Last Minute Santorini

Updated: October 21, 2016

A view of Oia looking south into the caldera and towards Imerovigli. The best views in Santorini are from the towns along the cliff: Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostefani.

A view of Oia looking south into the caldera and towards Imerovigli. The best views in Santorini are from the towns along the cliff: Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostefani.

How To Book a Last Minute Trip to Santorini

  • 1. Use to find flights – Super easy and lots of cheap flights
  • 2. Use to find hotels with available rooms – Best rates and selection for Santorini hotels
  • 3. Use to book tours – Good selection for things to do on Santorini
  • 4. Reserve a table at the best restaurants in Santorini – Last minute reservations are usually easy to get
  • 5. Pack at least one warm set of clothes. Santorini weather is unpredictable and you can get cool windy nights even in summer.

Is Santorini a good choice for a last minute holiday?

It’s a great choice. It’s a small island and really easy to get around. The airport is 10 minutes from Fira (the main town) and Kamari (the most popular beach). And it’s 15 minutes from these towns to the ferry port. Some of the other towns (Oia, Imerovigli, Perissa) are a little farther but not by much. So once you land in Santorini you’re usually just a short taxi ride from your hotel.

Is it easy to book a last-minute hotel in Santorini?

Yes and no. It’s easy to get a hotel. Not so easy to get a specific hotel. The goods news is that Santorini is loaded with great hotels with incredible views and wonderful suites. So you’ll likely be able to find something when booking last minute. The bad news is that the best hotels on the island are usually booked months in advance so the chances of finding a suite at the most talked about places are slim to none.

Should I book a package holiday to Santorini?

No! The best rates will be found by booking your hotel and flight separately. Find flights through

What’s the best website for booking hotels on Santorini?

  • – Great pictures, verified user reviews, and handy calendar for keeping track of hotels. Better rates than what you’ll get by booking directly with a hotel. is also good.

What are the best luxury hotels on Santorini?

You can check availability at these hotels (my favorites) but be prepared to be disappointed. The best hotels are booked months (sometimes years) in advance. (Of course, cancellations are always a possibility.) The following boutique/luxury hotels are the most likely to have something available at the last minute.

The Best 5 Star Hotels on Santorini for Last Minute Bookings

These hotels tend to have more last minute openings than other tops hotels. (Big name hotels like Katikies, Grace, Canaves, and Perivolas get lots of press and are usually fully booked months in advance.)

What are good last-minute hotels in Santorini

Here is a list of hotels that for a variety of reasons (4 star hotel instead of 5, larger hotel that has more rooms but isn’t quite as intimate, back from the cliff without a view of the caldera) often have rooms available in July and August (high season on Santorini).

The 10 Best Last-Minute Hotels on Santorini

How do I get to Santorini?

There are essentially 3 ways of getting to Santorini. Flying is obviously the fastest. Arriving by ferry – with stunning views of the surrounding cliffs – is the most magical.

1. Fly directly to Santorini from Northern or Western Europe. More info: Flights to Santorini
2. Fly to Athens and then fly to Santorini with Olympic or Aegean Airlines.
3. Fly to Athens and then take the ferry to Santorini. More info: Athens to Santorini by Ferry

What are the best websites for finding cheap airfares to Santorini?

Use Skyscanner and Kayak to search for the best flights. Both are easy to use and search dozens of sites and airlines to find the best deal.

How do I book a last minute villa on Santorini? has the most listings of Santorini villas, apartments, and homes. But in all honesty, you’ll have a very hard time finding something on short notice. The most coveted rentals are reserved 6 months in advance. It never hurts looking though.

I don’t have a hotel booked, what towns should I focus my search on?

Fira and Kamari will likely have the most selection for last minute visitors. Towns such as Oia and Imerovigli are more likely to be fully booked – especially if arriving during July, August, or early September. They have fewer hotels and more luxury hotels that are often booked months in advance. But anything is possible and even the best hotels will have the occasional last minute opening.

What if I’m arriving tonight and still haven’t booked a hotel?

Hotel owners meet (almost) every ferry and offer rooms and a free ride to their hotel. It’s a great option for travelers but not without its shortcomings. These are not luxury hotels with great views of the volcano. They usually won’t be located in the main towns of Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, or Kamari but in smaller towns like Pyrgos or Megalochori a bit off the beaten path. Hotel owners will give you a free ride to their hotel but if you choose not to stay there after taking a look they probably won’t drive you to another hotel. So you could be in a bit of a bind with your bags, not in a central town, and with no specific place to go. There’s also a booking office at the port that will call hotels with available rooms for you – there’s a booking fee for the service.

