Santorini is a famous and picturesque island that many tourists visit each year. However, it is also one of the most expensive European islands. If you hope to visit Santorini without overspending, our Guide can provide useful cost-cutting advice.
Best Time to Visit Santorini Affordably
Suppose you’re interested in visiting Santorini when it’s not as pricey. In that case, you might want to consider going during the winter months, during which the island remains open. If winter weather is not the ideal for you, April and November are your best bets. You will find affordable options and mild weather. These months fall during the shoulder seasons, so there are fewer visitors and less heat, but there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy great weather, explore different bars and restaurants, and take advantage of various tour options.
If you visit outside of the high season, you can find great budget deals. This is the best time to visit if you want to save money. Read our article “Best Time to Visit Santorini” for exploring all the available choices.
To save money when traveling to Santorini, it’s best to avoid fast ferries as they can be expensive. Instead, opt for conventional ferries, which are reasonably priced. The travel time on a conventional ferry from Athens to Santorini is approximately 8 hours, and the average ticket cost is between 20-30 Euros. You can check the Ferryhopper for the latest ferry timetable and prices.
If you are on a budget, flying from Athens to Santorini during the off-season can be a good option. Ryanair, EasyJet, and Wizz Air are popular airlines for this route, and the flight time is only 45 minutes. However, booking in advance and travel during the low season is important to get flights that cost around 30-40 Euros.
Where to Stay in Santorini Affordably
If you want to save money, don’t stay in places on the Caldera. Instead, there are great budget options near Kamari and Perissa beaches. Santorini has many backpacker hostels to offer if you’re searching for an inexpensive place to stay. Here are some excellent choices for budget Santorini hotels.
Stavros Villa is a fantastic choice for budget accommodation on the island. This family-run hotel is located on the outskirts of Fira, close to Perissa beach, and features a swimming pool, private balconies, and a sun terrace with stunning views of Santorini. Additionally, there are several great restaurants and bars nearby.
Check prices for Stavros Villa
Selini Hotel (Kamari)
For those who want to be near the beach, Selini in Kamari is a great option. Families with children will especially love it because it’s close to the gorgeous Kamari beach. They can also easily access the nearby Kamari beachfront, which has plenty of family-friendly restaurants, shops, and tavernas – all within walking distance. Plus, the rooms are cozy and well-maintained, and breakfast is provided.
Check prices for Selini Hotel
Antonia Hotel (Fira)
The Antonia Hotel is situated in the heart of Fira, making it an ideal choice for those who want to be near the lively area. It’s run by a family and boasts of a central location that provides easy access to all attractions in Fira. While the rooms are simple, they are well-maintained, and there’s a pleasant terrace to unwind. Also, for only 5 euros, the owners can book you a shuttle service to and from the port or airport, which is an excellent value.
Check prices for Antonia Hotel
How to Get Around Santorini Affordably
If you’re on a budget while visiting Santorini, there are many great and affordable transportation options available on the island. Taxis tend to be costly, so it’s best to avoid them if you’re trying to save money. Also forget the private transfers. However, if you have limited time on the island, Welcome Pickups might still be a good idea despite the cost.
If you’re looking to save money, taking the public bus is a great choice. You can take it from the airport to the main areas in Santorini, and you can travel around the island at reasonable prices. Additionally, you can take the public bus to and from Fira to Santorini’s port, as well as to the most popular destinations on the island.
Rent a scooter
Renting a scooter is a great budget-friendly transportation option that costs approximately 20 Euros per day. However, it’s essential to ensure that your insurance covers accidents if you choose to ride a scooter. Unfortunately, several travelers encounter problems with costly medical treatment expenses as their insurance doesn’t provide coverage for scooter accidents. Hence, if your insurance doesn’t offer this coverage, renting a scooter may not be as inexpensive as you initially thought.
Where to Eat in Santorini Affordably
To save money on food, it’s best to steer clear of restaurants located on the Caldera as they tend to be more expensive. Despite this, there are still affordable options available for Greek cuisine that you can enjoy without breaking the bank.
Santorini has some great options for budget-conscious visitors, including the famous and affordable souvlaki. Bakeries across the island are also a great choice, with cheap sandwiches, pies, and pizza slices that can keep you full all day. To save money on drinks, bring your own water and buy from kiosks rather than bars and restaurants, as the prices are considerably lower.
If you’re trying to save money, it’s best to skip the expensive Santorini sightseeing tours. However, there is a budget-friendly option available. You can purchase a special ticket package that includes admission to the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Archaeological Sites of Akrotiri, and Archeological Sites of Ancient Thera. Typically, the cost to visit all three places is 18 Euros, but with the special ticket, you can visit all three for a cheaper price of 14 Euros.
Free Things to Do in Santorini
Hike from Fira to Oia
One of the best free activities to do on the island is to walk from Fira to Oia. This hike of just over 6 miles offers hikers a wide variety of excellent views and is relatively easy for those having decent fitness levels.
Swim on one of the beaches
In Santorini, there are many beautiful beaches with clear water that are perfect for swimming, especially during the summer. Red Beach and Perissa Beach are two popular options for those visiting Santorini on a budget.
Watch the sunset from Oia
To witness Santorini’s breathtaking sunsets, visit Oia where you can enjoy the most stunning views without any cost.
Climb to Profitis Ilias for the views
For breathtaking views of Santorini, I recommend hiking up this mountain. The views are absolutely stunning and there is no cost involved. Just remember to bring enough water, especially during the summer.
Visit the Akrotiri Lighthouse
The Akrotiri Lighthouse is a must-visit attraction on the island that offers free access. From here, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset and capture amazing panoramic photos of the island with almost 360-degree views.
Traveling to 🇬🇷 Greece soon?
I recommend these travel resources for Greece that I personally use:
🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and Booking.com consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Greece. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!
✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Greece, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.
🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.
🚙 Airport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer from the airport and beetween destinations with Welcome Pickups. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.
🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Greece, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.
🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Greece. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.
📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.
☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.
The most affordable and well-liked method to go to Santorini, Greece from Athens is by ferry. You can take a ferry to Santorini from the Piraeus and Rafina ports, and ferries are available every day. If you intend to stay in Athens for some time, then the schedule from Piraeus to Santorini is the most suitable choice.
The high demand from millions of tourists every year causes the island to be very crowded during its summer high season. Consequently, the areas between Fira and Oia, which are popular, become significantly more expensive than a hotel in Athens and can easily double in price.
We suggest staying in Santorini for 3 to 5 days to fully experience and explore its natural beauty, including the Caldera with its picturesque white villages, the sunken volcano, and the breathtaking sunset. It’s a highly recommended tourist destination in Greece known worldwide.
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