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Best Time to Visit Santorini
- Best Time to Visit Santorini: April to Early November.
- Best Time for Good Weather: May to October has lots of sunny weather. July and August are the hottest months.
- Best Time for Honeymoon: June and September.
- Best Time for Saving Money: March, April, May, October, and November have reduced hotel prices. December, January, February have extremely reduced hotel prices (if the hotel is open).
- Santorini beaches and swimming are best from June to September.
- Santorini sightseeing is best from March to June and September to November.
- High season in Santorini runs from late June until early September. Book hotels far in advance for these months.
- Santorini in Winter: December, January, and February are becoming much more popular with tourists. More hotels and restaurants are staying open every year to serve the growing number of winter visitors. Santorini has a year-round population of 15,000 so there’s always plenty of local life to keep things interesting. (Unlike Mykonos which is too quiet for most visitors to enjoy during the winter months.)
- The Best Santorini Hotels should be booked 6 to 9 months in advance. Less Expensive Santorini Hotels can be booked 4 to 6 months in advance. There aren’t many Good Hotels for Families in Santorini so they should be reserved as early as possible.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Santorini?
The spectacular views and walks of Santorini can be enjoyed year round, but for good weather and consistent clear skies visit between April and November. For swimming, sunbathing, and warm weather visit in June, July, August, and September.
When To Visit Santorini – Summary
- The best time to visit Santorini is between late April and early November when the weather is warm and there is little rain. For hot weather, nightlife, swimming, and sunbathing visit in June, July, August, or September. For comfortable sightseeing and moderate temperatures March to May or October to early December are best.
- Best Time for Tours: Some Santorini tours are best taken from late May to early October: Sunset Sailing Cruise in Caldera • Luxury Catamaran Day Cruise. Other tours are good from at least April to early November: Santorini Sunset Wine Tour • Santorini Private Tour • Santorini Photography Tour
- Best Time for a Beach Holiday: The warmest weather in Santorini is between June and September when it’s sunny, hot, and the water is perfect for swimming. Water temperature heats throughout the summer months and is warmest in August and September. Swimming in early May and late October is usually possible but can’t be guaranteed.
- Best Time for Sightseeing: If you’re visiting Santorini for the sightseeing, views, wineries, and food then you don’t need hot temperatures just warm pleasant weather. So the months of late March, April, May, October, and November are great times for exploring the island. The weather is still warm by northern European standards though there can be some rain and warmer clothing should be packed.
- Best Time for Island Hopping: Santorini has a much longer travel season than the other Greek islands (because there’s more than just beaches here). That makes visiting in the quieter months (March, April, early May, late October, and November) a great option. But be aware other islands will be very quiet during these months so if you’re interested in seeing a few other islands it’s best to come between mid-May and mid-October.
- Best Time for Saving Money: Hotels are much cheaper in the low season (November to March) and shoulder season (April, May, and October) than in the summer months. Transportation, food, and tour prices tend not to vary much by season. If you want good weather but cheap hotels then late May, early June, late September, or early October are great times. There are no guarantees but the first three weeks of October can often surprise visitors with great weather.
- Santorini in Winter: Winter travel on Santorini is getting more popular every year. If you visit Santorini in December, January, or February you’ll likely find moderate weather (compared to winter in Northern Europe) with some rain, and skies alternating between cloudy and clear. Santorini winter weather is often perfect for walking, photographing, sightseeing, and exploring. Many people love visiting in the quieter months when you feel like you have the caldera and sunset views all to yourself. Do pack some warmer clothes (pants, sweater, and rain jacket) but don’t be surprised if you’re wearing shorts for a few of your days here. In 2019 it’s expected that almost 150 hotels will be open year-round (there were only 20 or 30 open for the winter just 3 or 4 years ago). Plenty of restaurants are now open in the main towns of Fira and Oia and even a few bars (but no clubs, they close in October or early November). Winter weather does seem warmer and sunnier than it did 10 years ago, but still, be prepared for a bit of anything. (It does even snow in Santorini. About once per decade, there will be a little snow accumulation – usually in January or February.)
- High Season (late June to early September): Hot, sunny weather with lots of people – but never so many that it’s unenjoyable. Prices are at their peak. Seawater at its warmest and best for swimming. Ferries and flights run with the greatest frequency. If you’re in Greece for the nightlife then this is the time to visit.
- Shoulder Season (May and June, September and October): Great weather. Sunny and warm but not blazingly hot like the summer. Tourists are many but it’s never crowded. Everything is open and ferries are running nearly all of their routes. The sea might not be warm enough for swimming in May and October.
- Low Season (November to April): Santorini is getting increasingly popular in the winter months. It can be a great time to see the sights and save money but weather-wise be prepared for anything. This is winter and that means grey skies, cool weather, and some rain are possible on any day. Many hotels and restaurants are closed but more are staying open each year as winter travel increases. Fira is the most practical place to stay in the off-season as it has the most open. Ferries and flights have limited schedules though there’ll be at least one ferry a day and several flights going to and from Athens.
Santorini Weather by Month
The best beach weather on Santorini is from June to September. July and August are the busiest months when hotels are full and restaurants are crowded. If you’re more interested in sightseeing, hiking, and great views then March, April, May, October, and November are great months to visit.
Santorini beach activities are usually possible from May to mid-October and at their best from June to September.
- Santorini in January (10% Crowded): Damp, cold, and windy (by Santorini standards). January is the rainiest month and one of the coldest. The island is quiet with few tourists but local life hums along at a friendly pace. Many restaurants and hotels are closed but you will always be able to find something open in Oia and Fira. The beach towns are completely shut down. (Average Max Temperature: 14°C. Average Rainfall: 42mm.)
- Santorini in February (10% Crowded): Much like January. February is Santorini’s coldest month. There is a little less rain than December and January (Average Max Temperature: 14°C. Average Rainfall: 35mm.)
- Santorini in March (30% Crowded): A noticeable change occurs in March from the previous 3 months. There is less rain, more sun, and warmer temperatures. This can be a nice time to visit for hikers and sightseers but visitors should pack for some rain and cool nights. By the end of March, most hotels and restaurants are open. (Average Max Temperature: 16°C. Average Rainfall: 32mm.)
- Santorini in April (40% Crowded): A great month for hiking, sightseeing, and touring the wineries. On warm years it’s possible to have a few beach days at the end of the month. (Average Max Temperature: 19°C. Average Rainfall: 12mm.)
- Santorini in May (60% Crowded): There’s a big difference between early May (when cool overcast days can still be common) and late May (when the days are consistently sunny and warm). May is the month when the beach towns dust off the cobwebs and open for business. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Rainfall: 7mm.)
- Santorini in June (75% Crowded): June is a hot sunny month and the start of beach season when tourists arrive in large numbers. (Average Max Temperature: 26°C. Average Rainfall: 0.3mm.)
- July Weather on Santorini (95% Crowded): Hot and sunny. Along with August July is the busiest month on Santorini. Book rooms at least 3 months in advance for July visits – 6 months in advance for luxury hotels. (Average Max Temperature: 27°C. Average Rainfall: 0.9mm.)
- Santorini in August (100% Crowded): Hot and sunny with occasional strong winds (called the Meltemi) that can cancel ferries and catamarans. Book rooms at least 3 months in advance for August visits – 6 months in advance for luxury hotels. (Average Max Temperature: 27°C. Average Rainfall: 0.4mm.)
- Santorini in September (80% Crowded): Hot and sunny but cooling a little from August. The weather is similar to June but the water temperature is warmer as it heats over the summer months. Winds have died down. September is the best month to visit Santorini. Hotels are still very busy and can be fully booked months in advance. (Average Max Temperature: 25°C. Average Rainfall: 6mm.)
