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Santorini in a day.


DavietheScot
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We will be in Santorini port from 8am-9:30pm in May 2022. It will be 4 of us total and since we have all day there, we figure it will make the most sense to rent a car and drive around the island by ourselves for the day. 
 

Does anyone have a recommendation on a car rental agency? 
 

Also, what is a good itinerary for the day to see the top can’t miss spots? 

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We used either Budget or Hertz,  near the Main Street by the buses.  
I would suggest you head to Oia first thing, before the crowds to wander and explore.  Have a slice of walnut cake.  After that, we have enjoyed visiting the black sand beach of Kamari and having lunch there.  
Depending if you wish to swim or not, then  I would also highly recommend visiting the ancient site of Akrotiri.  
You could also reverse this, go to Akrotiri, Kamari and visit Oia the end of the day and being near the car rental return.  

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We have driven on Santorini many times...most recently this past August.  We do not recommend any specific rental car agency and simply look for a decent deal on an agency that either has an office or will quickly deliver to a place in Fira.  Unlike many places, Santorini has many local rental car companies and totally relying on the majors can really limit your options/pricing.  As to parking in Oia it is a little tricky.  There is a large free parking area just outside Oia (the same place used by many tour buses) which is our normal "go to" parking area.  But in August when we drove to that lot (there was plenty of space) we were told "you cannot park here today because we have many tour buses."  So we drove up the road for a few hundred yards and found another small parking area.   Parking at Oia is free, but if it is a busy day you might need to look for a spot.    Fira also has a large free parking area (not far from the bus station).

 

We have mixed emotions about having a rental car on a port day in Santorini.  While it does give us maximum flexibility and make it easy to get to far flung places, it can be a pain and means I must limit my use of adult beverages.  So, if DW and I simply want to spend our day in Oia and Fira we tend to rely on the buses and/or taxis.  But when we are thinking about also going to a beach (which we did on our very hot August day) or want to go out to Akrotiri, Red Beach, or some wineries then having a car is our preference.

 

Hank

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I'm not sure where the ferries actually go, but as far as having luggage on the cable cars, I would think that would be fine.  We went in late July and they were socially distancing in the cars, so you would've had plenty of room then!  I saw people with various bags, so I can't imagine luggage being a problem.  We did a water taxi in Santorini (to get to Oia) and Mykonos, and there were people on both of those who had luggage that were clearly staying at a hotel.  I don't think it would be different.  

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22 hours ago, glentally said:

I will be coming from Athens on a High Speed Ferry and bringing one piece of luggage.  

 

Can I bring my luggage on the cable car?  Did anyone see people like me getting off the large Ferries with luggage?

The ferries go to the ferry port.  You can walk out and take a taxi.

The cable car is at a separate port where cruise ships tender.

 

Ferries carry cars and trucks.  You can walk or drive out wherever they go. 

Some high speed ferries are passenger only, but they go to the same ports.

Edited by marazul
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  • 3 weeks later...

Not for everyone, but you can also rent a quad (or whatever you call it!)  -- slower, less comfortable for back passenger, but DOES get you everywhere on the island.  You may see them in Fira or if not, I can post info on a place to rent them. 2085943328_IMG_0013HowardonSymquadbikeSantorini.thumb.jpg.a60abfa18478878f4498b8cb4e668ebf.jpg

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Editing mostly so I can "follow topic."  Also, if you want to go see a place or two that most cruisers don't go, I can probably dig up info on at least one.  It requires a car or taxi ride from Fira, however. 

Edited by roothy123
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On 10/5/2021 at 11:17 AM, jas283a said:

I'm not sure where the ferries actually go, but as far as having luggage on the cable cars, I would think that would be fine.  We went in late July and they were socially distancing in the cars, so you would've had plenty of room then!  I saw people with various bags, so I can't imagine luggage being a problem.  We did a water taxi in Santorini (to get to Oia) and Mykonos, and there were people on both of those who had luggage that were clearly staying at a hotel.  I don't think it would be different.  

