Heliotopos Hotel – Family-friendly, family-run, boutique hotel in the Imerovigli caldera with an infinity pool on the cliff and a popular wine bar with a sunset terrace.
One of only a handful of all-ages hotels on the caldera, most traditional houses here can accommodate three to five guests. No two suites are alike, but most units offer kitchenettes, and all have private balconies with impressive sunset views of the caldera. Architecture and décor is in the classic, Cycladic style with domed roofs, stone floors, and Greek antiques and textiles; two of the studios are cave-style, as is the indoor portion of the restaurant and wine bar. With only 11 total rooms and suites, service is very personal with every detail attended to. This is a popular hotel for small wedding parties.
Heliotopos Hotel – Location
Absolutely gorgeous location in the heart of Imerovigli village, with amazing dining and attractions all within 1 to 15 minutes of the hotel. Imerovigli is the highest elevation on the caldera, and the views are stellar throughout the hotel and at most of the restaurants here.
• How to Get There:
The hotel sits above the caldera in the center of Imerovigli village, not far off the main road connecting Fira and Oia, making it easy to reach by bus, taxi, or driving yourself. It is approximately 8km from the Santorini Airport to Heliotopos, and 12km from the ferry port.
There are always buses waiting at the ferry port for every ferry arrival, as well as buses departing hourly from Santorini Airport. There are no direct buses from the port or airport to Imerovigli, however; buses from both locations go to Fira, where you must then board a different bus to Imerovigli – the entire trip from the port or airport to Imerovigli will take around an hour and cost about €5 in total. Tickets are purchased on the bus, in cash only. The bus stop is just 5 minutes away on foot, and the walk from there to the hotel is mostly flat, easy to navigate with luggage.
Taxis are also available from the port or airport, though there are only about 25 taxis in total serving the whole island, so there can be a long wait; schedule a ride through 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 Heliotopos should be about €25 to €30, and a taxi from the ferry port to the hotel around €30. 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. There is free parking in front of the hotel (often full), near the Imerovigli Basketball Court, and near Sunbird Rent-A-Car. Imerovigli has the hardest-to-find parking in Santorini, so you may have to circle around a couple times to find a spot.
Map of Heliotopos Hotel
Heliotopos Hotel – The Basics
- Ages: All ages are allowed at this hotel, with children under 2 years staying for free. Guests are about half couples and half families.
- 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 (16-minute drive). The north end has a small harbor and another great beach bar and restaurant called Yalos (13-minute drive). From the hotel, it’s a short 4.7 km drive to the north end or 7.2 km to the south end, where the cliffs are.
- View: Overlooking the caldera with excellent sunset views from the rooms and throughout the hotel.
- Kitchen: Most studios and suites include a fully-equipped kitchenette.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools/jacuzzis.
- Parking: Free street parking in front of the hotel or in the nearby lots. Parking can be difficult in Imerovigli.
- Extras: Welcome drink, board games, wedding planning (up to 30 guests with food, or 50-80 guests with cocktails only).
- When to Book: The hotel is open almost year-round, closing one month annually in either January or February. 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 23670
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: heliotopos.net
Heliotopos Hotel – Amenities
- Pool: Small, unheated pool over the caldera with incredible views.
- Spa: No spa.
- Fitness Center: No gym.
- For Disabled Guests: This is a caldera hotel with lots of steps and no elevator. Not suitable for guests with mobility issues.
- For Families: An all-ages hotel, most studios and suites here accommodate between 3 and 4 guests (5 of the studios can even add a fifth guest using the sofa bed), and have kitchenettes. Kids under 2 years stay free. A variety of board games are available to lend.
- Activities: The staff is happy to arrange any sailing, driving, or archaeological excursions.
Heliotopos Hotel – Food and Drink
- Restaurant: The Wine Bar serves light snacks and poolside cocktails in the afternoons, and a seasonal dinner menu in the evenings. The menu is kept small but changes seasonally, highlighting the best of local ingredients and Mediterranean recipes. The extensive wine list highlights Santorinian and Greek wines, along with Greek beers, international spirits, and seasonal cocktails. The restaurant features a sunset terrace, courtyard, and covered portion in a 400-year-old wine cave. In the summer months, they open an additional rooftop terrace; book ahead for the rooftop, as the best tables get filled quickly.
- Lounge/Bar: The Wine Bar serves poolside cocktails in the afternoons, and drinks and tapas every evening.
