Top 10 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting SANTORINI Greece: Travel Planning

While editing our recent Santorini vlog, I
found there were a number of tips, suggestions and observations that just didn’t fit into
the story. Talking points such as how much cash should
you take with you, are there any vital items to pack, the need for booking restaurants
in advance, where are the best places to stay, what to expect at the airport and a few things
in between. If you’re new to the channel, we aim to
make travel movies where the location is king, hoping you might just find your next holiday
inspiration. If you’re also looking for things to do
on this beautiful island, take a look at our full length travel vlog which I’ll link
to below. This is Suitcase Monkey with 10 things to
get the most out of visiting Santorini. First up I want to talk about things that
will need to know before you arrive and then I’ll get on to things that will help once
you are there. So the first question is, where should you
stay. And for me, it starts with 2 distinct choices. Do you want to be in the heart of the action,
meaning everything’s on your doorstep but with extra cost and more noise? Or, do you want to be outside the main towns,
in a more relaxed environment: Does anyone want to stay in a Windmill?! Power generating buildings aside, living off
the beaten track is usually cheaper but can require extra travel time. For us, we wanted to be in the thick of things,
so that meant it was between Thira and Oia. And spoiler alert we ultimately settled on
Thira and for a couple of reasons, mostly practical ones since I am a very practical
man, much to my wife’s disappointment. Compared to Oia, Thira is the more central
of the two. So if you are going to be travelling around
the island, then you are usually halfway to your destination before you’ve even begun. Second, if you are going to be using public
transport, Thira is the main terminal on the island, meaning it goes everywhere. Whereas, coming from Oia, you can often find
yourself needing to change buses at Thira station. More on transport later. For a bit of balance however, the main benefit
I could see of staying in Oia is that it is arguably the more picturesque of the two,
and definitely has more of those classic Santorini sunset locations. Knowing that your bed is just around the corner
means getting back home is a lot easier when compared to Thira. Next, how many days should you stay for? We opted for 4 nights which worked great for
us but potentially, we could have had one extra day if anything. If you really want to explore everything Santorini
has to offer with some extra relaxation thrown in, then 7 nights would be ideal. Our 4 nights gave us a full day at both Oia
and Thira, a more relaxing excursion day (which I’ll cover later also) and a final day of
milling around our favourite spots. Again, take a look at our full length Santorini
vlog which covers everything we did over these 4 days. In terms of the best times to visit, the peak
is July and August, which is the hottest time, the most expensive and easily the busiest. The shoulder months on either side can therefore
be a great option and so we visited in mid June which was still busy but not overbearing. December and January are in the early teens
temperature wise, with more chance of rain and more chance of places being closed but
crowds will be scarce and prices at their lowest. Once you have all that decided, let’s get
into once you’ve actually arrived. One thing I wish I’d known beforehand is
to book your favourite restaurant ahead of time. If you really have your heart set on a particular
dining spot, be sure to speak to them the day of or the day before to secure your table. We saw some great reviews for places you could enjoy the sunset from but, it seems, so had everyone else. The first day we went here, they were completely
full, so we ended up booking the next night and were treated to this awesome view as a
reward. We also had the same thing happen to us on
day 2, where we wanted to eat at Melitini in Oia, but being the number 1 rated restaurant
on Trip Advisor meant we had little to no chance of sitting down without a reservation. And quickly while we’re on the subject,
my 3 favourite restaurants we visited were Moji, a sushi place with an amazing view of
the caldera, which was perfect for lunch. Rastoni which is split over multiple levels,
again with great views for the sunset and Parea Tavern, which was facing away from the
sun, but we had a really tasty Greek shared starter and this amazing fish course which
was prepared right in front of us. All links below. On the topic of paying for things, we found
the acceptance of credit and debit cards to be a bit hit and miss overall. Although most places accepted card, a few
smaller shops flatly denied them. We did however have 3 mysterious occasions
where technical difficulties meant their payment device wasn’t working so it’s always good
to have some cash as a backup. There are a few ATMs dotted around in the
more populated areas, so you wont ever have to sell your body for some feta cheese. Unless, that’s what you’re into. But overall, have enough cash for maybe a
meal and a shopping trip per day where your plastic is not accepted and that along with