- Santorini in October (60% Crowded): October is much like May but the weather is moving in the opposite direction. There is often a large difference between early October (when days can be hot and sunny) and late October – when you can have some cool cloudy days and visits to the beach seem a distant memory. (Average Max Temperature: 22°C. Average Rainfall: 18mm.)
- Santorini in November (40% Crowded): The cool and cloudy days of winter arrive in November. Early November can still get warm days when a visit to the beach could be possible. Most luxury hotels are closed by late November. Oia and Fira stay moderately active until the final cruise ship of the season makes its visit (usually in late November). (Average Max Temperature: 18°C. Average Rainfall: 44mm.)
- Santorini in December (20% Crowded): Be prepared for cool, cloudy, and rainy, though there are often stretches of clear skies and sunny days. Fira is the hub of most activity during the winter as most other towns are shut down. Oia will have several hotels and at least a few restaurants and markets open. (Average Max Temperature: 15°C. Average Rainfall: 46mm.)
Santorini Holiday Planning
When To Book Santorini Hotels?
Santorini hotels get booked very early. The very best hotels can be fully booked 4 to 6 months in advance. Reserve the hotels listed below especially early – and doubly so if visiting in July, August, or early September.
How long to spend in Santorini?
You need 2 to 3 days minimum to get a feel for the island, see the top attractions, do a wine or boat tour, experience the sunset from a couple of different locations, and try some of the island’s great restaurants. You could easily fill a week with long walks, swimming and sunbathing, and more tours, restaurants, nightlife, and dancing. If you have more than a week in Greece then I’d encourage you to spend 7 days on Santorini and then travel to a different island. You’d likely experience more by seeing Naxos, Paros, Ios, Mykonos, Crete, or Rhodes than staying in Santorini for a second week.
Coming soon: Paris, Santorini, Mykonos, London, Rome, Florence, Venice, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Istanbul, Dubai, Singapore, Bali, Bangkok, Koh Samui, Phuket, Hong Kong, Kyoto, Tokyo, NYC, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Cancun, Tulum
154 Questions and Comments
I am planning to visit Santorini on 20th March to 23rd March. I want to do boat tour which includes a sunset tour. Will it will be available in March?
Yes, there will be some boat tours running in March. If you visit my Santorini boat tours page the Small Group Catamaran Sunset Tour is operating in late March.
Hi Dave! We are considering doing Santorini and Mykonos either early June (4-15) or mid July (10-19). Which dates would be better? We love swimming and the hotels we would be staying at have unheated pools (Mystique and Santa Marina) and are worried that it will be too cold to swim in both the sea and pool early June. But we dont want to have to deal with massive crowds and extreme heat! Not into partying so mainly sightseeing, boat trips etc. Would love your thoughts!
Tough call. Go with July if you want guaranteed warm weather. June if quieter and cheaper is more important. I know that’s not much help but that’s what you’re deciding between.
Is “WILLIAM’S HOUSES Superior Studio” in Akrotiri. (It’s on Airbnb) good? Or it’s better to be in Blue Dolphins Apartments & Suites? I’ll be there by the end of January for 3 days. What is your advice to do? I’ll be with my 2 daughters (11 & 14 Y) and will rent a car.
Normally, I would recommend Blue Dolphins since it’s location is so much more convenient than William’s House. But since you’re there in January and renting a car the difference between the two will be less apparent. I’d still go with Blue Dolphins but it’s pretty much a coin flip.
I am looking at visiting Santorini, Naxos, and Paros end of July/early August next year. When should I start booking hotels? I have been looking and many say all booked out. Is this true or am I just looking too early? I don’t want to miss out on the good hotels because I book a month later.
Hotels are available online about 10 to 11 months in advance – so yes, you’re a little early. If you want to stay in the best hotels on each island then book 5 to 8 months in advance. If you’re less concerned about the hotels you stay in then 3 to 5 months in advance is usually fine.
Hi Dave, congrats on the site, very useful info! I have 1 question, my wife and I will be traveling to Santorini on early November, spending 3 days there, right now we are having doubts on the flight back to Athens since we have already booked our flight to Rome with Alitalia at 19:25. There’s a flight with Ryanair that arrives on Athens at 17:45. With your knowledge about local airports, do you think we can make it? The other option leaves us with a 7-hour layover at the airport. Thanks in advance for your comments!
My best guess would be a 60/40 shot at making that flight from Athens. Most flights leaving Santorini are at least a little late. And then some flights (into Athens) use a bus to transport from the plane to the terminal (slowing things a little more). If it was me, I would not make that reservation – but it is doable “most” of the time.
I am planning my Honeymoon in Greece in the month of February 2019 (1st Feb 2019 to 10th Feb 2019). I want to know from you is this the right time to be in Greece this month of the year. After reading your articles I have tentatively planned my itinerary in the following way:
- 4 night in Athens
2. 3 nights in Santorini
3. 3 nights in Mykonos
Will the ferry’s be operating during this time from Athens – Santorini – Mykonos – Athens?
In one of your articles you mentioned the crowd to be just 10% in February. Will it be safe. Will the restaurants and shops be open?
Could you suggest if I should change my itinerary?
Santorini and Mykonos will be very quiet in February. Mykonos will have only a couple of restaurants and hotels open (enough to get by but not a lot of choice). Santorini will have much more open but still quiet compared to spring, summer, and early fall. There will be ferries between Athens and Santorini and between Athens and Mykonos but not between Santorini and Mykonos (you’ll need to fly via Athens). Yes, it will be safe – no problems there. If sightseeing is your main focus February can be a great time to visit (if you know what you’re getting) but for a typical honeymoon it’s probably not what you’re looking for.
Good to read your article/blog about Santorini. I am planning to visit Greece next year at 31st December for my honeymoon. I will be staying there for around 10-12 days.
My itinerary as for now:
1. Athens: 2 nights
2. Mykonos: 2 nights
3. Santorini: 3 nights
4. Crete: 3 nights
Will ferries be available for the above transits or a combination of ferry/flight if the flight is around 75 euros? If not, then what are the other options? Thanks in advance.
In December and January, there will be ferries and flights from Athens to Mykonos; Athens to Santorini; and Athens to Crete. But there will not be any flights or ferries between Santorini and Mykonos, or Santorini and Crete. You would need to return to Athens to visit the next island on your itinerary. A better option is to combine Santorini with Naxos and Paros as they are connected by the Blue Star ferry year-round.
Hi Dave, this is probably answered somewhere, but do most restaurants open late April? Or not until 1st of May? Easter is not until April 21 in 2019. I am hoping to plan a trip to Santorini and Mykonos last week of April next year. I am not a crowd/stifling heat person. If I can drink wine and look at the scenery without having to elbow my way to a sunset, I am happy!
Almost all restaurants are open by mid-April.
Congrats for the Great Blog!
We will be in Santorini early May 2018 for 7 days.
Which between Kamari and Imerovigli would be the better hotel location considering the period?
Imerovigli is my favorite village in Santorini. Great views, great restaurants, and a 25 minute walk along the caldera to Fira (nightlife and shops). Kamari is a pleasant beach town but does not have caldera views or the magical setting of Imerovigli. Imerovigli will be a little quieter in May (than the summer months). Kamari will be much quieter in May but everything should be open and functioning.
My husband & I (29 yr old) are planning our euro trip for mid September – October. Wondering if you could recommend which order would be best weather and cost wise. With Positano & Santorini we’d like to get in some beach days / trip to Capri from Positano.
Destinations as follows:
Lake Como (Bellagio)
Venice (possible option to do day trip from Florence)
From late September to early October the weather can change a bit and beach weather become less reliable. I would first visit the places where you want to swim and sunbathe. Perhaps fly directly to Santorini (from western Europe), then Paros, then Mykonos (which has an international airport) then fly to Naples, visit Positano, then move north through Rome, Florence, and Venice, and finally back to Paris or Amsterdam. October is perfect for sightseeing and tours throughout Europe.
