The best Greek islands to visit as a couple

Greece is a beautiful and romantic place to visit as a couple, but with so many islands, it’s hard to pick. These 3 islands stole our hearts and were the perfect 2-week couple’s getaway.

Greece is undoubtably one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  Just imagine what a country made up of mountainous islands sitting in the Mediterranean and sprinkled with white homes and colourful bougainvillea looks like.  Heaven, that’s what!  Greece is probably one of the most romantic and perfect places to visit as a couple.  Whether it’s for your honeymoon or just as a couple’s getaway, make sure you check out these Greek islands.

Bougainvillea tree Paros Greece
Carine’s favourite tree in Paros Greece, the bougainvillea tree

We visited these 4 places on a 2-week trip and had enough time to enjoy each of the islands and everything they had to offer.  Ultimately, your trip to Greece will probably start or end in Athens so we’ve included our recommendations for that beautiful ancient city too.

Best times to go

Greece becomes a tourist hotbed in the summer months.  May to August are the busiest.  This is usually because most Greeks from around the world head back to their motherland for vacation.

Wediditourway Paros Greece
Watching a romantic sunset in Paros, Greece

We found the best months to go are during the shoulder seasons, in April, September and October.  That’s when you’ll likely find cheaper accommodations, and less tourists around.

We were in Greece in early September, and found that it was still fairly busy.  If you want to be sure to have a more secluded getaway, the end of the month is probably better.

Getting around

We flew into Santorini and out of Athens.  To get between the islands, we simply hopped on a ferry that took between 2-5 hours to get from one island to the next.  We booked our ferry tickets the day before and had no problem with availabilities.  Obviously, if you’re going around during a busier period of the year, you may want to book ahead of time.

You can book your tickets at a travel agent’s office or online.  We found tickets were usually quite cheaper through a travel agent than online.  These little booths and offices are all over the centre of any island.  We took the Blue Star ferries and had a great ride each time.  Though we warn you, be patient with the boarding and disembarking processes.  They are somewhat chaotic!


This is what Greek postcard dreams are made of.  Santorini is one of the most photographed islands in Greece.  Everyone gushes over the sunsets in Oia, the views of the caldera and the cool beaches (we’re looking at you Red beach).

Oia Santorini Greece from above
A spectacular view of Oia in Santorini, Greece

Santorini will probably be the most expensive and the most touristic of the Greek islands you’ll visit.  It’s still worth it!  It’s super romantic and there are tons to see and do… you can also do nothing and just chill at your hotel or on a beach.  For more details about it, you can check out our full blog on Santorini.

We had 2 nights on Santorini, but 1.5 full days as our flight came in past midnight.  We could have used an extra night here to explore more beaches and do both of the day-hikes.  We only had the chance to do the one from Fira to Oia.


Paros is the cutest little island in Greece, and one of the most popular of the Cyclades.  It’s at the heart of the Aegean Sea, and perfect for romantic getaways.  You’ll probably get here through Parikia, which is where the port is.  A pretty good bus system will help you get around from one place to the next.  We recommend staying in Naoussa, where you have tons of hotels, restaurants and beaches.

Paros Island Greece
The beautiful white buildings of Paros, Greece

Things to do in Paros

Staying in Naoussa, you are well-located enough to easily see and do what you want.  We didn’t rent a car or scooter here, though most people do.  We found using the bus was convenient (and eco-friendly) enough for us.

We stayed on Paros for 4 nights, but you can easily do 3 nights at a leisurely pace.  It’s a small island, and can easily be explored without rushing.

Enjoy Naoussa

There are tons of delicious restaurants and boutiques all around Naoussa.  We would recommend taking an afternoon to walk around and check out all the little alleys.  While you’re going around, make sure you stop by the Venetian castle and explore it.

Paros Venecian castle Greece
The 15th century Venetian Castle of Paros, Greece

When the sun sets, head out to find some delicious food.  Our favourite restaurants on this island were:

  • Konstantza Cafe:  A great little spot for breakfast.  You can have one of the delicious and affordable set breakfast menus.  We loved the Greek omelette here.  We warn you, we love feta, so you’ll see a reoccurring theme here!
  • Soso:  A wonderful tapas restaurant.  There salad tester is out of this world, as well as their vegetarian quiche with feta and grilled veggies.
  • Allas:  This was Derek’s favourite spot.  He would have eaten here all day, every day.  He loved the chicken souvlaki.  Make sure you try the Naxos cheese rolls, the fries and the layered salad with tomatoes, cheese and bread.  Yum!
  • Minoa:  A classical Greek restaurant, set in a beautiful patio.  You can’t go wrong here.  Derek had the moussaka and I had the imam bayildi.  We shared the tsatsiki and fried zucchini.  Everything was super delish!


