Are you planning a visit to the idyllic coastal towns of Santorini? Ever since you saw the brochures of the Aegean Sea waters, you may be fighting off the temptation to visit this beautiful Greek island. You may also consider a trip with your partner or friends to soak on the island. The big question that now arises is, is Santorini expensive? Just as any visitor, you may be wondering about the amount to carry along for a smooth trip. You surely do not want to run short of the money mid-way on the trip.
We will discuss whether Santorini is expensive as the rest of European cities or is lesser of a pocket-pinch. Before coming to this aspect, let us look at the areas where you are going to spend most of your money.
How Expensive Is Food? Can We Try Out New Cuisine?
Food will be the first area of concern while discussing the expenses of visiting any place. If you believe in making the most of the trip, make sure to take the local delicacies and that too from the street-side or waterfront cafes overlooking the Caldera. Scores of these eateries are sure ways to reduce your food expense by a huge margin. However, if you believe in splurging, you can get plenty of 4 or 5-star restaurants too for eating in class.
The price of foods on average could be around £12/$15 per person if you are just grabbing a bite from the local cafes and restaurants. It is advisable to have food outside in these cafes or diners, but remember breakfast is the cheapest meal. Also note that many of the hotels in Santorini will offer free breakfast so you only have to worry about lunch and dinner. If you are by the beaches there are also even cheaper cafes and restaurants nearby too where you can grab some food for under 10 Euros.
Also, note that Santorini draws thousands of tourists every day. So, you do not get a chance to stumble upon the local restaurant that easily. The ones in Fira or the rest of Santorini will mostly focus on foods the tourists like. Hence, their price range will be higher than the ones where the locals dine. Take time to learn more about the best restaurants where you can get to eat delicious local Mousaka or other dishes. Check out the Tomato keftedes available for you to snack at any time of the day. These are mouth-watering and available at cheaper prices too. You can dig in these even at Penelope’s in Pyrgos.
Many local restaurants offer Beef Filet with Vinsanto Wine and mushroom sauce. There are special restaurants like Kyrie Niki, where you can have a decent grilled food meal. There are proper portions too, and most of the dishes are authentic Greek. There is Island fava, and pita or brizoles to pick. If you are in the mood for some local fish delicacies and fresh catch of the day, the To Psaraki Psarotaverna or the Fish Taverna is just right for you. Try sashimi here or white taramasalata. Their grilled sardines and gavros marinates are all made as you wait in the restaurant and end up spending only a few dollars. These are must-have dishes as you visit Santorini from these affordable budget eateries.
Wines are locally brewed, and every tourist will come across flyers and local tours to the wineries. Make sure to go on these trips and taste the best of the island’s wines. There are half-day or full-day trips to the Venetsanos Winery, or the Santowines winery among a host of others.
Are Hotels In Santorini Expensive?
The next area of expense while traveling Santorini has to be the accommodation. The price of hotels in Santorini across all budget ranges varies with the tourist season. The next question that we need to ask is, ‘Which is the peak season or the season that sees the highest footfall in Santorini?’ All through the year, you see tourists flocking in, but the best months to visit range from July to October. This is when you get the weather suitable to spend more time outdoors.
You can end up spending as much as £70/$90 per night on average if you are booking well in advance for mid-range hotels. The five-star hotels and resorts near Oia or Thira, or the black sand beaches of Kamari and others facing the beach or the Caldera, are going to be a little more expensive. You are not going to run short of the number of hotels and resorts. The popular top-rated high range of hotels, resorts and villas with infinity pools and private beach or suite-style accommodation are available aplenty.
These hotels have rooms with televisions, bathroom kit, welcome drinks, and even free Wi-fi or private bath on offer. The rooms are mostly in the authentic Greek island style of architecture to make you feel like spending the entire time indoors lounging by the sundeck, watching the ways on the horizon. I have covered in extensive detail a guide to the best areas to stay in Santorini, in addition to cheap hotels in Oia and budget accommodation in Fira so there are plenty of options even those who want to have accommodation with private pools.
If you are going on a honeymoon to Santorini, you can check out more secluded and serene spots around for staying. For instance, look for luxury hotels or resorts in places like Imerovigli. However, Kamari, Oia, and Thira are also good choices if you wish to move around more.
Hotels like Costa Grand Resort and spa, Casa Vitae Suites, West East Suites, and other such hotels come with top class luxuries worth their nightly tariffs. You are spoiled for choices about budget hotels or homestays too. After all, the island also welcomes tourists traveling on a shoestring budget. Hotel Paradisos in Oia or Anatoli Hotel and Lignosin Fira and Castro hotel in Kamari beach are a few of the affordable range of hotels. We also came across several youth hostels if you are open to staying in dormitories.
Getting yourself an accommodation in the Youth hostels scattered around Santorini is not a bad idea as it is. Unless you have noisy kids in your group, these dorms are comfortable and affordable ways of staying here and will be safe options too.
