Best time to visit Santorini

Donkey Ride in Santorini 2024

Riding donkeys is a big tourist attraction that has raised questions of danger and cruelty

Best time: April–October

Donkey Ride
Donkey Ride

As an integral part of local tourism, the donkeys are often called means of transportation and lined up ready for being hopped on. However, the danger of riding the donkey down a steep road that is also a slippery one, together with the assumed cruelty towards the animals, make it a trip for some, not everyone.

Practical info

When is the best season to ride a donkey on Santorini?

The most suitable months for a donkey ride on Santorini are April through October, when the sun shines and temperature is warm. Summer months can be uncomfortably hot for the animals and pose challenges. It's best to avoid the peak rush season to ensure safety, as overcrowding can stress the creatures. Be conscious of the animals' load-bearing capacity, and avoid overloading them. Donkey rides offer a unique experience on the island, so book your ride early to secure a spot. Show more

Where are donkey rides available on Santorini?

Donkey rides are popular with visitors, and you can find them at various locations on Santorini. They are available at the capital town, Fira, and the old harbor. Due to the popularity of donkey rides, you might face crowd and long queues. You can pre-book your donkey ride to avoid the wait and the higher fare. For those looking for a more extended donkey experience, trekking options on trekking tours are also available that start from the perimeter of Fira. Show more

What are the risks involved with riding a donkey on steep Santorini roads?

Santorini's windy and steep roads make riding a donkey a potentially hazardous activity. The tracks are often narrow, causing control issues with a heavily laden donkey. Moreover, the surface is slippery and wet, making the journey more hazardous. Sadly, in the past, visitors have reported injuries from falls off of donkey rides. To ensure safety, wear sturdy and comfortable shoes, hold onto the reins, and beware of the weather. Avoid riding donkeys on rainy days to protect both you and the donkey. Show more

What are the alternative transportation options on Santorini?

Besides donkey ride, several means of transportation are available on Santorini. Visitors can opt for the cable car ride that provides stunning views of the Caldera and the Aegean sea. Another option is to take the stairs leading to Fira town that many people undertake. Car hire, taxi, and public bus services are also available to travel across the island. A leisurely way to explore the Santorini coastline and surrounding area is to book a boat trip, an unforgettable experience. Show more

What measures are in place on Santorini to ensure the wellbeing of its donkey population, and how are the donkeys treated?

Treatment of donkeys is a controversial issue on Santorini, and animal welfare activists have raised their concerns. Laws protect the animals. However, there are questionable practices by some owners. The local authorities have placed regulations in place, such as a maximum donkey weight limit of 100 kg for their safety, mandatory 30-minute rest periods after ferrying a passenger, compulsory presence of a veterinarian for regular health checks, and a signboard highlighting the animal’s weight and other details. Select only healthy and well-tended donkeys if you wish to indulge in a ride. Show more

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Last updated:
Authors: Olha Savych