The short answer is, yes April is a good time to go on an island-hopping trip to Santorini.
It’s been deemed the most popular destination in Europe, so to say it gets pretty busy in the high season is an understatement. It’s popular with tourists worldwide, sees many marriages each year, even more honeymoons and no shortage of cruise ship passengers.
If you want to avoid the crowds and the very hot peak season, you’re best to go in a shoulder season month.
However, depending on what you enjoy, the absolutely best time for you to visit Santorini might be late May – June or September – mid-October. But April is definitely one of the best months of the year to visit.
Having said that, there are some things to consider about going to Santorini at that time of you. So stay with me while I take you through the details of visiting outside of the summer months.
What’s it Like to Visit Santorini Island in April?
Here’s what you need to know.
You can get some very pleasant weather in April. But you do need to be prepared for changeable weather conditions and some rainy days. In April, the best weather is normally towards the end of the month.
The average temperature is between 14 – 20°C / 57-68°F in the day.
Therefore the month of April can be the perfect time to visit the various sites around the island without enduring scorching heat. It’s a lovely time to explore the island’s hiking paths (see below) and there are plenty of daylight hours to fit everything into.
As well as being the most popular place in Europe, Santorini also has the best sunsets in the world. They can look a bit different in the spring season when there are cloudy skies. But as my friend says, the clouds make the sky more interesting.
If it’s cloudy when you’re watching the sunset, stay until after the sun’s actually gone down. Usually, you’ll get to see the most amazing colours, and they all bounce off the clouds. It’s not better or worse than in summer. It’s just different.
Going during the month of April also means you’ll have to share the popular sunset spots with far fewer tourists.
Available Activities and Day Tours
The good news is that a fair number of activities and tours will be available in April. Not everything will be up and running yet, but you can certainly join in some of the most popular trips.
Some of the favourites are:
- wine tasting tour
- boat tours
- sunset cruise
- Akrotiri Archaeological Site
- Ancient Thera
A lot of the Santorini wineries close in the winter months and not all of them will be open again in April.
You will find some that offer tours and tastings from early April but generally as private group bookings. So prices will be higher than if you joined one of the many group or semi-private tours that operate in the main tourist season.
Having said that, you can still find the odd group tour of the island that includes a wine-tasting session. You can also contact places like Santo Wines for direct bookings.
Lots of tourists choose to take a boat trip during their time in Santorini. There are popular excursions to walk on the volcano and swim in the thermal springs. In summer, there are many options in terms of cruise length and time of day.
But in April, the boat tours are a bit more limited. You can still enjoy a sunset cruise because Santorini Sailing starts their group sunset tours back up from 1st April. They also run their daytime catamaran tours to places like the hot springs and Red Beach in April.
Although you can get some hot weather in April (I’m Scottish, 28°C/82°F is hot to me!) the sea will still be very cold. Take your swimming cossie and towel along with your snorkeling gear. But brace yourself. You might prefer to just enjoy the sun from the deck.
Cultural Sites and Experiences
Akrotiri Archaeological Site is the most popular historical place to visit in Santorini. No matter what the weather forecasts look like, this is a good place to visit. I went when it was pouring down with rain, and it was fine. The place is housed in a bioclimatic building, so it’s fine even in winter weather.
Akrotiri is open all year, but the opening hours are reduced in winter, and they’re closed on Tuesdays. From April until October the opening hours extend to 8am – 8pm supposedly every day. But I drove past one Tuesday, and it was definitely closed.
I called to confirm whether they open Tuesdays after March and I’m still confused after the conversation. So I’m not sure if they usually are, and that was a one-off or not. I’ll check again for you when I’m next on the island!
Ancient Thera is similar to Akrotiri in terms of opening but it’s open to the elements on top of a very big hill. You’ll probably want to avoid it on any extremely windy days. But you should get enough calm and sunny days to visit, depending on how long you’re staying.
The Museum of Prehistoric Thera is again open all year round and closed on Tuesdays. The Lost Atlantis Experience runs again from 1st April and is open daily.
Bars, Restaurants and Clubs
While not as hectic as later months of the year, April in Santorini isn’t a ghost town. There will definitely be enough bars and restaurants open for you to eat well.
I don’t think any of Santorini’s nightclubs open in May. And a lot of the beachfront restaurants at Perissa Beach and Perivolos will also just be getting set up for the season.
Many restaurants in Pyrgos village are open all year because it’s a very residential place.
In Oia, Oia Gefsis is open all year, and Roka is usually open from March, as is Ammoudi Fish Tavern in Ammoudi Bay.
In Fira, Selene opens at the end of March and Marinera at the end of April. This isn’t an exhaustive list of places to eat. But it gives you an idea that you will find something good around the island.
I mentioned in another post about not relying on Google Map listings being up to date. It’s not very often that businesses mark themselves as temporarily closed.
