The Greek island of Santorini is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Every year, an estimated 811,000 passengers pass through the island’s airport — and thousands more visit by ferry and cruise ship.
Most tourists flock to Santorini thanks to the iconic views of Oia, the main town, with its whitewashed houses, blue roofs, and stunning sunset views. The volcanic island also has some of the best beaches in the Aegean, including the famous Kamari Beach.
Adventure lovers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore the volcanic caldera at the center of the island, whether you decide to hike along the caldera or check out the ancient ruins of Akrotiri near the volcano.
Santorini is also the perfect destination for a relaxing vacation of drinking, dining, and tanning.
But before you go, it’s a good idea to read up on the safety of the island, so your relaxing vacation doesn’t wind up being unexpectedly stressful.
This travel guide can help you find out everything that you need to know about visiting the island safely. Keep reading for everything that you need to know, including crime information.
Is Santorini Safe to Visit in 2023?
Yes, you’ll be happy to find out that Santorini is very safe to visit! The island is safe and welcoming and has a very low crime rate.
However, you may meet with some annoyances during your trip, such as crowds and very hot weather, especially if you visit during the summer.
In general, the country of Greece is very safe to visit. Most countries, such as the United States, just tell their citizens to exercise a few normal precautions while they are visiting.
The United States State Department, like many other countries, places the entire country of Greece under a Level One travel advisory. Greece experiences some problems, such as high crime in certain areas and the threat of civil unrest.
However, these risks are confined to Greece’s big cities such as Athens or Thessaloniki. For some perspective, the permanent population of Santorini is just about 25,000 people.
Santorini is a small, close-knit community with little political importance for Greece as a whole, making it an extremely unlikely target for crime, terrorism, or violent demonstrations.
However, the island does experience some problems, which get exacerbated by the influx of crowds during the high tourist season. The most common crimes are:
- Petty theft
- Drug abuse
- Personal assault
Although the Santorini community takes precautions to keep visitors safe, with so many crowds, it is hard to eliminate all crime. However, despite the risk of some forms of crime, Santorini overall is still fairly safe.
Besides crime, you should be prepared for the risk of extreme weather and natural disasters when visiting Santorini. In their travel advisories for Greece, some countries such as the United Kingdom mention the risk of extreme heat waves during the summer.
If you are traveling during the summer, make sure you take precautions to protect yourself from the heat. Summer in Greece is also wildfire season.
It would be a mistake to think that wildfires are just a mainland problem as islands such as Rhodes were devastated by the 2023 wildfire season.
Santorini has a lower risk of wildfires than many other islands due to its low vegetation, and the Cycladic Islands in general are at low risk of wildfires. However, the situation could change at any moment if you travel during the summer.
So make sure that you follow weather alerts and government advisories.
Santorini is also a volcanic island, and there is some risk of volcanic or seismic activity. Although the caldera itself is dormant, there is an active underwater volcano just a few kilometers away from the island that scientists are monitoring.
The risk of a volcanic eruption affecting your trip to Santorini is still fairly low, although it might be a good idea to read the news right before your trip to see if scientists put out any alerts.
Crime in Santorini
Santorini has a fairly low crime rate, even by Greek standards. Although crime still happens, you don’t have to be constantly vigilant because it is not omnipresent.
According to Numbeo, Santorini has a low crime rate. It scores a 22.73 out of 100 on the site’s crime index, which is a low value. Although the site issues the caveat that it doesn’t have enough data to paint a complete picture of crime in Santorini.
Numbeo also offers a breakdown of crime according to type. People are generally most worried about petty crimes and property crimes. The most common offenses are corruption, drug offenses, and theft.
People report some concern about crime increasing over the past few years, but that is a trend felt globally as places come out of COVID-19 lockdowns.
The good news is that violent crime is fairly low in Santorini, although incidents can happen. The overall violent crime rate in Greece is low. The country only has a homicide rate of 0.85 incidents per 100,000 people.
When the homicide rate is this low, the rate of other violent crimes is usually very low as well. As a tourist, you should be aware of some crime trends in Santorini.
Many petty crimes such as theft and scams do tend to target tourists. That’s because tourists are perceived as easier targets since they are less familiar with the island than the locals, especially around party beaches where they tend to be inebriated.
It would be a mistake to assume that all locals you meet are out to get you, since many are friendly and welcoming, but it’s a good idea to be on your guard.
Crime rates tend to be higher during the summer, which is the high season for tourism. That is because the bigger crowds provide both a more attractive target for criminals and better cover for thieves (many pose as fellow travelers, not locals).
The presence of large clubs and Santorini’s reputation as a party destination also attracts illicit activities such as the drug trade. That doesn’t mean that the summer is a danger zone, but just be prepared for a bit more crime than usual.
