Disclaimer: You cannot go to Santorini and think it will be inexpensive, but we are here to make it as cheap for you as possible. It may be one of the most pricey places we’ve traveled, even with budgeting, but it is also the MOST beautiful. It is definitely the ideal Honeymoon destination. So below I will walk you through how to see the best of the island without emptying your wallet.
Tip #1: Take the Ferry. We came in to Santorini on the Blue Star Ferry from Athens. We did a late/over night ferry in order to save money on a hotel for that night. Also, don’t purchase a bunk/seat if you want to save money. We did the general seating and there are plenty of areas to sit/relax. The seats are pretty comfortable though, so you can get a good nap in. Also, once everyone has their seats, you are able to go in and sit or take a nap in the seats that no one purchased. This would only not worked if the ferry was completely booked. . The workers actually suggested for us to just wait until we see an open seat because the ferry wasn’t full, so don’t be afraid to ask. It will save you at least 100 euros.
Tip # 2: Stay in Kamari. We suggest that you stay in Kamari. It is about a 20 minute ride into the city of Fira, but it is right on the black sand beach and it is WAY cheaper. We found a super nice hotel with a private hot tub and two balconies for 1/5 of the price of the cheapest place we saw in Fira. If there were some compirable, they were not at that caliber. Which leads me to my next tip…
Tip #3: Stay in a nice hotel one night, and a cheaper hotel the rest. We were there on our Honeymoon, which is the only reason we did a more luxurious hotel at all. We stayed there the first night, and then found another hotel for the other two evenings. It actually worked out that the cheaper hotel had easier access to the beach. It was only a 5 minute walk to the beach VS a 15 minute walk from our first hotel. You will spend so much time exploring Santorini, that you really won’t be in the Hotel much anyways. Plus, you can always go to Oia and get the famous blue dome/rooftop pictures without paying their hotel’s prices.
Tip #4: Take the bus as often as possible. Taxi’s have a set fare of 20 euros, no matter how far the trip is around the island. You will get in and there will be no meter running, so it doesn’t matter if the trip is 5 minutes or 25 minutes, the fare is still going to be 20 euros. This is why I suggest taking the bus whenever you can. We took a bus from Kamari to Fira, for only $2.50! Also, when we were in Oia, luckily some locals were nice and offered us a ride to Fira, to save us $20 and it was right down the road.
Tip #5: Get to know the locals. We ALWAYS suggest this, because it enriches your experience at no cost. People are always willing to help you and show you their culture if you engage with them. Like I mentioned above, we were given a ride by locals we spoke with. We also received free drinks by a lot of locals, recommendations on ways to save money (like taking the bus) and we gained friends/memories that you cannot buy. One of V’s favorite memories from Santorini was actually playing soccer for almost an hour with some local kids. He loves to play soccer with locals from wherever we go.
Tip # 6: Pack a picnic and head for Perissa Black Sand Beach. We suggest going to the local market and getting snacks/food/drinks and taking them with you to the beach. They have restaurants lined up around the beach, but they are pretty pricey. Also, get to the beach early because they have some free cabanas and lawn chairs, but you have to be one of the first people. We did this our second day in Santorini at Perissa Black Sand Beach, and had a great time just relaxing. Also, the water is incredibly beautiful and clear. *SUGGESTION* wear swim shoes when going to the black sand beaches, they are made up of pebbles and will hurt your feet otherwise. You won’t want to wear your cute sandals into the water, and the ground will still hurt once you are in the water.
BONUS: Of course not everything has to be about saving money. Since it was our Honeymoon, we got a photo shoot in Santorini. I always wanted the pictures on the rooftops with the Sanotrini sunset in the background, because there is nothing like it! We used Ioannis Photography, and were so happy with the results. They actually took us around the roof tops of Oia and showed us places we would not have ever thought to capture great photos from. We were so happy with the results, and the different angles at which they shot us. – Now if you can’t budget for the photo shoot, the scenery is so gorgeous that you could actually get great photos on your phone as well. You will just need to take some time to discover the angles and different backgrounds to use. You are going to love the photos, the views, and the sunset in Oia. I highly recommend spending an evening here.