The Only Guide You'll Need Before Visiting Santorini, Greece

Thursday, October 7, 2021

What to Know about COVID When Traveling to Greece

You have to fill out this Protocol for Arrivals form to enter Greece and here is more official info to learn more.

You need to be vaccinated and have that card on you at all times. You are also required to show proof of a negative COVID test within 3 days or a vaccination card to get back into the U.S.

We didn't have to get COVID tests in Santorini (we got them in Mykonos during our last leg of the trip) but it's really easy to find hospitals/clinincs/COVID testing sites where we were. Just Google it!

Without a vaccine card and/or negative COVID test, you will not be let on the airline or into the country. I will say, Greece was pretty lax about all of this but definitely be prepared. Some restaurants and places make you present your vaccine card just to eat inside. 

Things I Wish I Knew Before Visiting Santorini, Greece

  • #1 lesson learned: When making reservations with the intent to watch the sunset while you eat, make sure you request that when you are making reservations. A reservation at many places doesn't mean you're getting a sunset view!
  • There are a lot of factors to consider when planning a trip to Santorini, Greece. I highly suggest getting a very good view of what you want to do/see and where those places are located on the island. If you don't do this, you could be planning a whole day in different cities on the island. Make the most use of your time while you're there!
  • We stayed in two places in Santorini over a span of 4 days and that was perfect for us — I think staying any longer, we would have gotten bored. I went with two other girls. If you're single and trying to meet mates, this probably isn't the prime place to go but the views are unmatched and you need to go to Santorini for sure, 100% recommend.
  • Oia (pronounced ë-yah) in Santorini was one of the prettiest places I've ever visited, but it is a very romantic and chill setting. We seemed a little out of place as 3 single girls and did not make any friends here.
  • Fira (pronounced how it looks) is more of the "livelier" spot in Santorini and the town center. This is close to transportation (ferry/airport) and many excursions leave from here (wine tour, catamaran, ATV rentals, etc.). I would still say it's on the slower side of things but there are amazing places to eat/drink at and worth exploring.
  • Take lots of consideration on where you stay and consider paying more for an amazing location and view. The Airbnb's we stayed at are listed further down in this post and will recommend them both until I'm blue in the face.
  • Expect to pay higher price than you're used to in the U.S. for most things, depending where you're from. Visiting all of the Greek Islands are expensive so just go ahead and wrap your noggin around that if you want to visit.
  • Water is not free and tap water is not safe to drink. Most 1.5L plastic bottles are €1,50-3,00 which is about to $1,77-$3.54 and adds up very quickly. There's not much you can do about it but you should be aware. 
  • I suggest booking your transportation through your Airbnb. It was easy and seemed most trustworthy to us. Taxis are okay too but if you plan through your Airbnb/where you're staying, it'll be all set up instead of trying to book something in the moment.
  • The addresses in Santorini are confusing/don't really exist. Don't be surprised if your transportation pick ups are in front of restaurants or stores instead of your Airbnb/hotel. This is normal. If you feel sketch about a pickup area, ask your transportation to change it. Everyone was very helpful when we were booking transportation and I felt safe with all of our rides.

How to Get to Santorini

There are flights available from the United States to Santorini but these are usually on the more expensive side. It depends on your travel route to figure out the best/cheapest ways to travel to Santorini. If you only play to spend your time in Santorini, you can fly straight there, but again it's on the pricier side.

Your other options are to fly to Athens, then take a short flight or ferry to Santorini. Flights from Athens to Santorini when we went . Also consider the length of ferries. While it's an easy way to travel, some ferries take 6 hours when a flight only takes 1 hours so be sure to weigh your options.

I paid $950 (this includes travel insurance) flying to Athens first with a$106 flight to Santorini. If I wanted to fly straight to Santorini, it would have been somewhere around $1,125+. The flight was only one hour. While it's not a major difference, saving is saving, naw mean? Obviously check the options from where you're flying from but in many cases, it makes the most financial sense to fly to Athens first and commute to Santorini.

