What to Consider BEFORE YOU GO to Santorini

Everyone who asks me about Greece asks about Santorini. When people picture Greece, they visualize the blue, rounded roofs and the stark contrast of white and blue. Santorini is one of the most ‘touristy’ areas of Greece, especially during the peak of the high season.  Here is what to consider BEFORE YOU GO to Santorini;

 

Santorini

 

Define: Santorini

What is referred to as many as ‘Santorini’  is officially known as the island of Thira. The main town of the island is called Fira, but the images that come to your head when you think of Santorini are from a village called Oia.

 

santorini

 

It should be noted that most of the island does not look like this, just one small town. Overall, Thira is a cliff-faced, volcanic island covered in unique wineries. It’s much more than the postcard-esque photos you see online.

 

Time of Year is CRUCIAL

My mother and I visited Santorini at the end of April. Even though this was VERY early in the season, it was still very crowded at the tourist destinations. The streets were nearly at a standstill as buses trafficked tourists around the island. And restaurants were difficult to get a table at during sunset. If you can visit earlier or later in the season, the experience will be far more intimate. Regardless, you will be sharing your experience with many other people.

 

sunset santorini

 

The tourism season in Greece slowly begins after Easter. This is when many of the local shops, restaurants, and hotels open. The height of the busy season is June, July, and August; this is when locations are most crowded. Things slow down as the season come to a complete around the end of September. Traveling in Greece between September and April is very tricky in many places; take extra caution with arrangements when planning a trip during this time. 

 

The Famous Village of Oia

 Oia: [spelled many different ways] is arguably the iconic visual of Greece. It really does look just like the postcards do! This seems to be the sole purpose that many people come to Greece, however, I would compare Oia to a museum more than a town or experience. 

 

oia santorini

 

It feels very rich and exclusive. The only way to access most of the village is to pay the outrageous prices of accommodation, it is blocked off to visitors.   Essentially you have a single walkway along the top of the village that can connect down to the waterway. Sounds alright, right? Now, imagine this walkway packed with hundreds of people trying to take romantic photos and selfies that make it appear as if they are the only ones there. I literally elbowed people trying to take a selfie that made it look as though I were the only one around. 

 

oia santorini

 

Yes, it is a lovely and picturesque area to walk around. We planned to spend sunset there but quickly changed our mind upon arriving and realizing we would rather not. DON’T PLAN YOUR TRIP TO GREECE AROUND THIS VILLAGE.  If that is all you want to see, then you are better off looking at photos of people on Instagram pretending to be having an intimate moment as hundreds of people walk by or photos from professional photographers. 

Don’t Underestimate Fira Town

Most people stay in or near the main town of Fira. It is a bustling town with a variety of food options and shops along with a strong Greek culture still present.

 

fira town

 

It is a fun area to walk around, you can even walk the 588 steps up or down to the waterfront! The food ranges from nice, local seafood restaurants to cheap gyro shopsAll of the buses connect from here to the rest of the island, allowing you to access anywhere you would like. 

 

It’s Easy to See a Beautiful Sunset

Santorini is also famous for its spectacular sunsets. There are boat and sailing trips to watch it from the water. Alternatively, for cheaper, you can see the sunset from most of the island as it is a crescent-shaped island.  

 

sunset

 

Oia is a popular spot for the sunset, but watching the sunset from anywhere else will be more intimate. Many of the restaurants have rooftop dining areas that allow you to eat with a view of the sunset. 

 

Beach Realities

Santorini isn’t known best for its beaches. Instead of sand, you will often find rocky beaches since it is a volcanic island. Many of the beaches are easily accessible by buses and are located near cute beach towns filled with friendly locals. 

 

 

A simple google search will show you the most popular beaches. I would encourage you to find more ‘small town’ beaches that allow you to meet some Greek people. After all, why go to a country if you don’t meet the people? 

 


 

I ended up enjoying my time on Santorini. Oia did disappoint me, but luckily there is more to the island to enjoy. 

Santorini is one of the most picturesque places my eyes have ever seen. 

Have you been to Santorini? Am I being dramatic in my perception of Oia?  Comment below if you would still be interested in going to the island or if you would rather go elsewhere.