- Breakfast: A rich buffet breakfast is served from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. daily, and is included in most bookings (if it is not included in the room rate, it can be added for Є17). The breakfast features traditional Greek flavors highlighting eggs, homemade pies, pastries, yogurt, and marmalades. The buffet is set up in the cave at the Wine Bar, and can be enjoyed on the terrace, or delivered to the suite at no additional charge.
- Room Service: Only for breakfast.
Heliotopos Hotel – Rooms
- Room Types: Traditional Cave Studio for 2 • Traditional Cave Studio for 3 • Studio for 2 • Studio for 2-3 • Family Studio for 4 • Studio with a Loft for 2-4 • Suite for 3
- Smoking Rooms: 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 room is unique in size, layout, and décor, though all have similar amenities. The suites have the best views, making them the most popular for couples. These have 1 or 2 floors, a queen or king bed, a single sofa bed, and a kitchenette.
- For Families: The best options for families are the Family Studio or the Studio with a Loft, which are 70 sqm and 42 sqm respectively. These are the most spacious suites, and offer 2 queen beds or 1 queen and 2 singles, a living area, a kitchenette, and 1 bathroom. A single sofa bed can accommodate a fifth guest.
Heliotopos Hotel – Local Transport
- Walking: The hotel is located in the center of Imerovigli, above the caldera and the Oia-Fira hiking trail, with the village’s best restaurants, shops, and attractions just a few meters away. Easy access to Fira’s dining, attractions, nightlife, and shopping, just a 30-minute walk south.
- Bus: The nearest bus is in Imerovigli village, a 5-minute walk from the hotel. Buses here serve all of the major villages and beaches on the island, often with a change in Fira. 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, all the way down in Fira, so not very practical to walk or bus to. Plus, 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 them 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 Imerovigli to Fira is roughly €15, and from Imerovigli to the airport or port is around €25 to €35.
- 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.
Heliotopos Hotel – What’s Nearby?
Best Nearby Restaurants
- Avocado: Traditional Greek menu, charming space, super friendly staff. Cycladic recipes and a fantastic selection of Santorinian wines. 1-min walk.
- Le Moustache: Elevated Greek and Mediterranean dining, and excellent cocktails with panoramic sunset views over the caldera. 1-minute walk.
- Anogi: Al fresco dining with local specialties and classic Greek dishes. Rich flavors and large portions, so come hungry. 4-minute walk.
- The Athenian House: Elegant fine dining with spectacular sunset views. Contemporary and imaginative Greek dishes incorporate modern gastronomic techniques and locally-sourced ingredients. Most of all, they’re delicious. 6-minute walk.
- La Maison: Contemporary, Greek fine dining with sweeping caldera views. Food, wine, and service are all phenomenal. 8-minute walk.
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
Best Nearby Cafes
- Hlios Bakery: Good coffee, basic pastries, and deli sandwiches. Not exceptional, but they’re cheap and they deliver (cash only for deliveries). 8-minute walk.
- To Briki: Fantastic café, the best place to try traditional Greek coffee. Breakfasts are superb, and the sunset views are gorgeous. 16-minute walk.
Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops
- Oia-Fira Hiking Trail: One of the top attractions on the island is this scenic 10.5 km hiking trail connecting Oia and Fira. A mix of sidewalk, cobblestones, and dirt trail, this route boasts gorgeous vistas the entire way. Hiking northwest, the full length of the path from the hotel to Oia Castle takes from 2 to 4 hours; heading south to the trail’s end in Fira, near Keti Hotel, takes about 30-40 minutes. Add about an hour for a detour at Skaros Rock on the way to Fira. 2-minute walk from the hotel.
- Imerovigli Basketball Court: Not an attraction, but good to know. This is the main parking area in Imerovigli. 3-minute walk.
- Anastasi Church: The most picturesque, blue-domed church in Imerovigli offers gorgeous caldera views overlooking Skaros Rock. Popular for weddings and photo shoots. 7-minute walk.
- Agios Georgios Church: Small white church on a platform over the caldera, marking the start of the trail to Skaros Rock. Gorgeous, panoramic views from here. 8-minute walk.
- Skaros Rock: Impressive volcanic rock formation housing the ruins of a medieval castle and town, dating to 1207. The monastery at its base, Panagia Theoskepasti, is the only part of Skaros that is still active. 17-minute walk.
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Mini Market: There is a mini market and ATM just across from the hotel. 1-minute walk.
- Supermarket Nissi: The friendliest market in the area and usually the best prices in Imerovigli. 4-minute walk.
- Jimmy’s Market Cava: Market and deli with a great selection (especially the wines) plus great coffee and breakfast sandwiches (more consistent and better quality breakfasts than Hlios but they don’t deliver). 6-minute walk.