If there’s no one at the pier when you arrive (this can happen in the height of summer) or no rooms available from the booking service then your best bet is to take the bus to Fira. Walk the streets checking in at any hotel you walk past. You might as well skip the hotels along the caldera as they’ll be fully booked. Instead head for the town square and begin your search from there.

Of course, you can always book a hotel online even at short notice. Even if it’s only a few hours before your arrival it’s still better than searching on foot.

What towns have the best views of the caldera?

When most people think of Santorini they think of the stunning views of the caldera and volcano from a village perched on the island’s cliffs. For these views you’ll want to stay in Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia.

All of these towns have incredible views that look out over the water.

What town has the best nightlife?

Fira is by far the center of the island’s nightlife. It has dance clubs, Irish bars, wine bars, funky alternative bars – and everything in between. The other towns along the caldera have a handful of places to drink into the late hours but for any serious partying you’ll need to head to Fira.

Along the beach Kamari has the most nightlife. Once again, for dance clubs and partying that goes until the early morning you’ll want to get to Fira but Kamari has many good quality bars (some with live music) that will keep most people happy. Perissa, the second largest beach town also has some nightlife.

The beach towns are pretty slow outside of the late June to early September period. In Fira you’ll find a busy nightclub scene from early May until mid-October but the peak months are definitely July and August.

What town has the best sunsets?

For hotels, Imerovigli has the best sunsets. It has the highest elevation of any town and provides the best view of the setting sun – unimpeded by any neighboring islands. But for the social atmosphere, nothing beats joining the crowds of people on the lanes and steps of Oia to watch the sunset. It’s busy but a lot of fun. (Only a few Oia hotels however, have sunset views.)

What is the best beach on Santorini?

Kamari is the best beach town. It has the most restaurants, hotels, and shops. Nearby Perissa and Perivolos (essentially one long beach with no clear divide) have nice sand and more laid-back vibe – but not quite as much to do. Both are great places to hang out though.

Surprisingly, the best swimming spot on Santorini is a little rock platform near Amoudi Bay (below Oia). Take the path off to the left of Amoudi port and follow it until you find the platform. It’s a beautiful spot to jump into the stunningly clear water with the cliffs at your back.

How long should I stay on Santorini?

Three nights minimum, which will give you enough time to have a few meals overlooking the caldera, explore several of the islands’ villages, watch a sunset or two, and hit a couple of beaches.

On the other hand, it’s easy to fill a week or more on the island. There are many wonderful hikes, a couple interesting historical museums, and ancient sites, boat tours, wine tours, swimming coves, and boutique shops to explore.

When is the best time to visit Santorini?

Anytime between late May and early October is great for the beach. The weather is beautiful, the sea is warm (it gets warmer throughout the summer and is at its most comfortable from late July to late September), and everything is open. Late March, April, early May, late October, and early November can be good times to visit if you’re more interested in sightseeing than hitting the beach. In these months it’s often warm and sunny through the day but coolish at night. Rain is rare during the summer and becomes more frequent from early November to late April.

What is the best way to get around Santorini?

Bus is cheap (€2 to go anywhere), reliable, air conditioned, and enjoyable. It’s great for getting to and from Fira as that’s the hub of the bus network. If, for example, you’re going from Oia to Kamari then you’ll have to switch buses in Fira – and that can get a little tiring. So for longer trips a taxi (or rental car) can be a lot easier. Taxi rides around the island cost between €10 and €30 depending on the distance.

See Also

36 Questions and Comments

  1. Oia or Imerovigli in mid-November

    Hi A lot of useful info in your site. It helps a lot. I am visiting Santorini for 5 days in mid November. Should I stay in Oia or Imerovigli if I am looking for a quiet place which has good views of sunset and there are enough choice of restaurants for dinners, shops/galleries/bookstores around for short walks? We are not looking for nightlife though. We are not driving so will need to rely on bus or taxi. Is it too cold to chill out outdoor for the sunset during mid Nov? I’m from Hong Kong. Thanks! Suzq

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      Oia is better if you want to have a good choice of restaurants. Imerovigli will be very quiet by mid-November – there are less than a dozen restaurants to begin with and some will be closed by then. (There are no bookstores or shopping beyond food markets in Imerovigli.) Oia’s restaurants and shopping stays fairly active until the final cruise ships visit in mid/late November. It can be chilly watching the sunset in November but if you have some warm autumn clothes it should be fine.

