Celestia Grand – A glamorous collection of villas with private pools and direct sunset views in a quiet neighborhood south of Fira.
Celestia Grand offers seven luxuriously appointed villas, all with kitchenettes, spacious terraces, caldera views, and private, heated pools. All have indoor jacuzzi tubs; some add outdoor hot tubs. Villas range from studio up to two-bedroom units, with some villas divided over two floors. Each villa is completely unique, built in a classic, Cycladic style that incorporates the island’s natural geography with hand-sculpted ceilings, lava rock walls, and whitewashed stucco. Five-star perks include airport and port transfer, an all-day shuttle to Fira, and daily breakfast delivery. VIP services include helicopter charters, private caldera cruises, and personal chef service.
Celestia Grand – Location
• Area: Celestia Grand is located about 2.5 km from Fira in Mesaria (sometimes called South Fira), with expansive views over the caldera and stunning sunsets. The Mesaria area is a central location for exploring all that Santorini has to offer, with nightlife, dining, wine country, traditional villages, and ancient ruins all within a 5 to 15-minute drive.
• How to Get There:
Celestia Grand offers complimentary airport or port transfer for all guests; this is the best and easiest way to get to the villas. The villas sit above the caldera in South Fira on the main road connecting Fira with the rest of the island, making it easy to reach by bus, taxi, or driving yourself. It is approximately 5km from the Athinios ferry port and 5km from the Santorini Airport to the hotel.
There are always buses waiting at the ferry port for every ferry arrival, as well as buses departing hourly from Santorini Airport. The bus from the ferry port passes by the hotel; ask to be dropped off at Volcano View (the hotel next door). The bus from the airport will stop in Fira, where you must get off to catch a second bus heading south to reach the Volcano View stop. A bus from the port to Celestia Grand should take 20 to 30 minutes, while the entire bus trip from the airport to Celestia Grand could take over an hour. (Of course, you could also bus to the Fira station, then taxi to the hotel.)
Taxis are also available from the port or airport, though there are only about 25 taxis serving the whole island, so there is often a wait; schedule private transfer through the Villas or a private car service in advance to avoid this (I use and recommend Welcome Pickups). Taxis on Santorini are not metered, so be sure to agree on a price with the driver before setting out. A taxi from the airport to Celestia Grand will cost roughly €25. A taxi from the ferry port will cost around €25-€35. Booking through a private car service will cost only a bit more – about $45 (or €37), but is worth it to avoid the wait and for the convenience of paying ahead.
For those who prefer to drive themselves, we recommend renting a car either at the airport on arrival, or in Fira. The road from the ferry port is steep and narrow, with many tricky switchbacks, large trucks, and buses. Leave that for the locals to navigate. We strongly recommend reserving a vehicle in advance, especially if you require automatic transmission. Upon arrival at Celestia Grand, each villa has its own dedicated parking space (a major perk).
• Handy to: Fira nightlife, dining, and shopping, wine country, and Pyrgos traditional village.
Map of Celestia Grand
Celestia Grand – The Basics
- Ages: This is a family-friendly property, and guests of all ages are allowed. Pets are also permitted. Guests tend to be a mix of couples and families, with most families traveling in the summer months.
- Beach: The nearest beach is Exo Gialos, a quiet, black sand beach with intriguing wind-sculpted cliffs at its southern end. The best beach bar and restaurant there is East Breeze, just a few meters from the cliffs. The north end has a small harbor and another great beach bar and restaurant called Yalos. From the hotel, it’s a short 6 km drive to the north end or 5 km to the south end, where the cliffs are. For a unique beach experience, visit Caldera Beach, which is the only beach in Santorini’s caldera. This beach is more serene and secluded than Exo Gialos, though that means fewer services – just 1 restaurant and a dive shop. Caldera Beach is 7 km away. Kamari Beach, 7 km southeast, is the best organized beach nearby. Kamari is very popular with families, with several beach clubs, restaurants, and affordable umbrella and lounge chair rentals.
- View: Absolutely amazing views over the caldera, centered on the volcanoes with views from Akrotiri all the way to Oia. Each villa has an unobstructed, direct sunset view.
- Kitchen: All villas have a kitchenette.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: All villas feature private, heated pools. The Junior Villa has the smallest: a plunge pool with jacuzzi jets. Artemis and Sapphire villas add outdoor jacuzzis. All other suites have indoor jacuzzi tubs.
