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How To Visit Santorini From Athens

This guide is going to cover visiting Santorini from Athens. Since Santorini has a smaller island airport, it’s quite common to fly internationally into Athens first. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about the capital of Greece and visiting Santorini from Athens!

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Visiting Santorini from Athens

Greece was the first country I visited outside of Italy during my semester abroad in fall 2017. My friend Mairin and I booked a trip to Greece before our semester abroad even started and it was by far one of my favorite trips. We visited September 7-11, 2017 (3 nights in Santorini, 1 night in Athens) and flew from Florence to Santorini and then to Santorini from Athens. We booked this trip completely on our own and I think we did a damn good job. Plus, we were able to see both Santorini and Athens on a budget! Let’s dive into the details!

Posing in Oia, Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece: Where To Stay

Santorini is extremely expensive. Especially the famous coastal town of Oia (pronounced with a silent “o”), where all the cliffside buildings are located. You know, the white ones with the blue roofs in movies like Mamma Mia and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2? Most people stay in Fira when they visit because it’s cheaper, but we wanted to stay right in Oia. This is probably the best tip in my Greece travel guide. Here’s how we did it…

Staying in Oia, Santorini, Greece

We stayed at the Markos Rooms. A 2-star hotel aka the cutest little homestay experience you’ll ever have. It was simple for sure and we had to share a double bed, but it was run by a Greek family who served us breakfast each morning and was located RIGHT in the center of Oia. Here are a few other recommendations I have for staying in Oia:

Sunset Paradise Oia

Apartments at Sunset Paradise in Oia have garden and city views, and offer balconies! The rooms come with air conditioning and free WiFi. Additionally, all units have a fully equipped kitchenette with a fridge and stovetop. Kitchenware and a coffee machine are also available.

Alymyra Suites Oia

Located on the northern coast of Oia, Almyra Oia Suites offers accommodations with Aegean Sea views — one of the best views in Santorini! Guests can enjoy direct access to a beach from the hotel’s private terrace. Each suite is air conditioned and comes with a furnished terrace with a pool, umbrellas, and sun beds. Almyra Oia Suites is located 2.5 miles from the center of Oia, but car and motorbike rentals can be arranged by the hotel.

Visiting Oia, Santorini from Athens

Santorini, Greece: Getting Around

Since we stayed right in Oia, the only transportation we had to book were taxis to and from the airport. We got one to our hotel just fine and our hotel graciously booked us a cab back when we left. I recommend staying in Oia for this reason, everything is walkable! Perfect for seeing Santorini and Athens on a budget!

Santorini, Greece: What To Do

Santorini is heaven on earth because it is just so beautiful. Most tourists come here to just walk around Oia and take in the views, but there’s a lot to do on the island! Here’s a mini bucket list of can’t-miss activities in Santorini:

Visiting the Santorini castle

Explore The Local Shops

I got so many goodies throughout our three days in Santorini, including some dishes, a hand-painted wallet, a canvas painting, and some clothes. The boutiques on this island are incredible.

Try Traditional Baklava

Greek Baklava is a famous pastry dessert made from layers of dough filled with chopped nuts and held together with syrup, frosting, or honey. It is seriously to die for. We got a slice to split and crawled onto a local rooftop to watch the sunset. 12/10 recommend.

Treat Yourself To A Fish Pedicure

Yup, a fish pedicure. Greece is known for this unique spa experience. We went to a place called Kissingfish Santorini. Basically you wash your feet when you enter and your cuts get taped up (so they don’t get infected… gross I know), and then you put your feet into a tank with fish who will eat the dead skin off your feet (also gross I know). I promise this doesn’t hurt — it just tickles and you’ll leave this place with baby soft feet!

Fish pedicure in Greece

Book A Catamaran Excursion

This was our most expensive activity by far. We booked a catamaran tour that took us to several different beaches on the island, including Red Beach. We also ate a traditional lunch onboard, swam in natural hot springs, and my favorite part — took in the views of the Aegean. Greece is known for its deep blue, glass-like water, so before you leave, explore by boat!

Catamaran cruise in Santorini, Greece

If You’re Feeling Adventurous…. Go Cliff Jumping

This is a bit of a local activity, but it’s certainly one of the best hidden gems in Santorini! Here’s how to find the rocks. Follow the steps in Oia down to Amoudi Bay, and once you’re down by the water take a left and walk in that direction, past a seafood restaurant with outdoor dining. Follow the path around the bend until you see a bunch of locals sunbathing on rocks and swim out to the jumping rock! There is a safe, accessible stairway located on the backside of the cliff so walk up and take the leap of faith!

