A Budget-Friendly Dream Trip to Santorini, Greece: Itinerary & Travel Guide
- by Ari Travels
Santorini, Greece is the dreamiest island in Europe. It feels like you’re truly living in that Mama Mia Moment. In my opinion, I think everyone needs to come here at least once in their lives. Santorini is a small island, so you don’t need many days here to truly see everything. I felt like 3 full days was perfect to explore Oia and the rest of the Island. Santorini is definitely not the cheapest place I’ve been to, but it is possible to do it on a budget. I would be more than happy to give you my tips and tricks in even more detail if you book a call with me, otherwise, check out my post all about traveling to Santorini on a Budget.
Things to know about Santorini
- To avoid lots of crowds and high prices, travel here either in April-May or September-early October.
- You cannot drink the tap water- buy water bottles instead. They are cheap.
- Make sure you have the proper travel adaptor for electronic use. You cannot use plugs in Europe without it.
- When visiting Oia village, everything is within walking distance, so you don’t have to worry about the cost of taxis. With that being said bring proper walking shoes or you will be in pain!
- Fira is the capital of Santorini, it is about a 20-minute drive to Oia. Oia is the village where you see all the photos and videos of churches, cliffside villas, markets, and more.
- If you choose to save money and stay in Fira, there is actually a bus you can take to get from place to place for very cheap. Many people use this option to get from Fira to Oia and vice versa without having to pay $50 for a taxi. The busses are nice and only $1.60 one way and run from 6 am-10 pm.
- I would recommend grabbing breakfast at any of the supermarkets to save money on food. They have yummy granola bars and greek yogurt for cheap.
- You can use your credit card in Oia mostly but be aware of foreign transaction fees. Use a card that doesn’t charge them such as the Capital One Journey card. I would recommend you still carry cash because I noticed some places only have cash. Use a Charles Schwab Debit Card to withdraw cash from ATMs without getting the ATM fees.
- Greece is fully open for tourism for those vaccinated & unvaccinated. Make sure to sign up for Travel Medical Insurance though, and print out all your documents before heading to Greece.
Hotel Options in Oia Village with a Private Pool
The villa that I booked specifically was called the Amaya Castro Villa with Caldera View. The company that owns these villas has many other ones to choose from as well. I highly recommend splurging on one of these for a night.
Attached below are other villa recommendations
Santorini Paradise Cave Houses
Onar Villas (Get the junior suite with hot tub for the cheapest price)
If you still want to splurge on luxury accommodation but want to be on a budget consider staying in one of these hotels in the city of Imerovigli. This city is about 20 mins from Oia by Taxi (there is no direct bus line so keep that in mind). You will get the same luxury and cliffside views, but with a lower cost for accommodation.
Hotel Options in Oia Village without a pool (link on booking.com)
Hotel Options in Fira Santorini
Grande Murano (Where I Stayed in Fira)
Hostel Options in Fira Santorini (there are no hostels in Oia)
Day 1: Taxi from the ferry port to the bus stop, then check into your Hotel in Oia
If you are really trying to save money, I recommend you take the ferry from Athens to Santorini. From the ferry port, you can then book a taxi to the Fira Bus stop. After arriving at the Fira bus stop, pay $1.60 and the bus will take you right to Oia. From there you can walk to your accommodation. Your second option is to just taxi from the ferry port to your accommodation.
If you choose to splurge and stay in Oia or Imerovigli you will want to spend the rest of the day relaxing at your cliffside hotel. Above are some hotels that are on the more budget-friendly side I would recommend you book if you are to stay in Oia to still get that luxury feel ;). I would recommend splurging on a cliffside pool hotel for one night, and then for the other night, switch to a hotel in Fira and stay somewhere cheaper.
Grab a gyro or plate for lunch or dinner at PitoGyros. These things are delicious and only $4! Santorini is expensive when it comes to eating out, so I ate here every day lol. They have many options besides just Gyros.
Depending on the time of day you arrive, you can catch the sunset at Oia Castle. This is the most iconic, breathtaking sunset ever. Be aware it gets very crowded. To secure a good spot, I’d recommend going at least an hour in advance to the sunset.
Day 2: Exploring the Village, Cliff Jumping (if you dare!) and Swimming
Check out of your expensive pool villa and check into your other hotel in Oia (if you wish to be in the village one more night) or take the bus back to Fira and check into accommodation there.
After checking in, head to Oia village and walk around the town. Oia is very small like I mentioned and every corner is absolutely breathtaking. There are so many different views and things to see. Take lots of pictures! There is no specific place you should really see in Oia because it's all gorgeous. I would say definitely check out the Oia Castle view during the day when it's less crowded, the Pink Kastro House, and the blue domes(I have attached the GPS Coordinates for you).
Just walking around Oia and checking out the vendors and shops is fun too. Get lost in the cobblestone alleyways. Make sure to grab some gelato at Lolita’s.
After lunch, it’s time for an afternoon swim at Amoudi Bay. Amoudi Bay is surrounded by red volcanic cliffs that the village of Oia overlooks. Amoudi Bay is a trek, but it’s worth the 300 stairs to get to the water. I am pretty fit and even this was a little difficult for me, so bring LOTS of water and take your time hiking up and down. Once you get there it’s beyond rewarding and such a cute place to explore. To find the swimming and cliff jumping, once you get to the bottom make a left turn from the stairs and just keep walking for about 15 more minutes. You’ll see tons of people relaxing, cliff jumping, and swimming by the rocks. Just be aware that it’s not a sand beach so you have to post up on rocks but it makes for a different experience. Bring proper shoes for this because going barefoot does not feel good on the cliff jump or rocks. My Favorite is the Teva Hurricanes. You can find them here. If you want to splurge, there are many restaurants on the water which make for a beautiful sunset dinner.
Either enjoy a sunset dinner at Amoudi Bay or Trek back up to the village and enjoy the sunset at the same spot I recommended earlier which is the Oia Castle.
Day 3: Rent an ATV and do a Self-Guided Tour of the Rest of the Island
This adventure was so fun and a great way to end your three days here in Santorini. You can access my full itinerary for exactly where I went and what I did here. Something to note is you do need an International Drivers Permit (IDP) to operate any vehicle in Greece. If you don’t have one, you can get one here as long as you have a regular driver’s license. Make sure to rent an ATV in Fira to save money. If you decide not to do the ATV, opt for one of these tours instead.
Other things you could do that I did not
I hope this itinerary was helpful! Please feel free to comment or ask me any questions regarding your upcoming trip. For more information about travel in Santorini, you can book a consultation call with me or request a custom itinerary by heading to this page. Happy traveling!
Hi Ari!! this is a great article. I referenced this for my and my fiancé’s trip to Greece last week. It was so helpful :)