Should you rent a car in Santorini? The answer, my friends, is a definite YES! I can only think of very few exceptions to my resounding “Yes” answer to this question, but even in those cases it’s still a good idea to at least consider renting a car while in Santorini. Here are some of the most important reasons you should rent or hire a car on your next Santorini trip…
It’s Fun To Drive In Santorini
First, it’s a blast to drive the island. Since Santorini is relatively small as islands go, you can drive the entire island in one day easily. Sure, you won’t have much time for pulling over and poking around everywhere you go, but even in a 2- or 3-day period you can really see all of the key highlights around the island by car.
But I should offer a few warnings: The quality of the roads and the craziness of the locals (and the tourists!) can make for quite an adventure. So keep your wits about you and stay focused out there! This is especially true if you rent a scooter, motorbike, or ATV 4-wheeler in Santorini. I’ve watched more than one car/scooter accident happen before my very eyes, and it’s almost always tourists.
You Don’t Have To Rent A Car…
Speaking of scooters, mopeds, and ATVs… all of these alternative driving options are widely available on the island and for good prices.
Scooters and motorbikes are a great option if you want to enjoy the fresh air of Santorini island while cruising down the switchbacks to Oia for sunset dinner. Just an example. 🙂
ATVs and four-wheelers are fun if you’re feeling adventurous but not quite up to the task of keeping perfect balance on just 2-wheels at top speeds.
And in the car department there are lots of options as well. You can rent a jeep for that off-road feeling. Or some luxury cars are available on the island too. I’ve seen BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and lots of convertible options like the Mini Cooper etc etc.
The most common option for car rental is a normal 2-door or 4-door hatchback or sedan. If you want something affordable and functional, this is the way to go.
You’ll See So Much More Of The Island
Another great reason to rent a car in Santorini is to see as much of the island as possible. Sure, there are some public transportation options available (busses), but I wouldn’t describe them as convenient.
With your very own car, you have the freedom to come and go as you please. This way you can pick and choose the parts of the island you really want to see, and then just go!
Want to take a beach day in Kamari? Grab your sunblock & towels and hop in the car!
Want to hike into the secluded Red Beach? The open road is calling your name!
Want to do a museum day in Akrotiri and Fira? Why, but of course!
Santorini Taxis Aren’t On Every Corner
Something else to consider is the general lack of taxis in Santorini. Yes, there are taxis and they’re perfectly good as a transportation option.
But most taxis congregate at the airport, the ferry port, and at taxi stands in Fira, Oia, and the beach towns. You can always call a taxi or have your hotel staff (or restaurant staff) call on your behalf.
The one setback with taxis is the price. Depending on your journey, you can expect to spend 15 to 30 or 40 euros for a one-way trip. Compare that to the cost of hiring a car for one day (20-40 euros depending on the car) and you begin to see the clear advantage of just renting a car.
That being said, taxis are especially useful if you need a driver for those, er…, rather intoxicating evenings out at your favorite restaurant, bar, or club. Please do take a taxi (or walk!) in these situations. 🙂