Car Rental Santorini
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Why rent a car in Santorini?
Santorini is a great place to visit. Small, but incredibly picturesque, the volcanic island has a wealth of coastal and mountainous scenery to explore and enjoy. Its main town, Fira (or Thira), is arguably the most beautiful island city of Greece, but getting a rental car will let you travel even further and explore historic sites and nature areas that cannot be reached by the public transportation.
Top ways to enter Santorini
- Santorini Airport: Also known as Santorini-Thira, it is the only international airport on the island. One of the fastest-growing airports in Greece, it served 2.2 million travelers in 2018, a 17% increase from the previous year. Located 5km (3 miles) southeast of Fira, the airport can be reached in about eight minutes.
- By ferry: It is also possible to fly to another international airport on one of the nearby Greek islands and then take a ferry to Santorini. Some airports near Santorini include Paros Airport, Naxos Airport, Milos Airport, Mykonos Airport, and Heraklion Airport. It might be possible to pick up a rental car at the airport and then take it to Santorini by ferry, but you should first ask your rental car provider if they permit it. A better idea might be to take a ferry as a passenger and to pick up a rental car at Santorini Ferry Port. It’s also important to look up the ferry schedule in advance - the services are much more frequent during the spring and summer months.
Useful city facts
- Santorini has a semi-arid climate with continental influences. The average high temperature is 29 °C (84 °F) in July and August, the warmest months, and 14 °C (57 °F) in January and February. Precipitation is relatively high in December and January, but there’s virtually no rain from June to August.
- Santorini was home to the Minoan civilization which is considered to be the oldest civilization of Europe. The reasons for its eventual demise are unclear, but one of the factors that might have contributed to its final end on Santorini was the Minoan volcanic eruption that occurred about 3,600 years ago. Often considered one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in the history of the planet, it significantly changed the face of Santorini and its surrounding islands; its effects were recorded not only by Greeks, but also Ancient Egyptians on the other side of the Mediterranean. After a while, Santorini became populated again, first by Phoenicians and Dorian Greeks, and later by rulers like Romans, Ottomans, and Venetians.
- Santorini is a culinary destination, famous for its varied and delicious cuisine. Some of the local specialties include brantada, a cod fillet mixed with flour, salt, and garlic salad; koskosela, chopped and fried tomatoes with olive oil and eggs; and meltinia cookies made of local cheese and yogurt. Santorini also produces delicious wine, especially that made of the local assyrtiko white wine grapes.
Top destinations and activities
- Beaches. Although historic and cultured, Santorini is, first and foremost, a beach destination. There’s plenty to choose from, too - from the hip and busy Kamari Beach to picturesque Akrotiri Red Beach that’s great for snorkeling, relaxed Baxedes Beach, and the White Beach that can only be accessed by boat. Jump in your rental car and simply drive up or down the coast - you’ll soon find a picturesque shore that will feel perfect for you.
- Fira. Although there’s no agreement on how to spell its name (it’s sometimes also called Thira and even Thera), Santorini’s main town is a place like no other. Its architecture is a splendid mixture of Cycladic and Venetian influences, and you can learn about the island’s past in the Museum of Prehistoric Thera. If you’re up for something more active, climb the nearby cliffs to enjoy the view of Santorini’s volcanic caldera and the surrounding sea.
- Ia. Also known as of Oia, this small village might only have a population of about 1,500, but it also boasts a reputation of providing the most beautiful sunset views in Greece. Even if you’re visiting earlier in the day, its white churches with blue domes and cozy little tavernas are not to be missed.
Traffic and parking tips
- There are no highways on Santorini (nor on any other Greek island).
- Unless specifically indicated otherwise, the speed limits are 90km/h (55.9 mph) on roads outside populated areas and 50km/h (31 mph) in populated and built-up areas.
- While the larger roads are in good shape, the smaller roads might have poor surfacing and potholes. Be careful when driving on them, especially after dark.
- Many gas stations might be closed during weekends and public holidays.
- It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.02% for novice drivers. Exceeding these limits can lead to high fines and a license ban. Exceeding the limit of 0.08% is a criminal offense and can lead to up to two years of imprisonment.
