20 Things Locals Wish Tourists Knew About Santorini Before Visiting

Santorini is one of Greece's most popular destinations because of its dramatic and stunning sunset views, the famous blue and white houses cascading down towering cliffs, and volcanic beaches.

Millions of tourists visit this Greek Island getaway each year, but the locals wish that these tourists knew more about the island than just its Instagram appeal.

There are certain things that locals want tourists to know before they visit their island home. For instance, while tourists should visit the popular towns of Oia and Fira, there are other small villages that are worth a visit and a lot less crowded. It's also important for tourists to understand that Santorini is not Mykonos. The island is a lot more relaxing and more romantic.

Here are 20 things that locals wish tourists knew about Santorini before visiting that will guarantee them a great time on the island.

20 Have Cash On Hand

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While the hotels in Santorini will gladly accept credit cards, not many tavernas, restaurants or small gift shops will accept them. Depending on your daily activity, make sure you bring enough cash. Small shops won't have credit card machines and cash is always favored in Greece.

19 There Is More To The Island Than Oia And Fira

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Oia is famous for its sunset views and Fira, the capital of Santorini, has its shops and little boutiques, but there is a lot more to see on this island. Consider going to Firastephani, where visitors will find the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos with its blue domes that make for a perfect photograph.

18 Don't Be Afraid To Speak Some Greek

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Locals will admire tourists who actually greet them in Greek. Start the day with the morning greeting "kalimera" and later in the afternoon switch to "kalispera" (good afternoon)  and "kalinixta" (good night). Locals will also be impressed with what visitors know!

17 Get Ready To Pay To Eat With A View

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Santorini is one of the more expensive islands of all the Greek islands so tourists should expect to spend more while there. Hotel stays in popular areas like Oia and Imerovigli with stunning views can cost travelers a lot more and even trendy restaurants located right by the ocean can get pricey.

16 Santorini Is Not Mykonos

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Don't expect to be partying all day and night while in Santorini. Unlike Mykonos, an island known for its summer party atmosphere and dance clubs, Santorini is more relaxing and a lot more romantic. And, according to Santorini Dave, visitors should know that the beaches in Santorini are made of volcanic rock, unlike the beautiful sand and turquoise waters of Mykonos.

15 Don't Overstep Into Someone's Backyard For A Good View

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According to The Culture Trip, thousands of tourists make their way to Oia to find the best spot to watch the sun set on the sea and it can get extremely cramped. People sit for hours before the show and sometimes overstep a local's backyard or even jump over fences.

14 Visit Less Popular Beaches

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All of the beaches in Santorini are made up of volcanic rock with red and black volcanic pebbles laying the shores. The most famous beach is the Red beach because of its black and red pebbles and hot water, but tourists should check out all the others, too. According to Greeka, consider Vlychada, on the southern side of Santorini and Cape Columbo, one of the most isolated and quiet beaches.

13 Don't Bother Trying To Find Smoke Free Locations

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According to Medical Xpress, in Greece, 72 percent of licensed establishments are restaurants that allow smoking, the highest figure in the European Union. While there is a smoking ban for indoor places, many taverna owners will allow smoking, especially when they own restaurants that have outdoor seating.

12 Businesses May Have Siestas

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According to Olive Tomato, stores may close for "mesimeri," which means midday around the times 2-5 pm and is also known as quiet time. During this period, store owners take breaks and even naps before re-opening for the later afternoon. Once 5:30 pm rolls around, tourists can find the streets alive again.

11 Don't Limit Your Stay To Only Cosmopolitan Places

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Oia and Fira are stunning, but there is so much more to this island. According to The Culture Trip, travelers should visit ancient Akrotiri, stop by an archaeological museum, take a wine tour or even a cooking lesson. There are also numerous hidden coves to explore and different beaches that are a lot less crowded.

10 Do Try Non-Touristic Tavernas And Restaurants

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Tourists should take the opportunity to visit non-touristic tavernas and restaurants that will have food just as good as the popular and crowded spots in Santorini. Visitors to the island should have a "meal by the sea in Akrotiri or with a view of the black sand beach of Perissa," which can be just as delicious, writes The Culture Trip.

9 Don't Spend All Your Time On Your Phone

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Not everyone has the chance to visit a stunning island like Santorini, so tourists should make sure they put down their phones every once in a while and enjoy the amazing sights. After you take that famous sunset photo while in Oia, put down the phone, just relax, and witness the awe-inspiring view not many will ever see.

8 There Are Museums About This Ancient Civilization

Photo Via: santorinisecrets.com

Tourists should check out the many museums that are located in Santorini to learn more about this island's history and culture. According to Santorini View, two of the most important museums include the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, where amazing artifacts from excavations on the island are located.

7 Don't Bother Hiking To The Top Of The Volcano In Sandals Or Flip Flops

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One of the cool ventures tourists should take is a hike to the volcano on Nea Kameni. The 20-minute hike is said to be "moderately challenging," but the views are so worth it and visitors will find themselves at the edge of the volcano and feel the heat from the underground steam vents. It's also important to note that flip flops and sandals are best avoided.

6 Not Everything Will Be On Time

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Santorini is busiest from late June until early September, so tourists visiting the island should be patient if they visit during these hectic months. According to The Culture Trip, up to 18,000 tourists arrive each day during the peak of the summer season and this large amount of people can cause heavy traffic jams on roads and congestion on the island's narrow streets.

5 Be Prepared For The Heat

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July and August are the hottest months in Santorini where tourists can experience very hot, sunny weather, plus thousands of other visitors all around, which can make it seem hotter. According to Santorini Dave, during these two months, tourists can experience crowded hotels and restaurants and a lot more traffic jams.

4 Visit Other Villages For Some Peace And Quiet

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To get away from tourist traps, visitors should check out the inland villages that are quiet and just as beautiful. According to The Culture Trip, tourists should add Pyrgos, Messaria, Emporio, Vothonas, and Katherados to their itinerary. These inland villages have a bunch of quiet and cute cafes and equally stunning homes and churches.

3 Do Be Respectful Of 'Do Not Enter' Signs

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Many locations that seem like a perfect Instagram photo are blocked off from tourists and for good reason. Locals don't want thousands of visitors on their roofs or in their property. Tourists should be considerate of these signs and respect personal property. There are a bunch of other sights and just as amazing spots on the island that will make for a perfect photoshoot.

2 It's More Than Just A Background For An Instagram Photo

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Santorini's famous cliffside villas and churches and stunning views make for perfect social media photos. However, the island is so much more than a photoshoot and visitors should experience the island without being on their phones 24/7. Unlike Mykonos, this island is for people who want to relax, take in a sunset, try local Greek cuisine and live in the moment.

1 Savor The Slow Pace

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Santorini is extremely busy during its high seasons, but there are ways tourists can escape the crowds if they get off the beaten track. The Greek island is a paradisaical getaway where tourists should relax and take in the slow pace.

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