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Santorini Travel Guide | Everything You Need To Know

Your guide to : Airfare | Budget | Lodging | Activities | Food | Tours | Local Life


I shopped 4-5 months before the trip and ended up purchasing the cheapest ticket at $950 each, flying with Air Canada & Lufthansa.


Flights were great and entertainment was essential and appreciated too (especially when traveling with littles). Airlines are starting to depend on your smart devices (laptops, phones & tablets) so make sure you download the entertainment apps before you board so that you are not left looking out the window.

Houston to Toronto - 3 hrs

5 hour Layover

Toronto to Athens - 10 hrs

Athens to Santorini - 25 mins

After 18+ hours of travel with a 4 year old we were ready for some R&R. Let me give my little some well deserved props. She did absolutely amazing, so if you cringe at the idea of long travel with your kid, try giving them the benefit of the doubt...they may end up surprising you! Sweyzie sure surprised me and loved all the adventures that airports offer: Moving floors which lend themselves to racing with your carry-ons, airport slumber parties, snacks everywhere, unlimited movies, etc...

Traveling with small children can be daunting, so keeping them occupied will pay off. Make sure their backpack is full of activities that will keep them stimulated. It takes some time and planning on the front end, but you will be glad you did it! My mother in Law saved me on this one, because I didn't even think of packing an activity bag.

My Toddler's Activity Bag: Crayons, color book, stickers, lip gloss, fruit loops, puzzle, legos, beads and string for necklace making, markers, gum (popping ears), headphones (a MUST), etc...


Spending Money Experiment : My parents ordered Euro from their bank before they left. We converted our USD to Euro at the airport and ended up paying more for the conversion. To be exact, we were charged 20%. So, if you convert $1000USD, you will receive $800. EEkkkkkk, that was rough! So it will benefit you if you order your conversion wherever you do your personal banking. It is quite easy to do!

Photo Credit: Linsey McNeel

Drops Villas: Vothonas, Santorini | Our first night spent in Santorini before heading to the main house.

Sleeps 6 : Master Bedroom - King Bed, Guest Bedroom - Queen Bed, Sleeper Sofa 2

The first home we stayed in was located in central Santorini. It was Drops Villas and I snagged it through for an amazing deal! It is a new villain the market, as it has only been open since May of 2016. Breakfast was provided (homemade cakes were to die for) and the finishings were spectacular, complete with radiant heated floors, but nothing comes close to that view!

Master bedroom opens up to the private pool through double doors.

Guest bedroom is beautiful with desk/vanity nook and Luggage closet.

THE BATH TUB IS A SMALL POOL! I laid down diagonally and my feet didn't touch the other corner and I am 5 foot 2 inches! It had a rain water spout and a bathtub faucet on completely separate water sources. Its the small things that make life!

It was made complete with a Living area with a sleeper sofa / Kitchen & Dining Space!

Service was top notch and the coordinator was incredibly helpful and knowledgable, as he is a native to the island. We were given a map and a list of Must-Do's.

>>>>>>>>> CLICK HERE to view pricing for Drops Villas <<<<<<<<<<

Photo Credit: Linsey McNeel

Once we departed from Drops Villas, we headed to the house we were to stay at for the remainder of our stay in Santorini. There we were meeting the rest of the party crew.

Illivatos Villa:

We headed up to Oia, the northern tip of Santorini to Illivatos Villa. It is centrally located in the iconic spot of the island right in the middle of all the shops and restaurants. This home sleeps up to 10 people and was great for our group! You can find this home on Air B&B, however, we booked privately. A beautiful breakfast spread was provided for us each morning at 9:30 by Raymond (our kind houseman). He arrived again each evening to take down the big blue sails so that we had a great view of the sunset!

The home is comprised of 3 living spaces.

First Apartment with a lofted king bed downstairs living room with a fully stocked kitchen and master bath.

Second Apartment with a fully stocked kitchen and living space. Master bedroom with a queen size bed and bathroom. Downstairs with a full size bed and full bathroom.

Both apartments open up onto the breakfast deck, which is the main deck. From there, a set of stairs take you to another deck that has a breathtaking view leading to the next living space

Upstairs Getaway - This is what I call the love nest. it is two twin beds that can be pushed together and it is made complete with a bathroom/shower. But the view is the most spectacular.

On top of the upstairs getaway is a rooftop terrace that you can see all of Oia and stunning view of Fira!

>>>>>>>> CLICK HERE to see the TripAdvisor listing of our Ilivatos Villa and pricing! <<<<<<<<

Photo Credit: Linsey McNeel

Weather was amazing. Warm in the day and cool in the evening (needing a light sweater). We were able to enjoy swims in the Mediterranean, but not too hot for a hike! There are so many things to do and see.

1.) Hike the Trails of Fira - And by "hike" I mean pay 5 Euros for a Donkey ride. We rode a donkey twice and this was Sweyzie's crown jewel of the trip. There are also donkey rides to and from Amoudi Bay.