My husband and I are thinking about coming to Santorini end of March into early April (over Easter). Will all the shops and restaurants be open at that time?
Thanks so much!
Most shops and restaurants will be open – probably not all, but close. It’s a little different every year. Just so you know, Greek Easter in 2018 is not until April 8 (which is different than Easter for the rest of Europe and America which will be April 1).
I’m planning to go Greece (Athens, Santorini and Mykonos) for 10 days in early April. Do you recommend to go Santorini (4 days) first then Mykonos (3 days)? Will there be direct ferries/ flights from Mykonos to Athens or do I have to go back to Santorini to fly back to Athens?
There are daily ferries between Athens and Santorini and Athens and Mykonos year-round. But there might not be a Santorini-Mykonos ferry in April. The first one of the year starts around that time but we won’t know for a while when it starts up.
Without questions, your website is WAY better than any Greece guidebooks! I would appreciate some advice regarding our plans.
My wife and I along with another couple (all in our 60s) are thinking of a trip to Italy, Switzerland, and Greece. Reading your post about Italy and Greece really opened our eyes. We have no interest in lying on the beach. What would be of interest is natural scenery, leisurely walks through town, a few historical sites, and just getting a flavor of Italy and Greece. Shopping for inexpensive locally made souvenirs. Maybe visit an olive oil factory (If there is such a thing). Making things a little complicated is that the other couple must have vegan food.
Here is our tentative plan:
Day 1: Arrive in Athens
Day 2: Athens sightseeing
Day 3: Day trip to Delphi or Meteora
Day 4: Ferry to Santorini
Day 5: Fly Santorini to Rome
Day 6: Rome
Day 7 and 8: Florence, Pisa, and a visit to Cinque Terre (this is mostly for a photo op at Manarola)
Day 9: Venice
Day 10: Leave Venice for Lucerne, and visit Bernese Oberland (Murren) for 2 days.
Day 13: Fly back to US
We can do some easy hikes for an hour or two at Cinque Terre. Would really appreciate your feedback on the above plan. Also any other countries (Germany/Austria/Norway?) that you recommend for the future, taking into consideration our interests above. We plan to do France and Spain later. All of us have been to London and a day in Paris previously. Our plans are wide open right now.
It’s a great list of places but very rushed. You’ll be hurrying from one spot to the next with little time to enjoy them. You arrive in Santorini in the afternoon after a good-length ferry ride and then leave the next day – why? You need to cut 2 or 3 destinations if you really want to do the stuff you say you want to do.
I really enjoyed your post about Mykonos a while back. I’m debating visiting either Mykonos, Santorini, or Crete in the off season (next month) and would love your opinion about the best destination this time of year. I’m a single male and I am totally fine with peace and quiet, but would prefer some people out and about and a glimpse of night life. Would also love a few nice, relatively warmer days. Thoughts?
Santorini and Crete are the two best Greek islands in the off season. The views of Santorini are great any time of year. Crete has the largest local population and 3 bustling (small) cities. The south coast of Crete has the warmest winter weather in Greece. Unfortunately there are no ferries between the two islands from November to March so it’s one or the other (unless you want to fly via Athens between the two).
Planning an 18 day honeymoon trip for October of 2018. We’d like to visit Santorini, Milos, Naxos, and Rhodes. I’ve been consulting your site (easily the best Greek travel site I’ve seen), and I had it all planned out, but as I was booking the hotels I hit a snag.
The hotel I selected in Milos told me they close down on October 15th and wouldn’t be able to guarantee my dates until they saw how the season was shaping up in July. So I rearranged my whole trip schedule and we are now visiting Milos first, but it made me wonder if it’s a good idea to visit Milos at all if everything starts closing down. I’ve also been considering the weather, and wondered if certain Greek islands are warmer than others as October progresses.
Right now I’m looking at the following:
October 3-7: MILOS (4 days)
October 8-13: SANTORINI (5 days)
October 14-17: NAXOS (3 days)
October 18-24: RHODES (6 days – 4 in Lindos on the beach, last 2 days in Rhodes Town)
Regarding Milos, we are mainly looking to enjoy the beaches and the beautiful geography of the island, but we would want to perhaps rent some ATVs to explore the island, and perhaps hire a boat to sail around the island and explore the beaches only accessible by sea. Would we have trouble finding those in early October?
Santorini I’m not too worried about (it seems to be very active in October from what I’ve read), but would Naxos be enjoyable that late in October? We are mainly going to Naxos for the beaches so would it be better to go to Naxos before Santorini since the weather might be a bit better then? Milos->Santorini->Naxos makes more sense ferry-wise, but Milos->Naxos->Santorini might make more sense weather wise.
And lastly, regarding Rhodes. I was looking at the weather reports, and it seems that Rhodes is one of the warmer islands in Greece. Am I correct in assuming it would make more sense to do Rhodes last? Also, since Rhodes is a more popular island, would I be correct in assuming that most things in Rhodes would be open in late October?
Thanks so much!
Yes, I would probably do Milos and Naxos first as they are the two most dependent on good weather and will get quieter the earliest. Now, will 4 to 10 days make a difference in the weather? Maybe, maybe not, but it could. (Of course, it’s not impossible that mid-October is warmer than early October, but the odds are with you earlier in the month.) The weather difference between the islands is not huge (unless you’re comparing Crete with a northern island like Lesvos) but the difference in how much is open and whether tours are running can be substantial. Santorini and Rhodes are plenty busy until early November so you will not have trouble finding things to do there. Milos and Naxos will offer lots to do in early October. So, all in all, I think your plans are great.
Hi Dave! I became a patron today!
We are taking our boys (ages 9 and 12) to Athens November 18 – 26. We thought that it would be great to go to Santorini for 2 nights (11/22 – 11/24). We would fly to/from Athens/Santorini. Before we book, I had a few questions: (1) In late November, would enough things still be open for us to do with our boys – sightseeing, restaurants, local shopping? Obviously we would not be swimming at that time of year!. (2) We like to stay in areas where we can walk out of our door and there are things to see and do (restaurants, shops, etc.) – would you recommend Oia or Fira? (3) What would you recommend that we not miss doing with our boys while we are there? Do you have any private tour companies that you recommend that are great with families for a private tour? Thank you – your website is amazing!!
Yes, there will be plenty open in late November. Some hotels and restaurants will be closed but many still open. Fira has the most happening during the off-season and is the best place to stay (Oia is the second best but clearly less busy and fewer places open). Highlights in November: walk the caldera path between Fira and Oia, visit Akrotiri, walk down to Ammoudi Bay for lunch or dinner, wander around Pyrgos and Emborio.
This is a great private tour of the island. Both the cooking class (excellent) and the photography tour (amazing) can be very family-friendly (assuming your kids are interested, of course).
I already became a Patron – Thanks for the quick reply. We fly into Athens early week and out 7 days later from Athens. Unfortunately, it looks like best hotels are only available in Santorini for the weekend of the 13-15 and it seems like we could lose a lot of time with Crete (going from Chania to port and then ferry). Do you think it is still justified? What is the other island you would consider pairing with Santorini between (assuming we are looking for honeymoon and local feel with great food) for that time of year to do on the front end?
I would do Naxos. (If it were late June to early September I’d consider Sifnos as well but by October it will be very quiet.) Naxos is loaded with great local food and some wonderful inland villages. You will need to rent a car to do it justice.
Hi Dave, (Just became a patron.)
Amazing site! I am planning a honeymoon for mid October. We have 8 days total and trying to figure out how best to split the time. We would like to see more than one island but also want to be cognizant of the fact that it’s our honeymoon and also don’t want to be too rushed. We definitely want to see Santorini but unsure where else to see. Santorini looks gorgeous but we also want to experience real and authentic Greece as well as it appears Santorini is quite touristy. So far we have considered Naxos, Paros, and Crete. We like Chania but logistics seem a bit trickier. Would love to hear your thoughts on a recommended itinerary and how best to split time/get around.
