For the more adventurous folk.
The adorable Greek island of Santorini is one of the most popular of the Cyclades islands. The island is speckled with quaint towns which are comprised of picturesque white buildings perched atop steep cliffs that release into the deep blue of the Aegean Sea. This iconic architecture is the signature motif from this ideal vacation destination. As a result, jetsetters and tourists alike flock to Santorini at all times of the year to appreciate the extraordinary landscape and ogle in awe of the astonishing sunsets.
The two trendiest towns are Oia and Fira which is where most travelers stay but there are lots of other towns as well. Regardless of where you stay the towns are not walking distance apart which means that, unless you plan on lounging by the pool for your entire trip, you’re going to have to acquire transportation. There are taxis on the island, but the prices are absurd which is why some people will recommend renting a car. If you’re traveling with small children, then a car is probably your best call but there is an alternative for the more adventurous folk.
There are very few things that will make you feel more alive than the wind whipping through your hair as you accelerate through the streets on a four-wheel ATV. I highly recommend renting an ATV over a car, as long as it fits in your travel agenda. Riders are allowed to drive ATVs in the street alongside motorbikes, scooters, and cars much to the dismay of taxi drivers. In downtown Fira, I was able to rent one ATV for 12 hours (8 am to 8 pm) for 30 euros. Each ATV fits two people, one driver and one passenger, which amounts to 15 euros each for an entire day of fun and freedom.
We rented day-of, so this option is perfect for the go-with-the-flow travelers who prefer not to plan too much ahead of time. Contrary to renting a car, renting ATVs is also a low time-commitment option because you rent them for one day and you can choose whether or not you want to come back for a second day. They were perfect for the four-day-weekend I spent on the island.
We were all provided helmets and the rental company required IDs from those of us who were driving. We chose to purchase insurance for 7 euros, just in case. None of us had ever driven an ATV before but it was remarkably simple, and no one got hurt. The acceleration is a lever on the right side of the handlebars and the brakes are on the front. It was as simple as driving an automatic car, but it was a lot more thrilling.
First, we took the ATVs from Fira to Oia which took a little more than 30 minutes. We enjoyed the sites and a delicious lunch in Oia before jumping back on the ATVs and cruising to the opposite end of the island to a beach-side town called Perissa. We covered the entire island in under an hour and spent a few hours relaxing on the pebbled waterfront. Both Oia and Perissa would have been inaccessible without transportation but I can’t imagine my experience in Santorini without viewing these beautiful and unique parts of the island.
The ATVs allowed us to access areas of Santorini, beside the town we were staying in, at our leisure. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to explore the 30 miles squared of incredible island that we had at our disposal. Most vacation destinations have opportunities for renting cars, but you’d be hard-pressed to find the same amount of opportunities for renting ATVs. This was an experience unique to Santorini which helped me to get better acquainted with the landscape. Spending a day driving an ATV across the island was definitely the highlight of my time in Greece and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. Renting ATVs may not be for everyone but if it works in your travel plans, I highly recommend trying it out for at least a day.
Storrey spent 4 days in Santorini and one day exploring the island by ATV.