When it comes to European holiday destinations, very few places have the lure or intrigue of the island of Santorini. Striking beaches, sizzling sunsets and a culinary scene that will set your mouth watering are all there waiting for you on this Cycladic showpiece.
It’s a truly special place, and you’re sure to have an unforgettable stay on the island. But before setting off, it can be useful to know a few tips and tricks to ensure you get the most from your trip. For first-time visitors, here are five things you should know about this popular holiday hotspot.
As the southernmost island in the Cyclades, Santorini is the perfect place to set off from for an island-hopping adventure. Skip from Ios, to Naxos, to Mykonos as you make your way north back towards Athens and the mainland. If you’re looking to take your Greek Island exploits beyond the shores of Santorini, be sure to set aside enough time to experience all that this stunning archipelago has to offer.
If you’re looking for an authentic taste of the island, speaking to the residents about the best restaurants and places to visit will give you the chance to see Santorini through the eyes of a local. It’s easy to fall into the tourists traps here, particularly in the popular resorts like Oia and Fira. Here, you’ll find many restaurants with a view, but you’ll compromise on the price, and will likely face longer waits.
Similarly, the locals will know the best viewpoints to enjoy the famous sunset from, meaning you can avoid the hustle and bustle of the island’s best-known spots.
You’ll find that the majority of places will accept debit and credit cards as a form of payment, particularly in the tourist hotspots. But it’s always sensible to carry some cash on you, to avoid being caught short. Many services (such as the buses) will only accept cash, so be well prepared and take out some euros in advance. Don’t worry too much about taking out enough for the entire trip before you depart – there are plenty of ATMs dotted across the island, so you’ll be covered even if you do run out of cash.
The bus service will generally be the cheapest way for you to get around and explore different parts of the island. However, if you’re looking for a more laid-back experience, it’s advisable to hire your own car. Particularly during the summer months, the buses can become crowded, and a car will allow you to explore the whole of the island at a pace that suits you. If you do decide to rent a car, you can be reassured that there is typically ample parking across the island, even in the more populated areas.
There is also a good taxi service, but this too will become busier in the peak period, so a hire car will be the best option to save you any long waits between journeys.
Depending on what you’re looking to get out of your Santorini adventure, different areas of the island will better suit your needs. For example, if you want to be in the heart of the action and enjoy a livelier atmosphere, then consider the capital of Fira, or the seaside resort of Perissa in the south. If it’s a more laid-back vibe you’re after, there are plenty of rural towns and villages where a slower pace of life is the order of the day. Do your research in advance and you’ll be sure to land at the ideal location for you.
Relax and enjoy
Visiting somewhere for the first time is an exciting, but potentially daunting experience – particularly if you’re travelling solo. But all you need to do for to have a safe and memorable trip is to prepare. Whether you’re an experienced traveller or not, it’s always helpful to be aware of the local customs, as well as with a few tips and tricks to help your holiday go off without a hitch. Before departing on your dream Santorini escape, make a note of our five simple tips and you can look forward to a trip you’ll never forget.
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