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How To Visit Santorini On A Budget, Because It Can Be Done!

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You may think that these two words, Santorini budget, DO NOT go together. Well, neither did I until I visited the beautiful Greek Island of Santorini recently.

Don’t get me wrong, Santorini can be an expensive holiday destination, those cave hotels in the side of Oia do not come cheap and now that it’s so popular with honeymooners there are even more luxuries in Santorini on offer, but Santorini on a budget can be done!

Santorini has alternative, budget accommodation, there are cheap hotels in Santorini! It has lots of free activities, a cheap public bus system and there plenty of places to go for happy hour in Santorini. All of these things are perfect if you’re backpacking Greece and don’t want to miss out on this famous island, or you are looking for cheap holidays to Santorini!

Santorini on a Budget!

Santorini on a budget
Keep Reading to see how you can visit Santorini on a budget!

Is Santorini more expensive that Mykonos??

To help understand – how expensive is it to visit Santorini? Let me share with you that I was in Santorini on a organised tour around the Greek Islands with Travel Talk Tours, previous to Santorini we had been in Mykonos and the price of drinks and food there really shocked me because it was expensive!

Our guide told us at the start of the trip that although Santorini is more visited than Mykonos, Santorini is actually cheaper than Mykonos! This surprised me too, but I was glad to hear it and after visiting both islands I can tell you it’s true!

Now that we know that, let’s go into more detail on how to visit Santorini on a budget!

Getting to Santorini on a Budget

Santorini By Air 

Santorini has an airport so it’s a no brainer to check out flights on Skyscanner to and from Santorini. However, because of Santorini’s popularity and location, these are most likely to be quite expensive.

As an alternative to getting cheap flights to Santorini, even if you don’t plan on visiting Athens (although I recommend you do as I loved it, you can read here why I loved Athens), I would recommend looking at flying into Athens and then getting a second flight to Santorini instead of a direct flight to Santorini as it may be cheaper.

If you’re not sure how to get to Santorini, check out this post Athens to Santorini – should you fly or take the ferry for an insightful look at both options and experiences.

Santorini By Boat

Alternatively, a brilliant way to get to and from Santorini is by ferry from Athens! I got a ferry from Mykonos to Santorini and another from Santorini to Ios and it’s possible to get a ferry from Athens to Santorini which is probably the best way to get to Santorini on a budget. I found the boats in Greece to be comfy and really good boats. 

Let’s Ferry is a great website to use to book your boats in Greece on, it’s best to book in advance to make sure you get the best price and as you can see the prices really do vary. I bet the €33.00 tickets don’t last long!

Santorini on a budget, Ferry prices from Athens to Santorini on Lets Ferry
As you can see on Lets Ferry the prices really vary but they do help with getting to Santorini on a budget!
Santorini on a budget, Oia Sunset

Be sure to read up on buying a sim card in Greece so you know the best sim card to get when you arrive!

Budget Accommodation in Santorini

My biggest tip on how to keep prices down on a trip to Santorini and where to stay in Santorini is not to stay in the popular town of Oia. Instead, choose Fira which is the capital of the island. Oia is amazing and well worth a visit but it’s so busy and touristy and honestly, money aside, in my opinion, it is better to stay in Fira anyway.

Fira has a really great vibe, it still has gorgeous buildings and a great sunset spot but it also benefits from plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars that are not as ‘glam’ as in Oia, aka, their prices are lower.

Cheap Hotels in Santorini

We stayed in the New Haroula Hotel in Fira and I really liked it.

The rooms were nice, it’s in a great location with a good swimming pool, an ok breakfast, and prices are around £80-£100.00 a night for a twin/double room. £50.00 per person per night in Santorini isn’t bad is it and not what you might expect if you thought that all hotels were hundreds of pounds a night! You can check availability at New Haroula Hotel here!

The other option is to look into a Santorini package holiday and Santorini deals. You may get a cheap all inclusive holiday in Santorini which will include food and therefore help you visit Santorini on a budget.

Budget Hostels in Santorini

If you’re looking for where to stay in Santorini on a budget and cheap accommodation in Santorini, Santorini has hostels perfect for this and lots of them too!

Santorini is set up for backpackers backpacking the Greek Islands! I can’t recommend any hostels personally but (which I use to book my accommodation) and are showing a great selection of hostels in Santorini so head there to check them out!

Budget Camping in Santorini

Camping is also an option in Santorini for even cheaper accommodation in Santorini. Santorini Camping is located just out of Fira, it’s recommended in Marco Polo’s guide book and I was told by one of my twitter followers that she stayed there and really liked it!

Additionally, you really don’t need to stay in Santorini that long, if you’re on a trip around Europe or around the Greek Islands, 2-4 Days in Santorini is enough.

Santorini on a budget, New Haroula Hotel
This is the pool at the New Haroula Hotel in Fira! I really recommend it!

Things To Do In Santorini on a Budget

Here are some reasonably priced tours in Santorini that you can book in advance to get the best price:


Any good budget destination needs to have some free things to do and Santorini does. There are some unique and free things to do in Santorini which I found with the help of my Marco Polo Santorini Guide Book.

