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best way to spend time in Santorini

Hi there,
Our trip is fast approaching and I received very valuable help here before in planning our itinerary. (Thanks Janet)! So I am asking the best way to spend our time with trying to avoid too many tourists. My daughter and I will be flying into Athens then Milos on June 24 (stay 4 nights) then a quick one night in Santorini on June 28. Then we take the ferry to Naxos the morning of the 29th for 4 nights. We plan on taking a ferry to Santorini the morning of the 28th. (looks like the Sea jet leaves Milos at 10:20 and arrives Santorini at 12) We have reservations at Hotel Mylos in Firostefani. We thought we would try to take in the famous caldera view/ sunset. So I am wondering the best use of our day evening and a plan of action to have a good experience without too many tourists (as I see there will be a few cruise ships that day). Janet suggested previously to take a bus to Oia to enjoy the views and leave by 6pm and try to have dinner at a rooftop restaurant (Stani in Fira) . So in terms of the views and we want to catch the sunset and sightsee/get photos, what is the best plan of action for that day and evening to avoid the cruise crowds? thanks so much in advance.

Posted by
703 posts

we were there early this month, staying in firostefani. IMO going up to Oia to see the sunset was not needed. we had a great view from our accomodation and generally firostafani was free of the crowds ( perfect) but on one day we did catch the bus to Oia and it was packed with tourists. it took a while to get there and back on a very crowded bus. the scenery there was great and well worth going to, but as for going just to see the sunset. so depends on how much time you have.
the general scenery around firostefani was very similar to Oia, though Oia does have a few more blue roofs and a windmill etc.
hope this helps.

Posted by
2952 posts

Hi Annette! Glad my tips have been helpful ... and so far, your choices sound great. Now... crowd-avoidance strategy ... hmmm. Just keep in mind that 10 am - 4 pm is the "crowdiest" period for cruise throngs, both in Oia & Fira town. My thoughts:

You arrive noon, Mylos Website says "shuttle service on request" -- doesn't say FREE, but I suggest you e-mail them saying, "We are interested in your free shuttle service", and see what you get. (Taxi would be about €15 I think). So... it will be about 1 pm by time you are checked in & ready to roll. Onward!

Ask hotelier to point out the Main-road Bus Stop for Oia (I think it's very close) and for a bus timetable. If Mylos leaves "welcome goodies" in your room, snack on them; otherwise, grab Gyro at nearest shop -- Lunch should not be a big deal today. Then, walk the RIM path to Fira town; you can gorge on the view, and it's not totally crowded. Do NOT turn inland (paths slant downhill from the rimside lane), at the edge of Fira Town, because you'll plunge into jammed "shopping lanes". Wait until you reach the Cathedral ... there the path is very wide, an actual promenade. You may decide to stop for a pricey lemonade at a cliffside cafe -- or keep moving. Just beyond the Cathedral is the Museum of Prehistoric Archeology (open til 3 pm) ... small and very-well curated, you can go thru in 30-45 minutes... gives great idea of the famous Volcano/Earthquake cataclysm... and the beauty of the Minoan culture that was destroyed/buried. You don't have time to go to Akrotiri, so this is good. Now you have 2 options:

(1) If it's only 3, you can walk back to Firostephani, stopping en route at Stani (It's 2nd lane in from Rim-- ask directions in any jewelry store). Climb to roof terrace, point at table u want, ask for reserve @7:30. Then catch Oia-bound bus at Firostephani stop.
(2) If it's already 4 pm, go to the Fira Town "Bus Yard" just a block downhill from Museum. Get the bus to OIA there ... crowds should have left & you can enjoy walking around for 60-90 minutes, and/or sitting in a cliffside cafe. Back at Mylos, you can have hotel call Stani for reservation.

EVENING -- enjoy dinner AND sunset ( take your t ime eating, sun goes down at nearly 9 pm)

Posted by
3404 posts

We also stayed in Firostefani and ate twice at To Brikki. They have a terrace from which we viewed a beautiful sunset over the caldera. I think this a pretty common feature for hotels and restaurants on Santorini, for obvious reasons. The cruise crowds are gone by sunset; but it will be high season, so many, many folks staying on the island.

Posted by
7 posts

Ok those are great suggestions! thanks so much. I now feel like we will have an idea how to navigate the crowds and enjoy our time in Santorini. We are looking forward to it! It is so nice to get the advice from people who have been there and the tips are very much appreciated!
thank you!

Posted by
1117 posts

The place with the greatest possible crowds, in my experience, is Oia at sunset. All travel guides mention this famous sunset spot, all honeymooners go there, so if you enjoy lots of company and lots of amateur photographers clicking away, that's the place to be. :-)

But since you plan to leave Oia by 6 p.m., you'll be escaping the crowds there anyway. Make sure you know the exact time of sunset (it's going to be way after 6 p.m. in June). There are many great places with a beautiful view along the rim of the caldera, restaurants or otherwise.