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Is Santorini a must on a first trip to Greece?

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Is Santorini a must on a first trip to Greece?

Old Feb 27th, 2018, 01:16 PM
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Is Santorini a must on a first trip to Greece?

I have one very simple question:

On a first trip to Greece, is Santorini a must?

Thank you.

Chantal
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 01:20 PM
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Only if it is a must to you. Some personal "musts" turn out to be more than you expect. Some do not.
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 01:26 PM
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I dont believe in "musts" that others tell you to do .. yours musts are different than mine .

I have been to Greece three times.. and yet haven't been to Santorini yet.. and yet ive loved each visit !!

Personal feeling is Santorini is too expensive and I prefer more beachy type destinations..
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 01:30 PM
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I am asking travellers who have been to and experienced Santorini for themselves and feel if it was above or below their expectations and if it is worth visiting on a first trip to Greece or if it is just too touristy.

Thanks for trying though, Sassafrass.
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 02:17 PM
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On oir first trip to Greece, we were on another island and there was a group of Brits who have spent the winter there for years. I asked them about Santorini. None of them had been there which surprised me. Then I went to Santorini , saw the beautiful view, was done and wanted to leave. Went back a second time as Akrotiri had reopened after the deadly accident in 2005 when the roof collapsed and killed tourists.. I have no desire to return to Santorini preferring islands and mainland towns that are still more authentically Greek, not existing solely for tourism, cruise ships. So, no, it is not a must.
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 03:55 PM
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If you think there's a chance you might never return to Greece, then I say yes, it's a must. It's one of the most unique islands in the world with the most amazing views of the sea from the timeless villages on the cliffs.
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 04:14 PM
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Like sassafrass and justineparis, I don't think there are any "musts" except those you define for yourself. But since you asked for the personal reactions of those who have been there: Santorini did NOT live up to my expectations; I found it unpleasantly touristy -- and worse, full of incredibly rude tourists and (probably as a result) the least gracious service personnel I encountered anywhere in Greece. That said, the museum with artifacts from Akrotiri is a gem that far exceeded my expectations, and the only way I could have known how I would react to Santorini was by going there myself, so I'm glad I gave it a night and part of a day.
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 04:31 PM
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Not to hijack Chantal's post....but in the same line of questioning: If beach is not a priority but beautiful scenery is, if Santorini is not **the island** to see, which one would you recommend?
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 04:58 PM
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I'm with those who say you must determine what is a must for yourself. I've been to Santorini twice, once 25 years ago and once 4 years ago. I quite liked it back in 1993. In 2014, I found it far too sleek and polished, with all the charm buffed away, and not much more authentic than Disneyland. In Oia, the most scenic of the Santorini villages, it doesn't feel like anyone actually lives there any more - it's all hotels, restaurants and shops. I took a lot of great photos, saw Akrotiri and the museum in Fira (both terrific), and left after two days, and I don't expect to return. Is that a must? I don't have the answer to that.
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by xyz99 View Post
Not to hijack Chantal's post....but in the same line of questioning: If beach is not a priority but beautiful scenery is, if Santorini is not **the island** to see, which one would you recommend?
I'm no expert -- but I definitely enjoyed Naxos! You know how to find my trip report....
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 05:42 PM
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Sorry not to have been much help. Such an impossible question to answer, but maybe this perspective will help.

Some places, like Venice, are so amazing and splendid that no picture can give even a hint of what it feels like to actually be there and see them. Even when you are there, you can't believe there is such a place.

Others, while beautiful, do not have the same sense of surprise. IMHO, Santorini is one of those. It is beautiful! It is spectacular! It is exactly like the pictures.

When one has an intense interest in something and finally sees it, it can be personally emotional. I was brought to tears when I saw Agregento the first time. Sometimes the first sight of a place can have such an impact that even more beautiful places may never quite compare. I feel that way about Positano. Had I seen Santorini before seeing Positano, it might have had more impact, though I doubt it.

My experience was also skewed because I was there only for a day on a cruise. However, it was a very long day, so I had a lot of time. I did a lot of walking and also grabbed a taxi and asked the driver to take us around and give us kind of a personal tour. That was interesting. He showed us various places and told us how he came to live there and a lot of things about the economical development and agriculture of Santorini. For me, the shopping areas were a bit claustrophobic and to be avoided.

A rushed trip just to see it, no. If I was there, the weather was perfect, it was not too crowded and I could stay at least a couple of nights in a hotel with a nice pool with great views, I would enjoy it, not as a must see place, but for simply relaxing in an unusually beautiful place.

