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5 Mistakes to Avoid when Planning a Trip to Santorini

A trip to Santorini is a bucket list experience for anyone who wants to experience the epic sunsets, and magnificent cliff views of the crescent shaped Island. Although you are not the only one who wants to visit the most popular of the Cycladic islands, do not let the thought of other tourists deter your desire to plan a trip to Santorini. But to ensure you have a trip of a lifetime, avoid these 6 common mistakes when planning a trip to Santorini.

Common Mistakes to Avoid when Planning Your Trip to Santorini

Trip to Santorini Tips
Santorini is known for stunning views like this, make sure you keep reading to avoid the common mistakes people make when they are planning a trip to Santorini

Mistake #1 When planning your trip to Santorini is not arranging your hotel transfer in advance

Whether you arrive by ferry or by air, you need to get to your accommodations, wherever you are. You can arrange a hotel transfer for you in advance and as long as they know your arrival schedule, they will have a vehicle waiting for you. Otherwise you are the mercy of the infrequent busses or very expensive taxis.

In order to avoid this mistake, book a transfer here.

Santorini Donkey’s are an iconic part of Santorini. There is a lot of talk of abuses as these animals work in the hot sun. Ensure you are happy with their treatment if you chose to ride one. And do not judge others if you choose not to.

Mistake # 2 When Planning a trip to Santorini is coming to party

If you are looking for a party, Santorini is not the right island for you. But do not skip it completely, just know that dinner plans and some live music are more of the vibe of the island. All you need is 2 days in Santorini and then head over to Mykonos or another one of the popular party islands! While in Santorini you can take a boat cruise and experience the fun and beauty of the Caldera or rent an ATV and explore more hidden spots! If wine is your thing, Santorini has some great wine tours!

Mistake #3 On your trip to Santorini is arriving by cruise ship

When the cruise ships anchor off shore, thousands of tourists flood onto the cliffs of Fira, whose small winding paths were designed for small carts, not thousands of tourists. There are lots of steps, steep sections and when you are shoulder to shoulder with thousands, it can be a bit of a nuisance. It means that the small souvenir shops are often overrun with tourists looking for windmills or donkey souvenirs to remind them of their time in Greece. If you really want to experience Santorini you need more than just the day that a cruise offers. After sunset, all of the cruise passengers go back to the ship and although there are plenty of people staying on the island, the crowds are more manageable.

trip to Santorini
There are stunning views all over the Island, and some areas are not nearly as crowded as Fira and Oia. Get off the tourist path when you visit Santorini

Mistake #4 to avoid on your trip to Santorini is just staying in Oia

While the most popular and arguably the most romantic, there is so much more to the island than Oia. After a few hours relaxing, grab an ATV or take public transit and see some more of the island! Whether it is the black sand beaches, or the smaller towns or checking out a winery, there is much more to the island than gazing at the cliff side and the waters below!

There are also plenty of tour options that take the work out of planning what to see! You can check them out here.

Santorini Beaches
People do not come to Santorini for the beaches. But that does not mean that they should be skipped! Plan to spend a bit of time enjoying the views of the black sand beaches or black rock beaches of the Island of Santorini

Mistake # 5 Skipping the Beach

While I will be the first to admit that other Greek islands have nicer beaches, that does not mean that you should skip the beaches when planning your trip to Santorini. Whether you opt for renting an ATV, a car or taking a taxi or public transit, it is worth visiting Kamari Beach (the black rock beach in Santorini) and Monolithos Beach (black sands and shallow water).

Related: Santorini Instagram Captions for your travel photos.

santorini planning tips
Pack the flip flops for Black Rock Beach as the rocks are burning hot from the hot summer sun! You can people watch or enjoy the stunning cliff views here

Mistake # 6 Flushing Toilet Paper

while this is not a planning mistake, it is something to be mindful when you visit Santorini (and much of Greece). Their sanitation system is not equipped to handle toilet paper and it causes big problems and backups in the sanitation lines.

Do your part and put toilet paper into the garbage can beside the toilet.

Mistake #7 Not Considering Professional Photos

I know, you and I have both seen the amazing photos from Santorini. It is because photographers know the right angles, tricks and best time to day for photos in certain locations! They are the professionals! If you want to preserve your Santorini memories, consider a professional photo shoot!

Occasions like honeymoons, anniversaries, family holidays, solo adventures and even surprise proposals are perfect moments to capture with a Flytographer shoot.

Click here to check out local photographers and book your photoshoot!

