Your ultimate guide to all things travel related
Please select a valid location from the popup list

Is Santorini worth it? How to Visit on a Budget

Is Santorini Expensive?

Santorini Budget Guide: What to Expect and How to Save Money

Welcome to Santorini: a Cycladic dream in the Aegean Sea, characterised by sweeping caldera views and whitewashed architecture clinging to the craggy cliffside. Bright pink bougainvillaea cuts through the sea of whites and blues, creating a picture-perfect scene. Santorini is a feast for the senses, but it doesn’t always come cheap. The Greek island has soared in popularity and is now synonymous with a luxurious escape. However, if you come prepared with a few tips on how to save money, you can enjoy Santorini on a budget.

A Breakdown of Average Travel Costs in Santorini

How Much Do Things Cost in Santorini

Expense Cost
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant €90
Taxi Average starting rate €3.50
Average journey price €28
Bus €3
Cup of Coffee €4
Bottle of water €1.50
Local beer €4.90
Imported beer €6
Local Wine €6 for 175ml
Accommodation €187 for a double room in a 3* or 4* hotel
Attractions €0 - €6
Day at a beach club €0 - €6

Where to Stay in Santorini on a Budget

Santorini’s sparkling landscape is the perfect place for luxury hotels, and Golden Grey Goose, Thieras Hotel, and You & Me Suites are shining examples. But if you want to experience Santorini on a budget, there are plenty of options.

Budget-friendly hotels with a view: A big part of Santorini is the dramatic views. From sunrise to sunset, the wide-stretching Aegean Sea is a jaw-dropping sight. And it’s not just reserved for luxury hotels – Delion View Hotel, Theoxena Caldera Hotel, and Kavalari Hotel prove that you can have both affordable prices and gorgeous views.

Self-catering apartments: Save money on accommodation and food by choosing a self-catering apartment. Groceries are fresh and affordable in Santorini, so you can whip up breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with ease. Altea Apartments and Antonia Apartments are two of our favourite self-catering apartments in Santorini.

Back to basics: While Santorini is awash with luxurious resorts and high-end boutique hotels, you can also find stripped-back, homely, family-run hotels. They’ll provide a comfortable and clean place to rest your head after exploring, but the amenities are limited. If you want to visit Santorini on a budget, consider Central Fira, Hotel Santorini, and Pelican Hotel.


The Best Options for Finding Affordable Accommodation in Santorini

While the most popular area to stay in Santorini is Oia, the island is full of villages and towns to explore. Additionally, Oia is crowded and densely populated, making for a less relaxed and authentic experience. Try searching for accommodation in Fira, Kamari, Perissa, Preivolos, or Karterados for affordable alternatives.

Fira: While Fira is the capital of Santorini, it’s still more affordable than Oia. The whitewashed buildings jumble together on the clifftop, providing lucky visitors with jaw-dropping scenery. While it might not be as sleek and polished as Oia, it’s bustling, energetic, and accessible.

Kamari: Santorini might not be known for its beaches, but Kamari Beach is still beautiful. It’s also one of the best options for finding affordable accommodation in Santorini – swap the lofty caldera views for beachfront scenery and you can save hundreds.

Karterados: Karterados offers the best of both worlds – caldera views and affordable prices. It’s a rural village with cave houses transformed into budget-friendly hotels. If you’re looking for the quintessential Santorini experience without paying up-market prices, Karterados is an excellent option.

The Pros and Cons of Staying in Santorini and How to Find a Good Deal

While Santorini is a dream come true, it doesn’t come without its cons. Here are the pros and cons of staying in Santorini:

Pros Cons
Caldera views and breath-taking volcanic scenery Lots of hills can make it tough to get around the island
Cave hotels make for an authentic, unforgettable experience Accommodation and nice restaurants can be expensive
Good range of accommodations, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury resorts Towns and villages are spread out from each other
Excellent food and warm hospitality The popular tourist towns can be crowded

While there are cons to visiting Santorini, ultimately, it’s a dream-like destination with jaw-dropping vistas. Expensive accommodation is included in the cons, but armed with some handy tips, you can find a good deal.

  • The most affordable time to visit Santorini is between October and March.
  • While October to March are the cheapest months, many restaurants and bars will be shut. They open up again in April, right at the start of the high season.
  • The busiest (and most expensive) month to visit Santorini is August.
  • Book at least 3 - 6 months in advance for the best deal.
  • Forego a view for a cheaper stay. Hotels with caldera views are considerably more expensive than those without.