Take a ferry to Thirasia – In the guide, it says that early morning on almost every day of the week, a small boat ferries tourists and workers from Oia to Riva on the neighbouring island of Thirasia. This is a free ferry service and returns back to Oia in the afternoon. Thirasia used to be part of Santorini before the volcanic eruption, it’s very tranquil and offers great views of Santorini.

Wine Tasting in a quaint Village – Santorini is full of wineries which I didn’t expect either and the tiny Gavalas Winery in the small village of Megalochori invites visitors to taste their wines for free!

Walk from Fira to Oia – One way to save on transport costs (more on those below) and really see the island is to walk from Fira to Oia. It will take a good few hours and this is something I really wish I had done!

Visit the Excavations of Ancient Thera – From November to March on every first Sunday of the month the Excavations are open to the public for free.

Visit the Beaches – An obvious one but Santorini has so many beaches including a red beach and many black beaches. It’s also worth noting that on most beaches in Santorini the sunbeds are free as long as you have a drink or food at the restaurant who owns them which means you can get a drink or just something small to eat if you don’t want to spend much money.

Related Post: 21 Must See Beaches in Corfu Island, Greece!

Hire a Quad Bike – This isn’t free and it’s not really budget but if you’re going to spend money on activities in Santorini I would really recommend hiring a quad bike in Santorini to explore one of the best islands in Europe. We got a bike for 24 hours for €40.00 and filled it up with €10.00 worth of petrol so between 2 people the cost wasn’t that high. We had so much fun driving around and you can read about where to go and my tips for hiring a quad bike in Santorini in this post.

The Marco Polo Santorini Guide Book also suggests resisting being sold an organised excursion because most places can be visited on your own by public bus or taxi often cheaper than a tour if there are a few of you, and I certainly agree with this based on my experience in Santorini.

Santorini on a budget, Oia Santorini Blue
Santorini on a budget, Black Beach Santorini

Eating and Drinking on Budget in Santorini

Eating in Santorini doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s the same as the accommodation, sure there are plenty of fancy restaurants but it is possible to get lunch for around €5.00-10.00 and a good main meal for €7.00-12.00, if not less.

Plus Gyro’s become your best friend when in Greece on a budget as they are just a couple of euro, so filling and so good!

If you want some specific places to eat in Santorini on a budget the following recommendations plus more are in the Santorini Marco Polo Guide Book:

The Stamnas Taverna in Fira

Souvlaki Stop in Kamari

Gyro Place in Persia

Thomas Grill in Oia

The Blue Sky in Oia

Santorini Happy Hour

When it comes to drinking and nightlife if you want a good night out be sure to visit Fira!

We got beers from the shop to watch the sunset with which are only around €2.00 each for a big can of Mythos beer. I would then recommend checking out the happy hours on offer as they run until quite late into the evening.

In the bars, drinks are a bit more, especially cocktails so sticking to beer is more budget-friendly as it is everywhere but the prices are still nothing like Mykonos!

Santorini on a budget, Greek Salad on Beach in Santorini

Getting Around Santorini on a Budget

Santorini has a really good public bus system which I didn’t expect and therefore makes it really cheap to visit and get around Santorini.

There is a public bus that runs from the main port to Fira so that ensures you do not need to get a taxi from the port to where you’re staying. The public bus also serves the whole island including the popular places of Fira, Oia, Kamari, Perissa. Tickets are either €1.80 or €2.30 one way depending on the journey.

For more information have a look at the public bus website here.

And if you’re still looking for budget hotels in Santorini, see this list of cheap hotels in Oia Santorini.

I hope this post helps show you that you can visit Santorini on a budget! I was pleasantly surprised when I got there and realised this, although it made me annoyed because I could have visited earlier than I did!

To SEE my trip to Santorini and to help convince you that you need to visit, have a look at my YouTube video here!

This post is in collaboration with Marco Polo Guides however all opinions and thoughts are my own.



Sunday 16th of June 2019

Wonderful article! Thanks for putting this together. Just what I was looking for!!


Sunday 16th of June 2019

Good to hear :)

Chris Slack

Thursday 7th of February 2019

Love this! Santorini is one of my favorite places in the whole world (still)! People don't realize that you can actually stay in Santorini cheaply if you avoid certain areas. I stayed there with some friends when I was studying abroad in Greece and we stayed on the beach side of the island. Housing was much cheaper there and we just took the bus to Fira and Oia.

Love your pictures! They make me miss this island even more!


Thursday 7th of February 2019

Thank you for reading and commenting! Glad you like the post and agree! It’s so good you stayed there when studying! What an experience!8’ keen to go back for sure!!:D


Saturday 26th of January 2019

Santorini can defo be done on a budget! I stayed in Santorini Camping in a dorm room, it’s was a wonderful site with a great bar and swimming pool all for just £20 a night! Walking distance to all the bars and restaurants as well! Can’t wait to visit this beautiful island again in May!


Saturday 26th of January 2019

That’s so good! I saw that advertised, I think I mentioned it in this too? Really good to hear and to hear that you’re going back! :)


Monday 30th of July 2018

For cheap flights, check out Norwegian Air. We got a direct Gatwick-Santorini return, first week of June for £79. You need to book immediately the flights are released (usually a year in advance); the prices go up a week later. We bought the outbound flight (£35) one week, and a week later got our return (£44).


Monday 30th of July 2018

Ooh wow that’s so good!! Thanks for the tip!!