Mykonos Nightlife – The Best Bars and Clubs

Home > Greece > Mykonos > Bars and Nightlife
by Santorini Dave • Updated: August 10, 2018

  • Mykonos is insanely fucking fun – get ready to have a blast wandering the packed charming alleyways of Mykonos Town.
  • The big club parties and live DJ events run from late June until mid-September.
  • Best Dance Club (Mykonos Town): Astra
  • Best Dance Club (Beach): Cavo Paradiso
  • Best Afternoon Beach Party: Super Paradise Beach Club
  • Best Sunset View: Katerina’s Bar (Mykonos Town)
  • Best Cocktails: Galleraki (Mykonos Town)
  • Best Mykonos HotelsBest Mykonos RestaurantsBest Mykonos BeachesBest Mykonos ToursCheap Mykonos Hotels
Best Bars in Mykonos Town

Little Venice is an area of Mykonos Town loaded with cool little bars and beautiful sea views.

The 20 Best Bars and Nightclubs in Mykonos

Cavo Paradiso – Paradise Beach

Perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, this is the most legendary of Mykonos’ out-of-town clubs. Its huge open-air dancefloor heaves with revellers from the wee hours of the morning, when action in Mykonos Town winds down, until dawn. Nightly DJ sets attract international talent such as Oliver Heldens, Nicky Romero and Ingrosso. Advance bookings highly recommended. Shuttles to/from Mykonos Town. Calendar of Events.

Jackie O’ – Mykonos Town & Super Paradise Beach

Overlooking the sea, this is the best gay bar in Mykonos Town and a popular sunset-watching spot (for everyone). Entertaining drag queen shows are held nightly, while the JackieO’ Beach Club overlooking Super Paradise Beach is great for lounging around the pool and Jacuzzi and then partying it up at the weekly fashion-themed parties, involving resident artists and guest DJs.

Babylon – Mykonos Town

Popular dance clubs with dj in Mykonos Town.
Gay and straight clubbers alike flock to this renowned gay club, known for its fun themed nights, a good mix of oldies, latest chart toppers and techno, and regular drag shows. The breezy sitting area overlooking the water is a peaceful spot to catch your breath and sip a cocktail after a bout of frenetic dancing.

Montparnasse The Piano Bar – Mykonos Town

Going strong since 1983, this bar in Little Venice is a favourite for watching the setting sun glide over Mykonos Town’s picturesque windmills while sipping one some of the best cocktails on the island. After sundown, the bar lives up to its name, with live piano music, camp cabaret and torch songs belted out by the likes of Kathy ‘Babe’ Robinson until the early hours of the morning. Good for a romantic night out.

Skandinavian Bar & Club – Mykonos Town

A fixture on the Mykonos nightlife circuit for almost 40 years, this popular bar attracts predominantly a younger crowd. There’s an open-air patio for downing some of the most reasonably priced standard cocktails in town, or shots of ‘slippery nipple’ and ‘sperm’ before kicking things up a notch on the thumping dancefloor.

Astra – Mykonos Town

A fixture of Mykonos Town nightlife for 30 years, Astra is a curious blend of lounge bar and hip club. Early in the evenings, it’s a mellow spot for a drink, but as the night progresses, things heat up under the enchanted fibreoptic ceiling that mimics the night sky of the northern hemisphere and pulses in time to the music. Astra attracts the likes of Monaco’s royalty, supermodels and designers; to get in, dress nicely or be Keith Richards.

Queen of Mykonos – Mykonos Town

Swanky but not overly pretentious, in the evenings this glam cocktail bar attracts the young and the beautiful, who cluster around the tall tables outside. The handcrafted signature cocktails are worth the splurge, particularly the ones involving champagne. There’s some DJ action later on at night, but for many this is an evening warmup spot before hitting one of the megaclubs out of town.

Katerina’s Bar – Mykonos Town

In one of the picturesque houses hanging above the water in Little Venice, this bar is owned by the first female Greek naval captain and her family. There’s a lively seafood restaurant here as well, run by her son Konstantinos, but many customers come to sip cocktails while enjoying the sunset views from the waterfront balcony.

Galleraki – Mykonos Town

Bar and restaurant in Mykonos Town.
One of the most atmospheric cocktail bars in Little Venice, Galleraki perches right above the sea. Go for candlelit seating on the balcony, overlooking the water, and choose one of the excellent signature cocktails – anything with fresh fruit is good, particularly the ‘katerinaki’, made with melon. The champagne cocktails are pricier but worth the splurge. Popular with couples.

Remezzo – Mykonos Town

Remezzo has worn many hats during its 50-year existence. An international jet-setter magnet for many years, the place is renowned for partying till dawn, with guest DJ sets and partygoers from Athens and elsewhere. Now revamped to include a high-end seafood restaurant, a cocktail bar, and a waterfront lounge with comfy seating, Remezzo has broadened its appeal.

Semeli – Mykonos Town

Late into the night, revellers bump shoulders to classic R’n’B and mainstream tunes played by the resident DJ on the tiny dancefloor next to the bar. While some of the staff won’t win any prizes for congeniality, there’s a long list of decent, reasonably-priced cocktails, and there’s a fun vibe once the party gets started.

Cine Manto – Mykonos Town

If you’re looking for a break from incessant clubbing and bar hopping, Cine Manto, in the heart of Mykonos Town, might be just the ticket. This appealing open-air cinema in a tranquil garden setting screens movies in their original language, and there’s a good restaurant on-site as well. Also plenty of beer, wine, and cocktails.

Cosi – Mykonos Town

On a tiny street in the heart of Mykonos Town, this is a chilled out café by day, with a cluster of tables under the trees outside. Come night, the place livens up with regular DJ sets, and remains fun and unpretentious, unlike some of the town’s other bars that look down on casual attire.

Void – Mykonos Town

Debuting in the summer of 2017 in Mykonos Town, this sleek and stylish new kid on the block has been attracting a lot of attention. It’s a place on three levels, with two bars, curvy furnishings, ample dancefloor space and an atmospheric lighting installation, “the void”, that makes the ceiling look like the night sky. DJ talent include Damian Lazarus, Jackmaster and Seth Troxler; expect plenty of deep house and techno.

@54 – Mykonos Town

Relatively new on the night scene, @54 is a gym by day and lounge bar and dance club by night. Predominantly gay, but not exclusively so, it’s a fun, friendly place with cutting-edge décor and plenty of mirror balls. The music is old-school disco with some house mixed in, and there’s an appealing outdoor terrace for sunset-watching.

Kalua Beach Bar – Paraga Beach

Beach club in Mykonos with live djs.
Operating on the very spot made famous by the blissed-out 1970s hippie generation, Kalua has been holding heaving beach parties on Paraga Beach for 14 years. Their motto – “Every day is a beach party!” – says it all. The crowd tends to be young and energetic, with beats pounding until sunrise. During the day, beachgoers are served Kalua’s signature Kalua Watermelon cocktails by the highly trained bartenders.

Paradise Beach Club – Paradise Beach

An icon on the nightlife circuit, this megaclub boasts its own private beach. It’s a mellow place by day; most of the action takes places after midnight. Expect white-on-white décor, all-night DJ sets and some serious international talent, from Marlo and Helena Legend to Ministry of Sound, Tiesto and Nervo. Serious clubbers come to Mykonos just for this. Regular shuttles to/from Mykonos Town.

Super Paradise Beach Club – Super Paradise Beach

A straight-up party institution on its very own private beach, Super Paradise attracts a contingent of celebrities, models and hardcore clubbers with its nightly DJ sets. During the day, things are more mellow – ideal for a bit of lazing on the sand with a drink in your hand. Music typically kicks off in the afternoons, though spontaneous parties have been known to erupt at any time. Regular shuttles to/from Mykonos Town.

Tropicana Beach Bar & Restaurant – Paradise Beach

The recipient of the Sexiest Beach Bar award by the Travel Channel in 2012, Tropicana stays true to its calling, attracting plenty of young and beautiful people in swimwear who come to chill out on the beach by day and party from 4.30pm onwards, when the DJs take over the decks. The outdoor dance space heaves until 5am, giving hardcore partygoers time to hit a couple of the other clubs for an hour or two before calling it a night.

Scorpios – Paraga Beach

An excellent seafood restaurant by day, and a good place to lounge on the beach with one of the bar’s signature cocktails, come sundown, Scorpios morphs into a hedonistic club. As part of the club’s ‘sonic journeys’ programme, there’s something on every night, from DJ sets by international talent such as Bedouin and Sneaky Sound System to Saturday night residencies by Mykonos’ top DJ, Valeron. Festivities wrap up by midnight, making it a great start to a night out.

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Mykonos Restaurants – Where To Eat

Home > Greece > Mykonos > Best Restaurants
by Santorini Dave • Updated: August 10, 2018

Best wine bar and restaurant with sea view in Mykonos Town.

Where To Eat in Mykonos – Good places to eat can be found all over the island but Mykonos Town is where you’ll find the best food and the most charming restaurants.

The 21 Best Mykonos Restaurants

Funky Kitchen – Mykonos Town $$$

One of the island’s most creative fusion restaurants, Funky Kitchen’s open kitchen serves up Mediterranean dishes with a twist on a secluded outdoor terrace on a tiny street. Standout dishes include seared tuna with eggplant mousse, rack of lamb with cumin fava beans and octopus carpaccio with pink peppercorns. Their signature dessert, the appropriately named chocolate nirvana, is not to be missed. Evenings only; reservations.

M-Eating – Mykonos Town $$$

Best trendy restaurant in Mykonos Town.
Widely agreed to be the best restaurant on the island, M-Eating is all white-linen service on an outdoor terrace looking out onto a tiny, cobbled street, soft lighting and attentive service. The chef transforms local ingredients into visual masterpieces and waiters are happy to suggest Greek wines to pair your dishes with. Choose from the likes of lamb sous vide, slow-cooked veal on eggplant puree, tuna carpaccio with lentils and scallops on baked apple. Don’t miss out on their sweet specialty: Mykonos honey pie. Dinner only; reservations essential.

Kadena – Mykonos Town $$

On the waterfront of Mykonos Town, this is one of several restaurants on the left side of the Marina, near the tiny chapel with a blue dome. Its imaginative menu makes Kadena stand out from its neighbours: expect the likes of risotto with leeks, topped with local goat’s cheese and apaki (dried pork, Crete-style) and orzo pasta with seafood, as well as superlative versions of lamb, pork and chicken gyros and Mykonian sausage. Kids are made to feel very welcome and waiters will insist you save room for dessert – on the house!

Pepper – Mykonos Town $

With a couple of tiny white tables outside this friendly souvlaki joint, and a few more tables inside, Pepper is perfect for a quick lunch or snack if you happen to be wandering through the tiny streets of Little Venice. It’s fast food with a difference: the chef uses only high quality ingredients and everything is prepared fresh in the open kitchen right in front of you. The menu is short and sweet and the gyros and gourmet burgers are the best in town.

Sakis Grill House – Mykonos Town $

Mykonos Town is full of fancy restaurants, but sometimes, all you crave is a huge gyro overflowing its pita bread with tzatziki, tomatoes, and onions, or a nicely grilled lamb or chicken souvlakia, served on greasy paper. This lively joint attracts mostly young night owls; during peak summer season, it’s open around the clock to cater to pre and post clubbing munchies.

Uno Con Carne – Mykonos Town $$$

Hidden in cul-de-sac off one of Mykonos Town’s main shopping streets, this elegant restaurant has a large outdoor terrace strung with fairy lights and a menu that focuses on steak. Rib eye, T-bone, picanha, NY strip steak and filet mignon are all present and correct, and there’s an extensive wine list and oyster bar to boot. Reservations recommended.

Nikos Taverna – Mykonos Town $

Best traditional greek food in Mykonos Town.
This casual, unpretentious taverna sits in the corner of the main square, a block from the marina. Still going strong after over 40 years, it’s haunted by a pink pelican that turns up every lunchtime to pose for photos and be fed fresh fish. The food? Greek standards, such as lamb kleftiko (slow-cooked in clay pot), and heaped platters of grilled seafood. Excellent quality and value.

Kounelas Fish Tavern – Mykonos Town $$

Steps from the waterfront, past a shop selling icons in a tiny alleyway, Kounelas serves predominantly seafood dishes in an enchanted garden setting. The linguine with cuttlefish ink, the orzo dishes, the mussel risotto and a smattering of traditional meat dishes are good, but the catch of the day, octopus and squid, grilled to order on a charcoal grill, is even better. Dinner only; reservations are a good idea due to limited seating.

Daniele & Alessandro – Mykonos Town $$

Right in the middle of Mykonos Town’s main square, this is the second restaurant on the island by two Italians who have already wowed diners with their classic Italian dishes in the village of Ano Mera. Standout dishes on the short but sweet menu include straight-out-of-the-sea squid with zucchini and penne pasta with homemade pesto. There’s an extensive menu of Italian and Greek wines, too.

Joanna’s Nikos Place Taverna – Megali Amos Beach $$

Overlooking the beach, five minutes’ walk south of Mykonos Town, this unpretentious taverna is run by a hospitable Irish lady. Greek standards such as moussaka, lamb souvlaki and grilled fish are the focus here, all done very nicely. Plenty of choices for vegetarians as well, including the delicious eggplant with feta and tomato sauce, and it’s an excellent spot for sunset-watching.

Elia – Elia Beach $$

Sitting on the wide, sandy Elia Beach on Mykonos’ south coast, Elia is the only restaurant there, attached to the hotel of the same name. The large, airy and bright dining room is a stone’s throw from the sea, with catch-of-the-day and fresh seafood a specialty. It’s hard to go wrong with grilled squid or Aegean shrimps, orzo pasta with lobster or seafood linguine.

Hippie Fish – Agios Ioannis Beach $$

Attached to a boutique hotel on a small beach in the southwest corner of Mykonos, Hippie Fish is a large, casual indoor/outdoor beachfront restaurant with a thatched roof and plenty of fishy offerings on the Greek/Mediterranean menu. Grilled catch-of-the-day, calamari stuffed with feta and Aegean paella with seafood and Mykonos sausage are standout dishes.

Nikolas Taverna – Agia Anna Beach $-$$

Best beach restaurant in Mykonos.
Just off a small beach on the south coast, this traditional taverna has been run by the same family for three generations. It’s an excellent place for a solid, hearty meal away from the frenetic action elsewhere on the island. Much of the fish is caught by the owner, Nikolas, and most of the meat dishes and prepared with meats from the family farm.

Kiki’s Taverna – Agios Sostis Beach $$

Local and visiting foodies head up to the north coast just to eat at this local legend. Overlooking a tiny swimming cove from its lofty location and shaded by creeping grapevines, this small, family-run place opens at 1pm. Diners start lining up an hour before, helping themselves to free wine spritzers while they wait, before being allowed in to feast on enormous portions of grilled pork chops, swordfish and octopus, with a baked potato accompaniment and many imaginative salads to choose from.

Indian Palace – Paradise Beach $$

Halfway between the Tropicana Beach Bar and Cavo Paradiso nightclub on Paradise Beach, the excellent curries, crispy naan bread and plenty of vegetarian dishes such as chana masala and dal makhani provide a welcome, spicy change from Mykonos’ many Greek and Mediterranean restaurants. This is authentic Indian food, courtesy of a respected Indian chef from Athens, and it’s hugely popular with beachgoers and clubbers.

La Cucina di Daniele – Ano Mera $$

The most authentic and celebrated Italian restaurant on the island, this friendly place sits above Ftelia Beach, near the village of Ano Mera, in the heart of Mykonos island. Chef Daniele has won herself many local and visiting fans with her creative dishes that make the most of local and seasonal produce. Friendly service, delicious homemade bread and an emphasis on quality and presentation make this a particularly good spot for a romantic meal.

Buddha Bar – Ornos $$$

You have to walk through the grounds of the 5-star Santa Marina resort off Ornos Beach to reach this upscale restobar. With Buddha statues, water features and great sea views from its terrace, Buddha Bar specialises in seafood, combining Japanese, Peruvian, Thai and Chinese influences. Dishes to look out for include seabass ceviche with aji amarillo, baked scorpion fish, signature Buddha Bar sushi rolls and seared tuna tacos. Great cocktails, too. Reservations recommended.

Apaggio – Ornos Beach $$

A short walk south of the bustling Ornos beach, this rustic two-storey restaurant overlooks a bay filled with fishing boats. The kitchen focuses on traditional Greek dishes, many of them involving locally caught fish and seafood. The grilled sardines and seared tuna are particularly popular with diners, but there are plenty of meaty dishes, such as moussaka and souvlaki as well. Great sunset views.

Avli tou Thodori – Platys Gialos Beach $$-$$$

One of the most popular restaurants overlooking one of Mykonos’ most popular beaches, family-owned Avli tou Thodori is a catch-all crowd pleaser. The menu is a good mix of Greek and Mediterranean offerings, the service is excellent and dishes such as lobster orzo, wonderfully fresh grilled fish, the meze and the incredible baklava earn this place many return visits.

Nikos Gallop – Platys Gialos Beach $$

Best places to eat in Platis Gialos Beach in Mykonos.
A short walk uphill from the popular beach, this wonderfully hospitable restaurant serves superb fish and seafood dishes with strong Cretan influences. Try the salt-baked fish, big enough for two, or mussels steamed with wine. Service is attentive and complimentary raki and dessert are nice extra.

Kalosta – Panormos Beach $$

The shady terrace of this secluded restaurant overlooks the wide stretch of sand on the north coast. The food is traditional Mediterranean, and specialties include sea urchin spaghetti, eggplant imam and hot and cold meze – particularly the grilled feta in filo pastry served with honey. Good for a tranquil meal, popular with beachgoers.

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How To Rent a Car in Mykonos

Home > Greece > Mykonos > Rental Cars
by Santorini Dave • Updated: August 10, 2018

  • Renting a car is a great way to see the whole island as not everywhere is well served by bus and there are very few taxis in Mykonos. (But you do not need a car to get to most beaches or to do any of the best Mykonos tours.)
  • Book rental cars in advance for visits from June to September.
  • RentalCars.com is the best site for reserving cars in Mykonos.
  • Most rental cars in Mykonos have a manual transmission. If you only drive automatic then definitely reserve in advance.
  • If arriving by plane pickup your rental car at the airport to avoid the long lines for a taxi.
  • If arriving by ferry take a taxi or bus from the port into Mykonos Town and then pickup your rental car. Or take a taxi or bus to the airport and pickup there. It takes a little more effort to get to the airport but you’ll have more choice and an easier environment to get your car.
  • Take pictures of the vehicle (inside and out) before driving away from the rental company.

Renting a Car in Mykonos

Hired Car in Mykonos, Greece

A typical rental car in Mykonos. They’re usually a good quality newish car.

RentalCars.com searches all the big car companies and finds the best price. They have everything from cheap budget rentals to large mini-vans and SUVs to luxury rental cars. The most common pickup points are Mykonos Town and the Mykonos airport. Under Pickup Location select either Mykonos Airport or All Locations (which will usually be Mykonos Town).

I prefer renting from one of the international car companies that you find online but there are also local rental offices all over the island that will rent a car, scooter, or ATV to you. (The local companies are the only option for scooters and ATVs.)

Car Rental At The Mykonos Airport

For airport car pick up you can reserve through Rentalcars.com and pick up from one of the kiosks at the airport. The airport is very small and it’s super easy to get your car. From the airport, it’s a short 10-minute drive to Mykonos Town. About 15 minutes to the beaches of Platys Gialos, Ornos, Psarou, Agios Ioannis, and Elia.

Rental car companies that rent cars at the Mykonos Airport

Budget, Hertz, Sixt, Thrifty, Alamo, National, Avis, and Enterprise.

Car Rental At The Mykonos Ferry Port

The ferry port in Mykonos is chaotic when a ferry arrives. I would not advise doing a rental car pickup at the port – it’s very busy and meeting your car company will not be straightforward. Take a bus or taxi into Mykonos Town or to the airport and pick up your rental car there. If picking up in Mykonos Town you’ll want to select the Mykonos Old Port (which is different than the New Port where most ferries arrive).

Should I Rent A Car In Mykonos?

Renting a car makes getting around Mykonos much easier and there are areas of the island you’ll explore in a car that you wouldn’t if you were solely reliant on the bus. Mykonos Town is the hub of the bus system on Mykonos and there are direct buses from there to pretty much every corner of the island. But if you’re staying at one of the beaches, then you need to take a bus to Mykonos Town and then another bus to Ano Mera or other spots around the island. Mykonos Town parking can be difficult but you’ll always be able to find something. Parking is often found up the hilly roads south of Mykonos Town and from there you’ll need to walk a few minutes back into town.

Car rental companies in Mykonos.

If you’re visiting in June, July, August, or September it’s usually best to reserve a car rental in advance. Also, most cars are standard. If you need an automatic transmission then it’s best to book in advance.

Taxi vs Rental Car in Mykonos

Taxi cabs can be hard to find in Mykonos.

Taxi and Car Pickup at Mykonos Airport

The taxi stand at the Mykonos airport just outside of arrivals. There is a supreme shortage of taxis on Mykonos and they can be hard to get when a plane (or multiple planes) arrive. Also, very hard to find to or from Mykonos Town. And hard to find from the beaches too.

Car Pickup at Mykonos Airport

Hotels meeting arrivals at the Mykonos airport.

Car pickup at Mykonos ferry port.

The new ferry port in Mykonos. There’s little here in the way of shops and businesses, and yet can be busy and chaotic when a ferry arrives. I do not recommend doing a car pickup at the port. Instead, take a bus or taxi into Mykonos Town or to the airport and then do your car pickup there.

You don't need a rental car if staying in Mykonos Town.

If you arrive at the old port in Mykonos Town it’s an easy walk (assuming you don’t have too much luggage) into town and the hotels located right in the Chora (Mykonos Town). To get to the beach towns you’ll need a bus, taxi, or rental car.

ATV and bike rental in Mykonos.

An ATV can be an appealing way to get around Mykonos and see the quiet spots of the island. My main hesitation is that I’ve seen and heard about so many ATV and motorbike accidents over the years. It’s the top way to get admitted to hospital while traveling. If you’re not an experienced rider then stick to a rental car.

Quad ATV rental in Mykonos.

If you do decide to rent an ATV they’re easy to find and no need to book in advance.

Mykonos airport shuttle.

Many top hotels have a airport shuttle but they can be very busy and difficult to rely on. If arriving by plane it’s best to do a car rental pickup from the airport and then return it to the airport when leaving the island. (You can also pickup and return from different locations but usually just Mykonos Town and the airport.)

Bus station in Mykonos Town

The bus station in Mykonos Town. From June to September buses can be packed and standing room only. But it’s sorta fun too.

Bus schedule for Mykonos Beaches

The bus schedules from the smaller beaches are infrequent and hard to have a lot of faith in.

Car rental for Mykonos Beaches.

This is Psarou Beach. You can bus here from Mykonos Town then walk from here to Paradise Beach along the coast and bus back to Mykonos Town from there. It’s a beautiful walk and worth doing and obviously, there is no need to have a rental car.

Getting around Mykonos with rental car.

The twisty road to Elia Beach. Another Mykonos beach that has infrequent bus service and is much easier to visit with a rental car.

Getting around Mykonos with rented car.

The Mykonos countryside. It’s hard to explore if you don’t have a rental car.

Mykonos sightseeing with hired car.

Another great site in the island’s interior that is hard to get to if you don’t rent a car.

Rent a car in Mykonos to get to less touristy spots.

Ftelia beach is quiet and a little isolated. There’s a wonderful taverna near the beach. There is a bus but much easier to get here if you rent a car.

Day Trip on Mykonos

Rhenia island near Mykonos makes a great day trip. Most tours include hotel pickup and dropoff and you definitely don’t need a rental car to do any of the boat tours.