Looking forward to hearing what you decide and definitely want to hear back if you include it in your trip.
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 06:38 PM
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Chantal, the answer depends on when you are going to Greece and for how long, and what else you want to fit into your agenda, AND your budget for a domestic flight.
• If it's a quickie 5-day stay in Greece as part of a long trip to several countries, and you're on a strict budget - then No, maybe not. The time to get there by ferry will eat up much of a day, and flights while only 50 minutes, can be VERY costly, depending on exact date /time of day you'd want/need to go & return.
• If you are able to stay longer in greece, and can fit Santorini into an Island-hopping sequence that makes sense time-wise and cost-wise, and are good with the idea of a 36-48 hour stay, then YES, do it. I have taken newbies on many a trip that included Santorini, 2 other islands, a 3 day stay in lovely mainland peninsula town Nafplio, and 2 days in Athens -- all in about 16 days. It takes careful planning, study of flight and ferry schedules, and a "moving right along' mindset ... but in 2 nignts and 40-48 hours (arrival noonish day one, depart AM or early pm Day3 ), you can take in Santorini highlights ... Fira, OIA (go EARLY in the morning, avoid cruise crowds), a museum, wine-tasting, 2 sunset dinners, and a lot of lovely views.
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 07:12 PM
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The first time I went to Greece, I did go to Santorini and it did exceed my expectations. It was incredibly beautiful.

Since then I have been back to Greece five times and I have discovered other favorites islands such as Amorgos, Koufonissia, Folegandros that I prefer. But every time an new family member did want to travel to Greece (mother, sister, husband, sister-in-law) we did stop to spend one night in Santorini so they can experience the view from the Caldera.
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 09:47 PM
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On my first & only trip to Greece, in about 2004 or 5, I went with a friend who wanted to revisit Santorini & Naxos. I loved Naxos but could definitely have lived without Santorini. So, following artsnletters assessment, I'd probably like it even less now for the reason she mentions.
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Old Feb 27th, 2018, 11:38 PM
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Chantal, it was my ninth trip to the Greek Islands before I got around to visiting Santorini, so no, you don't have to go during your first trip to Greece. Since then I have been back a second time. If there is a chance you will never go back to Greece, then I recommend including Santorini in your itinerary, as the scenery is truly amazing, and you can see the Akrotiri Minoan settlement frozen in time by volcanic ash during the eruption of 1600 BC.

There is much rubbish written about Santorini on the travel forums. Yes, it gets crowded in high season, and parts of the island are busy when 3 or 4 cruise ships are anchored in the caldera. Both times I was there I stayed in Oia, the most beautiful village on the island. First thing in the morning before buses began arriving from Fira it was one of the most peaceful places I've ever been. Then, after the sunset peepers left on their buses, it was relatively quiet again. I watched the sunset from the balcony of my hotel room, and went to other parts of the island when Oia was busy during the day.
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Old Feb 28th, 2018, 12:09 AM
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I think this depends on traveling style, but I don't think anyone can appreciate a destination such as a town or small area in a day or two, let alone a whole island, no matter how tiny it is. Of course your random traveler can't go and spend three months in each destination and compromises have to be made, but I think the feeling and impressions you get from a place staying saying 3-4 full days can vary greatly to staying only for part of a day or an overnight. This is my personal view, but I would go to Santorini only if it suited rest of my itinerary and I could spend at least 4 nights/3 full days and have make some research on what I'd like to do and see there and how to plan my days to make the most of it. Just my opinion.
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Old Feb 28th, 2018, 02:48 AM
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Greece is beautiful, and it's hard to go wrong anywhere. On our first ever visit to Greece in 2014 we covered Athens, Mykonos, Naxos and Santorini. We spent 3 nights based out of Imerovigli in Santorini and it was one of the most memorable experiences of our lives. It's important to spend time there, cruiseship daytipping doesn't do it any justice. http://santorinidave.com/ is a very helpful website..

The highlight of our trip (apart from enjoying the glorious views and sipping wine while watching the sunset from our private hotel balcony) had to be hike to Oia (the stretch along the calderra's edge from Imer to Oia is spectacular). We left in the afternoon, strolled aimlessly in gorgeous Oia, caught the sunset, ate a wonderful vegetarian meal at Skala and gelato at Lolita's, before returning by bus.

Other things we did
- hiking Skaros Rock, barely metres away from our hotel
- driving around other parts of the island - Akrotiri, Pyrgos, Kamari, Exo Gonia ...
- walking down to Fira to join a Nea Kameni boat tour and gorging on souvlakis at Lucky’s and Obelix
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Old Feb 28th, 2018, 02:58 AM
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I'd say yes. It is an amazing place to see - but not to spend a lot of time. The cruise shippers do really ruin the feel, it can be horribly crowded. But they mostly stick to the center of Fira (and Oia). There is a walk between the two towns, you don't have to do the whole thing but it you go just a half hour or so out of town there are wonderful views and you loose the crowds in the first ten minutes. There are also some inland towns that are almost deserted. I would spend just a couple of nights and then move on to Naxos or other islands. But I am definitely glad I went. In fact I'm going to Greece for the third time this summer and want to visit some of the other other island in that chain and so am also including Santorini again, even though I've been there. I just want to see it again But am spending most of my time on other islands.
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Old Feb 28th, 2018, 05:42 AM
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I went to Santorini a few years ago and had a great time. One of the highlights of my time there was the sunset cruise we went on. The views were spectacular, the provided dinner was delicious, and swimming off the sailboat was so much fun. We went with

Home

Was Santorini essential? Of course it's subjective.
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Old Feb 28th, 2018, 10:44 AM
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Now, Chantal, It is perfectly clear that Santorini is a not miss for some and not for others. What has anyone said that is influencing you in one direction or the other?
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