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Car rental locations in Santorini
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Car Rental in Santorini: A Mediterranean Marvel
When you think about Santorini, do you picture whitewashed hillsides and colored cliffs overlooking stunningly clear Mediterranean water that hugs volcanic-sand beaches? So do we. Santorini, known locally as ‘Thira’, has quickly become one of the most popular romantic vacation and wedding destinations in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Its undeniable and breathtaking natural beauty is unlike any other, and visitors from all reaches of the globe have taken notice.
Gastronomy, wine, history, and the one-of-a-kind Oia sunsets are just a few reasons to take a trip to the most popular island in the Cyclades group, but the truly special discoveries are made once you’re off the beaten track. Romantic, hidden eateries, secluded vineyards, open-air cinemas, and secret sunset spots can only be found by taking the road less traveled, and with your own car for hire, all these experiences are yours for the taking.
Getting Around the Island
To really experience all that Santorini has to offer you’ll need escape the crowds – then you won’t be restricted by the pressures of others’ itineraries or plans. Besides, who can deny that it’s much more enjoyable to experience the wonder of a place without a tour group crowding around you, and appearing in the background of all your photos? Every area of the island offers a unique experience and you won’t want to miss any of them, so the convenience of having your own transportation is well worth it.
Santorini is a group of volcanic islands known as a caldera, which gives it its distinctive shape. With an area of only under 30 square miles, it may not sound like you’d need anything but a bus pass. However, with the rugged topography and widespread layout of the caldera, having your own set of wheels is hands down the best way to explore all the hidden island gems. The best part? There is plenty of public parking all around the island, and even better, it’s free!
When to Visit
Summer is a popular time to visit, mainly because of the warm, sunny weather. July and August are the most highly-trafficked months, so if you’re looking to avoid big crowds, you’d do well to consider a different vacation period. Luckily, Santorini has quite a long high season (from May until November), so you’re not limited when it comes to ideal travel opportunities. There will never be a time when the island is entirely devoid of other tourists, but there are several months when the weather is still beautiful, and the crowds are on the smaller side. May starts off the high season with its increasing summer temperatures, yet it is still a relatively quiet month. By June, high season is well underway, and the summer island pilgrimages are in full swing.
The ideal time to travel to the island is from late September to early October. The weather remains gorgeous, the water is still warm from the hot summer sun, and the seasonal crowds have started to dwindle. October is the last month of operation for many businesses that close down for low season, so this is something to take account of, as well as the cooler temperatures.
Rentals that Fit Your Budget
Rental prices fluctuate greatly over the year, with the highest rates starting in the $55+/day range during peak season in July and August, and the most affordable prices starting around $17/day during low season. Other factors that determine rental car price are the duration of the rental period, and the pick-up/drop-off locations. Weekly rentals with the same pick-up and drop-off location will be sure to give you much lower prices.
Here are some examples of company deals:
- Peugeot 107 or similar (mini class) – $11/day
- Hyundai Getz or similar (economy class) – $12/day
- Renault Clio or similar (compact class) – $17/day
- Hyundai Accent or similar (intermediate class) – $28/day
- Ford Focus or similar (standard class) – $34/day
Prices for car hire in Santorini are typically less expensive from the Santorini Airport, but there are several well-known local and trusted companies on the island that give the big names l a run for their money, so do your research and shop around. Because many car hire companies are locally owned and operated, it may be possible to negotiate a price if you walk in without a reservation, but it’s not guaranteed the choice to take that risk is yours.
Additional Tips for Driving in Santorini
- Roads can be narrow and steep in Santorini, and even though it may not seem like it from observing the locals, driving rules are enforced by traffic police.
- There are numerous cultural and characteristic differences you may experience, so it’s important to do your research before you get behind the wheel.
- Because of its rugged terrain, 4-wheelers and other off-road vehicles (and donkeys) are common, so always be aware of your surroundings.
- And finally, just because the road less traveled may not have any road signs, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it.