So if you’re there in April, don’t do a quick search to see what’s near and then head out expecting it to be open. If you’re just having a wander around, you’ll certainly find places that are open.
But if you’re making a special trip somewhere, ask your accommodation provider for recommendations. Or, click through to the website to make a reservation so you can check they place you’re looking at is open.
Although you might not be visiting Santorini to laze about on a black sand beach, it’s still a nice option! As I mentioned with the boat trips, the Aegean Sea is still pretty cold in April. The average sea temperature is only around 17°C/62°F. But you can still have a lovely waterside stroll and soak in some rays.
One of my favourite things to do in Santorini is to walk the Caldera. There’s a stunning 10km (about 6 miles) hike from Fira to Oia and I’d recommend everyone do at least part of it. Santorini’s biggest appeal is the outstanding views from the top of the cliffs. And on this trail, you’ll get your fill.
Although the Caldera walk is the one that everyone knows, there are several other interesting hiking trails in Santorini. You can walk to Ancient Thera, to a church carved into the rocks, the monastery at Pyrgos and a “secret” sunset location by the sea below Santorini Heart.
Hiking on Thirasia
Thirassia is next door to Santorini and is also good for hiking. Don’t go if the weather looks dicey, though. The boat that goes over is only small and they cancel it if it’s too windy to dock safely. Don’t get stuck over there.
What to Wear in Santorini in April
I have a whole article about what to wear in Santorini for a happy trip that you can have a read of. But as a summary, make sure you have layers.
Here’s what else I’d recommend:
- skirts/shorts/linen trousers
- tee shirts/tops
- light jacket or jumper for the evening, windy boat trips and AC on the ferry
- linen shirt or similar cover-up for the sun and religious places
Santorini outfit ideas on display in Oia
- something heavier like a pair of jeans for cooler days (save space, wear them to travel in)
- athletic/gym clothes for outdoor activities like walking the caldera, taking a kayak tour or going on a boat tour
- wide-brimmed hat because there are plenty of hours of sunshine when it gets really quite warm, and lots of areas are exposed without shade
- shorts to wear under your sundress to protect your thighs from all the walking
- decent pair of light trainers/sneakers like Converse
Where to Stay in Santorini in April
When planning your trip, you’ll need to think about the areas you might want to stay in as well as the type of accommodation. Outside of the main season, you’ll find more villas and houses available to book than hotels.
Oia in April
Hotel Availability in Spring
Like with Mykonos in winter, the vast majority of hotels in Santorini close after about the middle of October. Many don’t open up again until sometime in May.
On some islands, the Greek Easter / Orthodox Easter, which is normally towards the end of April, marks the start of the tourist season. In Santorini, things start a bit earlier, and some of the iconic hotels do open at the end of March/beginning of April.
If you are travelling in Greece during Holy Week, don’t leave booking too late. Lots of Greeks travel back to their villages and islands to celebrate and it’s a busy time all over the country.
Staying in Summer Houses in Spring
Just keep the weather in mind. If you visit Santorini in April, I hope you have a wonderful time with warm and sunny weather. But the reality is, in the low season, you could get more than just a bit of light rain.
Cycladic summer houses are often cold, damp and drafty in the winter. They generally have solar-powered hot water, and not everywhere has AC. That means that not everywhere has hot water or an AC unit that can be used to heat the place if it’s not sunny.
If you’re staying in one of the bigger hotels, they’ll have that covered. If you choose a villa, then check the details. You want something that has a water heater option as well as the solar option. And look for heating or AC that can be used as an electric heater.
Some of the star hotels you’ve seen on Instagram might not yet be open. But there are plenty of stunning properties that are.
For example, Rocabella in Immerovigli and Santorini Sky in Pyrgos are open all year round. Santorini Princess – one of the best hotels in Immerovigli – takes booking from the end of March, Santorini Secrets and the Atlantis Hotel run from 1st of April and Nobu and Cavo Tagoo open right at the end of April.
The best way to check your options is to search on Booking.com or Expedia.
A Note About Hotel Pools
One thing to check, if it’s important to you, is the situation with pools and hot tubs. In Greece, a lot of “hot tubs” don’t get that hot. I have stayed in one place in Santorini where the jacuzzi was heated to 40°C/104°F, but that’s unusual.
In August, it’s quite refreshing to sit out and watch the sunset or the stars in 31°C/88°F water (think children’s swimming pool water temperature.). But it’s not as pleasing on cool nights in April.
If you want to book somewhere with that facility, I’d email in advance to confirm what temperature their pools operate at. It might not be worth paying extra for.
Which Part of the Island to Stay In
Oia is the poster child of Santorini, and April’s a pretty good month to stay there. Normally you lack privacy since the popular cave hotels are built on top of each other. But in April, not all of the accommodation is open yet, so you can feel a bit less overlooked.
It’s also the most expensive part of the island to stay in, but in the shoulder season, including April, you could find yourself a good deal. It’s the best way to stay in a dream location at a lower cost than usual.
