We have been in Santorini several times during summer, and I must say the crowd is overwhelming. Because of this and the fact that Greek Hubs find it way too touristy and insist that there are other underrated gems in Greece, I thought I will never be able to set foot in Santorini again.
But as I guarantee him a low budget, less crowd, and photo opportunities that he never managed to do in the summer time, I managed to talk him into going to Santorini one more time.
There are Pros and Cons of going in Santorini during winter. Depending on what type of traveler you are and what you want to see/do during your travels, you will either love or dislike Santorini in the winter.
So here are the PROS!
Santorini without the huge crowd is totally imaginable in winter! There are no cruise ships during this season, so that already reduced the number of tourists by thousands.
Winter vs. Summer
Because of that you get to enjoy sunrise and sunset in solitude.
Early in the morning, as we watch the sunrise, it’s so zen and quiet, it feels like we are the only ones in the island. Even during sunset, which is preferred by more people, everybody is able to find a spot without having to share it with anybody.
No Photo bombers
No Crowd = No Photo bombers! Get that coveted solo shot in some of the most iconic spots without a struggle.
Lean Season means low prices. From hotel, plane tickets, and maybe even souvenir items. If you are a budget traveler, then this is definitely the time to go.
MORE RELAXED LOCALS
For us tourists, Santorini is a bucket list, a lifelong dream, beautiful IG photos, but for the locals it is their home. Imagine their frustration of getting out of their house with hordes of tourist taking photos or the difficulty to go from point A to point B, because of the crowd. With this type of stress, even the friendliest local gets protective of their privacy and wary of tourists.
But during winter, they are more relaxed and friendlier. They are more hospitable, and let you be as long as you don’t do anything annoying.
Of course we still respected the signs (even when no one is looking). Probably that’s the reason why we didn’t get told off, or yelled out during our stay.
Ok, this one is a bit subjective. Can be a Pro or Con depending on you. For me, it is a Pro.You might find it weird as I am from a tropical country. But as we have spent several winter and fall in Canada, and have experience -41C to be my coldest, then I find winter in Santorini to be refreshing.
Santorini entails a lot of walking. Walking with the light cold breeze is more comfortable and not tiring at all. Walking under the summer heat and humidity drenched in sweat is uncomfortable and more exhausting for me.
By mid morning, I would end up removing my jacket and walk in my summer dresses. Hiking is actually less tiring when you are not sweating buckets, that we even ended up going to Skaros Rock, and go around and find a hidden gem. Something that we never planned.
I would suggest though to check the weather forecast and avoid rainy days. As for the cycladic wind, I find that it is present both in winter of summer.
Now the Cons:
As winter is the lean season, construction and maintenance work is done during winter. So be prepared for some dust, construction worker, pounding noise.
Some hotels, restaurants, bars are closed. If there are specific establishments that you are aiming to go, or hotels you planned on staying double check because they might not be operating during this season.
NO BOUGAINVILLEAS/COVERED AREA
The cycladic island is also famed for its bougainvilleas. Unfortunately, this is not going to be present during winter.
This boat on display which makes for a pretty photo backdrop is unfortunately covered during winter.
If you are a beach lover and want to experience swimming in one of the famous beaches of Santorini, then this might not be a season a for you.
Having weigh in the pros and cons of going to Santorini during winter, my verdict is that i love it. The pro definitely outweighs the cons. To be honest, the cons didn't really bother me. When I was younger I enjoyed the vibrancy of the crowd, but now I tend to shy away from them. So whenever I find quiet and solitude in a tourist place, for me that is a priceless.