Santorini Island offers you many great places to visit and enjoy. From gorgeous beaches with black volcanic sand overlooking the Aegean Sea, to villages with narrow and winding stone-paved streets and white houses with blue roofs and windows, as well as boat trips to hot volcanic waters and restaurants known for their Greek gastronomy.
When planning to visit Santorini, you need some information that will help you make your visit easier and more enjoyable, and here are some useful tips for you when you plan to visit this island.
At Santorini Airport you can find tourist information offices. While there are no official tourist offices on the island, so if you want to get some information about Santorini, visit any of the travel agencies that operate as a tourist office at the airport. But the most popular thing is that before you travel you should look for tourist office numbers on the Internet, where you will find all the information you need to know about Santorini for a wonderful vacation.
To travel to Santorini, it is not necessary to have a special vaccination (vaccine). You just need to make sure your vaccination card is up-to-date before the trip, and you may consider getting the hepatitis C vaccine (check with your GP).
In Fira there are highly qualified hospitals and clinics, and in cities like Oia and beach areas like Kamari and others, there are outpatient clinics that provide very good services. You can call the Vera Medical Center at: 4 – 2286360300. To access health care services, they must present the European Health Card if you are a citizen of the European Union, which you must have requested from the Social Security Information Centers and Service Centers before you travel to the island. Citizens of other countries should inquire about public or private insurance in their countries.
As for water, it is usually always served in bottles, as the local supply service is scarce. Tap water is only used for bathing or brushing your teeth. In the Oia region, the tap water that comes from the local desalination plant is safe to drink.
Currency, currency exchange and ATMs
Since January 1, 2002, the Euro (EUR) has become the currency of circulation throughout Greece. Residents of the European Union will not have problems with this. Of course, do not forget to inquire with your banks and savings banks about the fees they charge for withdrawing money from ATMs that do not belong to your bank’s network.
Travelers coming from America or other countries of the world can obtain the euro before traveling from their country or have the possibility to exchange their currencies for the euro currency in banks, hotels, currency exchange offices and travel agencies within the island. In addition, some establishments accept payment by travelers checks and international credit cards.
In tourist areas, you can easily find ATMs, and Visa, MasterCard, AmWx, Maestro and Cirrus cards are accepted.
On the island of Santorini, residents speak Greek, but because it is a tourist site visited by millions, most tourist places have people who can speak English, especially on a practical level, such as hotels, restaurants, shops, taxis and others. You can also notice that some of the residents sometimes speak Italian. And if you decide to rent a car, you will see that road signs are written in Greek as well as in Latin script, with the exception of small villages where they are only written in Greek.
On Santorini Island, the time zone is 1 hour longer than Western Europe and 2 hours more than UK, as Greece is in the Eastern European time zone. As in most European countries, the hours are offered one hour during the summer (from March to October) and then are delayed by an hour as well during the winter season (from November to February).
On the island of Santorini, the shops have their own schedule, they are open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:00 until 15:00, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 to 20:00. And Sunday is the weekend day in Greece, so most stores and supermarkets are closed on that day, in addition to Saturday as well. However, most establishments and shops operating in the tourist areas are open on all days of the week, and have a continuous work schedule until 22:00.
On the other hand, banks are open from 8:00 to 14:30 from Monday to Thursday, and from 8:00 to 14:00 on Friday. The open commercial offices from 8:00 am to 15:00 pm from Monday to Wednesday; And post offices from 8:00 until 15:00.
Visa and customs
All travelers in the European Union (EU) do not need a tourist visa to visit Santorini, while most citizens of other countries must obtain a visa before the trip and declare their possessions in customs. We must not forget that there are certain limits on the quantities of products that come into Greece, tobacco, alcohol, perfumes and other products that are tax free (for more information on this, contact the Greek embassy in your country).
As in the rest of the European Union, the electrical current in Santorini and Greece is AC 220/240 V 50 Hz, with two-hole sockets. Therefore, travelers who have 110 or 120 volts in their country and take their equipment to Greece should not forget to carry the 220-250 / 110 adapter.
Mail and the Internet
The postal service on the island of Santorini is called ELTA for short and has a two-color logo, blue and yellow. The main post offices are in Fira, Oia, and Emporio, but you can also find offices in Pirgos, Kamari and Perissa. Of course, there are mailboxes for all cities on Santorini.
The price for a letter or postcard weighing less than 20 grams that you want to send anywhere in Europe or abroad is € 0.77 (January 2012 pricing).
In most hotels you can go online, but there are also internet cafes in Fira and the bus station in Oia – an outdoor space in the square – and wireless internet access is free.
To call Greece, you need to add the international access code for Greece which is +30, and to call from Greece, put the exit code 00 followed by the corresponding country code (for example, 0034 for Spain). Calls can be made from the OTE (Hellenic Communications Authority) Vera offices, from hotels or from public kiosks where cards are available which can be bought at the kiosks or at the OTE).
As for mobile phones, the local operators (Vodafone, Cosmote, Wind, and Q-Telecom) use GSM networks and have roaming contracts with most of the international operators. Do not forget that if you receive calls from your country, local companies will charge you part of the call fee. Therefore, we recommend that you inquire at your operator’s offices about international rates.
Here are some useful and essential phone numbers you may need on Santorini:
- Ambulance: 166
- Hospitals: 106
- Ambulance: 150
- Roadside assistance: 104
- Police: 100
- Tourist Police: 171
- Fire brigades: 199
- Train: 148