There is a cute little beach right in Naoussa called Piperi beach.  It’s not anything crazy, there are a few parasols, a restaurant and hotels there, but what we loved about it was that it was quiet, and had shade… free shade!  You’ll notice that most beaches will charge you 10-15 euros for a parasol and some lounge chairs.  Most of the time, the parasol will not even provide enough shade, so we would recommend skipping them!  Piperi is easy to get to, with clear and calm water, so it was our #1 choice on the island.

Piperi beach Paros Greece
Our favourite place to get a tan, Piperi beach in Paros, Greece

From Naoussa, you can hop on a ferry that will take you across the bay to Kolymbithres beach.  The water is crystal clear here, but the sand space is limited and covered with parasols.  There also not much shade available and it does tend to get crowded.  If you head here, we would recommend you go in the morning.  One really cool thing about this beach were the funky rock formations that are all around the coast.

Other beaches to check out are Monastiri beach, Santa Maria, Chrissi Akti (or Golden Beach).  They are accessible by local ferry or by bus.


Lefkes is in the middle of the island, high up on the mountains of Paros, and was the first capital of Paros.  Today, it’s a pretty popular spot because it’s so so cute!  You can walk around the narrow streets, admire the old washhouses, the adorable homes with bougainvillea and take in the gorgeous view of the sea and Naxos.  You just need 1-2 hours to take it all in, unless you really want to take your time.

Lefkes Paros Greece
The old village of Lefkes in Paros, Greece

There are churches and museums to visit in Lefkes, cute little boutiques and restaurants all around.  You can just walk around like we did.  We recommend putting down your GPS and getting lost in the beauty of this village.  Try going early in the morning, or toward the evening, because it get pretty hot up there.


Antiparos is just a short ferry ride from Paros.  A cute little island you can visit on a day trip.  We didn’t have a chance to do it, but next time we come to Paros, we’ll be there!


A short ferry ride from Paros will take you to Naxos.  Another cute Greek island worth exploring.  It’s actually the biggest and the greenest island in the Cyclades, and you know how much we love green space!  It is a naturally stunning island with high mountains, lush green gorges and valleys, and beautiful traditional villages on mountain tops.  Your entrance into Chora port Naxos will be something spectacular for sure!

Naxos sunset Greece
Every night in Naxos, we were treated to breathtaking sunsets

Things to do

We stayed on Naxos for 4 days, 4 nights, in Chora, and it was the perfect amount of time to explore, lounge around and take in the sights.

Apollo Temple

As you enter the port of Chora on Naxos, your eyes will naturally be drawn to this gorgeous and mysterious structure on the little islet.  This is the impressive marble gate of the temple of Apollo.  It stands in the spot, on Palatia islet, as it did since the 6th century BC.

Apollo Temple Naxos Greece
A must do, catching a sunset through the Apollo Temple’s Portara, in Naxos, Greece

The Apollo Temple is beautiful to visit at any time of the day, but we recommend going at sunset.  It will be pretty busy (most tour buses will be gone though) and you can try to watch the sun set through the structure.  Just be warned that most people will be standing there trying to get the same shot.  Our advice is take in the beauty of the sun through there, and then watch the sun set on the cliff side where there will be less people.

Sailing day

If you want to explore some less-known islands and beaches in and around Naxos, a sailing day is what you need.  But beware, as not all sailing companies are made equally.  That’s why we highly recommend touring with Xanemo Sailing.  With only 10 people on board, delicious food, stunning views, and the best hosts, you can’t go wrong.

Xanemo sailing boat sunflare Naxos Greece
Our best time in Naxos was aboard Naxos Sailing!

Most sail boats around Naxos will take you to Koufonisia, an over-touristy island.  Xanemo will likely take you to Iraklia, Schoinousa and Aliko beach, on Naxos, right by the protected cedar forest.  You may spot a turtle, or some dolphins, so make sure to bring a camera.  It is a perfect way to spend a day on the ocean!


After experiencing the beautiful beaches of Australia, we know we can’t find better.  We’ve stopped being beach snobs, and just enjoy being by the water.  Since we were staying in Chora, we were happy to be a 5-min walk away from St. George beach.  With calm, crystal clear waters, and smooth sand, it did the trick for us.

