... and lots of other tourist information you need for a fantastic holiday!
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Santorini is part of the Greek Cyclades group of islands situated in the Aegean sea, which is at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. It has an airport which deals mainly with charter and holiday flights from all parts of Europe. There are direct flights from Manchester, Birmingham and Gatwick airports in the UK with a flight time of around 3½ to 4 hours. Most visitors from the UK come as part of a package tour, but Santorini tends to appeal to the more discerning visitor and has largely escaped the over-commercialisation which has affected many other popular mediterranean destinations.
There are flights from Germany and Scandinavia to the island, but no direct flights from the US or elsewhere outside Europe apart from the occasional charter. Passengers flying to Santorini from further afield generally fly into Athens, and then catch a ferry from Piraeus to the island. Santorini is also a popular stop on the Mediterranean cruise circuit with liners from all over the world calling into the island for a day or two as part of a wider tour.
What's the weather like? Good Question! Sunny and warm just about covers it for the whole summer, but if you need a detailed weather forecast for Santorini click here
What currency should I take? The island is part of Greece which is in turn part of the European Union and uses the Euro.
Is it safe? Santorini is a safe destination to visit. Crime is low and the recent refugee crisis which has affected islands further to the east has not significantly impacted on the cyclades islands.
There is practically no violent crime towards tourists on Santorini and all parts of the island are safe to visit. Having said that, you should exercise normal precautions and not carry more cash than you need to and leave passports and other valuables in a hotel safe. Don't leave valuables on display in a car and keep a close watch on your purse, handbag or wallet when you are in crowded areas such as Fira or Oia. Most shop, bar and restaurant workers speak English, making it an ideal destination for visitors from the U.K., U.S. and E.U.
Emergency services - Police, Fire and Ambulance can be reached by dialing 112.
UK Foreign Office Advice for visitors to Greece
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Can I drink the water? It's safe enough but unpleasantly salty (with a high mineral content) for anything other than cleaning your teeth. Stock up on bottled water at the supermarket - it's reasonably priced - and drink plenty of it. Always order water as well as alcoholic drinks with meals to avoid dehydration and ensuing headaches.
What is the mains voltage? 220v AC - you can use your European or British appliance with an adaptor, but American or Canadian electrical gadgets may well catch fire or melt if plugged in here!
Rush hour in Kamari
Can I hire a car here? Yes, there are many car hire outlets on the island including at the airport and the main ferry port. The island is approximately 10 miles by 3 at its widest point and a car will enable you to visit most of it in a day.
In peak season car hire availability may be limited, so it's best to book in advance if you want to be sure of getting a vehicle. Use the web to compare prices and be sure you're getting a good deal. You'll need to produce a full UK, European or International Driving Licence.
You can also hire scooters and quad bikes on a car licence. These can be great fun, but be aware of the high accident rate and check if your holiday insurance covers biking accidents. Tempting though it might be to go bareheaded in the sunshine, it's always a good idea to wear a crash helmet!
Buses and Taxis
There are cheap buses to all parts of the island from the bus station at Fira and likewise regular buses from the main resorts and villages to the capital. Be aware though that the timetable isn't always kept to exactly - buses can be late or early. Taxis are also available in the main towns and resorts and are generally reasonably priced.
What are the beaches like? Santorini is a volcanic island and the beaches reflect this, being mostly pebble, shingle or coarse black sand. If you are looking for a beach holiday with miles of golden sand or if you have young kids, it probably shouldn't be your first choice (try one of the other Greek Islands). Santorini beaches
But there are some nice beaches on the east and south coast - the main resorts of Perissa and Kamari, while pebbly are deservedly popular with bars and restaurants overlooking ranks of sun loungers and shady umbrellas.
Kamari has a pebbly beach but a brilliant setting and a very laid-back feel. There is a strip of bars and restaurants which runs the length of the resort on the seafront and shady streets which run back towards the hills.
Greek Toilets The plumbing systems on all Greek islands struggle to cope with the influx of summer tourists and Santorini is no exception. Strange though it may seem, you don't put the used loo paper in the loo but into a bin next to it, and you'll see plenty of notices reminding you of this. The reason is that the Greek sewerage system has narrow pipes, some are only 2 inches wide, so cannot cope with toilet paper.
There are public toilets in Fira, Oia and Perissa (50c charge) but mostly you need to go to a bar, buy a drink and use their facilities. Most toilets are kept pretty clean - you'll be unlucky to find a bad one.
Santorini is the southernmost island of the Cyclades and it is
a good base for island hopping to the other
neighbouring Greek islands. There are travel agents in the main towns and
resorts who can arrange tickets.
During the summer there are connections to Anafi (1 hour), Ios (1¼hours), Folegandros(1 ½ to 2 ½ hours), Sikinos (2 ½ hours), Naxos (3 hours), Crete (3¾hours), Paros (3 to 4 hours), Tinos (5 hours) and Mykonos (6 hours).