How to Elope in Santorini, Greece
Updated: Jan 20, 2021
Whoever saw the film, Mamma Mía, probably dreamt about their magical story to happen in a paradisiac greek island. - if you haven't seen the movie go ahead and watch to get even more convinced about this location. There is no doubt the filmmakers did a great job advertising the Greek Islands as a romantic destination, yet, they say: "reality beats fiction," and in this case, this phrase applies more than perfectly.
Santorini has pretty much everything you need for your elopement to be the fairytale you've always dreamt of. From its deep, bright blue oceans, charming streets, the fantastic food, greek culture and kind people, the beautiful sunsets, to the sophisticated "chic" environment, whether your ceremony is "petite commité" or just a couple getaway - this island will not disappoint.
Where is Santorini?
Why Elope in Santori, Greece?
Greece is such a vast country filled with fantastic beaches, distributed all around the 6000 islands, and for sure, getting to travel around this country will be one of the most inspiring experiences you can ever have. It has unique views with white-blue contrast in the architecture that blends delicately with the landscape. The breathtaking sunsets of Santorini feel like magic. Love is in the air everywhere you turn, people are kind and always helpful, that's why you will feel in love, free and relaxed at all times during your time here.
I want to share some advice with you if you plan on choosing Santorini as your elopement location. The right mix and match of activities will be the key for the most special days with your partner to be unforgettable.
How to get to Santori
Sometimes, paradise is not so easy to find, the hidden and not so hidden gems of the Greek archipelago distribute around the 6000 islands, so it's essential to know where to go. Santorini is one of the most famous islands along with Mykonos, Crete, Paros, and the charming historical capital: Athens.
If you fly through Athens, make sure to spend some time there. Athens is filled with fantastic street art, music everywhere, the best homemade food, and the street markets, which show the organic and unique lifestyle of Greece's great capital. Visiting the Parthenon is a must as much as walking around town and the coastline.
There are some options you can take to get to Santorini, the best way you can travel, especially if you're short on time is with a plane which will take you around 50 minutes or 1 hour. During the high season (Aug- Nov), you might find direct flights from all around Europe without stopping in Athens.
Otherwise, you can choose to take a ferry from the ports in Athens - you can choose between Piraeus or Rafina port - usually, the boats depart early in the morning and will take up to 5-7 hours to get there, prices vary from 35 euros - 55 euros. And sometimes they stop in neighboring islands. This is an option if you are a patient ocean lover; otherwise, you might be spending too much time.
Where to stay in Santori? What to do in Santorini?
There are plenty of fantastic places to stay in Santorini. Of course, it depends a lot on your budget and your expectations, if you want to do your ceremony in a specific venue or improvise in a natural setting. Whether you are looking for a full luxury experience or a simpler place to stay, you won't be disappointed with any location you choose.
The island is distributed around 12 areas, yet I will guide you through the most popular and cool places to visit:
Fira is the capital town of Santorini, and the heart of the island filled with restaurants, boutiques, and nightlife. There are many activities you can do on this side of the island during the day, here are just a few:
If you want to avoid crowds, you can visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thira or the Archeological Museum of Thira, where you will be able to spend hours learning about history and admiring the pieces displayed here.
It is entirely worth it to check out the schedule for the activities happening in the Megaro Gyzi Museum, which is well known to be the cultural center for locals, where music events, exhibitions and evening film screenings are presented.
You can take the 600 stairs to walk towards the Old Port, even though it might be exhausting once you reach the port, you can grab a drink and snack while enjoying the peaceful scenery and chill outpace. The other option is to take the cable cars to go up and down, so don't worry if those stairs sound scary!
Don't miss out on exploring the art galleries, shopping for souvenirs, and enjoying the architecture of the old churches that are distributed all around the area. Fira is one of the areas that you must visit; it has the perfect blend between nature, culture, and fun.
This lovely area is where this particular elopement was hosted and planned.
Oia is the intimate and more high-end part of Santorini, where the most expensive restaurants and hotels are located. Usually, it gets pretty quiet after the sunset, yet it's perfect if you'd like walking towards Fira for more action. During the daytime, you can walk towards Amoudi Bay, where you can swim, grab a snack and chill on the beach. Oía is the perfect romantic elopement location and perfect for enjoying honey-like time with your love.
Where to stay in Oia:
It's a perfect setting, fantastic service, and an unreal view day and night. Its cave houses and its outdoor layered spaces that frame the serene oceanfront view delicately. These villas are the ideal setting for your ceremony and pictures. The hotel offers elopement planning services so you won't have to deal with any stress!
Not much action in Imerovigli, so if you are looking for a more discreet area to stay, this is it. There are many hotels, hostels, and housing in this area. If you are planning on having some guests for your ceremony, there is a wide variety of options for any budget. Even though there is no beach in this area, it has one of the most stunning views of the island with an unparalleled view of the Aegean sea. Away from the touristy areas.