St-George beach Naxos Greece
Take a refreshing dip at St. George beach in Naxos, Greece

If you want to check out other beaches, Plaka beach, Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna beaches came highly recommended by locals.

Old town

Walking around and getting lost in the Old town of Chora is probably the best way to explore.  You will stumble upon tons of restaurants and bars.  You’ll “accidentally” walk into the cutest boutiques and shops.  You may even discover a medieval castle along the way.  The narrow streets in the mountain are the perfect setting for your afternoon adventure in the Old town of Chora.

Wediditourway Old town Naxoes Greece
Endless photo opportunities around every corner in the old town of Naxos, Greece

Eat to your heart’s content

Did you think we were going to a new island and we weren’t going to eat everything in sight?  It’s like you don’t even know us!  Luckily, there are tons of vegetarian options available on Naxos, and they’re all delicious.

  • To Elliniko:  This cute little restaurant has a beautiful garden where you can eat.  Set up under the garden lights, you will have a delicious, affordably-priced meal, in a magical setting.  We loved their zucchini croquettes with tsatziki, their stuffed red peppers, fried Naxos cheese and… everything we had!  There may be a line-up so reserve ahead of time.
  • Scirocco:  Situated in the roundabout in Chora, this restaurant is just awesome.  The waiter was actually pleasant (which is sometimes hard to find in Greece), the food was delicious and the beers were cheap!  We loved their fried Naxos cheese with honey and sesame seeds.
  • To Souvlaki tou MakiAnother spot Derek would have loved to eat at every day.  This cheap eats spot is actually just delicious!  As the name says, it’s all about souvlaki.  Their vegetarian one is out of this world!
  • Loukoumades:  You need to come here if you want to have the best loukoumades on Naxos.  The owner is super sweet, almost as sweet as his fried balls of dough! We tried the ones with chocolate and with cinnamon.. Both delish!
  • Anna’s Organic Shop and Garden cafe:  The service may be slow, but this cafe is cute and it’s always nice to find organic options.  Anna makes her jams at home, and they are delicious.  A great little spot for breakfast!


Your trip to Greece will either start or end in Athens because of major flights coming in and it of here.  We know it’s not an island, but it is beautiful and romantic, especially if you’re a history buff like Derek.

Acropolis at night Athens Greece 2
A view of the world famous Acropolis of Athens, Greece

Things to do

We spend 2 days & 2 nights here, and it was more than enough time to see and do everything.  We stayed in Koukaki, and it was a great spot, near all the bars and restaurants, and walking distance to the main Acropolis sites.

Step back in time at the historical monuments

There are a ton of historical monuments all around Athens for you to explore.  You can get your multi-tickets to the 6 major monuments at any one of them.  This ticket will set you back €30, but the sites are well-worth it.  Make sure you buy them at one of the lesser-visited sites like Hadrian’s Library or Temple of Olympian Zeus.

The tickets will allow you to visit all the sites once, over the next 5 consecutive days.  You can also get the €20 ticket for the main Acropolis site, if you want to only visit those temples.

The sites included in your multi-ticket are the Acropolis (the Parthenon and the Erechtheion) with its North and South Slopes.  You also get access to Hadrian’s Library, the Roman Agora, the Archaeological Site of Lykeion, and the Ancient Agora.  The Acropolis museum isn’t included, but the museums in the Ancient Agora and the Kerameikos cemetery are.

Travel tip:  The Acropolis is the most crowded of the Ancient sites.  To visit it, either go at opening, at 8am, or before closing, at 7pm.  Just make sure you get your tickets the day before at one of the less popular sites.  Also note that the hours of operation here are the summer hours.  They change in the winter.

Watch a sunset

The best spot we found to watch the sunset is on Mouseion Hill (or Muse Hill, or Lofos Muson), right by the Philopappos Monument.  From there, you can see the sun set over the city, and you get a beautiful view of the Acropolis.  The sun sets opposite the Acropolis, but the lightning is just magical.

Wediditourway Athens Greece
Watching the sunset over Athens, on Muses Hill in Greece

Explore the old town

Plaka is the oldest section of Athens and a beautiful part to visit.  The main streets are pedestrian, closed to traffic.  Still be sure to watch around because you have the odd speeding motorcycle or delivery truck coming through.

Plaka district Athens Greece
Sightseeing in Athens is not complete without taking a stroll though the Plaka district

The streets of Plaka are lines with boutiques, souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes.  It’s really a great place to sit around, people-watch and take in the beauty of this ancient city.