How Many Days to Stay in Santorini? 

How many days you spend in Santorini will be dependent on your preferences, lifestyle, and what you want to do.

Santorini is an utterly magical place, but it is slow paced. Service at restaurants is slow, bars play slow music and that's just the way it is. Very #islandlife.

If that's your scene, you can easily be content staying here for a while but for a single/group trip, I would spend at least 3 days in Santorini. That's just enough time to see multiple sunsets, hit the most popular places, and get a feel for the island. If you want more relax time, I would stay around 5 days. We packed our excursions and activities for the few days we were here, but you can easily spend time relaxing, walking around the towns, and eating/drinking.

When to Travel to Santorini

The most popular (and expensive) time to travel is April-August. We went at the very end of August through mid-September which was just the start of the slower season. U.S News says "the best time to visit Santorini is from September to October and April to May when the weather is warm and the crowds are scarce" which I also agree with.

What to do in Santorini?

Santorini is all about the sunsets, town views, eating, and drinking/eating. There are many excursions and activities to do so that depends on what you like doing! 

Here are some of the most popular things to do in Santorini, along with what we did and loved:

  • Catamaran tour (highly suggest. We booked with Spiridakos Sailing and the staff was awesome. You get food and drinks and the tour lasted about 4 hours)
  • Wine tour (highly suggest ones that ends at Santo Wines. Our stops were Anhydrous Winery, Gavalas Winery and Santo Wines. We booked ours through Santorini Wine Adventure. I really learned a lot about wine!)
  • Hiking between Fira and Oia (about 2.5 hr hike each way)
  • Visit the beaches (White, Black, and Red are most popular)
  • Shopping (the town is so cute! Get yourself a souvenir)
  • See the blue domes (highly suggest going here to see and take pictures. Most of the areas close to the domes are private property and blocked of to the general public so if this is something on your must-do list, I would get an Airbnb near them) 

Where to Stay in Santorini

I strongly suggest figuring out what you want to do in Santorini before you make plans on where to stay.

Oia and Fira are the two most popular places in Santorini. They are about 20-30 minutes away from each other. We scheduled rides through our Airbnb for transportation. 

I suggest taking your time figuring out what you want to do before you figure out where you want to stay. I felt safe in both Oia and Fira. I wouldn't suggest wandering anywhere overseas late at night by yourself but while walking around with a group of girls, and even doing short errands alone, I felt safe.

Oia, Santorini 

Oia is at the north side of the island facing the volcano/caldera, known for its iconic sunsets, the Blue Domed Churches, and the rows and rows of white buildings. Oia views are usually what people envision when they think of Santorini.

Oia is the calmer, more romantic part of Santorini with gorgeous sunsets — like beyond gorgeous. You should probably plan everything you do around being somewhere to watch the sunset.

Alexi's Place on Airbnb is to die for. If you are staying in Oia, Santorini, you need to stay here. NEED, I TELL YOU!

The Airbnb we booked in Oia was the best decision of the trip, no joke. It was a little of a splurge but the views cannot be beat and literally, this location is not accessible to the general public. We were able to take pictures, enjoy our patio, and stay in a quiet area here. All of my pictures with the blue domes were from our Airbnb.

Fira, Santorini

Fira is the capital of Santorini, located on the west side of the island and in the middle of the island. Fira is more touristy than Oia but not in a bad way. There is more hustle and bustle, upbeat atmospheres, and more people coming and going. 

We stayed at the cutest two story Airbnb called Akron Cliff Suite. It's cute and quaint in a cave style home with a gorgeous view and patio to hang out on. It's set up like a duplex. We had some young guys staying next door to us that we made friends with.

The host was amazing and super helpful. The only potential downfall is that there are a million stairs getting to/from this Airbnb so if that is a deal breaker to you, please take note. The host's husband helped us with some of our luggage and he was dying; we felt so bad. They will warn you about the stairs too — and they are not exaggerating.

