Planning a trip to Greece & wondering how many days in Santorini make for the perfect trip? Discover how many days you need for every type of trip & traveler!
Researching our upcoming trip to Greece and Malta has reminded me of the typical questions I usually ask at the start of trip planning. Simple and basic questions like how many days in Santorini is ideal, how to get between destinations, the best area to stay, and so on.
It’s been a while since I’ve been somewhere new, so this was a nice reminder on how I/Abroad with Ash can provide insight and beneficial information. I’ve taken to jotting down questions I find myself Googling so I can provide that same information to you on destinations I know well. There will be a number of posts in the coming weeks with answers to simple, but very important, questions. The first of these posts will take a look at how many days in Santorini will make for the perfect trip.
The answer will definitely depend on what type of traveler you are, the style of trip you're looking for, and your overall budget. We will consider all these things and more when discussing how many days in Santorini is ideal.
How many days in Santorini for the romantic getaway | 5 days
Whenever I picture a romantic getaway, I envision drawn out dinners with spectacular views, leisurely boat rides, and evening strolls. A vacation where you make a point to not overstuff your itinerary and instead slow down and enjoy each other and your surroundings. Santorini fits the bill perfectly for this type of trip. There’s a reason why it’s one of the most popular honeymoon destinations!
How many days in Santorini makes for the perfect romantic getaway? I would say 5 days hits the sweet spot. The views in Santorini are some of the best I’ve seen in my entire life. You’ll want multiple days just to soak it all in. Five days will allow you to do just one or two activities a day and spend the rest of the time lounging by the pool, enjoying your morning coffee without having to rush, plenty of cocktail and relaxation breaks, and long strolls.
Book a romantic catamaran cruise one day, go wine tasting another, hike from Fira to Oia, checkout the historical Akrotiri sight, wander the medieval village of Pyrgos, gaze up at Santorini from below at Ammoundi Bay, and spend an evening at an open air cinema.
You can easily fit everything on my list of the 10 BEST things to do in Santorini over a five-night stay. More importantly, you will also have the luxury of not being rushed and have the ability to revisit a few favorite spots.
If you want extra time in Santorini, I would make sure to book a hotel with an excellent pool. The island is small, and you will have checked off everything on list in four or five leisurely days. Having a nice pool to relax at will be a nice break from the tourist activities.
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HOW MANY DAYS IN SANTORINI FOR THE WHIRLWIND, JUST SEE THE HIGHLIGHTS, TOUR | 2 DAYS
Many tourists that visit Santorini just want to see the views and check it off their bucket list. In fact, many people only get to experience Santorini as a quick cruise stop (which just kills me…I can’t imagine only spending a few hours here).
How many days in Santorini is the absolute minimum for the quickest of itineraries? I would strongly say two full days are required to get the gist of island. Even if you do nothing during your time in Santorini except take in the views and wander the main towns for Fira and Oia, I would still stand firm that you need at least two nights.
Anyone that only books one night in Santorini will be kicking themselves that they don’t have another night to enjoy dinner overlooking the ocean from 1,000 feet above sea level or have a few additional hours to get some of the best pictures you will ever take.
If you’re not the “wander and just take it all in” type traveler, you can jampack your itinerary to see the top sights in two full days. Visiting Oia and Fira are a must. Lunch at Ammoundi Bay is a memorable experience and won’t take too much time out of your day.
With only two days in Santorini, your biggest decision will be to decide between a half day catamaran cruise to experience the island from sea level or to visit the historical sights on the island. Akrotiri is a must for many historians. It’s an ancient city perfectly preserved from the ash of the 1630 B.C. volcanic eruption. Pyrgos is the hilltop medieval city that used to be the capital. It’s a joy to wander around and much less crowded than Fira and Oia.
I personally would go for the catamaran cruise. The views and the overall experience were unforgettable. We did this cruise and can’t recommend it enough.
Additional cruise options
How many days to spend in Santorini for the budget traveler | 2 days
If you are a budget traveler, you’ll want to spend the majority of your time at other, less touristy, Greek islands. Compared to American standards, Santorini isn’t necessarily priced high. Cocktails with a view are $10 to $15. Dinner mains will be $25 to $35 at a mid-range restaurant with a view. This is no different than many cities in the US, but when you compare these prices to other islands, you will find your dollar will go a lot further elsewhere in Greece.
I experienced a bit of sticker shock when I arrived in Santorini after enjoying how affordable neighboring Paros was. Jake and I were shocked that we could order two appetizers, two mains, dessert and a bottle of wine for $50 to $60. You don’t have the shocking views of Santorini sitting 1,000 feet above sea level, but the charming boat harbors and cozy patio seating was just as memorable (well almost…I’d say the food consistently was the star of the show in Paros). Keep in mind that Paros is gaining popularity and what I would call a mid-priced island. There are plenty of other islands that are cheaper than Paros.
For the budget traveler, I would recommend two days. This will give you enough time to fully enjoy the views and atmosphere of Santorini, fill your camera memory card with insane shots, and check Santorini off your bucket list. If you get a high from finding a deal or spending as little money as possible, you will want to move on to the other islands as soon as possible…but anything less than two days is setting yourself up for disappointment.
How many days in Santorini for a first trip to Greece | 2-3 days
You’re finally taking your first trip to Greece and asking how many days in Santorini is required when there is so much you want to see in this incredible country. Two to three nights will be sufficient to get a taste of the island before moving on.
Santorini is truly unique. The views will blow your mind, the history is long (you can visit the remains of a city that is 3,500 years old at Akrotiri), and the list of activities from photoshoot excursions, to wine tasting and catamaran cruises will make for some difficult decisions on what to include on your lightning fast visit.
I make a point to drive home the uniqueness of Santorini because it should not be skipped on a first trip to Greece. Whereas some islands have a similar feel, like Mykonos and Paros, Santorini is one of a kind and is sure to leave a lasting impression.
If you just want to see the views, take an evening catamaran cruise, and wander the streets of Fira and Oia, 2 days will be plenty. If you want to do the six mile hike from Fira to Oia, visit other areas of the island like the medieval hilltop city of Pyrgos, or just have time to enjoy your hotel pool overlooking whitewashed buildings and turquoise water, then I would say three days.
How many days to spend in Santorini for the slow traveler | 5 to 7 days
If slow travel is your preferred style, you could easily stay five to seven days in Santorini. If you want to have a different sight or activity to do every day, then stick with five. The island is small and there isn’t a long list of things to do. You could actually see all the main sights in two to three very rushed days…but you’re a slow traveler so that’s not going to fly…which is why you will stretch a rushed three-day itinerary to five relaxed days.
If you booked a spectacular hotel and want time to lounge by the pool as you look out onto the turquoise waters and whitewashed buildings, go for seven days.
Five days allows you time to see all the sights and even revisit a few places. Seven days will make your visit more of a true vacation where you don’t have to have activities planned, want the luxury of sleeping in, and plan your day around what restaurants and shops you would like to visit.
I hope this post helps you decide how many days in Santorini will be the perfect amount for your trip. I often forget that one of the first things I ask myself when planning a trip is how many days to stay where.
To sum it up, plan on 5 nights for a romantic getaway, 2 nights for the quickest of itineraries and budget travelers, 2 to 3 nights for a first trip to Greece, and 5 to 7 nights for slow travelers. Your planning should be off to a good start now that you’ve decided the length of your Santorini stay.
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Have you been to Greece? How many days in Santorini do you think makes for the perfect trip? Let me know in the comments below!