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BlogDestinationsThe Go Ahead Travel Guide to Santorini
Destinations

The Go Ahead Travel Guide to Santorini

Nov 13, 2020 by Piper Taylor

This destination guide was created for you by our global team here at Go Ahead Tours! Whether we’re designing new trips or writing guides like this one, everything we do is handcrafted. Read on to get our staffers’ insider tips from their travels.

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Greece has beauty and history around every corner, and Santorini is no exception. After all, everything we love about Greece can be found on the island: beautiful scenery, relaxing beaches, delicious food and wine, and a glimpse into the past. There are so many things to do in Santorini on tour.

Want to spend your days lounging on black-sand beaches? How about enjoying a cliff-side dinner at sunset, or taking a stroll through local markets? Then read our guide to Santorini to find out why the island should be at the top of your travel bucket list!

Currency: Euro

Language: Greek. Although many locals do speak English, there’s no better time than the present to pick up some of the native language!

Getting around: The bus system (KTEL) is a cheap and easy way to traverse the island. For a little more money out of pocket, you can always rent a local taxi to get around. Of course, walking through the alleyways and winding hills is also a must—seeing the sites on foot is one of the best things to do in Santorini!

Santorini travel guide fun fact: The island of Santorini is formed from a volcanic crater!

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WHEN TO TRAVEL TO SANTORINI

One of our top travel tips for Santorini is this: GO! Really, the island is a must-visit place no matter when you choose to travel to Greece. But, to help you plan a trip to Santorini at a time that’s perfect for you, here are some of the best times to take off.

  • Going for the beaches? If your goal is to soak up as much sun as possible, the best time to travel to Santorini would be June through September. With the temperature consistently in the mid to upper 70s, the beaches are the perfect spots to relax and unwind while on tour in Santorini.
  • Hoping for a quiet vacation without the crowds? Then November through February is the time to go! These months are often considered to be the off-season of travel, but make for a unique and relaxed vacation. Without the crowded streets, beaches, and restaurants, you can take advantage and see much more of the island than you would during the peak-travel season. Off-season travel often means cheaper flights and accommodations, making this the perfect time to plan a trip to Santorini without breaking the bank.
  • Want the best sightseeing experiences? March through June and September through November are the best months to plan a trip to Santorini. Being right between off-season and peak-season, these months are the perfect times to explore the island. The weather will be just right for hiking, visiting shops, and checking out the local scenery.

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WHAT TO PACK FOR A TRIP TO SANTORINI

A packing list may not be the most exciting part of a Santorini travel guide—how could it be when it’s up against Greek beaches to visit and where to eat the best feta around?! But, you’ll be glad you had these travel tips for Santorini when you’re swimming in the Aegean because you remembered to bring your bathing suit! Here’s what to pack for Santorini tours.

  • Universal adapter and converters. The plug outlets are shaped differently in Greece, so you will need this in order to charge and use your electronics. A proper electrical converter also helps keep your electronics from overheating, since Greece runs on a different electrical voltage than the United States and Canada.
  • A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Weather you’re planning on spending the day at the beach or taking a stroll around the town, these items are must-haves! If you do happen to forget a hat or sunglasses at home, never fear—there are plenty of local boutiques that carry all the sunny-day essentials.
  • A bathing suit. Speaking of sunny-day essentials, a swimsuit will come in handy if you want to lounge on one of the island’s beaches (one of the best things to do in Santorini!), or set out on our Santorini Caldera Cruise & Dinner excursion. When you’re thinking about what to pack for Santorini, be sure to check this one off your list.
  • Comfortable footwear. Comfort is key to enjoying your vacation. Are you planning on strolling along the cobblestone streets to admire the whitewashed houses and stunning ocean views? How about taking a nice hike over Santorini’s iconic volcanic terrain? Then proper footwear is a must.
  • A camera. This might go without saying, since the landscape is one of the most photogenic things to see in Santorini! Don’t miss the opportunity to take your own photos of the iconic white-and-blue cave houses, called yposkafas.
old stone building on the hellfire club tour

THINGS TO DO IN SANTORINI

Stunning beaches, ancient ruins, plenty of spots to watch the sunset—there are so many amazing Santorini attractions, and you’ll never run out of things to do in Santorini! Here are some of our favorite ways to see the best of the island on a Santorini tour.

  • Ride to the top of Mount Profitis Ilias. The panoramic views of Santorini that you’ll see from the top of this mountain make it one of our favorite places to visit in Santorini. There’s even a monastery here (complete with a beautiful courtyard and gardens!), so you can step into history while taking in the scenery.
  • See the Akrotiri Archaeological Site. Referred to as, “the Pompeii of the Aegean”, this Bronze-age village was finely preserved by a volcanic eruption nearly 4,000 years ago. It’s home to beautiful frescoes and pottery dating back to the 16th century. Here, you’ll feel like you’re walking amongst the Ancient Greeks!
  • Enjoy a dip in the Nea Kameni Hot Springs. Take a quick boat ride over to the small volcanic island of Nea Kameni to enjoy otherworldly terrain. After, stop by the sulfur-rich hot springs, which are noted for their healing abilities.
  • Take in the views from Oia. If you’re looking for beauty and Greek history, this village is a must-see! Oia is located on the northwestern part of Santorini and holds some of the best hidden gems for history buffs and nature lovers alike. Here, you’ll find the Naval Maritime Museum, as well as legendary sunsets over the Aegean Sea.

