Santorini

Santorini

About Santorini

Santorini, one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, was devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century B.C.E., forever shaping its rugged landscape and villages. The whitewashed, cubist houses of its 2 principal towns, Fira and Oia, cling to cliffs above an underwater caldera (crater). They overlook the clear Aegean and beaches made up of black, red and white lava pebbles. The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history

Area: 35.12 mi²

Island group: Cyclades

Population: 15,550(2011)

Weather

July is the hottest month in Santorini with an average temperature of 26°C (79°F) and the coldest is January at 12°C (54°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 14 in July. The wettest month is December with an average of 74.5mm of rain. The best month to swim in the sea is in August when the average sea temperature is 25°C (77°F).

Safety

Be aware of rental scams, especially with agencies working only with motorbikes and ATVs. Using these types of vehicles is very common on Santorini and there are a lot of rental agencies. Some of them are ready to cheat. They will offer faulty motorbikes or ATVs for a lower price, but in case of accident they will demand that the customer pay for the whole cost of damage. They are offering only basic insurance but will present it like full insurance. Also, there is a big possibility of serious injuries.

It is possible to recognize these rental agencies by observing them aggressively attracting tourists and offering lower prices than others. Employees in front of these type of agencies will be loud and ready to promise everything until the contract is signed. It is necessary to check the vehicle before making any decision. Their vehicles are in most of the cases dusty, dirty and look old.

Santoríni is relatively crime free: you are quite unlikely to be pickpocketed. On the other hand you may feel you have been ripped off by some restaurant or bar bills. In particular.

  • Bring sunscreen. A bottle of SPF30 sunscreen will run about 20 Euro, with higher SPF sunscreen costing appropriately more.
  • Whie is obvious, remember not to shop at stores or order at restaurants without posted prices.

Physically the cliffs and low walls guarding large drops pose a danger to children while the elderly may encounter problems with the many steps. Cave exploring can be fun too but it is not recommended to deviate from the paths because of the unstable rocks made of tufa.

Like most areas of Greece, Santorini has a very high number of stray dogs, or dogs otherwise left to roam as they please. While the majority of Santorini’s large dogs are generally friendly they have been known to follow large tourist groups, with some going as far as to follow hiking groups travelling from Fira to Oia. Pack activity is common and basic precautions involving stray or feral dogs should be followed should a pack form around your group.

Culture

There is an old saying: Santorini has more churches than houses and more wine than water… Regarding the religious feasts of Santorini, locals tend to organize them with great love for tradition and faith. Usually for these festivities preparations start some days before the feast day including cooking and decoration of the church. Every village has its own patron saint which is celebrated with passion with various ceremonies and church services. In Easter or on the feast day of Holy Virgin, the ceremony is very touching where local light candles and a procession takes place around the settlements of Santorini.

Airport

Santorini (Thira) National Airport is an airport in Santorini/Thira, Greece, located north of the village of Kamari. The airport serves both as a military and as a civil airport. View Flights Schedules.

Getting Around

The island has a public bus service. There are no daily or weekly bus passes available. The bus stops do not resemble the ones you usually find in other cities in Europe. They are a white closed small places with low roof. There might be a bus sign near the bus stop (if you look for it closely). Buses run between every 30 minutes to every other hour. The buses occasionally miss trips, and some drivers are less than friendly.

An international driving permit is recommended. Without one, many car rental places will rent cars, but travel guides have mentioned tourists having insurance problems in case of accident. Scooters and 4-wheelers (quads or all-terrain-vehicles) are available to rent. A driver’s license is required to rent these 4-wheelers. Be aware that most of the people in Santorini are tourists. As a result, road conditions are extremely unsafe, with many people driving by the laws and conventions of nearly every country in the world.

A popular method of getting around is to rent ATVs, though the “all-terrain” part is a misnomer, as most ATV riders are tourists riding on the paved road. ATVs share the road with other drivers and are usually all over the island. The island is small enough to travel around on an ATV, and is a cost-effective way to self-explore the further reaches of Santorini. ATV rental shops are all around the island.

The island is small enough that it can be thoroughly explored by bicycle, or with a few bus trips, by foot. Bicycle rentals are fairly hard to find most places advertising bike rentals refer to motorbikes, rather than bicycles. Santorini is not very bicycle-friendly there are no dedicated bicycle routes, so you must share roads with vehicular traffic, the island is very hilly.

Activities

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Santorini Sailing

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Volcano Dive Center

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Santorini Sea Kayak

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Santorini Horse Riding

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Alex private boat rental

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Waves ports

Agoda

Mediterranean Dive Club

Accommodation

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Hotels

Expedia

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Hotels Combined

Agoda

Last Minute

Top Beaches

Red Beach

Red beach is one of the most beautiful and famous beaches of Santorini. It has black and red volcanic pebbles and hot water. Red Beach is 20 minute drive south of Fira The walk down to the beach can be steep for some. Many sunbeds and umbrellas cover the dark sand and right on the seashore are some nice pebbles you can use for your collection. Snorkeling is highly recommended due to the interesting rocks. You can also access the beach by boat that departs from Akrotiri port. The small size of the beach creates a much crowded atmosphere and there are many days where most of the visitors choose not to make it all the way down to the beach and instead admire this unique landscape of red and black volcanic rocks from the headland.

Kamari Beach

The most upscale and touristy of the beach towns. The path along the beach is a fun and relaxing place to stroll in the evening. Lots of places to eat and drink. Kamari has a very fun vibe and one of the most family-friendly towns on Santorini. The long stretch of beach lies under the impressive mountain of Mesa Vouno. The water is deep and blue, the sand is black and there is a lifeguard on duty. A stone-paved promenade for strolling that runs parallel to the beach stretches across the crescent moon shaped bay. This is closed off to traffic during the summer months. Kamari offers a wealth of cafes, bars, restaurants, shops and supermarkets, as well as a lively nightlife. The beach is organized, with sun beds, umbrellas, water sports and diving.

Perissa and Perivolos Beach

Perissa and Perivolos Beaches are essentially one very long beach that caters to the backpacker crowd and party scene but still has a wide range of accommodations and restaurants. The beach becomes progressively quieter as you move south towards a third beach, Agios Georgios. The same stretch of beach as Perivolos but quieter and fewer beach restaurants. It’s still a wonderful place to swim.

Vlychada Beach

The Vlychada Beach on Santorini is an over 800 meters long, dark beach. Impressive are the rock formations behind the beach. The water invites you at the most places on the break-in. There is no natural shade at the beach. Umbrellas and chairs can be hired.

Agios Georgios beach

Agios Georgios Beach, one of the most famous beaches in Santorini, is situated near Perissa and at the end of Perivolos Beach. Despite the fact that it is famous, the black beach is the perfect spot for those seeking for quiet away from the big crowds, but in an organized beach with umbrellas, sun beds, a wide range of water activities and many restaurants and bars.

Cape Columbo

Cape Columbo is one of the most isolate and quiet beaches on Santorini. Surrounded by a wild landscape, Cape Columbo often gets windy. In fact, it is the wind and the waves that have formated the wild rocks of Columbo. It is a unique and unspoiled long back sandy beach with pebbles, offering great views and relaxing moments since it is quite isolated, the beach is not organized and attracts many nudists.

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