- Proof of insurance and the car’s documentation need to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- When driving, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The general emergency number, like elsewhere in the EU, is 112. The police number is 100, the ambulance number is 166, and the fire brigade number is 199.
There are no toll roads in Santorini. There are, however, a number of tolled roads, tunnels, and bridges on the mainland of Greece. Many travelers find them very hard to navigate and some choose to avoid using the toll roads altogether because of the very complex system that is in place. Different toll roads are administered by different private companies and so there is not a single, nationwide (or even region-wide) system in place.
For most toll roads, payment can be either made with cash at the toll gates, by credit card, or with coins at an automatic toll machine. For some roads, an electronic transponder might be used to pay for using the toll road. Some rental cars may be equipped with such an electronic transponder. However, because of the aforementioned different toll systems that are in place, this payment method might work for some toll roads, but not for others. Plan your route in advance and ask your car rental provider about the best way to pay for all the toll roads that you plan to use.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Archeological Site of Akrotiri. An important historical site, it is one of the best-preserved ancient settlements in Greece. The excavation is still in progress, but wall frescoes, golden ritual objects, and vases made by the original Minoan inhabitants have been found there and can be observed by visitors. The opening times change quite frequently, however, so it’s a good idea to check them in advance on the official website. Located in the southwestern part of the island, Akrotiri is just 10km (6 miles) west of Fira and can be reached in about 15 minutes. After seeing the excavation, go to see the modern Akrotiri, a small, but lively settlement nearby.
- Pyrgos Kallistis. The inland village has the highest point in Santorini with an old monastery set on top of it. The last part of the way cannot be done by car, so you’ll have to climb, but the views at the end of the path are worth it. Pyrgos also has the ruins of an impressive Venetian castle. Just 5km (3 miles) southeast of Fira, Pyrgos can be reached in ten minutes.
- Vothonas. A small village that’s something of a hidden gem, Vothonas is best known for the fact that many of its buildings are carved into the local cliffs. Few travelers make it this far, but if you do, make sure to catch the morning market where you can buy fresh fish and other seafood from local fishermen. Despite its seeming isolation, Vothonas is just 4km (2 miles) from Fira and takes less than 10 minutes to reach up the narrow and rocky road.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car in Santorini is the Toyota Aygo, although many travelers also go for the Hyundai i10 and the Toyota Yaris 5d. The most popular rental car types are mini, economy, and compact.
- Naxos. The largest of Cycladic islands, Naxos is home to historical sites like Apollon’s Gate and the Temple of Sangri. There are also great opportunities for water sports like surfing and snorkeling. Most visitors visit Naxos’ northern and central part, but with a rental car, you can also drive to see its less explored, sparsely populated south.
- Crete. By far the largest Greek island, Crete is famous for its Minoan, Byzantine, Ottoman and Venetian heritage that can still be felt in the island’s architecture and cuisine. But even if history is not your thing, there’s plenty to enjoy from countless beautiful beaches to impressive nature areas like Gorge of Samaria. Heraklion, the island’s largest city and capital, is the best place to arrive via if you’re coming from Santorini.
- Athens. Athens was the home of Classical Greece, and its Acropolis still has plenty of world-famous sites from Theater of Dionysus to Ancient Agora and Plato’s Academy. But there’s much more to Athens than just history, and its many public gardens, contemporary art centers, and various restaurants are a joy to explore. After visiting Athens, you can travel to see to the rest of Continental Greece, from the Peloponnese in the southwest to Thessaloniki in the north.
Note: While it is possible to go from Santorini to Naxos, Athens, and other places in Greece by ferry, most rental car providers will not permit bringing a car on one, even if you would later return the car in Santorini. A better idea is to go as a passenger and to pick up a new rental car after arriving at your destination.
Car Rental Prices in Santorini
- Large cars - from $44 per day
- Medium cars - from $25 per day
- People Carriers / Vans - from $83 per day
- Premium cars - from $115 per day
- Small cars - from $21 per day
How can I save money on my rental car?
There are things you can do to land a great rental car in Santorini:
- Compare the rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting the island is the cheapest in June when renting a car is about 38% cheaper than the yearly average. Come visit Santorini in the early summertime!
