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Santorini has changed ... For the worse

Australia
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Santorini has changed ... For the worse

We stayed in Santorini in 2008 and again in 2012. Unfortunately it's lost it's appeal. It's still one of the most beautiful places in the world, however a few fundamental things are ruining it.

It's become too commercialized and over populated. The traffic round central Fira is appalling and even parking is the issue.

The main thing that disappointed was that some traders have become rude and arrogant and treating tourists as second class citizens. I think they are forgetting that Santorini's success and sustainability is wholly reliant on tourists. We come here to have a nice time and spend money. We do not come here to be ripped off and treated badly.

We will not be coming back to the island and feel sorry for the hard working people who's livelihood depends on us tourists.

Houston
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1. Re: Santorini has changed ... For the worse

Sorry to hear this. Can you share any specific information about your experience?

Sandbach, United...
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for Perissa
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2. Re: Santorini has changed ... For the worse

Although I wouldn't agree 100% with you, as far as Fira goes, I can see your point. I dislike the place, far too busy, the traffic is horrendous and I always feel like I'm going to get ripped off at every turn.

As far as the rest of the island goes, I don't often go up to Oia, mainly because I don't drive when I'm on holiday and I simply can't be bothered with the hassle of getting from Perissa to Oia, so I can't really comment expect to say that when I went to Oia in 2011 (with friends who had a car) I was shocked at just how expensive it was. Yes, I know it's beautiful and that the caldera view is factored into the cost of everything, but I really felt ripped off - £30 for 3 coffees and cakes at Melenio and appetisers in one restaurant costing the same as a full dinner in Perissa.

On the other hand, down in Perissa, things are just about the same as they were when I first visitied in 1999. A bit more built up, but the level of service and friendliness of the locals is second to none.

Several people on this forum have had a go at me about my opinions of Oia etc in the past, but if some of the people who visit there would just take a risk and go down to the beach side resorts (yes, even spammie, who hates Perissa and Kamari), they'd see a different side of the island - cheaper, no-one out to rip them off and genuine friendliness from the business owners who simply want their customers to have a good time.

Standing back now and awaiting the flaming from the Oia and Firaphiles.

Martin

Oregon
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for Santorini
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3. Re: Santorini has changed ... For the worse

Renicc-

I see from your other post you were there this month, July. No wonder you were disappointed! I'd never go to one of the most popular destinations in Greece-perhaps even in Europe-at the height of tourist season. It's just far too crowded then. If you were to go in May or September you would have a completely different experience.

Ljubljana, Slovenia
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for Ljubljana
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4. Re: Santorini has changed ... For the worse

I just spent 3 days on Santorini, my 11th visit. We didn't bother going to Fira or Oia and spent our days at our favourite beaches Kolompos and Vlychada. The prices at Kamari are still reasonable and thr people are still friendly. I was pleasantly surprised by the increased number of Greek waiters. I do admit that the food at Koufinisi, Shinousa, Irakleia and Donoussa was significantly better and that we enjoyed not being bothered by aggresive barkers in front of the tavernas.

Best regards from still very impressive and beautiful Naxos,

Marjan

London, United...
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5. Re: Santorini has changed ... For the worse

agree Fira is a mad house much of the season, Oia not so bad and you can still find peace in places...

Thirissia the small island is a gem

New York City, New...
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for Skopelos
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6. Re: Santorini has changed ... For the worse

..I have to agree with Lee here;-) My last couple of visits to the isle, staying in Oia were both in May.. and it was wonderful! Never stepped foot in Fira on last visit.. remember from the previous May visit it was a mob scene even then and driving/parking was a hassle! I wouldn't even want to imagine what July/August is like..lol;-) Enjoy all!

