See Also: Best Hotels in Santorini
Best Places To Stay in Santorini – Tips and Advice
- Stay in one of the four towns (Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostafani) that are located on the Santorini cliff. These towns have great views of the caldera, volcano, and sunset.
- Almost all of the best hotels in Santorini are located in these four towns.
- Most luxury hotels have awesome caldera views but there are fewer Santorini hotels with sunset views.
- Staying in Santorini on a budget: The key to saving money in Santorini is to stay (and eat) at places back from the caldera edge. The best cheap hotels in Santorini are very nice but do not have volcano views.
- Booking.com – the best website for booking hotels in Santorini.
- Best Santorini Luxury Hotels: Grace • Katikies
- Best Santorini Boutique Hotels: Cosmopolitan Suites • Aspaki by Art Maisons • Carpe Diem • Tsitouras Collection
- Best Santorini Honeymoon Hotels: Cosmopolitan Suites • Katikies • Art Maisons Oia Castle • Cavo Tagoo • Sophia Suites
- Best Santorini Towns: Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostefani. They all have fantastic views of the volcano and caldera. These are the towns that make Santorini so special.
- Best Fira Hotels: Athina Luxury Suites • Aria Suites • Cosmopolitan Suites
- Best Oia Hotels: Katikies • Kirini Santorini • Canaves Suites
- Best Imerovigli Hotels: Grace • Astra Suites • Iconic Santorini
- Best Firostefani Hotels: Tsitouras Collection • Homeric Poems • Belvedere
- Santorini Hotels with Best Sunset View: Grace • Esperas Traditional Houses • Santorini Princess Spa Hotel • Celestia Grand
- Cheap Hotels in Fira: San Giorgio Villas (no view) • Costa Marina Villa (caldera view)
- Cheap Hotels in Oia: Zoe Aegeas (caldera view) • Anemomilos (no view) • Strogili (caldera view)
- Cheap Hotels in Imerovigli: Merovigliosso (no view) • Kasimatis Studios (caldera view)
- Cheap Hotels in Firostefani: Hotel Sofia (no view) • Agali Houses (caldera view)
- The Best New Hotels in Santorini are Istoria Hotel • Myst Boutique Hotel • Canaves Epitome
- Best restaurants in Santorini: Best restaurants in Santorini: Candouni (Oia) • Ammoudi Fish Taverna (Ammoudi) • Mezzo (Imerovigli) • La Maison (Imerovigli) • Avocado (Imerovigli) • Argo (Fira) • Ouzeri (Fira) • Naoussa (Fira) • Lucky’s Souvlaki (Fira) • Metaxy Mas (Exo Gonia) • Cava Alta (Pyrgos) • Cave of Nikolas (Akrotiri) • Sea Side by Notos (Perivolos)
- Best bars in Santorini: Tropical (Fira – great views and sunset) • PK Cocktail Bar (great cocktails and sunset views) • Franco’s Pyrgos (romantic spot for sunsets and champagne cocktails) • Kira Thira Jazz Bar (Fira – small club, great vibe) • Two Brothers (Fira – fun, friendly, and crazy) • Koo Bar (Fira – best dance club) • Hasapiko (Oia – super fun, also known as Mary Kay, the only true bar in Oia)
Map of Where To Stay in Santorini
Note: Email me at [email protected] if you’d like me to send you a copy of the above map.
What are the Best Hotels in Santorini?
- Best Luxury Hotels in Santorini: Grace Santorini (Imerovigli) • Katikies Hotel (Oia) • Tsitouras Collection (Oia)
- Best Honeymoon Hotel in Santorini: Art Maisons Oia Castle (Oia)
- Best Hotels for Privacy: San Antonio (Imerovigli) • Aenaon Villas (Imerovigli) • Carpe Diem Santorini (Pyrgos)
- Best Hotels for Sunset Views: Grace (Imerovigli) • Art Maisons Oia Castle Hotel (Oia) • Esperas (Oia) • Celestia Grand(Mesaria/South Fira)
- Best Hotel for Nightlife: Cosmopolitan Suites (Fira)
- Best Cheap Hotel with Caldera View: Kavalari Hotel (Fira)
- Best Cheap Hotel without View: Costa Marina Villa (Fira)
- Best Villas in Santorini: Aria Suites & Villas (Fira) • Oia Mansion (Oia) • Nafsika Estate (Megalochori)
What are the Best Places to Stay in Santorini?
