Santorini on a Budget: Top 8 Money-Saving Secrets

Dive into the sparkling Aegean Sea, exploring hidden coves and vibrant underwater worlds. Witness the mesmerizing Santorini sunset, painting the sky in hues of gold and pink. Immerse yourself in the island’s rich history by visiting ancient ruins and archaeological sites.

From wine tasting at local vineyards to hiking along volcanic landscapes, Santorini offers a tapestry of experiences that will ignite your senses and leave you longing for more. 

To help you make the most of your visit as you explore, here is my list of the Top 8 Santorini Money Saving Tips for first-time visitors.

1. Vacation in the Shoulder Season

The fall and spring are known for warm weather, but not as many tourists take advantage of it compared to summer (high season). 

You can find some great deals on flights and hotels if you travel in the shoulder season like May & September.

Personally, I prefer September. The sun is still warm, the ocean still pleasant and the big crowds of summer have came and gone.

2. Food & Dining

Hungry? Head inland. While the thought of munching on fresh Greek fare beachfront or cliffside is no doubt tempting, these restaurants charge higher prices solely for the location and view.

A gyro and fries can be found for just a few euros inland. An easy, quick and cheap lunch!

There are several local tavernas and small restaurants that offer delicious and affordable meals. Here are a few recommendations:

1. Lucky’s Souvlakis (Fira): This family-owned establishment in Fira serves mouthwatering souvlaki wraps and gyros at reasonable prices. Their generous portions and flavorful ingredients make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

2. To Psaraki (Vlychada): Located near the marina of Vlychada, To Psaraki is a charming fish taverna known for its fresh seafood dishes. Enjoy grilled fish, calamari, and shrimp at affordable prices while soaking in the relaxed atmosphere and stunning sea views.

3. Nick the Grill (Perissa): Situated in the heart of Perissa, Nick the Grill is a popular spot for budget-friendly dining. Indulge in Greek specialties like moussaka, stuffed tomatoes, and traditional grilled meats. Their generous portions and reasonable prices make it a great choice for a satisfying meal.

4. Gyro Gyro (Oia and Fira): For a quick and tasty bite, Gyro Gyro is a go-to place. They offer a variety of gyros and souvlaki options filled with flavorful ingredients and served with crispy fries. Grab a gyro to enjoy as you explore the streets of Oia or Fira.

5. Melina’s Tavern (Akrotiri): Melina’s Tavern is a charming, family-run restaurant in Akrotiri known for its homemade Greek dishes. The cozy atmosphere, friendly service, and reasonable prices make it a popular choice among both locals and tourists.

6. Lucky’s Souvlakis (Kamari): Another branch of Lucky’s Souvlakis can be found in Kamari, offering the same delicious souvlaki wraps and gyros at affordable prices. It’s a great option for a quick and satisfying meal by the beach.

7. The Good Heart (Akrotiri): Family Tavern with Homemade Traditional Dishes of Santorini (picture above). Delicious dining options and good selection of wine and beer, combined with low prices.

These are just a few examples of the local tavernas and small restaurants in Santorini that provide budget-friendly dining options without compromising on flavor. Don’t hesitate to explore the streets and discover more hidden gems as you venture around the island.

3. Rent an ATV or Moped

If you are trying to save some cash on your rental car, rent or take an ATV tour instead!

Renting an ATV or moped is not for everybody though. It can be dangerous and scary if you are not familiar with riding one. 

Another thing to note for all of those renting a car, atv or moped. Plan to know the local laws before you arrive to feel more comfortable on the road and always keep your head on a swivel. You don’t have the cage of a car to protect you!

4. Book Hotels in Perissa, Kamari or Akrotiri

Staying in the southern region of Santorini can save you a ton of money. Hotels along the caldera in towns like the popular Fira & Oia tend to attract the most travelers, especially honeymooners. You’ll find much more reasonably priced rooms in southeastern towns like Kamari and Perissa.

If you still want a caldera view, this hotel in Akrotiri is a great value! 

Boasting a unique location atop of Akrotiri Hill, Kalestesia Suites overlooks the volcano, the Caldera and almost the whole of Santorini. Features include a pool bar-restaurant and a swimming pool with sunbeds and sunshades for adults and children.

The individually decorated suites have stunning Caldera views

5. Happy Hour

Happy Hour Drinks get very expensive on Santorini. Drink your fill during happy hour, when they have 2 for 1 drinks and 1 EUR shots.

Buy wine at the store – You can buy a great bottle of wine from the stores for as little as 4 EUR. It’s a lot cheaper than drinking at the bar, so drink before you go out to save money.

6. Walking Tours & Hikes

Many villages have pedestrian-only streets and you can freely explore the beautiful alleys on foot! Needless to say, but this is a free activity!

Hike to Skaros Rock

Embark on an unforgettable hiking adventure to Skaros Rock in Santorini. Your hike to the Skaros rock starts in Imerovigli and the church of Agios Georgios (Saint George). The church is the perfect place for preparation and relaxation before the hiking. The Skaros Rock Hike is definitely one of the top 10 things do in Santorini. And, it’s also FREE.

This iconic landmark perched atop a dramatic cliff offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the island’s picturesque caldera. As you navigate the winding path (see picture below), you’ll be immersed in the island’s natural beauty, passing by charming villages and vineyards along the way.

The reward at the end of the trail is truly awe-inspiring, with the opportunity to witness a magical sunset or simply soak in the awe-inspiring vistas.