- Parking: Each villa comes with its own dedicated parking space.
- Extras: Airport/port transfer, complimentary shuttle to Fira from 9:15 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., 24-hour reception, 24-hour concierge, in-room massage, breakfast delivery, weddings and events, VIP services.
- When to Book: The hotel usually operates from the first of April until the end of October. Reserve at least 4 months in advance (6 months is better) for stays during high season from June through September, and about 2 months in advance for the low and shoulder seasons.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +30 22860 25900
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: celestiagrand.com
Celestia Grand – Amenities
- Pool: No shared pool. All villas have private pools.
- Spa: No spa. In-room spa treatments are available on request.
- Fitness Center: No gym. In-room personal trainers are available on request.
- For Disabled Guests: This is a caldera property with mostly multi-level suites that use stairs. There is no elevator on site. This hotel is suitable for guests with mild mobility issues; the Junior and Honeymoon Villas have the fewest stairs.
- For Families: This is a family-friendly property, and guests of all ages are allowed. All suites can accommodate at least 3 guests, though the larger 2-bedroom villas – Ianthi, Aphrodite, Artemis, and Sapphire – are better suited for larger groups. Family amenities and services include high chairs, baby cots, and babysitting on request. There is also a doctor on call.
- Activities: The concierge is available 24 hours to arrange any experience, from wine tastings to caldera cruises and more. VIP Services include helicopter tours, island hopping, private cruises, and more.
Celestia Grand – Food and Drink
- Restaurant: No restaurant onsite, but private, candlelit dinners can be arranged, or a personal chef can prepare any meals.
- Lounge/Bar: No bar, but any drink request (especially wine) can be provided by room service.
- Breakfast: Complimentary, a la carte breakfast is delivered to each villa daily at the time of your choosing.
- Room Service: Available 16 hours a day.
Celestia Grand – Rooms
- Room Types: Junior Villa • Erotas Villa • Superior Honeymoon Villa • Ianthi Villa • Artemis Villa • Aphrodite Villa • Sapphire Villa
- Smoking Rooms: The hotel does not allow smoking in any of their room categories. It is allowed on the private outdoor terraces and in the outdoor common areas.
- Best Room: Every villa is incredible, but the Sapphire Villa is the best. This 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom villa has the largest terrace with the best views onsite. Like the other villas, it boasts a private, heated pool, but it also adds a huge, cave-style jacuzzi that affords dazzling views with more privacy. The second bathroom has a hydromassage tub.
- For Families: This is a family-friendly property, and all ages are allowed, as well as pets. All villas can accommodate at least 3 guests, but the best options for families are the 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom villas that sleep up to 5 guests: Sapphire (described above), Artemis, Aphrodite, or Ianthi. Like Sapphire, Artemis offers a private pool and outdoor jacuzzi with a hydromassage tub in 1 of the bathrooms. Aphrodite is similar, but instead of an outdoor jacuzzi, it has hydromassage tubs in both bathrooms. Ianthi is similar to Aphrodite, with its 2 indoor jacuzzi baths, but Ianthi has the option of connecting to the Junior Villa to sleep 3 more guests (a total of 8). Connecting to the Junior Villa adds an extra outdoor, heated, jetted, plunge pool.
Celestia Grand – Local Transport
- Walking: The hotel is located about 2.5 km south of Fira at the edge of the caldera, and there is not much within walking distance of the hotel. Celestia Grand offers a complimentary shuttle into Fira from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., which allows a good deal of time to dine, shop, and see the sights. For staying out late, for exploring the island, or for longer stays, it is best to rent a car or hire taxis to get around.
- Bus: The hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to Fira from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. Outside of these hours, you may catch the bus at the unofficial stop in front of the hotel. If traveling anywhere north, catch the bus in front of the mini market right across the street, and ride to the Central Bus Station in Fira. All routes to the airport, other villages, and most beaches require a change in Fira. On the way back, tell the driver to stop at Volcano View, which is the hotel next door. If heading south to the port, you can flag down the bus from Volcano View. Tickets are bought on board and range from €1.80 to €2.50 per person in the daytime, depending on the route. Night buses (12:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.) run less frequently and cost a little more, from €2.30 to €3.10. Buses can get very crowded, especially during the high season, so much so that they often fill to capacity, and are unable to take on more passengers. There are only 23 public buses serving the island.