Look out for the bed and breakfast if you are not willing to spend extra on food.
How Much Are Flights To Santorini
There are no direct flights from the USA, Australia, or Canada to Santorini, so fly to Athens and then take the flight or ferry to Santorini from Athens. This is the best and the most common route to take. However, if you have never traveled by cruise, we ecourage you to take check it out.
It takes anything from 3 to 8 hours as you cruise on the turquoise blue waters of the Aegean Sea. This would give you a better view of the island from the waters. A flight from Athens will take around 40 minutes.
Make sure to book well in advance, whichever means you opt for at any time of the year. There is a great demand among the tourists to flock to Santorini anyhow. You can, however, get flights from many European cities like London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, and others. Check these out Expedia for flight deals to Santorini.
A good to know the point is, the official name of Santorini is Thira or Thera, and the airport code is JTR. Online booking of the ferries and flights are available in top booking sites. If you are traveling to Santorini from London like we were you can easily get flights for under £200 but even cheaper sometimes if you include Athens. So for example flight to Athens then Santorini then return to London from Santorini.
Going Around in Santorini – The Most Economical Means of Transport
The next major area of expense is getting around in Santorini. You will not be getting Uber here, but you can get cars, bikes on rent, or even board the local bus or taxi. Local buses move around at different times of the day, and they just cost between 2 and 2.50 euros. However, this rate varies from the distance of the destination.
All local buses start and end at Fira bus terminus. Moreover, the buses do not directly go to these hot tourist destinations on the island. They may drop you at the closest stops from where you hike around. This may add to more hassles if you are not aware of the locality. The Fira bus depot or terminus is a busy spot from where all the buses leave. These buses are air-conditioned, but you will not find any names on the buses. Find out the bus to where you are going and wait near it in a queue. During peak times of the day, expect buses to be a little busy with the locals too.
If you do not feel like taking that chance with local buses, then rent a car like we did. There is no fixed taxi fare for any destination, so make sure to ask before boarding any taxi. Ideally, from the Athinios ferry port to Fira, the fare could be around €20. If you wish to travel to all the best spots and have set itinerary for the day, you can get the entire day’s travel rental car for €40 a day approximately. The rental cars are the safest, and you can spend as long as you want to explore any spot specifically more than what you wish to spend on the other. This will not be the case if you are going on public transport.
If you are planning a trip in the peak holiday seasons from July to October, make sure to book your rental car online and book in advance. It saves you the stress of searching for a trusted rental car. This is also highly advisable if you have kids or elders in your travel group. Look for licensed and highly reviewed rental car sites online to avoid any mishap on reaching the island.
The rental cars are more beneficial to go around if you are unaware of the local language or geography of the place. Though the entire travel time around Santorini will not take a lot of time as the island is not that big anyway. Thus, the rental car is by far the best means of transport in terms of economy and an efficient way to trave. So, make sure to have the rental or local taxis. These local taxis can also be cost-efficient, as for each place or ride, the charges are around €10 approximately on average.
Another option is to drive around on your own. The driving side is the same as the USA. Nevertheless, you just need a driving license and some expertise in maneuvering the car through narrow streets. Quad bikes are also available on rent in Santorini which makes for cheap exploring too.
How much are the Excursions and Activities around Santorini going to cost?
Many people plan to make the most of the trip to Santorini by using some of the day tours. There are also various excursions or cruise packages on offer in Santorini.
There are semi-private Santorini cruise rides, some offering a BBQ and drinks on board for a relaxing view of various islands dotting the Aegean sea. Few offer Greek dishes onboard too and allow you the luxury to spend some time on any of these islands. These cost anything from £80/$100 to £800/$1000 or more depending on the cruise times and activities.
Look out for the Sunset tour though the Thirassia, and hiking up the volcano and finally catching the sunset in Oia. This is by far one of the best and the most delightful tours if you love photography and some all-day fun. This also includes swimming and scuba diving at the spot. The gear is available but check if your tour includes this. The small group Santorini wine tasting tour is a day-trip through the best Santorini-based wineries. Our picks are the Art Space Winery and the Koutsoyannopoulos winery with its vast display of wines and allowing you up to 4 wine tastings as well.
Explore Santorini on horseback in ExoGonia or take a sip as you sit back on the cliffs of Oia, or look around the ruins of Akrotiri with your kids.
The cost of these tours is sure to entertain you and your travel partners, and you can easily spend 3 to 4 days in Santorini on a budget.
Want More On Santorini? Also Read:
- Best Bars In Santorini
- Tips On The Best Boat Tours In Santorini
- Perfect Private Tours For Couples And Honeymooners
- How To Visit Greece In 10 Days
- Where To Stay In Mykonos
- Best Beaches In Santorini
- Tips For Travel In Europe
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