We loved all the restaurants we tried in Athens.  All the delicious food we had, at fairly affordable prices blew our minds.  Here are our 2 favourites:

  • Kalamaki bar:  This little restaurant is close to the action, and the food is delish!  We loved every single thing we had, from the greek salad to the souvlaki, the fries to the drinks.  Everything was amazing!
  • Riza Riza:  Right next to Kalamki, Riza Riza was a hit.  Their drinks were so good, the portions were large and filling, and the atmosphere was so much fun.  Affordable and delicious, just like we like it!

There you have it, the perfect 2-week itinerary for your romantic Greece getaway.  These islands can be fun, relaxing, romantic and the most beautiful experience yet.  Don’t forget to take some time to enjoy the moment, enjoy your surroundings and each other’s company!

Wediditourway Santorini Greece
Picturesque Santorini. The cutest little chapel in Greece

Have you been to any of these or any other Greek islands?  Which ones are your favourites for a couple’s getaway?

We put a lot of time and effort into the content we create.  Please like, comment and share, every action on your part helps us out tremendously and is very much appreciated.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.

The best Greek Islands to visit as a couple. What to do, where to stay, where to eat and all our tips to visit 3 beautiful and romantic Greek islands, and Athens.

Step back in time at the Acropolis in Athens

Walking through the streets of Athens and heading up towards the ancient Acropolis, it’s hard not to imagine how this fortress on the mountain was, once upon a time. Words can barely do the beauty of Athens justice, so take a look for yourselves!

Walking through the streets of Athens, Greece,  heading up towards the ancient Acropolis, it’s hard not to imagine how life was at this fortress on the mountain, once upon a time.  To know that centuries ago, historical figures like Homer, Plato, Socrates and others used to wander these slopes, heading to the Parthenon to worship the goddess Athena, the patron saint of the city, is a humbling thought, to say the least.

Founded over 3,400 years ago, Athens really does make you feel like you have travelled back in time.  With remnants of many different eras, Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman periods, every turn can bring you upon one marvellous site after another.  For the archeology buffs out there, this city is something to discover.

Acropolis at night Athens Greece 2
The Acropolis at night

The Acropolis, the Ancient Agora of Athens, Hadrian’s Library, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, take your pick.  At each site, you will find beauty the likes of none other than the goddess of beauty herself, Aphrodite.

Ancient Agora of Athens temple of Hephaestus Greece
The Temple of Hephaestus

After admiring this ancient city you will be happy to sit down and enjoy some of Greece’s best dishes.  Whether it’s a typical mouth-watering souvlaki or gyro (available in vegetarian choices, of course), a fresh Greek salad with delicious feta, or anything lathered in a healthy does of tzatziki, be prepared to un-knotch that belt.  Finish that off with some local ouzo, and count yourself lucky if you leave Athens, or Greece for that matter, without putting on a few pounds.  Though depriving yourself of these delicacies is unimaginable.

Acropolis Athens Greece flag
The Greek flag flying proudly atop the Acropolis

Words can barely do the beauty of Athens justice, so take a look for yourselves!




Temple of Athena Nike

Temple of Athena Nike Acropolis Athens Greece

Propylaea gate

Propylaea gate to the Acropolis Athens Greece

Theatre of Dionysus

Acropolis Theatre of Dionysus Athens Greece

Ancient Agora of Athens

Temple of Hephaestus

Hadrian’s Library

Temple of Olympian Zeus

We put a lot of time and effort into the content we create.  Please like, comment and share, every action on your part helps us out tremendously and is very much appreciated.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.

Step back in time at the Acropolis in Athens. Discover all the beauty and history of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.

Sail away with Xanemo in Naxos, Greece

No trip to the Greek islands would be complete without a sailing tour.  Who doesn’t dream of being sailed away on the Aegean Sea?  This is the dream-come-true day we had with Xanemo Sailing in Naxos.

No trip to the Greek islands would be complete without a sailing tour.  After all, who doesn’t dream of being sailed away on the blue waters of the Aegean Sea?  Letting the wind carry you away to islands that only a handful of people call home.  Places where time has stood still for ages and left the beauty of the land untouched.  This is the dream-come-true day we had with Xanemo Sailing in Naxos.

