Food,  Life

Adventuring in Greece, Part 2: Is Santorini Worth the Hype?

Truth be told, we almost excluded Santorini from our Greece adventures. We highly considered going to Milos, a smaller and lesser known island. Similar to Santorini, it also has a volcanic landscape and we were attracted to the fact that it would be less of a tourist trap. So..why did we ultimately choose to spend 2 days in Santorini? And what are my very honest thoughts about our experience there?

Keep reading to find out! 

Our trip first began on the island of Naxos (read part one of our Greece experience here!). We took a high-speed Seajets ferry that I booked through Ferryhopper to make our way over to Santorini. Note: Ferry rides are not always less expensive than flying! It’s worth comparing pricing and scheduling for your desired itinerary. Not all ferries are high-speed and delays are very expected and normal.

Waiting at the Naxos ferry port to head to Santorini.

Why Santorini made it into our Greece itinerary

The short ferry ride (1 hr 25 min) was one of the determining factors of choosing to go to Santorini. I believe at the time we were looking at options on Ferryhopper, it would have been about a 4 hour ride from Naxos to Milos. It gave us the opportunity to experience island hopping by ferry without spending an excessive amount of precious time traveling from one destination to another.

Tip: Download the Ferryhopper app which gives you live updates on where your ferry is located on its path towards your ferry port for ease of mind.

I also wanted to treat ourselves by experiencing a little bit more luxury which I knew Santorini would offer. It was of course expected that that would come at a cost but I found a great Airbnb situated in a quieter and high point of the island, Imerovigli. The pricing dropped around $100 a night with spectacular views and breakfast served on the balcony of our room. This is one of the benefits of going during the shoulder season vs high season. 

And lastly, there would have always been a part of me that would wonder if I should check this destination off of my bucket list.

”Is Santorini as amazing and beautiful as everyone makes it out to be?”

Well..yes, but I almost think it’s better to go in with lowered expectations.

Here’s the thing, I don’t think we could have planned our trip any better and for that I am unashamedly proud haha. From booking an incredible Airbnb experience (at a great deal!) to also booking a 5-hour private tour around the island (this negated our need to book a rental car or ever deal with packed buses full of tourists), it was stress-free on so many fronts.

So..what’s the deal? 

The Good

Let’s start with the positives.

Learning about how Santorini came to be will leave you in awe. The crescent-shaped island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. The nearby smaller islands used to be attached to what is believed to be one whole island. The eruption and collapse of the volcano has shaped the caldera as we know today. So when you think about the beautiful white washed villages perched upon the steep cliffs, take a moment to appreciate the unique geological formations it all sits on. 

And that then leads me to accommodations. The option of experiencing luxury while living on the edge (yes quite literally haha) with views of the caldera and sunset is certainly out of the ordinary. Imerovigli, where we stayed, had a quieter luxury about it which we enjoyed. 

BUT! Yes, you can enjoy the island on a tighter budget. There are hostels and we even learned about the option to camp on the beaches!

At the southern part of the island, you can make your way toward some beautiful volcanic beaches such as Red beach and Perissa black sand beach.

Also, can’t forget to mention, for those who love to hike, you can make the trek from one village to another and really take in all of the sights.

Skaros Rock sits in front of Imerovigli and is a popular spot to hike up. There used to be a fortress that sits atop.

The Not-So-Good

Oia (pronounced ‘Ee-yah’), you know the popular insta-worthy village with the adorable blue-domed churches, is as beautiful and charming as what you see in all of the photos. But what you don’t typically see are the hoards of people clamoring to take the same shots.

Imagine queuing up as you wait for your turn to take a picture in multiple locations and sometimes along narrow pathways. We were lucky in that during our private tour, we intentionally planned to head to Oia first thing in the morning to avoid crowds as much as possible.

This is also a bit controversial but we came across some tourists and workers at different establishments who were not the friendliest or the most pleasant. I enjoyed how often locals would greet us in such a friendly manner as we walked around in Naxos.

Expect to pay for expensive meals outside of gyros (we highly recommend Jimmy’s in Imerovigli for some of the best gyros we have ever had!) Most meals will run you around 20 euros if not more.

And lastly, I won’t go deep into the issue of overtourism but it is certainly a growing concern. It is believed to have taken away a lot of what used to make Santorini extra special. 

Snapshot Summary

In summary, Santorini could be for you if you want: 

  • a sense of luxury and are open to splurging a little
  • a unique experience of the caldera
  • breathtaking views of the villages along the cliffside
  • a sense of exploration as there is plenty of hiking that you could do

It may not be for you if you are not a fan of:

  • crowds of tourists
  • spending a premium on accommodations and food
  • getting around by foot and traversing the unique pathways and climbing stairs
  • constant sunshine with little to no shade
  • a less than authentic Greek experience 
Heart of Santorini


  • I highly recommend taking a private tour around the island especially if you are visiting for only a limited time.
  • Want to avoid the crowds and more touristy areas? Stay in Imerovigli! It sits high up on the island and has incredible views of the sunset.
  • Go to Oia earlier in the morning to avoid crowds. If you must head there for sunset, head there at least 2-3 hours before the sun sets.
  • Go to Jimmy’s for mouthwatering gyros.
  • Consider traveling to Santorini during the shoulder or off season where pricing for housing will drop and there are a bit less crowds.
  • Head to lesser known villages such as Pyrgos and Firostefani or unique spots such as the Heart of Santorini. Akrotiri is an archaeological site that we didn’t have a chance to visit but have heard good things about!


I originally thought I would lump both Santorini in Athens into this article but clearly I had a lot to say about Santorini.

Athens deserves its own entire write up because it exceeded our expectations. It is truly a unique metropolis experience. I would love to one day revisit in the future. Having only spent 2 short days there, I don’t feel I could speak to it as fully. However, be sure to follow my Instagram to see photos and some thoughts about our first impressions of Athens!

Final Thoughts

All in all, we enjoyed our trip and have no regrets about going! I’m glad we didn’t pass on Santorini. I also just feel grateful to have had the opportunity to go and make unforgettable memories with my partner (who took all of the photos in this post!).

Have you been to Santorini? If so, I would love to hear what you thought of it! If you haven’t been, do you feel compelled to go or is it a pass for you? 

Thank you for reading!


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