I finally managed to travel to Santorini after spending a week in Athens. Yay! While writing this, I actually don’t know how to truly portray in words the beauty of Santorini. So I’m letting all of my photos speak for themselves.
* Getting There & Public Transport in Santorini *
Around 5:15 in the morning, I took a bus from Chaidari headed to the Piraeus port, Athens. That was the earliest bus I could get since my ferry departed at 7.30 am and it takes about an hour to get there by bus.
- I went to Santorini by ferry. I booked the ticket online with Blue Star Ferries 2 months early. (Click this link for online booking).
- Taking a ferry to Santorini is way-way cheaper than flying but it takes 7 hours journey to get there.
- One advantage of taking the ferry to Santorini is that I can see the beauty of Paros, Naxos, and Ios Island.
- When you arrive at Thira port, there are a few buses waiting for passengers on your left. If you don’t know where the bus is going, just ask. I took the bus to Fira because my hotel is in Fira town.
- The bus service in Santorini is excellent, reliable, frequent, and cheap. You can go anywhere in Santorini by bus.
- The main hub for the bus is in Fira and every bus passes through it at some point. For example, if you’re in Oia, and you want to get to Perissa Beach, you’ll need to get to Fira first then change.
* Packing Tips *
I visited Santorini in September (late summer), here’s what I recommend packing :
- Sunglasses are a must! If you forget yours, there are many stores that sell them, but expect to pay a premium! though!
- Bring more than one swimsuit.
- Flat sandals or shoes are necessary. Absolutely DO NOT pack heels. There are hundreds of uneven stone steps everywhere and a lot of them curve along the side of steep mountains.
- You don’t need a full set of makeup. The weather is hot and excess oil on your face will cause your makeup to slide around and melt right off. Remember, the islands are full of tourists and there’s nobody to impress!
- Sunblock / Concealer / lip cream for everyday use.
- I packed mostly sundresses, shorts, plain t-shirts, and tanks. The island is extremely casual.
- A selfie stick and a camera. There’s a photo op around every corner of Santorini. Like seriously, don’t forget about these two because you’ll need them all the time.
* Where To Stay *
The first and most basic decision that needs to be made is to ask yourself: “Do I want to stay at the beach or at the town?”
- I strongly recommend that you stay in Fira. Fira has the most restaurants (lots of choices for where to eat), shops (for souvenirs), and hotels. It is also the main town of Santorini.
- I stayed at Kykladonisia Hotel. 64 Euros/night (Including breakfast). It is just a basic room with toiletries, located in Fira town. I did not have high expectations about the room. It was okay and my goal was not to spend too much time there.
* What And Where To Eat *
- For travelers who do not want to try Greek cuisine, there are plenty of other restaurants in Santorini.
- Every Greek restaurant where I ate lunch or dinner provided a bread basket and butter.
- If you enjoy Asian cuisine, visit the Asia Club restaurant in Fira. Ask them to spice up your food! It burned the tongue of my boyfriend! Actually, it’s mine as well. Haha.
- For Muslims, I can’t find any halal restaurants in Santorini.
- There are grocery stores for when you just need a snack.
* Things You Must Do *
- Sightseeing and exploring the paths, alleys, and stairwells of Fira.
- Sightseeing and exploring the paths, alleys, and stairwells of Oia.
- Oia is popular for its sunset views. But, one word to describe an Oia sunset: CROWDED as heck.
- One thing I must say, the beauty of Oia is beyond imagination.
- Both paths of Fira and Oia are like a maze of narrow streets and zig-zagging but Oia has even more hidden pathways than Fira. Be sure to get off the main path and explore the magical views.
- For most of my days at Santorini, I was just happy weaving through the streets, peeking into stores, and snapping hundreds of photos!
- There are three types of beaches in Santorini, black, white, and red. White (the ordinary sand). Black (because of the volcanic rocks). And the red (due to iron and volcanic rocks mixing).
- I went to Kamari and Perissa beach. Both are the black sand beach with Greek cuisine restaurants spread along the beachfront.
- Personally, my favourite beach is Perissa. The scenery is beautiful! I enjoyed swimming and sunbathing in there.
- If you plan to go visit Red beach, you need to wear proper shoes because to access the beach, you need to climb the cliff.
* More About The Island *
- Santorini is a wonderful place to visit! It is mentioned in many travel guides as a most beautiful destination.
- I went to Santorini in September. Best time for swimming and suntanning. Tourists are many but it’s never crowded.
- During high season (late June – end of August) prices are at their peak.
- Since Santorini relies heavily on tourism, most people on the island at least can speak basic English.
- The currency on the island is Euro. If you do need cash, there are a few ATMs.
- You can’t flush your toilet paper, AT ALL. Not just on the island but everywhere in Greece. I have read somewhere online telling that the sewage system in Greece is not designed to handle the flushing of toilet paper. If you did, then you are likely to block the pipes in the sewer system.
- Oia is the most EXPENSIVE place in Santorini. It is quieter, more romantic, and generally has more expensive hotels and higher-end restaurants.
- The roads throughout Santorini are windy, steep, and narrow. Always be careful.
- To be honest, you don’t need to stay in Santorini for more than 4-5 days because Santorini is more of a sightseeing island. You should plan to island-hop.
- Santorini is not known for its beaches. They are good but not great – so don’t be expecting too much.
- In Fira, you can go on a donkey ride. Those poor donkeys. 🙁
- To travel between Santorini and Milos, I used a boat company called Sea Jets. It’s about 3 hours by boat between the two islands and the most affordable way to island hop.