My husband and I spent a glorious 9-day honeymoon in Greece in June and July 2021. Santorini has always been a dream destination for me, and I can’t believe I finally checked it off my bucket list! We spent four days in Santorini and four days in Athens, Greece throughout our trip. After a year of canceled travel plans, finally making my way to Greece was a dream come true! Here are my travel tips for Santorini, Greece and navigating the COVID-19 pandemic while traveling.
Travel Tips for Santorini, Greece
Where to Stay in Santorini
We stayed in Kamari Beach during our four days in Santorini, Greece. While Oia and Fira are the main villages on the island, they are expensive and crowded. We wanted to be on the beach during our stay, and Kamari was stunning! One of my best travel tips for Santorini is to stay in Kamari. It had great beachside restaurants and was an easy hub for the bus stop. Our Airbnb was perfect. It was very close to the beach, bus stop, and airport. Our Airbnb host brought us to and from the airport, which was amazing. I can’t recommend the Moschatos Beach House more if you’re interested in staying in Kamari! Here are some pictures of his property if you need convincing.
How to Get Around Santorini
Bus in Santorini
The bus is the cheapest and easiest way to get around Santorini. Each ride is less than 2 euros per person. Just hop on the bus and you’ll pay for your ride while you’re on the bus in cash. Fira is the main bus hub, so you will bus to Fira and then to your final destination. For example, to get to Oia from Kamari, we bussed from Kamari to Fira and then from Fira to Oia. Just look for the bus that says Fira – Kamari, and that bus will just drive back and forth between to the two destinations about every 30 minutes.
Rent an ATV or Moped
Another popular mode of transportation is renting an ATV or moped. This is a fun and convenient way to explore the island, but you will need to navigate how to get around. As an American, you will also need an International driver’s permit to rent a vehicle.
Visiting Oia, Santorini
Oia is the most popular spot in Santorini. It is filled with rich tourists and is especially crowded around sunset. We decided to just take the bus in and spend an evening there. It was filled with tourists, but worth it for one night. Everything is extremely over-priced in Oia, so just be prepared to spend more on meals! We found it very simple to take the bus in from Kamari to Fira to Oia and take the same route back.
For the best photo spots in Oia, wander off the main road down through the restaurants and you’ll find hidden gems! Here are some of my favorite pictures from our night in Oia.
Visiting Fira, Santorini
Fira is another main village, similar to Oia, but it’s less busy and over-priced. Fira has another decent sunset view. Once again, my main travel tip for Fira, Santorini is to take the bus in from another location and spend an afternoon/evening just wandering. We found a gorgeous ceramic shop and purchased a memento for our honeymoon. You can do a 3-4 hour hike from Fira to Oia as well, and I’ve heard great things. We opted to just split the two villages to two different days because we wanted a leisurely experience.
Visiting Kamari Beach
As I mentioned, we stay on Kamari Beach and I would highly recommend! However, if you opt to stay elsewhere, I still recommend visiting Kamari Beach. There are built-in umbrellas lining the beach. Some are owned by restaurants and some are public. The public ones we used cost 7 euros for two chairs for the whole day. Well worth it, in our opinion! You can get umbrellas for free if you eat at one of the restaurants for lunch.
Kamari Beach is amazing because the water is incredibly clear and clean and the beach is pebbles. We loved not having sand all over everything! However, the pebbles get really hot. A pro travel tip for Santorini is to bring water shoes if you plan to go to the beach. Then, you can walk comfortably around the beach.
Food in Santorini, Greece
The food in Santorini (and Greece as a whole) was wonderful! They provide good portions and I loved that it isn’t super heavy. The seafood is out of this world! Restaurants are generally reasonably priced except fancy places in Oia and Fira. All restaurants have menus doubled in English, so ordering was no issue. I recommend trying Greek favorites like souvlaki and moussaka. Gyros are also amazing, but they are not as popular in Greece as I expected.
One other travel tip for Greece: Don’t drink tap water. Order a bottle of still water at the restaurants and take the rest with you for the day throughout your travels! Or stop at one of the various mini marts to purchase drinking water.
Travel Tips for Santorini during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Finally, I wanted to touch on traveling internationally during the COVID-19 pandemic. We went to Greece at the end of June and early July 2021, so the worst of the pandemic was behind us. We needed a negative COVID test to get back to the US, so we had to get a test in Santorini. The two testing clinics we found were in Messaria, MedLife and Prolipsi. These were easy to get to by bus from Kamari. Unfortunately, a COVID PCR test cost 80 euros, but we had to get it! Results came within a few hours, so it was smooth and easy. You can make an appointment or walk in.
As far as everyday matters, masks were required on public transportation and recommended indoors. However, we were basically never indoors (even to eat!) so this didn’t affect us much. Overall, get vaccinated and get traveling!
Travel Tips for Greece
Before Santorini, we had spent three days in mainland Greece. Check out my blog on traveling to mainland Greece for more travel tips!
Got questions about traveling to Greece? I’m happy to help! Comment below and I’ll respond!