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Stunning Santorini [On a Budget]

13 June 2017

When most people imagine the picturesque white houses on the cliffs of Santorini, and the crystal clear waters down below, there is often one other thought that comes to mind- expensive! However, a Santorini holiday does not have to be a budget-breaker! We recently spent a fantastic week on the sun-filled island, and managed to do so without breaking the bank. In this article you will find our list of tips for how to have a cheap holiday in Santorini- without sacrificing on sightseeing, food, and fun!

Tip #1- Time of Year

Early May was the perfect time of year to visit- the weather was beautiful (~25 degrees and sunny every day), the hotels were affordable, and the popular tourist destinations were not over-crowded! We were initially worried it would be a bit too cold to enjoy the beach, ocean, and hotel pool, but we were pleasantly surprised when we found ourselves swimming every day! We were told that in the peak of the summer it could easily get to 35 degrees, so to us the weather we experienced was much more desirable (and less sweaty). It was also only the beginning of the tourist season (low season/shoulder season), so it was super easy to find a spot on the beach, we never had to wait to be seated at a restaurant, and were able to enjoy a much more laid-back vacation without crowds.

Tip #2- Location

Location plays a HUGE factor in hotel prices, in addition to the time of year to visit. We found an incredible hotel in the beach area of Perissa, on the southeast side of the island. This area was perfect for us, since we wanted a mix of relaxing on the beach and sightseeing at the tourist hotspots. The beach was lined with dozens of Greek Tavernas, beach bars, and watersport rental shops- this made for a great selection of good options and cocktail specials for when we were ready to lounge on the beach. One of the best things about the restaurants here was that if you bought a drink or lunch, you could use their beach chairs, umbrellas, and wifi all day. Some even had music playing which made for a great beach vibe. Just be careful when walking barefoot on the black sand- it can really burn your feet when youโ€™re heading for the water!

Tip #3- Hotel facilities

Samsonโ€™s Village hotel in Perissa was honestly one of the best hotels we have stayed at (see our review here). The location was right across the road from the beach, the service was incredible, there was a pool, the room was extremely affordable, and we had a full kitchen in our little apartment. The area of Perissa is generally one of the more inexpensive areas of the island, but where we saved on costs we definitely did not lose in quality! The hotel was beautiful! We definitely suggest searching for a hotel room that has a kitchen to save on the costs of eating out. At the start of our trip we headed to the grocery store to stock up on breakfast food, and actually brought instant coffee and pancake mix with us in our suitcases. Eating breakfast at home every morning certainly saves moneyย on expensive breakfasts, but also allowed us to have a more relaxing start to the day by eating on our balcony overlooking the pool.

 

Tip #4- Gyros, Gyros, Gyros

One of the most famous Greek foods is Gyros- shaved meat (either pork or chicken), served either on a plate or in a pita- and is it ever delicious (seriously still have a bit of a gyros obsession)! The best thing about the gyros pita is that itโ€™s bursting with flavor, but not only that- it usually only costs 2-3 euro!! Most days, regardless of whether we were chilling at the beach or getting lost while exploring the alley ways of Fira and Oia, we ate gyros for lunch. For us, sampling the local cuisine is part of getting the full experience of the location, so by eating cheaply for lunch (and eating at home for breakfast) we were able to save a lot of money and still enjoy a nice dinner together at a restaurant.

Tip #5- Renting a four-wheeler (and the best timing)

As youโ€™ve probably heard, renting a four-wheeler/quad/ATV is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get around the island. It is relatively inexpensive to do, and only cost us 25 euro for 24 hours and 10 euro for gas! We chose to start our rental at 15:00 the first day, and therefore would have it until 15:00 the next day. This ended up being the PERFECT timing- the first afternoon we started by heading to Fira, exploring all it has to offer, and then heading to Oia in time to see the sunset! Scooting around on the ATV was very fun and much more efficient than taking the bus, but the dark, windy roads certainly make for an interesting experience at night, so make sure to be extra cautious!

The bus is also quite affordable, however it is is not the most efficient and if you’re using it to travel from Perissa to Oia or Kamari, it would work out to be about the same price as renting a quad. For example, to get from Perissa to Oia, you must change busses in Fira; the first bus will cost 1.80 per person, and the second 2.40 per person- so about 4 euro per person per way (~16 euro per day, and that’s just to travel to one town).

