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Cheap Flights to Santorini

Basic Information:

  • Area Total                           : 90.69km² (35.02 sq mi)
  • Area Code                          : (+30) 22860
  • Currency                             : Euro
  • Population Municipality   : 15,500 (2011)
  • Official Language              : Greek
  • Time Zone                          : EET (UTC+2) Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
  • Airport                                 : Santorini (Thira) International Airport (JTR)

‘JTR’ is located north of the village of Kamari and operates as a civil and military airport. Transport to the city comprises car hire, bus and taxis. Car rentals are located in arrivals and include ‘Budget’, ‘Europcar’ and ‘Tipoa Car Hire’. The bus takes around 20 minutes, operating every few hours with schedules posted just before the exit and outside the airport. The taxi rank is located outside Terminal 1 that includes ‘Santorini Transport’ taxis. Travellers can also book online in advance for shuttles/transfers with private companies.

Fly to Santorini from Cape Town International Airport with the following airlines, with one plus stops:

  • Ethiopian, Aegean, Olympic (via Addis Ababa, Cairo, Athens) 16h 5m+
  • Turkish (via Istanbul) 16h 40m+
  • Air France (via Paris) 17h 35m+
  • KLM (via Amsterdam) 17h 55m+
  • Lufthansa (via Munich) 18h 25m+
  • Emirates (via Dubai) 18h 40m+
  • British Airways (via London) 19h 25m+
  • Austrian (via Vienna) 20h 20m+
  • Eurowings (via Vienna) 21h 0m+
  • Alitalia (via Rome) 21h 10m+

Additional airlines flying to ‘JTR’ include many seasonal charters:

  • Adria Airways
  • Astra Airlines
  • Condor
  • EasyJet
  • Finnair
  • Niki
  • Ryanair
  • Transavia
  • Vologea
  • Vueling

Reasons to Visit Santorini:

  • Located in the Cyclades Islands, around 200km southeast of Greece’s mainland, Santorini with much history, is one of Greece’s most beautiful islands, albeit the remains of a single island destroyed by a volcanic eruption, resulting in a geological caldera. Its capital Fira, located opposite the volcano, on the caldera cliffs of its west coast is the commercial and cultural heart of the island including the most cosmopolitan. Void of rivers, water is scarce and in the past, villagers once had to collect rain water that fell on roofs but due to its unique ecology and specifically its volcanic ash soil, the island is renowned for its ‘Santorini tomatoes’, sweet tasty cherry tomatoes with a deep red colour that stains including a small, but prosperous wine industry, with vines absorbing dew instead of water.
  • Big-city dwellers are left in awe as they first view the island’s whitewashed villages perched atop the crater, practically embracing its rocky slopes with some dwellings seemingly imbedded into the rock. The island affords no less than nine museums plus other archaeological treasures that include the ancient village of Thira; spend money at the markets in Firo and Oia; discover marvellous gift stores like ‘Asterias’ in Oia; laze under the sun on unusual black beaches; go jet skiing, kayaking or scuba diving; climb one of 150 tracks from Perissa or Kamari; fully appreciate the island’s grandeur and set off early morning or evening (to avoid the heat) on a two-hour walk along the path from Fira to Oia where much is to be discovered and if walking isn’t your thing, experience a donkey tour from Fira to Oia or hire a bicycle with bike trails reaching all corners of the island; at night the island pulsates with music and activity with pubs, beach bars and nightclubs that include Irish and Scottish establishments.
  • Hotel accommodation includes 3 and 5-Star establishments and there’s a wonderful range of rooms and rental apartments, some pricey and some with excellent budget rates comprising ‘Reverie Traditional Apartments’ in Firostefani, a family operated facility that’s just a short walk from Fira’s main square; ‘Argiris Studios’ at Kamari beach comprises 10 spacious suites and studios with private balconies, views and just 50m from the beach and located at Perivolos beach is the affordable ‘Rooms Mary’.
  • The island affords a good variety of eateries that include expensive fine dining and superb budget establishments. Good value for money and serving perhaps the best seafood is ‘To Psaraki’, located at Vlyháda seafront that affords lovely vistas over the fishing/yacht harbour. Reservations required during peak season. Located at Finikiá village centre is the ‘Meze Meze’ tavern with 20 outside tables that provide stunning sunset views and six tables inside. The menu is brief with delicious food and payment only by cash. For a bit of history and food that’s not rich, ‘Aktaion’ opened in 1922 and could be one of the oldest taverns on Santorini currently run by the 3rd generation of the Roussos family, its founders. It’s situated next to a big church on the Firostefáni shore promenade and only accepts cash payments.