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HOW TO SPEND FREE TIME IN SANTORINI

There are countless things to do in Santorini, so filling your free time on tour in Greece will be a piece of cake—especially with the expert guidance from your Tour Director! But, just to give you some ideas, here are some free time tips for Santorini.

  • Enjoy a sunset cruise around the caldera on our Santorini Caldera Cruise & Dinner excursion. Take our word for it: this is one of the top things to do in Santorini! Be sure to bring your bathing suit, because a day of snorkeling, sunbathing, and enjoying local Greek specialties at sunset is on the books.
  • Soak up the sun on Perissa Beach. If you’re looking for an easy, relaxing day on the sand and under the sun, this is the beach for you! Also known as Black Sand Beach, this hotspot has plenty of delicious restaurants and hotel accommodations just steps away.
  • Visit the Archaeological Museum of Fira. If you’re looking to uncover more history after your on-tour visit to the Akrotiri Archaeological Site, put a visit to this museum on your free time bucket list! The museum is home to more artifacts from Akrotiri and Thera, another nearby Bronze Age civilization, and seeing tangible pieces of history never gets old.

See 5 more ways to spend free time in Santorini >

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WHAT TO EAT & DRINK IN SANTORINI

No Santorini travel guide is complete without a mention of feta cheese, grilled octopus, Vin Santo wine, more feta… you get the idea. Long story short: the food you’ll try on tour in Santorini is top-notch! Here are some of our foodie tips for Santorini, and a handful of our favorite places to eat in Santorini, too.

  • Sip Greek wine at the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum. Partially located within a cave, this museum doubles as winery. After wandering through historic exhibits and learning the ins-and-outs of winemaking in Santorini, unwind with a nice cool glass of wine in their tasting room. Be prepared to love every sip—Greece has a storied grape-growing tradition and has been making wine longer than anyone else in Europe.
  • Taste fresh seafood dishes! The Greek Islands are known for fresh fish pulled from the sea, and digging in to everything from grilled octopus and calamari to sardines and swordfish on tour in Santorini is a must. You can try some of the best at psarotavernes, or fish taverns, or you can splurge and pay a visit to Selene. Located in Fira, the capital of Santorini, this restaurant offers some of the best Greek fine dining on the island. Owner and chef Giorgos Hatzigiannakis takes classic Greek tastes and re-invents them with a modern perspective.
  • Dig in to roasted lamb, a Greek classic, at Metaxi Mas. This restaurant totes its authentic Cretan and Santorinian tastes, as well as a carefully curated wine list. Surrounded by the mountainous terrain, this restaurant is perfect for a full sensory experience of Santorini.
  • Enjoy a Horiatiki salad—it doesn’t get more quintessentially Greek than sliced tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, local olives, and a brick of feta cheese! Really, don’t even get us started with the feta. This salad is good no matter where you try it on tour in Santorini, so simply look for a taverna with a view of the sea and dig in.
  • Try Santorini’s famous white eggplant at Katharos Lounge. If you’re looking for some delicious plant-based eats—including local eggplant, a staple in Santorini—this vegan spot is the place to be. Located right on the cliffside, Katharos is the perfect place to enjoy a light lunch while enjoying the view.
  • Sip Vin Santo, a sweet white wine that Santorini is known for. Try some of the best at Vassaltis, one of our favorite vineyards on the island, and one you’ll visit on tour in Santorini.

Check out 5 dishes to eat on the Greek Islands >

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SOUVENIRS TO BUY IN SANTORINI

The most important part of any Santorini travel guide is the must-have experiences to seek out on tour! That being said, who doesn’t love bringing home a few trinkets to remember their adventure? So, we’re rounding out our guide to Santorini with some souvenirs to snag on tour in Greece.

  • Bottle of Ouzo. This anise-flavored spirit is considered the national drink of Greece. Compared to the liquorice-like taste of absinthe, ouzo is often served with traditional Greek appetizers, called mezze. If you have time, stop by Canava Santorini, Santorini’s very own distillery, to learn how ouzo is produced on the island.
  • Local honey. Surprisingly, Santorini is home to more than a few beekeepers! Shaped by the local flora and volcanic soil, this island’s honey is particularly unique in flavor.
  • Jewelry. Santorini is home to a multitude of small boutiques run by local artisans. Even if jewelry isn’t your thing, these shops are a great stop to admire modern Greek art on tour in Santorini.

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Have you ever visited Santorini on tour? Share your favorite things to do on tour in Greece on our Facebook page!

Destination guides
About the author | Piper Taylor
Piper loves traveling for the off-the-beaten-path experiences! The impromptu moments, like talking with a local or finding a hidden café down an alleyway, are the most fulfilling. When not traveling, you can find her laughing with friends, hanging with her cats, or binging the latest Netflix series.

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views of the aegean sea from the greek islands with white buildings in the foreground
views of the aegean sea from the greek islands with white buildings in the foreground
A Week in Greece: Athens, Mykonos & Santorini
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