Perhaps we can clear up this topic.  The ferry port is located at Athinios which is located about 2-3 miles South of Fira.  Cruisers cannot normally get to Athinios unless they are on a cruise line excursion.  Those who do not take excursions will normally be tendered (by shore based tenders) into the tiny port of Skala which is located below Fira.  From Skala the only way out is by boat (such as a water taxi to Oia), donkey, cable car, or walking!   So anyone who plans on renting a car or other type transportation would normally tender into Skala, make their way up to Fira (usually via the cable car) and then walk through part of Fira to get to the rental car location.  Some rental car dealers will meet you at the top cable car station but most will simply tell you to walk to a meeting place or their office.  This could be a 10-20 minute walk through some confusing narrow streets so either have a working cell phone (with a map app) or a decent map.

 

Hank

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22 hours ago, Hlitner said:

So anyone who plans on renting a car or other type transportation would normally tender into Skala, make their way up to Fira (usually via the cable car) and then walk through part of Fira to get to the rental car location.  Some rental car dealers will meet you at the top cable car station but most will simply tell you to walk to a meeting place or their office.  This could be a 10-20 minute walk through some confusing narrow streets so either have a working cell phone (with a map app) or a decent map.

 

Hank

I totally agree with this - it isn't easy to find a car rental place if you haven't been to Fira before.  We did it, but we're quite adventuresome, and I do a lot of research beforehand.    For a first visit, I would simply take a bus or taxi to Oia, enjoy walking around (I especially liked the area by the old castle) and then come back to Fira and explore around there.  My photos from my second visit are here if anyone wants to take a look: https://pbase.com/roothy123/santorini_oct_2__sea_day

(Make sure you push "All" at bottom of page to see all photos in the gallery) And if you want more, here are more: https://pbase.com/roothy123/santorini_and_sea_day__more&page=all

 

I believe I still have directions to Tony's Car & Moto Rental on the main road in Fira if anyone is interested.  Can't comment on car rental, as we didn't rent a car.  But we were satisfied with our ATV rental. 

Edited by IWantToLiveOverTheSea
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5 minutes ago, IWantToLiveOverTheSea said:

Totally agree with this - it isn't easy.   For a first visit, I would simply take a bus or taxi to Oia, enjoy walking around (I especially liked the area by the old castle) and then come back to Fira and explore around there.  My photos from my second visit are here if anyone wants to take a look: https://pbase.com/roothy123/santorini_oct_2__sea_day

I actually think a first time visitor might do well to look on the pier (after they get off their tender) for boat service directly to Oia (this has been discussed here on CC many time).  If a boat is running they will likely provide the boat transfer directly to the pier below Oia, transportation up the hill to the town, and some kind of later bus transportation from Oia back to Fira.  If folks want to go to Oia this deal makes a lot of sense with the only negative being that you might get to Oia before many places have opened (that is why the Greek Gods invented cafes and coffee).

 

If this does not work out then using a taxi or bus (between Fira and Oia) is the other option.  I do recommend that any first time visitor try to get to Oia for at least a couple of hours.  Just be forewarned that touring Oia (or Fira) is all about walking.  If you are mobility challenged you need to consider some other options.  There is just no other way to enjoy Fira and Oia (the two major towns on the island) other then on foot.

 

Hank

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On 10/5/2021 at 4:05 PM, glentally said:

I will be coming from Athens on a High Speed Ferry and bringing one piece of luggage.  

 

Can I bring my luggage on the cable car?  Did anyone see people like me getting off the large Ferries with luggage?

 

 

This for glentally & others who arrive on Santorini by ferry.

As per Hank's excellent reply, inter-island ferries go to the port at Athinios.

This is also where cruise ships tender folk who are taking ship-sponsored excursions, because a road goes to the port

(Those who do their own thing are instead tendered to the quay below Fira - no road to that quay, but cablecar, or long zig-zag path & donkeys up to Fira, or little local ferry from that quay to Oia).

We've not sailed into Athinios, but this street-view shows at least two rental agencies there (and rental signs on other buildings). It'd probably be wise to pre-book.  

If you spin the camera or switch to bird's eye view you will see that Athinios is a small one-street harbour in the middle of nowhere - you will need transportation (rental car or private transfer , probably some sort of bus service)

https://goo.gl/maps/LZ2CbP3VJudmEBvM8

 

JB 🙂

Edited by John Bull
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