SANTORINI FAQ`S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

If you have not booked a private transfer with us then the bus to Fira (€4) meets most flights at the Santorini airport, Monolithos; schedules are posted at the bus stop beside the airport entrance. A taxi will cost approximately €10 - €14 to most places. Many Santorini hotels offer airport transfers, usually for a fee that`s more than a taxi would charge you, but some may find it worth it for the convenience.

How do I get from the port to my hotel?

Most ferries dock at Athinios, where buses meet each boat and return directly to Fira (one way to Fira costs about 3€). Taxis are also available from Athinios, but at much higher rates than the bus fare. Athinios is sparse so it`s a good idea to bring water, snacks and a book or magazine while waiting to catch a ferry.

The port at Skala, directly below Fira, isn`t safe for the larger ferries, but is often used by small cruise ships, yachts and excursion vessels. If your boat docks here, head to town either by cable car (5€) or donkey (5€); or you can do the 45 minute walk uphill, but be prepared to share the narrow path with the donkeys. We recommend a donkey up and the cable car down.

When do the hydrofoils operate between the islands?

Boat travel in Greece is common and relatively inexpensive. Timetables change according to seasonal demand and boats may be delayed by weather conditions, so your plans should be flexible. That being said, ferries/hydrofoils for the Greek Islands only operate between May and September due to annual weather changes including rough seas and high winds. For travel beyond these months, your itinerary will include transportation by flight between the islands.

Note: The Athens airport authority advises you to allow a minimum of 45 minutes to make a flight connection; which should be adequate if you arrive and depart from the main terminal and do not have to clear Customs. Allow at least 60 to 90 minutes if you have to clear Customs or if you arrive or depart from the satellite terminal. At present, many charter flights use the satellite terminal.

How do I get around the city using public transportation?

Getting around this small island is not very difficult. The central bus station is just south of the main square in Fira and this is where you will find the bus schedules. Most routes operate every 30 to 60 minutes from 7am to 11pm in high season. The conductor on board will collect fares, which range from 2€ to 5€. Destinations include Akrotiri, Athinios (the ferry pier), Oia, Kamari, Monolithos (the airport), Perissa, Perivolas Beach, Vlihada and Vourvoulos.

Where can I rent a bicycle in Santorini?

One of the most popular means of getting around the island is by moped or bicycle. Rental agencies can be found at the ports and in the business districts. Mountain bikes cost from 15€ per day from Moto Chris (tel. 22860/23-431), in Fira, and Moto Piazza (tel. 22860/71-055), in Oia. It`s a good idea to check the brakes and steering before you ride off. Mopeds cost about 25€ per day. Greek law now requires wearing a helmet, but not all agents supply the helmet. Also, don`t wear shorts or sandals; and get a phone number, in case of breakdown.

Warning: Although narrow and winding, Santorini`s roads are in fairly good condition; it`s the drivers you must worry about. Local drivers take the roads at high speed and visiting drivers usually aren`t sure where they`re going.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

The taxi station is just south of the main square. Always book ahead by phone (tel. 22860/22-555 or 22860/23-951) in high season! If you want a taxi for an excursion; be sure that you agree on the price before you set out. Prices are fixed for most point-to-point trips (Fira to Oia, for example). If you call for a taxi outside Fira, you`ll be charged a pickup fee of at least 2€ in addition to the driver`s fare from Fira to your pickup point. Bus service stops at midnight, so book a taxi in advance if you`ll need it late at night.

Note: Don`t be alarmed if the driver picks up another fare, this is usual, although the driver should ask first if it is OK.

I will have a car in Santorini, where can I park?

Renting a car is an option to get around Santorini as it will provide the most freedom and comfort for travel. However, during the summer, the roads become very hectic since many drivers are visitors to the island and do not know their way around, while locals tend to drive at full speed. Car rentals typically run about €22 per day. Get a map if you intend to travel. But get a Greek language one as well as an English one as the Greek place names are more likely to correspond with the local road signs. And be aware that many maps can have little or no relation to the roads, especially in rural areas. Road edition maps are usually the most accurate.

Please Note: If you park in town or in a no-parking area, the police will remove your license plates, and you, not the car rental office, will have to pay a hefty fine to get them back! Free parking is available on the port`s north side, although it is usually full.

Warning: Drive with caution, especially at night, when you will undoubtedly be sharing the roads with motorists returning from an evening of drinking.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Greece is the Euro. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. The National Bank, which has an ATM, is located one block south of the main square near the taxi station. Bank hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00am until 2:00pm.

For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in Greece by clicking here.

I don`t speak Greek. Will many people speak English?

English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. Greeks do have great regard for those that try to speak Greek so it is a good idea to learn a few phrases. We suggest you get a good English-Greek guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What is Greek food like? What is the standard for tipping?

Greek food comes in many shapes, forms and varieties to keep even the most demanding traveler satisfied! Santorini has its own culinary specilaties and food products. Don`t be afraid to sample the best each island has to offer.

