Are 2 days enough? What about 4 days? What if you want to visit Mykonos and Athens as well?
I literally get asked this question probably more than any other regarding Santorini.
And the main reason this is an important question is the fact that there are literally so many things to do on Santorini.
So, the amount of days that you need to spend in Santorini, really depends on 2 things:
- the time of the year you are visiting the island and also on
- the things that you really want to do on the island.
Ideally, I don’t advise people to spend any time less than 5 days (4 nights) on the island because it’s really not worth it and you don’t get to experience and appreciate what Santorini has to offer (…and there is a lot!). Believe me…
But I also understand that this is something that not everyone can do (or afford).
Keep reading and I am sure my tips will help you out!
VERY IMPORTANT TO KNOW
- April-October (High Season): you need at least 5 nights in Santorini as you will spend lots of time on the beaches
- November-March (Low Season): you need at least 3 nights in Santorini and do other things
- Ideal: 10 days in Santorini during the best time of the year for the island
- Over 3 nights in Greece: at least 50% of your time in Greece should be spent in Santorini and at least 25% in Mykonos
- Less than 3 nights in Greece: 2 nights Santorini and 1 night Athens if you are flying through Athens or 3 nights only in Santorini if you are flying directly to Santorini
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Let me get this straight to you:
Yes, if you can only afford to spend 1 night in Santorini (because of x,y reasons) then…absolutely go for it !
But it’s really the equivalent of visiting Louvre Museum in Paris, find Mona Lisa, take a quick selfie with her and then leave the museum, go to the airport and fly back home.
You can then brag to your friends that you visited Louvre and you saw with your own eyes DaVinci’s masterpiece, right?
Seriously… if you have the option/money/time to stay longer on the island do it!
You won’t regret it!
THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS TO DO IN SANTORINI !
I am not a fan of this kind of the tick-the-box way of travelling and I don’t think anyone should be to be honest, but on the other hand I do understand that we don’t live in a world where we always have the time and money to experience the beauty of this world properly.
Santorini is not a typical greek island
The things you can do in Santorini are not the same things you would be able to do and experience on other greek islands like Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Ios, Milos (which are basically beach life, warm weather, awesome food and nightlife).
Santorini has so many more different and diverse things to offer and for you to see that you simply need more days (and nights)!
My proposal for the minimum days you need to spend in Santorini, depending on you situation, is as follows:
Low Season (November-March) : I suggest you spend a minimum of 4 days (3 nights) in Santorini
You won’t be visiting any beaches (ok…you can visit them but it’s not like you are spending a whole day there swimming and sunbathing) as most of the beach bars and restaurants of Perissa, Kamari and Perivolos would be closed and the weather would be pretty cold and windy (like 5-15 Celsius degrees but mostly sunny though).
So, it’s literally just a matter of visiting the beach for a walk (and probably not even that if it’s getting too cold during the winter).
Within 4 days in Low Season you will be visiting:
- Fira (for walk, shopping, taking photos, admiring the views, coffee, lunch, dinner, drink etc)
- Oia, (for walk, shopping, taking photos, admiring the views, coffee, lunch, dinner, drink etc)
- Pyrgos village (for the views, the picturesque old village and Franco’s cafe at the top)
- Santowines Winery (most of the other wineries would be closed off season but better check their website for more info),
- Akrotiri ruins (open all year),
- Red Beach for a walk and to take a few photos and finally
- You can even have a walk at Kamari or Perissa/Perivolos famous black beaches.
Most of the restaurants at Fira and Oia will still be open and significantly less crowded.
Hiking everywhere on the island would also be a great activity.
As a matter of fact if it’s not raining you will probably get the perfect weather for hiking (sunny, – temp. 5-20C)
High Season (April-October): I suggest you stay at least 6 days (5 nights) in Santorini.
In 5 nights (6 days) you can do the following:
- spend a day in Perissa, Perivolos beach (beach bars, sunbathing, enjoying the sun, reading a book on the beautiful black beach, have lunch on the beach, do some watersports, have cocktails and fresh fruit on the beach… you get the point!)
