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 on your 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She is passionate about sharing her experiences of traveling with children on adventurous family holidays around the world! She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.