A Travel Price Comparison for Greece Santorini vs. Crete for Food, Resorts, Beaches, and Families

Should you visit Santorini or Crete?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Santorini or Crete, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Santorini

Santorini is a romantic, stunning, and historic island. As this is a charming small town, visitors also come to explore the sights and local activities. The famous beauty of this place is one of the main draws. With a quaint atmosphere, it also offers a unique feeling. Other popular activities here include museums, nightlife, and food.

Crete

Crete is a scenic, stunning, and breathtaking island. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and hiking.

Santorini and Crete: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less family-friendly
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Santorini or Crete?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Crete. Although Santorini and Crete are roughly the same size, Crete has more sights and attractions for tourists. Crete is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, and hiking, while Santorini is known for its historical sights, shopping, small town charm, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere. Santorini is popular for its beautiful volcanic beaches, stunning natural beauty, and breathtaking sunsets over the whitewashed villages. Crete is popular for its breathtaking beaches, wild nightlife, and impressive archeological ruins. It is also home to the Palace of Knossos.

How is Santorini different from Crete?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Crete and Santorini. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Santorini or Crete?

Santorini
Crete

Crete is a great island for its historical sights. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its sights and museums.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Crete can be an interesting and educational experience. The island is filled with archeological sites including the famous Palace of Knossos. While most people come to Crete for the natural beauty, in the cities you'll find some great museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Santorini. One of the most impressive historical sights is Akrotiri Archaeological Site. The island has many archeological sites as well as the Archeological Museum in Fira.


Is the Food Better in Santorini or Crete? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Santorini
Crete

Crete is an unbeatable place for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Crete is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. Local cuisine is influenced by the island's fertile environment and excellent agriculture. You'll find olive oil in most dishes and seafood is a major staple. You'll also find a lot of stews and recipes that incorporate local ingredients.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Santorini area. Popular foods on this island include fava, Greek salad, and kofta.

Is Santorini or Crete Better for Nightlife?

Santorini
Crete

Crete is a great island for nightlife and partying. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its evening party scene.

The nightlife in Crete has something for everybody. The island has excellent nightlife with clubs and bars found in Chania, Malia and Stalis to Elounda. The area is popular with British tourists and you'll find many bars open until 2 or 3 in the morning.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Santorini. It is one of the calmer, more romantic islands in Greece. For the best nightlife, you'll want to stay near Fira.

Is Santorini or Crete Better for Resorts?

Santorini
Crete

With a similar set of options, fantastic resorts can be found in both Santorini and Crete.

Santorini offers an unforgettable resort vacation. The resorts range from all-inclusive options to resorts with a more local feel. The island is one of the most romantic of the Greek Islands, and the resorts are no exception.

Crete is a world class resort vacation destination. The island has world class resorts that include pools and buffet meals. There are many beachfront resorts that range in style from romantic to family-friendly.


Is Santorini or Crete Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Santorini
Crete

Crete is a great island for its diving and snorkeling. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for snorkeling and scuba diving.

Many visitors go to Crete to enjoy scuba diving and snorkeling. The island is surrounded by clear waters that make for great snorkeling and diving. There's a number of beautiful fish and other sea life that you can see. Be on the lookout for crabs, sea stars, sponges, and even octopi.

It's fun to get in the water and check out the local marine life in Santorini. Some of the best snorkeling places are found at Red Beach, White Beach, and the less accessible Kambia. One of the island's best diving spots is Caldera Beach.

Is Santorini or Crete Better for Beaches?

Santorini
Crete

Crete is an unbeatable place for the beache. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for the beach.

The beaches in Crete are among the best in the world. There are some of the best beaches in the world on Crete. The areas around Chania have some of the island's best beaches, with one of the most beautiful being Balos. On the northern side of the island, be on the lookout for strong winds, particularly in August, which can make for larger waves. The island is large, so you'll find everything from secluded and quiet beaches to more active and lively places.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Santorini. The island has many beaches, most of which are made of black pebbly sand that are a result of the island's volcanic history. Popular beaches include Perissa Beach, Kamari Beach, and Perivolos Beach.

Is Santorini or Crete Better for its Old Town?

Santorini
Crete

Santorini is a popular place for its historic old town charm. However, Crete does not have a historic old town.

Santorini offers a nice historic old town area. The historic towns of Fira and Oia are the two most popular with visitors, although they have become more built up and less historic over the past few decades. Historical areas are still found within these towns mixed in with restaurants, shops, and hotels set among the beautiful cliff-side views.

