Things You Should Know BEFORE Visiting Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece is an island that we’ve all seen plastered on social media. We instantly recognize the blue building tops with the clean, white architecture and sunny weather. From an outsider’s view, it looks like a beautiful vacation get away spot that you’ll remember forever. However, if you’re planning on visiting, do know that it’s not as jolly as everyone makes it look online.

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Now, this is assuming you’re only there for a day, as a stop from a cruise. I’m sure if you stayed for a week at a proper hotel, motel, or airbnb, the experience will be absolutely delightful. However, from my experience, in the few hours I was there, it wasn’t as enjoyable as I thought it’d be.

When you first get off your cruise ship or any method of transportation, you’ll more than likely going to have to take some form of water-transportation that won’t be very smooth. As someone who is easily seasick, it’s a rough start to visiting Santorini, Greece. We had to take a small rocky-boat there.

Small boats making their way to Santorini, Greece
Cruise ship with smaller water transportation to Santorini, Greece

You’re then greeted with an extensively long line that goes on and on to get onto a cable car to go up to Fira. Even if you didn’t want to go up, you have no choice because the entire ground-level is congested with tourists, making it impossible to move or walk around. We waited about 2 hours in the blazing hot summer sun with little to no shade just to ride it upwards. If you don’t have adequate sun protection and hydration, this can be very dangerous. Please remember to bring 1-2 bottles of water per person and apply sunblock often. Heat exhaustion is no joke.

If waiting in line for a cable car doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in, luckily there are other options in Santorini, Greece. One option is option of hiking up to the top on foot. They even have numbered steps so you know how far or close you are from the top. However, when we mentioned that we were thinking about taking that route to a local, they had a very concerned look on their face and told us it was very dangerous and would advise against it. We find locals tend to know best about the terrain, so we didn’t go with this option, but rather watched a few handfuls of people try to hike to the top while waiting for a cable car.

Another option is to take a donkey ride up. If you find many merchandise stores selling donkey-themed items and rides, you know you’re in the right place. For a few modest dollars, you can take the ride all the way to the top. It’s a great option if you don’t want to sit still with other sweaty tourists waiting for a cable car. It’d also serve as great photo opportunities if you’re trying to show your adventurous side. However, keep in mind, it will be smelly and hot because there is no shade the whole way up.

After finally making it to the top, you can take a breath because you’re briefly out of the crowds of people. From there, you can see a lot of the beautiful landscape, architecture and art in Santorini, Greece. One thing I definitely won’t forget about Santorini is how beautiful it is no matter which direction you look. Even all the restaurants and cafes offer stunning views for you to stare at while sipping on your drinks. It is truly as beautiful as photos online picture it to be.

Enjoying drinks in Santorini, Greece while looking at the city skyline
Active volcano in Santorini Greece. This is quite the popular tourist attraction.
View of island from above
Overview of Fira from a rstaurant

However, if you venture onwards, many of the streets are filled with stores full of souvenirs and collectibles. If you’re one that likes shopping, this is great, but if not, it can be disappointing. It’s just a lot of shopping, people trying to get through each other, crowds and crowds of people, and the constant need for hydration. It tends to be hard to find a spot to yourself where you can take a break away from people.

And then of course, to get back down and leave Santorini, Greece, it’s the nightmare of lining up forever with no shade repeated all over again.

Now, Santorini, Greece can be stressful and tiring with the heat, crowds, and waiting combined to get anywhere, but aside from that, it truly is a beautiful place to visit. We had a few hours there, so it was hard to really explore or do anything because of the process of getting up and down, but if you were to stay there for a few days at an air conditioned hotel with a pool, I’m sure the length of stay and relaxation would more than make up and drown out the unpleasant entrance and exits.

Photo with Daniel
Example of one of the many beautiful patios hotels offer

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