How to Get Around Santorini Easily and Cheaply

Santorini is one of the most (if not the most) visited Greek islands, so there’s plenty of public transport infrastructure to support tourists and getting around is easy. The island has a comprehensive and affordable bus network that runs through the tourist season. They operate fairly regularly between the most tourist areas – for example, the bus from Fira to the beach town of Kamari runs every 30 minutes. However, the buses don’t serve every corner of Santorini, so you are restricted to the bus network.

Despite the journeys not being very long, the buses come in the form of coaches best suited to long distances, and this can be uncomfortable on the island’s narrow, bendy roads. This also makes driving unappealing to some – while cliffside roads offer incredible views, they can be daunting. If you are a confident driver, then driving is a great way to get around the island. Hiring a car is straightforward in Santorini, with a wide range of car hire vendors available at the airport and various pick-up points around the island. A car provides full freedom to explore the island, but comes with the drawback of pedestrianised zones (Fira has few places to park) and intense peak season traffic. Some travellers like to hire a car for 2 or 3 days to explore the harder-to-reach areas.


How to Eat Well in Santorini Without Spending a Fortune

Greek food is fresh, nourishing, and delicious, using simple yet versatile ingredients. Many travellers love visiting Greece specifically for its food, and the quality in Santorini is high. While Santorini has plenty of high-end, pricey restaurants, you can also find incredible food on a budget. Here’s how to eat well in Santorini without spending a fortune:

  • Gyros and souvlaki: Eating popular street food, like gyros and souvlaki, is the best way to keep food costs low. Both dishes involve deliciously spiced meat, fresh salad, tzatziki, chips, and pita bread. There are small, local restaurants selling gyros and souvlaki in every Santorini town.
  • Local Santorinian dishes: Keep an eye out for small, homely restaurants selling Santorininian classics, like tomatokeftedes (fried tomato fritters) and creamy fava beans.
  • Look out for family-run tavernas: There is a high concentration of local tavernas in the south of the island, particularly around Akrotiri.
  • Avoid main tourist areas: Restaurants are more expensive in Oia, but you can get the same authentic feel (for a lot less) in towns like Pyrgos.
  • Cook at home: If you have a self-catering apartment or villa, save money and eat well by trying your hand at local dishes.

Our Top Picks for Free and Cheap Activities in Santorini

Beaches: Spend the day on one of Santorini’s beaches. Most of the beaches here have black sand, formed by solidified lava. Perrisa and Perivolos are two of the most popular black sand beaches in Santorini.

Explore the local villages: Santorini’s villages of jumbled white-washed houses, blue-domed churches, and sloping streets are a joy to explore. Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Pyrgos offer the quintessential Santorini village experience without the crowds.

Hike to the Monastery of Profitis Ilias: Soak up the scenery from the highest point of the island, the Monastery of Profitis Ilias. Profitis Ilias is an 1860-foot-tall mountain, so be prepared with proper footwear, sun cream, water, and a hat. Alternatively, you can drive up to the monastery. It’s free to visit.

Hike from Fira to Oia: This paved hiking trail is around 6 miles long, and there is little shade. Take plenty of water, wear a hat, and go as early as possible to avoid for afternoon heat. There are stunning views, and it’s completely free.

Watch the sunset: Santorini sunsets have a reputation for being outstandingly beautiful, and they live up to the hype. Fortunately, catching one of the world’s most glowing sunsets is free from one of the many viewpoints.

How to Enjoy the Nightlife and Culture in Santorini on a budget

While Santorini is full of swanky cocktail bars and bohemian beach clubs, the prices are generally not budget-friendly. For those looking to keep costs low, we recommend seeking out local tavernas. You can spend the night with the locals, hear their stories, and dance to traditional music. Local beer and wine are the best bet for an affordable night out, too – Santorini is known for its wine production. Most of the nightlife is in Fira, but you will find local bars all over the island. If you are seeking nightlife, we recommend staying in Fira, as taxi fares add up quickly.

More Expensive Cities

Tourist Board Info For Santorini

Santorini Car Hire Santorini Hotels
Santorini Airport Hotels Santorini Airport Parking
Other popular articles

Enter your email address for the latest discount codes and special offers across car hire, holiday accomodation and much more!

Get the latest travel news and offers
Thanks for signing up