Last Minute Santorini

Updated: May 5, 2017

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 Kayak.com to find flights – Super easy and lots of cheap flights
  • 2. Use Booking.com to find hotels with available rooms – Best rates and selection for Santorini hotels
  • 3. Use GetYourGuide.com 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 Kayak.com.

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

  • Booking.com/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. Hotelscombined.com is also good.

What are the best luxury hotels on Santorini?

You can check availability at these Santorini 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 top 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?

Kayak is the best website for searching flights to Santorini.

How do I book a last minute villa on Santorini?

Flipkey.com/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

Santorini Dave Hotel & Travel Guides

Get additional travel guides as they’re available



14 Questions and Comments

  1. Best Greek Islands for 2 Week Trip

    Hi Dave! your website is amazing and very helpful while I plan my honeymoon to the islands!! I was wondering your opinion on what other islands I should check out besides Mykonos and Santorini on my 2 week honeymoon? or should i just stick with those 2? Thank you so much!!
    Carrie Dziemiela

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      With 2 weeks I would stop at either Naxos or Paros. Both are between Mykonos and Santorini which makes a stop easy. Naxos is the most different from Mykonos and Santorini so would probably go with it. Lots of great beaches, interesting villages, hikes, traditional food. Paros is also great but feels like a less touristy Mykonos.

  2. Volcano Tours in May

    Hi Dave!
    Me and my girlfriend are staying in Imerovigli in May for a few days, we want to book a couple of excursions and would like to go to the volcano and springs etc, what in your opinion is the best tour for this?
    Kind Regards,
    Adam Barlow

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      All the volcano and hot spring tours will be running in May. Take a look at my page on best Santorini tours.

  3. Greek Islands in June

    Hello Dave!
    What a great site, so helpful… thanks for all the info… I would very much like your opinion on the following if you don’t mind:
    My husband, I and 4 year old daughter are flyiing to Crete (Chania) on the 1st June 2017 and we have three weeks to enjoy Crete and the Cyclades. Budget is super tight/backpacking but hopefully at least three days of pampering/posh hotel. Anyhow… is it realistic to have a fair idea of itinerary (crete/santorini/naxos/small cyclades/milos??) but not book any ferries or accommodation in advance and basically do it all on the hoof? The thought of booking everything in advance is doing my head in a bit but also want to make sure my daughter is catered for. Am I mad to think we can just do it all with a flexible mindset whilst we are there?
    Thanks in advance,
    Teresa

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Not booking in advance is fine (for June) as long as you’re not expecting anything great, in terms of hotel quality. Hotel owners meet every arriving ferry and you should be able to find something cheap on every island. The caveat is that these places are rarely centrally located, but they’ll typically be nice, clean, cheap places to stay. You’ll also get a free ride from the ferry port to your hotel. Buying ferry tickets one or two days in advance should be fine … and if it’s not it’s easy to delay a day or two since you won’t have any hotel bookings.

  4. 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 Hotels + Travel

      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.

  5. 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.

    Thanks,
    Andy

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      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?

        Andy

        1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

          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.

  6. Book Hotels in Advance for April?

    Dave
    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 Hotels + Travel

      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.)

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