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How To Rent a Car in Santorini

Home > Greece > Santorini > Rental Cars
by Santorini Dave • Updated: August 8, 2018

  • Renting a car is a great way to see the whole island as not everywhere is well served by bus and Santorini taxis are in short supply. About half of the best things to do in Santorini are made easier by having a rental car.
  • Book rental cars in advance for visits from June to September.
  • RentalCars.com is the best site for reserving cars in Santorini.
  • Most rental cars in Santorini have a standard transmission. If you only drive automatic then definitely reserve in advance.
  • If arriving by plane pickup your rental car at the airport to avoid the long lines for a taxi.
  • If arriving by ferry take a taxi or bus from the ferry port to the airport and then pickup your rental car. It’s easier doing car pickup at the airport than finding the individual rental car companies in Fira or Oia.
  • Take pictures of the vehicle (inside and out) before driving away from the parking lot.

Car rental in Santorini from rental car company near airport.

How do I rent a car in Santorini?

RentalCars.com searches all the big car companies and finds the best price. Don’t be put off by the simple layout of the site – it’s all about finding the best rates. The most common pickup points are Fira and the Santorini airport. Under Pickup Location select either Santorini Airport or All Locations (which will usually means Fira).

I recommend picking up your rental car from the Santorini airport even if arriving by ferry. The airport is smack in the center of the island and a short taxi or bus ride from the port and all towns. All the airport rental car desks are within a few feet of each other. It’s easy to get your car, walk across the parking lot, and drive away. On the other hand, both the ferry port and Fira are busy and chaotic. Finding the rental car companies are tricky and getting your car will usually require waiting while someone drives it there from another location (maybe the airport).

I prefer renting from one of the international car companies that you find online but there are also local rental offices all over the island that will rent a car, scooter, or ATV to you. (The local companies are the only option for scooters and ATVs.) Many people have horror stories about dealing with local car rentals but 2 that are reliable are Vazeos and Spiridakos.

Car Rental At The Santorini Airport

The airport parking lot for rental cars is just out the door and a 20 second walk from the terminal.


For airport rental cars you can reserve through Rentalcars.com and pick up from one of the kiosks at the Santorini airport. The airport is very small and it’s quick and easy to get your car. From the Santorini airport, it’s a short 10-minute drive to Fira. About 15 minutes to Imerovigli. And 25 minutes to Oia. Renting a car from the airport will save you the hassle of getting a taxi. When flights arrive taxis are in short supply and waits can be long. Rental car companies that offer cars from the Santorini airport include Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Enterprise. Their desks are located in the arrivals hall of the airport terminal. The desks are well-staffed and there’s almost never a lineup for car pickup.

What Rental Car Companies Rent Cars at the Santorini Airport?

Avis, Budget, Hertz, Sixt, Alamo, Goldcar, Surprice, Thrifty, and Enterprise.

Car Rental At The Santorini Port

Rental car companies at Santorini ferry port.

The Santorini ferry port is chaotic when a ferry arrives. My recommendation: take a bus or taxi to the airport and pickup your rental car there (much quieter and easier to navigate).

The Athinios ferry port in Santorini is chaotic when a ferry arrives. I would not advise doing a rental car pickup at the port. For one, it’s very busy and meeting your contact person will not be straightforward. And two, the winding snaking crazy road up the caldera cliff is scary as fuck and packed with large tour buses, trucks, cars, and motorbikes. It’s not easy or relaxing for a tourist to deal with. First timers should reserve a rental car at the Santorini airport. When you arrive at the ferry port take a direct bus or taxi to the airport (about 20 minutes away). The airport is in the center of the island and from there it’s much easier to get going in the right direction whether you’re staying in Oia, Fira, Imerovigli, or one of the beaches.

Should I Rent A Car In Santorini?

It definitely makes getting around the island much easier – especially if you’re not staying in Fira. Fira is the hub of the bus system on Santorini and there are direct buses from Fira to pretty much every corner of the island. But if you’re staying in Imerovigli or Oia, then you need to take a bus to Fira and then another bus to the Kamari Beach or Akrotiri or Perissa. So, that’s 4 buses right there to and from your destination. If you wanted to go (from Oia) to Kamari and Akrotiri on the same day you’d be looking at 8 bus trips. However, if you’re most interested in staying at your hotel, sitting by the pool, enjoying the caldera views, eating at local restaurants, and doing the occasional bus ride to Oia or Fira, then you’d get little benefit by renting a car.

4 Reasons to Not Rent a Car on Santorini

Walking vs driving on Santorini - you don't need a rental car for the best views

The highlight of visiting Santorini: the walk along the caldera from Fira to Oia. You don’t need a rental car for this.

Santorini with rental car – finding the best views.

Sitting in your private plunge pool and staring out into the caldera. You definitely don’t need a rental car to enjoy this.

The best things to do on Santorini without a car rental.

A boat tour of the caldera and volcano is a must for Santorini. You don’t need a rental car to jump into the hot springs. (Hotel pickup and drop off are included with pretty much every tour.)

Santorini's best bars - you don't need a rental car for Fira nightlife

The best bar in Fira – the Kira Thira Jazz Bar. Having a car is more of a hassle if you’re going out drinking.

13 Reasons to Rent a Car on Santorini

Driving around Santorini - Where To Go

There are definitely places you’ll see and things you’ll do with a rental car that you wouldn’t if getting around by bus or taxi.

The best things to do on Santorini with a car.

One of my favorite restaurants in Santorini. Cava Alta in Pyrgos. You can get here without a rental car … but you probably won’t.

Exploring Santorini with a hired car.

The awesome village of Emborio in southern Santorini. You likely won’t get here without a rental car.

What's best? Getting around Santorini by bus or car?

A line-up for a bus in Santorini. I like taking the bus – it’s a fun experience. But let’s be honest: it says express, this ain’t no fucking express bus.

Car vs bus on Santorini – the bus schedule for getting around the island.

The bus schedule for Santorini. It changes all the time. On the plus side: for the main caldera towns they run pretty often. But for getting anywhere else they’re less reliable.

The best places to go with a rental car on Santorini.

The beach road on the east coast of the island. You’re not getting here unless you rent a car.

The best restaurants on Santorini with a car.

The best restaurant in Santorini is Metaxy Mas in Exo Gonia. Very difficult to get here and get back home by bus (presumably at night). Getting here by taxi is easy, getting a taxi to come back late in the evening is a challenge.

The best views and walks on Santorini with a rental car.

Great views from the mountain south of Kamari (that’s the airport out by the water). You can certainly get here by a combination of bus and hiking but much easier with a rental car.

The best beaches to go to on Santorini with hired car.

Lots of good beaches and great swimming on Santorini. This is Perissa and it would take 2 buses and 1 hour to get here from Oia (at the opposite end of the island). So, this is one example where renting a car makes things a lot easier.

Wine and wineries to go to with car rental.

Wine for sale on a roadside in Santorini. You won’t be stumbling upon this if you don’t get away from the crowds and explore the island on your own.

Fun things to do on Santorini with car?

One of my favorite things to do on Santorini is the open air cinema in Kamari. So much fun. But tricky to get to and from without a rental car. (Not impossible but just takes some planning.)

Shopping on Santorini with a rental car.

How you gonna get your meat home without a car? Can’t take this slab of cow on the bus.

Tips for Renting a Car on Santorini

  • All local and big name car companies will do airport pickup and drop off.
  • If you’re arriving at the airport then it’s best to book in advance and do airport pickup. This way you avoid the sometimes-dreadful taxi line.
  • If you’re arriving at the ferry port I’d recommend taking a taxi or bus to the relative calm of the Santorini airport – whether you booked in advance or not.
  • Booking in advance is not absolutely necessary but if you require an automatic transmission during June, July, August, or September then you have to reserve it (most cars on Santorini are standard). You’ll also get a better rate by booking in advance.
  • If you need an automatic and you’re booking through RentalCars.com be sure to select Transmission: Automatic.
  • I do not recommend renting scooters or ATVs. Over all my years of traveling this is the number one way that people end up in the hospital: riding a scooter, motorbike, or ATV when they don’t usually do it at home. Also, they’re fine for short trips but going from one end of the island (say, Oia) to the other (Akrotiri or the beaches) on an ATV or scooter is a long ride – at least I don’t enjoy it.
  • If you have a young child it’s best to bring a car seat from home – some rental agencies do have a few child seats but they tend to be older and not up to British or American standards (though they’ll do in a pinch).
  • If you need a larger car for a family of 4, 5, or 6 then I’d recommend booking in advance.
  • EU drivers licenses are perfectly acceptable for renting a car. But if you’re not from the EU you’re supposed to (in theory) get an International Drivers permit before leaving home. Almost all places will rent to you with only an American, Canadian, Australian, or any other foreign license. For the record: I do not have an international drivers permit and have never had a problem.
  • Before you leave the rental company take pictures on your phone of every corner of the car (inside and out).
Driving on Santorini - Is it easy or difficult?

Driving on Santorini’s narrow roads can be challenging and comical. Once again: be patient.

Getting rental car at the ferry port in Santorini.

If you arrive by ferry it’s going to be busy and crazy at the ferry port. Take a bus or taxi to the airport and pickup your rental car there.

Driving rental car from ferry port to Fira or Oia.

The winding road from the ferry port up to island’s towns. Scenic and beautiful but sort of scary to drive. (It’s actually a lot steeper than it looks here.)

Car Pickup: The rental car companies at the Santorini airport.

The rental car companies at the Santorini airport are in Arrivals and super easy to find. (Budget shares the same kiosk as Avis.)

Santorini Airport rental cars.

The rental cars at the Santorini airport. You can see the arrivals door in the background.

The bus from the Santorini ferry port to the Santorini airport.

The bus from the Santorini ferry port to the Santorini airport. The airport is the first stop the bus makes but be sure to get on the right bus.

Taxi or rental car at the Santorini airport.

The taxi line at the Santorini airport. It can be busy and in short supply of taxis. If you rent a car in advance you won’t have to wait for a taxi (which can take up to an hour in the morning or evenings). And if it’s late at night some taxis will not drive to any town except Fira.

Parking on Santorini with rental car.

Parking on Santorini is always an adventure. This is the “parking lot” in Imerovigli. Just have lots of patience and know you’ll always be able to find something.

Is it safe to drive on Santorini with a rental car?

I love Greek people but they’re terrible drivers. And in all honesty, crazier than the donkeys.

Prices on Santorini for car, scooter, and ATV rental.

Car rental prices at local rental car companies in Santorini. There will also be some additional charges (insurance, transfer, taxes).

Car parking in Santorini.

Parking can be difficult to find in Fira. This is consistently the best parking space to find a spot. It’s just south of Fira and about a 3-minute walk to the center of town. The easiest way to find it is to search Google Maps for “Nemesis Hotel Santorini”. The parking lot is directly beside it.

Best parking area is Oia, Santorini.

The best parking lot in Oia is directly across from Agios Georgios church. It’s on the right as you enter Oia. When you see Anemomilos Hotel keep your eyes open – it’s about 200 meters to the north.

Parking area in Oia, Santorini for rental cars.

Another good parking spot in Oia is down near the Post Office (follow the signs). There are a couple different areas and you can usually find a spot.

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Where To Go in Greece in 2018

Home > Greece > Best Places
by Santorini Dave • Updated: August 6, 2018

  • Greece is the best vacation destination in Europe.
  • All Greek islands are unique, wonderful, and worth visiting. But my favorites (especially for first timers) are Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, and Crete.
  • If you can only go to one island then visit Crete or Santorini (they have the most to see and do). If you can only go to two then visit Santorini and Naxos (very easy to get between) or Santorini and Mykonos (both have international airports making visiting from western Europe easy).
  • The best Greek island for couples (or a honeymoon) is Santorini.
  • The best Greek island for families is Naxos.
  • The best Greek islands for nightlife are Mykonos and Ios.
  • The best Greek islands for beaches are Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Ios, and Crete.
  • Athens deserves one or two full days of sightseeing. But after that, get yourself to an island.

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Greece Travel Itinerary

The key to planning a travel itinerary for Greece is to fly in and out of different cities, and be sure there are direct and regular ferries between all your destinations. Once you set those basic plans the rest is easy as there really are no bad itineraries for Greece. Every Greek island is worth visiting. From April to October there are regular ferries (usually 2 or more per day) along the Heraklion to Santorini to Ios to Naxos to Paros to Mykonos to Athens route.

• Greece Itinerary for 7 days: 4 days in Santorini and 3 days in Naxos OR 5 days in Santorini and 2 days in Mykonos OR 6 days in Santorini and 1 day in Athens.

• Greece Itinerary for 10 days: 2 days in Chania (Crete), 1 day in Heraklion (Crete), 4 days in Santorini, 3 days in Naxos/Mykonos OR 5 days in Santorini, 4 days in Naxos/Mykonos, 1 day in Athens.

• Greece Itinerary for 14 days: 3 days in Chania (Crete), 1 day in Heraklion (Crete), 5 days in Santorini, 3 days in Naxos, 2 days in Mykonos OR 5 days in Santorini, 3 days in Naxos, 2 days in Paros, 3 days in Mykonos, 1 day in Athens.

The 29 Best Places To Go in Greece

The best island in Greece.

Santorini – My favorite island in Greece. This is the footpath that runs from Fira to Oia along the edge of the caldera and it’s nothing short of magical. If you can only visit one island in Greece then it has to be Santorini.

The best beach in Greece: Elafonisi in southwestern Crete. I takes a bit of effort to get here (90 minute bus ride from Chania) but it's worth the effort.

The best beach in Greece: Elafonisi in southwestern Crete. It takes a bit of effort to get here (90 minutes by bus from Chania) but it’s worth the effort. Crete is loaded with great towns (Chania, Rethymnon, and Agios Nikolaos are my favorites), things to do (Samaria Gorge), and historical attractions (Knossos and a top notch museum in Heraklion).

Best places to go in Mainland Greece.

Athens is great fun and a highlight for me, after a day of sightseeing, is watching a movie in an open-air cinema in the Plaka beneath the Acropolis. (Movies are in english with greek subtitles.) Athens deserves 1 or 2 full days of sightseeing. 

The idyllic beautiful town of Chania in Crete.

The idyllically beautiful town of Chania in Crete. Those are my 2 boys walking along the port jetty.

Naxos has a half-dozen great beaches but the one near the Chora (main town) is probably the most kid-friendly beach in all of Greece.

Naxos has a half-dozen great beaches but the one near the Chora (main town) is probably the most kid-friendly beach in all of Greece. As you move south from Naxos Town the sand gets even better. Naxos (and neighboring Paros, which you can see in the distance) are also great for windsurfing. Phenomenal local food is a highlight of Naxos.

Ios is just 50 minutes by ferry from Santorini and has some of the best beaches in the Greek islands. Day trips are easy to do in summer when ferries are running all the time.

Ios is just 50 minutes by ferry from Santorini and has some of the best beaches in the Greek islands. Day trips are easy to do in summer when ferries are running all the time.

Mykonos is known for its party scene (which is super fun) but even here, it's easy to leave the crowds behind, and find a quiet patch of sand. The walk between along the coast (from Psarou to Paradise Beach) is a highlight of Mykonos.

Mykonos is known for its party scene (which is super fun) but even here, it’s easy to leave the crowds behind, and find a quiet patch of sand. The walk along the coast (from Psarou to Paradise Beach) is a highlight of Mykonos.

Island Hopping: easy, cheap, and awesome fun. You just never forget those ferry trips bouncing from one little island to the next.

Greek Island Hopping: easy, cheap, and awesome fun. You just never forget those ferry trips bouncing from one little island to the next.

Best Places to Go in Peloponnese

The Pelopponese is an underrated jewel. Great beaches, tons of history, never overwhelmed with tourists, and easily accessible from Athens. This is a view of Nafplio (a super charming town), the largest city in the Peloponnese, from Palamidi Castle.

Best Places to Go in Peloponnese

Gerolimenas in the Mani Peninsula of the Peloponnese.

Best Places to Go in Peloponnese

Katakolon in the Peloponnese and close to Olympia.

Best Places to Go in Peloponnese

Monemvasia looks like just a big rock out in the middle of the sea (that’s connected to land by a thin causeway). But as you round the corner there is a Byzantine village clinging to the far side of the island – completely hidden from the mainland (and invaders). Yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds.

Best Places to Visit in the Peloponnese

The mountain villages of the Peloponnese are magical. This is the Monastery of Orthokosta in the southwest of the peninsula.

Best Places to Go in the Peloponnese

The Corinth Canal about an hour from Athens and divides the Peloponnese from mainland Greece.

Kos – Beautiful island great for biking owing to its flat geography.

Kos – Beautiful island great for biking owing to its flat geography.

Corfu Town – Beautiful city that makes a great base for the island's beach towns.

Corfu Town – Beautiful city that makes a great base for the island’s beach towns.

The beach coves of Paleokastritsa in Corfu.

The beach coves of Paleokastritsa in Corfu.

Panoramic view to City of Ermopoli on Syros – Traditional city in that sees few tourists though it's smack in the middle of the Cycladic Islands.

Ermopoli on Syros – Traditional city that sees relatively few tourists even though it’s smack in the middle of the Cycladic Islands.

Folegandros – Close to Santorini and great for hikes around the countryside.

Folegandros – Close to Santorini and great for hikes around the countryside.

Traditional stone bridge in Konitsa village in northern Greece. This is a stunningly beautiful area.

Traditional stone bridge in Konitsa village in mainland Greece. This is a stunningly beautiful area. If you drive or take the bus from Corfu to Athens try to spend a few nights in the town of Ioannina and explore the rugged beauty of northern Greece.

Famous Navagio beach on Zakynthos island.

Famous Navagio beach on Zakynthos island. Since it’s somewhat isolated Zakynthos is not a great choice if you’re looking to island hop but if one island is all you need then it’s almost perfect.

If you want a traditional island with few tourists then Karpathos Island is a great choice. This is Olimbos village up in the hills of the island.

If you want a traditional island with few tourists then Karpathos Island (near Rhodes) is idyllic. This is Olimbos village up in the hills of the island.

No cars or traffic on here. It's short ferry ride from Athens making it a great day trip.

No cars or traffic on the island of Hydra. It’s a short ferry ride from Athens making it a great day trip.

The Meteora is the best place to visit in Mainland Greece.

The Meteora – 4 hours from Athens. This is truly one of the wonders of Greece and is my favorite destination in mainland Greece. Monasteries are perched on the top of mountainous rocks. This an amazing and awe-inspiring sight.

Mandrakia village on Milos island in the Cyclades. It's easy to overlook Milos but it's second to only Santorini for it's stunning geography.

Mandrakia village on Milos island in the Cyclades. It’s easy to overlook Milos but it’s second to only Santorini for it’s stunning geography.

The best places to visit in Northern Greece.

Phospfori tower in Ouranopolis on the Halkidiki in Northern Greece. This is a popular area for Greeks but doesn’t see a lot of foreign tourists even though it’s incredibly beautiful and loaded with great beaches.

Skiathos is a great choice away from the usual tourist track. Popular with Greeks and filled with beautiful beaches.

Skiathos is a great choice away from the usual tourist track. Popular with Greeks and filled with beautiful beaches.

Beautiful cove at St Paul's Bay near Lindos in Rhodes.

The cove beach at St Paul’s Bay near Lindos in beautiful Rhodes. Rhodes is filled with great beaches and interesting history. Because of limited ferries (and no flights) between Rhodes and the Cycladic islands it’s difficult to make

Best historical sights in Mainland Greece

Delphi can be done as a day trip from Athens but it’s best to stay overnight and visit the temple before the crowds arrive mid-morning.

Which Greek Island by Season and Weather

Where To Go In Greece in July and August (Summer/High Season)
Santorini and Mykonos are great if you want lots of activity, nightlife, live DJs, and packed clubs. If you want a quieter island in the peak season Naxos, Folegandros, Milos, Sifnos, Antiparos, and Ikaria are wonderful choices.

Where To Go In Greece in June and September
Santorini and Mykonos are a little quieter than their high season peak but still plenty going on. Crete, Naxos, Paros, and Rhodes are at their best. The quiet islands (Sifnos, Ikaria, Antiparos) quickly become very quiet by mid-September which might be fine for some but too slow for others.

Where To Go In Greece in May and October
Most islands are slow in these shoulder months but Santorini, Crete, and Rhodes are still wonderful places to visit with lots open. Naxos and Paros are quiet but far from dead. Quiet islands are very slow but still enough open to get by.

Where To Go In Greece in March, April, and November
A great time to visit if sightseeing, wine tours, fine food, and walking are your main interests. Weather is nice by northern European standards but usually not warm enough for swimming or suntanning. Santorini and Crete are the best islands to visit during this period but unfortunately there are no ferries between the two islands during the slow season so you’ll need to fly via Athens if you want to visit both.

Where To Go In Greece in December, January, and February (Winter/Low Seasons)
Santorini is the best island to visit during the winter. Best to fly directly as the sea can be rough during the winter months. Crete is also a good destination as it’s the warmest place in Greece during winter.

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Fira Hotels

Home > Greece > Santorini > Fira Hotels
by Santorini Dave • Updated: July 24, 2018

  • Fira is the largest town and has the most nightlife and shopping. There is a wide range of accommodations – everything from quality budget hotels to 5-star luxury boutiques.
  • Best Luxury Hotel in Fira: Aria Suites (the villas are more luxurious and have better views than the suites)
  • Best Honeymoon Hotel in Fira: Cosmopolitan Suites Hotel (trendy vibe, great infinity pool, steps from nightlife)
  • Hotel with Best View in Fira: Keti Hotel (king suite with whirlpool)
  • Best Budget Hotel in Fira: San Giorgio (friendly owners and a short walk from views of the caldera)
Cosmopolitan Suites in Fira.

View of volcano from Cosmopolitan Suites in Fira.

See Also

Fira is the largest town on Santorini and the hub of the island’s bus service (making it easy to get to almost any other town). Fira has the most shopping and nightlife in Santorini. It can get busy but it’s easy to avoid the crowds if you want and the town never feels overrun. The highlight of staying in Fira is doing the hike to Oia along the caldera path (which takes about 3 hours).