  2. Getting Around Santorini

    Hi Dave,

    We are visiting Santorini for the first time next week and still haven’t decided on whether to hire a car or not. What time do the buses usually run until in the evenings/at night? If we were to go to a restaurant in Oia or the bars in Fira, would we have any problems in getting back to Imerovigli? We are staying at the Astra Suites.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      Right now the last bus from Fira heading north to Imerovigli and Oia leaves at 10pm. The last bus back from Oia to Imerovigli and Fira leaves at 10:20pm. The last bus gets later and later as it gets closer to July/August – so even by next week that could be 11-ish. There are taxis but it can take some patience to find one. Generally I suggest getting a rental car to explore the island but bus, taxi, and walking are fine for getting between the caldera towns of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia.

      1. Bus to Kamari

        Ok thanks Dave.
        Also, how easy it is to get back to Imerovigli from Kamari in the evenings? Do buses run to a similar time?

        In terms of getting a taxi, is it just a case of waiting around until you spot one, or do you find that restaurants will help call one for you at the end of your meal etc?


        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

          Buses to Kamari are about the same – maybe a little later into the evening. The bus schedule is here and it’s updated as the seasons pass. Restaurants will call a taxi but that can be slower than hitting the street and looking. The taxi station is immediately to the west of the bus station in Fira – though waiting there can be a bad choice as then you’re competing with a bunch of people for the few taxis that actually return to the depot. It all works out though. Just be patient.

  3. Book Hotels in Advance for April?

    Flying from Australia to Santorini in early April. Solo male mature traveller will spend a few days in both Santorini and Naxos.

    Should I book accommodation now or see what is avaulable after I arrive in Thira? Looking at 50 to 60 euros a night.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      In April you’d be fine showing up without reservations and finding something. (For June to September always book hotels in advance.) But for the best stay at any time of year, it’s worth doing a little research and choosing a place (or at least narrowing it down) before you arrive. If you’re anything like me you’ll end up taking the first (or maybe second) place you see – especially after a day of travel. That said, there will likely be hotel owners at the ferry port when you arrive. They’ll drive you to their place to have a look around. It’s great for budget travelers but, once again, you almost always end up taking the first place you see and you don’t have a good feel for whether it’s good or just OK compared to the alternatives. (It’s almost never “bad” – every place is clean and decent.)

  4. Athens in October

    My husband and I are going to Athens on 20th Oct. Can someone tell me how many time the ferries go to Santorini per day?. Is there any ferry from Santorini back to Athen on Saturday and Sunday?

    I am staying in Athen for only 2 night, what is best to visit in Athen?.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      There are 2 or 3 ferries per day from Athens to Santorini in late October. The best one to take is the Blue Star that leaves Piraeus (the Athens ferry port) at 7:25am and gets to Santorini at 15:10. For 2 days in Athens the must-do’s are the Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, the National Archaeological Museum, and a walk around the Plaka and evening meal on one of it’s bustling streets.

      1. Phyllis

        Hi Dave
        Thank you Dave for your reply. We arrive at Athen at 9.05am which means we can’t take the 7.25am ferry. What time does the afternoon ferry depart? Is it easy and safe to drive arround Santorini? The hotel we booked at Oia does not have a road name. From the map it shows near best western hotel and Taxis/ bus terminal. I am thinking, if we can take a bus from the ferry pot to the bus Terminal in Oia. We are staying 3 days in Santorini. Should me rent a car or just move around by bus?

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

          The next ferry that day is the ADAMANTIOS KORAIS (picture) that leaves Piraeus at 14:55 and gets to Santorini at 4:15am. Not a great timetable. I would wait until the next morning and get the Blue Star at 7:25am. There’s plenty to do in Athens to fill an afternoon. There are no direct buses from the ferry port to Oia – you’ll need to change buses in Fira. Renting a car is a good plan since you won’t have a lot of time on Santorini and having a car definitely saves some time getting around the island.

  5. Santorini in November


    Excellent info. Very appreciative. I am planning a surprise anniversary trip with my wife and I am seriously considering Santorini. However, the time we have to travel would be late November (20-28th give or take). It would be hard to turn down this trip after seeing some of the views but I wanted your honest opinion on November in Santorini. I have seen a mix of reviews. Are there certain parts of the island to avoid in November? Are the beaches and restaurants closed? I know we will be able to enjoy our place and enjoy the views but will we not be able to go outside of our hotel and enjoy as well? Just want a general sense as to whether or not you think I should book this trip even though it is in November and if I did, what I would be missing.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      It’s impossible to say with certainty what it will be like. The best case scenario is that it’s sunny and clear with warm days in the high teens. The island would be quiet and you’d feel like you had it to yourself. The worst case scenario is that it’s cold, windy, and rainy and you hardly get outside at all. The likelihood is something in the middle or a mix of good days and bad days. All the luxury hotels will be closed by late November so if that was your plan you’ll have to change it. There are always some restaurants open but many will be closed by then. Most tours will also have stopped running. The hotels that are open will have great rates.