Amoudi Bay in Santorini
Cliff jumping in Amoudi Bay, Santorini

Watch A Sunset

This one should be pretty obvious since Santorini has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world. Oia can be PACKED with tourists enjoying the evening show, so arrive early and grab a spot. I promise it will be one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see.

Pro-tip: The Oia Castle is the best place to watch the sunset in Santorini (pictured below).

Oia castle sunset

And DON’T Ride A Donkey!

These animals are treated horribly and run up and down steep stairs all day long transporting tourists and luggage. Don’t pay for it. Enjoy the scenery instead!

Donkeys in Santorini, Greece

Bonus Ideas

We didn’t do these things, but here are some more recommendations:

  • Go ATVing! An ATV tour is a great way to get out of Oia and explore Santorini. This ATV-Quad tour is a popular one!
  • Do a wine tour at Santo Wineries — the most popular small-group sunset wine tour on the island.
  • Explore ancient island ruins!
Drink with a view in Santorini, Greece

Santorini, Greece: When To Visit

Santorini is a tourist hot-spot, so summers can be brutally hot and busy. Maybe I’m a little biased, but I feel like we visited at the perfect time. I highly recommend visiting during the spring (April-May) and fall (September-October) shoulder seasons. 

Off To Athens…

Athens, Greece: Where To Stay

Mairin and I were only in Athens for one night, which is honestly all that you need. I recommend staying in an accommodation within one mile of the Acropolis so that the sights are walkable. I personally love the Plaka neighborhood since it’s at the foot of the Acropolis and has dozens of restaurants and shops nearby. Here are two options I recommend for a night or two in the area:

Agora Suites

Agora Suites has free Wi-Fi for guests, along with a air-conditioned units with a kitchenette and garden. There are airport transfers and car services from the condo hotel, along with sightseeing tours available near the property.

Ergon House Athens

Located in Athens, a 6-minute walk from Monastiraki Square, Ergon House Athens provides accommodations with a fitness center, private parking and a bar. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and room service, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The property is 300 yards from the city center and a 6-minute walk from Monastiraki Train Station.

Athens, Greece: Getting Around

Athens is a large international city. The historical and ancient part of the city is pretty far from the commercial area that surrounds the airport. We had to take a 40 minute taxi from the airport to our hostel near the Acropolis. Once in downtown/historical Athens, we could walk everywhere, but just a heads up the taxi ride is a bit long!

Athens, Greece: What To Do

Athens is an incredible city. Not only is it the capital of Greece, it’s one of the oldest cities in the world. There’s a lot of history to explore here, but here are my recommendations:

Visit The Acropolis

A Greece travel guide MUST! The Acropolis is the most complete Greek complex that exists and is essentially a semi-preserved, ancient city. It’s important to note that the Acropolis consists of several buildings, with the Parthenon being one of them. The Parthenon is probably the most famous site of the Acropolis, and is the ancient temple of Athena. The people of Athens consider Athena to be their patron saint — hence the name! I recommend booking a guided walking tour of the Acropolis.

Pro-tip: Even in September, it was HOT up here! The Acropolis sits on a hill, close to the blazing sun, so be sure to bring water with you.

Visiting the Acropolis in Athens, Greece
Visiting the Acropolis in Athens, Greece

Explore The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is an archaeological museum that displays findings from, you guessed it, the Acropolis. This museum was really interesting to walk around. I was shocked by the amount of artifacts archaeologists have been able to recover over the centuries. Check it out!

Pro-tip: Buy a ticket for a dual tour of the Acropolis site and museum. We spent 1/2 day total exploring these two iconic sites.

Walk Around Athens’ Plaka Neighborhood

Resting at the foot of the Acropolis is Athens’ charming Plaka neighborhood. With narrow cobblestone streets, quaint shops, and traditional restaurants, this area shouldn’t be left unexplored!

Athens, Greece: When To Visit

Similarly to Santorini, peak time for visitors in Athens is also during the summer months. Since Athens is located on mainland Greece, it is even hotter here than the islands, so I definitely recommend visiting during the shoulder seasons.

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That’s all for my Greece travel guide! As I mentioned above, I hope to visit Greece again in the future and spend more time exploring the islands. For now, check out my guide to hidden gems in Santorini. I hope you find these tips helpful for exploring Santorini from Athens!

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Visiting Santorini from Athens



  1. July 31, 2020 / 8:48 PM

    There are so many magical things to experience while visiting Greece, it can be hard to know how you should spend your time. Visiting the Acropolis is one of those things you won’t want to mess. Same goes for the sunsets on Santorini, which are legendary.

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