The Best Hotels in Fira, Santorini

  • Cosmopolitan Suites Hotel – The best infinity pool in Fira, perched right on the cliff overlooking the caldera. This is one of the most loved hotels in Fira. Only 10 rooms here (individually furnished) so it’s perfect for honeymooners – yet located in the heart of Fira. Nightlife and restaurants are literally steps from the front door. (Hotel phone: +30 22860-25632)
  • Aria Suites – An amazing mix of luxury and friendliness, incredible views and exemplary service. Suites are beautifully decorated. The pool is one of the best in Fira and comes with views of the caldera. This is one of the few hotels that accepts young children, partly because it’s slightly back from the edge of the caldera. The brand new villas are located down a short path from the main hotel, have fantastic caldera views, and private plunge pools. (Hotel phone: +30 2286-028650)
  • Anteliz Suites – Small family run hotel located on the foot path that runs along the caldera into Firostefani. Spectacular views. Nice pool that looks out onto the caldera. (Hotel phone: +30 2286-028842)
  • Keti Hotel – The king suite with private pool has amazing views and the most privacy of any suite in Fira. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 022324)
  • Kavalari Hotel – The best “cheap” hotel in Fira with caldera view. Not as luxurious as the other 4 hotels but so affordable it’s one of my favorites. Central location, incredible views, simple clean rooms. (Hotel phone: +30 2286-022455)

Fira Hotels

Aigialos Niche Residences & Suites

Caldera View • 5-star luxury historic hotel. Authentic Cycladic architecture and old world furnishings mix with modern conveniences like air-conditioning and wi-fi. Complimentary room service, and small, shared outdoor pool. Mansion Suite sleeps 6.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 025191

Aperto Suites

Caldera View • This adults-only property has 7 small but beautifully-decorated rooms, all with satellite TV, air-conditioning, and private indoor or outdoor jacuzzi. Soothing organic décor, complimentary patio breakfast.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 036100

Archontiko Santorini

Caldera View • Three split-level, self-catered suites with bedrooms upstairs and living areas, bathrooms, kitchenettes below. Rooms are newly renovated and beautifully furnished. Shared rooftop terrace. Daily breakfast available.
Hotel phone: +30 21 0431 2512

Aressana Spa Hotel and Suites

This modern artsy boutique hotel has a lovely mosaic swimming pool with pool bar and curtained divans. Great spa with wellness lounge: interior hot tub, steam room, and thermal relaxing beds. Sky Suite features a retractable roof. Located directly across from the Atlantis but doesn’t have caldera views.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 023900

Aria Suites

Caldera View • Small luxury boutique hotel; 6 beautifully-appointed suites and 4 villas feature spacious rooms with balconies and fridges. Villas feature private terrace jacuzzis, with rooftop view jacuzzi for shared use at sunset.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 028650

Astir Thira Hotel

Charming, family-run budget hotel near Fira town with old-world style and a nice pool area. Comfortable double or triple rooms, some with balconies and partial volcano views. Family rooms sleep 4.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022585

Athina Luxury Suites

Caldera View • Nine luxurious suites feature modern furnishings within traditional, cave-like architecture. Private balconies, on-site bar and restaurant, excellent pool terrace. Honeymoon and Cave suites have private jacuzzis. Royal Suite sleeps 6.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 024910

Hotel Atlantis

Caldera View • Bright and airy 4-star with balcony rooms (volcano view rooms look towards the caldera, village view rooms look towards the street). Breakfast is complimentary, and served all day. Small semi-covered swimming pool offers sun, shade, and limited views. Exceptional service. Somewhat noisy at night. Location is so central the Atlantis is often a meeting point for groups.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022232

Cori Rigas Suites

Caldera View • 12 traditionally-decorated suites sleep up to 5 guests, some have private terraces and jacuzzis. Facilities also include an amazing cave-like outdoor pool, shared rooftop terrace, and gallery café.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 025251

Daedalus Hotel

Budget hotel (for Santorini), just down the street from the main square. Double rooms and suites can sleep up to 4, all with small balconies. Landscaped grounds include a big pool area with sunbeds and pool bar service. Breakfast included.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022834

El Greco Resort & Spa

Luxury hotel on the road south of Fira but still walking distance to town. Good value because it doesn’t have direct caldera views. Beautiful grounds with four swimming pools and spa. Guest rooms have marble bathrooms and private balconies. Family loft suites sleep 4. On-site restaurant, café, and pool bar.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 024946

Golden Star

Central Fira hotel with large outdoor pool and sun deck. 24 double or triple rooms, all with balconies and fridges. The furniture is dated and wifi unreliable, but the staff is friendly.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 023191

Iriana Apartments

Caldera View • Traditionally decorated rooms (simple, nothing fancy), onsite bar/café. Double and triple rooms come with fridges and view balconies. Cave Apartments have kitchen, living room or dining room, and balcony jacuzzis, and can sleep up to 5.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022006

Kalisti Hotel & Suites

Modern hotel on Fira’s main street (lots of traffic out the front door). Fresh and elegant rooms all have a balcony or terrace. Beautiful outdoor pool with hot tub and poolside bar. Great breakfast buffet.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022317

Kamares Apartments

Caldera View • Traditional cave-style and whitewashed apartments feature air-conditioning, kitchenettes, and private terraces – all but standard rooms have outdoor jacuzzis. Spacious living areas. Triple and Quatre apartments accommodate up to four guests.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 028110

Kastro Suites

Caldera View • Fresh, breezy blue and white décor in 7 suites that sleep 2-7 guests. There’s a shared sun deck with a plunge pool, and daily continental breakfast is served in the rooftop café/bar. Adjacent to the donkey trail and cable car.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 025730

Kavalari Hotel

Caldera View • Onetime captain’s house; now 18 traditional rooms and suites with old world décor and vibe. No proper pool, but there’s a small jacuzzi in the shared courtyard terrace. The cave apartment sleeps four and has a kitchenette.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022455

Keti Hotel

Caldera View • Recently renovated rooms feature traditional architecture and modern furnishings; some have private balconies, King suite has a private outdoor jacuzzi. Free breakfast buffet and shared sun terrace with plunge pool.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022324

Lava Suites & Lounge

Caldera View • Quiet hotel on the footpath heading north towards Firostefani. 7 spacious rooms and suites all have original architecture and kitchenettes; some have loft beds. Shared terrace with plunge pool overlooks the sea. Rooftop lounge. Master suite has a private jacuzzi.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 023157

Loizos Stylish Residences

Modern, minimalist designed rooms, apartments, and suites; some with private balconies. Apartments have kitchenettes, and the Honeymoon Suite has a private indoor jacuzzi. Junior Suite is laid out over two floors Pool area is small, but beautiful.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 024046

Loucas Hotel

Caldera View • A central location and great views compete with tired furnishings, unreliable wi-fi, and mediocre breakfasts. Facilities include an onsite restaurant and cocktail bar, swimming pool, and shared outdoor jacuzzi.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022480

Modernity Suites

Caldera View • Four chic and elegant suites, all with modern décor and private balcony jacuzzis. Superior Suites sleep up to 4 guests, with living rooms and walk-in closets. Complimentary breakfast served privately in your room. Friendly staff.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 036411

Nefeles Luxury Suites

Caldera View • This boutique suite hotel features old world furnishings and traditional architecture. Generally spacious suites have marble bathrooms and private balconies. Grand family suite sleeps 5. Small cave swimming pool and rooftop jacuzzi.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 028555

Nonis Apartments

Caldera View • Family owned hotel with traditionally-decorated standard double rooms, cave-style suites, and two-bedroom apartments. Air conditioned and self-catered. Rooftop Honeymoon Suite features a large private terrace. Shared pool and outdoor jacuzzi.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 025269

Oasis Hotel

Spacious, brand new accommodations in the town center. No frills, but clean and comfortable with fresh, modern décor. All rooms have private balconies, suites sleep 4.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022601

Panorama Studios and Suites

Caldera View • Traditional property with lovely pool terrace and rooftop lounge/cocktail bar. All accommodations – from standard studio to the 90 sq. meter 3 bedroom, 2 bath Villa – have kitchenettes and balconies.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 025750

Pantelia Suites

Caldera View • Six luxury suites in a beautifully reconstructed traditional Greek home, all featuring private balconies (where breakfast is served daily) and kitchenettes. Exclusive suite has two bedrooms. Small pool. Very few stairs to access hotel.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 028941

Pelican Hotel

Clean and comfortable rooms sleep up to 3 guests in the heart of Fira’s town square. Rooms are equipped with fridges, air-conditioning, good wi-fi reception, and bathtubs. Garden courtyard restaurant.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 023114

Pension Petros

Colorful, family-run hotel with old world furnishings, located near the town square. Guests share a small sun deck and covered pool. Rooms are comfortable, with fridges and air-conditioning. Wi-fi is provided, but spotty.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022573

Petini’s Place Guest House

Clean and simply furnished rooms in the busy center of Fira; all with double beds, air conditioning, and fridges. Shared sun deck. Steps from clubs and nightlife.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022157

Philippion Boutique Hotel

Great budget option walking distance to town. Clean and spacious rooms have built-in beds and balconies. Some have two bedrooms. Nice pool with sun chairs and bar service. On-site restaurant and bar.
Hotel phone +30 2286 025590

Porto Carra

Caldera View • Nothing fancy, but friendly and simple accommodations, offering double and triple rooms with a beachy vibe. Facilities are sparse: sun terrace and cocktail/coffee/snack bar. Adjacent to the donkey trail with great caldera views.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022979

Porto Fira Suites

Caldera View • Spacious traditional suites with modern décor and king-sized beds. Marble bathrooms have jacuzzis or rain showers. Cave-style infinity pool features shaded areas. Rooftop terrace bar.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022849

San Giorgio Villas

Clean and comfortable rooms within close walking distance to the caldera and main square. Each room has tiled floors, modern furnishings, small balconies. Guests have access to a shared pool and sun terrace next door.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 023516

Santorini Reflexions Volcano

Caldera View • Basic, clean, and spacious accommodations on the Caldera. Most rooms have private balconies, some have views. (Avoid Room 1.) Indoor cave pool with jacuzzi; shared sundeck overlooks the sea.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 024270

Scirocco Apartments

Caldera View • Charming traditional property with shared breakfast terrace and swimming pool. All 17 modern or cave-style rooms have private balconies. Cave houses and some apartments sleep up to 5 guests and have kitchenettes.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022855

Sofi Rooms

Caldera View • Small, family-run hotel is a good bargain with great views. Just 5 rooms; all are clean and comfortable (if not large or luxurious) and feature air-conditioning, fridges, and wi-fi. Shared terrace overlooking the volcano.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022405

Hotel Thireas

Caldera View • Modern, beautifully decorated rooms with private balconies and (mostly) great views. Large sundeck with pool overlooks the sea. Family cave suite is roomy and sleeps 4, but is lacking in views.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 025292

Trieris Villa & Suites

Caldera View • Fresh and modern boutique right on the Caldera. Villa has 3 bedrooms, each with en-suite bath. Honeymoon suite features cave architecture. All have private balconies, views, and jacuzzis. Shared pool.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 023831

Tzekos Villas

Caldera View • Charming cliffside boutique hotel with spacious rooms (some with loft beds) and chic, minimalist décor. Lovely pool area with pool bar serving drinks and snacks. All guest rooms have balconies – junior suites have private jacuzzis.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022755

Villa Rose

Good value, family-run studios and apartments that sleep 2-4, located minutes from the caldera and central square. All units have balconies and fridges; the 2 bedroom apartment has a kitchenette. Shared outdoor pool and hot tub.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 022020

Villa Soula

Cheap hotel located a short walk from central Fira. Rooms are traditionally furnished and sleep 1-4. Covered outdoor pool and lounge. Rooms are clean and comfortable, but light sleepers beware: walls are thin.
Hotel phone: +30 2286 023473

Staying in Fira – Things To Know

Fira Center.

The main walking street in central Fira.

Fira cheap restaurants.

Cheap restaurants in the main square of Fira. The Crepe House (to the right) has tasty Nutellla crepes but I’d give the other places a pass.

Fira main square and restaurants.

The main square/main street in Fira. Most restaurants here are not great with two exceptions Lucky’s Gyros and Mama’s House.

Best gyros in Fira.

Lucky’s Gyros in Fira. Great cheap food.

Good Greek Italian restaurant in Santorini.

Mama’s House in Fira. Fantastic Greek and Italian food in Fira.

Best restaurant near hotels in Fira.

The best restaurant in Fira – Ouzeri. Nothing fancy and no view but wonderful Greek comfort food.

Greek restaurants with view in Fira.

Great views and inexpensive traditional Greek food at Naoussa in Fira.

Best Fira restaurant with caldera volcano views.

Argo – The best restaurant with caldera views in Fira.

Fira quiet restaurant.

Ellis Tavern in the south end of Fira. If you need a quiet restaurant away from the crowds this is a good choice. It’s the sister restaurant to Naoussa. Ellis is higher end dining with higher prices. Naoussa is more traditional Greek food.

Fira traditional food.

Nikolas Taverna – Good traditional Greek food in Fira.

Fira gelato.

Zotos on the main caldera path – The best gelato in Fira.

Fira dessert.

Loukoumades – Greek honey balls- with Nutella and ice cream. The best dessert in Fira at Theoni’s Kitchen.

Fira fish eat.

Fish spa in Fira. A fun experience if you haven’t tried it before.

Fira shops.

Shops and shopping on one of the alleys through Fira.

Fira breakfast.

Most mid-range and above hotels will offer free breakfast. If you have a room with a view it will usually be served on your front terrace.

Aria Villas in Fira.

My favorite place to stay in Fira – the brand new villas at Aria Suites.

Fira cheap hotels.

Cheap hotels are located back from the caldera on the streets leading east from the town square. Most are a short walk to shops, restaurants, and caldera views.

Fira bakery.

A good bakery on Fira’s main road.

Fira jazz bar.

The Kira Thira Jazz Bar. The coolest bar in Fira.

Hip Jazz bar in Fira, Santorini.

The entrance to Kira Thira Jazz Bar.

Fira Tropical Bar.

My favorite bar in Fira: Tropical. Incredible views and a fun vibe. Rock n Roll and alternative music is the norm.

Fira sunset bars.

Down below at Franco’s they play classical music and it has more of a wine-bar feel.

Fira sunset views.

The view from Tropical looking north west towards the sunset. Franco’s Bar is down below.

Fira wine bar.

If you want to sample a wide range of Santorini wines go to the Assytrico wine bar on the caldera path in Fira. Nicely shaded when it’s super hot.

Wine bar in Fira, Santorini.

Good wine and greek food at Assyrtico.

Fira Koo Club.

Koo Club is the place for late night dancing.

Dance club with DJ in Fira.

Enigma is the other dance club in Fira. More trendy, more attitude, and feels more like a club than the more relaxed atmosphere at Koo.

Fira Two Brothers Bar.

Two Brothers Bar in Fira. Crazy friendly fun.

Fira party bar.

Inside of Two Brothers.

Fira Murphy's Bar.

Murphy’s Bar in Fira. It certainly has its shortcomings (high prices and unfriendly staff) but it does attract a big boisterous crowd and you’ll probably end up here at some point (especially if you visit in the low season).

Fira beer and wine.

Beer and wine at a souvlaki shop Fira.

Fira museum.

The Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Fira. It’s small but definitely worth a visit (especially if you’ve already been to Akrotiri).

Fira volcano view.

The view from Fira looking out towards the volcano – the island in the middle of the caldera.

Fira cable car.

Cable Car from the Old Port to Fira Town.

Fira Old Port.

The Old Port below Fira. Not a lot here but worth the walk down (and cable car back up).

Fira stairs.

Stairs from Fira to Old Port.

Fira cable car line.

Line for Fira cable car. The cable car is mainly used by cruise ship passengers. They come up in the morning and go down in the late afternoon/early evening. If you walk down in the afternoon you’ll likely have no lineups for the ride back up.

Opening times for Santorini Cable Car.

Opening times for Cable Car. Roughly 6:30am to 11pm.

Cable car prices in Santorini.

Cable car prices. No return tickets, only one-way tickets. (i.e. For a round trip you need to buy two one-way tickets which will be 10€ for an adult and 5€ for a child.)

Fira water view.

Looking down on the Old Port from a hotel in Fira.

Fira View.

View of Thirassia and the volcano (to the left).

Fira view hotel.

Fira view from hotel looking north towards Imerovigli and Oia.

Fira swim suites and bikinis.

The Hondos Center has a wide selection of swim and bathing suites.

Fira toiletries.

Toiletries and cosmetics are widely available in Fira. The Hondos Center has the largest selection.

Fira coffeee.

The Pure – Best Coffee in Fira.

Fira movies.

Advertisement for movies playing at the Open Air Cinema in Kamari (about a 20 minute drive from Fira).

Fira jewelry.

Jewelry shopping in Fira.

Fira shopping.

Shopping in Fira.

Fira square caldera.

Fira square on the caldera. Looking south.

Fira square.

Fira main square on the caldera. Looking north.

Fira view.

View looking north with Fira on the right and Imerovigli and Oia in the distance.

Fira bus schedule.

Posted bus schedule at Fira bus station.

Fira Taxis.

Taxi stand in Fira. Right beside the bus station.

Ferry ticket pick up in Santorini.

If you made online reservations for a Sea Jet or Hellenic ferry you pick them up at Nomikos Travel in Fira.

Ferry ticket pickup in Fira, Santorini.

If you made online reservations for a Blue Star ferry you pick them up at Nomikos Travel in Fira.

Fira Market

Small fish and vegetable market on Fira’s main street.

Fira donkeys.

Donkeys on Fira’s main roads.

Car rental companies in Fira.

There are lots of places to rent a car in Fira. Walk north on the main road and you’ll quickly find a half-dozen car rental companies.

Fira parking.

Best place to park in Fira. Parking can be hard to find if you’re here between June and September. But you’ll just about always be able to find a spot at the parking lot beside Hotel Nemesis on the road leading south out of Fira. All parking in Fira is free.

Fira sidewalk to hotels.

The sidewalk south of town. If you stay at Nemesis or south of there you’ll be outside of central Fira. The sidewalk is good along this stretch but it is a busy road and there’s no shade. After Nemesis is Astir Thira, Philippion Boutique Hotel, El Greco, and then Majestic. None of these hotels have caldera views but they are generally good value for what you get.

Fira El Greco Hotel.

El Greco hotel looking north towards Fira. From El Greco to Fira is about a 10 minute walk.

See Also

Where To Stay in Crete

Updated: July 23, 2018

See Also

Best place to go for good swimming and snorkeling in Crete.

Balos Lagoon in Western Crete – One of the best beaches in Crete and an easy day trip from Chania.

The 20 Best Places To Go in Crete

Agios Nikolaos

Agios Nikoloas, Best Place for Cheap Holiday in Crete
Agios Nikolaos is one of my favorite towns in Crete. It’s far enough away from the package holiday beaches to be considered low key, yet is little more than an hour’s bus ride from Heraklion Airport. It’s a cosy, compact town overlooking the magnificent Mirabello Bay in Crete’s mid north-eastern region. Trendy restaurants, bars and cafés cluster round the town’s showpiece – a little sea-connected lake that serves as the centrepiece of an undeniably picturesque and postcard-pretty, lived-in yet popular holiday resort. Ag Nik is ideally situated for excursions to Eastern Crete with plenty of hire car outlets and a bus station with regular connections in most directions. Its beach scene runs generally northwards segueing into the thumb-like peninsula 2.5kms from the centre where the town’s best hotels can be found and more coves and budget accommodation can be found as you follow the coastline further northwards. Closer to town a couple of cosy beaches can be found on either side of the marina. Agios Nikolaos will appeal to people who like the quieter nightlife and relaxed, unhurried dining and swimming.

Anogeia

For a taste of the real Crete, Anogeia can never be described as touristy, but rather traveller curious. The residents of Anogeia are in the main made up of shepherds, shopkeepers and musicians and a wedding here may mean fusillades of gunshots into the air and a party that will last all night. The residents of Anogeia are proud Cretans who commonly wear their local pantaloons and black headscarves in public and who show more than a little disdain for Crete’s tourist excesses on the coast. They do show, however, genuine interest and hospitality to slow and curious travellers. Located 37kms west of Heraklion (55kms east of Rethymnon) and under the shadow of Mt Psiloritis, Anogeia is a true, Cretan mountain village. It’s good for a leisurely day trip, but even better when a feast or wedding is on or the annual Yakinthia cultural and music Festival is held. Accommodation consists of a few hotels and scattered rooms to let. The winding main street links it all together from upper Anogeia to lower Anogeia and is peppered with little shops and taverns from which live, spontaneous Cretan music will often be heard.

Arhanes

Another ‘real Crete’ community worth exploring is the inland village of Arhanes, just 16km south of Crete’s capital Heraklion. Once a dusty nondescript farming village, Arhanes learnt the smart way to re-invent itself as a popular day excursion for locals and a refreshing overnight destination for visitors. Life in this sprucely made-over town with its cobbled streets and leafy squares revolves firmly around the local community and here you will get a taste of country Crete. Restaurants cater to demanding Cretan tastes and are very reasonably priced. Artisanal shops sell Cretan wares, wines and spirits and the whole place feels as comfortable as your favourite pair of shoes. The village boasts a rich panoply of some 200 heritage listed buildings and fine examples of classical architecture all stemming from its period of wealthy landowners, following the founding of the Greek State in 1832 and their desire to be seen as a worthy member of the re-born Greece. Arhanes is worth at least a couple of nights’ stay. There is some very swish accommodation where you can while away an afternoon with a book and a bottle of wine in a walled courtyard, perhaps followed by a relaxing dinner in the shaded main square of the village.

Bali

Bali Beach in Crete.
Not to be confused with its Indonesian namesake, Bali is a north coast bay and beach community just short of half-way between Heraklion and Rethymnon. Easy to miss on a fast drive between the major centres on the main north coast highway, Bali discretely hides its attractions via a series of meandering bays and beaches, peppered with tavernas, cafés, bars and souvlaki shops. Unusually, for the often-bleak north coast topography, the village consists of four sheltered beach communities each hiding its allure from the other. Bali provides a refreshing alternative to visitors who would like a new beach each day without having to travel far. Start with the furthest beach (Karavostasi) – viewed by many as the best – and work your way down through Mythos, Bali and Livadi beaches. Bali is good for a stay of a week and visitors probably don’t need to go anywhere else on Crete. Buses between the north coast towns stop on the main highway and you can pick up a cab or seasonal tourist ‘train’ down into the serpentine centre of the village.

Chania

Chania, Crete
Viewed by many visitors to Crete as the jewel in the Cretan crown, Chania wears its moniker with pride and conviction. This thriving city boasts an Old Town and Old Port that is both a photographer’s nirvana and a foodie’s fascination. The Old Town is a walled 14th Century Venetian settlement renowned today for its pretty harbour, narrow streets and abundant waterfront and backstreet restaurants some of which operate in Summer without roofs. A striking 16th Century lighthouse guarding the harbour and of Venetian, Egyptian and Ottoman construct is said to channel power from the Ley Lines. Chania boasts a Nautical and an Archaeological Museum the latter housed in a former monastery. Chania’s draw its sheer spirit of place from its busy, unavoidably likeable atmosphere, walkability and buzzing social ambiance. You are more likely to meet a long-lost friend here than anywhere else in Crete. While not a beach destination per se, you can easily walk to a couple of local beaches for a dip or take a bus or cab (5km) to Chrysi Akti. Alternatively, you can pick a place to stay on the beach annexe of Platanias/Agia Marina 14km to the East and come to Chania when the mood dictates.

Elounda

Elounda, Crete
Long regarded as Crete’s playground for Greek politicians, actors and musical stars and wealthy foreigners, Elounda itself is in fact a rather compact former fishing village with quite a few tricks up its sleeve. Approaching Elounda from its neighbouring town of Agios Nikolaos in Crete’s Eastern province of Lassithi you cannot help but spot the sprawling hotel complexes along the coast. Good for all-in comfortable holidays, they can be expensive, but if you come in shoulder seasons you can find some good deals. Elounda village itself wraps itself round a sheltered port and consists of a quite compact centre around which you will find restaurants, shops, supermarkets and tour offices. Tours here usually mean to the former leper colony island of Spinalonga (recommended), or on local boat rides. Swimming can be enjoyed just north of the centre, or with a bit of effort, on deserted beaches on the causeway-connected island peninsula of Kolokytha. The harbour front and backstreets are good places to find reasonably priced, rooms, studios and the occasional formal hotel. Visitors with a car or scooter may want to explore the coastline north to Plaka Beach (5.5km) where there are scattered tavernas, pebble or sand beaches and more luxury hotels.

Heraklion

Iraklio, Largest City in Crete
Heraklion used to be the Cinderella sister to the other towns in Crete, then the handsome Prince came along in the form of inner-city reformation and urban gentrification. Heraklion can today stand on its own foundations as a destination in its own right. It has a lot going for it. It is the main port back to the mainland and the only exit point for the popular Crete-Santorini-Mykonos axis. Crete’s primary international airport lies conveniently no more than 3km from the town centre and the island’s primary archaeological gems – the Archaeological Museum and the Knossos Citadel are located here and nearby. Heraklion is above all the capital of Crete. Here Cretans, Greeks and foreigners mingle to live, work and have most of all have fun. Accommodation is of the upper market business hotel type, but with at least one new ‘green boutique’ hotel pitched at travellers, plus a variety of middle-market more ageing establishments. The streets have been re-paved, pedestrianised and re-humanised and each night sees a tide of people eating, drinking, walking and socialising. Heraklion is not a beach city and even those within easy reach are not rich pickings. Heraklion will suit urbanites, night-lifers and archaeology buffs and people looking for an easy transit to and from Crete.

