Is Santorini worth visiting?

Santorini Greek islands best view things to do

Santorini is the picturesque white washed postcard you have seen numerous times on your Instagram feed. The blue churches, soaring cliffs and deep navy of the ocean paint an incredible picture. The island of Santorini is one of the most popular in Greece, and one of the most iconic tourist destinations in the world. The ‘good’ of Santorini is incredible, boasting some of the best island views around. However, the ‘bad’ of Santorini is enough to have you wishing you didn’t make the big journey to visit. Keep reading to hear our thoughts on if Santorini is worth visiting, along with a few tips to make the most of your experience should you choose to come!

The ‘good’ of Santorini:

Santorini is incredibly picturesque! Walking the streets and overlooking the cliffs you feel like you’re looking at the postcards and online photos in real life. The houses are whitewashed and bright, whilst the blue church rooves stand out. The volcanic rock is dark and drops down to the deep navy waters. If you have accommodation with a view, you will likely be treated to these stunning scenes for your morning coffee. Santorini also has an excellent sunset, with the rays of sun hitting the white houses and towering cliffs as the sun drops below the distant horizon. Overall, the good parts of Santorini are as ‘good’ as any of the destinations we have travelled.

The ‘bad’ of Santorini:

This is the downside of Santorini, the ‘bad’ parts. What you may not see on the stunning finely curated social media feeds of Santorini are the crowds. The main streets are packed with people by mid morning. The sunset spots are 2 or 3 people deep jostling for a look at the view. The ‘Instagram spots’ for photos are a good 20-30minute wait, and are busy even at 7am in the morning.

Additionally, Santorini’s prices are on steroids. We chose not to eat out during our stay due to the exorbitant costs, but observed some restaurants with prices like €20 for a Greek salad, or cafe’s charging €7 for a coffee. Whilst Greece is overall more expensive than some other countries, these prices were extreme. Even the supermarket boasted higher prices than the other islands. Accommodation is also very expensive, especially if you are looking to stay in the popular and picturesque Oia. If you head to Santorini, be prepared to pay a premium.

Finally, we found Santorini to be a little too much ‘about the Instagram shots’. Yes, a lot of travel is about getting some good photos as memories and to share with friends and family. However, Santorini feels like most people only really visit to get ‘that shot’. The lines for photo opportunities are huge. People stop in the middle of the street to take photos blocking the crowds. We have travelled to big cities and other tourist hotspots, but this was another level. We encourage that if you visit, try to spend some time using your ‘eye cameras’, relaxing, and being present to enjoy the best part of Santorini.. the view.

How to avoid the ‘bad’ in Santorini:

Book accommodation with a view or terrace in Oia: This should be a must if you visit Santorini. If you are on a budget, we would advise to skip Santorini altogether. Spend the extra $$ to get a room with a terrace view. Why? Rather than paying a previum to sit in a crowed cafe or restaurant, buy a few drinks or food and sit on your own terrace enjoying the best part of Santorini in peace. We booked a place with a wonderful view that we recommend for those looking to visit Santorini, see here.

Shop at the supermarket: As mentioned previously, Santorini is ridiculously expensive. Save some money and shop at the supermarket, make some food at your accommodation, and sit on your terrace (if you have one) enjoying the aforementioned view.

Consider if the sunset with worth the crowds: The famous Santorini sunset! You will read many guides talking about the sunset. However, what most of the guides may not tell you is the crowds. These sunset locations are so busy it almost ruins the fun. Having had one night watching the sunset with the crowds, and one night on our terrace without the ‘perfect’ sunset view, we would happily take the latter every time.

Head out early to beat the crowds – but don’t think the ‘instagram spots’ will be empty. The best way to get the streets to yourself in any new town is heading out early. The crowds tend to build up after around 8.30-9am, however even at 7am there are a fair few people around. We ventured out around 7am to head to some of the picturesque streets and lookouts, and were dismayed to find lines of people already. We have heard from other travellers that you probably need to get up before sunrise to beat the crowds entirely. However, even with these other photo-hungry travellers, the streets are quieter and the weather is perfect for wandering.

So should you visit Santorini?

We will let you make up your own mind. Balance out the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ factors. Be forewarned and use some of our tips above to make the most of your time there. If you are looking to head to Santorini, take a look at some accommodation below:

Have a read about our stay in Naoussa and the island of Paros!

Read about our time in Antiparos, one of our favourite day trips yet!

Want to do another great day trip on Paros? Consider a visit to Lefkes!

Take a look at travel content from Greece! And follow all of our travel moments here!

Check out further highlights from our time in the Europe! Take a look!

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Comments (4):

  1. Diane

    July 30, 2022 at 11:30 pm

    The photos are truly magical tho!!!
    The hue of blue is so unique!!

    • Ky

      July 31, 2022 at 2:00 am

      It’s definitely photogenic!!

    • Ky

      August 1, 2022 at 2:17 am

      Thank you! We think it’s important to not just talk about the ‘instagram moments’ and gloss over some of the realism of places we visit!


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