When we started looking for an island-hopping tour around Naxos, we knew what we wanted, and what we wanted to avoid.  We’ve had too many experiences being crammed into boats that are too small to carry everyone.  We know (and hate) being rushed off from one place to the next with barely enough time to take in the beauty of the place.  Worse of all, we never again want to be taken to a place that is so crowded with tourists, you can barely move (Hello Maya Bay, we’re talking about you!).  We wanted a tour that fit into our way of doing things.

wediditourway xanemo sailing on boat Naxos Greece
All smiles when sailing with Xanemo / photo credit Xanemo Sailing

We looked for a tour that has a personalized approach, that worked with the conditions of the day to make the best route.  We looked for a small group on the boat, where everyone could be comfy and get to talk to each other.  We wanted to go to secluded places that were still pristine.  We wanted to feel like we were the masters of our destiny, sailing the seas, free to explore as we wanted.

Xanemo sailing boat Naxos Greece
Xanemo’s sailboat ready to pull up anchor for the day

Luckily, we found Xanemo Sailing.  They checked off every single item on our wish list.  This became our favourite day of our trip to Greece.  How could it not?  We had a great captain, an amazing skipper, and a small crew to hang out with for a day.

Our day on the boat

We met Jerome, Depy and the rest of the group early in the morning, at 8:30, at the Naxos Marina.  The day was sunny, without a single cloud in the sky.  The perfect day to set out and explore the blue waters of the Aegean Sea.  We left the port and headed out to our first destination.

First stop: Iraklia

Usually, the boats that go around Naxos will take you to Koufonisia.  It’s supposed to be a really cute island right off Naxos.  Let the masses head there if they want.  We have better plans.  We are off to Iraklia.  This is what Naxos used to be like, before tourists, both foreign and domestic, discovered its beauty.

wediditourway Derek diving off xanemo sailing boat Naxos Greece
Dive in! / photo credit Xanemo Sailing

Iraklia is a tiny island of the Small Cyclades, right between Naxos and Ios.  It’s the smallest of the Cyclades, only 120 people live here, mainly fishermen and their families.  Once we get here, we set the anchor down, and jump into clear turquoise waters.

wediditourway Carine swiming underwater
Come to me, my precious.  The clearest waters to snorkel in

We are the only ship there to swim.  Just the 10 of us, and some locals.  Talk about the perfect way to jump into this trip.  With our snorkel masks on, we swim around the bay.  Clear, crisp and calm waves, a few tiny fish, and above all, refreshing waters to cool us down after our sunny journey here.

Iraklia Greece beach
The small island of Iraklia

We hear someone ask Depy how long we have to swim here.  Clearly, they are used to being rushed around on these boat tours too.  Our hostess just smiles and says “As long as you want”.  There is no set time-frame for our day, we can all decide how long we stay in each location.  Win!

The second stop: Schoinousa

Yeah…  We have no idea how to say the name of this island.  It’s teeny-tiny as well.  About 200 people live here, and yes, they are mainly fishermen too.  What we can tell you is that it’s absolutely beautiful.

Schoinousa beach xanemo sailing Greece
Clear waters at Schoinousa beach / photo credit Xanemo Sailing

The Xanemo sailboat anchors just inside the little bay of the island.  Depy points out to the beach.  There to the right, we can find a natural “swimming pool” – clear waters that go up to your belly, and a sandy floor perfect for walking around.  To the left, we have a flat rock platform where we can spot tons of fish, clams and snails.  The water there is shallow but floating is easy.

clear waters Naxos Greece
Have you ever seen water so clear?  We haven’t!

Here, we have about 40 minutes to float around, sunbathe on the deck, chill in the shade of the trees on the shore, or walk up the hill.  Once we get back on board, lunch is served.  Copious amounts of homemade tsatsiki, grilled pita, Greek salad, pork souvlaki  (for Derek), and spanakopita (spinach pie), just for me!  All we can say is yum!  An added bonus, all drink are part of the price you pay to do the tour.  No surprise at the end of the day.  No hidden additional charges.  Cheers to that.

Final stop: Aliko Beach

Once we’ve all had our fill, we head to the last beach of the day.  Aliko beach is located on Naxos island, but it’s quite hard to get to.  Mainly, locals go here to enjoy the calm waters and sweet views.

Aliko Beach Naxos Greece
Xanemo bringing us to the secluded Aliko Beach

This beach is surrounded by the Mediterranean’s only protected cedar forest.  On one side of the beach, you can see an old hotel, abandoned mid-construction, that has been standing there for 50 years.  The hotel looks like an ancient structure with its many arches.  On the other side, you have these impressive hills jutting out of the island.  Paradise views all around.

We jump in one last time and swim around the beach.  Clear blue waters as far as the eyes can see.  A perfect way to cap off the day.  Goodbye fishies, goodbye cedar trees, goodbye epic mountains.  This was a perfect day.

