What Living on Santorini is Actually Like - Soulful Mandy
Living on Santorini
Santorini, Where I've Been

What Living on Santorini is Actually Like

As I’m writing this, I have now been living on Santorini for a few weeks. It’s not merely enough to come to any big conclusions, but since my obsession with this island is so huge, I think I’m able to give a pretty decent statement on what living on Santorini is actually like. Sometimes I still can’t believe I made this move that used to seem so far away and so unreachable. And yet, living on Santorini came so naturally, I was able to adapt to the pace of this island super easily.

What Living on Santorini is Actually Like?

what living on santorini is actually like

Alright, let’s start with a few factual things.

1. Finding an apartment on Santorini

I came during the off-season, thinking this would be incredibly easy. Wah wah, fail. I still don’t know what I’ll do about my summer accommodation. But finding an apartment on Santorini, basically, consists of your networking and Greek skills. The price for the non-holiday apartments available for monthly rent is actually pretty decent depending on the location (starts from €350 per month)

But finding an apartment is a completely different story. It’s impossible. Santorini’s in a crisis that seems to cater to tourists, and the more you ask around, the more you realize how serious this situation is for locals who are trying to make a living on this island. I’ve been warned that it’s been exceptionally hard for the past few years and many locals are waiting for the tax authorities to come and clamp down the prices.

Living on Santorini

Asking around. I am currently doing an outreach to ALL possible hotels on the island. I asked my landlady of my current hotel apartment. I’m going to learn how to say “do you have an apartment available for rent” in Greek, go door to door and hope for the best. I have a plan B and plan C, so I’m not particularly worried and am aiming to avoid Santorini during the summer season.

May – September is Santorini’s high season. Everyone wants to stay on the island. So find your apartment early (or after September) if you’re really thinking about living on Santorini.

2. What’s the weather like on Santorini during winter?

I got sunburnt in February 2017. The weather’s cold during winter, with quite a lot of rain until maybe May. I’m considering myself lucky – I haven’t seen much of rain since I’ve been here, but I’ve also spent some time on Santorini a few years back and May was a hell of a rainy season.

But when the winter gets sunny, it’s exceptionally warm.

One thing I love about Santorini is its beautiful sky that allows for the sun to shine bright and make the place just a little bit warmer on cold days. I walk from Karterados to Fira on a daily basis and it’s funny how I have to take off my jacket the minute the sun hits my face. And then put it back on as soon as it disappears. Of course, summers are nothing but awesome.

Living on Santorini

3. Things you don’t know about living on Santorini

Santorini water is desalinated – vom.com to drink and I try to avoid cooking with it. This means that every week, I go and buy a six pack of a bottled water and tend to use it for everything (even drinking tea).

Everything’s closed on a Sunday – Which means you have to plan to buy enough water bottles to last you for the weekend (surprisingly, this has been the weirdest thing to think about).

Wi-Fi connection on Santorini – I have a love-hate relationship with my Wi-Fi connection. It’s a part of embracing the simplistic life, but as a digital nomad, it’s one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made. The upload speed means it takes about 5 minutes to upload any picture, yet alone video. But hey, that’s the price you pay.

You can’t flush the toilet paper. Yup. Not even number 2s. Gotta bin it. Or, you know, take the advantage of European bidets if you happen to have one.

4. But besides all that…

Living on Santorini is absolutely magical and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The privilege that I’m able to do this is beyond me and I am extremely thankful. I know this is a dream for many – and I encourage you to do it.

Living on Santorini

The friendliness of the locals – I love having talks with Lucky from Lucky’s – one of the best gyros on the island. No matter where I go, people are just astoundingly friendly and they have a lot more time to talk during the off-season.

The chill pace of life – I spend about 2 hours per day in Fira and those 2 hours feel like 2 days. You’re taking in every single moment and it does tremendous things for your mental health.

The food – I’m biased because Greek food is very similar to Slovenian food, but man. If you’re a fan of carbs (and you should be), Santorini’s the place for you. I love getting fresh bread from the bakery every single morning and get a 1kg of Greek yogurt and honey to get me through the week. Don’t even get me started on the gyros (shoutout to Lucky’s gyros in Fira).

The sea therapy – As someone who works more than 50 hours per week, being able to take an hour off to stare at the ocean (and the view Santorini offers) every day is extremely important. Listening to the waves, breathing in the sea air, watching the stars at night… Combined with the slow and chill pace of life, this is the best way to live.

Living on Santorini

The confidence of making your dreams come true – Santorini charms the lives of many. I’ve spoken to so many people that had the same mentality as me – after they left the island for the first time, they just refused to believe that this is it. It didn’t give them a break. I bought Santorini souvenirs and had them on my desk as an encouragement to follow my dreams. I had DREAMS of the island almost every day. I never wanted anything more in my entire life. It took almost a year to make this work. But I’m so glad it did. Will I stay here forever? I’m not sure – I’m very tempted to make Rhodes my base and return to Santorini for at least 4 months out of a year. But let’s wait and see what the future’ll bring. The most difficult step has been done, I’m just going to go with the flow 🙂

Follow your dreams. Just do it.

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  • Reply Matt Chapman 4th August 2017 at 9:08 pm

    I enjoyed your article immensely. My work allows me to live remote and I have been eyeing Santorini. Thank you.

    • Reply Mandy Lutman 5th August 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you Matt! Just a warning about the WiFi and occasional power outage every week – apart from that, I really enjoyed living on the island and can’t wait to go back 🙂

  • Reply 5 Cafes for Freelancers in London - Soulful Mandy 12th September 2017 at 2:36 pm

    […] What Living on Santorini is Actually Like […]

  • Reply Dawn 24th September 2017 at 5:27 pm

    I visited in 2013 and I fell in love with Santorini as well. I have been considering my opportunity to retire there or at least live there for a period of time. Reading your article has taken me back to the bakery in Oia and the almost instant friendship with Maria the Inn keeper where I stayed. I will be back if nothing else to visit and show my kids the passion of the island.

    • Reply Mandy Lutman 1st October 2017 at 11:12 am

      I understand how you feel. The hospitality really makes all the difference and it’s why I come back to the island so often 🙂 I’m sure your kids will love the island! 🙂

  • Reply Steven Mcadams 5th October 2017 at 2:40 am

    I visited Santorini earlier this year and fell in love with the island and the locals were the nicest people I met in Europe. I stayed in Fira but absolutely loves Oia. I would love to find a way to move there from the U.S.

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