Don’t quote me on this stat but if there was a group of five people and I ask them a city that is on their travel list, chances are, at least one of them will call out Santorini. Santorini is a popular favorite among travelers and it’s hard not to see why.
We see the dreamy photos online, the colorful silky dresses adorning the white and blue dome-shaped buildings, we see the fruit platters breakfasts overlooking the ocean and of course, we naturally want a piece of the action. But is Santorini worth it? I share my experience below.
Personally, Santorini hadn’t always been on my list but when I was shopping around for a second addition to my Italy trip (because who goes to Europe and sees only one country? not on my watch!), I thought it was a great place to finally explore and I booked the flight without hesitation.
As a travel blogger, I take pride in sharing the beauty of places and inspiring people to go to places I have been, and beyond. However, it is important to me that I share as honestly as possible, without sugarcoating any experience. While experiences will always differ per person, this is my experience. After all is said and done, it is always best to go seek your own truth.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF SANTORINI
For some reason, I have gone from not giving a toot about how airports look to becoming slightly obsessed about their look and feel and Santorini’s airport wasn’t exactly impressive. It looked like a mini supermarket, a mini mart to be precise and I wanted to leave there very quickly. As I described it in this tweet, it’s like a mid-sized supermarket. I wasn’t expecting anything out of a storybook but I was disappointed.
THE SILVER LINING – MY BEAUTIFUL
Thankfully, the hotel I stayed at compensated for the big let down from the airport. The hotel was absolutely beautiful and it took a lot to actually leave it and head out to town to explore. Kalestesia Suites is beyond dreamy. The service is perfect and Michael, the receptionist was beyond amazing. When you find a great looking hotel paired with excellent customer service, you know you’ve scored a winner. WHEW!
Side note: The hotel itself is located in Akotiri, about a 30 minute drive from the airport. Nothing is really closeby in Santorini so you will have to rely very heavily on taxis or renting a car. I must warn though, if you’re renting a car, the roads are steep and hilly so you’ll have to be extra careful.
WHAT IS SANTORINI REALLY LIKE?
Let’s get this out the way – Santorini really is beautiful and looks quite like the photos. It’s white and blue. The skies are clear. The white is a pure cotton white and not some off-white gimmick. The issue here is, not everywhere you go looks like that. You have to drive a lot to get to the photo worthy locations, and guess what? Everyone else is driving there too so you can expect to see a big crowd gathered in a small space. In my travel experience, I know that not everywhere looks the same and some tourist spots are prettier than others but I need to stress this even further with Santorini because I know there are a lot of people who may expect it to be the perfect Pinterest location.
WHAT I LOVED ABOUT SANTORINI
It’s beautiful. I loved the clear skies. The dreamy white and blue buildings. The historical churches and villages and how deeply rooted it is in Ancient Greek Mythology. It’s a great city, no doubt. I particularly loved the scenery and clear blue water, the air was fresh in most parts and the food was quite tasty.
WHAT I DIDN’T ENJOY ABOUT SANTORINI
You see, to get the best out of Santorini, you must put an extra effort. You must wake up even earlier and stay out a bit later. You must be willing to walk farther to find a spot less crowded. Santorini is chuck full of tourists as you can imagine and I have been to highly touristy places like Bangkok, Thailand and Paris, France but somehow, the tourists in Santorini were a little more annoying. Listen, Santorini is very steep and you’ll be walking a ton to just one spot – there aren’t a lot of options save for the famous domes so everyone is trying to get a shot there and I mean everybody.
Also, the famous spots where people stand to take photos are restricted and blocked off from tourists so except you are in the mood to break some rules (again, making the extra effort), you’ll have to get your shot from afar.
By the time I got to Santorini, I had experienced Italy fully for almost two weeks – I was tired and frankly, could not be bothered to make any extra efforts.
WILL I RECOMMEND THAT YOU GO TO SANTORINI?
Absolutely, yes. It’s a beautiful city but you should go there with an open mind and manage your expectations.
Things to do in Santorini
Do a wine tour. Relax at the black sand beach. Eat some greek food. Enjoy the scenery and weather. Catch the sunset at Oia. There’s lots to see in Santorini but manage your expectations. And oh, stay in a kickass hotel as that makes a big difference.
While Santorini is beautiful, it can get a little overwhelming with all the tourists flocking to just one area – the white and blue domes. I typically prefer places that offer a mix of everything – culture, adventure, serenity and I would have loved to experience more Greek culture but didn’t find that in Santorini (even though we had a guide who taught us some Greek mythology and history.) If you are going to Santorini for the views only, it will be worth it. But if like me you always want more than a view – because how long can you stare at a serene blue ocean before it starts to get tiring? Yeah, I thought so too.
Have you visited Santorini, Greece? What was your experience like? If you haven’t, will you like to see Santorini sometime? Let me know your thoughts in the comment below.
Until next time,