Sailing back to port

snacks on xanemo sailboat Naxos Greece
Don’t worry about getting hangry, Jerome and Depy have you covered! / photo credit Xanemo Sailing

Back on the boat, we’re offered more refreshments – fresh fruits, some more delicious cookies and we’re off to the port.  Sitting back on deck, Derek and I talk about the day.  The dolphin we saw in the morning (did we forget to mention that?), the turtle we didn’t see (Derek has bad luck with this) but everyone else did, the epic waters we sailed in, the kindness of our hosts, the sweet new friends we made, and these memories we will cherish forever.

Xanemo sailing boat view Naxos Greece
The beautiful coast of Naxos aboard Xanemo Sailing

Staring out at the beauty around us, we are constantly reminded how lucky we are to be on this journey, and how we are not alone in this crazy dream we’re living.  In fact, early in the day, we sat with Jerome and Depy to chat about life on the boat.  In talking with them, we realize why were so drawn to them from the beginning.

Xanemo Sailing – Jerome and Depy

Xanemo sailing Jerome and Depy Naxos Greece
Jerome and Depy, you wish you were as cool as they are!

Jerome and Depy founded and have been operating Xanemo Sailing for the last 3 years.   They set sail every day.  Yup, 7 days a week, for 6 months out of the year.  This 30-something couple met here on the island in a happenstance meeting.  He’s French, she’s Greek and they are one awesome team.

They started this as a way to make their dreams of finding balance and happiness come true.  To sail every day, to meet new and exciting people, to share with them the beauty of their home.  That is what drives them every day.  Best of all, they don’t forget to give back – they worked with the Make a Wish foundation to take some kids out on this epic day as well.

Xanemo sailing boat sunflare Naxos Greece
Clear skies, smooth sailing near Naxos

Not only do they offer day cruises around the islands, but they can also organize private charters.  Needless to say, next time we’re in Greece, this is what we’ll be going for.  We only spent the day with this awesome couple on their beautiful boat, but we can only imagine what a few days, or even a week would be like.

If you’re looking for a boat tour around Naxos, we can’t say enough good things about Xanemo Sailing.  You’ll avoid the crowds, you’ll see beautiful bays, beaches and islands, meet a few new friends, and best of all, you will get to spend time with an awe-inspiring couple.

We put a lot of time and effort into the content we create.  Please like, comment and share, every action on your part helps us out tremendously and is very much appreciated.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.

Sailing away with Xanemo in Naxos, Greece.  Everything you need to know to have a great time exploring the Greek islands around Naxos.

The best of Santorini on a budget

Santorini is Greece’s most renowned island. Gaining access to paradise comes at a price. We found some hacks to save money & have a great time in Santorini.

Santorini is probably Greece’s most renowned island.  We all see posts of Santorini pop up on our feed, always looking so fabulous and giving us major FOMO.  After all, this Greek island is what postcard dreams are made of.  Who doesn’t dream of coming here and enjoying the good life?  As you can imagine, gaining access to paradise comes at a price.  Luckily, we found a few hacks to help you save some money and still have a great time in Santorini.

Timing is everything

This is true for most beautiful but touristic places.  There’s always a sweet spot in the calendar to head out there.  Summer months, from May to August, are the busiest in Santorini.  It’s packed with tourists, cruise ships and the prices are sky-high.

Santorini Fira church blue roof Greece
One of many churches lining the cliffside of Santorini

So if you go during the shoulder seasons, in April, September and October, you’ll likely find cheaper accommodations and food.  An added bonus is that you probably won’t have to fight the masses to see the best sites.

Location, location, location

Where you stay will greatly impact your budget in Santorini.  Oia is probably the place that will set you back the most – it’s Santorini’s most famous town.  If you want to stay in a good location, Fira, Firostefani and Imerovigli are super well-situated.  They also offer amazing views of the sunset, but for a fraction of the price of Oia.  If you want to pinch a few more pennies, you’ll find cheaper accommodations if you don’t have a caldera view in these towns.  Plus, if you find a place that has breakfast included for a reasonable price, snag it quick.

Santorini Fira white buildings from above Greece
The cliffside town of Firostefani

If that’s still not enough and you want a bigger bargain, head to the east coast villages of Kamari and Perissa.  They are beach locations, they offer views of the dramatic cliffs and you are close to the ruins of Ancient Thira.  Plus, this island is so small that you can grab a bus to take you to the main station in Fira in 20 minutes or less.