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: Santorini has changed ... For the worse

I was prepared for the worst when we went to Santorini. Knew all about the mass commercialism, the costs, etc., and the crowds in July (our only choice was to go in July). I think preparing myself for the worst made our vacation better - because none of that ended up being true for us. Except for the crowds thanks to the cruise ships, but when you see that sea of people swarming towards you you just find another path to go down. We learned what time to avoid them and it all worked out fairly well. We also noticed that they don't tend to visit the shops - to us, it seemed that they were there to look around and take pictures. The shops were surprisingly empty.

As for costs, I guess I'm just used to over-the-top Seattle prices for food - because nothing shocked me. Except for how little our dinners ended up costing. We didn't even have to exchange the second half of our pile of American money. We just looked at all the menus at all of the restaurants before we went in. Sure, there are some that are pricey, but you don't HAVE to eat there. As for Melenio, I'm probably a big sucker - they were wonderful to us and we ended up going there every night for ice cream or cakes. My son had a huge crush on one of the waitresses.

Fira I can understand - it took me 5 days to get up the nerve to go there. We drove around it to go to Perissa and the traffic really freaked me out. And I had a hard time prying myself out of Oia. But we had to do laundry and didn't have a choice. We found parking right away, and ended up loving it so much we went back each night. And found parking in the exact same spot, each time (just out front of the medical clinic). I ended up spending more money there than I ever have on vacation, and it wasn't even a lot - I have a thing for white gauze shirts and they were all only $15. I thought that was a bargain!

I'll post a trip report once I get my photos done, especially as there were some people I'd like to give a shout out to as the hospitality of the Greek people was impressive to say the least. But we did have a couple of bad experiences, one was a terrible experience at Katharos Lounge (currently rated the #1 restaurant in Oia, go figure), witnessing a business owner treat her employee like total garbage in Perissa, and the heartbreaking situation of a dog chained up to the roof of an abandoned house near our villa, whose food was being lowered to him via a bucket. Other than that, Santorini far exceeded my expectations, and then some. We ended up visiting every area of the island once we got our car, and they were all absolutely fantastic. It was a magical, wonderful place, and I can't wait to return next year.

Divide, Colorado
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for Maldives
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8. Re: Santorini has changed ... For the worse

lol Martin .. i don't hate kamari and perissa .. i just don't see much appeal to these two towns .. too many advertisements for "full english breakfast" and happy hours - not enough greece , or greeks for that matter. even the restaurants seem to be owned by expats from wherever (including the US) and staffed by eastern europeans.

as far as bars ... those are lost on me as i am not interested in drinking culture. i did go for a walk in kamari in the evening and i only saw tourists enter the taverns... no locals far and wide.

thats just me and my personal taste though .. been to blackpool and didn't like it either .... and not big on the jersey shore, huntington beach and daytona beach either.

incidentally .. while the hotels on the beach side really seem to be incredibly cheap .. food and drink certainly isn't . when i ate in kamari, i actually thought of you and your consistent condemnation of how expensive it is to eat in oia and how cheap kamari/perissa are by comparison .... well .. i think you were comparing a 5 course dinner in oia to a street gyros in kamari .. because we paid actually more in kamari for a comparable meal 2 starters , 2 mains. the only thing that was less was the view :)

Divide, Colorado
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for Maldives
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9. Re: Santorini has changed ... For the worse

redhead .. i completely agree with your strategy .. the crowds are so easily avoided. when you have a room in oia, your private terrace remains an ideal oasis of calm and tranquility .. lovely to pass some lazy hours there with THAT VIEW ... or hop in the rental car and go explore the areas that are off the cruise ships excursion schedules.

as for prices ... cheap cheap cheap .. nevermind american prices .. i am used to shelling out for the maldives LOL

to the OP .. so sorry for your disappointment ... but perhaps you might not have picked the very middle of the top of the height of the season to visit ... thats kinda like visiting fort lauderdal beach during springbreak and be surprised to see a lot of kids gone wild

Edited: 20 July 2012, 23:16
Sale, United Kingdom
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for Crete
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10. Re: Santorini has changed ... For the worse

spammie,

perhaps not the right forum to ask, but what and when (and where) is spring break? We were thinking of an Easter visit to US next year.