What to do in Santorini

Now that you know the 5 mistakes to avoid when you are planning your trip to Santorini, you need to decide on your itinerary. I have put together a 2 Day Santorini Itinerary that you case use as a base to plan your trip. Many of the popular things to do are a Santorini Catamaran tour or a Sunset wine tour.

The best place to book these tours is here.

You will also want to take into account the cost of visiting Santorini. Check out this post on the cost of two weeks in Greece to get an idea of what things cost in the country. Overall Santorini is more expensive for food and accommodations than mainland Greece.

Related: Sunset captions for Instagram to caption your Santorini sunset photos.

How Many days should I spend on my trip to Santorini

That depends on what kind holiday maker you are! If you are an adventurous traveller, 2 days in Santorini is enough if you like to keep moving. If you want to spend a few days on the beach or getting some R&R then you could plan on a few more.

My personal suggestion is 2 full days can give you a good taste of the island and then you can hop over to another island for a completely different vibe.

How to Get to Santorini

There are plenty of direct flights to Santorini so that holiday makers can easily access the island. You can also fly domestically from Athens. There are many ferries that arrive daily to the island bringing passengers from the mainland and from other islands.

Where to Stay in Santorini

There are hundreds of places to stay in Santorini. Most of them are small boutique style accommodations that are locally run.  Fira and Oia will offer stunning views, but there are more budget friendly accommodations outside of the main areas. They do not offer the views, but some are closer to the beaches.

I almost always find something here that works!

When to visit Santorini

Santorini is mostly a summer destination with July and August being the busiest time to visit the Island. It is also the busiest. Expect tourists in droves, whether holiday makers or cruise ship passengers arriving for the day.

May, June, September and October are much less busy and probably the best time to visit Santorini for those who do not want huge crowds.

In the off season (November to April) many tourist shops and hotels are closed, but it is a great time to visit the island without other tourists. The weather will be cold, so if you are not a sun chaser, the off season might be a good time for you to visit. Read more about winter in Santorini.

Safety in Santorini

Santorini is a safe destination for travelers to visit. One of the biggest dangers in Santorini revolves around traffic! There is a LOT of traffic on the small island and accidents are common. Tourists also need to be careful when driving ATV’s as gravel on roads can cause vehicles to skid!

You can read more on Is Santorini Safe?

Do you have more questions about Santorini? I have a complete Santorini Guide to give you planning tips, hotel suggestions, driving tips and hopefully answer everything else you might be wondering as you plan your trip!

More Santorini Travel Resources:

There are a few other things to think about when it comes to travel. The first thing is travel insurance. Whether it is an emergency room visit for something as simple as strep throat, or an emergency appendix surgery, or an unfortunate moped incident, things do go wrong when people travel to Santorini everyday.

I highly suggest travel insurance and a good policy. I personally never travel without it, and I even checked into my policy about care for my children if I am ever in an accident or hospitalized. There are just too many things to think about.

You can find out more information and buy your travel insurance here.

I hope this article has helped you to avoid common mistakes that first-time travelers commit! Do you have any questions about planning your trip to Santorini? Let me know in the comments!

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Planning a Trip to Santorini
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Mistakes to Avoid on your Trip to Santorini

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  1. Jenn says:

    A lot of people told me visiting Santorini in winter was a mistake, but I totally disagree. I had the most incredible time and I was able to take some gorgeous photos since the island was largely empty. I’m not big on lying out on the beach, so I didn’t mind the cooler weather. I was happy to trade those beach days for far less crowds.

  2. Jenn says:

    I really need to come back to Santorini. I visited in winter, which was fabulous for taking photographs and avoiding crowds, but I did make one mistake on your list by not visiting the beach.

  3. Kartik Dodia says:

    Very helpful article. I am planning to travel to Santorini next year. And this article will help me a lot i know. Thanks for sharing. 😍

  4. Graeme Stewart says:

    It is like 2 different Islands. When the cruise ships are there and when they are not.

  5. William Reid says:

    You forgot to mention to make sure you have your currency changed to euros before going to the island. The exchange rates are way below the normal rates as you are a captive audience.

  6. Qtje says:

    It’s not correct. There are many (dance) clubs and locations to party. The best Sunsets are around Skaros Rock. The beaches are same as everywhere, so not advisable if you are on Santorini to waste time there. And they have a archeological side in Akrotiri. You can also learn original p pottery in a workshop. Food does not be expensive at al if you avoid the Caldera Restaurants.

  7. Ann says:

    What a lovely right up. you have put it up so well. any one travelling anywhere would love this advise. thank you