If you want to rent a car and explore the island, it’s probably the latest you can do that from Oia without having a real headache over parking. (Unless you manage to book one of the few places with private parking.) By May, the traffic’s really starting to pick up.
In terms of public transport, the bus timetable starts picking up in April, so you’ll have decent links to Fira.
Pre-season maintenance still happening in Oia
Immerovigli is a good option for caldera views with a feel of Oia but more space and privacy. Again it’s the ideal time to take advantage of lower prices on the nightly rates. And here, you’re right on the Caldera hiking trail and within easy walking distance of Fira for restaurants and shops.
Fira is the island’s capital and in April it’s busy enough. Shops and boutiques are open as are many restaurants. It’s definitely still off-season in terms of some of hotels. But there are some beautiful ones available in spring and again you can find some great deals.
The buses from around the island connect in here so transport is good and lots of things are within walking distance if you stay close to the centre.
If you have a car, then I think Pyrgos is a solid choice in April. It’s a good location to access everywhere else on the island. Plus, there are good places to eat all-year round and some nice walks in the area.
There are more suites and villas in Pyrgos than hotels, but Alleys Boutique Hotel and Spa is open in April too.
You might find some appealing accommodation in other parts of the island. Before choosing where to stay, bear in mind what I said about staying warm if there’s not great weather.
I’d also think about what the transport links are like in April if you’re not renting a car in Greece. If you want to stay somewhere with plenty open within walking distance then you might find the beach resorts a bit quiet, for example.
How to Get to Santorini in April
Santorini is still very accessible in the off-season. You might find this post about how to get from Athens to Santorini helpful.
Good old Blue Star runs ferries from Athens’ Piraeus Port to Santorini all year round. It’s on the route that also calls at Paros, Naxos and Ios. Paros and Naxos are good choices for combining Santorini in spring with a bit of island-hopping too.
In April, Seajets usually have ferries scheduled for routes between the Cycladic islands, like Mykonos to Santorini and between Athens, Santorini and Crete. Generally, the timetables don’t come out too far in advance, so keep an eye on Ferryhopper.com for updated timetables.
Note that Santorini’s proper Greek name is Thira, sometimes spelt Thera. Often you’ll see that on ferry schedules instead of Santorini, so don’t get confused if you don’t see it.
Flights run from Athens all through the year. The number of airlines running is obviously reduced compared to the summer. But Aegean, Olympic and Ryanair all have several options in April 2024.
See this post about the best Greek airlines for island-hopping.
Direct flights from the UK are also running in April with some great deals by the looks.
Getting Around Santorini in the Off-Season
I have a whole separate post about getting around Santorini, so feel free to make your way through that.
Car rental is available in April, although not every office will be open. Certainly, you can collect a car at the port or airport. Prices are usually a bit cheaper than in the June – August period.
The bus timetables update seasonally, and you can check the details on the KTEL website.
You won’t find details of buses to and from the port. When you arrive on the boat, there is always a bus waiting to take passengers to Fira (and it’ll return if everyone can’t fit on).
To get back to the port, you need to go to the bus station in Fira a maximum of two days before you leave. There’ll be a handwritten sign in the window telling you what time the buses leave Fira for the port over the next couple of days. Again, they coincide it with the ferries so it constantly changes.
Santorini Shore Excursions and Guided Tours
Day tours are an option for getting around the island in April. You don’t need to worry about logistics after you’ve been picked up, you can just sit back and relax.
Like I mentioned above, a lot of things you look at will offer private tours only at this time of year. But you can find some group tours on GetYourGuide.
If you’re arriving by cruise, have a look at this company’s shore excursions that run all year.
Is April a good time to visit Santorini?
Yes. Although not everything is up and running (see information in the post above), you can get good weather and fewer other tourists. One of the best things is that you can save on costs. Car rental and hotel room rates are generally lower than in the summer.
It’s not ok to ride the donkeys no matter which month you visit
Is Santorini warm in April?
It can be. The average temperature in the day is between 14 – 20°C / 57-68°F. It’s generally getting warmer as you head towards May.
Can you swim in the sea in Santorini in April?
It is possible, and I swim in the spring. But the sea temperature is about 17°C/62°F, so it’s classed as cold water swimming, and you should take care.
A non-beach day in April
Can you sunbathe in Santorini in April?
Well, we Brits will be out sunning ourselves in 18°C for sure! The sun can be quite strong, so if there’s not much breeze, it can be enjoyable to lie on the beach. But you can’t guarantee there won’t be cloudy days or a bit of rain.
Any More Advice?
If you’re including Santorini on an island-hopping trip, then you could visit Athens first to get to Santorini a bit later.
If you’ll be travelling at the very start of April and Mykonos is one of the other Greek islands you’re planning to visit, go to Santorini first. Things are up and running there a bit sooner than in Mykonos. Mykonos is better from around the end of the first week in April than any earlier.
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