Petty theft is the most common crime you might encounter during your trip to Santorini. As the Canadian government warns in its travel advisory for Greece, petty theft is common in popular tourist attractions including Santorini.
Common forms of petty theft in Santorini include pickpocketing, bag snatching, and scams. Thieves often target tourists because they know they are more likely to have valuables on their person and be lucrative targets.
You don’t have to invest in money belts, locks for your things, and pepper spray for your trip to Santorini, but some basic precautions are enough to keep you safe.
One important precaution to take is to make sure that you don’t leave your things unattended. Thieves take advantage of people’s distraction when they put down their bags to take a photo or leave their wallet out at the beach.
Another precaution to take is to make sure that you have physical contact on your valuables while moving around the town. Don’t put your valuables in places where a thief can easily take them without your notice, such as your back pocket or a loose, open bag.
When you sit down in a local business, keep your bag in your lap instead of hanging off the back of your chair.
Break-ins can also happen in Santorini. Visitors have complained about break-ins in their accommodation before. Read the reviews before booking a private apartment or villa to see if there have been thefts before.
Hotels tend to be safer because they have security, and most rooms will have safes for your valuables.
If you do end up staying in a private accommodation, make sure that you always lock the doors and close the windows when you leave the room or go to sleep.
Put your valuables in your room safe if you have one or put them somewhere out of sight if you don’t have one. Try not to advertise the fact that you have expensive camera equipment, jewelry, or lots of cash, and don’t tell people where you are staying.
Although violent crime in Santorini is rare, assault does happen and sometimes involves tourists. The Australian government warns tourists that physical and sexual assaults have happened in Santorini in its travel advisory for Greece.
Most cases of assault happen around the party scene in Santorini. Physical assaults sometimes happen when drunken bar fights get out of control. While you should enjoy your time in Santorini, make sure that you don’t go overboard with alcohol.
Limit your drinks and consume less than you would at home as you want to keep some situational awareness.
Unfortunately, female tourists are at additional risk in Santorini of sexual assaults, although men are at risk as well. If you are a woman traveling in Santorini, take precautions, especially when going to the clubs or bars.
Check out the nightlife with a group, make sure you check on each other, and don’t go off with strangers or let your friends do so.
Drink spiking occurs in Santorini’s bars and clubs. The targets can be men or women. Criminals often spike drinks so they can rob, physically assault, or sexually assault their victims.
Try to prevent drink spiking by keeping an eye on your drink at all times, physically covering your cup while dancing, and not accepting drinks from strangers.
Avoiding Bad Areas
There are no areas in Santorini that are so dangerous that you have to avoid them completely. However, there are areas where the crime rate is a bit higher, and you might want to exercise some caution.
Rates of pickpocketing and theft tend to be higher in popular tourist destinations such as Oia than more out-of-the-way villages.
The crime rate also tends to be higher around nightlife areas or party beaches such as the village of Perissa or near Perivolos Beach.
Things to Consider
Here are a few additional safety tips for visiting Santorini:
- The tap water is not safe to drink. Follow the lead of locals and drink bottled water instead.
- Protect yourself from the heat. In the summer, stay inside during the hottest part of the day, from 11 AM to 3 PM. Definitely don’t do any strenuous activity then. Make sure that you apply plenty of sunscreen (and reapply after you sweat or go swimming). Drink plenty of water.
- Be prepared for the crowds. Santorini is a very popular tourist destination, which means the streets are packed in the summer and the lines for popular attractions such as the cable cars can be very long. You can beat the crowds by staying in more out-of-the-way villages, not Oia, or visiting during the off-season.
- Practice safe partying. Don’t mix alcohol and other substances. Say no to street drugs as you don’t know their contents. Go with a group and look out for each other.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few common questions people ask before visiting Santorini:
Is it safe to walk in Santorini at night?
It is mostly safe to walk in Santorini at night. However, you should be careful around popular party areas as they can get rowdy after dark.
Is Santorini safe for female travelers?
Santorini is mostly safe for female travelers. However, women have to take additional precautions when exploring the island’s nightlife.
What should I be careful of in Santorini?
In Santorini, be careful of pickpockets and scammers. Make sure that you are mindful of visiting respectfully, which means not trespassing, disturbing the locals, or participating in animal abuse and riding the donkeys.
Is it safe to walk alone in Santorini?
Traveling alone is safe in Santorini. However, you shouldn’t go to clubs alone, especially if you are a female traveler. Try to find a group from your hostel to go with.
Is seven days in Santorini too much?
If you are hoping to spend a lot of time relaxing on the beach, seven days in Santorini will be very relaxing. However, if you’re a more active traveler, you may get bored after two days on the small island.
Over to You — Book Your Trip to Santorini Today!
Santorini is a mostly safe Greek destination to visit. While you should be aware of some risks, such as theft, your vacation will go smoothly.
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Santorini has to offer. Happy travels!