Has anyone done this? What is the best way to book it, prior to arrival or is booking it that day ok?
Skip it. It is not worth it. It is smelly, hot, and very slow. And there are some folks who believe that the donkeys are abused. I don't know. But the smell of the dockey's daily duties was strong. If you are going to do it, you just walk up, pay your money, and get in line. Ride the gondola - quicker and easier.
Please, please, please don't ride the poor abused donkeys!
You have no idea how poorly most of them are treated. No shade, no water, no breaks from carrying fat tourists up and down the cliffs in the blistering heat of the summer sun, being prodded along by their handlers who keep a sharp nail tip in their pockets that they can stick into the end of their stick when no one's looking to keep these poor animals moving when they're exhausted. This has been observed and reported over and over again for many years.
If you have any compassion for animals at all you'll pledge never to ride them, and maybe you'll even join those of us who care about them and warn others away from the temptation to ride these poor victims of tourism!
Forget the donkeys. The best way, in my opinion, is to take the gondola up, and then walk back down. Just keep an eye peeled for the donkey doo.
Thanks for the info, I didn't know it was such a hot button topic.
Donkey "rides" are a tourist gimmick and should be avoided. I'm a big advocate of using your own two feet and exploring, whether it's in Greece, home, or anywhere in the world. Donkeys in Santorini are more for tourists than for locals. Donkeys are still used on many of the smaller, less-touristed and more traditional islands by locals who treat their animals with respect rather than making a dollar on them!
I wouldn't want to torture the donkey, or myself, to do the ride.
Back in the day when there was no other option, I would have let a donkey carry my luggage but would have walked along side. Today about the only animal I could ride without worrying about damaging it would be a Clydesdale (yes, I am a heavy individual). If you ride a donkey or horse, you end up smelling like one too!
Dennis did you know a tourust was killed last year on Santorini by a donkey. They tried to hide it over on tripadvisor, censoring the posts. The woman was not on a donkey she was walking, when a poor donkey literally went nuts and ran into her, not his fault , those animals lives are not good!!
I agree with the others! Don't torment the poor tortured donkeys for the sake of a "tourist experience". The ride will not be entirely pleasant as the trail up from harbour is littered with droppings and the odor in the hot sun is not exactly "pleasant". On top of that, you'll probably have to put your clothes through the laundry at the end of the ride.
I've walked the same route the donkeys use, but there's no way I would patronize the donkey rides. If you're arriving at the harbour, just take the cable car to the top.