Santorini Donkey Ride: Things to Know Before Riding

Santorini Donkey Ride

If you’re in Greece and are planning to visit the island of Santorini, there’s a high chance you’ve thought about riding a donkey. Donkey rides in Santorini are a very cliche tourist thing to do. But hey! You’re on vacation; you get to try new things! But there are some essential things you should know before you do it. 

The Famous Santorini Donkey Ride:

The island of Santorini has a unique shape and formation due to volcanic activity. Over time, the island has developed narrow streets with multiple steps that became quite challenging for the villagers to pass. So back in the day, the villagers decided to take the donkeys’ help to climb the stairs. But in modern times, cable cars can be used to climb up the 588 steps. These days the donkeys are still used to climbing up the stairs of Santorini, but it’s mainly a tourist attraction.

Things To Know Before Riding Donkeys In Santorini:

Donkeys back in the day were used for many reasons. Going around the island or getting goods from one place to another was the main reason for using donkeys. But as times went by and the world became much more advanced, these practices were abandoned. 

However, donkeys still exist in Santorini. As a matter of fact, they are still used to getting up the stairs of Santorini, but that’s more of a tourist thing. There are cable cars that you can use, which are much better. 

But let’s say you want to try it out. You want to get on top of a donkey and do the historic climb. You can do that, but there are a few things you should know before you go riding donkeys in Santorini:

The Famous Santorini Donkey Ride

1. Know The Routes 

The most common routes for donkey ridings are Ormos to Fira and Oia to nearby ports. You might want to know about the routes, as it reduces the risks of getting lost. Remember that if you are taking the ride, you might as well make sure it’s taking you where you want to go. 

Fira is the capital of Santorini, and right at the bottom of Fira, you’ll find the port of Ormos. This almost 600-step climb is the most famous for donkey rides. Many tourists are seen riding the donkeys up and down throughout the day. 

2. Donkey Rides That Take You Around The Whole Island 

Suppose you can’t find a donkey ride for yourself in the more common spots. Maybe you should look for the more uncommon ones. Like the island- long ride. This ride is costly but quite an experience, as you will be taken around the whole island on the back of a donkey! 

3. Beware Of The Scammers 

A foreign country with a unique animal ride will always come with the risks of scams. There have been cases where people were forced into taking donkey rides, and once it was over, they were charged outrageous amounts. Unfortunately, these scams are pretty common in a place where donkey rides are not that rare. 

So make sure to always ask about the price and the route. And if you’re alone, it’s best to take the ride with extreme caution. 

4. Know Your Weight 

This one might come out a little offensive to you. But one of the most important things while riding a donkey is to know how much weight you’re bringing in. Donkeys can only carry about 20% of their weight. So anything above that can raise the risk of them getting injured. 

Unless it’s a mammoth donkey, it’s less likely to carry an adult. So, don’t get on the donkey if you are over the suggested weight as it may injure not only the donkey but also you. 

If you go up steep stairs and you’re on the back of a donkey, you do not want it to break down. If the donkey falls, it’ll fall with you. So, to avoid any unwanted risks know your weight. 

Things To Know Before Riding Donkeys In Santorini

5. Be Careful Of The Edges

Donkeys have a tendency to wander off. This is quite scary, especially if you are climbing up along an edge. Santorini has many high and steep stairs. And when you’re on top of a donkey, you don’t want it to lose its footing. 

Another problem is how infested the island is with tourists. Every second, a donkey is going up, and another is coming down. This raises the risk of the donkeys colliding. 

6. Now The Prices 

This part might make you question your interest in riding a donkey. Prices for donkey rides can be anywhere from 300$-3000$. Expensive, I know, but then again, it is Greece. The prices vary depending on the size, rideability, and breed of donkeys. 

Are Donkey Rides Unethical? 

You may have come across this question quite a lot of times while planning your own trip to Santorini. And the short answer for it is, Yes, it is unethical to go on donkey rides. Why? Well, there are many reasons, the biggest one is times have changed. 

While getting in touch with history is great and all. Some historical practices are best left alone in the old times. Over time, Santorini has gotten infested with tourists, increasing the number of donkeys. 

The sad part is that most of these donkeys aren’t well kept. They aren’t looked after the way they deserve to be. These friends are smaller than us, and they’re rarely aggressive. And this makes them the most vulnerable. 

From getting hit to carrying human beings twice their size, these donkeys suffer more than we can imagine. A lot of these donkeys don’t even get proper shade or water!

Now, it’s not good to judge someone off as a bad person because they decided on a donkey ride. Instead, it’s important to raise awareness relating to the matter. Most tourists don’t even know how much the donkeys of Santorini go through. And better understanding can help these little animals. 

Santorini Donkey Ride: Things to Know Before Riding

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Is Donkey Riding In Santorini Cruel? 

Ans: Documents from PETA declared donkey riding in Santorini to be Cruel. 

Q. How Many Steps Is The Santorini Donkey Trail? 

Ans: 588 steps exactly. 

Q. How Much Does It Cost To Ride A Donkey In Santorini?

Ans: Both the cable car or donkey ride are each 6 Euros for a one-way ticket


In short, donkey rides can be quite an exciting experience. While we wouldn’t entirely put the idea of it down, we will recommend following the guidelines. 

Until then, make sure to keep these things in mind before you get your own donkey ride! Thank you for reading! Goodbye!