- Taxis: The nearest taxi stand is at Stathmos Taxi in Fira, about 33 minutes’ walk away, so not very practical. There is often a wait here as there are only 25 taxis serving the entire island (with guests from about 1,000 hotels, villas, and Airbnbs). Book ahead to avoid the wait, and have the driver meet you directly at the hotel. There will be a small surcharge for advanced reservations and for carrying luggage, usually just a couple of Euros. The average rate from the hotel to the port is around €10, and from the hotel to the airport is around €25.
- Scooters/Motorcycles: Scooters are the main mode of transportation for the locals, but if you’re unfamiliar with the terrain, it can be very dangerous. The roads here are zigzagging, hilly, narrow, and have sheer drop-offs with no guardrails and no street lights in most areas. Lots of dirt roads and potholes.
- ATVs/Quads: ATVs are a fun and popular mode of transportation with tourists, but for the locals stuck driving behind them, they move too slowly and hold up traffic in an area where getting around is already a hassle. For those who don’t ride quads regularly (i.e. most people), they can be dangerous at high speeds and on turns. Crashing your ATV is a sure-fire way to ruin your vacation.
Celestia Grand – What’s Nearby?
Best Nearby Restaurants
- Caldera Restaurant: Upscale, local fare with a great wine menu and spectacular sunset views at their sister property Volcano View.
- Elia Restaurant: Fine dining, Mediterranean restaurant with dazzling caldera views at their sister property Petit Palace.
- Metaxi Mas Taverna: The best restaurant in Santorini. Metaxi Mas cooks up rich, delicious, Santorinian and Cretan recipes paired with local wine and raki in a homey, authentic taverna.
- Lucky’s Souvlakis: Hands-down the very best gyros in Santorini. Eating at Lucky’s is an absolute must when in Santorini. Authentic, filling, and affordable.
- Ouzeri: Exceptional spot for meze (Greek tapas), offering a modern take on traditional Santorinian flavors and Mediterranean favorites.
- Falafeland: Top-notch vegetarian and vegan street food spot with amazing falafel and veggie burgers, and cozy outdoor seating. There are a handful of meat dishes here too, which are prepared separately from the vegetarian/vegan items.
- Pelican Kipos: Stellar, wine-centric restaurant with over 600 varieties of local and international wines in a charming garden setting. Wine tastings and cellar tours available daily.
- Argo Restaurant: Argo features a rich menu of Santorinian and Mediterranean flavors with modern, international influences. With amazing views over the caldera, this is a popular spot for sunset dining. Reserve in advance to ensure a view table.
- Idol Restaurant: All-day restaurant serving elevated versions of traditional Santorinian dishes with 3 dining terraces and panoramic views.
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
- Franco’s Bar: Franco’s has 2 locations, 1 in Fira and 1 in Pyrgos. Both bars are well-loved for their gorgeous sunset views and delicious drinks. Franco’s Fira overlooks the caldera centered on the volcano, and Franco’s Pyrgos is on the highest point of the island, with expansive views over all of Santorini. The Pyrgos bar is a 7-minute drive away, while the Fira bar is a 15-minute drive.
- PK Cocktail Bar: The best bar in Santorini, PK Cocktail Bar offers superb sunset views, creative cocktails, and 3 levels of seating in the caldera.
- Tango Champagne and Cocktail Bar: Refined lounge with a romantic vibe and picture-perfect sunset views.
- Kira Thira Jazz Bar: A Santorinian standby since 1976, Kira Thira is a cozy, casual bar with fantastic sangria, strong drinks, and an eclectic selection of music.
- Tropical Bar: Great cocktails and a magnificent view make this a popular spot in for catching the sunset. The drinks menu strips down to basic offerings after sundown, but at happy hours (9:00 to 11:00p.m.), all cocktails are half price. Aussies take note: they sell VB here.
- MoMix: Half bar, half mad science lab, MoMix (short for Molecular Mixology) creates wild cocktails served in test tubes, as edible bites, or in bubble form.
- Casablanca Soul Bar: With house and deep house DJs or a live band every night, tasty cocktails, and a truly friendly staff, Casablanca is always a favorite for locals and travelers alike.
Best Nearby Cafes
- Zeas Bakery: There is a 24-hour bakery across the street, but it’s not a good one. Head a little ways south to reach Zeas Bakery. Fantastic pastries, sweets, and breads, plus great coffee and pre-made sandwiches.
