We must admit that Santorini is one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever visited. If you haven’t already, look it up on Pinterest and you’ll understand what we are referring to; although pictures don’t really make justice. This island offers one of the most breath-taking views we have ever seen. This, however, has turned the island into a solely touristic and pricey destination full of luxury villas and expensive front-sea apartments.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that you can’t visit Santorini. With the right planning, you too can enjoy the beautiful landscapes of this famous Greek Island. We were university students when we visited so we travelled on a budget. Here’s how we did it:
Fly to Athens and take a ferry to the Island
While flights to and from Santorini are crazy expensive, a ferry from Athens is much more affordable and enables you to explore the capital for a day or two if you wish. From the Athens Port, the Blue Star takes about 8H to get to Santorini. This is the slow Ferry but also the most stable and cheapest! We bought our tickets from https://www.dakoutrostravel.gr
Stay at Thira and sacrifice the hotel views
While the dream is to stay at a luxury apartment with a pool facing the stunning Santorini view, you will most likely have to sacrifice this if you are travelling on a budget. There are however some cute hotels in the back of the town at Thira where you can find decent, affordable rooms that are walking distance to all the beautiful spots. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to enjoy the views during the day. You don’t want to be locked in your room when there is a beautiful island to explore!
Make your own meals when possible
Most restaurants in Santorini are extremely expensive. We ended up paying over 60€
per meal (for 2 people). If you are staying in Santorini for over 3 days and eating out every meal, this is can quickly empty your wallet. During our stay, we tried buying breakfast in the super market and eating a small meal for lunch to allow a big, fancy (and more expensive) meal for dinner. Ideally, try to you find an apartment for your stay so you can cook your own food – you’ll save a lot of money!
Take public transport
The island offers great bus links between the main areas of the island. Inform yourself of bus times and take advantage of this transport for as little as 3€ it will take you to the most famous spots in the island!
Rent a Quad for a day to explore the island
Renting a quad is also a great way to get to know Santorini. This transport will give you freedom to stop at stunning view points and hop from beach to beach as you like. You’ll find multiple shops that rent these in Thira town for as little as 25€ (without gas) per day.
Find the restaurants and bars with views to experience the luxury of the island
Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t experience some of the luxurious services. If you follow the above guidance, you should be able to still afford to sit once or twice at a bar or restaurant with stunning views. Make the most of the island when you are out during the day (or night), take a deep breath and enjoy the view while sipping the (cheapest) glass of wine. You deserve it!
Travel tip: Most of the beach bars in Santorini offer free sun beds if you buy a drink or snack. Take advantage of this! If you want to have some relaxing beach time, this is perfect for you.
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