One thing to note is that all of the beaches are towards the south of the island and I don't think there is much going on down there besides visiting beaches. In my opinion, I don't suggest staying down there for your trip. It would be better to go down there for a day and stay in Oia or Fira. Or better yet, book a Catamaran tour and you'll get to see all the beaches from the sea!

Below is a very high level/easy-to-understand map of our trip and the main destinations of Santorini, Greece. These are the places referenced in this blog post. I don't know the exact route of the catamaran tour so this was my general guess.

Map of Santorini, Greece

Places to Eat/Drink in Santorini

First off, if you have your heart set on any places to eat or grab drinks, make reservations! Greece runs on reservations, especially Mykonos and Santorini.

One major thing to note is that if you want sunset view dinner reservations, make sure to mention that when scheduling your reservations. A dinner reservation doesn't mean you'll have a sunset view!

Here are the places we ate/drank at while in Santorini, Greece:

  • Argo (sunset dinner, Oia)
  • Volcano Blue (sunset dinner, Oia)
  • Fino Cocktail Bar & Restaurant (after dinner drinks, Oia)
  • Pelekanos (sunset dinner — gorgeous view, good food, Oia)
  • Strogili (lunch, Oia)
  • Pitogyro (lunch — was on our list but we didn't make our reservation, Oia)
  • Pelican Kipos (breakfast/lunch, Fira)
  • Naoussa (lunch — great view, food wasn't noteworthy, Fira)
  • The Vine (highly recommended. We got after dinner drinks and they had live music, Fira)
  • PK Cocktail Bar (after dinner drinks —highly recommended by my followers, Fira)
  • Kaliya Reimagined Food & Drinks (great ambiance for dinner/drinks, Fira)

What to Wear in Santorini

Depending when you go, chances are that it will be hot — very hot. I suggest wearing nothing but lightweight items (flowy dresses and skirts, rompers, tanks, etc.) and flats. If you've done any research on Santorini or Greece travel in general, you've probably heard that you need to wear sandals and I support this notion. All the streets are cobblestone/rocks and incredibly hard to walk on.

I wore sandals or tennis shoes the entire time. You could get away with heels or wedges if you really wanted to, but honestly, not for everyday wear; if you want to wear heels to dinner then home, you would probably be fine.

What to wear in Santorini, Greece

Some items I wore in Santorini, Greece:

Much Does it Cost for a Trip to Santorini?

I tried to be cheap where I could when planning my trip to Santorini but keep in mind everything is expensive. There are things you can do to save money (like always have your own water instead of buying at restaurants or eating at less expensive places) but I feel like you'll be nickel and diming at that point but to each their own!

There are differentiations in pricing for places to stay throughout Santorini and if you plan to only sleep at your hotel/Airbnb, you can cut some costs here. But I really recommend staying in cute, Greek, amazing places — especially Alexi's Place in Oia.

You can also save over time on not eating out for every single meal (like make breakfast at your Airbnb, get cheap gyros for lunch, etc.)

Here's an estimated list on what I paid to visit Santorini, Greece:

  • Roundtrip flight to Athens: $950
  • Flight to Santorini: $109
  • Catamaran tour: $120
  • Transportation on the island: ~$45
  • Wine tour: $159
  • Eating/drinking/shopping: ~$425
  • Ferry to Mykonos/leaving Santorini: $70
  • For those who hate math, this adds up to ~$1,880 

Hope these were helpful tips! I learned so much on this trip and I hope my experience will help you plan yours. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or you can always DM me on IG for a quicker response. I love planning trips and I'm more than happy to answer anything!!


  1. Wish I could one day travel there! Thanks for the nice post! Hope you a good day! Nothing is better than a small shoulder bag, do you agree? Maybe I will go find my bag. And if possible, I think we can do a collaboration together. I don't know if you are still updating your blog.