Crete does not have a historic old town.


Is Santorini or Crete Better for Hiking?

Santorini
Crete

Crete is a great island for hiking. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for the nearby hiking options.

Many visitors go to Crete for the hiking trails. The island is filled with beautiful hikes that run along the shoreline or head inland through the island's beautiful landscapes. There are hikes for every ability level that offer spectacular views and an incredible experience.

Plenty of visitors go hiking around Santorini. The best hiking trails on the island pass by quaint villages and offers stunning ocean views. You can also hike along the edge of a volcano.

Is the Shopping Better in Santorini or Crete?

Santorini
Crete

Santorini is well known for its shopping areas. Also, Crete is still popular, but not quite as popular for shopping.

Browsing through shops is a popular activity in Santorini. Towns around the island are filled with clothing and jewelry boutiques as well as many unique Greek shopping experiences.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Crete. The island has many markets that sell local foods and handicrafts. There are also shops and boutiques where you can buy anything from souvenirs to homemade artwork.

Is Santorini or Crete Better for Families?

Santorini
Crete

Crete is an unbeatable place for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its family-friendly activities.

Crete is an amazing family-friendly island to visit. The island is large and filled with countless family-friendly activities. You can spend several days at the beach, explore Lake Kournas, visit a water park, or even take a pirate themed boat cruise. There's also the amusement park, ​​Labyrinth Park, aquariums and more.

Santorini is a family-friendly place to visit. It is a calmer destination than many of the Greek Islands. While it's a great place to relax with kids, the beaches aren't as good as they are on some of the other islands. Most families hang out in Kamari and Perissa Beach.


Is Santorini or Crete Better for Couples?

Santorini
Crete

Santorini and Crete are both fantastic to visit as a couple.

Santorini has so much to offer for a romantic couple's vacation. It is a dream honeymoon destination that is famous for its picturesque setting and luxury resorts. For many couples, this is a top pick for a romantic trip to the Greek Isles.

Crete is a great island for couples, as it has plenty to offer. It's stunning beaches, beautiful landscapes, world renowned restaurants, and amazing resorts make this a top honeymoon spot for international travelers and romance seekers.

Is Santorini or Crete Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Santorini
Crete

Crete is a great island for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Crete. It's a large island with a great social scene and no shortage of hostels for backpackers to choose from.

Santorini is a good island to visit for backpackers. The island has its share of 5 star resorts, but if you head a few streets in you'll find some surprisingly affordable accommodation. Backpackers are welcomed on the island and beaches are free, so it's possible to get by on a relatively low budget.

Is Santorini or Crete Better for Students?

Santorini
Crete

Crete is a great island for its student-friendly activities. However, Santorini is not popular with students.

Crete is a great island to visit as a student. It's affordability and great coastal activities is a big draw for students in the area.

Santorini is not popular with students.


Is Santorini or Crete Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Santorini
Crete

Santorini and Crete both offer good public transit to get you around.

While Santorini offers some public transit options, it might not be your first choice. There is a bus system, KTEL Santorini Buses, that runs 23 buses during the summer months but only a small fraction of that operate during the winter months.

Crete has a few public transit options. There's a decent bus system that travels around the island and offers access to many areas.

Is Santorini or Crete a more walkable city?

Santorini
Crete

Santorini is a popular place for its ease of walking around. However, Crete is not particularly known for its walkability.

Santorini is a somewhat walkable island. Many towns on the island are walkable, including Fira, but the actual island is too large to explore on foot.

Crete is generally not a very walkable island. The island is large and requires a vehicle to get around, but there are short strolls that let you enjoy the stunning landscapes.

For even more information, also check out Is Santorini Worth Visiting? and Is Crete Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Crete or Santorini?

How long in Santorini or Crete?

Both Santorini and Crete have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Crete has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Crete than Santorini. In general, 3-7 days is a good amount of time for Santorini, and 5-7 days is enough time in Crete.

Families should spend more time in Crete than Santorini. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Crete, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Crete than Santorini. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Crete that are perfect for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Crete than Santorini if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Crete.


  • How many days in Santorini or Crete? Ideal Length of Stay
    Santorini 3-7 
    Crete 5-7

One day in Santorini or Crete?

Even though Santorini is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

You'll find nightlife and food around the island of Crete. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A weekend in Santorini or Crete?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Santorini. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

You'll find food and scuba diving and snorkeling around the world-renowned destination of Crete. Hikers are also drawn to this area. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Santorini or Crete?

