We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Santorini - May 2009 - Some (useful) info & Vanilia IS open

London, UK
Level Contributor
52 posts
67 reviews
Save Topic
Santorini - May 2009 - Some (useful) info & Vanilia IS open

Am currently in Santorini (and have been for almost a week) and thought I'd share some observations/advice I wish I'd known...I hope it doesn't come across as negative, Santorini is beautiful but I also feel like I was labelled a 'money pinata' at the airport...I doubt we will visit again as we'll have done the island and apart from Akrotiri there just isn't anything else to do here that warrants a second trip and we also just don't click with the very touristy 'vibe' of the island.

1) Santorini is VERY expensive. I live in London so am not usually shocked by prices, but I am here - it doesn't help that there aren't many options when it comes to food. There is no large supermarket (the ones here are really quite small) and Carrefour is massivley overpriced (as is Lidl) and I was charged €6 our first day for a (small) loaf of bread, 2 cans of coke and a bottle of water in our local mini-mart! Food is very expensive - we are staying in a (not terribly well equipped, but beautiful and cheap) apartment in Imerovigli. The food options near us are terrible - in terms of price. The standard rate appears to be about €8-13 for a main (if you want fish then basically double that figure). Starters seem to be €5-6 - bread is always extra. Not every taverna/cafe has a price list outside (this is the most annoying thing about eating in Santorini) and very few offer a menu of the day. If you want cheaper you can always go to a gyros place but one look at the 'meat' revoving in front of a heater and I realised that I would be getting an infamous 'donner kebab'. The cheapest snack place we've found is a gyros place in Fira (€4 for a falafel pitta) - just before you hit the main square and almost behind the cathedral. We ate last night at Vanilia (it is open, contrary to another post) - lovely meal (although not particularly generous portions) but it should have been lovely for the price - €108 for two, and we had the cheapest bottle of wine (€24). For comparisons sake I should point out that I could eat at Gordon Ramsay in London for less than that (though maybe with glasses as opposed to a bottle of wine).

2) If you do a boat trip beware that : (a) you will need €2 per person once you reach the volcano (this was not mentioned by anyone before we arrived at the volcano); (b) take some water with you, again our guide told us this - on arrival at the volcano (surely better to advise BEFORE setting off??) - we did take water but could see that others hadn't...so just be prepared; (c) if you do the whole day trip like ours beware that you will stop for about 2 hours in Thirasia - this is so you can enjoy a meal at the harbour - I'm uncertain if this is shameless product placement or a genuine attempt to give the tourists a nice meal. The prices did seem refreshingly cheaper than on Santorini so that is a plus point. However, we had brought our own food and so ended up killing time - there isn't a great deal to Thirasia and the climb to the top isn't really worth it (in my opinion). No-one told us we would spend 2 hours there until we arrived...

3) Santorini is indeed beautiful and parts of it are picture-postcard perfect (esp when the sun is shining - we had a day of rain and wind earlier this week!). However there isn't masses to do - some wineries charge you for tastings (Santos) others don't (ArtSpace) - but in my opinion the wine isn't really that good (apologies to all - it may be organic and traditional but it is too sweet and just not to my taste). The ancient ruins at Akrotiri are still closed (we knew this before arriving) but there are some museums in Fira - charging about €4-5 entry. Other than that the only thing to do is eat and enjoy the view. I think a week here is too long if you prefer a more active holiday or want to do something besides eat and look at a pretty view. The beaches aren't that amazing either (although interesting because of the black/red sand)...but you can definitlety get better beaches. Also, there aren't many local arts and crafts - and those that there are, are (you guessed it) - VERY expensive!

4) Driving around the island is OK (and we aren't massivley confident drivers) - there are plenty of petrol stations but not all take credit cards - ask before you fill up! We found car hire to be cheaper by booking it through our accommodation.

Two days to go...off to see Oia (again) now.

Newcastle upon...
Level Contributor
736 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Santorini - May 2009 - Some (useful) info & Vanilia IS open

Nice to hear your point of view of the Island

I have visited the island for 10 years now and always find plenty to do. If you aren't a confident driver, as you say, you can't get to see the great places that you can explore.

I stay in Kamari, where the prices are alot cheaper and there are alot of supermarkets. Im sure there is a big supermarket outside of Perissa you just have to go looking for them.

The people are fantastic and we have been blessed to have made fantastic friends on the Island and enjoy their company for days and days on end.

I live in Newcastle and tbh I have never been shocked by any prices on the Island they work out about the same for a meal in Newcastle as they do there.

Its unfortunate you haven't found the magic of the Island but everyone has their own opinion of it :) Enjoy the rest of your holiday!! Im there in 4 weeks on Tuesday cant WAIT!!!

London, UK
Level Contributor
52 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Santorini - May 2009 - Some (useful) info & Vanilia IS open

Should just add that we went to the largest supermarket we could find - the Carrefour just outside of Perissa - if you know of a larger one then please let me know! We've driven all round the island and that was the largest we found...!!

