Santorini – a tourist trap or a life-long memory?


Some of you who follow my Facebook page will already know I was vacationing on Santorini. I stayed there for a whole week (7 whole days), so I got the chance to really explore it (renting a scooter helped tons!)
I must say I was a bit reluctant to book this last-minute deal on Santorini. I sounded a bit cheesy and touristy, but a couple of bloggers whetted my appetite by posting some truly amazing photos of Santorini and I decided to give it a whirl.

I do not regret it as it really felt like being caught in a fairy-tale and dream-like post-card, but after a week of staring at sunsets and all that beauty, I left feeling like I’ve only touched a tip of an iceberg in terms of Greece’s mysterious and beautiful history and geography.  If anyone is up for an in-depth exploration of Greek treasures in September, let me know!!
Hopefully a couple of pros and cons will explain how I felt about Santorini and maybe give you some useful insights.

Exterior design

This may come off as odd to put this in the first place, but it really was one of the things that startled me the most about this island. No stranger to Greek islands (I visited the island of Corfu in 2007), I was faintly familiar with great sense of esthetics the Greeks posses, but this has surpassed my memories and imagination. How can everything be so crisp, clean and colour-matched with the scenery? If Italians are my fashion heroes, I now know who to trust when it comes to combining the natural environment with man-made decorative and useful out-door decor.



Here are only some examples of what you can get your paws at when dining out in Santorini. The best meal we’ve had was at Taverna Psaraki in Vlychada, where we had some really fresh blue fin tuna. I would suggest following your nose and you can hardly be dissapointed. Prices of mains are sort of reasonable when compared to Slovenian prices (10-15€ , but together with deserts, starters and drinks it can come a bit costly.
Views & Sunsets

You can learn more about cycladic architecure here.


Beaches in Santorini are both varied yet uninamously distinct from any other beaches I’ve known so far. The most notable difference is that due to the island’s volcanic origin, the send or pebbles (you can get both) is of black or dark grey colour. The other characteristic is that the sea gets deep quite quickly (with the exception of Eros beach). You can also find great bars next to most beaches,  serving  drink and food right to your door…, erm, sunbed.



There’s something about Greeks’ sense of aesthetics.

Getting around & other practicalities



Santorini is extremely manageable. First of all, it is a small island. The public transport (local buses) work well, though there is a junction at Fira, where you always have to change to whatever destination you are headed to. It’s not too expensive either, with 1,60 € per ride. Taxis are available and our guide told us that the rides cost approx. 15 €. However, what is really cool about this island is the omnipresent rent-a-vehicle services. You can rent a scootor or other motorcycle, ATVs, buggies and cars of course. The prices are reasonable –  for example, our scooter costs 18 € per day, but we could have it for 15 € a day because we rented it for 6 days. That’s 7,5 per person in exchange for ultimate freedom of movement!
Another positive thing about the Santorini is that it feels really safe. Unlike some other touristy destinations like big urban areas with lots of crime, it appeared that Santorini is composed of tourists and those who rely on tourists for their living. So why would anybody bother stealing ?
AND, there were no mosquitos. There were no mosquitos! Not one, I kid you not. I am not sure why that is (maybe due tp its dry climate), because usually the destinations as south as this come with a complimentary bunch of these cute little fellas but not in Santorini 😉
Even though Santorini is undoubtedly a very touristy destination, it did not feel crowded at all, and we were there in the peak season. It wasn’t abandoned either. Just the right kind of crowded – for my taste, anyway.
As mentioned previously, Santorini is a thoroughly touristy destination. This means great infrastruture, convenience, cleanliness, renovated towns and restaurants, but it also means there are only a few places where you can enjoy in “genuine” island culture, whatever that is. The 10,000 or so inhabitants and a a number of seasonal workers coming from all parts of Greece amount to probably less than 10 % of all people staying on the island during the summer months, meaning you can’t get a clear image of the island’s genuine life, at least not during the summer months. So, if you are into that, I suggest going for a smaller Greek island, like the neighbouring Anafi, or going to Santorini during the autumn or spring months. A kind shop owner explained us that is much more empty and has many uncivilised beaches where you can go skiny-dipping at your heart’s desire.


Prices in Santorini are probably a bit higher compared to some other, less prominent Greek islands, but there are still some services or items that can be obtained cheaply. Some examples of prices:

Small beer: 2,50 – 3,00 €
Large beer: 4,50 €
Cocktails: from 9 €
Basic dishes like Pizza Marguerita / Spaghetti with tomato sauce: 6 €
Fancier main courses: 10-15 €
A glass of wine: 3-4 €
Gyros pita: 2-3
Soft drinks: 3-4 €
Frappe (Nescaffe with ice, the most common form of coffee): 3 €
Scoop of ice-cream: 2 €
Ticket for a local bus: 1,60 €

Last but not least, many of you must be wondering what it is like to travel in Greece with the crisis going on. Honestly, if I didn’t know about the crisis I wouldn’t notice anything special. Tourist infrastructure is fully functional and the majority of people you see there are anyway tourists. Lots of them are Greeks themselves, but nonetheless. People come there to enjoy the holiday and I bet the situation is similar in all predominantly touristy resorts. Only occasional depressed-looking faces remind you that not everything is as it should be, but overall, the waiters, shop assistants and other staff are, at least for the benefit of tourism income, braving the hard situation as best as they can.

                                                                     Overall verdict

For experience-hungry, I would recommend visiting Santorini for 2 or 3 days as nothing quite matches the unique views, finest examples of cycladic architecture and unique geology of the island. There are even some neolithic ruins to be explored in Akrotiri and some artefacts on display at the archeological museum of Fira. But after 2 or 3 days, I would suggest moving on to another island – there’s a lot to be covered in the near vicinity – Anafi, Ios, Naxos, even Crete is not that far off. On the other hand, if you are looking forward to some fine wining and dining, staying in one place and soaking up the sun on great beaches while watching memorable sunsets, and doing some fancy shopping in the evening, you will enjoy staying longer than that (especially if money is not such a big object).


  1. You’re a fantastic photographer and the colors/sunsets! I haven’t been to Greece yet, but I’ve been dreaming about it since seeing my parents’ photos as kids. I liked your honesty about the situation in Greece right now although I’d be curious to know what things are like in Lesbos.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment, Karen! Greece is one of those destinations that I want to keep returning to, and visit as many different islands. Unfortunately, I only visited Santorini at this time (and Corfu some years ago), but I would really like to go island-hopping some day. I only know about the situation on Lesbos from media, as I haven’t been there. Happy travels!

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