  6. Lively Hotel in October


    Im trying to book my daughters 21st birthday for 3 nights in Santorini for a family of 8 in and around 24th October. Could you please tell me the best hotel that is obviously not too quiet as she would like it to be a little lively but I’m not sure if Santorini is lively in October or not? We have our yearly family holiday in Agistri an hour by ferry from Athens but she would like a bit more upmarket for her 21st. On the night of her 21st if possible we would like to dine in a nice lively Greek restaurant in Santorini or perhaps the hotel would have this.

    kind regards

    Tracy Santos

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      In October, everywhere but Fira will be quiet. Most hotels in Santorini (especially along the caldera) are not “lively” – for that you’ll have to go out to the clubs and restaurants. Stay in Fira for the best nightlife. Look here for hotels in Fira. Good luck.

  7. Blue Star Ferry to Santorini

    Hi Dave. Great website and thanks for the great info on santorini. Am wondering what seat should I get on blue star ferry from Athens to Santorini…economy/cabin inside/cabin outside, what’s the difference? Are all passengers allowed to go to the top deck?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      When you buy an economy/deck ticket you can sit inside and outside and go to all restaurants, cafes on the ship. You can (usually) pay an extra fee (about 4€) to get an assigned seat (it’s an airplane style seat). Business class is more of a lounge environment with waiter service and comfy chairs. First class usually means getting a cabin. As far as inside cabin vs outside cabin: outside cabins have windows looking out onto the sea, inside cabins don’t and are in the central section of the ship.

  8. Solo in Santorini!

    Hi Dave, thank you so much for providing such a great site! I’ll unexpectedly be in Santorini in a month’s time for just 3 nights. I’m in my 30’s and love dancing and the beach, but will be going by myself.. From your info it sounds like Fira might be the place to stay? Is it safe for a girl to go out at night there alone? Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      Yes, I think Santorini is very safe – but, of course, that doesn’t mean some bad things happen occasionally. There are many inexpensive hotels near the nightlife hub in Fira (back a bit from the caldera, not far from the bus station) if you wanted something close to the clubs so you didn’t have a long walk on your own. But, as I say, for the most part, Santorini is quite safe for solo female travelers.

  9. Traveling Solo to Santorini

    I wanted to go to Santorini for my 50th bday with my then boyfriend and we never did. I am no longer with him and still NEED TO GO. I have decided to go this September 2014. My bday is 2 Oct. I loive in Maryland and will be
    traveling alone. I don’t want or feel the need to take a friend. I adore the beach and a relaxed place. Not much of a shopper but I love to hike and explore. Any thoughts on traveling alone?
    I read a lot of what you wrote but if I missed your input on this, sorry.
    Thanks a bunch. Mary

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      Santorini is great and I’m sure you’ll love it. There are many fun and active pursuits that are perfect for solo travelers. But just to prepare you I’ll say that Santorini is very popular with couples so be prepared for feeling a little out of place – especially at night when pretty much every table is filled by 2 people holding hands. It can feel a little lonely for a single traveler at times. Not trying to be a downer but if you’re prepared for that and don’t let it bother you I’m sure you’ll have a great time. There are many single travelers too but there are times when you’ll feel surrounded by couples. (Mykonos tends to have more solo travelers.)

  10. Megalochori

    Hi – cool site! We (40-something couple with 12 y.o. daughter) are close to pulling the trigger on Mansion Sophia in Megalochori. We already know that Mega is off the beaten path and far from nightlife and touristy areas, which is fine with us, as the villa comes with a rental car. Do you know anything about the villa itself that we might not be aware of? Anything we might not have considered being in Mega? Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      I’m not familiar with this hotel so can’t offer much help. Megalochori is a beautiful little village. Nice town square with a couple of great tavernas.