The best places to stay in Santorini are the towns of Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostafani that are located along the caldera cliff on the western side of the island. All of these towns have wonderful views of the volcano and caldera. They each have different pros and cons, but for most visitors, they should stay in one of these four towns.
- Most romantic towns: Oia or Imerovigli
- Best Santorini views: Oia or Imerovigli – but Fira and Firostefani have wonderful views too
- Best shopping: Fira
- Best for honeymoon: Imerovigli (quiet and romantic), Fira (nightlife), Oia (a bit of both)
- Best clubs and nightlife on Santorini: Fira
- Best restaurants on Santorini: Imerovigli
- Best beach town on Santorini: Kamari (wonderful swimming, lots of restaurants)
- Best sunsets on Santorini: Imerovigli
- Best for peace and solitude: Imerovigli
- Best place to stay on a budget: Firostefani (if you want a caldera view) or Fira (if you don’t need a view)
- Best for families: Fira (the most to do), Oia (the fewest stairs of any caldera town and the most stroller friendly), or Kamari (great swimming, kid-friendly vibe)
- Best hotels in Santorini: Grace Santorini and Katikies
The first and most basic decision that needs to be made is do you want to stay at the beach or in the towns along the caldera? The beaches are situated along the eastern coast of the island. The towns (Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, Oia) are located on the western edge of the island, are perched on the caldera cliff, and look out towards the volcano.
The caldera towns are trendier, the restaurants better, the clubs more sophisticated, and the hotels more luxurious. The beach towns are more relaxed, less expensive, and have a feel closer to the other Greek islands. Pub grub is the rule at most (but not all) of the restaurants along the beaches.
I strongly recommend that you stay in one of the caldera towns as this is what makes Santorini so special – the incredible views and almost surreal setting. But to each their own. If you do stay at one of the beach towns Fira and caldera are only 20 to 30 minutes away. Oia is an additional 20 minutes. Akrotiri is another area that has great caldera views but most hotels here are semi-isolated away from any towns and there’s little within walking distance (which is fine if you have a rental car and/or just want to spend most of your time by a pool enjoying the caldera views).
Staying in Fira
Fira is the island’s largest town and one of the most picturesque spots in all of Greece. Like Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostefani it’s perched on the caldera cliff and has marvelous views of the volcano. Fira has the most restaurants, shops, and hotels and is the center of Santorini’s nightlife. It’s the hub of Santorini’s bus network so you can get pretty much anywhere on the island with just one bus ride. If you like action, shopping, lots of choice for where to eat, and dance clubs then this is where you’ll want to be. If you want peace and solitude then you’ll likely find Fira busy, hectic, and touristy. (That said, if you’re just a little off the main street it’s pretty quiet.) Fira has many hotels with wonderful caldera views but also a large number that are back from the cliff and without a view (which means they’re cheaper and makes Fira a good choice for travelers on a budget). The closest swimming spot to Fira is Kamari Beach which is about 20 minutes by bus.
Staying in Firostefani
Firostefani is a short 10-minute walk along the footpath from Fira. If you want to be close to the action of Fira but don’t want the crowds then Firostefani is great. Views are equally wonderful in Firostefani. There are 10 to 12 restaurants in Firostefani, a bakery, and a couple of markets but no bars or nightlife.
Staying in Imerovigli
Imerovigli is Santorini’s quietest town along the caldera and has the island’s best sunset views.. The cliff is higher here and the view of the sunset is unimpeded by any neighboring islands – which isn’t always the case in Fira and Firostefani. Imerovigli is a 20 to 30-minute walk from Fira (or a very short bus or taxi ride). Imerovigli doesn’t have a lot of restaurants (fewer than 10), but the ones that are here are all very good to great. No bars or nightlife in Imerovigli.
Staying in Oia
Oia is Santorini’s most picturesque town and has some of the island’s best hotels. It’s located at the northern tip of the island and is famous for its fabulous sunset views. The town is busy through the day up until sunset (when it’s packed in high season) but then gets quiet quickly after the sun sets. There’s lots of high-end shopping and many restaurants in Oia but only one bar (Mary Kay’s – which is great). The southern part of Oia looks into the caldera. The northern part does not have views of the caldera but does have perfect sunset views. (Only a few Oia hotels have unimpeded sunset views.) The walk from Oia to Fira is beautiful but takes several hours so for the most part, Oia is a taxi or bus ride away from the hub of the island.