your card should easily see you through. Next up is Cost and this is really just so
you have the best expectation. As with everything you can always find expensive
or cheaper eats wherever you go. But overall I would say compared with other
European cities we’ve been to, Santorini ranks around the higher end of cost but mostly
not insane levels. To throw out a few real world examples, these
2 lattes came to €10 as a take away, an evening meal soft drink could be €4, a starter
around €8, mains anywhere from €10 to €20 on average. So I’d suggest if it’s something that
concerns you, use a filter on Trip Advisor and you’ll be fine. One important thing to mention when it comes
to packing, is to not underestimate the power of Santorini’s sun. This was us after climbing the 300 steps from
Amoudi Bay in the afternoon heat. We travelled in late June, which although
isn’t the hottest time to go, was probably the hottest late 20s I’ve ever felt and
I found myself shadow hunting just for a bit of respite. And I’m also not ashamed to say I often
found myself drawn into the many boutiques, not only for their creative displays, but
for their lovely air conditioning. So definitely be prepared with a good hat,
clothes that breathe, sunglasses and plenty of water. I would also recommend a good pair of walking
shoes. You will probably be doing lots of it, but
there are also a number of unexpected steps dotted around. My scuffed shoes were either evidence of surprising
stairs, or a sign of fatigue. There are a number of options you have in
terms of getting around Santorini. First I’ll go through a quick overview of
the ones we didn’t use but have some research on and then what we finally chose ourselves. The two main taxi ranks are again based Oia
and Thira, both near the bus terminals. There may be a wait sometimes but despite
this, it is obviously the most expensive but simple way to get around. Your hotel can often help you with this also. A second popular option is to rent either
a car, scooter or quad bike. This obviously works best when staying outside
of Thira and Oia since parking is easier. We also walked passed loads of places advertising
them so it could even be booked on a whim to help getting to that hard to reach location. It’s probably the best way of getting around
and seeing all of Santorini’s multi coloured beaches, smaller towns, lighthouses, and ancient
ruins. Personally speaking, when I think of myself
riding a quad bike, all I see are the headlines, “Silly English YouTuber tragically dies
after road accident”. And that my friends, is why we chose option
C, which was the bus. Without repeating what I mentioned earlier,
the most important good news is that for €1.80 you can get to pretty much anywhere. And because we were staying near the bus terminal
it was even easier. The buses are of good quality, they take cash
only and tickets can only be bought on the bus itself. There are a number of downsides however. The buses can easily reach capacity. And we saw numerous occasions where passengers
were left waiting at the bus stop because of this. Again, the benefit of staying near the first
stop meant we always got a seat, except for our late night return from Oia where we were
stood crammed into the exit steps. Santorini’s airport is incredibly small
for the number of passengers wanting to go through it. Maybe we just saw them at their worst and
it’s not normally like this, so please comment below with your own stories if you have them. For your return flight, I would suggest getting
there with plenty of time to spare. There was this massive queue snaking all the
way outside just to get into the building and through security. Once inside, there were no seats and barely
any floor to sit on, and with only 2 overwhelmed places to grab some food and drink. There isn’t much you can do with this information,
apart from managing your expectations for this busy end to your trip. On arrival into the airport, we had booked
a taxi through Hoppa which I’ll link to below. We’ve used them on a number of holidays
and generally found everything to go as planned. It cost us £30 for a return trip to and from
the airport which worked for us. You can as alluded to before, get the local
bus for €1.80 which will go straight to Thira so that would be the cheapest option. I would strongly recommend you spend a day
on a Santorini excursion. Again, there were loads of shops all offering
pretty much the same packages and you can also book them easily though your hotel but
I’m pretty confident there will be something in there for everyone. Trips to historical sites, beach days, boat
trips, helicopter rides, wine tastings, it’s all there. We opted for the popular Volcano tour with
Hot Springs swim, which was good fun and I’d suggest to check out my full length Santorini
vlog which covers this in more detail. If you think there’s something I missed,
please share your knowledge in the comments below and give us a thumbs up to help us spread
the word. If you are looking for inspiration on where
to travel to next, please hit that subscribe button to join our growing community and take
a look at our other full length travel vlogs until the next one. Thanks for watching Suitcase Monkey.


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *