When Santorini comes to mind, many people think of luxury resorts nestled in those famous blue-and-white decked hills. Most tend to immediate discard this as a place to visit because they perceive it to be out of their budget. I went to Santorini following my graduation from college on a summer backpacking trip. If I can do it on my measly budget, so can you! Read on for tips and what I did on this beautiful Greek island!
Rent an ATV: It's a whole lot easier than renting a car, and wayyy more fun! Just be sure to wear sunscreen, then enjoy the day driving around the island, wind in your face! So refreshing and what a rush. The island is small and you can drive around in an hour or two! I stayed near Fira, and was maybe 30+ minutes to Oia, and 45 or less to Perissa(black sand beach, more on this later). The cost of the ATV rental(we rented through our villa but the shop was about a block or so away) was worth around 20-25$ USD per 24 hours. Totally worth it in my opinion as there is no real public transport!
Oia: Okay pretty sure this is what everyone pictures when they think Santorini. Let me tell you it is just as stunning in person as in pictures! Also, understandably crowded. I am reminded of trying to catch that classic "Oia sunset" photo and not being able to see for all the crowds of tourists! Go for sunrise instead. I think depending on your taste level and budget you can find affordable food in Oia, most of my dinners(pasta, vegetarian) were around $12-13 equivalent. It is comparable to what I would pay back home for food and eating out.
Perissa Beach: The sand is actually black at this black sand volcanic beach. I enjoyed lounging here so much! There's a lot of beach chairs and umbrellas that are free to use if you order cocktails on the beach from one of the restaurants. I really liked Tranquilo bar! Best vegetarian options and fun vibes.
Where to stay: Stayed at Stavros Villas, private room, for about 25$ USD a night. walking distance to some cute restaurants and amazing hospitality by the owners. Felt like you were part of their family while staying there. Also, they have a pool!
I think budgeting is key here, there is plenty to do(or not do, this island is great for relaxing!) on Santorini. You can still see everything and take in that beauty! Opt for accommodation that includes breakfast,or has a kitchen available to use and you'll save on meals! Pack snacks or even a picnic lunch and take it to the beach! Island hop and go to the neighboring island of Mykonos as well, I really wish I had. I hope you find Santorini just as easy to do on a budget as I did!