Tip #6- Local Wine

For those of you, like us, who enjoy a glass of wine in the afternoon or evening, be sure to head to the local grocery store or market and pick up some local wine! It is tasty but extremely inexpensive and therefore also saved us a lot of money on pricey restaurant drinks. At the shop, you take a plastic 1.5 liter bottle from the shelf and fill it yourself from the barrel of wine. For only 2.50 euro you have delicious, local wine for at least a couple of days!

Tip #7- Dinner Specials

As we previously mentioned, we absolutely love sampling local, traditional cuisine wherever we visit! This however can quickly become expensive if you donโ€™t have a look to see what some of the dinner deals and specials are in the area around you. Lucky for us, the restaurants at Perissa beach were full of fabulous specials, including some of the most delicious Santorini dishes! One night for dinner we went to a restaurant called Acropolis right at the beach- the staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming, there was nice Greek music playing in the background, and we had a beautiful view of the beach and full moon. We ordered the โ€˜Santorini Specialโ€™, which included a big fresh salad, friend tomato balls (tomato gefthedes) as an appetizer, half a liter of wine, and a HUGE platter with moussaka, stifado, rice, potatoes, and pita. It was AMAZING (and although meant for two people, it probably could have fed 4). They also had a delicious roast lamb special another night, which was also a lot of food and great value for two people!

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  • Reply
    Claire
    14 June 2017 at 16:15

    This is incredble. I’ve always wanted to visit Santorini, but it’s still sitting on my bucket list. I bet you two definitely had a blast. Loving all the beautiful photos you took. Also want to try the four-wheeler as it seems it’s the good transportation around there!

  • Reply
    Tonya Wilhelm
    15 June 2017 at 16:59

    Santorini looks like a great place to visit. So breathtaking. I actually really like those little planters on the wall. So cute!

  • Reply
    Vlad
    15 June 2017 at 18:43

    Santorini NEVER disappoints regarding place – price. I was wondering — do people live in those tiny little houses on the hill?

    • Reply
      BreakingBorders
      15 June 2017 at 19:50

      They are mostly used for hotel and apartment purposes. How great would it be to sleep there with a jacuzzi and sea view OMGGG!!..

  • Reply
    Michelle Paige
    15 June 2017 at 23:43

    Is it bad the gyros and wine were my selling point? Haha just kidding! Santorini looks beautiful. I would absolutely love to visit one day.

    Michelle | She’s Not So Basic

  • Reply
    Ali Rost
    16 June 2017 at 01:55

    My goodness, Santorini sounds like a dream come true! If I’m ever lucky enough to visit, I’d love to stay at the Samsonโ€™s Village hotel, eat my weight in gyros, drink wine, and see black sand. Thanks for bringing such a beautiful place to your readers!

  • Reply
    Pam
    16 June 2017 at 07:39

    Amazing pictures, i have been wanting to go there for a while. It seems like such a relaxing and fantastic place to go on vacation. thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    David Elliott
    16 June 2017 at 17:47

    Greece always looks amazing to me. And this place looks no different. I really need to go and visit there sometime. I love the way those cities look.

  • Reply
    Via Bella
    18 June 2017 at 04:39

    Wow. A new place to add to my list. I love that you post the critical tips. I laughed for a second because I saw 25 degrees and thought brrr but you said you jumped in the water. So clearly C and not F. LOL

  • Reply
    Elizabeth O
    18 June 2017 at 14:55

    What a perfect way to enjoy one of the most beautiful vacation spots on our planet. Santorini will always charm me. Bookmarking your post.

  • Reply
    Ana De- Jesus
    18 June 2017 at 16:36

    My friends girlfriend is from Santorini and it is such a beautiful place. It’s a cute love story because she came to the UK on a exchange program and my friend did not like her until they went on holiday together and they fell in love. Its sweet because the girl who is from Santorini came out as gay for my friend. But anyway I am waffling, I have always wanted to visit Santorini as well but would like to go on off peak seasons when it is less busy like you said x

  • Reply
    Our Family World
    18 June 2017 at 17:03

    My dream destination! Santorini is love! If I would be given an opportunity to tour Europe, I’d start my journey with Greece and end it in Greece. The place is just so idyllic!

  • Reply
    lex
    19 June 2017 at 10:22

    a lovely destination for fun and quiet time lovers, will make for a very nice trip you know. first time hearing of this place though and it feels like i have ben there for ages.

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