I am just starting the planning process. Our time to go is June 25 thru July 4. From what I have read best to get a flight straight to Santini visit there, then go back to Athens. Is there several days of things to do in Santini? What places to stay do you recommend? I know we want to visit black sand beaches / maybe a local cooking class / visit the volcano / is it possible to get day trips out on the water? Is there snorkling places? What are must sees to you for Athens? I have ordered the book from Rick Steves but I am very excited for information. I read english is the language, is that true? Do I have to rent a car to be able to get around? Go ahead, give me all your thoughts.
I don’t think it matters what area you visit first. The official language is Greek not English though many speak English in tourist areas. Until you get your RS guid book, just Google things to do in Santorini.
You can rent cars, take busses and taxis. You can visit areas with great views of the caldera. And visit some ruins. There are tours you can take too. I can’t help with that as it was 15 years ago that I visited Santorini. I spent time in Athens last summer.
You can do the same for Athens. The airport in Athens is a ways outside of old town Athens so a train or taxi is needed to get out there. Time your flights well. I stayed about 15 min from the airport the night before and I still had to get up at 4 AM.
Maybe flights out of Santorini might be better for your return home flight? I do not remember the name of the very nice place I stayed near the Athens airport.
Go to the TripAdvisor website and find the Santorini (not Santini) and Athens forum pages. At the top of the page select "Things to do" to get a clear idea of what your options might be.
Snorkeling isn't very good on Santorini. There's nothing much to see underwater except for sea grass and algae-covered rocks. Renting a car on Santorini is the best way to explore the island. Be sure to bring an International Driving Permit with you from your local AAA office. English is commonly spoken by business operators in the popular tourist areas of Greece.
One option for a day on the water in Santorini is to book a catamaran cruise. We used Spiridakos Cruises and were very pleased with their services. If you do not want to rent a car, you can also book a private tour of the island. It would be helpful to know your budget for accommodations, as it is easier for us to make recommendations. Our stay at Lithies Traditional Homes which is on the caldera in Firostefani was amazing.
I took a boat tour last summer to the volcanic island and the "hot springs"--there are several dozen people on the boat, so you'll need to pay more for a catamaran tour if you want fewer people. I'd suggest that if your budget allows.
I spent a day at Perissa Beach and enjoyed it, also did some hiking up in the nearby hills. Kamari Beach is another choice for a black sand beach. I didn't have a mask, but at least where I was there weren't many fish and my understanding is that Santorini isn't known as a snorkeling spot.
In addition to the obvious sights in Athens, I really enjoyed visiting the ancient Olympic Stadium (Panathenaic Stadium). If you pay 5 Euros, you can get in, run on the track, climb up and down the seats, and there's a little museum underneath with some Olympic memorabilia.
If you like fancy cocktails, The Clumsies in Central Athens is world-class for mixology (on the Top 50 Bars In The World list). I stayed at the Attalos Hotel, which is a great location and a decent budget choice. It has a rooftop bar with stunning views of the Acropolis which made up for the cocktail being not nearly as good as at The Clumsies. There are other hotels and bars in the area with rooftop views as well, I'd recommend it for one sunset even if you just drink water/soda.
All this is so helpful. Keep throwing stuff at me. My budget is mid range with some room to indulge.
We stayed at Nikos Villas on Santorini in 2015 and enjoyed our stay. It's a short walk to Oia and has a good breakfast and pool. The views are amazing!! We had a day tour of the island with Kostas, who is fantastic! I would highly recommend. This summer we're going to Greece for 23 days and have already booked some Air bnb/hotels. English is the language, so no need to worry about that. I would not rent a car, as driving laws are really just suggestions. Athens is very walkable, but there is good public transportation if you need. Santorini busses are frequent and go all over the island. In Athens you should consider the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, all the museums, etc.
Agean airlines is having a sale through the 15th and flights from Athens to some islands are as low as 21 eu, which is half the cost of the ferry.
Good luck with your planning!