Santorini is one of the most famous romantic islands in the world due to its white-washed buildings, blue-domed churches, black sand beaches, and incredible landscape. But is Santorini worth it?
Is it really worth spending twice as much as other Greek Islands?
In this article, we will evaluate whether Santorini is worth it or not. We will discuss how much Santorini costs, whether it is too touristy, what the beaches are like, how many days you need in Santorini, and more.
But the short of it is, we think it is worth it for a few nights before moving on to other Greek islands.
Is Santorini Worth It? Overview
Santorini is one of the most visited islands in Greece for good reason. Over 3,000 years ago, a volcanic eruption created the famous half-moon shape of the island, resulting in stunning scenery.
The Santorini sunsets are famous, as are the red, black, and white sand beaches and white-washed buildings, which offer amazing views from terraces overlooking the Mediterranean. You can wander ancient pathways, enjoy delicious Greek cuisine, and indulge in amazing Greek wine on a honeymoon or romantic trip here.
The answer to this question depends on who you ask. While many people love Santorini, there are cons to being such a popular tourist destination. Some find it touristy, crowded, and pricey. Let’s look at Santorini’s pros and cons in more detail below.
Is Santorini Worth It or Too Touristy?
To be honest, it’s almost impossible for Santorini to live up to its worldwide hype. While the island is beautiful and offers an abundance of Instagram-worthy shots, it’s overrun by tourists, expensive, and not the only place in Greece with stunning sunsets, architecture, and beaches.
Whether Santorini is worth it or not will also depend on your idea of a perfect vacation. If it’s a place you have dreamed of and you don’t mind lots of tourists plus have the budget for it, then Santorini may be worth it for you.
One of the best ways to get the most out of Santorini is by going in the shoulder or off-season. Summer is the peak season, so that’s when prices will be at their highest and crowds will be overwhelming. You will find lower costs and fewer visitors on Santorini in spring or fall.
If you’re interested in an alternative to Santorini, check out Paros. (Be sure not to confuse it with Poros, which is by Athens.)
Paros is less than 100 miles from Santorini and is very similar, with white-washed buildings, blue-capped churches, incredible sunsets, and beautiful beaches. Plus, since it’s lesser known it is less crowded and cheaper than Santorini. You will also get more of a local feel here.
What Is So Special About Santorini?
Santorini has many attributes that set it apart from other islands in Greece. First, the history of how Santorini was formed is worth hearing.
The volcanic explosion created a caldera, the center of Santorini’s half-moon shape. When you are in Santorini, you will find that no matter where you stand, you will have an incredible view of the caldera.
The other special part of Santorini is the traditional architecture. No matter which part you visit, whether it’s Oia, the capital Fira, Akrotiri, or Megalochori, you will be greeted with vibrant colors and narrow pathways that take you back in time.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a special place if it didn’t have exceptional cuisine and wine. In Santorini, you won’t need to look very hard to find excellent Greek dishes.
Due to Santorini’s climate and rich volcanic soil, it also has arguably the best white wine in all of Greece. The volcanic soil gives the grapes a high acid content, which is referred to as the “white grape in red’s clothing” due to its full-bodied flavor.
The beaches in Santorini are also different than other Greek islands. While most islands in Greece have golden sand beaches, Santorini has a mix of red, black, and white pebbled beaches.
This unique landscape is another special element that sets Santorini apart from other travel destinations in the world.
Is Santorini Worth It For the Sunsets?
One of the main things visitors come to Santorini for is the picturesque sunsets. If you read online, people will say the best place to see these incredible sunsets is in the village of Oia (pronounced “eea”), but unless you rent out the whole village, expect to be fighting for a spot to get the perfect photo.
Seeing the sunset in Oia is definitely not worth it!
Instead try Imerovigli, the Akrotiri Lighthouse, Prophet Elias Monastery, rooftop bars in Fira, or Skaros Rock. The sunset from these areas is definitely worth it.
With that said, if you plan your trip in shoulder season or during the off-season, you will have a better chance of scoring a secluded spot to watch the sunset.
Is Santorini Worth It For the Beaches?
Santorini has several unique beaches that are worth spending a day at. You will find some beaches are great for families while others are for party-goers.
As mentioned earlier, you will find red, black, and white sand beaches that have dramatic backdrops. However, if you are looking for soft sandy beaches, then you will likely be disappointed. Most of the beaches in Santorini have rocks and pebbles, making it hard to sunbathe or walk barefoot on.
But when compared to other Greek Islands, Santorini isn’t really much of a beach destination and is not worth it if that is a priority.
Nonetheless, here are some of the most popular beaches in Santorini to check out:
Best Party Beach in Santorini: Perissa Beach
Perissa Beach is a popular party spot for backpackers and those who want to hang out at cool beach clubs. This black-pebbled beach has several good restaurants, budget-friendly hotels, and villas.
Perissa Beach can get pretty hectic during the peak season, but it still has a fun and lively atmosphere.
Best Family-Friendly Beach in Santorini: Kamari Beach
Kamari Beach is close to the airport and has several activities for families to enjoy. Since it is one of the most developed areas in Santorini, it can get touristy. On the plus side, Kamari Beach has a wide range of restaurants, bars, and accommodations to choose from.
One downfall is that the beach isn’t very forgiving on your feet. If you want to take a morning or evening stroll, it’s a good idea to wear sandals to protect your feet from the pebbles.
Most Colorful Beach in Santorini: Red Beach
Found on Santorini’s south coast, Red Beach is the only beach with a rust-red color. Red cliffs back the beach, and the water is a deep turquoise. This draws tourists from all over the world.
However, like Kamari Beach, it’s not a beach where you want to walk barefoot or lay down for too long. The rocks and pebbles on the shore can be uncomfortable.
Most Romantic Beach in Santorini: Eros Beach
Named after the Greek god of love and desire, Eros Beach is a romantic beach surrounded by white cliffs. Since there is no public transportation to Eros Beach, you will find nothing but peace and quiet. Renting a car is the best way to access this beach, which is worth it if you want to get away from the more touristy beaches in Santorini.
How Many Days Do You Need in Santorini?
You only need 3-4 days in Santorini to explore the island and enjoy the landscape. Since Santorini is more expensive and crowded than other islands in Greece, spending a week may be overkill.
It doesn’t take long to get tired of fighting for viewpoints and overpaying for food and accommodations. However, if you are willing to go during the shoulder or off-season, you may be able to extend your stay for a reasonable price.
Is Santorini Worth It?
So, is Santorini worth it or not? We think so, but only in small increments. Staying too long will be expensive, and you may get tired of the tourists. Spending 3-4 days to see the incredible sunsets, taste the wine, and visit the main attractions is plenty. Then you can move on to other Greek islands where everything this more affordable.
If you have decided that Santorini is worth it to you, here is our list of top honeymoon hotels in Santorini. If you’re considering other destinations in Greece, check out our articles Greece Honeymoon Planning Guide, Greece Honeymoon Packages & Resorts, Is Greece Expensive? and The Best Time to Visit Greece.