A big time and hassle saver is well-arranged flights. I’m not sure if you’ve booked anything yet but if you can arrange it so that you, say, fly into Santorini (from Athens, or even better from a hub in western Europe) then ferry to Crete, and fly back from Chania (to Athens, or better western Europe). With that in mind, I would look at flights first and then decide from there. Starting in Santorini, ferry to Heraklion, and then bus to Chania is an easy route. I’d spend 4 days in Santorini and 4 days in Chania. But both Santorini and Chania are touristy. Good touristy but still touristy. Naxos is less so, but it doesn’t have flights to western Europe (only Athens). If you wanted to fly directly to western Europe then Santorini for 4 days, Naxos for 3, Mykonos for 1 and fly from there. In October the really touristy places (Santorini, Mykonos, Chania) are comfortably busy. The mid-level places (Naxos, Paros) are getting quiet. And the not-so-touristy islands (Antiparos, Sikinos, Folegandros) are shutting down for the winter.
Hi Dave, what an amazing find this has been to read all this. Thank you.
My husband and I are planning to visit Athens and Santorini in October.
Kindly help with these-
1. Is a day in Athens enough or maybe two?
2. Is the blue star ferry ok (as flights from Athens to Santorini are expensive? How much do these ferries cost if I may ask?)
3. Are Airb&bs good to stay in Santorini or would it have to be a hotel on the caldera?
Thank you for your time.
- One full day is enough for most people to see the highlights of Athens (but you could easily fill 2 or 3 days if you were keen on Athenian history).
2. The Blue Star is great. It costs between 40€ and 56€ one-way Athens to Santorini. The Hellenic fast ferries are about 3 hours faster and cost a bit more but with them you generally can’t walk on the open air decks like on the Blue Star.
3. Hotels are best for Santorini but Airbnb does have some options if you’re willing to research them.
You have great content here! A couple of questions:
1. Is November beginning a good time still – not hot on partying or beach-bumming, but more sightseeing & food + wine binging?
2. Aside of Santorini, would like to plan other things – Athens for example. What would be an ideal 2-wk break?
We will be travelling as a couple from Mumbai, India.
Thanks in advance.
Early November in Santorini is great for your interests. Yes, there is a risk of some rain and cool weather but 90% chance it’s clear and beautiful. (And you’re right, it’s not beach weather.) With 2 weeks I’d do 5 to 7 days in Santorini, 2 or 3 days in Naxos and Paros (each), and 1 or 2 full days in Athens. There are easy and convenient ferry connections from Santorini to Naxos to Paros to Athens. (Crete is also great in early November but ferries from Santorini to Crete end in October so you’d need to fly via Athens – doable but probably not worth the effort.)
I would like to ask for vacation through December? Where can we stay – which place are the best for December? Do you know which restaurant are open in that period? And what can we do in island?
Thank you in advance for your answer.
Fira has the most open and the most going on in December. Oia has plenty open until mid-December and then gets very quiet (still enough to get by but limited for sure). The best things to do in Santorini in December: Hike between Fira and Oia, winery tours, Ancient Akrotiri, Pyrgos, Emborio, drive around the island, and eat great food.
Hi Dave (and others!) – so grateful to have you here! I’m getting mixed feedback on ferry/flight frequency and hotel availability for late November….and am starting to panic slightly about an upcoming trip. Arrive in Athens Thurs 16 Nov, 16:00. Does it seem feasible to check out an island or two (Santorini? Mykonos?) and finish with a day or two back in Athens (museums, art, historic sites) before leaving on Wed 22 Nov, 15:00? We don’t mind long ferries if there is worthwhile scenery (which it seems there is, if we are on the right ferry/deck). Are there other islands, we could/should consider given the weather and the time that we have? Must we scrap the islands and stick to only Athens for the whole time? I hope getting to the islands mid-to-late November is possible with accommodations not a difficulty either.
Santorini is still great in mid-November (though be prepared for a little rain) but Mykonos is less interesting in the off-season. Also, no ferries between Mykonos and Santorini by mid-November. I’d go only to Santorini (perhaps, fly one way, ferry one way). If you added another island make it Naxos.
This is a great website. I’m glad i found it.
Me and my friend are planning to go to Santorini and Mykonos for 4 days. We are more interested in sightseeing and very keen to see blue sky and full bloom of bougenville but we don’t like hot weather. Could you please advise which month we should go?
Late April to early June.
Great article Dave, much appreciated!
I plan to visit Santorini this September or October with my girlfriend, probably for 7-10 days. We’ll get there directly from Venice.
My question for now, would be (so I can review the places on Abnb), which place would be the best for couples there? We are not interested in partying or stuff like that, more like enjoying ourselves in a beautiful place, beaches, restaurants and possibly some tourist seeings.
Most couples (if they’re not interested in nightlife) prefer Oia or Imerovigli. Oia has more shops, restaurants, and activity but is off on its own and not walking distance to Fira. Imerovigli is quieter but is a 20 minute walk to shops and restaurants of Fira. Good restaurants in Imerovigli but no shopping or nightlife of any sort (beyond a grocery market).
I’m planning to have a 6 day tour in Santorini.
From 18th April to 24th April. Would it be enough time?
Late April is a great time for sightseeing on Santorini and 6 days is a perfect length of time on the island.
Your blog is an eye-opener. I am coming to Greece on 14th February. After spending 2 nights in Athens, I want to spend 4 nights in Santorini from 16th February to 19th February and travel back to Athens on 20th February.
Please suggest me the following:
1. Mode of travel from Athens-Santorini-Athens
2. Places to visit in Santorini during that time of the year
3. Where to spend more time in Santorini?
Did I forget to mention that I am on my honeymoon.
- Ferry is more fun and interesting but it is a long ride (8 hours since you’ll be on the Blue Star – the only ferry that runs in winter) so flying is definitely faster and easier.
2. Base yourself in Fira if you want more choice of restaurants and maybe even a bar or two open. Oia will be very quiet but is more magical – even in winter. Both places will be quiet but not completely dead.
3. Rent a car and explore the island. You can’t really get lost – and when you do it’s fun.
We are thinking of flying to Santorini next October and using it as a setting off place to island hop for a couple of weeks. Are there regular ferries operating at that time of year to other islands? We’ve never been to Greece before and are wondering how easy it is to get rooms. Were thinking of booking 2 nights in Santorini to start and then a night before departure back to the UK. Any suggestions for islands and accommodation? Sue
October is a great time to visit: ferries are still running between the main islands, prices are cheaper, weather still good (especially for sightseeing, less-so for the beach), and if you want to wing it a little then you have that luxury as the islands and hotels aren’t as busy. Your idea to book hotels for the start and finish of your trip is excellent. But after that you would be free to hop from island to island as the spirit takes you. You shouldn’t have a problem finding hotel rooms (though the best hotels on Santorini could still be fully booked). Buying ferry tickets the day before travel will also be easy.
Hi Dave, I am looking into getting married in Santorini sometime in 2019, we would like it reasonably warm but not really hot, when is the best time?
Also can you recommend a wedding planner for the island? Thanks.
I’d go early June or late September for a wedding. More info on Santorini weddings.
My fiance and I are planning a 6 day trip in first week of March 2017 to Santorini and Mykonos (mainly) and a bit in Athens. After reading the questions and answers above, I think we can’t do Santorini and Mykonos because there is no ferry at that time. We are not really into swimming and sun-bathing so weather is not a problem. Since it will be a part of our honeymoon, we’d be more into relaxing and not doing too many touristy things. Could you please suggest a good itinerary about what we can do in those 6 days? if not Mykonos, then any other island?
