Amazing views, white houses on the cliffs, hotels in caves … A trip to Santorini is a dream of many travellers. And now, thanks to the increasing number of connections, it is becoming easier and easier to make this dream come true!
How to get to Santorini, how to move around to visit, where to sleep? Please see the article for some practical information.
How to get there?
There are several solutions, it all depends on where you are coming from, when and for how long.
There is an airport in Santorini, the easiest and fastest way to get there is a direct flight. Especially that this season (2021) there are more flights than in the previous ones. For example from Poland:
From Warsaw: LOT and Wizzair
From Krakow: Wizzair and Ryanair
From Gdańsk: Wizzair and Ryanair
The days and hours of flights are affordable, they even allow you to organize a trip for an extended weekend!
However, these flights end in September / October, so if you are going out of season, you will probably have to use two other solutions.
Flight to the island, but with a change in Athens. It’s best to look at Aegan Airlines, which fly from Warsaw and Krakow, and from Athens they have a lot of flights to Santorini (and also to other islands).
If you don’t mind changing to the plane from another airline, Olympic Air and Sky Express also fly to the island from Athens. And you can fly to Athens by any other airline.
Another popular option is a flight to Athens and take a ferry to Santorini. Depending on the type of ferry, the journey takes from 4.5 to 8 hours. Of course, there are more ferries in the season, but also in the off-season, such a solution is available. It is worth remembering that ferries depend on the weather, which may delay them in the winter months.
Yet another option is a flight to Crete and a ferry to Santorini, which takes around two hours from Heraklion. Although it is also rather a seasonal solution, because flights to Crete also mostly end in autumn.
For detailed practical information on ferries, such as ports or types of tickets, you can see this article.
How to get around Santorini?
As everywhere, you can rent a car or a scooter.
There is no problem if someone does not want to rent a car, because it is an island where it is really easy to get around by buses.
Buses run regularly and quite often (in high season, after season less frequently), and above all, on time. The island’s capital, Fira, is best connected. From the airport or port, you need to get to Fira and change to a bus going to other places. The change takes place at a small bus station, there is no way to get lost.
Tickets are bought on the bus (from the conductor), the ticket usually costs 1.60 Euro. The timetable is hanging at the station.
Many tourists use the buses, it is worth being a little earlier, especially if you want a specific departure time when going to the port or airport.
There are no stops on the timetables hanging at the station, only the final one. However, the bus stops if the location is on the route. It is worth asking at the information window at the station.
For example, you can get to Pyrgos by bus which goes to Perissa, and to the Sante winery by bus going to Akrotiri.
Port of Santorini
Cruise ships arrive in Fira while ferries arrive at the port of Athinios, which is approximately 8 kilometres south of Fira. The road is winding, and the journey takes about 20 minutes.
The timetable of buses to the port varies depending on the day and times of the ferries.
There are cafes, restaurants, taxis, transfer and rental offices in the port.
However, it is not a nice and quiet port where it is fun to sit and watch the ships.
It is a crowded and chaotic place. Don’t leave your arrival until the last minute, especially if you have to pick up a paper ticket, there may be queues.
Where to sleep
I am not a fan of accommodation recommendations, because it is a very individual matter. For example, I don’t like big hotels, and in southern countries I need a balcony. But everyone can take a different approach. Although honestly, I would suggest thinking about balcony;) An evening with local wine and the sound of cicadas, may be worth even paying extra for the room.
Accommodation type is also often a matter of financial possibilities, even more so on Santorini. So:
Santorini, the one we know from newspapers and Instagram, is very elegant, with expensive boutique hotels. Such on the edge of a cliff, in a cave, with your private pool or jacuzzi.
And we can find a lot of such places, especially in Oia and Imerovigli. The prices are in line with the impression, in high season it is even 300-500 euro per night. But! Santorini is not only about this type of accommodation. You can also find many small family-run hotels and guesthouses for typical, standard prices of 50 euros a night. Often even with a small pool.
For sure don’t expect large hotels, there are actually no such hotels. But when it comes to smaller ones or guesthouses, the choice is huge. In all towns, it is not necessary to sleep in the most expensive ones. A good option is accommodation in Fira, because from there it is easy to get to various places on the island, and the prices are quite ok. Accommodation on the ‘other side of the island’, in Perissa or Kamari, may be even cheaper. These are more ‘beach’ places.
You can search for accommodation on standard portals, I usually just use Booking.
Many people want to spend nights in Oia, the most famous postcard town. Think about whether this is a good solution, if you don’t like crowds, unless you go completely out of season.
Accommodation in Oia may not be possible due to the prices of available accommodation.
I recommend taking a look at the village of Finikia. About 15-20 minutes walk from Oia, on a good road (not on the main street or uphill). You can be quickly in the centre of everything, but also get away from the crowds in a quiet place with great views.
In addition, there are traditional cave hotels at more affordable prices.
From the basic practical information, that’s probably it. Hope the above tips will help you organize your dream trip to Santorini!