Good eats for cheap

Greek food is probably one of our favourite cuisines… ok, we say that about all food!  Don’t skimp out on eating your fair share of tzatziki, feta and local fruits and veggies.  Food in Oia is going to be overpriced, so we recommend you not eat there.  In Fira, Firostefani and Imerovigli, food is much more affordable, especially went you leave the main areas and find your typical gyro stands.

They have delicious local and fresh fare, for cheap.  Tons of veggie options too, especially when it comes to salads and starters.  Another good option is to get the sets for 2 people.  They have a ton of variety so you can taste a bit of everything, and they are reasonably-priced.  Bon appétit!

Free things to do

This is one of the first things we look up when we’re going to an expensive place.  Why?  Because there’s usually a bunch of fun things to do that don’t need to cost you a penny.  We’re not big on partying, so this is our fun!

Hike between Fira and Oia

Hike from Fira to Oia Oia sign Santorini Greece
This way to Oia, only 2 hours to go

Our #1 recommendation is to hike the path between Fira and Oia.  It’s a 12km coastal walk.  It’s long.  It’s sometimes tough.  But it’s always beautiful.  It’ll take you a good 3-4 hours (more if you want to snap pics around every corner like we did).  It’s the perfect way to spend a morning.  Just start early because the sun gets brutal.  Wear good walking shoes, sunscreen and bring water.  There are not too many spots that sell the liquid gold along the path.

Hike from Fira to Oia cliffside Santorini Greece
Some of the best views on the hike between Fira and Oia

Cliff jump at Amoudi Bay

Once you get to Oia, after your 3-hour hike, cool down by jumping into Amoudi Bay, located just below Oia.  Be warned, there are about 300 steps to get down there.  This is a local hotspot, and because most tourists don’t know about it, it won’t be too busy.  This adorable fisherman’s village has some cliffs you can jump off and cool down in the warm Aegean sea.  The ultimate reward after a long hike!

Beach hopping

Santorini is not known for its beaches, but they are still pretty awesome to visit.  Just be warned, they are often pebble beaches, so forget any ideas of lying on soft white sandy beaches.  You can totally grab a beach chair, but that will set you back about €10-15.

Kamari beach Santorini Greece
Kamari beach, a beautiful black pebble beach

Kamari beach is probably the most popular, with a dramatic cliff to the side, and black volcanic pebbles.

Perissa beach has black sand and is quite beautiful.

The Red Beach is small, but cool-looking, just be warned that it’s quite a hike to get to and it gets pretty crowded.

Watch a sunset or two

Ok, so everyone will tell you to watch the sunset at Oia Castle, but we’re not the type who follow what people say.  We always to it our way.  Truth is, sunsets in Oia are beautiful, but they’re HELLA-CROWDED.  Like insane amounts of people who are fighting to get the exact same picture of the sunset, above everyone’s head.  It gets loud and pushy.  Apparently, people even clap when the sun sets… That’s really not our scene.

Firostefani wediditourway Santorini Greece
Beautiful sunset from Firostefani with Skaros Rock

If you’re looking for an awesome spot to watch the sunset, we highly recommend Firostefani, Imerovigli or even Fira.  Much smaller crowds, better views with Skaros Rock, and an overall more enjoyable experience.

Climb up Profitis Ilias

If you love hiking, this is another free 3-hour hike for you.  Profitis Ilias is the tallest mountain on the island of Santorini, right between the villages of Perissa and Kamari.  And as you can imagine, it offers some beautiful views of the island.  Just like the other hike, wake up early, start in Kamari and finish in Perissa.  There’s a beach reward waiting for you at the end.

On your way up, stop at the Zoodochos Pigi spring, the only site with fresh water on the entire island. Chill a bit there, take some pics, and keep going with your bad self.

Once you make it to the top, you can visit Ancient Thera (€2), a well-preserved excavation site of an antique city, abandoned in the 8th century.

Drink tap water… with a Lifestraw

Ok, so you can’t actually drink the tap water on Santorini straight up.  That’s why our biggest recommendation will always be to have your own reusable bottle and filtration/sterilization device.  There are a ton out there, but our favorite it still the Lifestraw.  It’ll save you money on buying plastic bottles, and you’ll be saving the planet by reducing the amount of plastic you use.

Lifestraw, the best way to reduce the use of plastic water bottles

Visit Akrotiri

We ran out of time to do this, but if you love ancient ruins and archeological sites, Akrotiri is the place for you.  This ancient city was buried underneath volcanic ashes during the eruption of 1627 BC.  A lot like its Italian cousin, Pompeii, its been well-preserved by the ashes.

