So I have just returned from a weeklong solo trip to Santorini, March 23-29. I stayed at Adamant Suites on the caldera in Fira. I really fell in love with the island and I cannot wait to return, who knows hopefully later this year! I read so many forum posts prior to my trip, and I wanted to share my personal experience/view. One popular topic was how long to stay in Santorini. Personally I loved spending an entire week there and I did not even make it to any of the beaches. Now the weather was not ideal for travel to the beaches or to Ancient Thera for a good portion of my visit, but I just found there was plenty to do in a week. I went to Oia two full days because I just could not get enough, and even with a lot closed (yet a decent amount open and decent numbers of people even in Oia during the day) I saw completely different parts of Oia each of the two days. The island just isn't as small as you would think. To be fair I did not rent a car, and this would have increased accessibility and MAYBE given the feel that I had exhausted the attractions quicker, but I really don't believe so. I never even got to do the complete hike from Fira to Oia, I only made it to Imerovigli.
Everyone on the island was so friendly, both locals and worldwide travelers. I met so many other Americans, and even though I traveled alone I ended up spending all week with a pair I met from New York who I hit it off with. I also hung out a little with a couple from California and two friends from Deleware. And met a slew of young women from US universities studying abroad in Florence, on Spring Break in Santorini.
I have reviews posted of the hotel I stayed at and some of the restaurants I tried. Those stairs were no joke as others posted, but I think my most difficult portion was actually to my hotel lol. In the main towns I didn't find it to be THAT bad :-)
I traveled with really tight connections and had been nervous from reading posts I would not make them. So far from reality (and some may say I got lucky.) Paris - Charles de Gaulle was SOO easy for me to transfer from Terminal 2E to 2F. It took all of 10/15 minutes for me to deplane, get my passport stamped, and walk to my new gate. I was most nervous about my connection in Amsterdam at Schiphol which was a 50 minute connection. There were high winds and planes into Amsterdam were being delayed, so my connection became 30 minutes due to our late arrival. The passport guy told me no worries I would make my connection and I did. Again, it was a 10/15 minute time period for me to deplane (I was the first one off though), walk to passport control, get through (no line), go to my gate, and go through security at the gate. I was walking from C8 to I believe E. I loved Air France (the fed you so much and the food was really good) and KLM (the plane was not as attractive and the seats looked a bit worn, but the food was also really good and in abundance - one of my shorter legs though did not have the in-flight entertainment but I caught up on sleep.) In the future I would pick Air France or KLM over Delta. I still earned Delta Skymiles so I feel I prefer the experience of these two airlines. My flights were ATL-CDG-ATH-JTR and return JTR-ATH-AMS-ATL.
I flew Aegean between Athens and Santorini and they did not weigh or measure my bag (I only took a carry on and the limit is supposed to be 8kg - I think I had 9 or 10.) In Athens security was at the gate but really fast. They want to see your liquids and tablet but it was super easy and I did not have to remove my shoes (sneakers). I did see someone get their bag measured by KLM in Athens though. It was obvious in my opinion it was within size, which was confirmed, but they were really furious to be challenged.
That's all I can think of for now, but if you have any questions let me know.
OH! The weather in March. On arrival it was almost balmy and I quickly removed my hoodie and jacket. The next day (my first full day) it was beautiful and I had a sleeveless on all day and did not get cold. BUT, it got real the next consecutive days with wind and rain. One night it was so bad I pushed the couch against the door to my room because it felt like my whole room would be blown into the caldera and my door was being banged and blown very hard! It was like being in a hurricane. So I understand the Santorini weather. I gather this is not common to summers in Santorini, but for Spring travel this is a consideration and I would plan on a cave room or a room with a protected door (mine was open and at the full mercy of the winds.) I did not sleep at all this night. I mention this a little more in my hotel review. I was so grateful the last day was sunny and though not super warm like the first due to strong winds, I was able to take pics and get some needed Vitamin D.
To me this is another thing to keep in mind when you plan the length of your stay. Some travelers I met were only staying 3 nights and those fell right in the middle of the bad weather so they did not get any sunset or warmth or good sunny pics. So keep this in mind the weather may not be perfect every day (again, maybe more reliable in summer, I don't know) so the longer you stay the more flexibility you have. We did indoor things like Santos Winery (BEAUTIFUL!!) and the Prehistoric Museum, and rode the bus and whatever else we could come up with to make the most of the bad weather days. Oh, my travels also fell on a National Holiday (Independence) when all the museums were closed. I had no clue. So to me more days is better. When the wind is high, it may be sunny but you may not be able to do some things like Ancient Thera. One day I had to crouch because the wind would've blown me down near the caldera walking down the steps to my room. And why can't the donkey 'guides' put bags on them like they do in the US to horses so they don't get their poop on the cobble streets?!! I did a fair amount of poop dodging.
Also, I found the number of people to be more than sufficient and there is no way I personally would want to see summer with a hundred times more people than I saw in March. It was still very crowded at the sunset view spot in Oia, and there were enough cars on the roads in Fira for me. My hotel told me the best time is mid October because the crowds are low, the weather is warm coming off the summer, and everything is still open. The crowds increased significantly over my week and by the end Fira was very crowded (compared to the first day.)
Okay, too long. Hope you find this useful and I wish you well in your planning and travels!! Again, I LOVE <3 Santorini. This was a dream trip for me and the island fit me perfectly and was everything I could have asked for, even with the wind and rain, just wonderful! =D