Updated: April 23, 2016
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Santorini Tips and Advice
- Book early. The best hotels sellout months in advance.
- My favorite new hotel on Santorini is Sophia Suites in Imerovigli. It’s a beautiful hotel with incredible views. The Honeymoon Suite is among the most incredible on the island.
- The best towns are Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostefani. They all have fantastic views of the volcano and caldera. These are the towns that make Santorini so special.
- The Best Hotels in Fira: Aria Suites • Cosmopolitan Suites
- The Best Hotels in Oia: Katikies • Canaves Suites • Perivolas
- The Best Hotels in Imerovigli: Grace • Astra Suites
- The Best Hotels in Firostefani: Tsitouras Collection • Homeric Poems
- The hotels with the best sunset views are: Grace and Esperas Traditional Houses.
- The best budget hotel on Santorini is San Giorgio Villas in Fira. The best budget hotel with a caldera view is Villa Maria Damigou in Firostefani.
- If you arrive without a reservation take anything you can find – or you’ll end up sleeping on a bench in Fira.
- The best tours on Santorini: Half-Day Wine Tour • Sunset Cruise • Helicopter Flight over the Volcano
- The best restaurants on Santorini: Roka (Oia) • Katina (Amoudi, below Oia) • Mezzo (Imerovigli) • Anogi (Imerovigli) • Nikolas (Fira) • Naoussa (Fira) • Lucky’s Souvlaki (Fira) • Metaxy Mas (Exo Gonia) • Cava Alta (Pyrgos)
- The best bars on Santorini: Tropical (Fira – great views) • Kira Thira Jazz Bar (Fira – small club) • Two Brothers (Fira – fun, friendly, and crazy) • Murphy’s (Fira – best for singles and meeting people) • Koo Bar (Fira – dancing) • Hasapiko (Oia – also known as Mary Kay, the only true bar in Oia)
- Helpful links: Best Time to Visit Santorini • Best Things To Do on Santorini • Best Restaurants on Santorini • Best Beaches on Santorini • Best Towns on Santorini • Last Minute Santorini • Best Infinity Pools on Santorini • Athens to Santorini • Mykonos to Santorini • Crete to Santorini
The 17 Best Luxury Hotels on Santorini
Santorini is known for its fantastic boutique hotels and the best luxury hotels on Santorini are essentially boutiques. There are no large impersonal chain hotels on Santorini. There are no all-inclusives or mega resorts.
The towns along the caldera on the west side of the island (Fira, Firostefani, Oia, and Imerovigli) are where you’ll find most of the five star hotels on Santorini. The views and settings in these 4 villages are magical.
Of any destination in Europe Santorini is the one place where splurging on a great hotel is money well spent. In so many destinations (Paris, London, even Mykonos) you spend a majority of your day out and about. But in Santorini, with those incredible views, it’s common for people to spend most of the day lounging on their deck, jaw dropped, staring out into the caldera.
- Astra Suites – Imerovigli
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 024763)
Many magazines have called Astra Suites the best hotel in Greece and it’s hard to summon much of an argument. Suites are huge and beautifully decorated. All have a kitchenette and private terrace. The infinity pool looks out into the caldera and sunset views are among the best on the island.
- Mystique – Oia
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 071114)
Incredible views, great food, private terraces, one of the quieter hotels in Oia yet still walking distance to the center of town.
- Perivolas – Oia
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 071308)
Cave hotel with minimalist design, incredible infinity pool, and greats views. Every suite has a kitchenette, some have private pool.
- Absolute Bliss – Imerovigli
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 021310)
Large suites, all with private balconies and views, some with jacuzzi. Breakfast served on your balcony. Honeymoon suites are worth the extra cost.
- Oia Castle Hotel – Oia
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 071831)
Every suite is unique and amazing. Very romantic and amazing sunset views. The Sunset Honeymoon Suite is one of the best on the island.
