Surprisingly, Santorini is a relatively quick and inexpensive trip from Florence (as island vacations go). I first discovered this while living in Florence. I learned from my friends that the Italian/European view of this charming little island is quite different than the American. Americans tend to see and do Santorini as an expensive, luxury vacation complete with exclusive resorts. While you certainly can spend a lot of money on a fancy resort in Oia, you can also stay in a more local/European beach town like Kamari for less than you would typically spend on a hotel in Rome!
Both EasyJet and Vueling offer cheap flights to Santorini from Venice, Florence, and Rome in the summer (aka Santorini’s season). Obviously, the earlier you buy, the better deal you can score. I flew out from Venice with friends and returned directly to Florence. I will warn you, however, that the Santorini airport is not big or well run, so do not make any plans that depend you arriving or departing exactly on time (arrivals tend to go more smoothly than departures)!
Kamari is a great town to stay in because it is right on the beach, near the airport, and remarkably cheaper than the more famous towns on the other side of the island. You can rent a beach chair and umbrella for the day for just 5 euros! While the town itself is not overly beautiful (think small Florida beach town that’s a little past its prime), it’s a great way to enjoy the best of Santorini on a budget (without feeling like you are on a budget).
Once in Kamari, you can cheaply rent scooters and ATVs to explore the entire island. My ATV was only 20 euros per day! Trust me, exploring the island on an ATV is so much fun and far more interesting than never leaving your resort in Oia. We explored the towns of Pyrgos, Kamari, Fira, Oia, Emporeio, and the Red Beach near Akrotiri. Pyrgos and Emporeio are two of my favorite towns. They are both stunning little traditional towns that are virtually unspoiled by tourism. These towns also offer better, more traditional food for much less than you would pay in the resort towns. Obviously, you still must visit the more-famous towns Fira and Oia. They are, after all, famous for good reason.
I plan on sharing a full recap/guide on Santorini when I have the time to sit down and write such an in-depth post. But, for now I wanted to share these gorgeous pictures from my trip. Between the stunning scenery, affordability, and absolutely delectable Greek food, it is easy to see why I absolutely love Santorini!