Confession, I became obsessed with the idea of visiting Santorini after seeing The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants. The buildings, the beaches, the sunsets…I was in complete awe of the place. So obviously, I came to a quick realization that I had to go. But once I shared my dream of visiting Santorini with friends and family, I was quickly told that Santorini was expensive. Regardless, I was eager and determined to visit Santorini on a budget.
The opportunity to visit Greece finally came when we chose it as our honeymoon destination. However, we had to plan wisely, considering we were paying for half of our own wedding. So with a little help from our Honeyfund and with a little research, we were able to plan our dream trip to Santorini. We did it on a budget and didn’t have to compromise on comforts or all around fabulousness.
Santorini on a Budget…
Fabulous & Affordable Accommodations
The island of Santorini is loaded with incredible accommodations, ranging from cave dwelling hostels, homey Air B&B’s and underrated hotels. You shouldn’t have to compromise by visiting a “cheaper” destination when you have your heart set on a place as wonderful as Santorini. With accommodations being one of the most expensive components of travel, here are my recommendations on where to stay in Santorini that is easy on the wallet.
This hostel is more like a hotel. With rooms ranging from private doubles and dorm rooms in authentic cave dwellings, Caveland Hostel provides a true Santorini experience. The hostel is complete with a huge pool, dinners at a traditional Greek Tavernas, and organized events with other travelers. The sense of community at Caveland makes for a great environment for both backpackers and solo travelers alike. The location is in the middle of the island, with being 5 kilometers away from Fira, the capital of the island. Staying at this hostel is the perfect way to keep your trip to Santorini on a budget!
Price for 3 nights in 10 Bed Dorm: 45 Euros/$54 USD
This beautiful beach front hotel in Kamari is located next to some of the best restaurants on the island, making it an ideal home base to enjoy the peaceful seaside and keep a happy belly. Additionally, if you plan to keep costs down, each en suite is complete with a full kitchenette: perfect for families or those who like cooking at home. Prefer the pool over the black sandy beaches? Don’t worry, the hotel is complete with a gorgeous pool with a snack bar and unobstructed views of the Aegean Sea. Highly recommend renting a car or taking the local K-Tel bus to get around the island.
Price for 3 nights in Apartment: $197 USD
The location of this Air B&B is absolute perfection. Imerovigli is a beautiful resort town with close proximity to Firastefani and Fira Town. The studio apartment is beautiful and fully equipped. So whether you choose to hang out at your studio apartment’s pool or party the night away in Fira, it makes for fun time on the beautiful island. Not to mention, a great way to keep Santorini on a budget.
Cost for three nights for Air B&B Rental – $199 USD
How to Get Around Santorini on a Budget
Santorini is actually a pretty large island, so having a plan of attack on how you’ll cover it all on the cheap is important. Luckily, there is an affordable option to check out all the Santorini hot spots!
Take the K-Tel Public Bus to scoot around the island. The most expensive leg at most will set you back 2 euros, so make sure you keep those 2 euro coins around! Additionally, the bus runs every half hour and runs to all the major stops: Oia, Fira, Kamari, and even the airport! The timetable can be found here!
This option is kind of ghetto but walking is actually a great option in Santorini. When we stayed in a Imerovigli and walked to Firostefani and Fira Town all the time. The paths are well maintained and offer stunning views. You can also choose to hike between Imerovigli and Oia, which is supposed to be gorgeous! Highly suggested to walk in early morning or late afternoon.
What to eat to keep Santorini on a budget…
The street food in Greece is fantastic! It is also extremely affordable, with gyros averaging 2-4 euros. I highly recommend checking out the street food in Fira Town Square (Nicks’ the Grill is excellent). All the options are incredible and extremely easy on the wallet.
If you’ve had your fair share of street food, dining out in restaurants can be very affordable. I highly recommend going off the beaten path to either Kamari or Perissa for true authentic Greek cuisine. Kamari and Perissa cater more towards the locals, as opposed to Oia or Firastefani, who cater more towards tourists, which may result in more expensive dining options.