- Belvedere Suites – Firostefani
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 025650)
Views and location are 5 star. Rooms are not in the luxury category but still nice and good value. Suites are worth the extra money (for the view).
- Aria Suites – Fira
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 028650)
The best hotel in Fira. A 3 minute walk to shops and restaurants, but still relatively quiet. Only 6 suites (all of them large) so book early. One of the few luxury hotels on Santorini that allows young children (largely because it sits back from the caldera’s edge).
- Tsitouras Collection – Firostefani
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 023747)
Run by 2 energetic owners (George and Eleni) who are filled with passion, charm, and helpfulness. This is a magical little hotel with fantastic views, suites, and service. And rare for Santorini: few steps and little climbing are required to get to and from the hotel. Nice pool too.
- Katikies Hotel – Oia
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 071401)
Maybe Santorini’s best hotel. Great location (easy access by taxi unlike some of Oia’s hotels), 3 swimming pools, wonderful breakfast. Their intimate restaurant is one of Santorini’s finest and has only 4 tables. It’s one of the few hotels in Oia that has an elevator if you’re worried about climbing steps.
- Chromata Hotel – Imerovigli
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 023227)
Long one of the island’s best hotels the recipe is still the same: great views, nice pool, fantastic service, and beautifully decorated suites that cascade down the side of the cliff. Every room has a sea view and private veranda. The Chromata and Honeymoon suites are pure luxury.
- Cosmopolitan Suites – Fira
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 025632)
Great location in the heart of Fira and one of Santorini’s best infinity pools. The suites are not huge but at Cosmopolitan it’s all about the views, location, and pool. The 2-bedroom villa is wonderful and good for a larger group or family. I love this place.
- Vedema Resort – Megalochori
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 081796)
Located in a quiet village 10 minutes from Fira, this is a great place to avoid the crowds (but there are no caldera views). The Presidential and Athenian Family suites are huge and great for families. The pool is one of the largest on Santorini. The food is top notch and there are a couple of great local restaurants within a short walk.
- Ikies Traditional Houses – Oia
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 071311)
Ikies is in a quiet location at the south end of Oia (just beyond Perivolas). There’s a small pool and some rooms have private patio and jacuzzi. The full breakfast is made to order and delivered to your terrace. Suites come in a variety of sizes. The Gardener’s House and Boatman’s House are perfect for couples and much cheaper than the larger suites.
- Canaves Oia Suites – Oia
(Hotel phone: +30 22860 71453)
Picturesque white washed cave suites. The pool overlooks the caldera and has a pool bar. Some suites have a private pool. The magical 3-bedroom villa sleeps up to 7 and has a full kitchen. The restaurant is one of Oia’s best and the hotel has an elevator (good for people that find the many stairs challenging).
- Grace Santorini – Imerovigli
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 021300)
Grace is one of the most talked about hotels on Santorini. It has amazing views of the caldera and sunset and looks out on the iconic Skaros Rock. All rooms are unique and enchanting. The restaurant is fantastic and the pool is among the best along the caldera. The catch? You need to book at Grace months (sometimes years) in advance.
- San Antonio – near Imerovigli
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 024388)
This is a stunning hotel. If you want quiet and seclusion with amazing views and infinity pool then this is the place. The perfect hotel for a romantic honeymoon. The only caveat is that there’s not a lot nearby – there is a bus stop just out the door but most people will want to rent a car if they’re serious about sightseeing. The walk to Imerovigli is a gorgeous 30 minute stroll along the caldera path.
- Esperas Traditional Houses – Oia
(Hotel phone: +30 2286 071088)
Esperas Traditional Houses has a magical setting at the tip of the island. Oia gets crazy busy during the sunset but Esperas is tucked away down the cliff with gorgeous views to Amoudi Bay and west to the setting sun. Quiet and secluded even though you’re a short walk to central Oia. Rooms are traditional cave suites that are wonderfully decorated. Lots of steps to go anywhere (that’s why you feel so removed from the crowds) so not a great choice for those with limited mobility.