You can do the fantastic Imerovigli-Oia-Fira walk, which won't take very long, and have the best of both worlds, chill vibes and the modern, more hectic atmosphere of Oia and Fira. If you are up for an adventure, you can hike to Skaros Rock, which seems to be a rock in the middle of the ocean, but surprisingly it is connected to the land. Once you reach the top of the rock, you will have the best view of Imerovigli and even more of Santorini.
Also, check out the options available on independent housing. Take a look at private villas and rooms, around any other area. You will be surprised by the variety of options available all around the island. I am pretty sure you will find the perfect place.
The Best Greek Flavors Greece is well known for its cuisine, and the Santorinian flavors are not to be missed. The freshness of Greek cuisine is one of a kind, so either you choose to have a private banquet for your celebration, or going to a restaurant, I can guarantee the food is the highest quality and as stunning as the rest of your experience. Don't miss out on traditional Moussaka, Tomato Heffes, Saganaki, a real Greek salad, seafood, Koftas, and Gyros! I would highly recommend you to research local restaurants and hidden spots, as it usually will be cheaper than anywhere in Fira or Oia, and paying more doesn't mean it will be better.
CHEERS! Seal your celebration with the most astounding wines. If you are a wine lover, Greece has some of the best. You can book a wine tasting experience.
Last but not least, why not bring some new skills home? You can book a traditional greek food cooking class.
If you're looking for the best vegan food in Santorini here's the best insight from a local. Nina Ahmedow of Lemons and Luggage has a complete guide to what dishes you'll want to order in Greece. Check out her Vegan Greece Food Guide here!
Santorini Eloepement Ceremony
Santorini is the ideal location for your ceremony, either improvising or planning a little more in advance; there are plenty of elopement planners and venues from which you can choose. And many packages start as cheap as 300 euros.
If you want a beach aesthetic you're in luck, there are dozens of gorgeous beach locations to choose from. Or it's very popular to elope from a roof overlooking the city and sea! If you're looking for a stunning church the St. Gerasimos Christian Church is a popular location you'll see for Christian elopements on Instagram. It's blue domes, bells, and whitewashed walls are iconic, especially since this church overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. This location is extremely photogenic!
Adventure in Santorini
Who doesn't like a little extra advice on activities to do? Find below some ideas we've gathered for your inspiration:
Go on a photography tour: Santorini is one of the most Instagrammable and fascinating places you will ever get to visit, don't miss out on capturing your memories forever.
Hike to the top of the Nea Kameni:
This is a long and warm hike, but it's worth every step!
Don't miss out on the glam and fun of Santorini's nightlife. And of course, wait 'til you see the sunrise.
Transit in Santorini:
Rent a car and drive around! Let the road surprise you! Santorini is a safe place, and driving should be no problem, you can tour the whole island in one day, and it won't be hard to find what you are looking for in some hidden spots and beaches. You will get to know the real Santorini, the locals, and much more than the touristy area.
Get lost in the island of love.
Get the Legal Part out of the Way At Home
If you're from the united states and getting married in a foreign country I always tell my couples to research the laws. I generally suggest getting the paperwork done at home either prior and after the elopement. It doesn't take away from your wedding! You're married once you say your vows! Signing the paperwork on a different date doesn't make it any less special. Double-check your state's laws (each state is different), and decide what works best for you.
Tips for eloping in Santorini:
Wear comfortable shoes - there are a lot of stairs in Santorini!
Book everything in advance!
Check the weather - it can be very windy in Santorini, ask your hairstylist to help you pick a hairstyle that will last throughout the day.
Pick sunset to take pictures at your favorite location! While there are plenty of amazing locations pick your favorite scenic view for the night. Sunset makes the best photos - although all of yours will be great!
I always suggest bringing vow books with you.
Santorini is, by far, one of the most perfect places on Earth, and this is just a little hint on how charming your elopement could turn out if you happen to choose this delightful island for your elopement destination. We hope this information helps you plan a beautiful elopement!
Are you looking for the perfect destination elopement location? Check out these other places to elope! We have information on Italy, South Africa, Bali, Tunisia, and Rio de Janeiro. If you're from the US and looking for a domestic location, check out these places to elope in Colorado as well as these elopement locations in Washington State.
If you're planning your elopement wedding and want to learn more, we have plenty of resources. You can read about how to elope here. How much does elopement photography cost? Check out our elopement photography packages so you have a better understanding of how you should budget!
If you and your significant other are struggling to find the ideal location for your destination elopement check out our free Elopement Workbook.
This blog post and photos were provided and written by guest blogger Rivi Ruiz. Thank you for joining us Rivi!