Dreaming to live in Santorini? There are a few things you need to know before moving.
I receive quite a lot of emails from people, who are in love with this unique island, asking for advice.
So I hope this post could be helpful for everyone who has this goal in mind.
These are the 7 things you should know before relocating and I reckon they could give you an idea of what living in Santorini actually looks like.
1 – FORGET THE HOLIDAY FEELING
I see you nodding as this was something very obvious. Believe me, it’s not! That holiday feeling of freedom and quietness will disappear immediately since you will start living and working on the island, especially during the Season. The season, as everyone recalls to the touristic months, is very long, from the beginning of April to the end of October. Your life on the island, over this period, will be very hectic and tiring. According to the job you will get, possibly you won’t see any sunset for seven months. Sounds like a joke but it’s not, it’s the reality. So be prepared for hard work!
2 – GREEK LANGUAGE IS NOT A MUST BUT BETTER TO START LEARNING
You can survive and you can get a job even if you don’t know Greek, but my first suggestion to everyone is to learn the language and start to do it since you are in your country. I cannot imagine myself moving to another country without knowing the local language, but, apart from this personal opinion, I think that in such a small community like an island, being able to speak the language of the locals, it’s your winner card. People will appreciate your effort and you will be also more independent.
I know, it all sounds Greek to you and still it does so to me sometimes, but this should be the first step when planning to move to Greece. I took (and I am still taking) private Greek lessons, switched on the radio as much as I could, watched cartoons and tv series. So time to start is now!
3 – FINDING A HOUSE IS DIFFICULT
This is a sad story! I do not want to discourage you but this is the main problem of Santorini (and many touristic places). The news is no houses for people who are here to work. This is a huge issue for everyone! Most of the accommodations are allocated to the tourists and very few houses are rented to seasonal workers or even people who live here all the year around. There are almost no rental offices and you can count mostly only on the word of mouth. So you have to be connected to the community and be here at the right time, which is from the end of October to the end of January, if you are willing to find a place where to live.
4 – ADAPT YOUR WORK EXPERIENCE TO TOURISM
When you look for a job in Santorini there are a few things you should consider. If you haven’t found a house, you should look for jobs that offer also accommodation. Instead, if you have a house you should look possibly for a job which is not far from the village where you live. The distances on the island are short but roads can be busy over the high season and, above all, gas petrol is around 2 euro/litre! Crazy I know!
There are some websites online (Indeed and Jooble i.e.) where you can start your research but they are only in Greek. You could approach directly big Hotels, tourist offices, wedding planners… Even if you have never worked before in tourism, I am sure that your skills can be used in most of the jobs here. English is a must plus other languages very welcome! People come to Santorini from all over the world!
Keep in mind that the working season is very taught, very often you might work over seven months with no days off and quite a lot of hours per day.
5 – BRING WITH YOU YOUR BEST WILLPOWER AND PATIENCE
No one told you that it was going to be easy! But maybe you would have expected this experience to be less difficult. It’s a challenge! Moving to a new country is never painless and I think that somehow it is more problematic here because it’s an island. Believe in your dream and bring with you your best willpower and patience. You will face some difficulties, I haven’t talked to you yet about the real monster, bureaucracy!!!
6 – VISIT THE ISLAND IN LOW SEASON
I think this is a good tip. Visit Santorini in winter, from November to February. You will be impressed to see a new island! But you might not like this (personally I adore this part of the year!). You could understand if you want to live here permanently or only part of the year. These are the best months if you are looking for a house and for your public relations with the community! You will meet a lot of locals and you will understand what really means living in Santorini.
7 – SANTORINI IS AN EXPENSIVE ISLAND
Yes, another sad news! Life on Santorini is not cheap, also for locals! Petrol is expensive as already mention, rents are too plus internet, electricity, water and telephone… A coffee (which coffee though!) goes from 2.50 euro, at a local cafe, till 5 or 6 euro, on the caldera. There are no food markets and supermarkets are not cheap. Eating out is not that expensive if you know where to go! Shopping is almost not an option, but I am 3/4 Italian, you will forgive me for this!
Even though I might have sounded negative, I LOVE living in Santorini and I live here all year. I just want to make sure everyone is prepared for a new life and be honest about what to expect.
The picture above is the view from my window, I would not change it with anything else. I am sure you can understand.
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© One Quarter Greek / Nicoletta Barbata