Our Santorini Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help planning 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? We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips.

    It’s all compiled in this Santorini Travel Essentials. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip to Santorini.

    1

    What are the main towns and villages on Santorini?

    Officially named Thira, Santorini is the largest island of a small archipelago in the south of the Aegean Sea. Part of the Cyclades group of islands, it lies 200 km off Greece’s mainland. Santorini is a volcanic island famed for its black sand beaches. The island is mountainous and covers an area of about 90 sq km. As one of the best island destinations in the world, Santorini’s main source of income is tourism.

    Fira 

    Fira is the capital and largest town in Santorini. Fira is well-equipped with a variety of services as well as a good choice of hotels and shopping, dining and nightlife options. Attractions to check out include a great selection of museums as well as the famous Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, home to the much-photographed 3 Bells of Fira.

    Oia 

    Oia is one of the most popular and romantic destinations on the island. It’s home to a good selection of hotels, bars and restaurants. Windmills, a ruined castle, whitewashed walls, vividly blue domes and, stunning sunsets are among Oia’s top sights. Down the cliff from Oia, Amoudi Bay adds a pleasant diversion – be sure to check out St Nicholas Chapel, which is on a tiny island just 30 metres off the shore.

    Perissa 

    Perissa is the destination of choice for those visiting Santorini on a tight budget. It has a laidback, backpacker vibe, particularly along the seafront. There, you’ll find a huge choice of beach bars and clubs, with plenty of low-cost hotels and villas behind them. The 3.25-km-long beach itself is Perissa’s star attraction.

    Kamari 

    Kamari is the closest beach town to Santorini Airport and is the best place to stay if you’re travelling with a family. It’s the list of attractions that makes the town great for bringing along the little ones. Standouts include a mini-golf course, escape room games, a playground, and both indoor and open-air cinemas. And there’s the beach, of course.

    2

    When is the 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.
    3

    Santorini basics

    • Languages: Primary: Greek; Most people working in the tourist industry speak/understand English
    • Plug types: C and F
    • Electricity: 230 V
    • Currency: Euro (€)
    • International dialling codes: +30 22860
    • Emergency telephone number: 112
    4

    How to get to my hotel in Santorini?

    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. 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. They’ll wait for you in the Arrivals Hall.
    • The Santorini Airport Bus takes around 20-25 minutes 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 depending on the ferry. It allows you 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.

    photo by Bgabel (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    5

    How to get around Santorini?

    Travel tips

    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.

    6

    KTEL - 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.

    • All lines have a different price according to the distance of the journey. Prices increase between 12.30 am and 5 am.
    • Tickets can be purchased on the bus.
    • Expect buses to be crowded in summer.

    photo by Neil Jennings (CC BY 2.0) modified

    7

    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. 
    8

    Car and bike rental in Santorini

    • 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.
    • Browse different companies to find the best rates.

    photo by Moonik (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    9

    What are the main annual events in Santorini?

    Ifestia Festival

    • 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: Cinekamari, Santorini, Kamari 847 00, Greece

    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: Megaro Gizi, 25is Martiou 405, Thira 847 00, Greece

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