After a few days exploring Athens we hopped on an evening flight from Athens International Airport to Santorini International Airport. We flew Ryan Air (hello, cheap airfare!) and had a bit of a flight delay, arriving in Santorini close to 1:00am. Thankfully we had transportation arranged through Ersi Villas (where we stayed in Fira) so we didn’t have to worry about finding a ride in the early hours of the morning. Our driver was kind enough to point out all the important information like restaurants, laundry, bus stops, etc… the only issue is that it was dark and the roads were winding, so we couldn’t get our bearings and everything seemed so far away. When we woke up the next morning and met with our villa manager, he directed us where to go and we were pleasantly surprised to learn that everything in Fira was no more than a 10 minute walk. Whew!
We chose to stay in Fira (the capitol of Santorini) because of its central location on the island. From Fira you could hop on a bus at the Fira Central Bus Station and get anywhere on the island in about 20 to 30 minutes for 1.80€ to 2.50€/per person each way. We noticed that a lot of visitors rented ATV’s to get around the island, which looked like a ton of fun!
Bus Tip: If you take the bus from Fira to Oia or Kamari Beach (or anywhere else for that matter) start your bus journey from the Fira Central Bus Station in town. We made the mistake of picking up the bus not far from our villa then having to stop at the bus station and pay for another bus to our destination. Starting your journey at the Central Bus Station ensures that you don’t double pay. Also, you pay when you get on the bus, no ticket needed in advance.
Before arriving in Santorini we received a lot of feedback from friends and co-workers that had visited the island and the reviews were definitely mixed. We were surprised to learn that a lot of people didn’t particularly care for Santorini (what?!?). All of the feedback was that it was overrated and overcrowded. While we did find Oia to be especially overcrowded, the rest of the island was very pleasant. We visited in May, before tourist season (tourist season is mid-June to September) and believe this was definitely in our favor. We couldn’t have been happier with our time on Santorini – it truly is one of the most beautiful places our eyes have ever seen! We would hands down recommend visiting, just make sure you do so before all the tourists arrive 😉
Scroll to the bottom of this post to see our recommended Santorini itinerary!
You can rent a donkey to take you up/down the Old Port. We did not do this… It was hot and I felt bad for these poor animals. I would never pay for an animal to walk me up and down stairs. I am an animal lover through and through and I wanted to take all these donkeys home with me and let them roam free and graze all day. Unrealistic, I know, but my heart hurt for these poor animals, forced to work hard in the heat.
Also, stray cats everywhere!
There were dogs everywhere (hello, dream vacation!). This one followed us and even took a break with us.
Our recommended itinerary for three days on Santorini:
Breakfast at Zafora
in Fira (or any place in town that speaks to you)
Spend the day getting lost in the streets of Fira
Grab lunch at Anestis Tavern (it doesn’t have the caldera view, but at only a few steps away from the views it will save you money and you’ll get a delicious and authentic meal)
Spend the day in Oia
Wander aimlessly through the winding streets and stairs to catch the famous views from every angle
Drinks on the third level at Flora
Grab a good spot near the tip of the island for those famous Santorini sunsets
Take the Cable Car
back up to Fira (5€/person)
Take the local bus (from Fira Central Bus Station)
to Kamari Beach
for the afternoon
Dinner at Rastoni (stop by the day before or earlier in the day and leave a small deposit to secure a table with a view)
A few other activities that looked like fun were a sunset sailing adventure and visiting the red beach.