Hike to Oia

As you traverse the scenic path, you’ll witness the island’s rugged cliffs, charming villages, and the azure expanse of the Aegean Sea. But the true magic begins as the golden hour approaches and the sun begins its descent.

With every step, anticipation builds, and your heart races in sync with the fiery hues painting the sky.

As you reach the final stretch, Oia’s iconic blue-domed churches come into view, setting the stage for a sunset spectacle that will leave you in awe. 

Just make sure to leave Fira in plenty of time to stop and catch your breath, take photos and enjoy the walk… it’s farther than you think!

Best of all, this activity is FREE. HECK YES!

7. Free Museum Days at Akrotiri Archaeological Site

The Akrotiri Archaeological Site in Santorini is a captivating destination that offers a glimpse into the ancient past of the island. Known as the “Minoan Pompeii,” this site preserves the remains of an ancient Minoan settlement buried under volcanic ash for centuries.

As you explore the site, you’ll encounter remarkably preserved ruins, including multi-story buildings, intricate frescoes, and well-preserved artifacts. The level of preservation is astonishing, allowing visitors to imagine what life was like during the height of the Minoan civilization.

Highlights of the Akrotiri Archaeological Site include the well-preserved frescoes depicting vivid scenes of everyday life, such as fishing, agriculture, and ceremonies. These colorful paintings provide valuable insights into the artistic and cultural practices of the time.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the site is the advanced engineering and urban planning evident in the architecture. You can explore the narrow streets, enter the houses, and marvel at the ingenious water drainage and sanitation systems.

To enhance your visit, consider hiring a local guide who can provide insightful commentary and bring the site to life with historical context. It’s recommended to allocate a few hours to fully explore the site and appreciate the archaeological treasures on display.

Visiting the Akrotiri Archaeological Site is like stepping back in time and immersing yourself in the mysteries of an ancient civilization. Whether you’re an archaeology enthusiast or simply curious about the island’s history, this archaeological gem is a must-visit destination in Santorini.

Museum FREE days:

• 6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri)

• 18 April (International Monuments Day)

• 18 May (International Museums Day)

• The last weekend of September (European Heritage Days)

• National Holidays

• 28 October

• Every first Sunday from November 1 to March 31

8. Akrotiri Lighthouse at Sunset

Experience an unforgettable sunset at the Akrotiri Lighthouse in Akrotiri, Santorini.

Drive, ATV or catch a cab to one of the best places on the southern island for a gorgeous sunset.

The lighthouse was first established in 1892 to guide ships safely through the treacherous waters of the Aegean Sea. Standing tall at 11 meters (36 feet) high, the lighthouse served as a beacon of hope for sailors navigating the challenging coastline of Santorini.

In recent times, the lighthouse has been renovated and restored, preserving its architectural charm and historical significance. Today, it stands as a popular tourist attraction, offering visitors panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the surrounding volcanic landscape. As you stand by the Akrotiri Lighthouse, you can’t help but feel a connection to the island’s maritime past and the brave sailors who relied on its guiding light.

You will find many locals and tourists here, as this is a popular spot!

So, get there early, grab a spot on the rocks with a blanket and wine and prepare to be amazed!

This is another top 10 things to do in Santorini for FREE.

In conclusion…

Santorini is a paradise that offers an abundance of unforgettable experiences. From exploring the iconic caldera and basking in the awe-inspiring sunset views of Oia to indulging in the mouthwatering delights of Greek cuisine, Santorini captivates the senses at every turn.

Discover the ancient wonders of Akrotiri, relax on the pristine beaches, and venture into the depths of the island’s volcanic history. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Fira, hike the breathtaking trails, and sip on exquisite wines at renowned wineries.

Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Santorini has something for everyone.

For more information, check out this super detailed Santorini travel guide I wrote that includes more things to do, costs, safety tips, transportation advice, and ways to save money.

Book Your Trip Now!

Below are my favorite companies I use time and time again when I book my travel. 

  • Rakuten – Get the Best Coupons & Promo Codes at places like, Expedia, Travelocity, Priceline and many more. Sign Up for a Free Account with Rakuten to Save Today!
  • Chase Travel Portal – If you have a Chase account, this is by far the best way to book travel and earn miles/points while doing so. If you don’t have a Chase account, I highly suggest getting the best travel rewards credit card in the Chase Sapphire Prefered
  • CapitalOne Travel – In my opinion, the second best travel rewards credit card. Use the CapitalOne travel portal to book airfare, hotels and rental cars using your points & miles.
  • HomeStay – Homestay is a popular form of hospitality and lodging whereby visitors share a residence with a local of the city to which they are traveling.
  • SkyScanner – Skyscanner is a great flight search engine which searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. While I always start with Momondo, I use this site too as a way to compare prices.
  • – Booking probably has the widest selection of budget accommodation in the world. In our studies, they constantly found the cheapest rooms. I also like their easy-to-use interface and no-money-down policy.
  • RocketMiles – Book hotels on Rocketmiles and earn thousands of miles and points per night on every booking. Or, earn gift cards for your favorite purchases.
  • Selina Hostel – This is the best hostel accommodation in the world. Their unique CoLive stays, artwork and location are the best. Not to mention, they are a great value travel brand!

Check out my favorite travel companies section that includes even more of my favorite travel companies that will help you value travel!

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