Hire a Car at Santorini Airport
There is one airport on Santorini, located on the island’s eastern coast. Santorini (Thira) National Airport is fairly small and the majority of its flights are seasonal, meaning it can be tricky to book a direct route outside of the peak months. However, this is still usually the easiest way to access the island. Greek car rental companies can be found in the airport, along with global brands such as Avis and Hertz. From the airport, the main town of Fira is a 15-minute drive, while Oia can be reached in around 30 minutes.
Rent a Car in Fira
If you are flying to Santorini, you will probably find it easiest to hire a car at the airport, however there are other places on the island to pick up your own vehicle. A couple of car hire agencies can be found in Athinios, the island port, but most are located in Fira. This strikingly pretty cliff-side town is a good place to start a driving tour of Santorini, as it is home to several museums and some excellent hotels and restaurants. It’s also a good place to book boat cruises and island tours, and its central location makes it perfect for accessing the island’s main attractions.
Driving to Oia
Most people visiting Santorini find the driving experience very straightforward, as the roads tend to be quiet, with little traffic. An excellent driving tour of Santorini starts in Fira and heads two miles north to the little village of Imerovigli, which is famous for its sunsets. From here, continue north along the coast, looping west to the picturesque village of Finikia and continuing on to beautiful Oia. Here you can stop for one or two nights to explore the winding back streets, snap photos of the famous blue-domed churches and visit the small fishing village of Ammoudi, which is from the main town reached by a steep set of steps.
Other Driving Routes Around Santorini
Another excellent driving route heads south from Fira to Megalochori, and the ancient city of Akrotiri, which was uncovered in the 1960s after spending thousands of years buried in volcanic ash. Near to Akrotiri you’ll find the Red Beach, so called for its vivid rust-coloured rocks and sand. From there, head to the beautiful beach towns of Vlychada and Perissa, before looping back up to Fira by way of the ruins at Ancient Thira. Lastly, don’t forget that, because Santorini is so small, you could easily manage a driving tour of the whole island within a few days!