Santorini - credits: turtix/Shutterstock.com
Santorini - credits: turtix/Shutterstock.com

We’ve all seen it: magical sunsets, whitewashed houses with blue accents, steep hills, unique volcanic ash beaches, and a whimsical atmosphere that enchants everyone who visits; of course, we’re talking about none other but the world-acclaimed island of Santorini!

With a need for escaping reality more prominent than ever, Santorini, one of the most popular islands of the Cyclades both for tourists and locals alike, seems like the light at the end of the tunnel. And how could it not be, after all, with its volcanic geomorphology, the deep blue waters of its beaches and the welcoming locals who feel like enjoying your time on their island is their responsibility!

Santorini is in fact a complex of islands that consists of Thera, Thirassia, and Aspronissi. These used to be one, but following a tremendous volcanic eruption, the land broke off, forming the impressive Caldera everyone knows and loves. Magical as it is, Santorini was often thought to be connected with the legend of the “lost” city of Atlantis, becoming the test subject of scientists worldwide for years. 

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The best time of year for a Santorini Vacation

sunset in santorini Georgios Tsichlis shutterstock copy copySunset in Santorini - credits: Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock.com

As thoroughly explained in our Vacation in Greece Guide, choosing when to travel to Greece comes down to personal preference and Santorini is no exception to the rule. Regardless of that, however, and because Santorini is an island, visiting during the winter would not be the wisest choice.

The Greek islands are infamous for being particularly cold and windy, while due to the small number of permanent residents, they are close to deserted; it wouldn’t be a surprise to find most of the cafes, taverns, and shops that are on their peak during summertime closed through the winter months. That being said, due to the incredible, raw beauty of the island there is something to be gained from a winter trip.

The emptiness causes a serenity that is difficult to find, so if seclusion is what you’re after, then maybe visiting Santorini in the winter is not such a bad idea; in any other scenario, choosing the warmer months is without a shadow of a down the best option.

On the completely opposite side, if you choose to visit Santorini during the summer and especially during its high season, which lasts from the end of June to early September, you need to keep in mind that thousands and thousands of people have probably made the same choice as you.

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Expectedly, being one of the most popular summer destinations in Greece and the whole world, Santorini can get extremely busy and often overcrowded. Relaxation, peace, and quiet give way to busy streets, lots of chattering, loud nightlife, and hectic beaches, which for some can be a no-go. If crowds and waiting in line don’t matter, and you’ve imagined your holidays filled with parties that end in the first light of day, you have nothing to worry about.

If however, you’re visiting Santorini with kids and are looking to have a much more calm and authentic Greek island experience, then crossing off the dead of summer from your list is the best way to go. 

As with everything in life, there is such a thing as a ‘happy medium’ and that happy medium should be the one to look for, as it will provide you with a one-of-a-kind, original experience without compromising the factor of fun. For me, that happy medium can be found during late spring and early autumn. 

If you choose to visit Santorini in late May or late September to early October, not only will you get to bask in the wonderful sunshine and enjoy mild weather, but you will get to explore the island without touching shoulders with thousands of people. Don’t get me wrong, the island will be far from deserted, but it won’t be full to the brim either, which is ideal! And with the perfect climate the Mediterranean is offering, there will be plenty of things to do in Santorini during May, September, and October, so you are not missing out on anything that’s happening during the high season. Between you and me, the beaches of Santorini will probably be even more magical during those months.

Is Santorini an expensive island?

island of santorini Andrew Mayovskyy shutterstock copySantorini - credits: Andrew Mayovskyy/Shutterstock.com

Long story short, yes, Santorini is one of the most expensive Greek destinations. Its steep price, however, can be justified by the fact that it offers its visitor a unique experience that cannot be duplicated in any other part of the world. It is no coincidence, after all, that despite not being the most budget-friendly of islands, it attracts around a million visitors year after year without fail, and it is the ultimate Greek honeymoon destination for people around the world. So if you want to visit Santorini on a honeymoon, the magical landscapes and the iconic sunset that will make sparks fly are definitely worth the money!

To get an idea, depending on the type of accommodation you’re willing to book, the average you will pay for an overnight stay in Santorini ranges from around 20€ for a bed in a hostel, to around 70€ for a 3-star hotel, while a luxury stay in a boutique hotel will set you back around 300€. Thankfully, the average cost of living is not too far from the one you’ll come upon in the rest of Greece, and the same goes for the use of public transport.

Despite the food in the supermarket being only marginally more expensive than in the rest of Greece, the food and beverages served in Santorini’s cafes, luxury restaurants, and local taverns, as well as the drinks that are served in Santorini’s bars, are a whole different story. Unless you opt for a fast food option, you should expect to pay not only for what you’re consuming but also for the stunning view in front of you.

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There is no doubt that if you stay away from gourmet dishes and luxurious hotels, you can find budget-friendly options in Santorini so you can, too, experience the magic of the Greek island, however, better be on the side of caution so as not to be unpleasantly surprised.

To sum everything up, a whole week in Santorini can cost you roughly from 500€ if you watch your money, stay in a hostel and eat fast food, to 900€ if you live comfortably and 3,000€ if you decide to live it up and have a luxurious experience. Of course, please note that these prices are only an estimate, and depending on when you choose to experience your Santorini vacations, they can fluctuate greatly. 

Now that you know how much a vacation to Santorini costs and you’ve set your mind on when to visit Santorini, don’t forget to check our guide on how many days you should spend in Santorini, along with recommended itineraries. There are so many things to do and experience that leaving it out of your to-do list would be a shame. Whether it is for its nightlife, its landscape, its architecture, or its impeccable beaches, booking your vacations in Santorini will be one of the best decisions of your life. Check our tours in Santorini so you can explore the island like a local!