Hersonisos

Hersonisos, Top Holiday Vacation Spot in Crete
Considered by picky travellers as loud, brash and ‘touristy’, Hersonisos still picks up a lot of the on-island tourist trade so it must be doing something right. Its advantage to incoming tourist groups is its proximity to Heraklion’s international airport – a 21 minute, 23km drive from baggage hall to poolside cocktail. That’s a big plus in many people’s judgment. Hersonisos is loud and brash and the tourists that visit like it that way. The main street of Limenas Chersonisou (the actual resort side of the town) is packed block to block with every kind of shop, fast food joint, rental or tour office imaginable. Tourists in flip-flops gingerly thread their way through the organised chaos and everyone seems to sport a weary holiday-induced smile. The waterfront is the domain of the tourist hotels and its skinny, but always full beaches. The water is calm and overall wave-less and the whole parade is laced with the predictable cafeterias, bars and eating places. You’ll be struggling to find independent accommodation here in July and August and if you go to Hersonisos, you will in every likelihood be on a holiday package. Love it or leave it: it is Crete too.

Hora Sfakion

Hora Sfakion, Southern Crete
For the complete antidote to what may be viewed as the resort exuberance of the north, try a little corner of Crete with a reputation. Hora Sfakion is a small south coast village port known primarily as a port on the coastal ferry system linking Hora Sfakion with Loutro, Agia Roumeli, Sougia and Palaiochora. Hora Sfakion never really sold itself as a holiday destination: its residents were either sheep herders or sheep rustlers – or both. They also liked guns and knives, had a penchant for the local raki spirit, tended to be independent minded and took part in numerous rebellions and believe themselves to be the direct descendants of the Dorians who invaded Crete in 1100 BC. Tourism was a definite novelty until the commercialisation of the Samaria Gorge. It is a great spot to linger in after the Samaria Gorge walk. When the walkers have left, locals and travellers come out and mingle over rustic lamb dishes and local wine around the harbour to swap tales of derring-do. Accommodation is low-key and there is are a couple of pebbly beaches to cool off on. Transport is easy, with direct buses to Chania and the ferry to Palaiochora.

Ierapetra

Ierapetra, Non-touristy place in Crete
Usually overlooked by most tourists and commonly stumbled upon by accident by more adventurous travellers, this small and agricultural coastal town south of Agios Nikolaos is a surprisingly enticing corner of Crete that deserves more attention than it commonly receives. It lives off its own resources – the surrounding region is Crete’s fruit and vegetable basket – and tourists and travellers are most welcome additions to the mix. Its main attraction is its simple Crete-ness. It neither depends on visitors, but welcomes them openly. The vibe of the town is soothing: slower and a little less frantic than the rest of Crete and a long, shaded beachside paved walkway occupies the best part of the town’s real estate. Here you can chill, wander at will, stop and sit down for a beer or an ice-cream without the constant pressure of touts. Ierapetra is a comfortable town, content with itself and surprised – almost – to welcome guests from way beyond its confines. Accommodation is geared to the local market and consists of family hotels and appartments. It’s not a beach town as such, but there is a tidy beach strip in front of the restaurants near the Fort. Ierapetra will appeal to independent visitors and island-tourers looking for a comfortable stop-off for a night or two.

Kato Zakros

This minuscule settlement at Crete’s eastern extreme is known to few and only because they may have been there. Certainly, not a resort and not even a village, this strip of restaurants, rooms to stay and the odd holiday house or two should probably not be on the map. It is in effect the beach annexe to the larger and more populated village of Zakros way up on the hillside above, as its name – ‘Lower Zakros’ – suggests. Connected to the parent village by a winding road and an ancient walkable gorge known evocatively and perhaps ominously the Gorge of the Dead (it holds ancient rock tombs) Kato Zakros is perhaps the ultimate Crete hideaway. There’s not a lot to do here, other than contemplate the sea, which looks impressive when the moon rises from it, read large novels, meditate, eat sleep and drink and when motivated walk the Gorge. It’s not everyone’s ideal place to stay, but it is the ultimate antidote to hyperactivity, noise and people buzz. Accommodation is limited and needs to be planned well beforehand. Food is good – four tavernas to choose from – and the beach is pebbly and the water clean and crisp.

Kissamos-Kastelli

Kissamos, Western Crete
Almost forgotten by the rest of Crete, the pretty town with the confusing twin name sits comfortably way to the west ignoring and mostly being ignored by the rest of Crete. Many Chania-based visitors will nonetheless pass through Kissamos on their way to the port (3.4 km) where the popular Gramvousa Peninsula boat cruises depart from. The town itself is relaxed, compact and well-positioned on the western end of the expansive Kissamos Bay as a base for touring western Crete. It has a breezy promenade with restaurants and cafés centred around the small jetty and a very decent beach a few hundred metres further west. Accommodation is very much low-key and inexpensive and consists in the main of studios and appartments with a couple of hotels along or near the main through road. Further to the east at Nopigeia (6kms) the scene is quieter and well-served with more studios and appartments plus a clean pebbly beach. Kissamos will please visitors looking for an alternative scene to the often hyper-busy atmosphere of Crete’s larger towns and who have a hire car to make excursions further afield to the villages and beaches of Western Crete.

Kolymvari

25kms west from Chania, just as you think you have run out of beach and hotels, you meet a low-key but getting popular resort – the village of Kolymvari. The village consists of a through road, a port and a sizeable beach strip dominated with umbrellas and beach clubs at one end and all yours at the other. Friendly and unassuming restaurants and tavernas are threaded into the mix. A couple of luxury hotels have taken up residence in the village (one of which is adults-only) and there are rooms and studios to rent also. Kolymvari is close enough to head into Chania for an evening meal, yet far enough away to feel like rural Crete, so it offers the best of two worlds. The locale favours independent travellers, adults with a taste for luxury or families who want a really posh hotel with private and public pools. Additionally, there are well-stocked shops, ATMs, and rental facilities. A great spot for a quality, quiet Cretan holiday.

Malia

Malia is Party Town Crete #1 – so be prepared. Originally an agricultural settlement until hotel developers discovered its rather enticing location and lengthy run of exposed, but half decent sandy beaches Malia has grown out of its rural roots to become a magnet for party-mad youth. Handy to Heraklion’s airport (34kms) you can be out of arrivals and on the beach with a beer in just over 30 minutes. The strip linking the quieter village of Malia with the beach is a patchwork of soccer pubs, clubs, cafés tattoo parlours, fast food joints, mini-markets and rental outfits and the action is non-stop. You could be excused for believing you have not left home. The beach strip is a quilt of sun umbrellas, loungers, kayaks to rent, bars, studios and hotels. Get the picture? Come here if you love all this – there’s plenty of it all Summer. Stay away if you want the quiet side of holidaying. Malia is an acquired taste and there is no accounting for the differences thereof.

Matala

Matala, Southern Crete
Matala achieved accidental yet meteoric fame in the early 70s when Canadian folk singer Joni Mitchell visited and wrote about the life in the village in her seminal album ‘Blue’. Back then hippies gathered to hang out – California style – in the weather-hewn rock caves that back Matala’s cosy beach. Visitors still come to this evergreen and popular south coast village resort, though the troglodyte dwellings of the 70s flower children have long been closed off to would-be campers. In its place is a busy, flourishing mini resort consisting of one large umbrella-shaded beach (with caves to the side) a packed package of attractive waterside cafés and restaurants, shops and trinket stores. Matala draws a perhaps disproportionate share of day visitors, so staying a day or three is a good idea. Accommodation runs the usual gamut of rooms, appartments and studios and latter-day hippies can even camp. No mega hotel chain has moved in yet (there’s basically no room). As befits a popular place, prices can be high in summer. Buses run from Heraklion and Rethymno and you can hire a car or motor bike in the village.

Myrtos

Mirtos, Northern Crete
The soothingly pleasant and mellow village of Myrtos on Crete’s southern coast and 16kms west of Ierapetra, usually gets discovered by travellers by accident. It’s not on any main route, nor near any airport or port, yet it draws a steady stream of repeat visitors and people who have heard of Myrtos on the traveller grapevine. It’s just one small and comfortable village community that lives for itself – its mainstay is agriculture – that happens to be by the sea. It welcomes visitors with a smile and blow-ins usually end up staying for a week or so. Consisting of a compact hospitality centre, Myrtos is cradled by a large stretch of smooth, dust grey sand and an incredibly blue Libyan Sea. A relaxing boardwalk binds the land and water and unsurprisingly, a rich menu of fish tavernas and genuine Cretan restaurants have popped up. Accommodation has reflected the popularisation of the village and is ample in scope and comfortable. Come here if you don’t want to move for a week. Bring a book, bathers and an appetite and still chill until the urge to leave arrives. That may be a while.

Palaiochora

Paleochora, Crete
Palaiochora sits comfortably yet remotely at the south-eastern corner of Crete, a small community some 77kms south west of Chania and occupying a peninsula about 700m long and just 400m wide atop which lies a ruined castle. It is also a popular holiday – more a traveller – destination. The peninsula means that there are two beach spaces: a wide sandy beach on the west side and a smaller pebbly beach on the east side. The village has just about the right mix of amenities and is an ideal location for a stay of a week or so. Most of the action – restaurants and cafés – lies in the thin belt of the peninsula and everything else is within walking distance. Accommodation is comprised of small family hotels a varied mix of rooms, studios and appartments. The atmosphere is relaxed, laid back and oh-so unhurried. Because of its distance from Crete’s airports, Palaiochora does attract mainly determined and travel-wise visitors. Buses link the village with Chania a few times daily. In summary, Palaiochora is an ideal mid-sized village that has not reached resort status yet. Good for independent travellers and families who like it quieter.

Plakias

Plakias, Crete, Greece
Plakias is another of those lower-key south coast village-resorts that is more a lived-in community than a seasonal tourist enclave. Easy to get to by local bus or a hire car, it is a mere 30kms south of the mid-western town of Rethymno and is located in an area that offer many options for alterative beaches and sights. A rich agricultural valley supports Plakias supports the village year-round, but in Summer visitors come here for day visits or stays of a week or so. It was for many years a popular backpacker community, though these days you will see a wide profile of mainly independent travellers of all ages. It’s a popular destination for Greeks and Cretans to and that is reflected in the quality of food on offer. Nightlife also offers a couple of music bars, though on the whole visitors spend their time strolling, socialising and eating. The village beach stretches for about 1.5kms around the wide bay, though more personal beaches can be found at Damnoni, Ammoudi and Schinari over the headland a 40-minute walk, or 8-minute drive away. No major chain resorts other than one on Damnoni beach so accommodation is the common mix of small hotels, studios and apartments.

Rethymnon

Rethymno, Crete
Rethymnon used to be the rather looked down upon town of the north coast. Neglected over the years it was usually passed over by travellers heading to Chania further west. Today, it is a bustling pretty town every bit as good as Chania and anywhere else in Crete. It occupies the middle ground in tourism and traveller stakes and is more personable, compact and even friendlier than its larger siblings. Its real charm lies in its almost completely pedestrianised Old Town with tree-shaded or street-seated tavernas of high quality. A pretty old port (smaller though similar to Chania’s) is the focal point. From here the byzantine narrow streets of the old quarter radiate out like a spider’s web. Visitors are encouraged to stay in the Old Town, though you an opt for the beach annexe running eastwards where you can find some excellent quality hotel resorts. Access to Rethymnon is easy and although the passenger ferries no longer run, the town is the central hub of the Heraklion-Chania route and equidistant from either airport. In short, a good choice for an organised package holiday or for a 2-3 day stay for island tourers with a car.

Siteia

A sizeable town of around 10,000 residents, Siteia lies 70kms east of Agios Nikolaos and is the ideal base for touring eastern Crete. It boasts a port with links to Karpathos and Rhodes and a huge under-used airport that receives seasonal domestic and international flights. It’s a ‘good feel’ kind of town where the locals probably know after a day that you are in it. The centre is compact and easily walkable and because restaurants cater to Cretans in the main you can be sure of a good quality and inexpensive meal. There is a sizeable beach just to the east of the port while a phalanx of cafeterias and restaurants surround the port area. Siteia is no more than a 15-minute drive to the Toplou Monastery, or just over 30 minutes to the famous Vaï Beach on the far east coast. Plentiful buses connect Siteia with Agios Nikolaos and further west. Sleeping is the common mix of small hotels, studios and apartments.

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Cruises to Santorini

Home > Greece > Santorini > Santorini Cruises
by Santorini Dave • Updated: July 16, 2018

  • Don’t do a cruise to Santorini. They suck. You only get a few hours to see the island and it’s busy, hectic, and packed with tourists whenever a cruise ship is in port.
  • All of the best things to do in Santorini are hard to enjoy on the limited time you get on the island with a cruise.
  • If you want to see what makes Santorini the most magical island in Greece you need to stay overnight.
  • The best Santorini hotels are some of the most awesome and incredible anywhere. Staying here can be very special.
  • Five to seven days is what I recommend for most visitors but even a one night stay is better than visiting on a cruise.
  • If you absolutely must do a Greek island cruise then book a Greek sailing tour on a small yacht.
  • Santorini is a year-round destination. If you’re into wine, great food, and sightseeing the best time to visit Santorini is from April to early June and late September to early November.
Should you take a cruise to Santorini? How to decide between staying in Santorini and visiting on a cruise ship.

The view of a cruise ship in the caldera from the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Fira, Santorini. (Staying in Santorini is much better than visiting on a cruise.)

See Also

Cruises to Santorini and the Greek Islands

Santorini is a popular cruise destination but I don’t recommend visiting Santorini on a cruise ship for three reasons:
• You get a limited amount of time on the island (just 4 to 8 hours)
• You only see the island when it’s crowded with other cruise ship passengers (your shipmates)
• You miss out on staying in one of the magical Santorini hotels on the caldera.

After the shore excursions have returned to the ship and the cruises have departed, Santorini returns to a calmer and more tranquil pace. So if you can stay a few nights on the Santorini you’ll see a completely different side of the towns, restaurants, and attractions. It’s just much more fun, more relaxing, and more beautiful on the island after the cruise ships have sailed away.

Santorini Cruises – Tips and Info

Cruises to Santorini, Greece

Cruise ships in the Santorini caldera – great to look at but cruises are a lousy way to experience Santorini. Please, if you want to come to Santorini don’t do it on a cruise.

Tour group with view of caldera and volcano.

This is what visiting the island is like when you come to Santorini on a cruise: You walk around the busiest parts of the island as part of a large group. You’ve got limited time and can only see a few spots in Fira and Oia.

Tour group on day trip to Santorini from cruise ship.

Here’s one of the large tour groups from a cruise. Are you in group 20?

Tour group in Greece with visit to winery.

Maybe you’re in group 22?

Day tour group on Santorini cruise ship.

Or maybe it’s 32? Regardless: this sucks.

Cruise tours and shore excursions to Santorini.

The good news: you get your own sticker. Holy fuck. Shoot me.

Group returning to cruise ship in Greek islands.

This looks fun: waiting for the cable car ride back to the cruise port.

Cable car group tour from cruise ship in Fira.

This is just a small part of the line – it can stretch far back and around a corner. Occasionally cruise passengers will be left behind on the island because they can’t get back to the ship in time. They then have to arrange their own transportation to another island to meet-up with the cruise. Certainly this is rare, but it’s always in the back of your mind: what time is it? – we can’t miss our departure time.

Small group tour of Oia.

Oia is a great town, but everyone staying on the island knows: don’t go mid-day because it’s packed with tours from the cruise ships.

Best attraction in Santorini with day tour group from cruise.

This is the Santorini you get to experience when you stay on the island and enjoy it at your own pace.

Morning tour with donkeys in Santorini.

Get up early and there are more donkeys on the streets than people.

Breakfast restaurant with views of caldera.

A quiet breakfast view in Imerovigli.

Quiet lunch with views in Santorini.

When the cruise ships have departed even a popular restaurant can be quiet and relaxing. And the views just seem better when there aren’t mobs of people.

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Santorini Boat Tours

Home > Greece > Santorini > Boat Tours
by Santorini Dave • Updated: July 14, 2018

  • My favorite tours in Santorini are the boat tours of the volcano. A must!
  • Don’t worry too much about which tour you book – they’re all good. Emphasis should be on getting something booked in advance before they sell out.
  • The only way to do a volcano tour is to do a boat tour. You can not access the volcano unless you’re part of an organized (private or group) tour.
  • All boat tours have great views of the caldera cliffs.
  • Cruise options include: hike the volcano; swim in the hot springs (you can always stay on the boat if you wish); visit Thirassia and explore its villages; stop at Red Beach and White Beach to swim and snorkel; eat lunch or dinner on board; and watch the sunset below Oia.
  • GetYourGuide.com is the best way to book tours in Santorini.
The cliffs of Oia and Imerovigli from a boat tour of the caldera.

A boat tour of the caldera is stunningly fucking awesome. There’s no way you should visit Santorini and not do a boat tour.

The 4 Best Boat Tours in Santorini

All boat tours below provide meals onboard and have hotel pickup and drop off (which doesn’t sound like a big deal when you’re booking but makes the day so much easier and hassle-free when the time arrives). Also, all tours enter the caldera, sail to or near the volcano, and have plenty of swimming and snorkeling. Food on the tours ranges from surprisingly good to great. And the boats are very generous with their alcohol – after every tour, I ask myself how they make money when they’re so lavish with the food and drink.

1. Private Catamaran Cruise (5 hours)

Wonderful private cruise of the caldera. Great food and plenty of flexibility on what to see and where to sail. Ideal for a luxury honeymoon cruise or a small group (up to 6 people). The day-tour departs at 10:00am, the sunset-tour departs at 3:00pm. Be prepared to be insanely pampered.
The best private boat tours in Santorini.

2. Luxurious Small Group Catamaran Cruise (5 hours)

Sunset Cruise (3:15pm departure) or Day Cruise (10:15am departure). Awesome cruise around the volcano, staring up at the cliffs of the caldera. You stop at a few beaches for swimming and snorkeling, then swim in the hot springs near the volcano, eat a huge lunch or dinner, and finally see the sunset from the cliffs below Oia (for the sunset cruise). Lots of fun!
Sunset boat cruise of caldera and volcano in Oia, Santorini.

3. Small Group Cruise by Luxury Catamaran (5 hours)

Wonderful day tour with great food and a friendly staff (3:30pm departure). You can’t go more than 5 minutes without someone asking if you want another beer or glass of wine. But it’s far from a drinking cruise – the emphasis is on swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing on the top of the catamaran. You’ll visit a few beaches and the hot springs and have plenty of time to explore the sights of the caldera. (I did this boat tour last summer and it was awesome.)
Santorini volcano and caldera boat tour.

4. Volcano Boat Cruise (6 hours)

Much less expensive and with a larger boat and group of people but still very fun. This tour is almost the opposite of the Sunset Catamaran Cruise. You get the volcano, hot springs (with swimming), and a visit to Thirassia island – but no beaches or going outside the caldera, and no sunset. This is the cheapest boat tour of the caldera.
Best boat tours in Santorini.

Santorini Boat Tours – Tips & Info

Boat tour of the caldera.

View of Imerovigli and Fira from below Oia.

Boat tour into the caldera.

Close-up view of the Santorini cliffs.

Fira boat tour.

View of Fira from a boat tour.

Boat tour scenery of the caldera.

View of Imerovigli from a boat tour.

Oia boat tour of the caldera.

The caldera-side of Oia.

The white beach and white rock scenery of Santorini.

The white rock towers of southern Santorini.

Fira boat tour to the volcano.

The view of the volcano with Fira in the background.

Oia boat tours of caldera and volcano.

The view of Oia from the Amoudi Bay where many boat tours begin from.

Swimming and cliff jumping on Santorini boat tour.

Jumping from the rocks below Oia.

Greek food on Santorini boat tour.

Barbecue on a Santorini boat tour.

Santorini volcano and caldera boat tours.

So much to see. Awesome!

Hot springs and volcano boat tours.

Swimming from the boat to the warm waters of the hot springs.

Meals onboard Santorini boat tours.

Food on the boat tours is surprisingly good – sometimes great.

Santorini swimming on boat tour.

My son jumping from the boat.

Toilets onboard Santorini boat tours.

Most boats and catamarans will have 2 or 3 bathrooms. They are always clean and well maintained.

Hot springs boat tour in Santorini.

Jumping into the hot springs from the boat.

Caldera boat tour.

The views of the cliffs and caldera from the boat are awe-inspiring.

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Santorini Wine Tours

Home > Greece > Santorini > Wine Tours
by Santorini Dave • Updated: July 13, 2018

  • Santorini wine is wonderful and unique owing to the dry and unusual climate. Be sure to try some even if you don’t go on a tour.
  • Wine tours are incredibly popular on Santorini and they fill up quickly – book early.
  • It’s possible to visit wineries on your own but a tour makes getting from one to the next much quicker and easier. Plus, drinking and driving is very fucking uncool.
  • The Santorini wineries with the best caldera views are Santo and Venetsanos. Most wine tours will visit one or both of them.
  • Boat tours don’t sell out as early, so book your wine tour first.
A vineyard at a Santorini winery near Oia.

Highly recommended: A Santorini wine tour that visits multiple wineries.

The Best Wine Tours in Santorini

Santorini is famous for its wine and wineries. Many wineries offer tours and wine tasting but if you want to visit multiple wineries then book a wine tour (most wineries are small and hard to find if you don’t know the island well). Most tours include hotel pickup and drop off.

1. Santorini Sunset Wine Tour (4 hours)

Santorini Winery with Sunset and Caldera View
Wonderful small group tour in the early evening. Visit 3 wineries and have 12 tastings. Starts at 4:30pm and usually finishes at Venetsanos Winery (pictured above) for fantastic caldera views of the sunset.

2. Santorini Private Wine Tour

Private tour of Santorini winery and wine making.
This is a private wine tour for serious wine lovers. Definitely worth it for the intimacy and attention to detail, but maybe not for everyone. Most people do it as a couple but the tour allows for a group of 6. Starts at 10am or 4pm with the evening tour having a sunset vies from either Santo or Venetsanos Wineries.

3. Santorini Half-Day Wine Tour

Santorini wine and food tour.
A great small-group tour that visits two or three traditional wineries and vineyards scattered around Santorini. Hotel pickup and drop off makes it all super easy. Will usually visit Santo Winery or Venetsanos (both with great caldera views) or Gavalas (my favorite) and 2 others. There are two times for the tour: 10am and 4:30pm.

The Best Santorini Wineries

  • Santo Winery (Pyrgos) – The most comprehensive tours of any one winery. It has a large shop filled with wines and local food specialties. Fantastic views of the cliffs and caldera. (Most wine tours above visit Santo or Venetsanos.)
  • Venetsanos Winery (Megalochori) – Similar views as Sanos but a little smaller and little more charm.
  • Gavalas (Megalochori) – My favorite winery on Santorini. Small, friendly, intimate (but hard to find if you’re driving on your own).
  • Art Space Santorini (Exo Gonia) – A spellbinding mix of wine, caves, and art. The owner guides you around the property and explains its history with a thick Greek accent. Very cool.
  • Sigalas (Oia) – A small winery a 10-minute walk from a bus stop on the Fira-Oia bus route. It has wine tastings with appetizers from March to November.
  • Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum (Vothonas) – A 300 meter long cellar (8 meters underground) that hosts a wine museum. The museum presents the history of Greek wine and the life of vine-growers in Santorini since the 1600s.

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Santorini Restaurants – Where To Eat

Home > Greece > Santorini > Best Restaurants
by Santorini Dave • Updated: July 13, 2018

See Also

The 27 Best Restaurants in Santorini

  • Santorini Sunset Wine Tour – Highly recommended! Santorini wines are wonderful and this gives a good overview of 3 of the best wineries on the island. Hotel pickup and drop off makes it easy. (The tour ends at the Venetsanos Winery which has incredible caldera/sunset views.)
  • Santorini Cooking Course – Fun introduction to Greek cooking.
  • My very favorite restaurants on Santorini: Metaxy Mas, The Good Heart, Cava Alta, Ouzeri, Mezzo, Avocado, and Roka.
  • Best restaurants in Oia: Roka • Karma • Candouni • Elinikon • Ammoudi Fish Tavern
  • Best restaurants in Fira: Argo • Ouzeri • Naoussa • Cacio E Pepe
  • Best restaurants in Imerovigli: Mezzo • Avocado • Athenian House • Anogi
  • Best restaurants with caldera view: Mezzo, Athenian House, Argo, Naoussa, La Maison, and Ambrosia. (In general the best restaurants don’t have caldera views but there are exceptions.)
  • The best coffee in Santorini is at Passaggio (Oia) and Pure (Fira).
  • If you visit any of these restaurants please mention that you heard about them from Santorini Dave. Thanks!

