I can’t even believe vacation is over and I am already writing this travel guide. For those of you who don’t know me well, Santorini was the top of my bucket list of places to visit. Being back in Europe was an absolute dream, but being in Greece literally took my breath away. Seriously, the pictures don’t it justice. Greece is actually made up of around 6,000 islands. I was grateful to be able to stay on the beautiful island of Santorini. If you’re all about being in the sun and the water all day, this is probably one of the best vacations for you. This post is more of a guide on how to travel to Santorini on a “budget.”
HOW TO BOOK YOUR TRIP:
✮ Book through Expedia. Every trip that I have gone on for the past three trips this year, has been through Expedia. They give you the best deals and you can book both your flight and hotel rooms through them. The best part is setting up a payment plan. Our last payment for Greece was for this month. We purchased this package back in March, planning six months ahead seems like the most reasonable.
✮ ALWAYS get the insurance on any of these websites. If you are planning so far in advanced, you never know what can happen to anyone in your party attending the trip. Insurance covers a refund. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS WORTH IT.
✮ Slowly put money aside for your trip in savings. A rough estimate of our flight and hotel for 10 DAYS was $1,400/person. Which honestly was a pretty good deal. Our flight was from Chicago to Helsinki – Helsinki to Santorini. I heard usually these flights are more than one layover, most places have to fly into Athens to get to Santorini. We got really lucky!
✮ DO YOUR RESEARCH. This was literally my #1 trip on my bucket list. Planning out where to stay and if it’s the most convenient place for tourist excursions and what not is key.
✮ I found the cutest hotel online and had been watching the prices fluctuate since January until March. Blue Waves is located in Kamari. Just steps away from the beach!! The town was so cute and just south of the island, not too far from Fira and Oía. I’m not too picky when I travel but I also have some sort of standards when I choose these places wisely. The hotel was so cute and was family owned, Vana and Yanis were so so so welcoming. So thankful for their hospitality. ❤️ Kamari is not too touristy and just a 15-minute bus ride to Fira and 40-minute bus ride to Oía.
FRONT: BLUE WAVES HOTEL
WHAT TO DO:
✮ Santorini sunset boat tour – There are plenty of tours that go on daily but the sunset tour is definitely more worth it than a day tour. I’m a sucker for a sunset. Most boat tours serve dinner and drinks included in the package. Thank you to the crew of the Triton who made our sailing experience so smooth and fed us with the most delicious home (boat?) cooked meal.
✮ Wine tour – I never went on one of these but I had wine with pretty much every meal while I was here. White wine is my go-to and it tasted like straight up juice, I definitely suffered from those repercussions in the morning. Santorini is known for their vineyards on the island!
✮ Rent a motorcycle or ATV – I never ended up renting an ATV and they were actually reasonably priced for daily fees. But the island is pretty small and and we ended up meeting locals that had motorcycles (literally everyone owned one on the island because it’s the easiest way to get around).
✮ A night out at Fira – This is where most of the nightlife is. If you don’t plan on leaving the island to go to Mykonos, this was definitely where most of the party scene is at. If you are in the area, Koo Club was huge and was outdoors! They had best house music, I literally couldn’t stop dancing while I was there. 😂
✮ Stroll around Oía – To be completely honest, I’m so glad I never actually stayed on this part of the island. There are HELLA stairs and HELLA tourists. I got lucky with the spot I found to take pictures with the typical white homes and blue domes but this place was PACKED. We walked around to see the sunset, and it was absolutely breathtaking. I was told it’s best to walk around Oía really early in the morning to get a really glimpse of it while the streets were dead but our hotel was a little bit of a hike and we never got to it.
✮ Fish pedicures – If you’re staying in Kamari, check out Blue Fish Spa! It was €10 for 15-minutes. This was my first time ever doing it and I was literally squealing but my feet felt AMAZING afterwards. The fish basically eat your dead/calluses.
✮ Hiking in Oía – Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do this because we slept in until 12:00/1:00 PM almost every day. Honestly, no complaints about that, I hadn’t slept like THAT in years. Vacation is all about relaxation but if you can beat the heat and get up early to hike, do it.
✮ Find the best gyros/souvlaki. When we were walking around Oía we stumbled upon, what is was clearly one of the best restaurants around there. We waited 30-40 minutes to grab our souvlaki TO-GO. Pitogyro was to-die-for! The greeks don’t mess around with their sides of potatoes or tzatziki sauce. 🤤
✮ Massage on the beach. When we stayed in Kamari, we were obviously on the beach every day. There were people walking around offering massages. It was about €50 for an hour. What better way to relax on vacation than to get a massage on the BEACH listening to the waves hit the shore? (I may be biased because I’m all about self care, but this massage was much needed.)
TIPS WHEN TRAVELING:
✮ Try to book a taxi pick up through your hotel when you get to the airport. TAXIS ARE SUPER EXPENSIVE IN SANTORINI. You should be in better hands with your hotel and they should be giving you the best deal!
✮ PACK LIGHT. Hard to believe but I packed 10 DAYS worth of clothes in my CARRY ON. I still had extra room and still didn’t even wear all the clothes that I had brought. I heard some stories about losing their luggages in between flights on the way to Greece. Having the luggage with you at all times takes away the stress of losing your personal belongings.
✮ Purchase any sort of toiletries when you get to the final destination. Europe is known for having mini markets on literally every other corner. This helps saves room in your luggage and WEIGHT. I was a few pounds over the maximum weight in my carry on that I had to shove all in my backpack to distribute the weight.
✮ Exchange your cash at the airport. Having Euros on hand with you at all times will probably save you money from avoiding any fees.
✮ If you can avoid renting a car, you should. The island is not very big and the bus system is not hard to find/figure out. The cost for a one way ticket to get around the island is €1.80.
So so so so thankful for the best parents in the world for blessing me with the best graduation present ever. Santorini was a dream. 🇬🇷