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Weather can still be uncertain but March is often great on Santorini for sightseeing. Mykonos not so much, and you’re right, there would not be a ferry between the two islands in March. Ferries between Crete and Santorini don’t start until April 7th, 2017 so Crete is likely out too. Naxos is a good compromise and has a good local population that keeps the best restaurants open. Lots of interesting inland villages too. Naxos and Santorini (well connected by Blue Star ferry 365 days a year) would be my choice.
We are planning to visit the beautiful island during the last week of December, but have heard the restaurants and bars are shut so appreciate if you could confirm this or are there places open?
We are looking at staying in the Volcano View Villas and are only there for 3 days, plus we come from Dubai so get enough sunshine and aren’t particularly looking for that.
Our concern is the F & B offerings and entertainment on the island as well as some tours which we would like to do while being there.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Most hotels, bars, and restaurants close in the off-season (December to March) but enough stay open to serve the locals and tourists. Fira has the most open so it’s the best place to stay for any visit between late November and early April. More tourist come in the off season every year so more stuff stays open now than even 5 years back. That said, while it’s easy to find an open restaurant there is not much in the way of nightlife. Volcano View is a nice hotel but it’s located a 30/40 minute walk outside of Fira. Unless you’re renting a car I would stay somewhere right in Fira Town.
Hi Dave! I’m so grateful for your blog! It is very helpful! My fiancé and I (fromUSA) are planning a wedding ceremony and reception in Dana Villas for the second week of October 2017.
1. How is Dana Villas as a whole
2. Will weather be warm enough?
3. Is the town that Dana Villa in active with good restaurants?
Thank you so much for this blog.
- Nice hotel with great views. Plenty of steps up and down. 4 star, not 5 star.
2. October is usually warm, but not hot. Should be nice enough to swim (in pool and sea).
3. Firostefani has some good restaurants, but none that I would call fantastic. Fira (8 minute walk south) and Imerovigli (10+ minute walk north) have better restaurants.
Thanks a lot for your very informative texts.
I will have around 15 days off in November and December (Nov 20-Dec 4) and I considering a trip to Greece, Athens and some island(s). I was in Athens 3 days in October and the weather was perfect and one really felt the city was in its tourist period in terms of crowds visiting it.
How about late November-early December, what would you recommend? I was thinking of a week in Athens and a week in some island (Mykonos or Santorini) – does it make sense a full week in one of the islands by Nov/Dec? Which island is the most vibrant in terms of crowds by Nov/Dec?
Thanks in advance for your reply.
Pedro de Barros Viegas
Santorini can have wonderful weather in late November (though always pack for rain and cool nights) and has the most visitors of any island during the off-season. Crete has slightly warmer temperatures and a much larger local population so it never goes dormant like many of the other islands do.
I’m thinking of visiting Santorini may be in the 2nd week of November. Is it worth visiting this time and which places would you recommend.
Thanks in advance
Yes, definitely worth visiting for the beauty and sightseeing (but not good for beach time or swimming). Stay in Fira or Oia as the other towns will be very quiet by then.
Will be traveling to Greece with my hubby from 13th – 25th April 2017. Will be spending the first 4 nights in Athens followed by the next 5 nights in Santorini. I’m unable to decide where to go for the remaining days. Any suggestions on where to go for the early flower season? Thanks muchie! Alexis
Crete is wonderful in late April. It gets warm there first before the rest of Greece and you can get some beautiful days towards the end of April. Ferries from Santorini start on April 7th in 2017 (on SeaJets) and leave at 5pm (arriving in Crete at 6:40pm).
Hi Dave I’m wondering if there is anywhere in oia or close by which shows British football live? I’m travelling tomorrow for a week and will be looking for somewhere to watch the football at the weekend. Thanks, Ryan Graham
Murphy’s in Fira is your best bet.
Hi Dave, thanks for sharing.
We are planning our Santorini trip in mid February 2017. I understand that it’s low season & winter time but was wondering if we could still see gorgeous blue skies and lovely sunsets. Would you suggest staying in Fira for easy access to restaurants or should we split our stay between Oia and Fira? I’m planning 6 nights in Santorini and 2 nights in Athens before we head home. I read so much about petty crimes in Athens & would appreciate any advice you could give? Thanks!
Santorini can be wonderful in February (some people absolutely love it during winter/off-season) – as long as you know what to expect. There is more open every year as winter becomes a more popular time to visit but it is still very quiet. Fira will have the most open and the most activity by far. I would split my time with 4 nights in Fira and 2 in Oia. Weather can be anything from clear, warm, and stunningly beautiful to cool and overcast. I have never had a problem in Athens or even witnessed a problem. Stay in the central touristy areas of Syntagma, Monastiraki, and the Plaka and you almost certainly will not have an issue.
My wife and I were going to Santorini in early November, we are from Puerto Rico wich is a tropical island. We are staying in Fanari. What are the recomended clothes and any tips that you want to share. It’s her dream trip and I want everything to go perfect. Thanks, Juan
Be prepared for some cool weather (especially coming from Puerto Rico). Have at least one good warm sweater and rain jacket. Also have short/t-shirts as you should get some nice days too.
Hi Dave, thank you so much for doing up such a detailed site about Santorini and the neighbouring islands! We will be visiting Santorini in first week of November and we aren’t sure where is good to visit. Are the beaches open then and what are the sea temperatures?
Beaches are always “open” but very unlikely that anyone would be swimming in early November – though with a late-season spike in temps and it’s not impossible. Weather is often great in November for hiking and sightseeing, but be prepared for cool evenings and some light rain.
Hi Dave, I have planned a ‘low-season’ trip this coming Spring Break February, 2017, with my 14 yo daughter. I understand the weather and limitations of the time of year, but I would like to know of any special insights that low-season visitors could take advantage of, or be aware?
Yes, you won’t be hitting the beach and most tours won’t be running yet (e.g. boat tours of the caldera). But all the main attractions will be open Ancient Thira, Akrotiri, and the main archaeological museum in Fira. Lots of restaurants will be closed but the ones that stay open are often some of the best traditional places (as they are mainly serving locals). I would stay in Fira as it has the most open. It’s always easiest to get around the island when based in Fira but especially so in the low season with the reduced bus schedule.
Thanks for the very informative site. We are planning to visit Santorini in the last week of October. We are thinking of going to Crete (anywhere in Crete) from Santorini on 26th of October. But it seems there isn’t any ferry service anymore at that time. May I know if you have any other suggestions?
Thanks in advanced for your help.
The last ferries of October (and the year) depart Santorini on Tuesday October 25 (SeaJets) and Saturday October 29 (Anek).
We are coming to Greece in Novemeber. We would like to take a boat to the islands, but none of the ferry lines seem to have schedules up. Are there any boats in Novemeber to Santorini?
There will be at least one ferry to Santorini (the Blue Star) every day in November. Maybe some others too if it’s early November.
Thank you for all of the wonderful information here! My wife is claustrophobic and it looks like a lot of the luxury Santorini hotels are in caves. Any recommendations on ones that might have more windows/lots of sunlight etc?
Aria Suites in Fira are not cave rooms and have many windows with lots of light streaming in. Nice open feel.
My wife and I will be arriving in Santorini on 4th September for a two week stay and chill holiday.
Can we expect lovely sunny days?
We have booked at Amperlonas apartments in Imerogivili, as it’s more our cup of tea, smaller, family run and with the bonus of a pool and great views, have we made a good choice with our accommodation and location?
We couldn’t find anything that had the reviews/pool and views for anything near the bargain (we think) price of £1,300 for accommodation.
My wife doesn’t swim, and whilst I can, I only swim where I can touch the floor.
