience of the place, as they are old renovated houses of locals. However the con side is that also Airbnbs are quite expensive in Santorini…one night can cost you up of 100 EUR.

In Fira you can choose to stay at a Hotel, from what I’ve seen, most of them have a good view on the caldera. However hotel prices are very high, especially in the high season (June to beginning of September). Therefore I would recommend to book at least 2-3 month ahead of time.

Hostels, on the other hand side, are quite an affordable alternative and you also have the benefit of meeting other travellers (this helps especially if you are a solo traveller). You can find Hostels at beach side (Perissa) for about 50-60 EUR per night private room. In the cities (like Fira), they are a bit more expensive, around 100 EUR per night, private room. Dorm rooms are of course more cheaper. I have read amazing reviews about Youth Hostel Anna and Villa Kasteli (both in Perissa beach) and in Fira, the Backpacker’s Place.

But don’t worry anywhere you’ll stay, you will still enjoy Santorini! Here are the most amazing things to do there.

From Santorini airport to your accommodation

Definitely book in advance a shuttle to your accommodation, otherwise you will have to wait in line to get a taxi and that can take a while…

If you are set on renting a car, then specify that you will pick up the car at the airport.

In most of the cases the accommodations offer also pick-up and drop off services. Mine did and I booked through Airbnb.

Santorini: Rent a car, take a taxi or use the bus?

Fira at dusk

I think the best option to see the whole island without with no stress, is to rent a car. You can use Retalcar for reserving a car. I would definitely recommend reserving in advance if you are used to drive automatic, since most of the cars have standard transmission.

If that’s out of the question for you, then I would suggest taking public transportation. You can find the schedules here. They have relatively good connections; however most of the buses leave from Fira. But there are buses connecting Oia to Fira and they run every 30 minutes. The tickets are issued inside the bus and the price can vary depending on the route, between 1.8 EUR and 2.5 EUR.

Taxis, on the other hand are on short supply and quite expensive. I would suggest to only use them when absolutely necessary, like when coming back from a club in the morning.

Another option would be the scooter. This I find also absolutely amazing because you can enjoy even more of the beautiful scenery. I wouldn’t necessary reserve ahead of time, there is a large supply of scooters on the whole island.

Now you know all that there is to know before you go! Enjoy your trip to Santorini and make amazing memories. Check out also my article on things you cannot miss, while in Santorini.

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