Santorini is a fun place to experience. Santorini is a small town with plenty to do. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

You'll find scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping around the scenic island of Crete. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this island makes for a great vacation. It's also a relaxing resort destination. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this island has to offer.

A week in Santorini or Crete?

Santorini might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Plenty of people spend one week in the area when traveling. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. One week is often enough time to do most activities.

Crete is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Crete, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Contiki Tours to Greece, The Best G Adventures Tours to Greece, The Best 3-Day Tours from Athens, and The Best One-Week (7-Day) Tours from Athens.


Which place is cheaper, Crete or Santorini?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Santorini is €210, while the average daily cost in Crete is €274. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Santorini and Crete in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santorini 118
    Crete 133
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santorini 236
    Crete 266
Compare Hotels in Santorini and Crete

Looking for a hotel in Santorini or Crete? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Santorini


Hotels in Crete


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Santorini Hotel Prices and Crete Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santorini 35
    Crete 189

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santorini

Also for Santorini, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Round-trip Transfer from Santorini Thira Airport (JTR) to Kamari,Greece: $50
  • Skip Cable Car! Santorini Shore Excursion with Boat Transfers: $154
  • 24h Luxury Santorini Transfer.Arrival/Departure one way: $78
  • Airport, Port and Hotel Private Transfer in Santorini: $30
  • Arrival Private Transfer Santorini Airport JTR or Port to Santorini by Minibus: $46
  • Arrival Private Transfer Santorini Airport JTR or Port to Santorini by Sprinter: $32
  • Departure Private Transfer Santorini to Santorini Airport JTR or Port by Van: $32
  • Departure Shared Transfer in Santorini Island: $22
  • Departure Transfer To Santorini Port: $33
  • Luxury Private Transfer with Mercedes S Class in Santorini: $83
  • Luxury Santorini Sailing Cruise: Lunch, BBQ, Open Bar, Transfers: $133
  • Private Airport/Port Transfers Santorini: $28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Crete

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Crete:

  • Knossos palace & the Archaeological museum of Heraklion (with Transfer): $261
  • Full-Day Trip to Santorini island by Boat from Ag.Nikolaos Elounda with Transfer: $256
  • Taxi Transfers from Heraklion Airport to Rethymno City : $244
  • Private Transfer to Elafonisi Beach: $244
  • Transfer Heraklion Airport to Makris Gialos area up to 7 : $232
  • Private Airport Transfers from Chania Airport to Heraklio one way: $200
  • Semi Private Wine and Olive Oil tour (Transfer & Lunch Incl.): $165
  • Crete Private Taxi and Transfer from Chania to Plakias: $163
  • Crete Private Taxi and Transfer Georgioupoli to Heraklion Airport: $163
  • Transfer Heraklion Airport to AGIA GALINI area up to 7 customers: $160
  • Beginner's SSI Intro dive w/2 Dives & transfer: $155
  • Transfer Heraklion Airport to MATALA area up to 7 customers: $152

Is it cheaper to fly into Santorini or Crete?

Prices for flights to both Crete and Santorini change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Santorini 55
    Crete 41

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santorini

For Santorini, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Traditional Greek Night live Music & Dinner Show in Santorini: $55
  • Santorini Caldera Sunset Sailing Cruise with Dinner and Wine: $89
  • Santorini Greek Cooking Class: $89
  • Greek Cuisine Cooking Class in Santorini: $105
  • Santorini Volcano Sunset Cruise Including Dinner on Board: $115
  • Santorini Sunset Sailing Cruise: Dinner, BBQ, Open Bar, Transfers: $133
  • Santorini Food Tour: Fira Half-Day Small-Group Tour with Tastings: $139
  • Santorini Cooking Lesson with Chef and a Bottle of Wine : $164
  • Santorini Family Farm Food & Wine Tour with Cooking Class: $166
  • Traditional Cooking Lessons with Full Meal & Wine: $166
  • Vegan Cooking Lessons with Full Meal & Wine: $166
  • Half-Day Inland Fishing Tourism Sunset Tour with Dinner: $166

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Crete

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Crete.

  • Troy Dinner-Show: $33
  • Olive Oil Festival in Cretan Farm with Traditional Dinner: $61
  • The Delicious Chania Street Food Tour : $89
  • Half Day Sunset Tour in Rethymno with Dinner and Wine: $93
  • Full-Day Jeep Safari Tour with Cooking Lesson: $99
  • Private Tour: Olive Oil Tasting,Wine,Raki and Local Food Tour: $124
  • Sunset Craft Beer & Food Tour - Chania: $133
  • Private Dinner at Sunset and Cocktails: $178
  • Private Cretan Gastronomic experience Winery visit with Tastings & Cooking Class: $199
  • Eat & Crete - Food Tour [out of the box]- Chania White Mountains: $200
  • Cretan Flavors - Cooking Lessons in Heraklion - Small Group : $216

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santorini 35
    Crete 20

Tours and Activities in Santorini

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Santorini.