Prices in Kamari/Perissa were very slightly cheaper but there still really isn't a great deal of choice on the island - either gyros (with undetermined meat) or expensive tavernas...perhaps I've been spoiled in Spain and France but a menu of the day certaily helps take the sting out of pricy restaurants! I'm sure that my post will be controversial but I feel quite strongly that a balanced opinion of Santorini was needed - yes it's beautiful and people should definitley visit, but I think they need to be prepared for the cost and the overwhelming feeling (I have encountered) that you are a cash-cow...

London, UK
Level Contributor
52 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Santorini - May 2009 - Some (useful) info & Vanilia IS open

Should perhaps also add that the € - £ exchange rate probably doesn't help either...will be interesting to see how well (or badly) the tourism industry is affected by that here...

Newcastle upon...
Level Contributor
736 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Santorini - May 2009 - Some (useful) info & Vanilia IS open

I think the one outside of Perissa is the one i'm thinking of.

I don't think the taverna's are expensive in Kamari , if you find the right ones. Your right though the exchange rate is not helping. I have never been to Spain but have been to France and found their prices very expensive.

I don't think your being controversial, your having your opinion and its a forum for that :). Maybe I will notice the difference this year with the exchange rate being so crap but I just make sure I take plenty of money and if its expensive then so be it. Have a fantastic two days and if you get the chance to go to Kamari again go to the seaside resteraunt it is fantastic!!

Ireland
Level Contributor
291 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Santorini - May 2009 - Some (useful) info & Vanilia IS open

Sorry that you are not having the type of experience in Santorini, you were expecting.

Yes, I agree Fira is expensive, but we budgeted for that, and only spent 1 night there. We were in Kamari for 6 nights, and honestly, we found the food to be very very good, great choices, and very reasonable. Certainly much more reasonable than at home.

There were certainly plenty of specials when we were there (beginning of September) - my only wonder is, if it's due to the fact that it's only the start of the season and not everywhere is open yet?

London
Destination Expert
for Thirassia, Fira
Level Contributor
14,246 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Santorini - May 2009 - Some (useful) info & Vanilia IS open

Hi there,

Interesting to hear another take on the island and I'm sorry you and it don't seem to be getting along enough for a second visit.

I agree Santorini is more expensive than other islands and the exchange rate certainly isn't helping much.

Could you elaborate on what the extra €2 upon reaching the volcano is for (landing/climbing rights, perhaps). Was it collected before you got off the boat? It may be new and I don't remember it from when I did the tour, but then again, it could have been included in the price I paid for the organized boat trip (Fira, port, volcano, tepid springs, Thirasia, Oia, bus back to Fira).

Thirasia - now this is where we get the 'ain't it great people are different', bit. I loved my two hours on Thirasia. I didn't feel like a meal and didn't fancy going up to the village, so I went swimming. Get off boat, face stairs up to village (but stay on port level) and go as far left as you can. There are concrete sheds/houses with steps to the water. The clearest, deepest I've ever seen - right down to the caldera. Slightly freaky at times and I can't wait to go back in a few weeks.

Gyros/kebabs - something I wouldn't touch in London as I could never be sure how long it had been hanging there. However, Lucky's in Fira (main square, pay first, order and queue) are so busy they're changing their meat a few times a day. A takeaway gyros (pitta, fries, tomato, meat, paprika) last August was €1.75. Just down the road (heading towards Oia) is the Pelican minimart. Bottles of local wine for €8 (I think). A six pack of 1.5 litres of water should be around €2-3.

Hope the rest of your trip goes better.

Divide, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Maldives
Level Contributor
14,373 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Santorini - May 2009 - Some (useful) info & Vanilia IS open

this is actually an interesting perspective . we are coming from pretty much the opposite end as we are used to maldives prices - so 108 euros for a meal for two seems like a great bargain.. and it would be even cheaper for us , since there is no way we could drink a whole bottle of wine during a meal.

we feel like we are getting away fantastically cheap , starting with the cheap room (aris caves in oia), reasonable food , car rental , and on.

having 2 euros in hand when getting off the boat ... well.. we'd expect to have change and small bills handy for tips and trivial fees like that.. so honestly ... i wouldn't even think about it twice nor mention it in a review.

we aren't going for another two weeks , but i expect that our experience will be different.

Firostefani, Greece
Level Contributor
352 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Santorini - May 2009 - Some (useful) info & Vanilia IS open

Kennydon,

The 2 euro charge at the volcano is for cleaning up trash and they are working on making a better path.

It is fairly new, I believe in the past couple/few years. Consider it like an admission to a national park.

Santorini
Level Contributor
199 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Santorini - May 2009 - Some (useful) info & Vanilia IS open

The 2€ extra goes to the garbage collector. It's mainly the plastic water bottles which are disposed thoughtless in MASSES there. The action has been established about 3-4 years ago.

London
Destination Expert
for Thirassia, Fira
Level Contributor
14,246 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Santorini - May 2009 - Some (useful) info & Vanilia IS open

This €2 charge makes perfect sense (user pays, etc.), although I agree that the you should be informed before you get on the boat.

Thanks for clearing that up for me.