Greece: Santorini on A Budget

July 29, 2013

If you mention Santorini to most people they will often tell you how expensive it is, and is only a destination for those with money to burn or a newly joined couple intent on splashing out on their idyllic honeymoon.   This is definitely true if you want to stay in the main towns of Fira or Oia and if you need to watch the sunset from your room or dip in an infinity pool overlooking the volcano and the bay below. The good news is there are ways to get virtually all of these treats on a fraction of what a stay will cost you in one of these luxury pads.

The table below shows our total budget for seven nights on this beautiful island in June 2013 – Total costs 181 Euros per person for seven days.

Our Santorini Budget Stay

 Activity Cost in Euros Detail
Accommodation  for Seven nights 126 Stayed at Anna Pension in Karterados
Quad bike Hire and fuel 1 day 27 20 for the hire and 7 fuel
Bus fare from and to port 11.20 2.80 each way for two persons
Bus fares for sightseeing 20 Three days
Sun bed hire 8 4 Euros per bed per day
Food 100 Using local bakeries, gyro shops for quick eats and a set price menu in a local village restaurant for two nights
Beers and wine 40 We took two, ten euro bottles of duty free and drank mostly in the hotel by the pool with supermarket local wine, ouzo and beers, wine with meals was included in set price menus and we drank at a bar on a couple of occasions
Water and drinks and snack food 30 Supermarket water, room snacks, cheeses, olives and local bread from the bakers
Total 362 For two persons for one week

Food and Drink on Santorini

Food and drink will be your highest costs after you have paid for your accommodation.   If you eat out for every meal in restaurant you will spend your money very quickly, especially if you are eating at the main tourist areas of Fira or Oia.  To eat for half the price, head for other local villages and dine at the locally owned restaurants. In Karterados village we dined for around 10 Euros per head for a set menu, which included a salad starter, local dish of fish, moussaka or stuffed aubergine and fresh melon to round your meal off.  You also get half a litre of local wine as part of the menu price.

We mixed this dining with breakfast and lunch snacks either made by ourselves, or purchased from the local gyro (kebab) cafe or bakeries.

Transport

Getting around Santorini and can be done on a budget too.  The local bus service has routes to all the major places on the island such as Oia, Perissa the Red beach.  The ticket fares range from 1.60 Euros to 2.30 for the longest trip.  Although the trip to Athinios port will cost you 2.80, perhaps some of it is danger money for the driver getting down that hairpin road.

Taxis congregate around the main town and ports, like everywhere in Greece they are Mercedes class, so you will be transported in luxury, but they are not cheap (15 Euros from the port to Fira).

The best way of getting around is under your own steam, with the help of an engine attached either to a quad, scooter or a car.  There are rental places on every corner of the island so you won’t have to walk more than a few hundred metres to find one.  Basic quad/ATV and scooters will cost around 15 Euros a day (read about our ATV experience on this link), paying 20 for a bigger engine/newer quad.  We got quoted 20 Euros per day for a small older car and 25 for a newer version of the same model.   Getting your own transport will give you the freedom to explore all the smaller villages and viewpoints not covered by the buses.

Around Fira (also referred to as Thira)  and Oia (or Io)you have no option but to walk up and down the countless little lanes and steps and inclines, unless of course you opt for a donkey, or small ponies as they are here, they not as cute as the donkeys in Lindos.

Getting Elsewhere

There are ferry ticket offices everywhere, you can book online but we found you end up having to collect the tickets from one of their agents anyway.  We didn’t find any great price difference on line or using the main agents in town (check the ferry company website for the location of their partner agents on each Greek island).

Santorini has a small airport which is like a ghost town out of season, but come May and June the place springs to life with budget fares from all around Europe.  We looked at departing flights from her for around 60 euros to many major cities across Europe. So getting here needn’t cost you too much if you visit early or late season (May, June and September and October).

We had a really great time on this Island and it didn’t do any serious harm to our flashpacking budget.  It is definitely worth a visit here when you see you can do it on a daily budget of around 25 Euros.

santorini panorama

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Comments (3)

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  1. Abigail says:

    It is rather upsetting to see the Donkeys sat out in the sun with no shade available to them and no water trough. I hope that photo doesn’t give the full story…..

    • It wasn’t, that was a close up or some of the donkeys, their was a shady area and drinking troughs further up the steps, but we still didn’t partake. Poor donkeys hauling fat westerners up and down the steps.

  2. Sam says:

    Wow, I’m really surprised you managed to travel in Greece for that cheap. We recently spent about the same per person travelling through Bolivia, and we thought that was cheap (though, we were moving through the country not just staying in one place, so there were transport costs involved.) Really useful breakdown.

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