Being the most famous and photographed Greek island, Santorini is visited by thousands of tourists per season. Couples get married at the background of the caldera, cruise ships unload passengers for a daily visit almost every day in the summer but still many think that donkeys are the only means of transportation on the island. Those who have seen only the lustrous part of the island may not realize how big the difference between its east and west part is. Also, many misconceptions are circulating on the web, some of them resulting in frustration or making you wonder if people who write about this island have ever been there, or they just reproduce the photos in words. Here we collected the most common misbeliefs about Santorini you can stumble upon:
1. Oia is the capital
Oia (pronounce ee`yah) is the most photographed place but it is not the main village. The capital of Santorini is Fira which offers no less stunning views than Oia.
2. Santorini cannot be reached by car
You will often read that when you get off the ferry, you cannot go by car to Fira, the capital, because the only way up is by donkey or by small lift. That is definitely true for Fira but not for the island in general. The harbor of Fira is small and serves only small boats so ferries never stop there. Santorini`s port, Athinios, is located between Fira and Akrotiri and the road leading to the villages is more than perfect, allowing you to see the caldera and the layers of lava in the rocks.
3. All houses on Santorini are on the caldera
From the photos you can suggest that all the white houses of Santorini are perched on the high rocks, making you feel dizzy even looking at the photos. In fact, only the west coast of the island is caldera and you will not feel dizzy or scared of the height, you will certainly be busy enjoying the view. The east coast of Santorini is as flat as a pancake, although houses are still white and blue.
4. All hotels with sea view are on the caldera
Certainly not. Check if the hotel you have chosen has caldera view or just sea view. If the latter, it most probably overlooks the east (flat) part of the island, no matter it is in Fira and Firostefani.
5. Santorini has no beaches or they are small and rocky
One cannot say that Santorini beaches are the best but some of them are among the strangest you will ever see. Examples – Red Beach, Vlychada and Messa Pigadia. The beaches of Kamari, Perissa and Perivolos stretch for kilometers, with black volcanic sand and ammmazing beach bars.
6. The sunset can only be seen from Oia
Since half of the island faces west, you can see the sunset from any place on the west coast/caldera. Well, the windmill of Oia on the background of the sun falling down over the sea is unique but you may have to wait for hours to “book” your place otherwise there will be no free space to watch the performance. At the same time, you can see the sunset from any point between Akrotiri and Oia.
7. Thirasia is a village on Santorini
Thirasia does belong to Santorini but it is a small island which you see from the west coast. Thirasia separated from Santorini during the legendary volcanic eruption, and nowadays it has only one main village - Manolas - with less than 200 residents. You can easily visit it by boat, the trip is short. Climbing up to the village is not.
8. Santorini is the most expensive Greek island
Some hotels and restaurants (but not all!) on the caldera are luxury and expensive because of their dramatic location but it does not mean that all the food and accommodation on the island is such. There are numerous affordable hotels and places to eat, especially away from the caldera which are not more expensive than any other place in Greece. Due to the large scale competition, many hotels are even cheaper than hotels on smaller and less touristic islands.