Santorini is spectacular! It is what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption long ago destroyed the earliest settlements on a single island, and created today’s geological caldera.
It is possible to visit Santorini, Greece on a budget or splurge and have a luxury experience. I spent three days in Santorini with my sister and we did it on a tight budget.
We managed to get ourselves to Santorini from Athens affordably by taking the Blue Star Ferry. The port in Santorini is called Thira and it took about 8 hours to get there. Depending on when you go flying around might be cheaper than the ferry. Astra Airlines, a Greek airline, is super cheap. So always check both.
Book an Affordable Hotel
Start by booking an affordable place to stay. Keep in mind that many hotels in Santorini cost well over 500 euros for just one night. The place I would have loved to have stayed was over 1000 euros a night. So, by affordable I am considering anything under 200 per night to be budget friendly. There were some options as low as 79 euros a night if I hadn’t waited until the last minute to book.
My trip was super last minute and I booked the Santorini Mesotopos hotel the day before we arrived. I got a great price and I thought it was a good enough place to stay. The total price was 153.00 euros per night for a grand total of 459.00 euros for three nights.
Santorini Mesotopos Hotel
This hotel has an outdoor swimming pool, free self parking, free wifi, daily housekeeping, and our rate included breakfast. The breakfast was just ok. I think maybe they had better options but I do not speak Greek, and most of the staff speaks no English. They do have pictures of things, though, and I could point. Some items they brought out and then told me the name of them, which was super helpful.
It mentions on the site that it has great views, which I disagree with. It does have a view, but I wouldn’t refer to it as great. These are pictures of our room. It was clean and the AC worked well, which is a big deal in August. There was a mini fridge in case you needed to chill bottles of water or wine.
The location was decent, not too far from the port or Fira.
DO NOT DRINK THE WATER AT THIS HOTEL. (I did and boy did I pay for it.)
Instead of renting a car, get a 4 wheeler aka an ATV to ride around on the island. Keep in mind that as they have changed laws it has become harder and harder to rent an ATV. You need an international driver’s license now to rent an ATV. You do not need this to rent a car. I know, ironic.
We got ours from Moto Chris and a 3 day rental cost me 115 Euros. Phone number 22860 24713
If you have kids with you then you will need a car, because they will not let a teenager operate an ATV either.
Cheap Activities in Santorini, Greece
There are lots of cheap and free things to do in Santorini. In fact, many of the best things there are to do in Santorini are free!
Hang out on a beach – Hanging out at the beach is a super cheap thing to do. There is a ton of beaches to hang out at. Here are the three we went to.
Red Beach – The Red Beach was fabulous and totally worth seeing. It is possible to see without walking all the way down. I wrote up an entire overview of our experience at this beach along with photos of what to expect. If you do not think you can walk down, consider a boat tour that will pull up to the beach. Granted, this wouldn’t be “budget”. I recommend the Santorini Gems Tour or the Catamaran Caldera Cruise with Barbecue tour.
Kamari Beach – Kamari Beach has lots of restaurants and shops. Out on the beach are lots of chairs and umbrellas that you can use as long as you are ordering food and drinks. I loved hanging out around here. I definitely recommend having lunch or an early dinner here. If you are down to party I heard it’s a good spot for that too!
Perissa Beach – This is the black beach made from volcano rocks. They also have chairs and umbrellas you can use if you buy food and drinks.
Watch the sunset in Oia. This is a must do if you make it to the island. Oia is said to have the best sunsets in the world and I would have to agree. Plan to spend some time walking around Oia too. It’s just cool to see.
Visit Akrotiri Prehistoric City
Akrotiri is a Minoan Bronze Age settlement on the volcanic Greek island of Santorini down south near the Red Beach. It was destroyed during an eruption around 1627 BC and buried in volcanic ash, which preserved it.
Hike from Fira to Oia
This3 mile hike will take you through Fira, Firostefani and Imerovigli, eventually ending up in Oia. As you hike you will see the volcano, the sea and the caldera. This hike takes two and a half to three hours. It is ideal to hike when it is cooler, either in the morning or the evening.
Cliff Jump at Amoudi Bay
There are two paths to get up to the jumping spot and it can be a little difficult to get to. As you swim around you will have awesome views of Oia.
Take a Tour
There are tours available that will not drain your wallet. We didn’t book any tours until we arrived and the hotel offered some really cheap tours. I did a tour that takes you to tour the volcano, another little island, and
Where to Eat in Santorini on a Budget
Parea Tavern – This is a roof top restaurant in Fira. It doesn’t have a view of the caldera, instead you have a view of the other side of the island. As long as you order carefully, you can have a reasonably priced meal here.
Lotza – Lotza is my absolute favorite place to eat in Oia. I’ve been both times I was there and it was wonderful both times. It’s not cheap, but it’s not expensive.
Other affordable places to eat are Lucky’s Souvlaki, Afro, Metaxi Mas, Kyria Niki’s, Taverna Geromanolis, Penelope’s, Psaraki Psarotaverna,
Near the Perissa beach area a lot of places to eat. If you stick to ordering Greek salads or gyros you can eat super cheap. Remember, it’s a gyro that’s cheap, not a gyro plate.
Have you visited Santorini? What was your favorite thing to do? Or did you find a fantastic place to eat? I would love to hear about your Santorini experience in the comments below!