“45 Euros per day for Santorini?” the barista at the small Athens café asked after I explained my upcoming travel plans and daily travel budget. “It’s impossible!” “Well, we are going to try,” I replied with a smile. And try (and succeed) we did. If there’s any time in life that’s acceptable for me to travel Santorini on a budget, that time is probably now. So, how exactly did we manage an expensive honeymoon island with our measly backpacker’s budget? Here’s how:
We’d been planning on island hopping Greece by ferry, but as it turns out, ferry tickets are VERY expensive. Plus, August is the busiest season on the Greek islands, so prices are even higher. It was going to cost us 60 Euros just one-way from Athens to Santorini!! So we nixed our island-hopping idea and figured staying on one island would more suit our budget. Instead of ferry tickets, we booked Ryan Air flights a few weeks in advance for 50 Euros roundtrip, and we decided to leave our big backpacks in Athens to save on the checked baggage fee.
Total price for roundtrip flights: 40 Euros
We’d organized a Couchsurfing host who was going to host both Dina and I for our four nights there, but it turned out he bailed about five hours before our flight. Because of busy season, our options were very limited, but we were able to find a cheap hotel for the first night and a hostel for the remaining three nights. Our strategy for cheaper accommodation was to sleep in a cheaper area but to visit the nicer areas on daily excursions. Our hostel (Youth Hostel Anna in Perissa Beach) was around 13 Euros average per night, whereas hostels in nicer areas (i.e. Fira Backpackers) were 40 Euros per night (yes, that’s just for a dorm bed). Because any hostel would lack certain amenities that you’d expect on a lux island like Santorini, during the day, we found a nice pool in Imerovigli (between Oia and Fira) that is open to the public if you buy a drink. So we bought a drink for 3.50 Euros each and enjoyed a luxurious afternoon with a beautiful view. So luxurious, in fact, that people who saw pictures just assumed we were splurging on a nice resort.
Total price for 4 nights accommodation: ~ 57 Euros
Eating out a lot is a quick way to destroy a budget, so we generally went to the supermarket for breakfast as well as daily snacks and drinks. But you can’t visit a place without trying the local cuisine, so we let ourselves enjoy a few fancier restaurants with affordable meals (our favorite was a massive 5 Euro Greek salad from a restaurant in Perissa Beach). Other foods that helped us stay on budget: 2 Euro gyros and serve-yourself Greek frozen yogurt for 1 Euro per 100g. Delicious & sooo cheap! Plus, by allowing ourselves a few nicer meals, we didn’t feel like we were cheating ourselves out of the full Santorini experience.
Total price for 4 days of food & drinks: ~ 50 Euros
Getting around the island there are a few different options: rent a car (expensive), rent an ATV/motorbike (~$25-40/day) or take a taxi or bus. While we’d planned on renting an ATV or motorbike, by the time we checked all the rental companies, they were all sold out!! Thanks busy season… So instead, we had to resort to taking the bus (which was actually pretty convenient and saved us money that we’d planned on spending). From Perissa Beach, we generally paid 2.30 Euros each way to get to Fira.
Total price for 4 days of transportation: ~ 16 Euros
I’m generally not so into the tourist attractions, but our hostel had a great-sounding full day boat tour for only 25 Euros to Nea Kameni volcano, the hot springs, Therasia island, and Oia for sunset, so we felt it was a good deal. As it turns out, the tour wasn’t so spectacular (everywhere was way too touristy), and even in Oia we ended up skipping the actual sunset to avoid the crowd… I wouldn’t do the tour again, but for 25 Euros it was a pretty cheap way to see a lot of Santorini (we visited four of Santorini’s five islands).
Total price for activities: 25 Euros
Out total for 4 days was approximately 47 Euros per day (including flights). Obviously we would’ve enjoyed a luxury resort, expensive meals, and fancy shops, and it would be easy to spend much, much more money in Santorini. But we had an amazing time regardless with the little amount of money we had, and it was actually kind of fun to challenge ourselves to stay within budget on an expensive island. Plus, from viewing the photos, would you really have known how budget backpacker we were if I didn’t tell you? :)
As always, keep on livin’ pura vida ✌