Metaxy Mas – Exo Gonia

The best restaurant in Santorini is Metaxy Mas.
This is the best restaurant on Santorini. If you ask at your hotel, “where is the best place to eat in Santorini?”, they’ll probably send you here. Reservations recommended. The views are of Kamari beach and the airport. A perfect evening (away from the caldera) would include a meal at Metaxy Mas and then a late-night movie at the outdoor cinema in Kamari (about a 5 minute drive away).

The Good Heart – near Akrotiri

The best restaurants near Akrotiri with traditional greek food.
Oh my God! This place is so good. Local food and traditional dishes – much of it from their nearby farm. Relaxed and family-friendly but so enchanting it could double as a romantic rustic outing. Super friendly owners. Reservations usually not required. It’s a 15 minute drive from Fira but worth the effort.

Yalos – Exo Gialos Beach

The best restaurants on the beach.
Fresh seafood and Santorini flavors at an idyllic beach location about a 10 minute drive directly east of Fira. Trendy but friendly.

Cava Alta – Pygros

The best restaurant in Pyrgos.
Wow, this place is great. Hidden in the lanes below the castle in Pyrgos this super-friendly restaurant has some of my favorite dishes in Santorini. Reservations usually not required for lunch but best to reserve for dinner.

Lucky’s Souvlaki – Fira

The best gyro souvlaki in Santorini is at Lucky's in Fira.
One of my favorite things to eat on Santorini is a gyro from Lucky’s. Cheap and delicious. No reservations. You order at the cash register then place your receipt on the bar near the cook. Don’t miss this! (Perfect for lunch.) Pito Gyros is the also good and the best gyro place in Oia.

Argo – Fira

Best restaurants with a view in Fira.
The best restaurant in Fira. There are 2 restaurants directly across the path that have better caldera views but Argo has better food – modern greek with a trendy vibe. Reservations recommended.

Cacio e Pepe

The best pizza in Santorini.
The best Italian restaurant in Santorini. Good Italian wines. Fun and friendly.

Ouzeri – Fira

The best restaurants in Fira with great food.
Good food in a relaxed setting. The big bright sign makes it look very touristy (almost questionable) but the food is fucking awesome. Reservations recommended for dinner but not usually necessary for lunch.

Naoussa – Fira

Best view restaurant in Santorini.
Wonderful traditional food and great views. Reservations recommended.

Nikolas Taverna – Fira

The best restaurants in Fira.
Hidden in plain sight on one of the busiest lanes in Fira, Nikolas serves inexpensive traditional food. Reservations usually not required.

Aktaion – Firostefani

The best Greek food in Firostefani, Santorini.
The best restaurant in Firostefani. Charming atmosphere with tables spilling out onto the sidewalk when it gets busy. Reservations recommended.

Remvi – Firostefani

The best view restaurant in Firostefani.
There are several restaurants with great views in Firostefani. Remvi has the tastiest food. Reservations recommended if you want a table along the edge.

Da Vinci – Firostefani

The best Italian restaurant in Santorini.
Very good Italian food. Views look east, not into the caldera. Reservations usually not required.

La Maison – Imerovigli

The best restaurants in Imeroviglii with caldera view.
The best restaurant in this area of southern Imerovigli (not that central Imerovigli is very far away). Modern greek with a french flare. Desserts are amazing too.

Mezzo – Imerovigli

The best wine bar restaurant with view in Imerovigli.
If you’re looking for great food and a great view then this is the best restaurant in Imerovigli. Reservations recommended.

Avocado – Imerovigli

The best restaurants in Santorini for lunch.
Along with Mezzo, this is my favorite restaurant in Imerovigli, but no view. Reservations usually not required for lunch but a good idea for dinner.

Anogi – Imerovigli

The best restaurants in Imerovigli with traditional Mediterranean food.
Wonderful modern greek food with a trendy vibe. If you can’t get a table, Posidonia Taverna is steps away – not as fancy but almost as good.

Athenian House – Imerovigli

The best restaurants in Santorini with good caldera view.
The best caldera and sunset view of any restaurant in Santorini. Amazing food too.

Roka – Oia

The best food in Oia.
My favorite restaurant in Oia. As the owner said to me, “Lousy view, lousy service, incredible food.” Reservations recommended.

Candouni – Oia

The best restaurants in Oia with traditional greek food.
Warm and friendly vibe with traditional greek food. Reservations recommended.

Elinikon – Oia

The best restaurant for watching sunset in Oia.
The best restaurant in Oia that has sunset views. Delicious food. Mostly small dishes ideal for sharing. Reservations recommended.

Karma – Oia

Best Restaurants in Oia.
Charming, friendly restaurant with some of the best dishes in Oia. Reservations recommended.

Ambrosia – Oia

The most romantic restaurant in Oia.
The most romantic restaurant in Oia, and maybe all of Santorini. Make reservations far in advance.

Panorama Balcony – Oia

Romantic restaurant for honeymoon in Santorini.
OK, maybe this place is more romantic, but there’s only one table and one seating per night (8 to 11pm). Reserve at least 27 years in advance at [email protected].

Lotza – Oia

Best dinner view in Oia.
A small cafe with good food (the Oia Spaghetti is delicious) and a patio with great views. The baklava and ice cream is the best on Santorini. Most of the Oia restaurants I mention here are only open for dinner making Lotza a good option for lunch. But don’t order the souvlaki (always get souvlaki or gyro from a small gyro/souvlaki shop, never at a sit down restaurant). Reservations usually not required.

Ammoudi Fish Taverna – Ammoudi Bay

The best restaurants with seafood on water.
Ammoudi is the port below Oia and there are 4 restaurants here all with great fresh seafood. The Ammoudi Fish Tavern is the best of them but they’re all good choices with wonderful sunset views. Reservations aren’t needed for lunch but a good idea for dinner.

Taverna Geromanolis – Megalochori

The best restaurant for traditional Greek food in Santorini.
Wonderful traditional food in the charming village of Megalochori. Popular with locals. Open lunch and dinner. Reservations usually not required.

See Also

Santorini Tours and Things To Do

Home > Greece > Santorini > Things To Do
by Santorini Dave • Updated: July 13, 2018

  • One Day in Santorini: Hike the caldera path between Fira and Oia. Boat tour of the caldera. Dinner at Mezzo or Metaxy Mas.
  • Two Days: Add a wine, food, or helicopter tour.
  • Three Days Or More: Visit ancient Akrotiri and Pyrgos. Lots more walking (the best way to explore Santorini).
  • Most important tip: Do at least one tour. Or two or three or four. You might not usually do tours. It might be outside your comfort zone. But they’re awesome. Boat tour, wine tour, private tour – doesn’t matter, just do it. You won’t regret it.

Santorini Tours & Day Trips

Santorini Tours: The boat tour of the caldera and volcano is the best tour in Santorini.
The best day trips in Santorini are the boat and wine tours. Every tour I’ve taken on Santorini has been great (or very very good) – and I’ve never had a bad experience. It’s not absolutely necessary to pre-book tours before arriving but if you’re on a short visit (less than five days) it’s probably a good idea to reserve your tour in advance. From June to September the best tours can be fully booked weeks in advance.

The Best Tours in Santorini

  • Get Your Guide – The most complete list of Santorini tours. Good site for getting tour discounts.
  • Santorini Private Wine Tour (5 Hours) – Santorini has some great fucking wine (Assyrtiko is my favorite). This is an intimate private tour for 2 to 6 people that visits 3 wineries and finishes with sunset views of the caldera (if you book the evening tour). There is also a less expensive Santorini Sunset Wine Tour that is almost as good. It will have a few more people but it’s still a small group tour (and some people enjoy meeting other travelers so the fact that it’s not private may be a plus).
  • Sunset Cruise: Caldera Sailing Tour – Every boat tour is different. The options include: hike the volcano, swim in the hot springs, visit Thirassia, stop at Red Beach and White Beach to swim and snorkel, eat lunch/dinner on board, and watch the sunset below Oia. This one is the simplest (but still awesome) – it’s basically just sailing through the caldera, stopping at a few beaches (outside of the caldera), then the hot springs, with swimming, eating, and sunbathing. And finally watching the sunset on the boat from below the Oia cliffs (the highlight). Bring a change of clothes to change into for the evening as it gets a little cool if you’re still in your wet swim clothes. All boat tours mentioned here provide meals onboard and have hotel pickup to start and finish the tour.
  • Day Cruise: Luxury Catamaran Day Cruise – The most luxurious boat tour with the best food and friendliest smallest group. This is a caldera boat tour with lots of swimming and snorkeling. Unlimited drinks and free hotel pickup and drop-off. It’s similar to the Sunset Cruise but without the sunset and there’s more swimming and time in the sun. (I just did this tour in September and it’s as fun as ever.)
  • Best of Santorini (6 Hours) – The best private tour in Santorini. No boats, this is a sightseeing tour of the island itself with a professional guide. The tour visits three of my favorite places: Akrotiri (the fantastic ruins of the ancient town destroyed by the volcano eruption), Pyrgos (old town with twisting pathways and churches galore, incredible views too), and Oia (the single most beautiful village on Santorini). There are also stops at Red and Black beaches, a local winery (Venetsanos), and the picturesque town of Firostefani. Hotel pickup and drop-off make this a super easy way to see the island in one day.
  • Santorini Helicopter Flight – Amazing and unforgettable (though obviously not cheap). Incredible views of the caldera, cliffs, volcano, vineyards, and towns. The ride is 30 minutes long, which is a perfect length for seeing every angle of the island from above. Most people do this as a couple but the price allows for a group of 5.
  • Santorini Photography Tour – Amazing tour of Santorini’s best views and shots. (For all photographers: from beginner to expert.)
  • Santorini Fishing Tour – Wonderful tour of the waters around Santorini on a local fishing boat. Fresh seafood lunch or dinner served on board (eat what you catch and empty from the nets). The daytime tour is best for families and serious fishermen. The sunset tour best for couples.

The Best Activities and Things To Do in Santorini

1. Hike From Fira to Oia

The best thing to do in Santorini is the hike from Fira to Oia.
This is the single best thing to do on Santorini – and it’s free! The views are incredible. The hike takes somewhere between 2 and 5 hours depending on your speed and how many pictures you take along the way. Start in Fira and move north through Firostefani and then Imerovigli (this part of the path feels more like a village sidewalk). From Imerovigli to Oia it’s largely rural with only a few shops or restaurants on this stretch of path. Most people will want to wear a sturdy running shoe for the walk but I’ve certainly seen people do it in flip flops. The route isn’t completely marked but it’s fairly intuitive: stay on the path that follows the edge of the caldera and walk north (when in doubt stay to the left/west). Of course, it’s fine to do the walk in the opposite direction but it feels more natural (to me) to walk north to Oia and the island’s tip. And walking into Oia from the hills above is an awesome finish. If it’s July or August I’d highly recommend starting before 8am.

2. Santorini Photography Tour

Santorini Photo Tour of the best spots on the island
I can not say enough great things about this wonderful tour. It’s run by a guy from New Zealand named Olaf. The tour is for small groups of 1 to 4 and he tailors it based on the skill and interests of the group. Are you just figuring how to use your new camera? Olaf’s your man. Are you a serious enthusiast looking to find the best shots on Santorini? Olaf knows the places. It’s a little expensive but this is a great way to see the island from a number of unique spots. Highly recommended – but book far in advance.

3. Cable Car from Old Port to Fira

Cable car views in Fira.
Walk down the stairs to the Old Port, grab a drink, then take the cable car back up (though you can walk or cable car both ways if you want). From May to October the cable car runs every 20 minutes, 6:30 to 22:00 – a little longer hours in July and August, and a reduced schedule from November until April. It costs 4€ for adults and 2€ for children.

4. Santorini Winery Tour

Santorini food and wine tour.
Santorini wine is great, the wineries are beautiful, and the people super friendly. It’s a fun and easy way to see the island away from the caldera. A tour is the best way of exploring more than one winery.

5. Santorini Helicopter Tour

Helicopter Tour in Santorini with views of volcano and caldera.
This is pretty close to unforgettable. A wonderful tour from above of Santorini, the volcano, the caldera, and all the villages perched along the cliff. If you’re going to Mykonos you can also do a helicopter transfer between the two islands – which is fun, easy, and way faster than the ferry.

6. Walk the Volcano

Hiking up the volcano in Santorini.
The island in the middle of the caldera is Nea Kameni and where you’ll find the island’s active volcano and the top point of interest in Santorini. The crater is 130 meters up and takes about 20 minutes to walk to. Sulfur vents are found along the way. The only way to get here is by doing a volcano boat tour or hiring a chartered boat.

7. Ancient Akrotiri

Archaeological Museum in Akrotiri.
See the ancient village left behind after the devastating volcanic eruption that made the island uninhabitable. The site is the most interesting historical site on Santorini and very well preserved. I highly recommend booking a tour guide in advance to show you around the site and discuss the history of the island, the eruption, and the following destruction. Another option is the excellent private tour of Akrotiri and 3 Santorini wineries.

8. Outdoor Cinema in Kamari

Watching a movie outside in Kamari.
Family-friendly fun (depending on what’s playing, of course). Watch a movie outside as the sun sets and the sky grows dark. Wine, beer, and simple snacks available. Movies start around 9:30pm. Sundays and the first and last day of any movie run are the busiest days. I recommend getting here when the doors open at 8:30 to ensure a seat. There’s a bus stop directly across the street with buses back to Fira. In summer the last bus should be after the movie is out but check the schedule to be sure.

9. Sunset, Caldera, and Volcano Boat Tour

The boat tour of the caldera.
You can do both the volcano walk and the hot springs as part of a boat tour. Be sure to get a tour that takes in the sunset too. There are also tour options to visit Thirassia (a small populated island that forms part of the caldera ring with Santorini) and Red and Black beach. The boats start from either Athinios port (where the ferries arrive), the Old Port below Fira (for this you can take the cable car down), or Ammoudi Bay (below Oia), and most tours offer hotel pickup to get you to the boat. All the tour companies are legitimate so buy the tour that suits your needs best as far as timing, interests, and transportation.

10. Swim at Ammoudi Bay

Cliff jumping in Santorini.
One of the best swimming spots on Santorini is down the cliff from Oia at a spot just south of the Ammoudi port. Walk or drive to Ammoudi Bay then take the path that leads south from the restaurants in the port (can’t miss it, there’s only one way to go). It’s a 5 minute walk to a small island (Agios Nikolaos) that you can swim out to. Then jump from the ledge (if you want).

11. Santorini Fishing Tour

Santorini Fishing Tours
Very professional, very fun fishing tour with lots of hands-on action and a huge lunch. The daytime/lunch tour is best for most but there’s also a sunset fishing tour if that sounds appealing.

12. Explore the Paths, Alleys, and Stairwells of Fira, Firostefani, and Imerovigli

Walking path along the caldera in Imerovigli.
This is basically the hike from Fira to Oia but instead of continuing to Oia you can stop in Imerovigli, explore a little, and turn back around. All 3 towns have beautiful views and are worth a walk-through.

13. Walk to Skaros Rock

Walk to Skaros Rock in Santorini.
Descend the cliff to the path to Skaros Rock and explore the far side of the outcrop (there’s a little church hidden on the far side) and climb to the top of the rock if you’re brave enough. Great views too. The path starts just south of Grace Santorini hotel.

14. Take a Private Tour of Santorini

Private Tours in Santorini, Greece
Find the hidden paths, alleys, beaches, photo shots, amazing villages, and quiet spots all around the island. All tours are good but there’s something a little extra special about doing a private tour (if it works with your budget, not cheap).

15. Explore the Paths, Alleys, and Stairwells of Oia

Exploring Santorini's cliffs.
Oia has even more hidden pathways than Fira. Be sure to get off the main path and explore the magical views you’ll stumble upon. A good place to start is to find the restaurant Lotza then take the path down the cliff directly to the right of the restaurant.

16. Ancient Thera

Visiting Ancient Thira
Find Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine ruins – and spectacular views – at this ancient island capital on the top of Messa Vouno mountain. You can hike the steep trail up from Kamari or Perissa, drive the narrow switchbacky road to the entrance, or hop on the 10€ shuttle from Kamari below. Expect maximum wind and minimum facilities – there are no bathrooms at the top. 4€ adults, kids free. 8am-3pm Tuesday-Sunday.

17. Ride the Donkeys

A donkey tour in Santorini.
Ride the donkeys either from the Old Port up to Fira or from Amoudi Bay up to Oia.

18. Explore the Santorini Countryside

The Santorini countryside is filled with wineries.
This is one of the advantages of renting a car in Santorini – you can get away from the main towns and explore the beautiful countryside. The island’s small – you can almost always see the sea – but there’s lots of farmland (especially in the south) and you can’t drive for very long without stumbling across a winery.

19. Dinner with a View

Best view restaurant in Oia.
The food is often better when you go to a restaurant without a view. But regardless, you have to have dinner with a view of the caldera at least one night while in Santorini. Mezzo is my favorite restaurant with a view on Santorini. (And these are my favorite restaurants on Santorini.)

20. Kamari Beach

The best resort in Santorini – Kamari Beach.
Good swimming (though it’s a pebble-beach) and lots of restaurants. The pedestrian only street along the beach is fun to walk at night when it gets quite busy.

21. Swim in the Hot Springs

The boat tour to the hot springs and swimming.
Jump from the boat into the cold water of the caldera then swim towards the warm water of the volcanic hot springs. It never gets hot but it’s warm enough to never feel the need to get out. The only way to get to the hot springs is by doing a boat tour.

22. Emporio

Old Town in Emporio near Perissa Beach.
On the way to Perissa beach in the south of Santorini you’ll find this magical little town. There’s almost never any tourists here and though it’s small it’s still plenty big enough to get good and lost in the tangle of alleyways.

23. Lioyerma Public Swimming Pool

Public swimming pool in Santorini.
If your hotel doesn’t have a pool this is a good option if you’re staying in Oia – but I don’t think I’d come all the way from Fira just for the pool. No fee, just buy a drink or some food and you can sit all day. Nice view. (And has a sunset view too.) This is a great way to finish the Fira to Oia hike.

24. Watch the Sunset in Oia

The best place to watch the sunset in Santorini is in Oia.
Bring a bottle of wine and hang out on the cliffs of Oia watching the sun set. It is busy so be prepared for crowds. Forget about finding a taxi back to Fira or Imerovigli but there are extra buses waiting for the crowds after the sunset so there’s often no wait. Elinikon is the best Oia restaurant with views of the sunset.

25. The Seafood Restaurants Of Amoudi Bay

Eating at Ammoudi Bay in Santorini.
Walk down the stairs from Oia to the Ammoudi Port and find a little port with 4 restaurants serving ridiculously fresh seafood. All the restaurants are good but Ammoudi Taverna is my favorite. It’s surprisingly quiet down here and you can usually get away without a reservation.

26. Atlantis Books in Oia

Santorini Bookstore in Oia.
This is a classic little bookstore. Often named as one of the top 10 bookshops in the world. Simply wonderful. Be sure to support the store and buy something. They also sell a self-made map of Santorini (worth the 5€) with the staff’s favorite things to do around the island.

27. Museum of Prehistoric Fira

Museum of Prehistoric Fira in Santorini.
On the main street in Fira this small museum is worth a 45 minute visit. It’s not huge but is especially interesting if you visit Akrotiri first. A 5-minute walk away is the Megaro Gyzi museum (near the Catholic church). It’s smaller still but worth a look if you want more Santorini history. And seeking it out is a good way to see some of the hidden alleys of Fira that you might otherwise miss.

28. Red Beach

The most beautiful beach on Santorini.
Just down the road from the Akrotiri ruins, Red Beach is the most spectacular and picturesque of any Santorini beach. From the bus stop or car park it’s about a 15 minute walk into the beach. (Sometimes closed due to the risk from falling rock, proceed at your own risk.)

29. Lighthouse on Southern Tip of Santorini

Lighthouse in Akrotiri.
The lighthouse is the destination but the draw is the incredible views looking north into the caldera – very different than the views from Fira or Oia and you can really see the circular nature of the caldera from this vantage point.

30. Explore the Fishing Villages on East Coast of Island

Fishing villages in Santorini.
There are several small villages on the east coast of the island (north of Monolithos) that are worth a visit. Yalos is one of the better restaurants on the island and a good stop.

31. Take the Boat to Thirassia Island

Day trip to Thirassia from Santorini
Thirassia forms the western side of the caldera and was connected to Santorini before the volcanic eruption. It’s inhabited, has some good tavernas, and is worth the 1€ boat ride to visit. Boats leave several times a day from Ammoudi and the Old Fira port. Last one back is usually around 5pm so plan wisely or you’ll be spending the night on the island.

32. Santorini Wine Museum

Wine Museum in Santorini.
The winery has a 300 meter long wine cave that shows the history and development of Santorini wine over the previous 5 centuries. Admission to the museum includes 4 wine tastings from the Koutsoyannopoulos winery.

33. Art Space Winery

Santorini Art Winery
This winery is rarely visited by any tours so you need to visit on your own. It’s a charming mix of caves, art, and great wine.

34. Perissa & Perivolos Beaches

The best sandy beach on Santorini is at Perissa.
Perissa is the best swimming beach on Santorini and has the nicest sand. Good restaurants are spread along the beach front. Tranquillo is the funnest beach bar. Seaside is the best restaurant. Perissa is about a 30 minute drive from Fira and 45 minutes from Oia. Perivolos Beach is the southern part of the same stretch of sand but there’s little to distinguish one beach from the other.

35. Jet Ski Tour to Volcano

Tour of caldera and volcano on jet ski in Santorini.
A fun and unique way of seeing the caldera. There are different tours that go different places – all leave from Perivolos in the south of the island. The shortest tour (“South Tour”) visits nearby Red Beach and White Beach and lasts about 90 minutes. The medium-length (“Volcano Tour”, 140 minutes) goes all the way into the caldera and stops for a swim in the hot springs. The longest tour (“Grand Tour”, 200 minutes) takes the volcano tour and adds Thirassia and Ammoudi Bay. The tours that go into the caldera are pretty intense and the waves can be big. It’s a taxing activity but super fun. My son has does the volcano tour when he was 14 and 15 years old and considers it one of the funnest things we’ve ever done. Email Wavesports to enquire about openings on required dates: [email protected]. Staff are friendly and helpful. They also do parasailing, tubing, and water skiing.

36. Greek Cooking Class

Traditional greek food tour in Santorini, Greece.
The food in Santorini is amazing. Obviously, it’s easy to enjoy plenty of great food without doing a tour but the guides are so knowledgeable and the tours so fun it’s really worth doing one. Like any Santorini tour the odds of doing one and then regretting it are almost zero.

37. Best Dance Bar

The best dance bar in Santorini.
The Koo Club is in central Fira and gets going about 11pm.

38. Funnest Bar in Santorini

The funnest bar in Fira is 2 Brothers.
200 meters south of the Koo Club is the crazy little bar 2 Brothers. If you let the bartender hit you over the head with a bat (while wearing a helmet) you get a cheap liquor shot. It sounds obnoxious (and it is) but the saving grace is that everyone here is super friendly and there’s very little attitude. Good times.

39. Best Greek Bar

Best Greek Bar in Fira.
If you want to party with the locals (or Greeks from the mainland) then Mamounia is the place. Of course, being a Greek bar, it doesn’t get busy until after 1pm.

40. Best Singles Bar or Place to Meet Other Travelers

Best bar in Santorini for solo travelers.
Tropical is one of my favorite bars in Santorini (single or not) and has great views. Friendly staff and something about the layout make it the best place to meet solo and single travelers.

41. Best Bar in Oia

Best bar in Oia, Santorini.
Hasapiko (also called Mary Kay’s) is a great throwback bar with old timers and tourists sitting around while the music thumps. A small crowd usually moves about on the tiny dance floor. This is the only bar in Oia – but great. Gets busy about 10 or 11pm.

