For the majority of travelers I have spoken with, Greece is always a destination on their bucket list- and with good reason! Santorini is absolutely stunning, and it is no wonder so many of us dream of visiting on day! If you are planning to visit, these Santorini tips will help your vacation be one to remember!
We went to Santorini for our honeymoon, and loved every minute of it! It was exactly how we pictured it: blue topped churches, tons of stairs, and a beautiful view of white and blues.
If you plan on traveling to Santorini for your honeymoon, make sure you check out our honeymoon packing list so you are well prepared!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
I’ve always thought of traveling to Greece to be an expensive vacation, but it truly is cheaper than you think! We used the following sites to help us book an affordable honeymoon, costing us just a few thousand dollars to travel to Greece and Venice- so it is possible!
We learned a lot about Greece and the culture while visiting, and tons of Santorini tips that I think will really help you with your trip! Someday I wish to come back to Greece (and honestly would just visit again for the wine and cheese!), but for now, I’ll reminisce and share these tips with you!
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1. Santorini on a Budget
One of the most important Santorini tips I have for you involves booking your flights. Even if you’re just thinking about traveling to Greece, start looking for flights now!
Average flights from the US to the Greek islands can cost you over $1000 per person. Ain’t no one got time for that!
Check ticket prices regularly and be flexible with your vacation dates. Cheaper options do exist, you just need to know when and where to look!
Pro tip: book flights on Travel Tuesday (Tuesday after Black Friday). We scored tickets for ~$400 per person. Phew!
2. Greek is a Dreamy Language!
I had never heard Greek spoken in real life until I visited Greece… And oh my!
I could listen to those Greek men talk for hours! The Greek language just sounds so nice to your ears- you won’t be able to get enough of it!
But don’t worry, pretty much everyone speaks English too! Good thing, because unless you know the Greek alphabet, you can’t even try to pronounce the letters you see on all the signs and menus!
3. Learn to Speak Greek!
As in most countries who do not primarily speak English, natives love even your butchered attempt at speaking their language.
Natives are much more likely to help you, give you deals, and are much kinder when you at least attempt their language.
Get on the Google translator app and learn a few basic phrases (I’d list them here for you but the Greek alphabet isn’t the easiest to read!
Don’t feel embarrassed if you say words wrong- locals love to help you with pronunciation and grammar, and the smile on their faces when you at least try is a good indicator that you made their day!
This is actually one of the best travel tips we always follow, because it makes people so happy!
4. Stray Animals in Santorini
There are an obscenly large amount of stray dogs and cats in Santorini.
They do not seem to bother or hurt anyone, but the sight can put a damper on your luxurious vacation vibes.
They will often beg for food, and tourists will offer them a few bites of their meal. Restaurant owners suggest not to do this, but its hard not to when they give you puppy dog eyes!
It is unsightly, but try not be afraid of them- they will cause you no harm! It is just part of life here in Santorini.
5. Greek Hospitality
Our AirBnB host even packed us a little lunch for the airplane on our last day, and gave us kisses on the cheek before we left! So cute. Every morning, she brought a tray of breakfast to our patio, followed by a “good morning!”. I can still taste the delicious Greek yogurt and pastries!
6. Stairs in Santorini
In Oia, there are hundreds if not thousands of stairs, and you really don’t get a choice to climb them or not. The only way to get from place to place is by steps, so get used to them!
Remember to take it slow, because it can get super hot in the summer time. The heat coupled with tons of stairs could be dangerous for some people, so take it easy and enjoy the sights!
Luckily the views are beautiful so it won’t seem as hard- hopefully!
7. Oia vs. Thera
Another one of my best Santorini tips is knowing the vibes of different areas!
If you are looking for the picturesque version of Santorini- head to Oia (pronounced Eee-uh). Oia is more expensive with luxury shops and restaurants, with tons of blue topped buildings. We spent most of our time here, because it is exactly why you go to Santorini!
Read our full guide on the best things to do in Oia here!
Oia also has little to no vehicle traffic, as it is mostly steps and rocks. Donkeys can take you up all the steps if you need to.
Thera (pronounced Fira) is the capital of Santorini, and is a more traditional tourist city with more affordable restaurants and shops. There is a lot of car traffic here and is a more traditional type of city/town that you’d expect. We only spent about one day here, because it wasn’t nearly as beautiful as Oia!
We stayed in Imerovigli which is located between the two. We highly recommend this location! It is quiet and beautiful, while still being close to all the other areas we wanted to visit!