  • Skip the Line Lost Atlantis Experience Ticket: $16
  • Santorini Volcano and Hot Springs Cruise Tour from Fira Old Port: $28
  • The Beer Tasting and Pairing Experience: $28
  • Santorini Caldera Cruise Tour (Volcano, Hot Springs, Thirassia): $33
  • Tour of Caldera with Glass bottom Boat: $36
  • Santorini Volcano and Hot Springs Tour: $39
  • Santorini Volcano Half Day Tour: $44
  • Sunset Cruise in Caldera of Santorini: $44
  • Sunset In Oia & Traditional Villages Bus Tour: $46
  • Guided Walking Tour in Santorini: $47
  • Santorini Traditional Villages and Oia Sunset Tour: $49
  • Archaeological bus tour to Akrotiri excavations & Red beach: $54

Tours and Activities in Crete

Here are a few actual costs in Crete for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 4x4 Safari tour Southern Crete Tripitis Gorge: $110
  • Cretan Night Show Tour From Rethymnon: $54
  • Private Tour to Elafonisi and Falasarna: $133
  • 4x4 self drive adventure_Cretan mainland: $89
  • 5Hour Safari Tour in Crete(Heraklion)with Quad,ATV Jeep,Buggy, Monster and Lunch: $94
  • 6-Hours Safari Tour in Damnoni and Skinaria Beach, from Plakias: $31
  • 6.5 Western Crete Exploration Tour for Cruise Ships: $233
  • Adventure Jeep Safari Amazing sunset : $87
  • Agios Nikolaos-Spinalonga-Elounda Tour : $48
  • All Inclusive Full-day Private Tour of Crete Villages from Chania: $283
  • Amazonas Park and Glass Bottom Boat Tour: $73
  • Authentic Wine & Food Tastings - PRIVATE Walking Tour with Lunch: $161

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santorini 25
    Crete 30

Sample the Local Flavors in Santorini

Also in Santorini, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Half Day Simply Santorini Tour with Wine Tasting: $68
  • Visit to a Wine Museum and Wine Tasting in Santorini : $78
  • Santorini Highlights Small-Group Tour with Wine Tasting from Fira: $93
  • Notos Day Tour through History & Wine Tasting: $100
  • 5 towns in 5 hours: Santorini Most Popular Tour with Wine tasting: $119
  • Santorini Wine Adventure with 12 Wine Tastings, Tapas and Sunset: $133
  • Intimate Santorini - Small Group Shore Excursion and Wine Tasting: $144
  • Santorini Wine Tour with 10 Wine Tastings and Oia Sunset: $150
  • Wine Tour in Santorini with private guide, wine museum and tasting: $159
  • Private Wine Tour in Santorini : $166
  • Half-Day Virtual Reality Tour and Wine Tasting: $166
  • Santorini Wine Tasting and Sunset Getaway Small Group Tour: $166

Sample the Local Flavors in Crete

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Crete:

  • Cheese and Wine Tasting Tour From Chania: $39
  • Culinary Tour at an Olive Farm and Micro-Winery Raki Distillery: $89
  • Ecobike Wine Tasting Tour in Heraklion: $117
  • Luxury Private Wine Tasting Experience in Haralabakis Winery: $121
  • Wine Tasting on Luxury Yacht Sunset Evening in Marina: $176
  • The Gourmet Wine Tour of Heraklion area: $183
  • Private Wine Tour Olive Oil Tasting and Pottery from Heraklion: $191
  • Knossos Palace and Wine tasting in Heraklion countryside-Private : $222
  • From Elounda Private Heraklion Wine Tour with Tastings and Lunch: $233
  • Ecobike Tour • All in One • Historical Tour-Food Tasting-Wine Tasting: $235


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Santorini and Crete, we can see that Crete is more expensive. And not only is Santorini much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Santorini would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Santorini and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Crete would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Crete than you might in Santorini.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Santorini Expensive? and Is Crete Expensive?.


Which has a larger population, Santorini or Crete?

Crete has a larger population, and is about 0% larger than the population of Santorini. When comparing the sizes of Santorini and Crete, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.