A DIGITAL NOMAD’S TRAVEL GUIDE TO SANTORINI
The airport is chaotic, the food expensive, and the wifi spotty but Santorini, Greece is one of the most scenic and beautiful places I’ve ever visited. It is well worth adding it to your bucket list. I went there last summer and had a wonderful time. Here is my quick and dirty travel guide for digital nomads roaming the world!
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I stayed at an Airbnb near Fira (aka Thira). The house is a traditional cave house common on Greek islands. The host Rodoula was excellent! The day I arrived she helped plan the trip out by giving her recommendations for the best places to eat and visit. She even used her connections to help book dinner at Rastoni – one of the most popular restaurants on the island (known for its amazing views). I chose Fira because it’s the main town on the island and I could walk to Fira in 15 minutes. Fira is the hub of Santorini with all the shops, restaurants and bars. You can catch a bus to any other destination on the island to and from Fira.
Wifi access was present but pretty much non-existent. This is not the ideal island for digital nomads. You can find local cafes with wifi access but you have to pay. I just decided to make the most of my time unconnected and only responded to urgent emails.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was taking a boat tour of the island with Santorini Sailing. They were a little more expensive than other advertised tours, but well worth it. The staff were very friendly and they made the best meal I had on the trip while we toured the island. Unlimited alcohol and the meal were included in the price and you can choose to share the experience with other vacationers or charter a private catamaran. The other 9 people on my catamaran were awesome and we had an amazing time laughing and drinking for 4 hours!
If you like snorkeling, consider snorkeling with this company (Santorini Dive Center). It was highly recommended by a friend but I just didn’t have time to do it.
I also really enjoyed the popular trail from one side of the island to the other. It took a total of 3 hours to walk from Fira to Oia. Don’t attempt to do this after 10am or before 5pm – you’ll burn to a crisp in that hot sun! If you leave around 5 you will probably make the famous sunset in Oia but as one local told me, “the sunset looks exactly the same here in Fira!” So I guess it’s not absolutely necessary to travel to Oia. It can get quite crowded as people jockey for good viewing spots. Be sure to pack some sneakers/trainers so the trek will be comfortable.
Oia is the northern part of the island and definitely worth walking around and doing some shopping. It is definitely a neighborhood better suited for couples and honeymooners. If you’re into history and old ruins, Akrotiri is a really interesting place to visit.
Then there’s the cute Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum that’s easily accessible by bus. The museum is actually underground in a cave. The exhibits discuss the history of wine making in Santorini. At the end of the museum tour you get to taste local wines. All of this is at a reasonable price!
The food is just okay. Now maybe I didn’t go to the right places or ask the right people, but I found the food to be expensive and for the most part unimpressive. It wasn’t bad just unmemorable. That said, there are a few spots I recommend. Character in Fira had great views and the food was fresh and flavorful (salad pictured below).
Rastoni, also in Fira, had amazing views (the main photo above was taken just outside the restaurant) and they offered other cuisines besides traditional Mediterranean food. I loved their pesto and pasta dish. While I always like to eat the local cuisines when traveling sometimes you just need some good ol’ pasta!
Lolita’s Gelato is so delicious! They have traditional and unique flavors and are in the perfect location in Oia. You can grab a cone and view the sunset or wait by the bus stop for your ride back to Fira.
The bus system to get around the island is super easy. Buses run from one end of the island to the other. There really isn’t a bus schedule but they do run pretty regularly. The bus drivers are helpful and will tell you when you need to get off.
Our Airbnb host organized the ride to and from the airport. If you stay at a hotel they should have a shuttle service or be able to help you in some way.
As for the airport. *sigh* From the poor signage to long lines (sometimes the workers take a break and no one fills in for them, so the line just keeps growing) – you’d better get to the airport at least 3 hours before your flight. Ask which line to get into if you’re not sure. It was hard to tell which lines were for ticketing, security, gates, etc.
When I finally made it to the check-in counter I overheard the airline worker next to me tell the passenger he was checking in that she looked better in person as opposed to her passport! Good luck.
Where in the world is on your list to travel to? Have you ever traveled solo before? What are some of your favorite places to travel to? Leave your comments below!