Since I moved back home I’ve developed a weekly tradition with one of my best friends. It started as a way to cope with funemployment and the stress of job hunting but has continued on as a weekly catch up, therapy session and travel Q + A. It’s also a great way for me to go to the gym for free (haha thanks Kara… love you, mean it!). In just over a month Kara is heading off to Santorini, so lately we’ve discussed her excitement and my jealousy of her upcoming trip as we bob along on the treadmill.
“What is your favorite place you have ever been?” While my answer may change each time I’m asked – seriously, how does anyone possibly expect me to answer that – Santorini is a regular feature in my rotation of answers. I absolutely fell in love with the Greek islands during my week there. There’s little that I love more than planning travel, so here’s all the advice we’ve rattled out of my brain during our gym sessions.
WHAT SHOULD I PACK FOR SANTORINI IN LATE SPRING?
The essentials are a good maxi dress, cardigan sweaters for layering in the evening or when it gets windy on the boat, a pair of jeans and a pair of leggings for cooler days, a pair of shorts and a skirt for the warmer days, cotton tees, comfortable leather sandals, slip on sneakers and a hat. Don’t forget an old swimsuit for exploring the sulfur hot springs (the orange sulfur will stain so avoid wearing a new suit).
WHAT SHOULD WE DO ON THE ISLAND?
I really loved Santorini because it was exciting to explore yet peaceful for relaxing. Sign up for a tour of the caldera. There are options that include a stop at a vineyard or donkey rides, so you can select whichever one most interests you. Watch the sunset in Oia, explore the beaches and get lost in the alleys and staircases of Fira. I rented a 4 wheeler on another island, but I would definitely recommend renting one on Santorini to get a unique view of the island.
There are loads of other articles listing the best things to do – or not to do. I found most of these on Pinterest:
10 things to do in Santorini (travel junkie)
Things to do in Santorini for free (travel hacks)
What not to do in Santorini (matador network)
Santorini travel guide with budget tips and things to do (nomadic matt)
Stunning views and crazy donkeys – a whirlwind trip to Santorini (travel yes please)
What to drink, eat, do and see in Santorini (vindulge)
HOW SHOULD I GET THERE?
I used Blue Star ferries to island hop over to Santorini. You can book tickets online but I waited to book mine in the Athens office (okay, I was a little paranoid about whether the cruise companies were actually real businesses). I remember it was a little confusing to find our ship once we arrived at the port (Piraeus) but our taxi driver kindly helped us out. When we returned the port we got stuck there for a few hours because the metro workers went on strike and the taxi drivers who were waiting wanted to charge exorbitant rates knowing they were our only options to get back to the city!
CAN I JUST HOP ON AND OFF THE FERRY TO SEE MORE ISLANDS?
I wish. Even though the ferries stop at numerous islands along the way to Santorini, they only dock for a few minutes to let people off at their booked destination. If you really want to explore more islands, there are cruise lines that visit a variety of islands but the flaw here is that you spend a large amount of time out at sea. I opted to book each island as a leg of my journey and stop at three of the islands on the Santorini line. We rode 7.5 hours out to Santorini on day 1, hopped on the ferry for the evening ride from Santorini to Naxos (my favorite island!) on day 3 and then rode the ferry from Naxos to Paros on the evening of day 4. I can’t speak for the online booking system, but armed with the timetables this was easy to book with an agent in the ferry office in Athens.
Here’s what our itinerary looked like:
May 12 – Athens (arrive by flight in a.m.)
May 13 – Santorini (arrive by ferry in p.m.)
May 14 – Santorini
May 15 – Santorini
May 16 – Naxos (arrived by ferry previous night)
May 17 – Paros (arrived by ferry previous night)
May 18 – Athens (arrived by ferry previous night)
Have you ever been to Santorini? Or are you planning a trip soon?