We all have a favorite place in the world, a place where we feel like home, where we want to live for the rest of our lives, a place we dream about day and night.
Santorini is an island in the Cyclades Archipelago, in the Aegean Sea, about 120 miles south-east of Piraeus. It is a volcanic island, formed in time, after a long series of eruptions and as some researchers consider, the most powerful caused the disappearance of Minoan civilization of Crete – over 3,500 years ago. Others think that the disappearance of Atlantis was at the base of this eruption.
Surely there are many legends due to the volcano, but what we see is what the volcano created, namely a dreamscape, a lagoon with crystal clear water and depths up to 400 meters, surrounded by rocks 300 meters high and in the middle of this lagoon, the volcano, a monster watching and threatening.
In the last 20 years, tourism took a large scale and the volcano is, until proven otherwise, a good source of income and an attraction for tourists worldwide. A second image specific for this island, aside from the volcano, are the churches with a blue roof.
How do you get to Santorini?
Take a flight from the United States to any city in Europe or Athena as there are no direct flights from the United States to Santorini. The airfare alone will cost you about $2,000 if you go in the summer.
To get to Santorini you must take a boat/ferry from Piraeus. The boat trip by night is slow and it takes 7-8 hours while the day trip is faster, 3-4 hours. In season, from July to September, these little ships circulate daily, maybe more during the day. The night ferry, an economy class ticket costs almost $32. You can reach the island by boat also from Crete or other islands.
The fastest way to reach the island is by plane from Athens. The course lasts about 45 minutes and costs $125-250 per round trip.
Where do you stay?
In Santorini, the accommodation offer is very varied. If you choose to book a hotel online, a mainstream search engine’s prices can range from just below $380 per night, while a budget search engine can offer the same for around $65 per night, including breakfast and airport pick-up.
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If you already have a reservation, the hotel staff will wait for you in the harbor. If not, the same people who always come to greet their own tourists can carry you at their villa. You can go to see it and if you do not like it, no one will get upset … but in most cases, even the smallest hotels-villas have clean rooms with all the comforts, all have private bathrooms, air conditioning, refrigerator, television. Prices vary depending on comfort and location, the rooms with sea views are, of course, more expensive as the ones from Fira and Oia areas, in the north.
Taxi from airport to Fira $19
Public bus ride on Santorini $2.00 – 2.75
Where do you eat?
There are many restaurants, modest or luxurious, beachfront or farther, and also for all tastes and pockets. A normal dinner for two, including one drink, costs around $ 30 at a terrace- restaurant on the beach, while at a modest local of the island the same food costs about $20.
The largest supermarket, Marinopolous, has pretty good prices, so you can easily get your drink supplies, fruits and, of course, olives.
Budget breakfast $3.75 – 6.2 (Usually the hotel booked includes breakfast but if not there are some budget choices around there).
Budget lunch $3.75 – 8.75 (There are plenty of gyro shops).
Budget dinner $10 – 20 (You can choose to have dinner with a view or not).
5-liter beer in a bar $3.75 – 6.25 (Usually the wine is cheaper than beer).
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What you can do in Santorini:
Museum of Prehistoric – Adults $3.75
It’s great to take the bus from town to town, but you also can get an ATV or a scooter just for $26 per day and go visit every corner of the island. All you need is a standard license driver, not a special one.
Santorini is a romantic island, famous for its spectacular sunsets on the volcano, for perfectly clean blue water and evenings with live music at the seaside taverns.
You can travel all over the island from North to South, tanning at the beach and swim in as many places as you want to, at night you can go for a walk or shopping in Fira or do your market at the largest supermarket – Marinopoulus .
The most beautiful and famous beaches are Red Beach (Paralia Kokinou), Kamari (Marble Beach), Perissa, White Beach (Paralia Aspronisi) and Monolithic (Black Beach).
If you have more days available and you want to see something else besides the sea and beach, then you must visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri, which is a sort of Pompeii in miniature and older. Here you can walk through streets and see houses that existed on the island before the great eruption, 1500 BC.
All travel agencies offer day trips to the volcano. The trip begins in the morning by boat, visiting the volcano, the sulfurous waters, and then the beautiful and tranquil nearby island Thirassia. It’s a beautiful trip that costs around $31, but it’s worth taking.
Thirassia is a small island, almost deserted, with only a few homes and some local families remaining. You’ll see all of them in the harbor awaiting tourists. If you want to get to the top, to admire the landscape you have just two possibilities. The first would be to slowly climb the 250 steps or much more fun it would be to get on a donkey and for only $6.50, let yourself shaken up to the top.
After such a busy day, the best thing to do is to relax at one of the dozens of seaside taverns in Kamari or Perissa. Many of them have live bands playing Greek and international music and if you’re lucky you could hit a real Greek night with traditional dancing.
In the last years, Santorini has become a luxury destination thanks to many travel agencies that offer weekly packages at different 4-5 star hotels. By the 70s, Santorini was an island preferred by young hipsters around the world, who came here with the tent, looking for fun and isolated beaches, where you could do nudism and more.
Is Santorini a place where we would encourage you to go? YES! If you don’t have the money for a luxury trip on the island, opt for a budget vacation. You have to see Santorini at least once in your life, it is worth the effort.