Is Santorini safe for your travels this year? We’re here to find out. This guide will hop across to the rugged isle of the Aegean Sea to answer any concerns you might have about packing your bags and whizzing there yourself. It’ll take a look at everything from public transport to what Santorini is like for solo female travelers, and even comment on the quality of the tap water and any other pitfalls you’ll need to watch out for when you head to this jewel of the Greek isles.
The good news is that you’ll find very little to get worried about. Santorini is one of the most visited destinations in Greece – nay, the whole of the southern Mediterranean! It’s got an accomplished infrastructure and is well used to welcoming tourists from all around the globe. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t dangers. It just means this isn’t the same as downtown Mumbai or the cloud forests of the Andes…
Of course, there’s plenty to look forward to on Santorini. It’s one of the most famous islands on planet Earth, after all. Created from the top of an exploded volcano, it rises like a sleeping giant from a cobalt sea to give soaring cliffs, rust-red rock formations, and sweeping vistas of the Aegean. On top of that, you get to explore ancient settlements that go back to the Bronze Age, upcoming wineries, and charming Greek villages all painted in white. Let’s get started, shall we?
Is Santorini safe to visit?
The short answer here: Yes.
How can we be so certain? Well…a whopping 520,000 people visited the island in 2019. We’d put a hefty stack of euros on the fact that most of them left in a good state, too. In fact, we’d bet that most left happier than they were when they arrived, having checked off another line from the bucket list. I mean, we’d be pretty content after a couple of days watching those shimmering sunsets, doing hikes across the crumbled corner of a volcanic caldera, launching boat trips over the Aegean – the list goes on!
But you don’t have to take our word for it. Stat-crunching site Numbeo lists Santorini as a 92.05 on its safety rating. That translates into ratings of “Very Low” when it comes to the risk of falling victim to common crimes such as “being mugged or robbed” or having your car stolen. What’s more, there’s an even rosier outlook for serious crimes such as assault and racial abuse. Numbeo rates the likelihood of those occurring as nigh on impossible.
Of course, stats don’t tell the whole story. However, we will say this: We’ve been to Santorini twice and it’s ALWAYS been a joy. Yes, it’s rather touristy, and there are some clear scams to keep an eye out for. But we’ve never felt endangered or unsafe. In fact, we can’t wait to get back and keep exploring – there’s a certain red-rock beach that we still haven’t been to!
Is Santorini safe to visit for solo female travelers?
You’re going solo? In Santorini!? We should probably warn you that this island is the honeymoon destination of choice in the Greek Aegean. Before wondering “is Santorini safe”, you might want to ask if you’re going to end up in the middle of a love fest you never wanted to be part of, like the proverbial third wheel to that creaking Greek donkey cart destined for a boutique hotel where there’s only recently married couples and the singleton everyone stares at over breakfast. Grim, eh?
Don’t worry, it’s actually not that bad. Santorini has branched out in recent years to become more friendly to solo travelers. (There’s even a small backpacker hostel on the island these days.) It’s also become something of an adventure travel destination, promising unexplored beaches and one of the top hikes in all of Greece.
For solo females, there’s – of course – another dimension to things. We’ll steer clear of talking in-depth about personal experiences here on account of…well, on account of the fact that we’re not female! But Santorini veteran and travel blogger The Petite Wanderess made her thoughts clear about what being on the island was like as a lone ranger and it’s a pretty picture – no harassment, a warm Greek welcome, no thefts.
Is public transport safe in Santorini?
This is Greece! That means ALL public transportation should come with a health disclaimer, except maybe that uber-efficient Metro system in Athens. That’s like something out of a Sci-Fi flick, whizzing you from the Acropolis to the Airport without so much as a wobble.
Elsewhere and it’s all ancient buses that seem to lurch down cobbled streets at 100 mph and horn-tooting drivers that won’t stop for anything. That’s just the way it is. Thankfully, Santorini doesn’t have too many roads. It’s also only got a single bus service that links up the main villages, starting at the central station in Fira. It’s generally driven well, and we’ve used it to get from A to B without any problems.
Strangely, one of the main dangers when it comes to transportation in Santorini will be as a pedestrian. The local buses can often dominate the narrow streets of places like Oia and Fira, so pay close attention to where you’re stepping. Renting a quad bike (as many do) or a scooter also comes with risks. We’ve heard enough anecdotes to know all about the broken bones and the bruises that ruin holidays. Just be sure to drive slow and safe, never drink and drive, and never hire a vehicle if you’re not feeling confident.
