Car hire in Santorini
Hiring a car in Santorini
The Greek island of Santorini - also known as Thira - is absolutely beautiful, especially if you are lucky enough to arrive by boat. With stunning beaches, black lava cliffs that feature sheer drops that vanish into blue waters, and plenty of sunshine, it's no wonder Santorini is such a popular destination.
As well as the stunning views and great weather, you'll also find some truly interesting archeological sites. These will give you insight into the island's past and provide a great break away from the beach when you want a more varied holiday.
The easiest way to get around the island is by car, which means car hire is the best idea. Public transport can be a bit sporadic and infrequent, so enjoy the freedom that car hire gives you and set out on your own Santorini adventure.
What you need to know
There are a dozen different car hire companies to choose from once you arrive on Santorini. However, because the island is such a popular destination, you may find that you cannot get the vehicle you want when you arrive. This is why it is important to book before you travel, as this will secure the car of your choice and mean you get the best price.
You can book easily and quickly through Holiday Autos' booking tool, which will show you all the cars available during your trip. There are no hidden costs and you'll not be subjected to credit card fees. To ensure peace of mind, you'll also get 24/7 support and free cancellation.
Where to pick up your car
Those flying into Santorini will be able to get on with their holiday almost as soon as they land, as car hire companies operate at Santorini National Airport (JTR). You'll find the car hire desks within the arrivals hall of both terminals for most of the car rental companies at the airport. Other companies offer a meet and greet service to help you find your pick up point.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.”
Where to go
Set in the middle of the Aegean sea, Santorini is a wonderful paradise for you to explore. You can enjoy fantastic views across the sea, including the huge crater that was created by one of the biggest volcanic eruptions the world has experienced. Find your favourite white sand beach, enjoy local wine and some excellent Greek food or drive to any of the ruins on the island.
You can hop on a boat to visit one of the smaller islands that are set close to Santorini or to better enjoy the sight of whitewashed Cycladic houses on the clifftops. These towns can also be explored by car, with some of the traditional sites showing you how things have been done on the island for years. There are so many reasons Santorini attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Driving in Santorini
The roads on Santorini tend to be very quiet and are generally in good condition, so you shouldn't encounter any traffic jams or problem areas. This means you will have a good idea of how long a journey will take so can better plan your day.
Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road on Santorini, as they do throughout the rest of Greece. You may find that some road signs are hard to see, as are the traffic lights, which are usually set quite high. In more remote areas, roads are quite narrow, so you may need to stop and allow cars traveling in the opposite directions to pass.
One of the most popular locations in Santorini is Ía - also known as Oia - and it's easy to see why. Located on the northern end of the island, the village features classic whitewashed houses, which shine in the sunlight and glow orange when the sun is setting. Many of the traditional houses have been turned into chic hotels, but a lot of them retain their original charm. Head to the waterside for stunning views and fabulous fresh seafood dishes or walk along the cliff path to Firá.
Santorini doesn't just offer white sandy beaches, it is also known for the Red Beach. This famous beach is found beneath a red cliff and offers great opportunities for swimming in the crystal clear waters. The beach is also close to the ancient settlement of Akrotíri - there is a modern town of the same name - which was buried under lava following the huge volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC.
Top attractions in Santorini
There are so many attractions available on the island of Santorini that you'll soon be able to see why it is a popular destination. See all you can of this beautiful place by hiring a car and taking as much in as possible during your stay.
The remains of the ancient city of Thira can be seen by driving to the southeast coast of island. The ninth-century BC settlement is nowhere near as grand as it was in its heyday, but you can still see what remains of a number of structures. You'll also see the foundations of former early-Byzantine and Roman buildings. To see other artifacts recovered from the site, visit Firá's archeology museum.
Museum of Prehistoric Thira
This museum is a little odd as it actually showcases finds from the Akrotiri site, rather than prehistoric items. However, it is still worth a visit as it has some great exhibits, including the Blue Monkeys wall fresco, which is the top attraction. The museum is located close to the Mitrópolis church in Firá.
This beautiful town is probably the epitome of what you think of when someone says 'Greek island'. Located around the ruins of a medieval castle, Pyrgos features stunning white Cycladic cottages with the iconic bright blue roofs. Previously the capital of Santorini until 1800, you can enjoy a mix of classic Greek and modern attractions, including some great restaurants that offer fantastic views.