27 comments
  1. Loving your photos
    #GLT

    1. Hey Georgia, thanks for stopping by! #GLT <3

  2. I’ve found a few places that just never quite live up to their photographs. Either through being insanely crowded or people’s heavy handed photo-shopping, its so nice to see some honest photography. #GLT

    1. Thanks Fia, I am glad to hear I am not the only one!

  3. for travellers to santorini here is a weather guide that will help you plan the perfect vacation there.
    https://www.visitgreece.com.gr/en/members/travel-blog/item/622-santorini-weather-guide.html

  4. I guess I just assumed all of Greece looked like the iconic pictures 😐. Well now i know! I still would love to see it!! Why doe places(shops& stuff) shut down before Easter? Winter months? Too cold) great post!

    1. Tif, you are exactly right! It acts nearly as a circuit.. tourists don’t come because nothing is open but nothing is open because tourists don’t come. Any chance you get to go to Greece, I say GO!

  5. That’s really great advice. I get some similar remarks from travellers I meet or host in Kuala Lumpur too, whereby they get information on the internet about Southeast Asia destinations, but those heavily promote highly touristy places (which are very nice) but there are numerous hidden gems and underrated countries that they actually liked better and didn’t budget enough time for. I personally do prefer small towns, but it’s hard to feel comfortable getting yourself there as a foreign traveller. So pieces like this are fantastic.

    1. Thank you for stopping by Teja! It is funny, in a way, that word of mouth can have such a strong impact! I guess maybe we should keep these gems a secret after all. Some of the best gems are discovered rather than planned though! Happy travels!

  6. I have never been to Santorini, but I could imagine how crowded it must be, especially around Oia 😅 Loved your photos!

    1. Thank you Louise, You have nearly experienced all of Oia just by viewing those photos. [Ha ha] Happy travels!

  7. Your guidance is really helpful. I must consider everything carefully before travelling to Santorini. Thanks for your help!

    1. Thank you for reading Linh <3

  8. I laughed as I read your account of taking selfies at Oia. Isn’t it the truth? I am really fond of traveling during off season just to avoid crowds. There are some great suggestions here. It’s too bad that some of the more popular destination charge exorbitant prices to experience the site. Fun story aside, I loved your pictures.

    1. Lance, I am glad you could find humor in it too! Off-season travel is the best way to save money and to have a better experience, in my opinion. Thanks for stopping by!

  9. your pictures are so stunning. I always wanted to visit Santorini…we are planning a trip this year.. your post will come really handy..thanks for all the detailed info.

    1. Ritika, Greece is a lovely place and I hope you enjoy every second of it! Can’t wait to read about your experiences. x

  10. Fabulous post filled with wonderful tips. I never realised that all those beautiful postcard worthy photos were of one town and that the rest of the island didn’t look like that! I like the idea of going very early or late in the season

    1. Jem, I think that is the best way to experience it. I didn’t realize before I went but alas knowledge is power! Thanks for reading x

  11. Santorini is on my bucket list. This place is incredibly beautiful. Those white and blue coloured buildings look amazing. You have given great info. Your pictures are stunning. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Well then, I hope you are able to make it to Santorini soon! The Greek culture is one everyone should experience! Thanks for reading Supriya, happy travels!

  12. Thanks fir the great tips. Going to visit in May and very helpful. Thanks for sharing

    1. How fun! I hope you enjoy your time in Greece- YAMAS (Cheers in Greek!)

  13. Hey Babes,
    Santorini is on my bucket list since a long time. Your post is so informative and helpful for everyone who wants to plan a trip here. Clicking pictures in Oia is something that I have been dreaming of for a while, but as you have mentioned watching the sunset from any other place can be even more interesting. Also will plan in the months that you have mentioned in this post. This post is extremely helpful. Thanks a ton.

    1. Hetal; I am glad it could be of inspiration for you. Santorini is an incredibly unique place and I hope to see that you visit one day! Happy travels, Taylor

  14. Pretty nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. In any case I will be subscribing on your feed and I hope you write once more very soon!

    1. Thanks for reading xx

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