So on that basis can you recommend a good boat trip, which doesn’t involve lots of swimming stops, so we feel more involved opposed to sitting on the boat and watching others swim?
Thank you in advance, and for taking the time to make such an informative and wonderful website for everyone.
Yes, weather in early September should be perfect. Hot, sunny, and crowds have died down from their summer peak. Ampelonas is a very nice hotel with a good pool and deck. But it doesn’t really have great views in the sense that it’s back from the caldera a little bit. It’s across a path from the cliff’s edge and sort of in the second row of hotels from the caldera. So, the views are right there, steps from your hotel, but you won’t really be sitting out on the pool deck gazing into the caldera – which is no big deal, as long as you know what you’re getting. As for the boat trips, yes there are some tours that don’t have a swimming component. That said, even the ones that do offer swimming (usually in the hot springs) – that portion of the tour is only 45 minutes to an hour long. So, not a big deal, but I agree, if you can avoid it you might as well.
Great site! We are planning a family trip for June 2017, with 4 adults (one will be 70) and 4 kids ages 6-10. We plan on spending 3 nights in Santorini and 3 nights in Naxos. Thinking Nissaki Beach Hotel for Naxos but unsure for Santorini. We will need quad rooms and would love an awesome view and a pool where kids are welcome. What’s your recommendation?
Imerovigli has the most and best hotels that both allow children and have great views. Four that are good for families are Astra (5 star hotel with great family suites), Tholos (smaller pool, not quite as luxurious as Astra), Kasimatis Studios (great pool but most rooms are set back from the cliff a little bit), and Merovigliosso (super friendly “budget” hotel with small pool, across the road from the caldera view).
Your blog is very informative and useful. We are in Greece in first week of June. We are doing island hopping starting from Santorini through Paros, Naxos and at last Mykonos.
My question is, Do we have to book the ferries between these islands in advance? Or can we buy the tickets before hopping ferries ?
Is there a price difference if i book in advance?
Early June you should be fine without pre-booking ferries. The only time when pre-booking ferries is essential is the week before and after August 15 (a huge greek holiday). At other times in July and August pre-booking can be wise for peace of mind but you’d likely be fine buying a day or two before sailing. In June it’s rare that a ferry will be sold out – but do buy as soon after arriving in Greece as possible.
Your site is a great resource especially for the first time visitor. Thank you.
Artemis is a nice hotel a 10 minute walk to Perissa beach (the nicest sand on Santorini) with many restaurants and bars. Also, good access to the path up (way up) to Ancient Thera. If you do the climb, come down on the opposite side to Kamari and take the boat back to Perissa. The downside to staying in Perissa is that you’re a 20 to 30 minute bus ride to Fira (and the caldera) and a similar ride from Fira on to Oia. So, if you’re visiting Santorini to see the caldera and volcano, you’re not walking out of your hotel and enjoying the views. Probably good to rent a car for a day or two if you stay out here.
Hi Dave, love the site! It has been a great help for us. We are traveling from Athens to Santorini, arriving on the ferry and I’m wondering about rental cars. Is it worth pre-booking something online through a broker or are there lots of options at the port itself?
Pre-book a rental car under 2 circumstances: you want a larger vehicle or you want an automatic in July or August. Otherwise you should be fine. There are rental agencies at the port but I would take the bus into Fira and then rent from some place near your hotel. They should deliver it right to your hotel if you ask.
My friend and I are studying abroad in Europe and we’re planning on visiting Greece during one of our breaks. We’re interested in visiting Santorini, Athens, and Zakynthos. There seems to be daily ferries that travel to Santorini and Zakynthos. Do you think 3-4 days of traveling would be enough time?
Santorini and Zakynthos are opposite sides of Greece and not connected by ferry. With just 3 or 4 days you have to pick one or the other to visit (plus Athens).
My girlfriend and I are traveling from Canada, we are in our late 20’s and are planning to travel around southern Europe. We are planning to visit Santorini and Mykonos mid May. However we don’t want to be tied down with a concrete schedule and want to do lots of exploring. My question is if its ok to arrive on these particular islands without hotel reservations and still find somewhere to stay during this time of year. Hostels and cheaper hotels is the route we would like to take. Neither one of us have been to Greece, any advice from you would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
In May, it will be totally fine to arrive on an island without a hotel reservation. For the better hotels, booking in advance is best/mandatory but for budget hotels you’ll be fine. There should be hotel owners meeting all arriving ferries and offering rooms. These are usually pretty good. Just check location and really get them to pinpoint where their hotel is located before leaving with them (they’ll give you a free ride to the hotel). Try to arrive on a new island early in the day for the most choice and least amount of stress (say, before noon).
Thank you very much for the advice, Your input along with your website has been very informative and helpful. We are planning to fly into Santorini from Italy to maximize our time in Greece. Are the hotel owners offering rooms as abundant at the airport as the ferry dock? Based on your video on Santorini we would like go straight from the airport to Fira and begin our stay there. Thank you.
There are not usually hotel owners offering rooms at the airport. Just the ferry port. Take the bus from the airport to the Fira bus station. From there walk east a half-block to the first major street, turn left (north) and then start popping into any hotel you see on that street and the streets leading off to the right (east). You’ll find something cheap and decent quickly.
Plenty of information, thanks a ton. A quick query, planning to visit Santorini for 3 nights in late September (25-27) or Mid October (13-15). Which time is better late September or Mid October? Also, on hotel front which one is recommended Absolute Bliss or Astra Suites? Also with a proximity to the good restaurants. Rajnish
Though it’s only 2 weeks the weather can be quite different between late September and Mid October. You can get still get some very hot days in late September but by mid October it’s almost always really feeling like fall has arrived (or is coming soon). So, if you were interested in beach weather or sitting by the pool then visit in September. That’s not to say you won’t be swimming in mid October, but it’s certainly possible that it’s too chilly by the middle of October. If you’re more interested in sightseeing, walking, and eating – then it makes less difference and maybe even mid-October is better: smaller crowds and less chance of an uncomfortably hot day – and yet you’re still very likely to get clear beautiful days.
Both Absolute Bliss and Astra are great hotels but I slightly prefer Astra. They’re less than 5 minutes from each other so not a bid difference in regards to location. Absolute Bliss has fewer steps and is easier to access from the parking area.
We came to Santorini in September 2014 and had a great time. We are now considering coming for our honeymoon in mid – latish October (14th onwards). Whilst we aren’t out and out beach and sun worshippers, we do like it to be sunny and warm to sit and watch the world go by.
When we came last time it was lovely, but the wind cooled the temperatures quite a lot.
Will October too late in the season to get properly warm and sit by the sea in Kamari or Thira at lunch and evening meals?
In late October you can get anything. A mini heat wave and you’ll be lying at the beach with blazing sun. Or a storm from the north arrives and you’ll be dealing with wind, rain, and cool temperatures. On average, of course it’s somewhere in the middle: warm temps through the day, cool temps in the evening (you’ll need a sweater or light jacket for sure). Expect a cool breeze that can surprise you on even the warmest days. With a little luck you won’t see any rain, but you might want to plan for it anyways.
I’m going on a study abroad to Greece in May of this year for two weeks starting the 15th. We’re going to Athens, Santorini, Crete and a few other places. I was wondering if the weather will be nice and sunny. Will it be like spring time weather? Nice enough to wear shorts and a t-shirt or even a sundress? Will I have to pack sunscreen? Great sight by the way lots of info.
The weather in the 2nd half of May is usually sunny and warm (on Crete it might even be hot). I would expect shorts and t-shirt weather, for sure. Have a light sweater for at night and expect a little rain but in general should be great. But even if you get summer-like weather the sea will still be cool.
