Santorini: six things you need to know before traveling! Following the latest blog post, Santorini: Seven Amazing Reasons You Can’t Miss It, it is the continuation of the Santorini blog posts series. I am happy to share more with you from my recent Greek journey!
Santorini is calling and I must go.Anonymous
OUR SANTORINI TRAVEL
Our Santorini trip, surprise surprise, was a spontaneous journey. During our stay in Poland, we realized that the pandemic situation in Europe, at that moment, was a bit better. Additionally, our immune system, post our Covid-19 recovery, helped us decide: let’s travel abroad!
Till the last moment, we were undecided about the country and the dates. Malta or Greece, birthday weekend or the following one. I am super happy with our outcome: Santorini in Greece, four days travel, after my birthday. It was 6 of us traveling as we invited our parents to join us. I think that after the long 1.5-year pandemic standby, everyone was excited about this trip.
Since it was a bit more spontaneous travel, we had less time to explore thoroughly. So I thought it might be beneficial to give you some practical insight before your first travel to Santorini. These items shared below are based on our recent experience. Not all can be googled easily. Enjoy your Santorini travel preparation!
Six THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE TRAVELING
As per Santorini.com, ‘For many years, it was thought that Santorini was given its name by the Venetians in the 13th century at the time of the Crusades and the fall of Constantinople in 1204. It is a reference to Saint Irene – ‘Santa Irini’ (from the Greek word ‘ei – ri – ni ‘ = peace).
The Venetians had a landing place at Riva on the island of Thirassia, where they erected a chapel in honor of Santa Irini (Saint Irene), who had become a martyr in Thessaloniki on the 23rd March in the year 303. Nowadays, there is strong evidence that the Basilica of Agia Irini at the base of the mountain of Mesa Vouno gave Santorini its name, and not the chapel of Santa Irini in Thirassia.’
If you check the weather online, especially the monthly averages for Santorini, you might be happy. Just look at the table below, from 14’c in January to 29’c in July and August (as high temperatures). Hmm, you might be a bit misled. The actual temperatures in Santorini are higher, if not way higher. Jun-Aug temperatures easily mark +30’c. And the air is hot and dry. I just checked today’s temperature in Santorini. The AccuWeather says it is 31’c while the RealFeel is 36’c. So be ready, it might be warm!
During the summer months, especially in July and August, you can expect Meltemi winds in Santorini. These are strong, dry, seasonal winds that appear all over the Aegean Sea. The Meltemi wind usually blows during the daytime, especially during the afternoon and early evening. If you visit Santorini in summer, pack a light jacket as it might help you during very windy days.
|Month||High / Low|
|Jan||14° / 9°|
|Feb||14° / 10°|
|Mar||16° / 11°|
|Apr||18° / 13°|
|May||22° / 16°|
|Jun||27° / 21°|
|Jul||29° / 23°|
|Aug||29° / 23°|
|Sep||26° / 20°|
|Oct||22° / 17°|
|Nov||18° / 14°|
|Dec||15° / 11°|
Before arriving in Santorini, I knew it is a volcanic island. I couldn’t wait to see the caldera (one of the top reasons to visit Santorini). However, I didn’t know that there are so many volcanic products and experiences related to it.
Remind me that the most fertile lands were built by the fires of volcanoes.Andrea Gibson
Which experiences or products do I mean? You can do scuba diving and admire volcanic underwater treasures and fauna. There are great volcanic wine tasting activities. Or maybe during your shopping, buy volcanic stones jewelry, volcanic black soaps, or cosmetics.
Shopping time! I can’t hide it: I love shopping when traveling, at least some window shopping. Seeing all the local products, especially hand-made ones, gives so much joy to my eyes! 🙂 I don’t need to buy much. In Santorini, I bought myself a t-shirt, a bracelet, and postcards (I always buy them when traveling the world).
If you plan to shop a bit (or a bit more :-)) consider visiting Thira (Fira). There are plenty of shops there and the same products, for example, compared to Oia, are much cheaper. You can spend a great day there, first shopping a bit and then admiring one of the best sunsets in the world!
Also, check with someone locally or cross-check on the GPS for any supermarket. You can buy some local products there too and both the selections and prices will be more convenient! The last tip: negotiate a bit. I managed to do it also in Santorini.
Visiting Santorini, other than wonderful white-blue houses, incredible views, and excellent wine, be ready also for stairs! A lot of stairs!
Most of the Santorini villages, like Oia, Thira, or Imerovigli, are situated on the cliff of the island. If you plan to admire the villages, wander around or, especially, walk to the port areas, expect a lot of stairs.
Stairs in Santorini are often wide but very slippery. Within the villages you might find also many smaller and higher stairs. If you have an option, take with you shoes that slide less. It helps. At some points of the stairs, I preferred to walk barefoot.
Thira stairs to the port have 588 steps, while in Oia, the walk to Ammoudi Bay is 278 steps. Also, when booking your hotel, cross-check in the reviews if not too many stairs are there. Great gym, the natural way.
One great thing about Santorini, which we discovered only during our stay there, is the local transportation. Although the cost of the taxi is not very high, the local buses are excellent. They are timely, clean, and cheap.
If you plan to commute between the villages of Santorini, opt for the local buses. They are super, very modern. For example, the bus ticket between Oia and Thira (Fira) is only 1.6 euro one way. Tickets can be bought on the bus, so it is additionally comfortable.
One extra piece of advice: if you have an option to book a taxi from your hotel for the airport pick up / drop, go for it. Hotels provide also support with carrying your luggage. And carrying luggage in the streets of Oia (remember, many slipper stairs and high temperature) might be challenging. So opt for it!
On a summer night, I have sat on the balcony drinking Ouzo, watching the ghosts of Greek Heroes sailing past, listening to the rustle of their sail cloths and the gentle lapping of their oars…and lain alongside Pythagoras watching him study the myriad of triangles in the constellations twinkling above us. Wheather it was Crete, the heat, the Ouzo, or a combination, it is unequaled anywhere other than Santorini, in my humble opinion.Phil Simpkin
Have you been to Santorini or Greece? If what, which suggestion would you give to first-time travelers? If you haven’t been yet. When are you going? 🙂
Moments that matter, no matter the things you know.