Top 20 Cities near Santorini
Athens Car Rentals from $4.39 per day218.4 km / 135.7 miles away
Heraklion Car Rentals from $4.97 per day120.8 km / 75.1 miles away
Thessaloniki Car Rentals from $5.94 per day507.5 km / 315.4 miles away
Corfu Car Rentals from $5.26 per day603.8 km / 375.2 miles away
Chania Car Rentals from $6.59 per day153.7 km / 95.5 miles away
Rhodes Car Rentals from $5.90 per day233.3 km / 145.0 miles away
Zakynthos Car Rentals from $4.30 per day434.4 km / 269.9 miles away
Kefalonia Car Rentals from $8.91 per day480.3 km / 298.4 miles away
Mykonos Car Rentals from $8.63 per day115.8 km / 71.9 miles away
Kos Car Rentals from $8.14 per day150.5 km / 93.5 miles away
Preveza Car Rentals from $7.20 per day501.0 km / 311.3 miles away
Naxos Car Rentals from $12.98 per day76.4 km / 47.5 miles away
Kalamata Car Rentals from $8.26 per day316.6 km / 196.7 miles away
Skiathos Car Rentals from $14.82 per day354.3 km / 220.2 miles away
Paros Car Rentals from $6.19 per day74.8 km / 46.5 miles away
Samos Car Rentals from $8.43 per day191.7 km / 119.1 miles away
Karpathos Car Rentals from $12.98 per day185.3 km / 115.2 miles away
Milos Car Rentals from $15.41 per day95.4 km / 59.3 miles away
Kavala Car Rentals from $9.50 per day507.7 km / 315.5 miles away
Lesvos Car Rentals from $10.13 per day311.4 km / 193.5 miles away
Top 20 Locations near Santorini
Santorini Airport Car Rentals from $7.26 per day
Santorini Port Car Rentals from $25.85 per day
Paros Airport Car Rentals from $6.19 per day74.8 km / 46.5 miles away
Naxos Airport Car Rentals from $12.98 per day76.4 km / 47.5 miles away
Milos Airport Car Rentals from $15.41 per day95.4 km / 59.3 miles away
Mykonos Airport Car Rentals from $8.63 per day115.8 km / 71.9 miles away
Heraklion Airport Car Rentals from $4.97 per day120.8 km / 75.1 miles away
Syros Airport Car Rentals from $16.88 per day123.1 km / 76.5 miles away
Sitia Public Airport Car Rentals from $12.98 per day143.0 km / 88.9 miles away
Kos Airport Car Rentals from $8.14 per day150.5 km / 93.5 miles away
Chania Airport Car Rentals from $6.59 per day153.7 km / 95.5 miles away
Karpathos Airport Car Rentals from $12.98 per day185.3 km / 115.2 miles away
Samos Airport Car Rentals from $8.43 per day191.7 km / 119.1 miles away
Athens Airport Car Rentals from $4.39 per day218.4 km / 135.7 miles away
Kythira Airport Car Rentals from $16.88 per day221.0 km / 137.3 miles away
Chios Airport Car Rentals from $9.96 per day223.9 km / 139.1 miles away
Rhodes Airport Car Rentals from $5.90 per day233.3 km / 145.0 miles away
Skyros Island National Airport Car Rentals from $24.19 per day298.5 km / 185.5 miles away
Lesvos, Airport Mytilene (Lesbos) Car Rentals from $10.13 per day311.4 km / 193.5 miles away
Kalamata Airport Car Rentals from $8.26 per day316.6 km / 196.7 miles away
Map of Car Rental Locations
Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in Santorini?
What’s the usual rental length in Santorini?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Santorini?
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|Global Rent a Car||Hyundai i10||3||1||Small cars|
|SIXT||Renault Twingo||5||Small cars|
|Surprice||Toyota Aygo||3||1||Small cars|
|Goldcar||Fiat 500 2 doors||3||1||Small cars|
|Global Rent a Car||Suzuki Celerio||4||1||Small cars|
|Goldcar||Fiat Panda||3||2||Small cars|
|Goldcar||Citroen C1||3||1||Small cars|
|SIXT||VW Polo||5||Medium cars|
|Global Rent a Car||Fiat Panda||4||2||Small cars|
|Global Rent a Car||Renault Clio||3||1||Small cars|
Top 10 Suppliers for Santorini in 2020
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