Kind of random but please get a Greek salad at every meal. It will change your life. The feta…..
Another great option to keep food costs low is to have a picnic. Buying produce, meats, and snacks at local markets is very affordable and a great way to stick to your budget. Load up on yummy fruits, drinks, breads, whatever your heart desires. Enjoy a tasty meal while enjoying the picturesque views.
Affordable Things to do in Santorini
The one thing I loved most was the abundance of free and affordable things to do in Santorini. All the activities listed below are fun and perfect for doing Santorini on a budget!
Cliff Jump at Amoudi Bay
Located below Oia, you can take the stairs marked Amoudi Bay to check out the adorable fisherman’s village. If you’re brave enough, jump off the cliffs and into the warm Aegean sea for a cheap thrill. If you happen to work up an appetite, the tavernas along the bay offer fresh catch at a variety of prices.
Hike from Fira to Oia
If you want to take in some cardio with incredible views, look no further than breaking a sweat along the Fira-Oia trail. The hike takes about three hours to complete one-way and is best done at early morning or dusk.
Play at the Black Sandy Beaches
Perfect for a chill day, head to the black sand beaches of Perissa or Kamari. Luckily, it isn’t crowded and the restaurants in the area are more affordable than those in Fira and Oia. If you don’t have your own mode of transportation, take the affordable K-Tel bus down to the beach. At most, it will set you back a whopping 2 euros.
Watch the Sunset from Oia Castle
Setting yourself up at the Oia Castle is perhaps one of the most coveted locations to catch the world famous Santorini sunset. Get there early (like an 1-2 hours before sunset), bring a picnic and your camera to fully enjoy a magical evening.
Go on Your Own Photography Tour
One of the attributes that makes Santorini so beautiful is the unique architecture. Release your inner photographer and snap some pics of the white-washed buildings, dome churches, sunsets, stunning architecture, beaches, and even local doggies on rooftops.
Rent a Quad to Explore the Entire Island
Quads are pretty affordable to rent (especially if there are two of you!) at about 35 Euros/$40 USD for the day . This is a great way to reach Oia, Perissa, Kamari, and even the outskirts of Akrotiri. So buddy up to cut the costs in half and explore the island on your own accord!
As you can see, Santorini on a budget can easily be done. Eating costs are low because street food is better than sit down restaurants. There is an abundance of free or incredibly affordable fun things to do. Wonderful accommodations can be found at very reasonable rates. So next time you hear someone tell you that Santorini is too expensive to visit, ignore them. It’s hands down one of the most beautiful places on Earth and can be done on the cheap!
Additional Saving Tips to consider…
- For the love of God, bring sunscreen. It is very expensive on the island, like 20 Euros/$23 USD for a generic brand. And the prices are that high everywhere so bring extra sunscreen, just in case!
- If you plan on consuming alcohol, prices are cheaper to drink at restaurants or going to backpacker bars with BOGO happy hours. They do sell alcohol at the markets, however, it’s very expensive: vodka averages over 20 Euros/$23 USD for a small bottle. When we dined out, the restaurant owners would sometimes send us an extra carafe of wine at no additional charge, just because.
- Taking the ferry is very affordable. However, in order to get into town, you’ll need to take a transfer. It averages about 15 Euros/$17 USD for your party. You may want to research before arriving to see if you can find a more feasible way to reach your home base, for example: see if your hotel or hostel has a pickup service.
- If you fly to Santorini, take the K-Tel bus for at most 2 euros to reach your accommodations.
- Pick a hotel with breakfast included. The Greek’s do breakfast right: it’s healthy, filling, and down right delicious.
- Visit in shoulder season, such as April, May or October. Cost of hotels are dramatically reduced.
What to pack for Santorini
Well, there you have it sports fans. I hope this helps you do Santorini on a budget. So go ahead, buy the ticket and enjoy your fabulous vacay in heaven on Earth!
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