Santorini Island Local Customs

  • A vine on the island
    A vine on the island
    by greekcypriot
  • The Metropolis at Fira
    The Metropolis at Fira
    by greekcypriot
  • Drink Ozo
    Drink Ozo
    by 88Starflite

Most Recent Local Customs in Santorini Island

  • discipline and donkeys of santorini

    by puppyfeet Written Nov 1, 2007

    I traveled to Santorini this september 23rd to 25th, and after a great boat ride to hike the volcano and then swim in the hot/warm springs took a donkey ride up to the top. my experience differed from that of some of the web comments and postings i have read about the picturesque donkey ride. the method of disciplining the donkeys included hitting the donkeys violently with a stick/long crop on their upper neck next to their head and yelling loudly in the animal's ear. the offending behavior was never quite apparent to me or seemed to be connected to seemingly benign behaviors such as stepping forward to inspect my hand for further carrots at the top (or apple as in the case of the woman before me who went running down the hill away from the donkey driver... both of us had gained a nod of assent when asking about the feeding of the donkeys). my attempts to inquire about this treatment were responded to by further violence toward the animal and yelling in its ear while looking at me and then laughing in a manner that was easily interpreted as mocking, regardless of what language you speak. most people i spoke to locally simply chalked it up to cultural differences in treatment/training/or relationships with animals. i think though that if your belief abut what is fair and reasonable treatment differs as much as mine from what is apparently acceptable local custom i would skip the donkey ride. i would certainly not want to expose my children to this. i did find the local vet Mrs. Margarita to be an advocate for animal welfare and forwarded a written description of the events to her, and was able to obtain the fax number for the mayor of Santorini to forward a letter of to him as well. if you have already experienced similar things on your trip i would encourage you to forward a letter as well.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel
    • Horse Riding
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    TIME AND ELECTRICITY

    by DAO Updated Jun 26, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    WHAT TIME IS IT? The time in Greece works like this:

    Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +2 hours
    Daylight saving time: +1 hour

    ELECTRICTY:
    The power supply in Greece is 220 V AC at 50 Hz. You will need at least an adapter for the round two-pin sockets in use across Greece. Power cuts are not uncommon and North Americans will need an adapter than can step up the voltage. You may NOT want to bring a laptop for 2 reasons. One is you are on Vacation! Stop that! Also with power fluctuations it may cook your laptop anyway.

    Was this review helpful?

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    BEER MULES????

    by LoriPori Written Jun 20, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Beer Mules!!!
    3 more images

    OK. So, How does that beer get from Point A (the top of the Caldera) to Point B ( the bottom of the Caldera).Yep!! the BEER MULES. I was just sitting on a bench in front of our Hotel when I heard bells ringing. I looked up and saw some mules heading towards me. They were loaded down with cases of beer ( the Greek favourite - MYTHOS) and were on their way down to the stairs leading down to hotels & restaurants. They were loaded down pretty good, but they did look well cared for. A lady next to me was saying how awful it was for those poor animals. Hey! I am an animal lover myself, but even I know that mules are pack animals - It's what they do.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • giampiero6's Profile Photo

    Masters of the Walk Ways

    by giampiero6 Written Jun 19, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    Donkeys are not just a means of conveying tourists (and their euro) up to town, but they are also a practical and logical way to get propane, toilet paper, beer, and other important items up and down the town perched on the cliff. I think it's just a nice added bonus to watch these guys do their thing and see the ordinary daily routine of life going on as it has for a very long time.

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    PARTYING UNTIL THE EARLY HOURS !

    by DAO Updated Jun 8, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    DARIA SACRIFICES HERSELF!
    4 more images

    Many bars and even tavernas will basically stay open as long as they have customers. Fira is the night out capital of Santorini and I even got a Taverna to reopen for me at Midnight. Staying open until 2-4 am is a possibility. If you want a late night mal as well, it’s OK. Greek custom is to eat late as well. This all makes for a great tourist adventure if you like to dance/club all night.