Ok, this isn’t free but with an entrance fee of €5 (€3 for students), it’s pretty cheap and awesome!  You can access Akrotiri by bus from Fira or by car.  It’s actually right next to the infamous Red Beach, so you can make a whole trip out of it.

Get around like a local

The cheapest way to explore, and probably our favourite, is walking!  The towns are small and accessible enough that you can do it well.  It does however get really hot, so if you want to get out of the scorching heat, we recommend the bus.  This is a great way to get from one town to the next… Unless you’re doing the hike!

The local bus system on Santorini is awesome and runs island-wide.  Depending on where you’re staying, you may have to change at Fira for some journeys.  This is why we recommend staying in Fira, or Firostefani, so you avoid any transfers.  At around €2 per trip (€1.80 to be exact), it’s a really cost-effective way of seeing pretty much everything.

Santorini Bay ferries Greece
The view of Santorini Caldera with ferries and cruise ships

Taxis are also reasonably priced – except if you’re leaving the airport or port.  They will charge you a hefty fee.

Finally, you can also rent a scooter or a quad.  They go for as little as €20 for 24 hours.  They’re a great way of getting around too, but seeing how certain people drive on the island, we gladly skipped out on this.  Also, you know us, we’re eco-friendly, so we loved taking the bus.

Most buses pass every 20 minutes or half-hour, but the schedule changes with the high or low season.  The first time you are at the main bus station, in Fira, make sure to snap a picture of the timetables.  You should be set for the rest of your trip.

Extra tips for saving money

Bring your own sunscreen.  It’s crazy expensive on the island… actually mostly every commodity is over-priced on most islands, so save yourself the trouble and bring your own.  Even bring extra, in case you end up running out of it, especially if you head to the beaches or on a boat tour.

Skip the Fira Cable Car.  No need to take it down to the port of Fira.  There’s not much to see there, and like we mentioned, cruise ships crowds come in there so avoid it.

Santorini port Greece
The port of Fira, on Santorini

Do not ride the donkeys.  We know it always looks like fun to ride animals… actually, we don’t know.  Maybe it’s a lazy person cop-out.  But these animals are usually tired, mistreated and over-worked.  You have legs.  Use them.

Drink on the cheap.  If you like to drink, kind of like we do, it’s cheaper to drink at restaurants or go to backpacker bars with BOGO happy hours.  Beer is pretty cheap in markets, but stronger alcohol is very expensive.  Also, if you’re lucky, you may get a carafe of wine or alcohol at no additional charge at the restaurant.  They sometimes offer dessert for free instead.  Now this is a happy ending we can get used to!

Travel cheap from the airport.  If you fly into Santorini, take the K-Tel bus for at most €2 to reach your accommodations.  Taxis at the airport are super expensive and they don’t negotiate.  They wanted to charge us €25 for a 10 minute ride.  No thanks!

Pick a hotel with breakfast included.  In most restaurants we found, a breakfast (an omelette with toast, no drink included) went for about €10.  Fresh OJ set you back €5-6, as did coffee.  It ends up costing about €25-30 for just an ok breakfast.  Save yourself the trouble and either find a hotel with breakfast, or get a place with a kitchenette and make your own.

Extra tips for having a good time

Bring comfy walking shoes.  Most of the streets are uphill, and cobblestone, so not the best place for your heels.  Though we did see some brave ladies trying to look cute in heels… not their finest hour.

Dress in layers.  It gets chilly and windy at night, so dress in layers, and maybe bring a windbreaker.

Wear sunscreen.  Ok, it’s actually windy all the time, so you don’t feel the sun so much.  But after seeing what it did to Derek after a few hours, we highly recommend you wear sunscreen.  Like all the time!

If you want to explore the picturesque cliffs covered in white and blue homes.  Or if you want to get “lost” in the alleyways, just because they’re the perfect backdrop for a photoshoot.  Or even gaze over those perfect blue church domes overlooking immaculate blue waters, this is the place for you.  Santorini has everything your Grecian dreams are made of.  Hopefully, now you can enjoy the island without breaking your bank.

We put a lot of time and effort into the content we create.  Please like, comment and share, every action on your part helps us out tremendously and is very much appreciated.

Love our blog? Sign up to get our latest posts, and help keep our dream going

You can also help us by pinning it for others to find.

All the tips and tricks to explore Santorini on a budget. Recommendation on free things to do and how to spend your time in Santorini while staying on budget.