Where should I stay on Santorini?
Deciding where to stay is the first and trickiest decision visitors to Santorini need to make. It’s not an easy choice.
1) Caldera vs Beach
This is the first decision to be made.
Do you want to stay in the towns along the cliff with the stunning views looking down into the caldera?
Or, do you want to stay at one of the beach towns on the opposite side of the island? It’s still a pretty setting but lacks views of the caldera and volcano.
Santorini has the shape of a door stop. A cliff on one side (the caldera’s edge) that slopes down to the beaches on the other side. It’s about a 10 or 15 minute drive from one side of the island to the other.
If you stay at one of the Beaches the choice is pretty simple and not overly important. There are 2 main towns: Kamari and Perissa (Perivolos beach is an extension of Perissa). Kamari is more developed and has more shops, bars, hotels, and restaurants. Perissa has a slightly better beach. I’d recommend Kamari for the restaurant and bar scene (never crazy). Kamari also has a shorter trip into Fira. There’s a boat that travels between Kamari and Perissa so it’s easy to enjoy both on the same day.
2) What Town on the Caldera?
Most people decide to stay along the Caldera. It’s a good choice and what I recommend. It’s what makes Santorini unique. But now you have to decide which town – and it’s not an easy decision.
But heh, it’s a good problem to have. Too many great places to stay.
There are 4 main towns along the caldera: Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia.
Fira – The Most restaurants, nightlife. Great views.
Firostefani – Quiet. An easy walk to Fira. Great views.
Imerovigli – Very quiet. A bus or taxi ride from Fira and Oia. The best views on the island. A half-dozen wonderful restaurants.
Oia – Many restaurants, but little nightlife. Romantic. Great views.
The largest town on the island and the center of the restaurant, shopping, and nightlife scene. The view of the caldera from Fira is spectacular but sunset views will often be impeded by the presence of Thirassia – a small island to Santorini’s west. Fira is2 also the bus hub so every other town is just one bus trip away. Conversely, a trip between 2 other towns will often involve a change of buses in Fira (e.g. Oia to Kamari requires a bus from Oia to Fira, and then Fira to Kamari – not a big deal but it can get tiring after a few days of busing around the island). If you’re in Santorini to party and hit the clubs then you’ll be spending plenty of time in Fira. Of course, the booming nightlife can be loud if your hotel is near the town center. Noise levels are strictly limited along the caldera so if your hotel is perched there you probably won’t have a loud-music problem.
Fira Luxury Hotels
More Fira Luxury Hotels
An extension of Fira and an easy 15 minute walk along the caldera path from all the shops and restaurants. It’s hard to tell where Fira ends and Firostefani begins – it all seems like the same town as you wander between them. The views here are just as wonderful as Fira. Many people go into Fira for dinner and then walk back later in the evening but there are plenty of good restaurants in Firostefani. There is no nightlife to speak of – for that you’ll definitely be heading to Fira – but the lack of clubs makes for a quieter town. The nightlife is nearby but you don’t get the accompanying noise and thumping.
Firostefani Luxury Hotels
More Firostefani Luxury Hotels
The best views of any town. Imerovigli is at a higher elevation than any other town along the caldera which gives it the best views of both the sunset and the volcano. Whereas sunset views from Fira can sometimes be impeded by neighboring islands most Imerovigli hotels have a clear view of the setting sun. This is the quietest of the 4 towns and there is no nightlife here. Though the town is small it has some of Santorini’s best restaurants and a few shops and markets. Firostefani is a 15 minute walk away along the clifftop path and Fira another 10 minutes where the choices to eat and shop expand exponentially. Buses go every 30 to 45 minutes in both directions: south to Fira and north to Oia.