42. Best Dessert

Best desserts in Santorini.
You have to try a baklava and ice cream if you’re in Greece. Lotza in Oia serves the best baklava on the island. (Zotos in Fira has the best gelato on Santorini.)

43. Best Restaurant with Sunset View in Oia

Best Oia restaurant with view of sunset.
Elinikon is a new restaurant with tons of charm. Delicous small plates that are best shared. Superb views of the sunset. +30 2286 071994 • [email protected]

44. Best View of Santorini

Best view of Santorini.
Walk up the meandering lanes of Pyrgos (15 minutes south of Fira) to the top of the hill. There you’ll find a castle, a church, and these marvelous views of the entire island. The 6-Hour Best of Santorini is an easy way to visit the most interesting Santorini villages (Pyrgos, Oia, and others).

45. Eat Local Farm Food

Farm fresh organic food in Santorini.
There are many little farms on Santorini and they produce some wonderful local food. A good way to experience this is at the rustic Good Heart restaurant (they have their own farm) in south Santorini (about a 15 minute drive from Fira and easy to find).

46. Best Gyro In Santorini

Best gyro and souvlaki in Santorini is at Lucky's in Fira.
Many of the gyro and souvlaki shops that target tourists make some pretty average food. Not Lucky’s. This is the real thing and just as good as anything you’ll find in Athens or mainland Greece. Lucky’s is on the main street of Fira and a 3 minute walk from the bus station. (Ask anyone and they’ll point you in the right direction.) Pito Gyros in Oia is also good.

47. Greek Easter

Enjoying Greek Easter on Santorini for tourists.
If you happen to be in Santorini for Greek Easter (usually different dates than western Easter) be prepared for something special. On the night of Easter Friday go to Pyrgos where the whole town is magically lit with candles. Saturday night be prepared for fireworks (Fira is the best spot to see them) when the fast ends at midnight. And on Easter Sunday many Greek restaurants will have a special menu with roasted pork and greek dishes (be sure to reserve a table in advance).

48. Day Trip or Overnight Trip to Ios

Day trip from Santorini to nearby island of Ios.
The great beaches on Ios and its proximity to Santorini make it the best day trip island from Santorini … but an overnight trip is better.

49. Most Unique Place To Stay in Santorini

Stay in a Windmill on Santorini.
You can stay in this windmill. Really! It’s the Windmills Suite at Golden Sunset Villas in Oia and it’s pretty incredible. It sits at the tip of Oia where everyone gathers to watch the sunset – but you have this huge patio with incredible views all to yourself (it can easily fit 20 people if you had friends staying nearby and wanted to host a sunset party). My wife, 2 kids, and I stayed in the windmill this past summer and absolutely loved it. There’s a kitchen, full bathroom, 2 “bedrooms”, and plenty of room. The stairs are steep, narrow, and admittedly, a little tricky. The good news: there’s only one windmill suite on Santorini. The bad news: there’s only one true windmill suite on Santorini. – So book early. Free breakfast is included.

50. Best Thing To Do On Final Night in Santorini

White Door Theatro – Greek Wedding Dinner and Musical
The White Door Theatro puts on an unbelievably fun show about a Greek family wedding. There’s singing, dancing, and a simple storyline. Guests are made to feel part of the wedding party. There are light snacks and lots of wine. Even my 12 and 15 year old boys thought this was hysterical. Good fun.

Santorini Day Trips to Other Islands

My recommendation: Don’t do day trips from Santorini to other islands. Santorini has so much to see and do you’re better to focus on staying and enjoying it. If you really want to see other islands then you’re better off traveling there and spending a few nights rather than wasting your time going there and back on a ferry. (Ios is a bit of an exception as its so close.)

Besides the islands visible in the caldera (like nearby Thirassia and Nea Kameni), Santorini doesn’t have great day trip options. To visit an island on a day trip you need to get an early morning ferry from Santorini and a late-day ferry returning to Santorini. Since most ferries are based on other islands (or back in Athens) it’s usually mid-day before they arrive in Santorini. And even when there is an early morning ferry there likely won’t be an evening ferry that would provide you with the time necessary to make the journey worthwhile.

If you really want to make a day trip to another Greek island your best bet is to wait until you’ve arrived in Santorini. Then visit a travel agency and ask about the ferry schedule to and from Santorini’s neighboring islands. If it seems like the amount of time you’ll get on the island is worth the journey then book the ticket. If not, then don’t. Ferry schedules are always changing and rarely are released more than a few weeks in advance. A day trip requires fairly precise timing to pull off so it’s best to wait to arrange until you’re in Greece and can be certain of the schedule. Ferries on these short routes from Santorini will almost never sell out so don’t worry about finding a spot onboard. If the schedule works for a day trip then you’ll have no problem buying tickets.

The most likely candidate for a day trip from Santorini is Ios. It has fantastic beaches and a young and fun party vibe – though the clubbing doesn’t get going until late at night so day-trippers won’t get to partake. With a little luck you could have 6 or 7 hours on the island making the 35 minute boat trip from Santorini worth the effort. Mylopotas Beach (one of the best in Greece) and the Chora (the main town up a steep cliff from the port) are well connected to the harbor by a short bus ride. The ferry from Santorini to Ios is €20 one way.

Naxos and Paros are both (just) possible but even with the best ferry connections you’d have little more than 2 or 3 hours to explore the island. Except in rare circumstances a day trip to Mykonos is not possible from Santorini. The journey from Santorini to Mykonos is more than 2 hours and 30 minutes and there are rarely returning boats that make the trip doable in a day.

A day trip from Crete to Santorini is possible (from April to October) with Hellenic Seaways from Heraklion. But a trip going from Santorini to Crete does not work with the ferry timetable.

Anafi is another island that would seem to allow for a day trip but since ferries run to Santorini in the morning and back to Anafi in the afternoon any visit would require staying a night on Anafi.

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Athens, Greece – The Best Tours & Things To Do

Home > Greece > Athens > Things To Do
by Santorini Dave • Updated: July 13, 2018

The 9 Best Tours in Athens

Athens Walking Tour

Highly recommended: The Original Athens Food Tour – a great introduction to the city’s food and culture. Visit markets, top restaurants, specialty shops, and trendy neighborhoods.

1. The Original Athens Food Tour (4 hours)

Fun tour of the best food and restaurants in central Athens. Also, a stop at the Central Market – a highlight of modern Athens. Get a good overview of the city’s culture (and a bit of history) while eating some great food with a friendly guide.

2. Athens, Acropolis, & Acropolis Museum Tour (5 hours)

Guided tour of Historical Athens including the Acropolis, Parthenon, Erection, Propylaia, Nike Temple, Dionysus Sanctuary, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, and Ancient Agora. If you only have time for one Athens tour make it this one.

3. Acropolis Skip-The-Line Walking Tour (1.5 hours)

Short guided tour of just the Acropolis. I think most people will appreciate the longer tour (above) but if you’re interested in only the Parthenon and the Acropolis then this one is for you. There is also an excellent private tour of the Acropolis (2 hours) which goes into a little more detail.

4. Athens Street Art Tour (3 hours)

Awesome tour of the graffiti and street art of central Athens. Many tours describe themselves as “off the beaten path” that only visit the expected top sights. This one really does explore a side of Athens tourists rarely explore or think about. Very cool and great for families with teens.

5. Traditional Greek Cooking Lesson & Dinner (4 hours)

Great introduction to Greek food and how to make it. Cook 7 or 8 dishes (depending on the menu), eat what you make, and go home with a recipe book. Very family-friendly.

6. Bike Tour of Historic Athens and Plaka (3.5 hours)

Fun and easy-going tour of the highlights of central Athens. The 9 KM route takes in most of the top historic sights and tours the Plaka and National Gardens. Tour starts at 10am in an easy-to-find spot in the Plaka.

7. Delphi Day Trip from Athens (10 hours)

Hotel pickup (in Athens) and transportation to one of the top historical sites in Greece. Tour guide and lunch included. There’s also a private tour if that’s what you prefer.

8. Meteora Monasteries (12 hours)

The Meteora is my favorite destination in mainland Greece. It’s spectacular. Delphi is great, but you do need to have a keen interest in Greek history to make it worth the trip. The Meteora, on the other hand, will appeal to anyone with a pulse. The dramatic and awesome setting is stunning. It’s very hard to visit the Meteora in one day unless you do a private tour (like this one). You’ll get picked up from your hotel (in Athens) and make the 3-hour drive to the Meteora. A stop for lunch and a few other historical sights are built into the itinerary but most of the focus is on seeing the monasteries of the Meteora. There is also a cheaper tour that involves taking the train; an overnight tour that allows for a complete tour of all 6 monasteries (worth it if you have the time); and a combination tour that visits both Delphi and the Meteora.

9. Day Trip to the Saronic Islands: Aegina, Poros, & Hydra (12 hours)

Great tour of 3 wonderful islands a short boat ride from Athens. Hotel pickup included. Highly recommended!

The Best Things To Do in Athens

1. The Acropolis and Parthenon

The Parthenon and Acropolis in Athens – The top historical attraction in Athens.
If you only have time to do one thing in Athens then see the Acropolis (the hill) and the Parthenon (the largest building on the Acropolis). In summer it has long opening hours (8am to 8pm) making it easy to visit on a tight schedule. Having a guide makes the experience much more rewarding and interesting. Also, guides can buy tickets at a different kiosk which is much quicker than the general ticket queue.

2. The Acropolis Museum

The Acropolis Museum is one of the best attractions in Athens, Greece.
This relatively new museum is a highlight of a visit to Athens. It’s a short walk from the Acropolis (head south down the hill towards the Odeon of Herodes Atticus) so the 2 sites are easy to visit together and complement each other well. If you 5 hours or less in Athens then visit the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum.

3. The National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological  Museum in Athens – The best museum in Athens.
The single best museum in Greece and loaded with archaeological treasures. It’s one of the few top attractions that isn’t a short walk from the Plaka/Acropolis area so you’ll need to take a taxi (5 minutes), metro (10 minutes, get out at Omonia station), or walk (about 25 minutes from the Plaka or Syntagma Square). If you have only one day in Athens you might be forced to miss this. If you have 2 days or more then make an effort to get here. The experience is dramatically enhanced if you get a private tour guide to explain all the history and top exhibits.

4. Plaka and Monastiraki

The Plaka and Monastiraki areas of Athens – the best area to stay for first time visitors to Athens.
A fun lively atmosphere that is filled with historical sites like the Agora, Hadrian’s Library, Temple of Hephaestus, and Stoa of Attalos. A great area to wander, shop, eat, and sightsee.

5. Temple of Olympian Zeus

Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrians Gate in Athens.
The famous Arch of Hadrian is on the same site (as the Temple of Olympian Zeus) and they’re both only a 5 minute walk from the Acropolis Museum making them an easy stop in the central area.

6. Lycabettus Hill

View of Athens and Mount Lycabettus, Athens, Greece.
This hill sits across Syntagma Square from the Acropolis Hill and provides great views of the Parthenon and central Athens. There’s a funicular (tram) to help you to the top or climb the whole way.

7. Athens Central Market

Central food and vegetable market in Athens, Greece.A wonderful lively slice of modern Athens. Meats, olives, feta, olive oil, fruits, vegetables – you name it, it’s here.

8. The National Gardens

The National Gardens in Athens – The best place for kids in Athens.
A short walk from Syntagma Square and the Greek Parliament buildings this is relaxing break from the chaos of busy Athens.

9. Cape Sounio

The best day trip from Athens: Ancient temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece
An 80 minute drive southeast of Athens but only worth the trip if you have 3 days or more in the capital (any less and your time is better spent in central Athens).

10. Outdoor Cinema

Best outdoor movie theater in Athens, Greece.
Watch a movie in the Plaka under the lights of the Acropolis at Cine Paris. Films are typically American (in english) with Greek subtitles. Beer, wine, and light snacks are available. This is a highlight of summer in Greece.

11. Gyros and Souvlaki

Best Greek food to eat in Athens.
Athens is loaded with great restaurants but nothing beats an authentic gyro from a local shop. There’s a strip of good gyro places just off Monastiraki Square (opposite the metro station) but if you have time Kavouras in the Exarcheia neighborhood (and not far from the The National Archaeological Museum) is worth seeking out.

12. Best Restaurant in Athens

Best restaurant in Athens, Greece.
The best restaurant in the Plaka area is Psaras Taverna. Magical setting and great traditional Greek food.

13. Best Bar in Athens

Best bar in Athens, Greece.
Lively and fun Brettos Bar is my favorite place to get a drink in the Plaka. It’s often packed but staff are friendly and helpful even when busy.

14. Best Rooftop Bar in Athens

Best restaurant with view of Acropolis in Athens.
Great food, cocktails, and wine at the rooftop bar and restaurant of the historic Grande Bretagne hotel. Idyllic!

15. Best Gelato in Athens

Best gelato dessert in Athens.
Coco’s in the Plaka has the best gelato in Athens. It’s worth seeking this place out.

photo credits

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The Best Imerovigli Hotels

Home > Greece > Santorini > Imerovigli Hotels
by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 18, 2018

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What is the best hotel in Imerovigli?

The best hotel in Imerovigli is Grace Santorini which has amazing views of the caldera, stunning suites, and the largest infinity pool on Santorini. Astra Suites is the best family-friendly hotel in Imerovigli. Tholos Resort is less expensive but still has great views and Sophia Suites is the best new hotel in Imerovigli.

  • Astra Suites – A cliffside perch offers incredible views. Great pool, friendly staff, kitchenettes in all rooms. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 023641)Reviews
  • Grace Santorini – The best swimming pool and deck along the caldera. Each suite is unique and very charming (many have private plunge pools). The villa is utterly fantastic, has a private pool, and allows kids – the rest of the hotel is adults only. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 021300)Reviews
  • Chromata Hotel – Fantastic in every way. Stunning pool and wonderful service. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 024850)Reviews
  • Tholos Resort – Wonderful hotel with great caldera views and a small pool. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 022618)Reviews
  • Absolute Bliss – Incredible caldera views looking north towards Oia and the sunset. Nice pool. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 021310)Reviews
  • Sophia Suites – A brand new hotel with great views, beautiful suites, and a magical vibe. Most rooms have their own private outdoor jacuzzi and patio with sunset and caldera views. (Hotel phone: +30 22860 21181)Reviews
  • Dreams Luxury Suites – These are drop-dead gorgeous suites. Romantic, picturesque, and quiet (located just outside of Imerovigli). Incredible views of the caldera. All rooms have private balconies and jacuzzis. Breakfast delivered to your room every morning. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 028787)Reviews
  • Aqua Luxury Suites – Large suites, some with plunge pool or hot tub, and all with above average privacy for Santorini. Located right on the caldera with great views. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 023107)Reviews

Video of Imerovigli Hotels

Imerovigli Hotels Shown (in order):
Pegasus Suites (formerly Angels and Stars)
Aeolos Studios and Suites
Chromata Hotel
Iconic Santorini
Sun Rocks Hotel
Santorini Mansion
Irinis Villa Resort
Nefeli Homes
Senses Boutique Hotel
Veranda View
Kallisto Hotel
Caldera’s Apartments
Gorgona Villas
Altana Traditional Houses and Suites
Arc Houses
Sunny Villas
Spilotica Villas on the Cliff
Grace Santorini
Annio Furnished Flats
Tholos Resort
Astra Suites
Kapari Natural Resort
Thea Apartments
Gold Suites
White Hotel
Dreaming View Suites
Abyssanto Suites
Langas Villas
Villa Lukas
Above Blue
Heliotopos
Absolute Bliss
Kasimatis Studios
Ampelonas Apartments
Galaxy Suites
Remezzo Villas
Afroessa Hotel
Ilioperato
Avaton Resort and Spa

Where To Stay On Santorini

Home > Greece > Santorini > Where To Stay
by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 18, 2018

  • My recommendation: 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.
  • The key to saving money on 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.
View of Imerovigli from Homeric Poems in Firostefani.

A view of the caldera cliff looking north towards Imerovigli and Oia (in the far distance).

See Also

What are the best hotels in Santorini?

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 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

View of Fira and the caldera from Hotel Keti.

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

View from Tsitouras Collection of the caldera.

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 markets but no bars or nightlife.

Staying in Imerovigli

View of the caldera and Skaros Rock from Grace Santorini 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

View of Oia and the caldera from Perivolos Hotel.

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.

The Island & Beaches

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 – though there are many exceptions.

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 good 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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Santorini Private Tours

Home > Greece > Santorini > Private Tours
by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 13, 2018

  • Private day tours in Santorini do cost more than group tours but they’re just about always worth the extra cost. (Even the most expensive tours will still be a small portion of what you paid to get here – yet will likely be the most memorable part of your trip.)
  • Book early. It’s easy to get last-minute tours as part of a group but there are surprisingly few private tours on Santorini and they get booked fast.
  • All the tours I’ve listed below are great but if you only have time for one then do the boat tour of the caldera – the cliffs and the caldera are what makes Santorini so fantastically unique.
Kid-friendly private tour of volcano in Santorini.

My two boys on a boat tour through the caldera and to the volcano. Good times!

The 6 Best Private Tours in Santorini

All these tours include hotel pickup and drop off (which doesn’t sound significant but is super helpful).

1. Day or Sunset Boat Tour: Private Romantic Catamaran Cruise (5 hours)

Wonderful boat tour of the volcano, hot springs, and caldera cliffs with swimming and snorkeling. Go pretty much anywhere you want with your private tour guide and captain. If this isn’t the highlight of your trip I’d be surprised. Starts at 10am (day cruise) or 3pm (sunset cruise). Delicious BBQ meal, unlimited drinks, and hotel pickup and drop off are included. Cheaper option: Small Group Cruise by Luxury Catamaran.

2. Private Santorini Wine Tour (5 hours)

Incredible wine tour of Santorini’s best wineries with plenty of tastings, cheese, olives, and snacks. There’s a 10am departure and a 4pm. Both visit a winery with great caldera views. The later one will include sunset views. Cheaper option: 4-Hour Sunset Wine Tour

3. Best of Santorini Tour (6 hours)

Great tour around the highlights of Santorini – from Akrotiri in the south to Oia at the northern most tip. In between you’ll visit beaches, churches, wineries, and historical sites. Professional guide is top notch. Cheaper option: Santorini Small Group Tour (with wine tasting)

4. Private Helicopter Flight (30 minutes)

Phenomenal views of the caldera, volcano, cliffs, beaches, and neighboring islands. Very cool and highly recommended.

5. Highlights of Santorini Photography Tour (5 hours)

If you want to get the top shots of Santorini this is how you do. Olaf (the guide) is super friendly and an A-plus-plus photographer – be ready to learn a lot whether you’re a beginner or advanced photographer. Tour the most spectacular views from all over the island. The tour starts at 9:30am and there’s a 6-hour option available as well. This is as much a sightseeing tour as a photography tour, so if one person is really into photography and the other more interested in sightseeing it still works great.

6. Akrotiri & 3 Wineries with Tastings (5 hours)

Explore the fantastic ruins and explorations of the ancient village of Akrotiri. The guide is very knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. (Having a guide is essential for touring Akrotiri.) Then visit 3 different wineries and learn about local wine-making and wineries. Taste 12 wines from Santorini and other parts of Greece. There are 9am and 3:15pm start times.

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Greek Ferries

Home > Greece > Greek Ferries
by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 11, 2018

  • FerryHopper.com is the best way to buy ferry tickets for Greek ferries.
  • Most ferries do not sell out. But for peace of mind, book tickets 2 to 3 months in advance.
  • If a ticket purchased online doesn’t have a barcode you’ll have to pick up a real ticket when in Greece. This is usually done at the ferry port 30 to 45 minutes before departure. Don’t worry about pick up – it’s easy and effortless.
  • Island hopping around the Greek islands is fantastic fun.

The 2018 Guide to Ferries in Greece

One of 3 main ferry lines in Greece.
Note about Greek ferries and ferry routes and schedules: all the information below can change with little notice. Please double check everything on your own to ensure the ferry schedules work with your plans.

The Best Website for Booking Greek Ferry Tickets

FerryHopper.com is great for booking ferry tickets in advance. If you don’t want to book in advance then it’s fine to book in Greece at any shop that says “Ferry Tickets for Sale”. Booking online will occasionally have a small extra fee but that’s usually only if you want to have them delivered to you. Within Greece, ticket prices are all the same regardless of where you purchase.

Greek Ferry Schedules for 2018

To research ferry timetables start with FerryHopper.com. If you’re not finding the information you need or want to double check a ferry schedule then search gtp.gr – it will sometimes have more current ferry information and will give a better idea of the actual ferry route. E.g. If you’re searching for a ferry from Mykonos to Santorini you’ll see that it makes stops in Naxos, Paros, and Ios, before stopping in Santorini, then continuing to Crete.

Greek Island Ferry Routes

Ferry routes to, from, and between the Greek islands have the most frequency from June to September. In late March, April, May, October and early November they run on at a decreased rate but still usually enough to get where you want to go on any given day. From December to February there is a bare-bones schedule that can make getting between some islands difficult (or impossible).

Common Ferry Routes for the Greek Islands

  • Athens to the Greek Islands – For almost all Greek islands there is at least one ferry per day to and from Athens, 365 days a year.
  • Mykonos to Santorini – Daily ferries usually run from late March to early October. In other months you’ll need to ferry or fly via Athens.
  • Naxos, Paros, Ios to Santorini – Daily ferries usually run year-round.
  • Crete to Santorini – Daily ferries usually run from late March to late October. In other months you’ll need to ferry or fly via Athens.
  • Rhodes to Crete – Sporadic service year-round, often on an overnight service.
  • Rhodes to Santorini, Mykonos, Cyclades – There are daily ferries from Rhodes to Athens that will sometimes make stops in a Cycladic island (usually Syros, Naxos, or Paros). From there you can take a ferry to other Cycladic islands.
  • Corfu to Santorini, Crete, Mykonos – There are no ferries from the west coast islands (Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefalonia) to the Cycladic islands, Crete, Rhodes, or any of the islands in the Aegean.
  • Italy to Greece – There are summer ferries from the east coast of Italy to the west coast of Greece (Corfu, Igoumenitsa, Patras) but no ferries from Italy to Crete, Italy to Santorini, Italy to Mykonos, or any of the islands in the Cyclades.

Greek Island Ferry Pass

There is no ferry pass for Greece or the Greek islands. Eurail does have a pass that includes a ferry ticket from Italy to the west coast of Greece and then a limited number of ferry passes within the Aegean. Whether this train and ferry pass is worth it depends on a wide range of variables and how much you plan to use the train while in western Europe (there are few functional train routes for tourists in Greece.

Occasionally, there will be Greek island package vacations advertised that include a “Greek Island Ferry Pass” – the ferry passes are just individual ferry tickets purchased by the Holiday company. These holiday packages are rarely a good deal – you’ll usually get better prices by booking hotel, ferry, and flight on your own.

Greek Island Ferry Map

Map of Greek Ferry Routes

I recommend visiting islands in the same island group. The Cyclades are the best islands for the first time visitor to Greece: frequent, short ferry connections with the other islands makes hopping between islands fun and easy. 

FAQ – Greek Ferries

How much do ferry tickets cost on Greek ferries?
Every route is different. It’s based partially on distance but a 20-mile ferry hop will still be 50% of a 200-mile run – so you pay more for each stop then you do for each mile. There are no return tickets or multi-stop ticket. Every destination is an individual ticket.

How many ferries per day run on most routes?
This can range from a half-dozen ferries between popular islands per day in summer (say, Naxos to Paros) to one ferry per day for some routes in the winter months. And, of course, many islands are not connected at all (e.g. Corfu and Santorini) or are only connected during the summer months (Mykonos and Santorini; Santorini and Crete).

Can you buy food on board a Greek ferry?
Yes. Sandwiches, ice cream, pastries, chips, cookies, beer, wine, coffee, and soft drinks are available on almost all Greek ferries.