We would like to come to Athens in late April, which we know and love, but we are now bringing our daughter and her husband and 2 young children. We are fine with Athens for 5 or 6 night, however we need another destination, our daughter is a bit fussy, she doesn’t love long drives over mountains and winding roads and she does not love boats. We need another town to go to that is charming and has a night life and shops etc, and we can do a few day trips to historic sites, yet she also would love to feel a beach atmosphere but a nice pool will do also. Soooo where else can we go to, possibly fly to Cyprus as it should be warmer in late April. We are open to suggestions, actually desperate for suggestions. We live in NYC.
Nafplio in the Peloponnese is a wonderful little town with great charm and some nearby historical sights (though most would require driving through hilly terrain). You can get from Athens to Nafplio on a comfortable air conditioned bus and the route crosses the Corinth Canal. Obviously if you’re open to flying then there’s really no limit to the number of destinations. Crete (and Cyprus) will both be warmer than mainland Greece during April. Nice spring weather though you still probably won’t be swimming in the sea.
I am 77 and my partner is 80, I would love to visit Santorini but I do have a back problem. I was looking at Perissa hotels as our base, hoping that it is not as hilly as the other side of the island, and that we could bus to Oia and Fira. I would appreciate an honest opinion if this would be suitable for us, in say mid September.
Kamari is a better base for you. More compact and easier to get around. Also it’s a much short bus ride from here to Fira (the hub of the bus system and where you’ll need to go to get a bus onwards to Oia). The caldera towns do have inclines and lots of steps, but the beach towns are pretty flat.
Thanks for a well informed site. We are currently scheduled to travel with family to Athens and Santorini Mid April. I was advised by some friends in the US that there is a travel advisory to check on travels considering the escalating refugee crisis. Please advise if there have been any such situations in the last few months and if there is anything that we need to be extra careful about.
There are no current travel warnings or alerts for Greece. I consider the country one of the safest in the world.
We are looking to go end end of April, do you think it will be t-shirt shorts weather? Where would you recommend to stay and for how long?
It likely will be shorts and t-shirt weather through the day but cooler at night. Not beach weather though.
Your website is great and very informative, thank you!
We have recently booked our wedding for July at the chapel of St Irini. Eight guests are joining us and we are all staying at Goulielmos Hotel in Akrotiri. We are having a relaxed wedding and are hoping to book a traditional beach taverna for a meal after the wedding. Our wedding planner has offered to drive us around the island when we arrive so we can choose one, is there any you would recommend? Somewhere traditional, preferably on a beach close to Akrotiri?
I can’t think of anything suitable near Akrotiri (which doesn’t mean there isn’t anything). My first thought (though it might not be what you’re looking for) is to go to Franco’s Cafe in Pyrgos. It has delicious appetizers (but no large meals), drinks, cocktails, and incredible sunset views. It’s a magical setting beneath the church at the top of Pyrgos. There are a lot of steps up so not good if someone in your party has limited mobility. A more typical restaurant (and one of the best on the island) is Metaxy Mas in Exo Gonia. Great food and good views. Be sure to reserve something on the patio.
I am planning to travel to Santorini and Mykonos in the last week of March (27th onwards) for a week for my honeymoon. Is this a good time to go there as I have heard that hotels and shops for tourists will be closed during that time?
I wouldn’t call it a bad time but yes, it will be slow (especially Mykonos, Santorini will be starting to open up) – but there will be enough open to get by. Definitely stay in Mykonos Town as it has the most open.
thank you for this great site.
We’re planning to visti Imerovigli (Absolute Bliss) in October 22th to 29th.
1) Is it possible to have some warm days to chill at the pool?
2) How is the sundown view in late october?
3) Is the Hotel a good choice?
4) Are the shops/restaurants/supermarkets still open?
5) Do you have any advice for sightseeing during a rainy period?
Thank you so much Dave,
- Possible, yes, but not a guarantee. Weather can be anything in late October, from coolish/windy/rainy to quite warm. But pools aren’t heated on Santorini so it’s unlikely you’ll be swimming.
3. Absolute Bliss is wonderful.
4. Yes, nothing closes until at least November 1.
5. Akrotiri is covered. And the Museum of Prehistoric Fira is also good when it rains.
Need your help with the below questions please.
My husband and I are planning to visit Santorini for 4 nights in April and we are not able to decide if we should stay in Oia or in Fira.
Will Oia be dead with not much activity during April?
I understand Oia is more picturesque than Fira, but will I miss out on the best experience if I choose to stay in Fira?
Also, will 3 nights be enough time to get the feel of the island or should we rather do 4 nights?
I would stay in Fira in April. Much more going on. Oia is easy to visit and 1 or 2 trips there (perhaps one in the morning and one at night) and you’ll have seen plenty of Oia. Also, the highlight of Santorini is the walk along the caldera path between Fira and Imerovigli (and on to Oia if you have the stamina). Oia is very picturesque but Fira is equally incredible and has a better view of the actual caldera.
This is a great website, I’m glad I found it. Thank you for the advice you have given. My wife and I are planning our honeymoon on Santorini around end March for about 8/9 days. We were also planning to go Mykonos and another Island (not decided). My wife is really into swimming and water sports so she would be disappointed if we couldn’t do those things. Based on your suggestions the weather doesn’t look great at this time of the year. What would you suggest? – should we stick to this option or pick another destination? Jay
Santorini is often great in March – as long as you don’t want to do any swimming. The rains and grey skies of winter have largely passed. The scenery is as spectacular as ever and you almost feel like you have the island to yourself (but there are enough tourist about so that most restaurants and many shops are open). Mykonos is a little slower than Santorini in the shoulder months as there isn’t as much to do there when it’s not beach weather. I’d recommend doing Paros or Naxos instead of Mykonos. The first ferry between Mykonos and Santorini doesn’t run until March 24, so if your travel dates are before that then you definitely don’t want to do a Santorini/Mykonos combo trip.
Your blog is the best!
We are a family of 6: me (French), my husband (American), my parents and my two children (5 and 1 year old at time of travelling).
My dream was always to go to Santorini. I know this is not the most kids-friendly island but I really want to go. I thought we can share our time between Santorini and Naxos.
We are planning to leave Paris on Wednesday June 1st. I was thinking about staying 4/5 nights in Santorini and 4/5 nights in Naxos. Then we would fly to Athens and spend two nights there. My questions are:
1/ Is one order better than the other (i.e., Santorini or Naxos first)? If we fly to Santorini first (I haven’t found direct flights from Paris yet), can we fly back from Naxos to Athens? Since we have young children, we’d rather fly than take a ferry.
2/ Since we are traveling with my parents we would prefer to rent a house/apartment. Any suggestion on websites to book it?
3/ I am a very active person on vacation but my father and my husband prefer a quieter pace. Do you think that visiting only 2 islands will be frustrating for me or can you confirm that there is plenty to do with 2 young children for 4/5 nights in one island? If we only have 9 nights, where should we stay longer? I have heard Tinos is also a kids-friendly island. Would you recommend doing Santorini, Tinos and Mykonos or should I stick to Santorini and Naxos?
Thank you for your suggestions,
- Order should be Santorini to Naxos to Athens, or Athens to Naxos to Santorini. This is because only Santorini and Athens have international flights.
2. There are not a lot of rentals on the islands (most hotels are small family owned properties to begin with) but flipkey.com/Greece is the best for what’s available.
3. Santorini and Naxos are the best. Add Paros if you wanted to add a 3rd island.
Thank you! and Happy New Year .
We decided to do 4 nights in Santorini, 5 nights in Naxos and 3 nights in Athens.
For Naxos, we are planning on renting a house. For Santorini I am still debating between renting a house where we could all stay in together or staying in 2 hotel rooms. I found a house in Emporio. How far would it take to drive to Oia and Fira? Would it be easy to park? Or do you really recommend that we stay in one of those two towns? I would love to have the view but my husband does not like the crowds…. Also is it possible to rent a big car that can accommodate 4 adults and 2 kids?
