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Should we choose Santorini?

My husband and I will finish up RS: Athens and the Heart of Greece tour on Thurs 3/29/24. Our flight back to the states leaves Sun 3/31 at 3:30 pm. We are considering going to one of the islands for Friday and Saturday night, preferably Santorini. We are also open to another island. We will be 67yo at the time. We are active, but do not party. (My husband is an AT hiker.) We have read repeatedly how expensive and crowded Santorini is, but it seems a shame to go to Greece and not visit the island. (Two nights in Hydra is included in our tour.) The hike between Fira and Oia is appealing to us. Is it feasible to spend two nights on the island and fly back to Athens early Sunday am? We certainly don't want to miss our flight back to the US. We are usually stay at mid-price point hotels in our travels, but are willing to spend a little more money if necessary as it is unlikely we will return to Greece. Thank you for your help in recommending an island and looking at our flight schedule.

Posted by
857 posts

I'm looking at about the same dilemma for next year. I ultimately decided on a 3-night booking and will expect crowds. I also didn't want to miss Santorini. Skip the partying, but do that hike!!

Personally, I would be a bit nervous about a flight into Athens in the AM, then out of Athens to the US later in the day. I know people do it, but I am considering building in a full day's delay before catching a flight back to the US. Can you go early and do Santorini before the tour?

I hope others will weigh in. Your question will help me out also! Thank for the post.

Posted by
857 posts

I had another thought. If you haven't booked your tickets yet, can you book everything on one ticket? If the Santorini jaunt is attached to the US - Athens ticket, you will have some leeway with the airlines in the case of a missed connection.

Posted by
1634 posts

I would want to be in Athens the night before my flight. It is too risky otherwise because your flight out of Santorini could be cancelled, delayed, etc. Too many things can go wrong. So that would only give you one night on Santorini. Have you made your airline reservations yet? If so, is it possible to change your return date to April 1 or 2 so you can have 2 or 3 nights on Santorini, and return to Athens the day before your departure from Athens?

Santorini is beautiful and unique; depending on where you stay the crowds might not be that bad. We stayed in Firastefani which is not as crowded as Oia or Fira. You don't have to break the bank to visit Santorini. We stayed at Blue Dolphin Apartments and had a room with a balcony overlooking the caldera for about $230 per night. This was in May 2022. We found some reasonable restaurants, one of which is Aktaion. Delicious food and reasonable prices.

Posted by
13 posts

We stayed two nights in Santorini in Firostefani at Lithies Traditional Homes, which was wonderful! The location was a very easy walk to Fira and the trail for the hike to Oia was right by the hotel (which we did at the age of 66!). The views from the hotel were amazing. The hotel arranged for a complimentary ride from the airport and back when we left. They carried our luggage down and back up the many steps. We went in October and it was not very crowded. Santorini was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and a third night would have been nice but we managed to do quite a bit with the two nights! As for leaving Santorini and making the Athens connection, you probably would have no trouble if you left Santorini early enough but most people recommend staying in Athens the night before.

Posted by
3329 posts

Nothing will be crowded in March... and it may well be raining. And nothing much will be open, except in Fira, because things dont get started in Greece usually until around Greek Easter, and this year its in May. If you are OK with iffy weather, you can probably get a caldera- view balcony room in Firostefani at a decent rate -- Hotel Mylos, Villa Ilias Why not try a flight on Thursday 3/29 -- you don't have to hang out with those Rickheads one more night, just zip to Airport & get last available flight? That way you could wake up 2x in Santorini... then fly back at 5 pm onSat 3/30,

For a pleasant final night in Greece, you could book a room at Hotel AVRA, 25 mins away from airport in little village/port of RAFINA. They have a FREE shuttle to/from airport any hour ... the only requirement is that u request shuttle at the time you book the room. The hotel overlooks the water, and you are a few hundred yards walk to the shady town square, where you can have a relaxed final dinner.... the next day you can stroll the beach before shuttle back to airport at 1 pm or so.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for these excellent perspectives. We do arrive on Thurs 3/14 at 8:30 am. We already have our flights to and from the states, but we could add a flight to Santorini maybe mid day Thurs (long day from departure on 3/13) and then back to Athens Sat am. Our RS tour doesn’t leave Athens until Monday, so if our flight is delayed for a day we have a day to catch up. The only thing about going pre-tour is that it is two weeks earlier in the year. I am open to missing the final tour dinner. Thank you again and if anyone else has a perspective please join in. I’m so glad you all are willing to share your thoughts.

Posted by
1376 posts

Just saw this so am late on the discussion. Santorini has an outstanding archaeological site at Akrotiri It is believed to be a Mionen
city that was buried after the earthquake. It is certainly worth visiting this site during your short time in Santorini.
This is my whole Santorini album. There are a few photos of Akrotiri towards the end of the album.

Posted by
11292 posts

The only reason we returned to Santorini for a second time was to visit Akrotiri as it had been closed during our first visit. Do not miss Akrotiri!