- Coffee Island: Off the main tourist track, this little shop has fantastic coffee drinks (maybe the only spot you can get a flat white in Santorini), a great selection of coffee by the kilo, and absolutely the best prices.
- Galini Café: Super friendly, all-day café with superb coffee and amazing views. Best loved for their breakfasts and brunch, especially the crepes, bennies, and French toast.
Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops
- Nick the Greek: One of the oldest jewelry shops in Santorini, Nick the Greek sells fine gold jewelry and luxury watches from Greek and international brands.
- Koukla: Eclectic, artsy jewelry in a range of styles and prices.
- Little Dot: Trendy boutique offering men’s and women’s street, surf, and swim wear.
- Noi: Upscale women’s boutique offering elegant summer clothing, shoes, and accessories on Santorini’s famous Gold Street.
- Caldera Jewelry/Golden Santorini: Right across from Noi, Golden Santorini/Caldera Jewelry has offered fine gold and precious stone jewelry since 1976.
- White House Santorini: Specialty shop for all-white summer garb for men, women, and children. Located across the walking path from Idol Restaurant in Fira.
- Ammos: This shop has 2 locations in Fira, 1 in Kamari, and 1 in Oia. All offer a wide selection of international and Greek brands. 15-minute drive to either of the Fira locations.
- Spicy Boutique and The Lace: These sister boutiques are located right next door to each other in the heart of Fira. Both shops sell Greek-designed women’s clothing and accessories. Spicy offers edgier styles, while The Lace caters toward a femme crowd.
- The White: Next to Rastoni restaurant, The White is a luxury boutique selling hand-crafted clothing and footwear by Santorinian designer Sophia H.
- Isia: High-end, women’s clothing and accessories with unique pieces inspired by traditional Greek designs. You can find it on the footpath between Diesel and Cava Mejjo.
- Drakkar Santorini: International and Greek designer-brand clothing for women.
- Agios Dimitrios Church: Next door to Argyros Mansion, this church was renovated in 1868, and has remained much the same since then.
- Wine Country: The southern half of Santorini is covered in vineyards, many of which offer tours or wine tastings of the island’s famous varieties such as Assyrtiko, Mavrotragano, and Vinsanto. Among the best nearby wineries are Venetsanos Winery, Hatzidakis Winery, and Art Space Winery.
- Pyrgos: Pyrgos is a charming traditional village located at the highest point on the island, with expansive views of Santorini from Akrotiri to Oia, from the caldera to the Aegean, and of everything in between. Among the winding footpaths are the ruins of an old castle, traditional architecture, neoclassical mansion, shops, restaurants, and cafes.
- Argyros Mansion: Historic, 19th-century, neoclassical mansion, the former home of generations of winemakers. Restored with care, the mansion offers a look into Santorini’s past.
- Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral: This imposing cathedral dominates the main square in Fira. Fully renovated after the ’56 earthquake, this landmark church is surrounded by a series of grand archways, and is adorned with frescoed walls and ceilings inside in gold and vivid colors.
- Old Port of Fira: A.K.A. Fira Skala, the Old Port has a few tavernas, shops, and pretty sea views. The only connections from the port to the village are the cable cars, donkeys, or walking up the 587 steps. Nowadays, the Old Port is mostly used by cruise ship passengers, arriving daily by the thousands in the high season. To avoid the largest crowds, plan excursions around the cruise ship calendar. The beginning of the stairway down is a 15-minute drive away.
- Akrotiri: Excavations of a Bronze Age Minoan settlement. Similar to Pompeii, the entire town was covered in volcanic ash thousands of years ago, which preserved the ruins.
- Shipwreck: The wreck of the MS Sea Diamond cruise ship rests between the caldera’s edge at Mesaria and the new volcano. Though the Greek government has ordered the Sea Diamond’s removal, as of now the shipwreck remains in the same spot where the boat sunk in 2007. A few dive shops offer guided scuba dives inside the ship.
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Mini Market: There is a small mini market directly across the street from Volcano View, selling drinks, snacks, beach gear, souvenirs, and cigarettes.
- Lidl: Discount grocery store offering basic staples. Inventory is inconsistent but doable if stocking for a short trip.
- AB: Small but well-stocked grocery store with fresh fruits and veggies, wine, prepared foods, and more. This is where most locals shop. Prices are reasonable.
- Green Market Organics: Small but well-stocked grocery store in Fira with specialty items (gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan, etc.), organic, and local products.
Celestia Grand – The Hotel