Are taxis safe in Santorini?
Taxis are widely used by thousands of travelers in Santorini each year. The most popular trips are from Santorini Airport on the east coast into the towns of Fira and Oia, or up from the port, from where a hair-pinning road can take you to the high caldera rim. Given the frequency of such transfers, we think it’s fair to conclude that taxi trips are generally safe on the island.
There are some things to watch out for. One report tells of drivers waiting around to fill their car with more travelers so they can collect extra fares. They’ll often say this is standard procedure, but it’s not. Simply warn the driver that you’ve taken their registration number and will contact the police if they persist. Or, better yet, go looking for a different ride.
Pre-booking your taxi in Santorini can be a good way to avoid falling victim to a scam. There are loads of services online that let you do that, but it might be better to simply ask your hotel to organize one in advance. Doing it that way means you’ll typically pay a set price and have a driver that’s known to the place you’re staying at.
Is the tap water safe to drink in Santorini?
Although it’s surrounded by shimmering blue Aegean Sea waters, the actual tap water on Santorini isn’t fully safe for human consumption. The reason for that is that the island actually has no natural source of drinking water. A large proportion of the H2O that comes from the taps here is either collected in rooftop rain barrels or delivered to the door. It’s actually rare to find somewhere that’s 100% plumbed into the system, although there are plans afoot to change that.
For now, we’d recommend you stick to drinking only bottled water on Santorini. It costs around 1 EUR ($1.20) for 1.5 liters, which is about the going rate right across the Aegean Islands (remember, everything has to be imported here!).
When it comes to the quality of the seawater around Santorini, you really don’t have to worry. Yes, there might be some patches of pollution near the major ports, but the beaches are known for having some of the clearest aqua this side of the Maldives. We’re not recommending you drink that, of course! It’s just worth saying that this corner of the Aegean Sea is a darn fantastic place to swim.
Top 7 Santorini Safety Tips
We’ve strung together seven top tips on keeping safe in Santorini, ranging from UV protection to staying hydrated on your caldera rim hikes. Let’s go…
- Bring plenty of sunscreen and sun block – Santorini is a sunny place, just like the whole of the rest of Greece. UVA/UVB can be strong in these parts, so always pack a good-quality sunscreen, preferably with extra water resistance (you’re going to be doing a lot of swimming!).
- Drink enough water – We remember heading out on that famous coastal hiking path between Fira and Oia with just a liter of H2O in our bags. Big mistake. Santorini has an unforgiving terrain without much sun coverage, and it gets very hot (as we’ve already mentioned). Be sure to take more water than you think you’ll need!
- Consider your footwear – Santorini isn’t the place to be donning the casual flip flops. If you’re looking to explore the island, it’s worth remembering that you’re going to be exploring the collapsed caldera of an ancient volcano. That’s right…an ancient volcano. Hiking boots or rugged walking shoes are a must if you ask us.
- Drive VERY carefully – Driving accidents are the number one risk in Santorini. They account for the vast majority of incidents on the island every year. If you don’t want to become one of the statistics, we’d recommend avoiding a car or scooter rental. If you do rent, drive very carefully – Santorini has narrow, winding roads that are always filled with hazards, not least of all pack donkeys!
- Donkeys (and other animals) – Santorini is famous for its pack donkeys. They’re pretty used to seeing humans, but we think it’s wise to keep a good distance, especially from the back. On top of donkeys, you’ll also have to consider other animals. Cats, as in the rest of Greece, are the main concern. Just be sure to wash your hands after coming into contact, especially before tucking into that lunch mezze!
- Cliffs and ledges – Santorini’s soaring cliffs are one of the reasons the island is so famous around the globe, but they can be a hazard, especially at night. Be sure to stick to marked paths and always watch where you’re stepping! The same goes when you’re eating on rooftop terraces or enjoying the view from your balcony.
- Other tourists – Santorini gets very busy in the high season months from June to August. The risk of traffic accidents, crime, and scams increases considerably at this time (although it’s still pretty low). You might want to plan your trip in the shoulder seasons or low season to dodge the booming numbers, when it’s also cheaper and easier to get around the sights.