Imerovigli Luxury Hotels
More Imerovigli Luxury Hotels
- Chromata Hotel • Reviews • (Hotel phone: +30 2286 024850)
- Absolute Bliss • Reviews • (Hotel phone: +30 2286 021310)
- Aenaon Villas • Reviews • (Hotel phone: +30 2286 027014)
- Aqua Luxury Suites • Reviews • (Hotel phone: +30 2286 023107)
- Grace Santorini • Reviews • (Hotel phone: +30 2286 021300)
- Video of Imerovigli Hotels
The most romantic and enchanting town on Santorini. Criss-crossed with lanes and alleys and jaw-dropping views around every corner. People gather here every night – sitting on walls and steps and rooftops – to watch the sunset. Though Imerovigli might have better views the magic of Oia is the town, the people, the wine, and the setting. It can be busy but it never feels overwhelmingly crowded. Some of the best places to eat are found in Oia and only Fira has more shops and restaurants. There are many places to get a drink late into the evening but for dancing and partying you’ll want to hop a bus or taxi to Fira. The walk from Oia to Fira (in either direction) takes about 2 hours and is one of the magical highlights of a visit to Santorini.
Oia Luxury Hotels
More Oia Luxury Hotels
- Mystique • Reviews • (Hotel phone: +30 2286 071114)
- Oia Castle Hotel • Reviews • (Hotel phone: +30 22860 71831)
- Ikies – Traditional Houses • Reviews • (Hotel phone: +30 22860 71311)
- Canaves Oia Hotel • Reviews • (Hotel phone: +30 2286 071453)
- Perivolas • Reviews • (Hotel phone: +30 22860 71308)
- Video of Oia Hotels
Santorini Hotels with Private Pool, Jacuzzi, or Plunge Pool
There are several hotels on Santorini with private pools of one sort or another – swimming pools, plunge pools, jacuzzis, 2-person baths.
Larger pools (whether private or for the entire hotel) are usually not heated so while people might wonder about the benefit of having a hot tub on a semi-tropical island they get plenty of use by visitors. During July and August nights will usually remain warm but in May, June, September, and October it can get cool after the sun goes down and a small heated pool can be a welcome addition to a suite.
Hotels with Private Pools or Jacuzzis
- Astro Palace Hotel & Suites – Fira
- Enigma Apartments & Suites – Fira
- Celestia Grand – Fira
- Dana Villas – Firostefani
- Agali Houses – Firostefani
- Absolute Bliss
- San Antonio Hotel – Imerovigli
- Grace Santorini – Imerovigli
- White Hotel – Imerovigli
- Pegasus Spa Hotel – Imerovigli
- Senses Boutique Hotel – Imerovigli
- Astra Suites – Imerovigli
- Aqua Luxury Suites – Imerovigli
- Dreams Luxury Suites – Imerovigli
- Absolute Bliss – Imerovigli
- Iliovasilema Suites – Imerovigli
- Armeni Villas – Oia
- Aspaki by Art Maisons – Oia
- Esperas Traditional Houses – Oia
- Filotera Villas – Oia
- Canaves Oia Suites – Oia
- Kastro Oia Houses – Oia
- Aenaon Suites – between Oia and Imerovigli
- Santorini Secret Suites & Spa – Oia
- Perivolas – Oia
- Vedema Resort – Pyrgos
- Santorini Kastelli Resort – Kamari
FAQ on Hotels and Santorini
What is the best hotel in the Santorini beach towns?
Kastelli Resort (Hotel phone: +30 22860 31530) is the best hotel along the beach.
The hotels at the beach towns don’t have the luxury status as those along the caldera but Kastelli comes pretty close. It has large rooms and 4 pools of varying size are spread around the grounds. The beach and lots of restaurants are a 2 minute walk away. Breakfast is huge and very good.
As I say above, I don’t recommend staying at the beach as the caldera is what makes Santorini so unique. But if you still want to stay there then Kamari is the best town (the closest to Fira) and Kastelli is the best hotel.