A service charge of 15 percent is usually included in the bill, but if service is good, then it is customary to leave 10 percent.

Warning: Some of the restaurants on the caldera and near the cable car have been known to present menus without prices and then ridiculously overcharge for food and wine. If you are given a menu, make sure prices are listed.

Can I drink the water?

Yes, but many find it bitter as it usually has a high mineral content.

Where can I buy necessities like bottled water and toiletries?

Most villages have small markets where you can buy water and food and other household items. Greek pharmacies are usually excellent with a qualified doctor or medic on staff (who usually speaks some English), but medicines can be more expensive than at home.

What are the best beaches in Santorini?

Santorini`s beaches are not necessarily the best in the Cyclades, but the volcanic black and red sand is unique in these isles. Red Beach, White Beach and Black Beach, named for the color of the cliffs above them, lie in the southwest, and are usually less crowded than the more lively southeast trio of Perissa, Agios Georgios and Perivolos, which are best for nightlife and watersports like windsurfing and jet skiing. All three beaches have umbrellas and chairs to rent, cafes and tavernas. Kamari, a little over halfway down the east coast, has the largest beach on the island. It`s also the most developed, with plenty of hotels, restaurants, shops and clubs, but becomes unpleasantly overcrowded, especially in the summer. Family-friendly Monolithos is also striking, but for total seclusion, descend the cliffs to one of Oia`s smaller beaches and deep blue waters. Please visit our dedicated page on Santorini beaches for more information.

Please note: It is common for women to go topless on beaches. And while public nudity is illegal in Greece, every island has at least one beach where nudity is allowed.

What are the most popular clubs in Santorini? Where are they located?

Fira has the nightlife - all night! But as always, places that are hot one season are gone the next. Franco's and Tropical are still the most famous places to start off the evening with sunset drinks on the caldera. Koo, with as many as five different bars, is the biggest disco. Kira Thira packs people in later in the day and throughout the night, and Tithora is popular with a young, heavy-drinking crowd. Kamari Beach also has a lot of disco bars, including Disco Dom, Mango`s, Yellow Donkey and Valentino`s. Perivolos, where the JoJo Beach Club was the place to be seen in 2011 as well as Sea Side, teem with beautiful people and sometimes movie stars.

What else is there to do on Santorini besides clubbing?

With its rich history (and ties to the mythical Atlantis), its breathtaking sunsets and the unique landscape of its caldera and volcano there is more to Santorini than meets the eye. Santorini offers water sports like scuba diving and snorkeling, hiking and other activities as well as archaeological sites like Akrotiri and ancient Thira. We also recommend exploring the various smaller villages, churches (Santorini has over 1000), castles and museums or taking a boat trip to the island of Thirassia. In addition, local wine tastings are becoming increasingly popular.

What are the best areas for shopping?

There is no shortage of shopping opportunities on Santorini! A fantastic selection of fine jewelry can be found in Fira including gold worked in ancient Byzantine designs. And each island has a unique pottery style that reflects its individuality. In Santorini, potters like the bright shades of the setting sun. Hand-painted icons of Byzantine originals, weavings and embroideries as well as local wines are all good buys.

When is the best time to visit Santorini?

The best times to visit Santorini are April-May and September-October. During these times, the weather will be a bit milder (not as scorching hot during the day), and less crowded. The weather in the winter months (November - March) is not ideal (definitely not for swimming in the Mediterranean) and many businesses (tour operators, restaurants, and even some hotels/ accommodations) will be closed for the season, although this is beginning to change as more tourists are visiting during these months. Note that prime time/high season is between late June to early September, and hotel prices will naturally reflect that.

Note: If you are planning on visiting Santorini during high season, it`s best to book your accommodations at least 6-10 months in advance. Hotels book up extremely fast in this area of the world.

Is Santorini a safe place to visit?

Yes, Santorini is relatively crime free, but there are certain things you will want to be aware of. Rental scams can, and do occur, 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 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 present their insurance as it being full insurance, but it is in fact, just basic.

Be aware of these rental agencies by observing them being aggressive towards tourists and offering much 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. Make sure to check the vehicle before making any decisions, their vehicles are in may cases a bit dirty and old looking.

Also, be aware of the high number of stray dogs on (like most areas of Greece). While a majority of Santorini`s large dogs are 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 stay or feral dogs should be followed should a pack form around your group.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

In an emergency, dial tel. 112

Throughout the island of Santorini there are pharmacies, clinics, a central hospital and doctors who are into private practice, where visitors can turn to for any issue or emergency that may occur during their vacation. There are also regional medical centers in the settlements of Pyrgos, Emporio and Oia as well as in the nearby island of Therasia.

The Hospital of Santorini is located in Karterados village since 2016 and is operated under the supervision and control of the Ministry of Health. The Emergency Department is on duty 24 hours a day, twelve months a year.