What are the bathrooms like on a Greek ferry?
Toilets and bathrooms are quite nice and kept in a good level of cleanliness. No worries here.

Are ferries rough? Will I get seasick on a Greek ferry?
Ferries can be bumpy during rough seas and windy weather. Generally, the bigger the ferry the smoother the ride. If you’re susceptible to seasickness then try to travel on the Blue Star ferry. I find getting up and walking about can lead to seasickness even if you were feeling fine. Try to stay seated as much as possible. They do have sick bags too, so ask for them when you board if you think it might be an issue.

How long before departure should I arrive at the ferry port?
30 minutes is fine, maybe 45 minutes if you have to pick up your reserved tickets. Ferries do not wait for anyone.

What is the best way to get from central Athens to the Piraeus ferry port?
There is a direct train from downtown Athens (Monastiraki station) to the Piraeus ferry port. It takes about 20 minutes from central Athens to the ferry port.

What is the best way to get from the Athens airport to the Piraeus ferry port?
The easiest way from the airport to the ferry port is the train. First, take the airport train into Athens. Switch trains at the Monastiraki station to the M1 line which will take you straight to the ferry port. Trains do not run 24 hours so if you’re traveling in the middle of the night then use the X96 bus to the ferry port.

Greek Ferries – Tips and Information

Blue Star Greek Ferry.

There are 3 main types of Greek ferries. The largest (and most common) is the passenger ferry like the Blue Star. Often called a car ferry though the high speed ferries also take cars. Hellenic Seaways, SeaJets, and Golden Star also have similar large ferries.

Greek High Speed Ferry

A little smaller are the high speed catamarans like the High Speed 6 and High Speed 7 by Hellenic Seaways. SeaJet has similar ferries Tera Jet (a little bigger) and Champion Jet (a little smaller). These ferries can give a rough ride in choppy seas but are generally pretty stable.

Small catamaran ferries in Greece.

The smallest ferries are the small catamarans like the Superjet, SeaJet2, and Fly Cat 4. These will have the bumpiest rides and are not a great choice if you have trouble with seasickness. They’re also more likely to get cancelled due to bad weather.

First class and reserved seating on Greek ferry.

First class and business seating is usually worth the extra cost for its roomy seats and quieter atmosphere. If you do get economy seating (on the Blue Star) then I recommend getting reserved seats (airplane-style seating) for the small extra fee.

Greek Ferry Seat Types

This is airplane style seating for economy class seats. It only costs a few more euros which makes air seat reservations worth the price.

Outdoor seating on Greek ferry.

The large car ferries like the Blue Star are the only ones with outdoor deck seating. All outdoor seating is open for all seat classes. There’s no reserved outdoor seating.

Food, snacks, and drinks on board Greek Ferry.

All ferries will have food, snacks, and drinks on board. It’s reasonably priced and good quality – but nothing fancy.

Places to buy food near Athens ferry port.

In Athens there are many places to buy food and snacks before boarding the ferry. These shops (located directly across from the ferry port) are open 24-hours a day.

Boarding a Greek ferry in Athens.

Boarding the ferry with luggage. Arrive at the ferry about 20 to 30 minutes before departure. Ferries generally leave Athens on time but can be late for destinations along the route. For example. the Athens to Naxos, Paros, and Santorini ferry will leave Athens on time, but might be a little late leaving Naxos and Paros for Santorini.

Luggage storage on Greek ferries.

On large car ferries and large high speed ferries there is luggage storage on the bottom level as you enter the ship.

Getting off Greek ferry with luggage in Santorini.

Getting off the ferry in Santorini. Ships do not stop for long. Be downstairs with your luggage and ready to depart when the ferry pulls into your destination port.

Online Greek Ferry Ticket.

Online reservations can look something like this – but if they don’t have a bar code they are not ferry tickets. You need to pick up your actual ferry ticket from a ferry kiosk or travel agent.

Greek Ferry Ticket

This is an actual Greek ferry ticket. It needs to have a barcode to be able to board the ferry.

Where to pick up tickets at Athens ferry port.

In Athens (Piraeus), the ticket kiosks to pick up ferry tickets are to the left as you enter the port area. Get here about 45 minutes before departure to get your tickets.

Piraeus Ferry Port in Athens

The ferry port in Athens is almost directly across the street from the subway station. Follow the crowds as they leave the train and you can’t miss the ferries.

Where to pick up tickets for ferries in Santorini, Greece.

In Santorini, you pick up ferry tickets at travel agents in Fira (not the port).

Greek ferry ticket pick up in Heraklion, Crete.

In Heraklion you’ll pick up ferry tickets at the port, directly in front of the departing ferries.

Where to buy ferry tickets in Athens.

You can buy ferry tickets from any shop that has signs like this. But you can only pick up reserved tickets from specific agencies which should be in your confirmation email.

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Santorini Hotels with Sunset View

Home > Greece > Santorini > Sunset View Hotels
by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 5, 2018

What are the best hotels with sunset views in Santorini?

Imerovigli has the best sunsets of any town in Santorini. Many hotels in Oia do not have sunset views. (The hotels that have unobstructed sunset views are listed below.) Hotels in Oia generally have either a view of the caldera or views of the sunset (this is a simplification as it also depends on the time of year but for the most part it’s true). Sunset views from Fira and Firostefani are often blocked by the small island of Thirassia or parts of Santorini itself. Imerovigli has neither of these problems and is perched high on a cliff with great views of both the sunset and the caldera. Another plus is that it doesn’t have the crowds that gather in Oia as the sun sets. None of the Santorini beaches have sunset views but they do have beautiful sunrises.

Imerovigli Hotels with Sunset View

Hotels with sunset views in Imerovigli.

Sunset from Imerovigli (from just above Grace Santorini). Imerovigli has the best sunset views of any place on Santorini.

Best Imerovigli Hotels with Sunset View

Grace Santorini
Cavo Tagoo
Absolute Bliss
Astra Suites
• Tholos Resort
• Sophia Luxury Suites

Oia Hotels with Sunset View

Oia hotels with sunset views.

This is the sunset view from most Oia hotels. The sun sets over the town and you’re unable to see the sun set into the sea. It’s still beautiful but not a true sunset. The hotels listed below have clear views of the sunset but as a tradeoff they lack full caldera views (since they’re on the outside of the caldera with views of the setting sun).

Best Oia Hotels with Sunset View

Oia Castle Hotel
Esperas Traditional Houses
Marizan Caves & Villas
Fanari Villas
Golden Sunset Villas (awesome Windmill Suite available)

Fira Hotels with Sunset View

Fira hotels with sunset views.

Sunset from Homeric Poems hotel in Firostefani (just north of Fira). From here you don’t get the direct view like from Imerovigli but it does offer Skaros Rock and the rest of the island as a frame around setting sun – whether that’s better or worse is up to taste.

Best Fira & Firostefani Hotels with Sunset View

Homeric Poems
Belvedere Hotel
Cosmopolitan Suites
Keti Hotel
Porto Fira Suites

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Santorini Hotels with Private Pool

Home > Greece > Santorini > Hotels with Private Pool
by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 5, 2018

The 103 best Santorini hotels and villas with private pools, plunge pools, hot tubs, and jacuzzis.

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Fira Hotels with Private Pool

Best Fira Hotel with Private Pool.

The private villas (separate from the hotel) at Aria Suites in Fira, Santorini.

Anteliz Suites – Fira

There’s one suite with private pool and caldera view. There’s also an outdoor swimming pool and hot tub for shared guest use.

Aria Suites (villas only) – Fira

All villas have an outdoor private plunge pool. Some also have an indoor cave pool. The villas are a 1 minute walk from the hotel which has a large swimming pool.

Astro Palace Hotel & Suites – Fira

Both the Astro Pool Suite and Executive Suite have private outdoor pools and terraces. Senior Suites have private outdoor Jacuzzis, Junior Suites have indoor jacuzzis. There a large outdoor pool for shared guest use.

Athina Luxury Suites – Fira

The Honeymoon Suite, Royal Suite, and Cave Suite all have private outdoor jacuzzis. The Grand Cave Suite sleeps four, and has two jacuzzis: one indoor and one outdoor. There is a swimming pool and sun deck for shared guest use.

Celestia Grand – Outside Fira

The Junior Villa has a private plunge pool, all other villas have larger private pools; Artemis and Sapphire villas also have private hot tubs.

Enigma Apartments & Suites – Fira

Four Jacuzzi Suites feature terraces with built-in jacuzzis – suites are one or two bedroom, and can accommodate 2 to 6 people.

Hotel Thireas – Fira

The Junior Suite and Honeymoon Suite have private outdoor hot tubs. Shared rooftop infinity pool.

Keti Hotel – Fira

The King Suite has a private outdoor jacuzzi.

Lilium Santorini – Outside Fira

Their Superior Double room and Honeymoon Suite both have covered outdoor hot tubs. The Lilium Suite has its own private swimming pool. There are two shared outdoor pools for guest use.

Volcano View – Outside Fira

The Junior Suite and Grand Suite have indoor jacuzzis, and there are three large swimming pools for shared guest use.

Oia Hotels with Private Pool

Oia hotel with private pool and caldera view.

The 3-bedroom villa with private pool at Canaves in Oia.

270 Oias View – Oia

All villas feature private pools. Villas range from one to four bedrooms, accommodating up to ten people.

Aisling Micro Hotel – Oia

The Daydream Suite has an indoor hot tub, the Lucid Superior Suite has a private outdoor hot tub, and the Numinous Suite has a small private outdoor pool.

Andronis Boutique Hotel – Oia

All suites feature private outdoor jacuzzis. The Executive Suite, Signature Suite, Prestige Suite, and Water Retreat Suite also have private plunge pools; the Cave Pool Suite features a 40sqm heated cave pool.

Andronis Luxury Suites – Oia

All accommodations feature indoor or outdoor private jacuzzis, private outdoor infinity pools, or some combination of the above. One Honeymoon Suite has an indoor cave plunge pool.

Anemi House & Villas – Oia

The Lovers House has a private outdoor hot tub, and their Three-Bedroom Villa sleeps up to eight and includes a private outdoor plunge pool.

Armeni Luxury Villas – Oia

The Grand Family Suite and Superior Suite have private terraces with jacuzzis. The Ambassador Villa has a private volcanic rock pool.

Aspaki by Art Maisons – Oia

Honeymoon Suites and Exclusive Suites have private outdoor jacuzzis, Cave Pool Suites feature either indoor or outdoor heated cave pools. There is an outdoor pool for shared guest use.

Canaves Oia Hotel – Oia

The Superior Suite and Honeymoon Suite have private outdoor jacuzzi plunge pools, and the two-bedroom Grand Suite has a private open air plunge pool. The River Pool Suite features a unique indoor/outdoor river pool jacuzzi. There is a shared-use outdoor infinity pool.

Canaves Oia Suites & Spa – Oia

All suites feature private outdoor plunge pools, except the Infinity Pool Suite, which has a private outdoor infinity pool. The River Pool Suite has an indoor/outdoor river pool jacuzzi. The Executive Suite has a covered cave plunge pool. There is a shared outdoor pool and sun deck.

Canaves Oia Sunday Suites – Oia

The Honeymoon Suite has a private plunge pool, and the Master Suite has a private heated infinity pool.

Charisma Suites – Oia

Honeymoon Suites have private outdoor jacuzzis, the Pool Suite features a private cave plunge pool, and the Infinity Pool Suite has a private infinity-style plunge pool. There is a larger infinity pool for shared guest use.

Delfini Villas – Oia

The Exclusive Room, Cave Suite, and Junior Suite all have private outdoor hot tubs. The Executive Suite has two jetted tubs – one indoor and one outdoor. Shared pool and sun deck.

Ducato di Oia – Oia

All suites above Petite Double type include a private pool, plunge pool, or indoor hot tub.

Esperas Hotel – Oia

The two-bedroom Cave Suite has a private outdoor jacuzzi, the two-bedroom Esperas Suite and the Superior Suite feature private plunge pools. There are two Honeymoon Suites; one with a private outdoor jacuzzi and one with a plunge pool. There is a common-use outdoor pool with pool bar.

Filotera Suites – Oia

All suites feature a private outdoor heated jacuzzi. The Vinsanto Cave Grand Suite also has a private heated swimming pool. There is an outdoor infinity pool with pool bar for shared guest use.

Hyperion Oia Suites – Oia

Their Two-Bedroom Villa has a private heated cave pool. The One-Bedroom Villa has a private outdoor hot tub.

Kastro Oia Houses – Oia

The Superior Suite with Sunset View and one Deluxe Villa include a cave-style hot tub. The Deluxe Suite with Sea View has an outdoor hot tub. The second Deluxe Villa has an indoor jacuzzi tub.

Kirini Santorini – Oia

Five suite options include a private pool, plunge pool, and indoor or outdoor hot tub.

Liakada Oia Suites – Oia

The Junior Suite has a private outdoor jacuzzi, and one of the two Deluxe Suites has a private swimming pool.

Mystique – Oia

Wet Allure and All 2 Senses Suites have private outdoor jacuzzis, and Spiritual Suites have both indoor and outdoor jacuzzis. The Mystery Villa has a private infinity plunge pool, and the Secrecy Villa has an infinity plunge pool and an outdoor jacuzzi tub. There is an infinity pool with bar and sun deck for guests to share.

Mythique Villas & Suites – Oia

All three villas have private pools. The Estia Villa has three bedrooms and can sleep up to six people.

Oia Castle by Art Maisons – Oia

All accommodations include either a private outdoor hot tub or a heated indoor/outdoor cave pool. Guests also have access to the shared outdoor swimming pool at Aspaki Exclusive Suites nextdoor.

Oia Sunset Villas – Oia

All villas have private hot tubs, and there are two shared pools on the property. Villas sleep six to eight people.

Perivolas – Oia

Deluxe Suites feature either a private outdoor hot tub or infinity pool; Perivolas Suites have private infinity pools. There’s a shared infinity pool for guest use.

Rimida Villas – Oia

All villas have private outdoor hot tubs except the Cave Villa with Inside Jacuzzi.

Santorini Secret – Oia

All suites include either a private hot tub or private heated outdoor pool. Their two-level Junior Villa sleeps six, with a private heated outdoor pool. There is a shared outdoor infinity pool with pool bar.

Virginia’s Cave Villas – Oia

All villas – except one – feature private outdoor hot tubs.

White Pearl Villas – Oia

All villas come with private outdoor hot tubs, outdoor pools, or indoor or outdoor cave-style pools.

Imerovigli Hotels with Private Pool

Luxury hotel with private infinity pool in Santorini.

The pool suites at Astra Suites in Imerovigli. Views of Skaros Rock and the Volcano.

Absolute Bliss – Imerovigli

Some Classic Double Rooms and the Elegant Suite have private outdoor hot tubs, the Honeymoon Suite features both indoor and outdoor hot tubs. The Absolute Luxury Spa Villa has a private heated outdoor pool, plus an indoor bath tub and steam room. Shared outdoor swimming pool.

Altana Traditional Houses & Suites – Imerovigli

Superior Double Rooms, VIP Suites, and Private Suites have private outdoor plunge pools. The Honeymoon Suite has an indoor mini plunge pool. There is a shared-use outdoor pool and sun deck.

Altana Cliffside Villas – Imerovigli

All Cave Villas feature private outdoor plunge pools. The Superior Cave Villa sleeps six.

Andromeda Villas & Spa Resort – Imerovigli

Executive Club Rooms and Family Luxury Suites have private outdoor hot tubs, and there is a shared-use swimming pool with sun deck and pool bar.

Annabel’s Luxury Suites – Imerovigli

Both suites feature private outdoor hot tubs; the two-bedroom suite can accommodate five people.

Aqua Luxury Suites – Imerovigli

Seven suites and both private villas have private outdoor hot tubs, five suites have outdoor heated plunge pools. The Aqua Marine Suite features a private heated outdoor pool.

Astra Suites – Imerovigli

Honeymoon Jacuzzi Suites have private outdoor hot tubs, Pool Suites have private heated swimming pools. Both private villas feature swimming pool and outdoor jacuzzis. Outdoor heated infinity pool with pool bar for shared guest use.

Avista Suites – Imerovigli

Two two-bedroom suites have private outdoor hot tubs. The Honeymoon Villa has two bedrooms, a private hot tub, and a private pool.

Cavo Tagoo Santorini – Imerovigli

All accommodations include a private indoor or outdoor hot tub, or a private pool.

Chromata – Imerovigli

The Superior Jetted Tub Suite and Honeymoon Suite have indoor hot tubs, the Two-Bedroom Villa, Chromata Pool Suite, and Master Pool Suite feature private pools. The Chromata Jetted Tub Suite has both an indoor and private outdoor jacuzzi. There is a shared pool and sun deck, with pool bar, for guest use.

CSky Hotel – Imerovigli

The Senior Suite and Deluxe Suite have private outdoor hot tubs; the Executive and Honeymoon Suites feature private infinity pools. There is a shared outdoor pool and pool bar.

Dreams Luxury Suites – Imerovigli

Nefeli Suite has an outdoor heated jacuzzi; Armonias, Orfeas, and Foivos suites have private infinity pools and jacuzzis – as does Villa Iokasti. Villa Ariadne has a private outdoor heated swimming pool, outdoor heated jacuzzi, and indoor heated jacuzzi swimming pool.

Grace Santorini – Imerovigli

All accommodations, aside from a few Deluxe Rooms and Junior Suites, feature personal outdoor heated plunge pools. The two-bedroom Villa has a private steam room and indoor jacuzzi, as well as a private heated outdoor swimming pool with outdoor fireplace and gazebo. There is a large and beautiful outdoor infinity pool with pool bar for shared guest use.

Honeymoon Petra Villas – Imerovigli

Honeymoon Suites, the Honeymoon Nest, and the Traditional Suite have indoor or outdoor hot tubs, the Infinity Pool Suite has a private heated infinity pool. Rooftop pool and hot tub for shared guest use.

Iconic Santorini – Imerovigli

The Caldera and Cave Suites have private outdoor jetted tubs. The Grotto Suite has an indoor heated cave pool. Iconic and Cliff Suites have both indoor and outdoor hot tubs. Shared outdoor infinity pool for guest use.

Iliovasilema Hotel & Suites – Imerovigli

The Honeymoon Suite, Superior Suite, and some Junior Suites have private outdoor jacuzzis. The Iliovasilema Suite has a private outdoor pool and indoor jacuzzi. Outdoor shared-use swimming pool.

On The Rocks – Imerovigli

The Honeymoon Suite has an indoor hot tub, and the Master Suite features two bedrooms and a private outdoor pool. Shared outdoor pool and pool bar.

Pantheon Villas – Imerovigli

The Junior Suite has a private outdoor hot tub and separate entrance, Villas sleep two to four and are available with private pools. There are also two shared guest pools and outdoor hot tub.

Pegasus Spa Hotel – Imerovigli

Junior Jacuzzi and Honeymoon Jacuzzi suites have private outdoor hot tubs. Honeymoon Plunge Pool Suites have cave style or open air plunge pools. Executive Plunge Pool Suite has a heated indoor/outdoor plunge pool. Pegasus Villa sleeps four, with heated outdoor Jacuzzi. There’s a Deluxe Plunge Pool & Indoor Jacuzzi Suite, the Stars Villa features a heated jacuzzi plunge pool, and Angels Suite has its own private infinity pool. The Grand Luxury Suite features a private indoor/outdoor heated jacuzzi plunge pool. Shared outdoor pool and sundeck for all guests.

Remezzo Villas – Imerovigli

Junior and Superior Suites are available with private outdoor hot tubs; the Pool Suite features a private heated plunge pool. Shared pool and sun terrace.

Rocabella Resort & Spa – Imerovigli

Deluxe, Premium Deluxe, and Executive Caldera View Rooms are available with outdoor mini plunge pools. Outdoor pool, sun deck, and pool bar for all guests.

Senses Boutique Hotel – Imerovigli

Superb Room and Master Cave Suite have outdoor heated jacuzzis, King and Queen Suites have heated splash pools. Shared outdoor pool and sundeck.

Sophia Suites – Imerovigli

All suites feature either an indoor or outdoor plunge pool – the Superior Honeymoon Cave Suite has both a large indoor cave pool and an outdoor plunge pool with Caldera and sunset views.

Tholos Resort – Imerovigli

Five suites have private outdoor or indoor hot tubs. The Tholos Villa has an indoor pool and an outdoor hot tub. Shared swimming pool and sun terrace.

West East Suites – Imerovigli

All suites come with a private pool or hot tub. The Infinity Pool Suite has both an indoor hot tub and a large outdoor infinity pool.

White Hotel – Imerovigli

Superior Suites have private heated jacuzzi or private plunge pool on shared terraces. Deluxe Suites feature private heated jacuzzis on private (but visible) terraces. The Cream Suite has a large private terrace and private, heated pool. The Pearl Honeymoon and White suites have private terraces and private heated jacuzzis. There is large outdoor pool & heated indoor pool for shared guest use.

Between Oia and Imerovigli – Hotels with Private Pool

Santorini suite with private pool.

Aenaon Villas north of Imerovigli. The main pool is on the left, the private pool (Villa Elidami) on the right.

Aenaon Villas – between Oia and Imerovigli

Villa Elidami features a private plunge pool. There is a shared outdoor infinity pool for guest use.

San Antonio Hotel – between Oia and Imerovigli

Senior Sea View Suites have indoor jacuzzis, Superior Sea View and Honeymoon Suites have private outdoor jacuzzis. Master Sea View Suites have both indoor and private outdoor jacuzzis. Shared outdoor infinity pool.

Firostefani Hotels with Private Pool

A suite and private pool at Agali Houses in Firostefani – one of cheaper places with a private pool.

Agali Houses – Firostefani

The Junior Suite has a private outdoor hot tub, and the Sunset Suite has a private outdoor pool. There is a shared pool and sundeck for guest use.

Dana Villas – Firostefani

The Superior Pool Suite has a private outdoor heated infinity plunge pool, the Honeymoon Pool Suite has an indoor/outdoor heated plunge pool. The Honeymoon Villa has one outdoor infinity heated plunge pool with a hidden cave jacuzzi, and another indoor plunge pool with jacuzzi. The Private Pool Villa has an outdoor heated plunge pool. The Grand Villa sleeps six, with an outdoor heated jacuzzi & indoor heated plunge pool. The Infinity Suite has two heated plunge pools with jacuzzi – one indoor and one indoor/outdoor. The Infinity Villa sleeps six, with 4 jacuzzi pools – two indoor and two outdoor infinity.

Homeric Poems – Firostefani

The Grand Suite has both a private outdoor pool and indoor hot tub. Shared use swimming pool and pool bar.

Ikastikies Suites – Firostefani

The Ostria Suite includes an indoor hot tub. Spilia Cave Suite has an indoor hot tub and a private outdoor pool. There is an additional outdoor pool for shared guest use.

Sun Rocks – Firostefani

Honeymoon and Experience Suites have indoor jetted tubs. The Superior Suite has a private outdoor jetted tub, and the Sun Rocks Suite features a private infinity pool. There is a shared pool with pool bar, sun deck, and restaurant.

Megalochori Hotels with Private Pool

Alti Santorini Suites – Megalochori

All suites incorporate private heated plunge pools; some add private outdoor hot tubs, as well.

Santorini Heritage Villas – Megalochori

Two- and three-bedroom villas, each with private swimming pool.

Thermes Luxury Villas & Spa – Megalochori

Seven detached villas, all with private pools. Three-bedroom villas can accommodate six guests.

Vedema Resort – Megalochori

Aegean Suites have private outdoor jacuzzis; Olympian Villas and the Presidential Villa have private outdoor pools & jacuzzis. There is a shared swimming pool and open air jacuzzi for guests.

Pyrgos Hotels with Private Pool

Carpe Diem – Pyrgos

All suites include a private plunge pool – some heated, some not.

Chrisanthi Villa – Pyrgos

Three-bedroom villa with indoor and outdoor hot tubs.

Luna Santorini Suites – Pyrgos

The Pearl Suite and Canava Suite have private outdoor hot tubs; the Sunset Suite has a private heated plunge pool.