Can you recommend some hotels to stay that aren’t quite so expensive?
On Santorini you get what you pay for. That said, if you’re willing to compromise a little on the view, the amenities, or on having a pool there are several places that offer very good value.
Here are some good hotels without the five star price tag.
If you’re in Santorini for great views and don’t care much about the location of your hotel then there are a collection of hotels a 20 minute walk south of Fira that have a great perch on the caldera’s cliff. They have very good rates in comparison to the hotels in the main towns. Take a look at Caldera Butterfly Villas, Volcano View, and Lilium Santorini Villa.
What’s better? A sunset view hotel or a caldera view hotel?
I’d choose a caldera view. It’s there all day. The sunset is only there for a few minutes. And it’s also fun to join the crowds and drink a bottle of wine on the steps of Oia as the sun sets – so it’s not as if you’re foregoing the sunset by choosing a hotel with a caldera view.
What hotel has the best views on Santorini?
Imerovigli has the highest elevation of any village on the caldera and thus has some of the best views of the caldera and sunset.
If I could only pick one hotel for the title of Best Caldera View it would be Santorini Grace. Simply amazing views in 3 different directions (north to Oia, west towards Thirassia, and south towards Fira).
Nearby hotels that look more towards Oia are Kasimatis Studios, Galaxy Suites, Avaton Resort & Spa. These 3 probably have the highest perch on Santorini. The views are amazing out over the caldera. Great sunset views with Oia off to the right.
Near Grace are Astra Suites, and Tholos Resort. These 3 hotel are on the point of Imerovigli and have near straight on view of Skaros Rock. It’s the postcard picture of the Santorini caldera. But they have a slightly lower elevation than Kasimatis, Galaxy, and Avaton.
Midway between Imerovigli and Oia is Aenaon Villas. Perhaps a little isolated for some (perfect for those looking for solitude) but the views here are extraordinary with both Imerovigli (to the left) and Oia (to the right) within view.
In the opposite direction (towards Fira) but still in Imerovigli are Chromata and Altana Traditional Houses and Suites. Great views though depending on the time of year the sunset can be slightly obscured.
Oia has many hotels with similar views, but standouts include Ikies, Canaves, Katikies (these hotels look in the caldera but don’t have perfect sunset views) and Esperas Traditional Houses (which looks towards the sunset and Amoudi Bay but not into the caldera).
When should I book my hotel?
As early as possible. The best luxury hotels start filling up 6 to 12 months in advance. Bookings for weddings are often made 1 to 3 years in advance. You can usually always find a place to stay on the island but if you’re booking your room within 2 to 3 months of a summer visit the very best hotels will likely be fully booked.
What town has the best restaurants on Santorini?
Fira has the most choice – and the best selection of inexpensive food (just walk away from caldera and into the center of town). Oia (and nearby Amoudi Bay) has a higher concentration of top notch restaurants. If I could only eat in one town for the whole trip it would be Oia.
When is the best time to visit Santorini?
September is my favorite month, but anytime between May and late-October is great. If you’re not in Santorini to suntan and not bothered by a bit of rain then March, April, and early November can be great times to visit. The beach towns get very quiet outside of June to September. The caldera towns have a longer tourist season but even their shops, restaurants, and hotels start to close in late October and early November. Most luxury hotels are open March 1 to October 31 with a few staying open until November 15. The slowest months are December, January, and February when Fira is the only town with any pulse.
Is there a must-do thing we have to experience on Santorini?
My number one recommendation is to walk the cliff-path along the top of the caldera from Fira to Oia. It takes 2 to 4 hours and has absolutely wonderful views along the way. From Fira to Imerovigli you’re walking through town most of the way so there are shops and cafes to stop at. From Imerovigli to Oia there’s little development and you’re all on your own with the sea far below. Don’t do it in the dark and take a good amount of water but it’s not a challenging walk for most people.
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