Are the dreamy blue domes of Santorini reaching the top of your travel bucket list, but you’re doubting you’ll (ever) get there on such a tight shoestring budget? (Well, I’ll let you into a little secret I discovered during my gorgeous Greek getaway here… You can soak up the splendour that Santorini has to offer without breaking the bank!) Even if you’re watching the pennies, you can be clutching those coins AND clutching hold of your ticket to holiday heaven, too! So, here’s my top ten money-savvy secrets on how to comfortably tighten those purse strings, so you too can happily tighten your seatbelt on the plane to paradise!
Shoestring Saving 1: Back Pocket Money
Whilst you explore the local area on the day you arrive, buy local water bottles in bulk as you meander back to your hotel, so you can safely stay happy in hydration heaven. You can stock up on 8 litres for just 2 euros! (Even if you don’t usually pull weights at your local gym, this isn’t too strenuous. You’ll probably find the local supermarket is your hotel’s friendly neighbour, or a short scenic walk away, leaving you more money in your back pocket! Win, win!)
Shoestring Saving 2: Magic Mixologist
Many hotels in Santorini offer bed & breakfast, with rooms that house a sweet little kitchenette area or at least a handy fridge with a freezer compartment. Pick up a bottle of local liqueur, lemonade, limes and a sprig of mint to swirl into some cocktails to sip in the balmy sunshine of your own balcony! Pack an ice cube tray so you can ‘plonk’ a couple in your own drinks and you’ve become a mixologist like magic! Making a few of your own pre-dinner cocktails before you head out in the evening will save you a substantial amount than at a bar and that calls for a celebration! As they toast ‘to your health’ in Greece, raise your glasses and cheer ‘Yamas!’
Shoestring Saving 3: Great Value Views
Getting around the island on public transport is cheaper and quicker than you may first think. Travel with ease from Kamari in the South of the island right up to Oia, the showstopper at the top, via the capital Fira for under 10 euros for a return trip! You can purchase tickets on the bus, too, so your holiday can be as laid back or as planned as you wish. It’s much cheaper than a taxi and most are regularly every 20 minutes. Sit back, relax and watch this impressive island pass by your window in changing landscapes, beautiful views and iconic Greek colours of blue and white, like a captivating kaleidoscope.
Shoestring Saving 4: Happy Hours
If you fancy stopping off en-route in Santorini’s stunning capital Fira, sit in the suntrap at Lila Café for a drink or light lunch. The bright little lilac plant pots on each table will catch your eye before the cocktails do! Perched on the caldera cliff, Fira is a fascinating place and worth a visit, so rest your feet as the sizzling Santorini sun drops and order a drink from bars that offer discounted drinks during Happy Hours. This way, you’ll save your hard-earned cash during cocktail hours of 4 to 6 for an evening flowing with fun and laughter.
Shoestring Saving 5: Bargain Bites
Why not try ordering a local lamb or chicken ‘Gyro,’ to either eat as street food out on your adventures or enjoy whilst lounging at the beach under a parasol? This convenient yet filling lunch isn’t pricey at around 3 euros, which ensures you keep your spending costs low! You’ll gladly save on restaurant prices. Holidays are for forgetting the usual daily stresses and strains after all and re-charging those batteries. It’s a typical food to indulge in here, a warm pitta-like wrap filled with tasty tender meat, fresh salad and often paired with hot, hot, hot chips. It’s usually splashed with the iconic cucumber, yoghurt, dill and garlic Greek sauce called ‘tzatziki,’ too! You’re sure to find it, as the Greeks say, nóstima – delicious!
Shoestring Saving 6: Savvy Souvenirs
A famous taste of Santorini is the sesame covered pistachios or peanuts covered in sweet sticky honey. Take a box or two home for your friends, family and workmates (or for yourself, of course!) Don’t leave it ‘til your last day, though… These treats vary massively in price across the island and are typically half the cost in Kamari compared to Oia, so shop for these when you’re out ‘n’ about exploring in the South. If you’d like to buy a souvenir but prefer a long-lasting or useful option, then a traditional ceramic dish hand-painted by locals with pretty patterns isn’t expensive and small enough to carry home in your hand luggage… They’re one-of-a-kind and worth picking up. You’ll be an impressive host as you serve dip or olives in it at dinnertime, use it to safely hold your car keys or place it as an ornament on a sunny windowsill to brighten your day the Santorini way!
Shoestring Saving 7: Local Charm
Whilst you’re at the local shop or mouth-watering market, purchase a bottle of ‘mastika,’ a liqueur full of flavours of heavenly herbs and pine notes and made from the mastic tree, an evergreen native to the Mediterranean. It’ll be a well-spent memento cheaper than at the airport that you can finish off whilst back at home, too. Drink a drop at the end of a meal, just like the Greek locals… An authentic taste and attractive aroma of true Santorini that’s sure to bring back happy holiday memories!
Shoestring Saving 8: Steal a Deal
Some restaurants offer lunch and dessert or snack deals at a lower price so keep your eyes peeled if you want to eat out but get your penny’s worth. The sparkling sea views of Santorini’s sapphire sea will seem all the more splendid when you save at the same time. If you’re staying in Kamari, enjoy tasty food at Taverna Perigiali for great lunch offers, it’s right by the beach. Many memorable meals await you!
Shoestring Saving 9: Free Vitamin Sea
Save your receipt if you enjoy a meal or buy a drink at one of the café’s or restaurants, as it usually means you’re entitled to a free sun-lounger spot, to save another small fee! So if sunbathing on the beach listening to the sea is your thing, you can spend money on lunch guilt-free! The dramatic volcanic sand and pebbles make Santorini far from your typical beach view, and Vlychada Beach offers one of the most unique and breath-taking backdrops to bask in with its jaw-dropping jagged cliffs.
Shoestring Saving 10. Rich Sunsets
A holiday to Santorini isn’t complete unless you visit the iconic coastal town of Oia, a piece of paradise positioned on a captivating clifftop overlooking the volcano and island of Thirassia. It’s known throughout the world for its picture-perfect views so take your own drinks and snacks and make a day AND evening of it. Pack a cool bag cover that’s designed for water bottles to keep you hydrated in the heat as each beverage buy can add up here. To avoid fighting the crowds in the evening, many restaurants let you reserve a table, so bag yourself one overlooking the sunset. Although you’re buying dinner out, this way you’ll have a prime viewing spot to revel in the true romance that Santorini has to offer, all evening long.
Now you have ten money-savvy ways to experience all the spectacular sights, sounds, aromas and lip-smacking tastes of Santorini on a shoestring… Yes, you can reach your dream destination with its dazzling blue domes on a tight budget! They say travel makes you richer, and the precious time you do spend here, even without splashing the cash, will become treasured memories as valuable as gold.
© Copyright Author Kathryn Glover Sunny Heart Travel Ltd. 2019 to present day. All rights reserved.
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