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Santorini with or without a car and which side of the island?

We will be visiting Santorini for 2 days (1 night) in July. We haven't booked our accommodations yet and one of the options is more expensive but includes a car. Wondering whether a car there is actually helpful or will it just be annoying trying to park in the tiny towns during their high season. Also, the option with a car is on the southeastern part of the island (beachside, away from the caldera). Obviously, we will spend more of our waking hours over on the caldera side, but thinking that it might be nice to be away from all the crowds at the end of the day, not sure though. If we don't go with the car option, how difficult and expensive is transportation around the island?

Posted by
2845 posts

A rental car is a very helpful tool on Santorini especially in July when there's so much pushing and shoving, frustration and anger from people trying to get on the buses. yes, parking can be annoying but the alternative is worse. Buses are cheap but taking taxis can get expensive,

Posted by
1812 posts

Since you're only there for one night, I'd recommend getting a hotel in the area that you most want to see and take taxis or tours to see the rest of the island.

Posted by
3077 posts

For such a short stay, I think a car is unnecessary. Last spring, we stayed in Firostefani. We took a day tour, booked through our hotel, which included a stop in Megalochori, a wine tasting, a guided tour of Akrotiri, and sunset in Oia. We also were taken to a beach, where we had lunch at our own choice of restaurant. We thought the tour was a very good value. I don’t recall the company name or the price, but I bet you can find it or similar through your hotel. The next day we went back to Oia on a public bus. Easy and cheap - - 1 or 2 euros? From Firostefani it’s an easy walk to Fira.

Posted by
2258 posts

My recent experience on Santorini was so identical to Rosalyn's, I wonder if maybe she and I are the same person. My hotel in Firostefani sent a complimentary car to meet me at the airport, and then arranged a taxi to take me to the ferry port when I left for Athens. I think a car would just be a hassle for a short visit, if you stay in Fira, Firostefani or Oia. By the way, I loved the small town of Megalochori and returned by public bus for most of a day, including a terrific lunch at Feggera.

Posted by
2590 posts

We took the "same excursion itinerary?" as Rosalyn & Larry in Sept. We booked it through "tour Greece" our local contact in Santorini. Tatiana was our rep. She came to our hotel and scheduled us on the "Panoramic Island Tour." This was our itinerary: Profitis Ilias: highest peak with panoramic view over the island (photo stop 15mins). Megalorchori: walking in village (30 mins.) Akrotiri Excavation (1.5 hr). Red Beach (photo stop (20 min.) Perivolus: free time on Black beach for lunch (not included) swim (1 hr 30) Santo Wines: tour and tasting included. EUR 40- per person. Option to continue on to Oia for Sunset.
add EUR 10. We chose not to go to Oia for Sunset. (We were staying in Firostefani with the same Caldera view.). We took the bus to Oia the next am to avoid the cruise ship crowd! The bus tour was the highlight of our Santorini stay. They can accommodate about 48 people. Our guide was very knowledgeable.

FYI-- our hotel recommended a similar tour but was more expensive and fewer stops.

Let me know if you need further information.

Posted by
1266 posts

jlschandler--

We will be visiting Santorini next year as well and I am interested in learning more about the tour you describe. Were admission costs included in the price (to winery and Akrotiri)? Where did you start the tour? We are staying in Oia.

Beth

Posted by
3077 posts

Beth,

Though you addressed your query to another poster, I can tell you that the tour we took picked up people at various hotels around the island. As I recall, the only cost not included was lunch.

Posted by
2590 posts

Beth,

On Panoramic island tour-- Not Included: Entrance fees to Akrotiri Eur 12- per person, lunch/dinner, drinks and tips. Santo Wine tour & tasting is included. Our pick up was in Firostefani, a five min. walk from our hotel to "bus area." From there we made another short stop to pick up the rest of the group. As I recall it was Fira.

Posted by
2 posts

We didnt rent a car but we did rent scooters/june buggies which was a great way to get around the island. I do think its worth it to be able to see the entire island.