Staying in Kamari
Kamari has a wonderful family-friendly atmosphere, a pedestrian beach-front walkway, and plenty of good restaurants (but not really any great ones). It’s a 15-minute bus ride to Fira making day trips to the caldera easy. (To get to Oia requires switching buses in Fira and then another 20 minutes on the bus.) Kamari has a pebble beach but the swimming is cool, refreshing, and wonderful.
Staying in Perissa Beach
Perissa Beach has nicer sand than Kamari, but it’s farther from Fira than Kamari, which makes visiting the caldera a bit more time-consuming. A few new luxury hotels and upscale restaurants have opened here, though there are still plenty of great, affordable hotels and low-key restaurants and bars all along the pedestrian-friendly beach road.
Staying at Perivolos Beach
Perivolos is an extension of Perissa Beach. There’s no defining border between the two towns (Perissa is the northern busier section, Perivolos is the southern quieter section) and the name Perissa is often used for the whole strip. Perivolos has a few new luxury hotels opening up, as well as some fine dining restaurants and upscale beach clubs, especially at the south end of the beach strip, Agios Georgios Beach. Perivolos is shaping up to be the most luxurious beachfront area in Santorini.
Staying in Pyrgos
Pyrgos is the most charming of Santorini’s traditional villages. From its mountaintop perch at the highest point on the island, it offers panoramic sunset views over the whole of Santorini. Most of Pyrgos is pedestrian-only with its maze-like footpaths dotted with restaurants, local boutiques, picturesque churches, and the ruins of a Venetian castle. Its foothills are brimming with vineyards, many offering tours and tasting rooms. This is an ideal village to stay in for seclusion, tranquility, and living like a local. From the main square, it’s about a 10-minute bus ride into Fira, for more dining, nightlife, and shopping. Oia can be reached by catching a second, 20-minute bus from Fira.
Staying in Akrotiri
Akrotiri is a catchall name for the village, ruins, and southern peninsula of Santorini. The village itself is quite small, with just a few restaurants, chapels, and castle ruins. From the village and the main bus stop in Akrotiri, it is only a 13-minute walk to the archaeological site of the Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri, a Bronze-Age Minoan settlement well-preserved by the ash of a volcanic eruption (like Pompeii). Prehistoric Akrotiri is believed by some to have inspired the Atlantis legend. The Akrotiri Peninsula is also home to several of Santorini’s best beaches, including Red Beach, White Beach, Vlichada Beach, and Caldera Beach. At its western tip is a lighthouse (the quietest and most romantic sunsets viewpoint on the island), while a handful of great restaurants are spread throughout the area. A car is strongly recommended here, as most hotels, restaurants, beaches, and attractions are fairly spread out over the peninsula. A bus from Akrotiri to Fira takes about 15 minutes. Add a second 20-minute bus ride (change buses in Fira) to reach Oia.
Santorini Towns and Beaches – Best Area To Stay
Santorini is a small island and getting from one town or beach to the next is quick and easy so you don’t have to feel limited by the place you pick. (It’s less than 30 minutes from Fira to the beaches by bus or taxi. 20 minutes longer from Oia to the beaches.)
Obviously, if you’re primarily looking to spend time lying on a beach then stay there and commute to Fira and Oia for sunsets and dinner. If you’re more interested in shopping, eating, and sightseeing then Fira, Oia, Firostefani, and Imerovigli are a better base.
The beach towns are fun, full, and busy from June to September. The weather is great for swimming from late May to early October. Outside of these months, the beach towns will be very quiet and the weather usually isn’t consistently warm enough for swimming.
If you’re looking to save money then the beach towns offer better value for the money. Restaurants in Oia, Imerovigli, and Fira are also quite expensive (though there are cheaper options away from the views of the caldera). The beaches tend towards pub food that is not so pricey – but also not as good.
As for Oia or Fira, both towns are very touristy but in different ways. Oia is quieter, more romantic, generally has more expensive hotels and higher-end restaurants. After the sunset, Oia gets very quiet. Fira has the nightlife and lively restaurants. Fira is also closer to most of the beaches.
Fira itself can be quite busy (especially when a cruise ship or two are in port – though cruise passengers will return to their ships by late afternoon) so if you’re looking for peace and quiet but still want to be near the restaurants and nightlife then Firostefani and Imerovigli are great options. Both towns are uphill from Fira so the walk into town is easy and relaxing. If you find the uphill walk back to your hotel too taxing after a large dinner it’s easy to find a cab in Fira.
Similar to the beach towns, if you’re visiting outside of March to November then Oia will be very quiet – with many shops and restaurants closing from late November to early March. If you’re visiting Santorini in winter then Fira is by far the best place to stay.
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