    Have fun!

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Singles

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    THE FLAG

    by DAO Updated Jun 7, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images


    The Greek Flag you see today was only officially adopted on 22 December 1978 making it a young flag for an ancient nation. A blue and white striped flag has been around, however, since 1822. There are 9 horizontal stripes that are supposed to stand for the 9 syllables of the Greek patriots' motto:
    Ελευθερια η Θανατος (Eleutheria ê Thanatos), which translates as "Freedom or Death". This is now the national motto of Greece. The phrase came into being during the 400 years of occupation and struggles with the Ottoman Empire. It also has a blue and white cross in the upper left hand corner known as the Hellenic Square Cross. This cross signifies national devotion to the Greek Orthodox Church. The Blue & White colours are reminders of the Hellenic Sea and its endless waves. You will rarely see a Greek Church without the Greek Flag.

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad
    • Family Travel
    • Business Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    BEER MULES AND PACK HORSES

    by DAO Written Jun 6, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    Santorini is mostly steep cliffs and rugged hills. The ports and airport bring all goods to the island. So how does your refreshing beer at the bar or toilet paper in the mini-market get to you? Often, it is still by horse and mule transport. Without exception it was older men who still use our 4 legged friends to haul goods up the steep climb from the port. In fact the field next to my hotel had horses used for this purpose. I watched the owner put them away every night (pictured). Don’t worry about their welfare. They all seemed well feed, all had decorations and blankets, and had bells so they could be heard coming around a corner.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Seniors
    • Travel with Pets

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    CATS AND DOGS

    by DAO Written Jun 6, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images


    Are you an animal lover? I mean domestic pets for non-food reasons. I love cats and dogs and there are a lot of street animals out there. Not all of them are as friendly towards each other as the dog and cat pictured. Most street cats will run away. The bad news is that no one owns them. The good news is that they are friendly and are reasonably well fed. Greeks are nice loving people and they will not allow an animal to starve. Please do your part and save a little bit of meat for them. Even if the cats run away, throw some food in their direction. They will come back!

    Please note: There is an Animal Sanctuary in Pyrgos. I have a tip on it under ‘Things To Do’ and I made a donation on behalf of VT.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Travel with Pets
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • DAO's Profile Photo

    PLEASE KEEP SANTORINI CLEAN !

    by DAO Written Jun 5, 2007

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images


    Santorini is beautiful and clean. Let’s keep it that way! There are proper receptacles everywhere. Call them ‘trash cans’ or ‘rubbish bins’ – it does not matter. Put it in. And if you cannot fine one, put it in your bag or pocket and wait to you get somewhere. They even have places to collect your waste on the volcano (pictured). On a boat? Of course they have them as well. I know and appreciate that some locals throw it on the road and even in unused church yards. There are idiots who live where I do as well. Do you really want to be like them? Of course not.

    Do not even think about throwing it in the toilet! Greek plumbing is not good an you do not want to explain to a boat or building full of people why their toilet no longer works.

    Thank you for your cooperation.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • ealgisi's Profile Photo

    See the kitchen

    by ealgisi Written Apr 18, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I found Greek people very friendly.
    If you go eat in a Taverna (a local restaurant), and someone invites you to see the kitchen ad shows you the food before cooking it, don't say no, go and have a look around in the kitchen.

