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Driving a Car in Santorini

Hi all,
We’ll be reaching Santorini airport at 9:30 pm. We have booked a car rental pick up from the airport. We plan to drive to our Air BnB in Oia after arrival. Would this be advisable at that time at night?
Thank you,

Posted by
1888 posts

Both from an economic and practical point of view, I don't think it's worth renting a car just to travel a few miles at night in an unfamiliar environment. You might consider taking a transfer to your Airbnb and starting a car rental the next day.

That being said, driving on Santorini does not present any specific issues other than encountering tourists who do not know how to drive properly.
All road signs are in English and Greek. Above all, prefer to follow the road signs indicating the directions rather than your GPS which could take you on small dirt roads believing that it will saves you 1 minute of driving.

In case you are going to your Airbnb by car and if you have not already done so, you should ask your Airbnb host how and where you can park your car in Oia and especially how to get there once you arrive in Oia.

Culturally speaking, 9:30 p.m. is not really nighttime in Greece. This is the time when the Greeks start eating dinner.

Posted by
3127 posts

Depending on where the person delivering the car to you lives, they may be able to lead you to Oia, or at least take you through the most confusing part of the journey, which would be from the airport to the actual road leading to Oia.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you JoLui. I’m sorry I did not clarify that we are not renting a car just to go to the housing that night, but intend to keep it for the next three days. We thought we might be able to experience the island more if we have our own car. Would you agree?
We have already messaged our Wood host regarding directions/parking.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you Lee. That’s a great idea! We will also have our GPS and would have downloaded off-line maps.

Posted by
1635 posts

I agree that you will experience more of Santorini if you have a car. We rented a car for a day and visited the Akrotiri Archaeological site, Black Sand Beach, and Red Sand Beach. There are interesting villages and wineries, too. We stayed in Firostefani, and we didn't feel the need to have a car for any longer. We were there for 3 nights. Whether or not you need/want the car for your entire stay would depend on whether or not you have to pay for parking. And what else you plan to do, and how many nights you are in Santorini.

Posted by
1888 posts

What I meant is that you also have the option of waiting until the next day to start renting a car since you are only going to use it for a few miles and probably less than an hour the first evening.
This could save you a day's rental if you find another way to reach your Airbnb in Oia.

As for renting a car, it is obviously the best thing to do to be able to visit an island without being dependent on buses or the rare and expensive taxis in Santorini.

Posted by
2535 posts

We rented a car on Santorini but we did not rent it when we arrived. We used a car service to take us to Oia where we also stayed. I was surprised by how difficult it was to drive on Santorini. I would not do it for the first time in the dark.

We rented from an agency in Oia and then returned the car to the airport when we left. We didn't use a car the first days we were there so this also saved us money.

Posted by
4232 posts

I DID rent upon arrival (in broad daylight and in 2121 when it was far less crowded), but in hindsight would do as JoLui and Beth suggest - begin my rental the following day. The company I rented from wasn’t located on site at the airport anyway, so they could have delivered the car to our hotel as easily as to the airport.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you kmkoo, JoLui, Beth and Texastravelmom,
This is all great advice. I will see if I can make other arrangements to get to our AirBnB and change rental to later.