Photo Credit: Linsey McNeel

2.) Swim to an Island & Cliff Jump :

We hiked down to Amoudi Bay and over to the cliffs. We scaled the rocks and into the Mediterranean we went - with my 4 year old. We all swam to a nearby island while my dad and brother from another mother cliff jumped like a BOSS!

Photo Credit: Linsey McNeel

3.) Day trip on the Mediterranean : Santorini Yacht Club

We anchored down 3 places, and the first stop was Hot Springs. After departing the Hot Springs, we sailed off to a cliffside where we snorkeled. There were all kinds of tropical fish moving through the crystal clear water. Visibility was crazy beautiful! Because snorkeling created quite an appetite, the crew had a fresh Greek dinner prepared. When making our reservation, we selected grilled pork or chicken. Both were amazing and sides were incredible! During the length of our trip wine/soda/water were complimentary and Beers were $2 Euro each. After Dinner we set sail for the Sunset location. All the boats were out on the bay and the sunset was breathtaking!

This trip was $95 Euro per person and was a day full of memories. This reservation can be booked down by the bus station in Oia.

**Parents celebrated 30 years of marriage on this trip, so a sultry photo was much appropriate!!! wink wink

4.) Lunch at Amoudi Bay: The place with the orange chairs because I can't pronounce it in English :)

Freshest seafood we could find! Literally saw a man pull an octopus out of the sea and slap it on the grill. Does it get fresher...? I ordered mussels that were out of this world GOOD, veggie salad, Saganaki (Fried Cheese) - It was all so good. We also had grilled octopus, fried zucchini, Lettuce Rocket and a seafood salad.

5.) Swim at Black Beach & Eat at Mermaid Tavern.

With the meal you will receive free beach chairs and umbrella instead of being charged. There you will have great snorkeling and beautiful scenery! My daughter made friends with a local girl and they knew not how to communicate, but still managed to have lots of fun!

In Oia, there are lots of homeless dogs, but do not be fooled, they are well taken care of! Each one has a tag that reads: "HOMELESS - OIA - NAME" There are community feeding centers with food and fresh water. The shop owners take care of them as well and animals tend to have their hang spots. All the animals are fat & happy and really have a great life! Most are friendly while there is the occasional grouch.

Public Bathrooms: Be prepared to pay .50 cents per person to the attendant at the door. Also, they are called Water Closets so be looking for a "WC" instead of "Bathroom" or "Toilet". You also are not to flush toilet paper down any toilet.

Atlantis Books : World renown book store complete with a first edition Charlotte's Web among other noteworthy titles! Everything about this place is as quirky and eclectic as you may think. It is truly a feast for the eyes and your mind.

Eat Good Food

The best Gyros are down by the bus stop and we ate there at least 3 times and wish I had discovered this place the first day. If I had, then I would have eaten there for lunch on the regular!

Also, there is a downstairs Patisserie that makes the best sweet treats. We went by everyday and took dessert back to the house each night! Items to try: Puff Pastry Ball - Tastes like fruity pebbles! The Pyramid is unlike anything I have ever had - an explosion of chocolate and orange. Cream Puff Cake was very good too!!

Tiny churches :

Something that I noticed were little church replicas all over the place. For instance, there were tiny church models in back yards, by the mailbox, on the side of the roads. Some of them had things inside almost like an offering. They were very intriguing and beautiful! I finally found out that they are built as memorials. So if there was a car accident where someone had passed away, then a replica was erected in remembrance of that person. If a family lost a child, for whatever reason then a replica was placed in the families yard.

Photo Credit: Linsey McNeel

Ruins of Akrotiri : There are B.C. ruins of Santorini that will blow your mind. The whole civilization has been preserved in the southern tip of the island and it is just fascinating to see and walk the premises.

Scenery: Most of my headlining memories consist of simply wandering the streets of the island and taking in all the architecture!

The villas literally scale the cliffside and have deathly drop offs. Speaking of the architecture, Red Bull's Art of Motion, a worldwide Parkour free running event took place while we were there and it was amazing watching each qualifier do his bit. Click the below link for a video of all that craziness!

>>>>>> RED BULL : ART OF MOTION ParKour Free Running Event <<<<<<

Photo Credit: Linsey McNeel

** Many people have DM'd me and have been waiting for this post to drop. If after reading, you still have questions about your upcoming vacation to Santorini, please feel free to email me your list of questions and I will answer quickly!

Thank you Mom & Dad for 30 years of hard work. I admire the grace & unconditional love you have shown one another over the years. I am appreciative that you have modeled that Christlike love that is radical, meaning it doesn't make sense. I have seen arguments, tears and frustration, but they pale in comparison to the fun, laughter and love that you filled our home with. Thank you for showing us that LOVE COVERS ALL.

Thank you most for making Jesus your cornerstone.

** Snaps for 30 years **


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