Over 2 MILLION Tourists arrive on the sunny shores of Santorini each year. It’s not surprising given the island’s status as one of the most romantic destinations on earth. The summer months are especially crowded with tourists inching for space, all trying to capture the perfect sunset shot.
Stay In Oia
Though it may be counter intuitive to stay at the hub of Santorini’s tourism, Oia, it is the best way to avoid the crowds. Most cruisers and other tourists have to travel to the scenic Oia and tourists on vacation (myself included) are lazy. They don’t want to get up early. So before all the tourists arrive you will have all of Oia to yourself. The streets are practically empty before 11 am and after sunset each day.
Don’t Take a Cruise
Don’t take a cruise to Santorini. Many of the Santorini’s visitors arrive as part of a cruise ship. They stay for the day and return promptly to their ships at night. Because there is a set schedule for arriving and departing for cruisers if you are a cruiser you will be arriving and departing at the same time as the hordes. You will not have the opportunity to see Santorini tourist free as your hundreds of thousands of fellow cruise mates will be on the island at the same time as you.
Stay Above the Crowds
Stay above it all. When you stay in Oia you obviously want a room that faces the sunset with a patio or balcony. BUT MOST of these rooms are hugely crowded with day trippers and other vacationers alike. You will have absolutely no privacy while fighting for space on your own balcony. This is why we stayed at this place, which is above all the crowded hotels in Oia. It literally is on the highest point in Oia with the perfect sunset views all to yourself. And to boot, it didn’t cost more than a balcony room at the hotels in Oia.
The crowds we saw from our balcony! Everyone sat shoulder to shoulder waiting for sunset in the heat.
Bonus Tip: Go In September, Off Season
Santorini is a huge summer destination for European and American vacationers alike. Everyone is on summer break and trying to get some time in the sun. But if you visit in September, the tourists have mostly gone with the start of school AND the weather is still very warm. As in it still pretty much feels like summer. Plus lower prices on places to stay! You don’t even have to wait that far into September for the crowds to dissipate. Basically once August ends prices drop like a rock as if someone flipped a switch.