Thanks for your help!
Emporio is a great little town (with twisty lanes and alleys) that’s fun to explore for 20 to 30 minutes – but I don’t think I’d want to base myself there. It’s very slow and at least 20 minutes to Fira, 40 minutes to Oia by rented car (longer by bus). Imerovigli is probably the nicest town along the caldera and it rarely has anything that could be described as a crowd. Yes, there are large van-like vehicle rentals that will fit a family of 6.
Thanks for your input on Emporio. I guess we should stay somewhere more central like Fira or as you suggest Imerovigli. I could not find house/villa rental that fit our needs and budget (pool, views, 3 bedrooms); I will then look for an hotel that accepts children.
Again I really appreciate your help.
So as recommended by you I am thinking about staying in Imerovigli, maybe at the Santorini Princess hotel? It looks kids-friendly enough and the views look incredible.
As for Naxos, I am debating between renting a house or staying in a hotel. I like the idea of a house where we could all stay together and cook our own food for some of the meals, but I am not finding a lot of villas that fit our needs and budget. I found a couple in: Stelida, Mikri Vigla, or Eggares. Are these locations fine, even if not near Naxos town? Or would you recommend to stay in a hotel (like the Nissaki Beach Hotel) ? For us it is important to have a pool since I am worried it might be too chilly to swim in the sea… Do you think it will be too chilly to swim in the sea?
What do you think ? can you help with making this lodging decision. I really wanted to share a house/villa with my parents but I have the feeling it is not too common there;
Yes, in Naxos I recommend staying in Naxos Town. Great food and a friendly walkable vibe. The pool at Nissaki is not heated and can be cooler than the sea water in June. But weather should be warm in any case. The water at St Georges Beach (walking distance from Naxos Town) is very shallow and protected and thus a little warmer than most beaches. In any case, be aware that Nissaki Beach Hotel does not accept kids 12 or younger (change in policy about a year back).
Thanks for your input on Naxos. Since we won’t be able to rent a house/villa in Santorini I want to stay in one in Naxos. I found one that is located in Stelida, 3,5 km from Naxos town. I hope you think the area is okay. As you say the Nissaki Beach Hotel does not accept kids 12 or younger so it won’t work for us.
As for Santorini I narrowed it down to 2 hotels in Imerovigli that are family-friendly and have rooms that can accomodate the 6 of us: the Santorini Princess Spa Hotel and the Remezzo Villas. Any preference? is one better located to get to restaurants for example?
The Remezzo has a more central location and is much closer to the restaurants of Imerovigli than the Santorini Princess (a 5 minute walk vs 15 or 20). The Santorini Princess has a larger pool. Both are wonderful hotels.
Stelida is a nice area (not my absolute favorite but nice). It’s close to Naxos Town but you will probably want a rental car to get back and forth. There’s a good water park in Stelida (likely walking distance from your villa).
thanks! we booked at the Remezzo. We want to be centrally located.
I am looking at flights from Paris to Santorini. I found 2 on Aegean airlines. One has a layover of 1 hour in Athens; the other a layover of 3 hours. What do you think? Is one hour enough to change planes? It will be our first time at the Athens airport.
In most situations I would say you’d probably be fine with 1 hour but to be safe book the 3 hour layover. But since both legs of this flight are with the same carrier (or that’s what I’m assuming) then if you miss the first flight to Santorini they should put you on the 2nd flight for no charge (if there’s any room). Not sure that helps, it comes down to how much risk you’re comfortable with.
Hey Santorini Dave, Love the website. Trying to plan a June wedding in Santorini — which week in June would you say changes from shoulder season to high season?
It’s gradual throughout the month with each week being a little busier than the last. It never gets as busy as August though.
I would like to visit Santorini on the 3rd week of May with my fiance. We are generally quiet people, we are not into clubbing. We love sightseeing, long walks, quiet dinners, and shopping. Can you recommend a perfect place for us in Santorini? As for accomodation, I want it peaceful and private, and a balcony with a fantastic view is a must for us.
Mara and Ali
Aenaon Villas has an awesome secluded location with jaw dropping views. Lots of privacy. The drawback for some is that it’s a long walk to Imerovigli (30+ minutes) but for you it might be the perfect locale. (There is a bus stop across the street with regular buses to Oia and Fira should you need it.)
My friend and I will be travelling to Santorini in late September (15 to 22). I just wonder if it is maybe too late to visit Santorini? We want basically just to swim, sunbath and relax there. I have also one question, what do you think about Agia Irini Hotel in Imerovigli? Is it too far from Fira? Are there any buses, or is it better that we rent a car? Thank you for everything, you’ve been very helpful with this site already.
September typically has great beach weather and is the best time of the year to visit. Agia Irini is not in Imerovigli (perhaps technically it is somehow within the town’s borders but in practice it is not). It is located on the eastern side of the island (sunrise views, not on the caldera) and a good distance from Fira, Oia, and Imerovigli. There are a few restaurants nearby but otherwise you’re a 10+ minute drive to Fira, Oia, and the towns along the caldera. There is no bus service out here so you’ll need to rent a car or take taxis (the owner will shuttle you to Fira and you can take a bus anywhere from there, then take a taxi back to the hotel which will be about 10€ to 12€). The hotel itself is nice with a good pool, and is very good value for Santorini.
We have a trip scheduled for between Xmas and New Years to Paris and Rome but thinking to switch to Greece to be safer. Is Greece a good choice? Advice for going in January when it’s cold and slow?
Greece can be great in January as long as you’re not expecting warm weather. Athens, Santorini, and Crete are the off-season highlights (though there aren’t direct ferries from Santorini to Crete in the winter so you’d need to use Athens as a hub for visits to both).
Your website has been very helpful. Thank you. I’m planning a trip for New Year’s Eve to Greece. I’m running into an issue that I was hoping you could help me with. Flying from Athens to Mykonos on January 2nd and staying for 2 nights. On the 4th, I would like to travel to Santorini. There are not any direct flights or available ferries. Any suggestions? I appreciate your time. Thank you.
You are right. There are no direct ferry or flights between Mykonos and Santorini in January. You’ll need to fly or ferry via Athens (which is obviously a major hassle).
Me and my partner are planning a holiday to santorini during second week of May. I was wondering if its going to be a “bikini weather” then? Are the beaches busy/open during mid May? Thank you for your very informative blog.
Beach weather can begin the first week of May but it’s still 50/50 until the end of the month.
My daughter is studying abroad in Athens and I am coming to visit for thanksgiving from the US. We planned a 3 day visit to Santorini. We booked the Suite of the Gods because of their spa. Is this too far from restaurant that will be open? Will any wineries be open? Should we rent a car?
Suites of the Gods is in a slightly isolated area of Santorini – not much within walking distance. When visiting in the off season, I’d stay in Fira or Oia instead. A rental car would help a lot if you did decide to stay there. The Wine Museum and Sigalas winery will be open for sure and Boutari Winery is open but you need to make a reservation – perhaps a few others too.
Hi, planning for 2 weeks for a Europe tour and including Santorini in late November. Maybe around 21st – 24th of November. Is it a wise choice? More interested in the sight seeing, and not for the beach. What can you recommend?
Late November can be great for sight seeing in Santorini. Can also be rainy and grey. Be prepared for cool wet weather but if I had to guess I’d say you’d have a good visit and decent weather.
Many thanks for your advice, much appreciated.
Hi Dave ,
Great information. Me and my friends are planning to visit Santorini and Mykonos. We are planning for water adventures, great food, and amazing beach party’s and night clubs! Can you please suggest which month would be great for our plans? Thank you
Nightlife is best in August and good from late June until early September.
Sightseeing is best from late April until early November.
Beach weather is best from late May until early October.
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