8. Using Google Maps in Santorini
You might need to use Google maps at times, but it is not super reliable here…
ESPECIALLY if you are taking the Oia-Thera hike, which is one of the most popular things to do in Santorini (and definitely recommended!) Just make sure you have these day trip essentials!
My husband may have gotten us lost on the OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE ISLAND because Google maps gave him the wrong directions.
Let’s just say we spent the better half of the morning sweating and walking miles in the complete opposite direction of where we should have been (hey, the views were still incredible!)
One of the most important Santorini tips I have for you is to really take a close look at your directions if using Google maps, and make sure that it makes sense. When in doubt, ask someone for help!
9. Sunsets in Santorini
The best of my Santorini tips is regarding the sunsets here.
When I first heard that the sunsets were amazing here I thought what you’re probably thinking:
Its just a sunset, how could it be that different?
Just wait and see folks. All I gotta say. It is truly unlike any other sunset you’ve ever seen, in a way that is almost impossible to describe. You just have to see it for yourself!
Every night we chose a spot for dinner with good sunset views (most restaurants in Oia will be good for this). I highly recommend making reservations before you get to Santorini because once sunset time rolls around, everyone is fighting to get a good spot!
One restaurant I recommend is Kastros, which had great food and was a perfect spot to watch the sunset!
You’ll definitely want to take some good pictures during this time. Learn how to take amazing pictures on vacation here!
10. The BEST Winery in Santorini
We are not huge wine drinkers, but when you come to Santorini, you need to visit Santo Winery!
I highly recommend making a reservation ahead of time, because it can get very busy here!
The wine in Santorini is unique because of the special grapes they have here. Known as a Asyrtiko, made with white grapes that are only grown in the volcanic rich soils of Santorini.
I would honestly come back to Santorini just to get my hands on some of that wine again!
We ended up sitting at Santo for about 4 hours, which is a long time for us! We ordered tons of cheeses and appetizers and flights of wine, and just ate and drank our hearts out as we took in the amazing views!
11. Getting around Santorini
You might have seen online that you can rent four wheelers or other ATVs to get around Santorini, which could be a fun option!
You can also rent cheap cars in Santorini if you plan on visiting many parts of the island.
We opted against this as we had some vehicle-related incidents on previous vacations… (flat tires, etc… we decided to sit this one out!)
Don’t fret- there are plenty of cheap busses to take you around the whole island (it only takes about 20 min to get from one side to the other)
And if all else fails, cabs are always around (no Uber, though).
Remember, it is a huge tourist area, so there are plenty of transportation options. Also remember that you can’t drive in Oia, so taking public transportation is your best option here!
12. Is Santorini Safe?
Yes! Santorini is very safe. We never felt unsafe during any part of our trip to Santorini. Even walking around at midnight after a few too many drinks- we never felt vulnerable!
The Greeks are very respectful, and genuinely want you to have a fun and safe time visiting their country.
13. Where to Stay in Santorini
One of my best Santorini tips is to stay on the west coast of the island.
There are plenty of beautiful beaches on the East side of Santorini, however, you won’t get the famous sunset views in the Caldera from that side.
Trust me, just stay close to Oia or Thera and you won’t be disappointed! You can get from one side of the island to the other in about 20 minutes, so you’re never too far. Plus, chances are you’ll spend most of your time in Oia anyway (which is on the west side), so I recommend staying closer to here!
Like I mentioned earlier, we stayed in Imerovigli, which was a perfect location for us!
14. Food in Santorini
I had planned to hardly eat on this trip, as I don’t like olives or feta or most other traditionally Mediterranean foods.
The cheeses. The oils. The tomatoes. The gyros.
I guess I won’t be saying I don’t like Greek food again, because everything I ate here was divine! The food is super fresh and is definitely different than the American version of Greek food!
Plus, Greek food has many health benefits, so it will help you stay healthy while traveling!
15. Reservations in Santorini
Like I mentioned earlier, reservations are super important in Santorini. If you are planning to eat dinner in Oia- MAKE RESERVATIONS.
Like, months in advance.
Some restaurants let you make reservations up to 60-90 days in advance, so do some research and make sure you get a table!
If you don’t, you could truly be out of luck for dinner plans. It gets really busy and crazy around sunset time in Oia, so make sure you have a plan and know where you are going!
Check out this list of other things you should do before traveling!
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