    They are proud to show you the kitchen, i think is a way to show you how they work and ther working environment.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Euromeet2007's Profile Photo

    Money to burn, plates to smash

    by Euromeet2007 Written Mar 3, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Breaking plates is also an act which implies abundance - "We have so many plates we can break them!" - similar to lighting a fire with a piece of paper money.
    But breaking plates is now considered a "dangerous" practice due to flying shards, and perhaps also because of intoxicated tourists who have poor aim and may hit the dancers or musicians. It is officially discouraged and Greece actually requires a license for establishments who want to allow it. (Supposedly, plate smashing replaced another, earlier way of showing approval - by throwing knives into the floor at the dancer's feet.)
    By the way, if you're offered plates to throw during dances or other performances - be aware that these plates are not free and they will be tallied up at the end of the evening, usually at least a Euro or two each. They are very expensive noisemakers - try applauding or calling out "Opa!" instead. And if you're wearing sandals, please step carefully through the shards. Closing your eyes at the moment of smashing the plate is also an excellent idea.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Euromeet2007's Profile Photo

    Break my heart, I'll break your plate

    by Euromeet2007 Written Mar 3, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Usually, breaking plates in praise of a musician or dancer is considered a part of "kefi" - the irrepressible expression of emotion and joy.
    A plate might also be broken when two lovers parted, so that they would be able to recognize each other by matching the two halves even if many years passed before they met again. Small split versions of the mysterious Phaistos disk are used by modern Greek jewelers this way, with one half kept and worn by each of the couple.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Euromeet2007's Profile Photo

    Why do Greeks Break Plates?

    by Euromeet2007 Written Mar 3, 2007

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Greeks smashing plates to accompany musicians is a mental image of Greece practically as common as the sight of the Parthenon. But if it were really as common in Greece as foreigners believe, there wouldn't be a saucer left intact in the entire country. How did this noisy custom get started?
    Ancient Origins
    In its earliest form, plate smashing may be a survival of the ancient custom of ritually "killing" the ceramic vessels used for feasts commemorating the dead. The voluntary breaking of plates, which is a type of controlled loss, may also have helped participants in dealing with the deaths of their loved ones, a loss which they could not control.
    Similar offerings may also have been presented at other times to include the dead in festival proceedings, with the result that this custom for the dead began to be tied in with all kinds of celebrations.
    Breaking plates can also be a symbol of anger, a classic part of domestic disturbances. Since plate breaking often occurs at happy occasions, it may have begun as a way of fooling malicious spirits into thinking that the event is a violent one instead of a celebration.
    Worldwide, noise is believed to drive away evil, and the sound of the plates smashing against the stone or marble floors of Greek houses would be loud enough to scare off almost anything.
    Step lively, children
    There is a phrase used by children about sidewalk cracks - "Step on a crack or you'll break the Devil's dishes". In early Crete, ritual offerings and vessels were thrown into cracks and fissures located near peak sanctuaries. These "cracks" would certainly have had "dishes" in them, and later followers of Christianity may have demonized the old practice.
    Since the children's chant is actually a caution to avoid stepping on cracks, it may refer back to ancient associations with these "dishes". So breaking plates during a performance may be a way of protecting the dancers and musicians by destroying supposedly evil influences present in the poor plates.

    Related to:
    • Festivals
    • Music

    Was this review helpful?

  • cckbp7's Profile Photo

    Boxing Children

    by cckbp7 Written Sep 12, 2006

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Boxing Children Wall Fresco

    This fresco was uncovered in the archeological dig at Akrotiri. It shows that this ancient civilization were quite advanced for their time and competed in athletic competitions. A recreation of the fresco is located in the Museum of Ancient History in Fira. You can also find recreations being sold to tourists in shops all over Santorini.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

    Was this review helpful?

  • cckbp7's Profile Photo

    Sunsets in Oia

    by cckbp7 Written Sep 6, 2006
    4 more images

    If you are coming to Santorini, don't miss out on the incredible sunsets. The best spot to catch them is in Oia at the old castle. Be sure to stick around for about 20 min after the sun sets. That is when the magic really happens. All the tourists clear out and you are practically alone with a beautiful sky of red, orange, pink, and purple.

    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Eco-Tourism

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Santorini Island

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

94 travelers online now

Comments

Santorini Island Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Santorini Island local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Santorini Island sightseeing.

View all Santorini Island hotels