Travel Tips for Santorini

It is our 5th and last day (June 2015) in Santorini and I think I can give some tips about here now :)

  • Santorini is a small island even if it looks big on the map. :) If you are based in Fira, you can get to anywhere maximum 30 minutes with a scooter.
  • Having a driving license is not enough to rent a scooter, you need to have the motorbike license as well. We were lucky that Markus’ UK driving license has the right permit. If not, you can rent a car or atv.
  • There are no traffic lights in Santorini, you need to obey the rules and drive carefully.
  • We rented a scooter for 5 days for 100€ from a shop in Karterados.
  • There are many public parkings everywhere but we were still happy to have the scooter as it is easy to park anywhere.
  • You can only rent cars from the airport, renting an atv or scooter is not possible unless you do it online.
  • Car rents are more expensive at the airport. Try to reserve your hotel that has a free pick up from the airport (most of them do) and rent the car from your hotel.
  • We stayed in Angel Studio for 4 days in Karterados, 5 minutes away from Fira and had the best time. Every day we had home made breakfast with different traditional Greek stuff with amazing hospitality. They really treated us as we were family and tried their best to make us comfortable.  They pick us up and leave to the airport at 7 in the morning with smily faces and explained everything that we need to know about the island. If I go to Santorini again, I would definitely stay there without any doubt.
  • If you will have your own transport, staying in a hotel just outside Fira may help you save some money.
  • If you think about taking taxis, be ready to wait in the queues, here are only 38 taxis in the island.
  • There are also public buses that go around the island but I don’t know how often they come or how much they cost. We found more comfortable to ride a scooter and go wherever we want.
  • If you have less than 3 days, I would not waste time with the volcano and hot springs excursion. I think the island has much more to offer than that excursion.
  • Oia (actually it is read as ia) gets really crowded for the sunset. Get ready to walk a lot to find a spot to watch the sunset or arrive to the point at least 2 hour early.
  • There are 2 ways to get to Oia, one from the left, one from the right if you are coming from Fira. Take the one on the right, so you don’t drive right next to the cliff. Google maps shows that it is 2 minutes longer but I think it is worth it.
  • Don’t come back without trying the gyros. Lucky’s in Fira main street has really nice gyros. We also tried Fanouris in Karterados which is recommend by our hotel which was full of locals and it had delicious and cheap food. 
  • If you need to go the old port for excursions, you need to go down around 400 stairs or you can take a donkey (5€) or cable car (5€). To be honest, we really felt bad for the donkeys. I hope you don’t go with the donkey option.
  • It takes around 20 minutes to go down by walking from Fira center to the old port.
  • South of the island is full of black sand/rock beaches. We have been in Perissa, Perivolos and Kamari. Our favourite was Kamari. Perissa and Perivolos are almost the same beach, somehow Perivolos was full of local people and it was a bit more expensive. 
  • In most of the places you can use the sun beds and umbrellas for free if you eat or drink from the restaurant. In Kamari beach, we saw a place that charge 7€ for sun beds and umbrella – avoid it :)
  • It is a bit windy at night (yes, in June :)) so make sure you have some long sleeve clothes with you, especially if you drive a scooter like us :)
  • Red beach is nice to see but it was not the best beach we have ever been. I think it is better not to stay long there.
  • We stayed in Imerovigli in our last day. We had an amazing view but I would not recommend the hotel a lot for the service. (Whitedeck Hotel)  

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