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Are you doing the Santorini donkey ride?

Hello there!

We’re the Santorini donkeys.

We live on the Greek island of Santorini. (It’s one of most unique places in Greece – the top was blown off the island by a volcanic explosion around 1628 BC, leaving behind only a crescent-moon curve of land.)

Perhaps you’ve met us?

You can do a Santorini donkey ride on the island. Or not...
You can do a Santorini donkey ride on the island. Or not…

If you visit Greece and our island on a cruise, you’ll see us near where your tender boat docks at Santorini’s old port.

To get up to the top of the island and the capital of Fira, you either have to take the Santorini cable car or walk up a whole swack of zig-zagging stone steps. How many steps are there? Precisely 588 (just one of many fun facts about Greece).

Or you can take a Santorini donkey ride up on one of our “donkey taxis.”

Santorini donkey ride

Here’s looking at you!

Some people say we’re smelly, and we may nip you. And some say you should avoid riding donkeys because we shouldn’t be used to carry visitors this way.

What do you think?

Most who hop on us find the donkey ride both fun and terrifying (we kinda bump into each other and like veering off to look over the cliff edge). And we don’t want you to ride us if, ahem, you’re overweight, because we get very tired otherwise and can get injured.

Even if you don’t take a Santorini donkey ride, you might like to take our picture!

Now, if you can visit our island for longer than a day, you have to think about where you want to stay.

We love you Oia!

A donkey carries packages up the steps of Oia
A donkey carries packages up the steps of Oia

Many visitors really like Oia high up on the cliff-tops on the northern tip of Santorini.

It’s a little fairy-tale village, with narrow lanes winding up, down and around sugar-cube houses, boutique hotels, shops and restaurants.

You get stupendous views here.

And at sunset, the place is clogged with photographers and sunset lovers celebrating the sun’s fiery descent below the horizon.

Church roofs at sunset on Santorini
Church roofs at sunset

Check out Ikies Traditional Houses in Oia. It’s a cave hotel – but rest assured, these boutique suite digs aren’t hobbit holes.

From Oia, you can hike along one of our old donkey trails to Fira.

At certain sections, the 7.5 mile path snakes along the rim of the caldera (crater) – with those heart-stopping views – and you pass little white chapels. Ideally you’d do this hike in the spring or fall (not in the heat of summer).

The views are mind-blowing on Santorini
The views are mind-blowing on Santorini

Peaceful in Megalochori

Also consider staying in the traditional village of Megalochori. No caldera views.

But the compensation is peace and serenity.

An older gentleman walks slowly up these steps in Megalochori

Vedema (part of the Luxury Collection) is built around a beautiful 15th century winery in the village.

It offers a complimentary shuttle to both Fira and the resort’s beach club on the black sand beach of Perivolos. And excellent tavernas are just a short walk away from Vedema. (Have you tried Santorini’s famous fava dish?)

We saw a wedding party gathering outside this church on the outskirts of Megalochori in Santorini.
We saw a wedding party gathering outside this church on the outskirts of Megalochori

Well, that’s it for now folks.

If you visit Santorini, make sure you drop by and say hello to us Santorini donkeys!

Have you done the Santorini donkey ride?

Is it okay for visitors to ride the donkeys? You can share your views in the Comments below.

Experience more of Greece!

Read our posts on:

Athens | Is Athens worth visiting? You bet! From the fabulous Acropolis Museum to the changing of the guards, check out these 12 good reasons to go.

Mykonos | Mykonos is a slice of cool in the hot blue Aegean. See our Mykonos travel guide, including the 5 best Mykonos beach hotels.

Philippi | History whispers around every corner at the ancient ruins of Philippi.


Photo credits: 4, 6, 7 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase


About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews and information, insanely useful travel tips and more!

bobbie brown

Sunday 29th of July 2018

Don't ride the donkeys! It is cruel. Walk the steps or take the cable car instead. DON'T ADD TO THE DONKEY ABUSE.

Janice and George

Sunday 29th of July 2018

Hi Bobbie, Thank you for reading our post and chiming in with your views :-). Have you been to Santorini? How did you get to the top? Best!

Emma

Tuesday 24th of June 2014

What a gorgeous post. We visit Santorini in July and I don't think we will ride the donkeys but we are looking forward to all that lovely scenery! Emma :)

Janice and George

Tuesday 24th of June 2014

Lucky you! July will be hot - so take a hat! And enjoy those views and hopefully a swimming pool too :-).

Jenn Smith Nelson

Monday 19th of May 2014

Great images as usual! As for the donkeys, I have ridden them in another country but immediately felt terrible about it so I think I would pass.

Aggy

Saturday 17th of May 2014

I really loved my time in Santorini, especially watching sunset in Oia. I saw some donkeys and they are adorable, I didn't have the heart to ride them especially in the high heat of summer. Would love to come back to Santorini and see the other parts of the island!

Gemma Lee

Thursday 15th of May 2014

If you could carry a donkey up 588 steps, then it's ok.

If you couldn't even imagine it, then why on earth is it ok the other way around?