When to Visit Santorini:

Months for good weather are from April through to December with July, August and September being the hottest months and January, February and December the wettest. April affords early evening temperatures of around 20°C; during May there’s about 15% rainfall; June has blissful early evening temperatures of around 25°C with just 6mm of rain; July and August have highs of 30°C and under 3mm rain; September highs average at 28°C with about 17mm rain; October highs average 25°C and 65mm rain; November highs drop to 21°C with similar rainfall to October and December highs drop to around 18°C with average rainfall of 138mm.

Places to Visit Santorini:

  • The antique city of ‘Ancient Thera’, located on the edge of the 360m high Messavouno Mountain was named after the mythical ruler of the island.
  • The ‘Panagia Episkopi’, a former middle-Byzantine cathedral was consecrated between the 11th and 12th century.
  • ‘Akrotiri’, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement was destroyed in 1627 BC by the eruption and buried in volcanic ash that amazingly preserved remnants of frescoes, objects and works of art.
  • Impressing visitors is the ‘Museum of Prehistoric Thera’ located in Fira it was built on the former site of the old ‘Ypapanti Church’, demolished by the Amorgos earthquake in 1956. The museum displays a range of fascinating artefacts with some of the oldest pieces being Neolithic including artwork and more. Additional museums in Fira comprise the ‘Archaeological Museum’; the ‘Folklore Museum’; ‘Megaron Gyzi’ where old maps, photographs and engravings of Santorini can be viewed; ‘Bellonio Cultural Centre’ is home to a library with rare editions from the 18th and 19th century; the ‘Santozeum’ promotes works of art by Greek and foreign artists. Located in Oia is the ‘Museum of Musical Instruments’ showcasing instruments from the Ancient, Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods and the ‘Nautical Museum’ with a small library, its displays include nautical instruments, parts of ships and documents. ‘Argyos Mansion’ in Messaria is housed in a beautiful Neoclassical building, constructed in 1888 and hosts traditional furniture, artistic items and wall paintings.
  • A must experience is the ‘Wine Museum’ (on the road to Kamari beach), located in a cave 8m below ground with a length of 300m. Visitors glean much from the 4th generation wine-making Koutsoyannopoulos family that includes displays of vine growers in the 1600s and history via an automatic audio guide in 14 languages, with a guidebook in 22 languages.
  • ‘Skaros Rock’ is the original location of medieval fortifications.
  • Popular for holiday makers is ‘Kamari’ with a beautiful beach of over 5km long of dark sand and pebbles along with bars, ice-cream parlours and restaurants that dish up the freshest seafood. Hidden away between cliffs and rocks in Oia, is ‘Katharos Beach’ just a few minutes’ walk from the village where an absolute feeling of solitude prevails and if hungry, enjoy a bit at the small eatery that overlooks the beach. One of the most well-known and scenic beaches is ‘Red Beach’ with high red cliffs surrounding it, it’s close to the ancient site and village of Akrotiri.
  • The village of Firostefani that clings to the islands west-side caldera affords tranquillity with a few churches and restaurants, take a stroll along the coastal path that links it to Thira.

Getting Around:

Available public transport comprises ‘KTEL Santorini Buses’ that during summer provide daily departures to numerous places. It’s always best to check timetables ahead of time.

Car Rental:
The best way to get around during the high season is to drive with buses being uncomfortably overcrowded. Exercise patience and drive carefully along the narrow roads with heavy traffic, particularly in and around Fira.

In Fira, the taxi rank is situated just around the corner from the bus station on Dekigala.