Santorini looks like a travellers dream and being there, even more so. Heres how to plan a trip to the Greek Island.
Recently, pictures of Santorini have been trending on social media and people are actually travelling to this Island. Don't be scared, you too can do it too. Santorini is just one of the 10 majestic Greek Islands, and all of them beautiful in their own right. However, if Santorini is the Island you choose to go, even if now is not the right time, here's all you need to know.
Real quick: Santorini is a volcanic island, that means it is an active volcano. Thousands of years ago, the centre part of the island collapsed into the sea creating a unique open sea lagoon. Caldera is the sea lagoon that has been created.
1. Getting your visa
Greece is one of the world's most popular tourist destinations, ranking in the world's top 20 countries. As a Nigerian national, the visa you need to gain entry into Greece or any European country within the Schengen Zone (for tourism/visit) is the short-term Schengen Visa. There are no border controls between any of the European countries within the Schengen Zone and the visa will grant you access to Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
You need to submit the required documents and visa processing fee for the application process. Visa processing can range from 2 to 14 days, to two months, so apply early. Visit the embassy website for more information on how to get started.
2. Best time to visit
Santorini is a very popular holiday destination so it can get insanely crowded during the summer periods when the weather is favourable.
July and August are super crowded so better go in May, June or September when it’s still summer weather but slightly less crowded. It's still high season in October but the weather gets colder and for many of the businesses October is their last operational month. However, you can still enjoy a swim in the sea or the pool and enjoy yourself. Apart from these months, Santorini weather is cold due to winter or most businesses close up shop.
3. Booking your flight
Visiting Santorini is actually not as expensive as people think. If you are up for it and play your cards right, you can get round trip tickets to Greece for as low as NGN306,710, according to TripAdvisor. Check out these 5 secrets to booking cheap flights. There are only direct flights to Santorini from within Europe mostly in between April-November, but you can get connecting flights or a direct flight to Athens, Greece and then a 5hrs/8hrs ferry or a direct flight from Athens to Santorini.
4. Where to stay
Contrary to what you see in the pictures, Santorini is much bigger that the epic view off the cliffs (and the caldera). The views to the caldera are considered to be the most stunning and hotels that have Caldera views are the most expensive (from £1000 and above per night). There are many towns in Santorini, with them offering either the caldera views or access to the beach.
If you want the unique views of caldera and the volcano that Santorini is famous for, then you should stay at Fira (the capital), Firostefani, Imerovigli or Oia…and also pay the price as these are super expensive hotels. However, if you want to relax by the sea you can stay at Kamari, Perivolos, Perissa towns. The very picturesque villages of Emporio and Pyrgos are good recommendations too, though they are at the other side of the island without views of the Caldera. Book your hotel or accommodation using a trust-worthy deal website like booking.com or AirBnB. Do not assume all hotels have pools.
From historical sites to the beaches, there are lots of stuff to do in Santorini. The main unmissable activities are watching the sunset in Oia, wine-tasting, eating amazing greek food, taking a boat trip to the island with hot springs, go diving, relaxing by the beach, visiting the Monastery of Profitis Ilias and more island hopping.
6. Transport and miscellaneous
Book your ferry in time, if that is part of your trip. When you go to Santorini by ferry, you will arrive at the bottom of the cliff. To go up to Fira, you can either take the cable car (5 euros) or walk up the 586 steps or use a donkey (5 euros). It is advised to take the cable car. Also, though the island has buses, it is advisable to rent a car or scooter.
In order to enjoy your trip, you need to have some big bucks stacked somewhere, or be ready to do some intense budgeting. Here are our travel tips to balling on a budget.