- spend a day at Kamari beach and… do the exact same things as you’d so in Perissa!!
- dedicate 1 day for a wine tour and visit some of the best wineries of the island
- Spend an afternoon in Oia waiting on a roof to see the sun setting (along with thousands more people unfortunately or fortunately…)
- Do some shopping in Fira
- Do some proper clubbing in Fira
- Wander in the picturesque Pyrgos village
- Visit the prehistoric Akrotiri ruins and the unique Red Beach next to the ruins
- Hike up to the ruins of Ancient Thera
- Hike from Oia to Fira
- Have a cocktail at any of the best cocktail bars of the island
- Spend a day or more at your own private plunge or infinity pool
Ideally, you should spend 10 days (9 nights) in Santorini during the high season so you’ll do all the things you’d do above, plus:
- movie night at the Kamari Open Air Cinema
- Spend 2 days in Perissa/Perivolos beach
- Dive from Ammoudi Bay and then have seafood at the tavernas around the bay (my favourite taverna/restaurant at Ammoudi Bay is “Katina”
- Visit the long desert beach of Kolumbo and go skinny deep!
- Visit Vlychada, the amazing Eros Beach and the unique Theros Beach Bar
- Have a day sailing tour to the volcano and the hot sulphuric springs
If I were to give you only one piece of advice for Santorini that would be: RENT A CAR!!!
(or an ATV or a motorbike…)
Do not rely or be constrained by the local buses because you are going to spend so much time on waiting the buses and trying to fit your schedule to the buses schedules that could seriously ruin your holidays.
Ok… it’s not the end of the world but having a transport means can really make a difference on the greek islands.
I am always renting a car on every greek island I am travelling to.
I know that it’s not the most environmentally friendly way to travel but unfortunately the public transport anywhere outside of big cities is a disaster: unreliable and confusing.
So, forget the local buses and pay 30-40 euros per day for a car, ATV or motorbike.
Or at least do that for 1-2 days if you cannot afford a car for all the days.
You won’t regret it!
How much time you should spend in Santorini if you only have limited in Greece and you want to visit other greek islands or mainland Greece too?
I always advise people that a good rule of thumb is to spend in Santorini at least half of your time in Greece.
So, if you are staying 4 nights in Greece then make sure you spend 2 nights in Santorini and so on…
How many days in Santorini and how many days in Mykonos?
If you have anything less than 3 nights in Greece (in total) do not visit Mykonos. It’s not worth it and it’s going to be very tiring with all the ferries or flights included.
If you have 4 nights in Greece then make them 3 nights in Santorini and 1 night in Mykonos.
As a rule of thumb:
- in Santorini you need at least 50% of your time in Greece
- in Mykonos you need at least 25% of your time in Greece
I hope that makes sense, but let me explain what I mean:
If you are planning a 10-days holidays in Greece then:
- Spend 5-6 days in Santorini, 2-3 days in Mykonos and 1-2 days in Athens (if you are flying through Athens)
- Spend 6-7 days in Santorini , 2-3 days in Mykonos (if your flight back is from Santorini or Mykonos directly to your country destination) – do not try to fit Athens if your flight base is a greek island because you are going to spend too much time and money in internal flights. You can actually do Athens and mainland Greece another time. However, if you really want to see Athens because you feel you’ll never come back to Greece again (what a stupid thing to say though… everybody comes back to Greece one day eventually!) take a flight to Athens and then back to Santorini. But even if that’s the case just spend 1 night in Athens (take a morning flight from Santorini, do the very basics in Athens and then the next day take an afternoon or evening flight back from Athens to Santorini)
Santorini is a place with the ultimate “wow” factor. I really wish you would be able to visit the island more than once but if you feel you won’t be returning anytime then… do not rush it! Santorini will probably be the most extraordinary place you would ever see in your lifetime so try to enjoy it and dedicate as much as time as possible.
You won’t regret it…
I do inform you though that there will be a very sad and unpleasant time at your trip to Santorini, no matter how many days you are actually spending: it’s the time when you have to leave…
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