  11. Best town to do Santorini caldera hike

    We have just booked our plane tickets (flying London – Santorini direct) and our now deciding on what town to stay in. We’ll be in Santorini for 5 nights. We’ve heard great things about the walk along the caldera, I believe from Fira all the way to Oia, is that correct? Is one town better than another for getting on the path? Direct access, no traffic, etc? Is it better to walk one way than the other? Thanks.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      Yes, the hike goes from Fira to Oia – and back. There’s no difference which way you do it. Some prefer waking Fira to Oia and then staying for the sunset. But the walk itself is great in both directions. The route goes through the towns of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia and there’s no trouble getting on it from any of them. Of the 4 towns, Imerovigli has a unique feature in that it’s halfway between Fira and Oia so that you can do 2 half-walks. One day go Imerovigli to Oia and another Imerovigli to Fira. Once again, this is no great difference but a good way of breaking it up if the 3 hour walk sounds a bit too long for one day.

  12. Busiest time on Santorini

    Booking tickets today or tomorrow and trying to decide when to go. Is early July or early August the busiest time on Santorini?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      Both are busy but early August is definitely more so. The real peak starts about mid July and goes until late August. The week around August 15 is the busiest for travel all around Greece as it’s a big holiday period for the country.

  13. Where to book hotels?

    I read somewhere on your site that you recommend calling hotels as well as using cheapzebra. But for the 2 hotels I’ve called their prices were quite a bit more than cheapzebra. Is there any advantage to booking directly as opposed to online?

    Just want to find the best price.


    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece is definitely the best for finding cheap last minute hotels. No reason to book with the hotel if it’s more expensive (unless you’re getting points but there are few chain hotels on Santorini so that shouldn’t apply for most).

  14. When to book ferries?

    I arrive in Athens on June 1 and would like to catch the Blue Star ferry (as you recommended for the great deck views) on June 3 for Athens to Santorini. Should I book the ferry tickets in advance?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      If you mean, should you buy tickets before you arrive in Greece?, then no. Buying them from a travel agent in downtown Athens the day before or the morning of your ferry from the agents at Piraeus port is fine and much easier. But … you can’t buy them onboard the ferry so be sure to arrive at least 45 minutes early to seek out a ticket agent (there are a bunch just as you come out of the metro station, which is also very close to the Blue Star terminal).

  15. Where to Stay on Santorini?

    We’re booking a last-minute Santorini trip for next week and wondering whether to choose Fira or Oia. We want to do some swimming, suntanning, dancing, and enjoy some good food. But worried that Fira will be a little too crazy. Any thoughts?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      They’re both great towns – so as I often tell people: don’t worry, it’s going to be great. Fira is where you want to be for nightlife and a huge choice of restaurants. But the partying is never too crazy and if your hotel is along the caldera then you probably won’t even notice the clubs if you don’t seek them out. Oia still has lots to do but it does get much more quiet at night after sunset falls and people return to their hotels or other towns. For swimming, Fira is closer to the beaches than Oia but Oia has a great swim spot below it at Amoudi Bay. It’s not a beach but a place you can swim from the rocks in wonderfully clear water. So, once again, there’s a trade-off.

  16. Santorini without Reservations

    I’ll be arriving in Santorini by ferry without a hotel reservation. Curious about the hotel owners that meet travelers coming off the ferry. How can you know whom to trust? How do you know anything about the hotel? Is there some way of verifying what they’re saying before you go with them? And how do you get to their hotel, shuttle bus I assume?

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave The Ultimate Guide to Greece

      I’ll be honest, you don’t have much to go on and you’re pretty much at their will. But they tend to be honest folk for the most part. One thing I do is get them to point exactly at the location of their hotel on a map. If you ask them where their hotel is they’ll likely respond “very close to Fira” – when that can really mean a huge range of things – everything from a 5 minute walk to a 12 minute drive, so it doesn’t mean much. But if you get them to locate it on a map most will point accurately to where it is. Some hotels will have a mini-bus, for others it can just be a car or a pickup. Not all of these places are true hotels (more likely homes with a few extra rooms) so really, anything goes.

      One trick I use on other islands (when owners say their hotel is very very close) is to only walk to their hotel. They’ll offer to take my stuff in their truck and I’ll say, oh , let’s just walk. They often lose interest pretty quickly which tells you it’s not walking distance at all. Unfortunately you can’t do that in Santorini as there’s nothing within walking distance of the ferry port. So you have to drive somewhere and then it becomes hard to judge (especially for newcomers) where you’re heading to.

      As for the hotels themselves, the hotel owners will have binders filled with photos of their rooms, pools, exteriors. They are almost always truthful and legitimate pictures of their hotel.

      That’s about all I can say. It’s a good deal – but definitely comes with some uncertainty about location and quality. Sometimes when you arrive late at night this is about as good as you can hope for so I’d be tempted to take anything on offer (especially in July and August).

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