Pyrgos Kasteli Villas – Pyrgos

One- and two-bedroom villas with private outdoor hot tubs.

Santorini Heights – Pyrgos

All units have private swimming or plunge pools.

Skyfall Suites – Pyrgos

All suites come with a private outdoor hot tub or heated plunge pool.

Voreina Gallery Suites – Pyrgos

All suites come with a hot tub (indoor or outdoor) or private pool.

White & Co. Villas – Pyrgos

One and two-bedroom villas with private pools. Jacuzzi Suite features a private outdoor hot tub.

Zannos Melathron – Pyrgos

The Honeymoon Suite has a private outdoor hot tub.

Zatrikion Santorini Villas – Pyrgos

One- and two-bedroom villas with private outdoor hot tubs.

Kamari Hotels with Private Pool

Amara Suites – Kamari

King Suites feature private outdoor garden jacuzzis. Two-minute walk to Kamari Beach.

Bellonias Villas – Kamari

The Honeymoon Suite has a private outdoor jacuzzi. There is a shared pool and pool bar, and the hotel is located right on Kamari Beach.

Casa Vitae Suites – Kamari

Sea View and Honeymoon Suites have private indoor or outdoor jetted tubs; private pool suites are also available. Shared outdoor pool and sun terrace – a six-minute walk to the beach.

Nissia Beach Apartments & Suites – Kamari

All suites have private outdoor jetted tubs; the Two-Bedroom Suite sleeps six. Communal swimming pool, hot tub, and sun deck.

Santorini Kastelli Resort – Kamari

Executive Junior Suites and Executive Superior Rooms access shared semi-private outdoor jacuzzi pools. Four additional pools are on the property for general guest use.

Perissa Hotels with Private Pool

Anastasia Princess – Perissa

Suites include private jacuzzis or plunge pools. Shared swimming pool for guest use.

Perivolos Hotels with Private Pool

Black Rose Beach Suites – Perivolos

Deluxe Suites have private pools, Superior Suites have private pools and hot tubs. There is a communal pool and sun deck.

Orabel Suites Santorini – Perivolos

All suites feature indoor or private outdoor hot tubs. There is a shared guest pool, and the hotel is a three-minute walk to the beach.

Smaragdi Hotel – Perivolos

All suites have indoor or outdoor private jacuzzis. There is a large shared swimming pool, hot tub, and pool bar.

White & Blue – Perivolos

Private apartments sleep four to six guests and all have private hot tubs or plunge pools.

Akrotiri Hotels with Private Pool

Acroterra Rosa – Akrotiri

The Honeymoon Suite features a private plunge pool. There is also a large infinity pool for shared guest use.

Adelante 88 Villas – Akrotiri

Two- to five-bedroom detached villas, each with a private pool.

Ambassador Santorini – Akrotiri

Each villa and suite at this property comes with its own private pool. The Presidential Villa has seven bedrooms, and can accommodate up to fourteen guests.

Astarte Suites – Akrotiri

All suites feature private jacuzzi – some indoor, some outdoor. The Astarte Suite also has a private outdoor infinity pool.

Kalestesia Suites – Akrotiri

The Deluxe Suite, Deluxe Family Suite, and Luxury Suite have private outdoor jacuzzis. There is also a large swimming pool (with dedicated kids’ splash area) for shared guest use.

Maison des Lys – Akrotiri

Junior, Senior, and Superior Suites have private infinity pools.

Neptune Luxury Suites – Akrotiri

This is a small property, with two suites featuring private outdoor pools.

Santorini Princess Presidential Suites – Akrotiri

Three-bedroom villa with private pool and hot tub.

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The 10 Best Hotels in Greece

Home > Greece > Best Hotels
by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 4, 2018

The best luxury hotels in Greece are in Santorini, Mykonos, and Athens but good quality 5 star hotels can be found on every island. Most hotels on the Greek islands (from budget to luxury) close for a few months during the winter.

1. Grace Hotel – Santorini

Best Luxury Hotel in Greece and Greek Islands.
The absolute best hotel in Greece. Pure luxury, incredible views, private pools, and warm friendly service. Great location too. My favorite hotel in Greece. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 021300)

2. Myconian Ambassador Hotel & Spa – Mykonos

Best Hotels in Platys Gialos, Mykonos, Cycladic Islands.
I love this place. An easy walk to one of Mykonos’s best beaches. Views from the pool are awesome. (Hotel phone: +30 2289 024166)

3. Katikies – Santorini

Best Luxury Honeymoon Hotel in Oia, Santorini.
The best hotel in the charming town of Oia. 3 gorgeous infinity pools. Shopping and restaurants are an easy stroll along the caldera path. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 071401)

4. Grande Bretagne – Athens

Grande Bretagne Luxury Hotels in Athens.
Old-world European charm. This will sound corny but when I’m at this hotel, I really don’t want to leave. (Hotel phone: +30 21 0333 0000)

5. Melenos Lindos Exclusive Suites – Rhodes

Melenos Boutique Luxury Hotel in Lindos Rhodes.
Simple luxury on a beautiful stretch of coastline. Wonderful beaches are in every direction. (Hotel phone: +30 2244 032222)

6. Caramel Grecotel Boutique Resort – Crete

Best Luxury Hotel on the Beach in Crete.
Probably the best true beach hotel in Greece. The charming town of Rethymnon is within a short drive (or long walk). (Hotel phone: +30 2831 071803)

7. Elounda Beach Hotel – Crete

Best Luxury Honeymoon Hotel in Crete.
Elounda is a magical little beach town and this is a top notch resort. One of those places you’re pretty much guaranteed to love. (Hotel phone: +30 2841 063000)

8. Mykonos Blu – Mykonos

Best Honeymoon Luxury Hotel in Mykonos, Greece.
Smack between two of the best beaches on Mykonos, the Blu has great service, great views, great vibe. (Hotel phone: +30 2289 027900)

9. Nissaki Beach Hotel – Naxos

Nissaki Beach Luxury Hotel in Naxos.
Steps from a very good beach and a short walk to the wonderful village of Naxos Town. This is the most family-friendly of any luxury hotel in Greece. (Hotel phone: +30 2285 025710)

10. Cosmopolitan Suites – Santorini

Best Boutique Hotels in Fira, Santorini.
If you want a hip, cool hotel close to nightlife and restaurants then this is it. Infinity pool offers wonderful views of the volcano. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 025632)

Paros or Naxos – Where to Go

Home > Greece > Naxos or Paros
by Santorini Dave • Updated: June 4, 2018

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Paros and Naxos are 2 of my favorite islands in Greece. When people ask what island to visit in Greece my first answer is Santorini and my 2nd is usually Naxos or Paros (with Crete close behind – though Crete requires at least one to two weeks to fully explore). Both Paros and Naxos have better beaches than Santorini.

Both Naxos and Paros are a short ferry ride from Santorini. If you’re considering visiting another island after Santorini then Naxos and Paros should be at the top of your list. The following is an excerpt from a travel forum from a long-time resident of Greece that I’ve lightly edited (with permission, of course).

Paros or Naxos – Summary

  • Both have great beaches but Naxos has slightly better ones.
  • Both have amazing restaurants that serve wonderful local food.
  • Paros has a better nightlife and feels a little trendier with more boutique hotels.
  • Naxos is slightly more family-friendly.

Paros vs Naxos

This is not a question of which is the “better” island. But which is the most suitable? Suitable for your interests, requirements, and limitations on the particular trip. What is suitable for someone in one trip may not be suitable to the same person on another trip, and of course what is suitable to one person may not be suitable to someone else…

Paros and Naxos are very similar in some aspects, very different on others.

Size and characteristics

Naxos is the 2nd larger island on Cyclades, Paros the 3rd. Both are quite large. Naxos has a mountainous interior, Paros has a hilly interior. In both islands, there are great beaches to be found all around their periphery. Both islands are quite fertile comparing to other islands, but mostly Naxos keeps the agriculture tradition alive, while on Paros more and more people quit these occupations and rely on tourism. On both islands, there are people living from herding and fishing, not so many as they used to some years ago.

Naxos Town (The Chora).

Naxos Town is the wonderful capital and main port of Naxos.

Orientation and Moving Around

On Paros center of activity for locals is the capital town, Parikia, but a huge part of economic life, trades and services is to be found in Naoussa too. On Naxos, the center of activity is Chora (Naxos Town). Parikia and Naoussa are port towns, but Parikia seems a bit more chaotic, because Paros is the ultimate ferry hub of the Cyclades and not only, and it gets a lot of ferry traffic. Furthermore, maybe due to altitude and local architecture characteristics, the “couleur local” is more obvious when approaching Naxos Town, while you have to explore more in-depth Parikia to discover its charm. Both towns have their old town part, with Cycladic architecture, narrow lanes, arcs, and a Castro area. Both towns have very decent sandy beach attached to them. Naoussa is a very scenic little port with a tiny Venetian “castle” ruin, backed up by the old Naoussa Town with its charming lanes and arcs etc, and an expanding surrounding area, highly commercialized.

Parikia, the largest town on Paros.

Parikia, the largest town on Paros.

Moving around on Public Transport is much easier in Paros than on Naxos. There are many buses per day, starting early morning departing Parikia and Naoussa towards most parts of the island, especially during high season, making life easier for visitors wanting to explore villages, beaches etc. On Naxos, bus schedules don’t take into consideration a visitor’s wishes. Buses are oriented towards serving the local population, so most early buses depart from other parts of Naxos towards the Chora, and later on afternoon there are buses from Chora to the villages, making life easier for locals, but difficult for visitors. Exception on this rule is the excellent bus route connecting Chora to Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna and Plaka, and sometimes even more southern beaches.

Car/moto hire is widely available in both islands. The road system is very decent too. Paros is flatter, and most of the inhabited parts of the island are to be found by the coast. It is easy to do an all around the island tour on a day. Naxos is much more mountainous and its town and villages are spread all around the place. There isn’t an all around the island circular route really. Road network is better on the west coast where most of the activity is located, while there are a lot of curves as you move inland. In order to reach the villages and beaches on the east, you have to climb up the mountain Zas and go down the other way. Roads on this side of the island are full of hairpin curves, while when on the east coast if you want to explore further than the actual towns, you have to use bumpy unsurfaced roads. The same applies of course to the very south of the island, and part of the very north of the island.

On Paros, boat “taxis” connect Parikia and Naoussa with near by beaches.

Villages

Most towns/villages on Paros are to be found on sea-side locations. Due to good travel network and exactly their particular location, most of them have some tourism involved, which is very basic and low-key in places such as Drios or Aliki, or a bit more evident as in Punda Beach and more recently Pounda Antiparou and Piso Livadi. There are some inland villages too, more notable been Lefkes of course. Lefkes is a very beautiful traditional village, well-kept and very developed recently in a good way- some high-quality shops and galleries around, taverns keeping the traditional ways, citizens coming back to renovate their old houses according to local architecture etc.

Naoussa on Paros.

Naoussa on Paros.

On Naxos, maybe most villages are to be found inland rather than sea-side. There are seaside resorts such as Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna, which already charming have gone maybe a bit too commercial, but in general, most places on Naxos are untouched by tourism and preserve a strong local character and their own pace of life. There are some seaside towns such as Apollonas that get some amount of visitors, but places such as Lionas or Moutsouna, maybe because they are hard to reach, remain mainly the same as they used to be 20 years ago. Some inland villages such as Halki and Filoti or Apiranthos, take a fair amount of daily visitors, while others such as Potamia villages hardy see any tourist. Time seems to stand still in villages such as Koronos.

Beaches

Both islands are famous for their nice beaches, mostly sandy ones. But there are any kind of beach one could favor in both islands. On Paros there are super-busy organized places such as Punda Beach or Santa Maria or the popular Golden Beach, while on Naxos there is St George Beach, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, Plaka… On Paros there is the (still) unorganized quaint Molos – with its neighborhood Kalogiros beach where one can cover oneself with a therapeutic mold – or Tripiti and Glyfa where one can often be alone, while on Naxos there are Kastraki, Pyrgaki, Mikri Vigli, Aliki or even Ayiassos. On Paros there is nudism at Laggeri while on Naxos at Plaka.

The difference on Paros is that most locals advertise even the smallest beach such as Farangas or Lolandonis, while on Naxos, if you want to go a bit off the beaten track you have to discover everything your self. Beaches such as Kalandos, Hilia Vrisi, Pinelo or Psili Ammos are rarely mentioned on Naxos, although they rate from very decent to excellent ones. On both islands you can discover your own favorite place, as there are small coves and beaches almost everywhere.

Plaka Beach on Naxos.

Plaka Beach on Naxos.

Archeological Museums and Ancient Sites

Both islands share a very common ancient history, and n both places important artifacts have been discovers. Both Parikia and Naxos have one small but very interesting archeological museum each. On both towns there is one ancient site, important but not hugely impressive (the one in Naxos covered, the one on Parikia just railed around.Both free). I may be wrong as I didn’t have time to explore to a huge extent this aspect on Paros, but although there are many ancient locations identified as such, there is not much left to see. For example you follow signs to ancient Akropolis Koukounaries above Kolybithres beach, towards Kamares village, and you see literally nothing. Naxos does not have a highly impressive site, but there is, of course, the charming Portara, and there are various sites all over the island, such as the various Kouros, ancient Iria, Temple of Demeter, and ancient aqueduct.

Churches and Monasteries

In terms of religious importance for Greek Orthodox, Paros wins hand down due to Panayia Ekantotapyliani church. Both islands have many monasteries around, like the scenic Moni tou Christou tou Dasous near the Petaloudes park with its friendly nuns, and the very rich Moni Logovardas where monks deny access to visitors. Naxos has its own monasteries such as Agios Ioannis Chrisostomos for example. As everywhere on Cyclades, everywhere you can see small churches, from 2-3 churches next to each other on a small village to one church standing alone at the top of a rock. Although I am not an expert on this field, I know there are very old churches especially on Marpissa, Prodromos, Marmara area. On Naxos there are various old churches, for example Panayia Drosiani dates back from the 6th century. Although churches are not my thing at all, I prefer Naxos because most of interesting churches are to be found on unique landscapes, and retain its original features, while in Paros they are mostly inside towns and they are heavily restored. Panayia Ekantodapyliani for example is supposed to be built by St Constantine following the wishes of his mother St Heleni, and this been true or not, it’s really dated back from the 3rd or 4th century. There are some very old frescos etc, but in general although impressive, it seems like a modern church to me nowadays.

Sports and Activities

Both islands are famous for their windsurfing which is mainly located on the west beaches on Paros, east beaches of Naxos, not only die to the winds, but also due to the stream between the two islands. Popular windsurfing centers are on Golden Beach and New golden beach on Paros and on St George beach and Plaka on Naxos, but in other beaches in both islands too. Waterski is to be found in both places too, mostly in St George in Naxos, maybe a bit more on Paros, mainly on Kolibithres and Santa Maria beaches. Kitesurfing in to be found too, mainly on Pounda on Paros and Mikri Vigla on Naxos. There are diving centers in both islands, Agios Prokopios, Plaka on Naxos, Golden Beach, Santa Maria on Paros. In both islands there is horseriding, mostly in Naousa on Paros and Agia Anna on Naxos. Paros a tennis club in Agia Irene area south of Parikia, while as far as I am aware of, there are tennis courts only in one or two hotels on Naxos. In both islands there is sailing, mostly in St George area on Naxos, Parikia on Paros. Kayaking, rings, bananas etc are to be found in the same areas and even some more. There is good hiking on both islands, I believe though that Naxos wins a bit on this aspect. On Paros there is the Vyzanine trail from Lefkes to Prodrommos which is well-signposted, then there are some routes such as Logaras to Drios, but not much more, while on Naxos, although less organized, there are many more hiking opportunities. Mountain Zas climb, Potamia area and so on.

Other activities – Museums – Galleries

On Naxos, there is Kitron distillery on Halki. On Paros, there is winery on Naoussa.

On both islands there are plenty of small museums on various subjects. Near Aliki on Paros, a local artist-Benetos Skadas- created a small museum with miniatures of fishing boats, well-known buildings etc, various old-time items etc. In Naoussa in Agios Athanasios exhibit hall, there are important byzantine icons. There is a small folklore museum with local dresses etc hidden in the back lanes of the same town. Attached to Panayia Ekatontapyliani in Parikia there is a small museum with a collection of ecclesiastical items.

On Naxos Town there is the Venetian Museum of course. In Apiranthos there are three interesting small museums, the archeological one, the geological one and the folk art one.

In both islands there are some art galleries, such as Apothiki in Parikia and Medousa in Naoussa, and the Petalouda Art on Naxos Town.

Local Products

Both islands produce decent wines, olives, olive oil. Moraitis wine is a quite strong brand name locally on Paros. Paros produce a local spirit called Souma, similar to Raki/Tsipouro. Naxos produce Kitron and there are 3-4 flavors, and 2-3 brand names, Valindras been the most famous. In both islands local pastries and desserts such as spoon desserts, amygdalota, loukoumades, jams etc are widely available, Hamilothoris been a favorable brand name on Paros. Both island have an excellent dairy products. Naxos is famous for its cheeses: kefalotyri, anthotiro, graviera, feta and especially mizithra and xinomizithra. Although it is not known so widely, the same cheeses of high quality are produced on Paros too.

Naxos produce a large quantity of potatoes every year.

Paros produce a small but high quality amount of chick peas that are cooked in various ways all over the island.

In both islands there are some local workshops offering pieces of art, especially pottery. Yria Ceramics on Paros and Fish & Olive pottery on Naxos come immediately to mind.

Paros and Naxos marble and emery are very well-known all over the world, in both islands the marble quarries are accessible to public and on Naxos one can see remaining infrastructure of the emery industry in Moutsouna and Lionas.

Day Trips

Both islands share identical and common excursions to Delos/Mykonos, Santorini, Iraklia/Koufonisia. On Paros there is an island bus tour taking in Antiparos town too. On Naxos there is a bus tour as well, taking in all the important spots (minus the Antiparos of course). On Naxos there is boat trip taking in various beaches all around the island, while there is not such a tour on Paros – I guess because all beaches are easily accessible on a vehicle, which is not the case on Naxos. But on Paros there are boat trips taking in Antiparos and Despotiko.

Food – Local specialities

On both islands the food is absolutely fantastic! The fact there are so many ingredients produced on the islands themselves adds to the quality. For example, a favored dish on both islands is mizithropitakia – small mizithra pies – while in many places especially on Paros, Greek salad is served with local xinomizithra instead of feta cheese. Chick-peas dishes, especially the traditional slow-cooked in a clay oven, are a favorite dish on Paros, while gouna fish, dried in the sun is a favored in Naxos among other great seafood.

Accommodation

On both islands there are many different types of accommodation, from camp sites to rooms to let, to mid-ranged hotel to very expensive hotels. There are a couple of large all-inclusive hotels such as Naxos Imperial or Porto Paros, but in general there are not very large complexes, so be aware. Furthermore, no matter how some hotels advertise themselves, there are not super-luxurious hotels of American standards like the ones you may find on parts of Crete, Santorini or Mykonos. Accommodation in general is more down to earth on Cyclades. On Paros, some form of accommodation is to be found in most areas though, while on Naxos you will mainly find accommodation on the western part of the island. Upper-class accommodation on Paros is mostly located on Parasporos beach near Parikia and on Kolibithres/Monastiri beach near Naoussa. On Naxos upper-class accommodation is mainly located around St George beach, Stelida area and Agios Prokopios. Budget accommodation such as studios, rooms to let and small B&Bs are to be found in both islands, especially Parikia on Paros and St George beach on Naxos, but not only. My own very personal opinion is that Naxos is slightly more budget-friendly, with better value for money on those types of accommodation. Studios with a kitchenette are more common on Naxos too. Seasonal house rentals and villas rentals are more common on Paros, but they are the type of villas that are addressed to rich celebrities mostly. A private house rental in Myti near Farangas, can cost up to 25000 euros/week, with daily maid service and some champagne included of course.

Self Catering – Eating Out

Both islands have a large year around population. So there are brunches of large chain supermarkets on both, which in general are cheaper than the local ones. DIA and Atlantic are to be found on both islands, on Paros there is Carrefour Marinopoulos too. On Naxos, local chain Koutelieris offer decent prices and very decent variety of products too.

In terms of quality, of course it worth to purchase cheese, wine, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables from the local stores.

For breakfast, most hotels will welcome non-residents, but there are many places in both islands offering breakfast, especially in seafront locations – I’ll just mention the great Rendez-Vous Cafe on Naxos Town.

Restaurant and Taverns serving food of very high quality is to be found everywhere on both islands, even the smaller village will have at least one tavern. On my personal experience, on Naxos, portions seem to be huge and bill seem to be small, while on Paros usually it is the other way around. Of course there are some hidden gems on Paros, and some not so decent places on Naxos, so… My opinion is that Paros is a bit more pricey island in general.

On both islands there are the ever-present souvlaki/gyros places, some creperies, pizzerias, places offering sandwiches etc. In Parikia town there is a Goody’s eatery too. For those who don’t know what I am talking about, Goody’s is the strongest Greek fast food brand name, something like a Greek McDonalds, just a bit healthier. I hear there was a Goody’s on Naxos Town a few years ago, but it closed down. It must be the only Goody’s ever that opened somewhere but didn’t make it!

On both islands there are other cuisines to be found. Except for the popular pizzeria/trattoria places that are to be found almost everywhere in Greece anyway, there is a Mexican and an Asian restaurant on Naxos, while there is a very good TAI on Paros.

Last but not least, when talking about food, lets not forget the popular bakery/pastry shops in both islands for a quick snack. And for desserts, I strongly suggest a visit to Waffle House on Naxos Town and a visit to Hamilothoris Zaharoplastio on Naoussa or some honey puffs-loukoumades from “Paradosiako” in Naoussa’s back lanes again.

Nightlife

Both islands have a very decent nightlife. Naxos is more low-key with most of bars, a few nightclubs and a bouzoukia place located in Naxos Town. Parikia in Paros is considered the most lively spot of the island all year, with Naoussa a close second. Actually, although foreign visitors consider Parikia the center of the night activity, Greeks consider Naoussa the hot spot of the island! Punda Beach – a complex of shopping, restaurants, beach bars and swimming pool, often hosts various DJ sets and events. There are a few bars staying open until late especially in high season in most places, eg Piso Livadi, Druos, Aliki, even Lefkes. On Naxos the same applies to Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, Plaka, Apollonas. Both islands get very busy after middle July till 20th of August and although there are some party goers on both islands, Naxos is more oriented to families and couples, while Paros welcomes a large amount of young people. So things on Paros get a bit wilder.

Events

Both islands enjoy a variety of cultural venues. In Chora, the privately owned Venetian Castle organizes concerts, recitals and traditional Greek night. In the countryside, in Bazeos Tower there are many exhibitions all summer, and often concerts are taking place there too. Of course there are many festivals with live greek music and dance all around the island on various dates, such as the 17th July Agia Marina festival in Koronos or the Agios Ioannis 29th August festival on Apiranthos. Usually, around the end of June, a Beach Volleyball Tournament takes place on St George beach.

On Paros, there are many many events and local festivities organized by the local authorities all summer. For example the Fish & Wine Fair the first Sunday of July in Naoussa, the 15th August Panayia Ekatodapyliani celebrations and the famous pirate night on 23rd August in Naousa. There are various events and recitals organized at the Paros Cultural Park Ai Giannis Detis too. The Aegean Sailing Rally passes Paros. Both islands are often visited by famous Greek and foreign artists, maybe Paros slightly more. Both islands are well-known for their local musicians, especially Naxos with its great violin players.

photo credits

See Also

Mykonos Family Hotels

Home > Greece > Mykonos > Hotels for Families
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 29, 2018

mykonos-with-kids-family-hotels-beach

Mykonos with Kids – Where To Stay

  • Most kids and families will want to stay on the beaches of Ornos or Platys Gialos – great sand, swimming, hotels, and beach restaurants.
  • Personally, I love staying in Mykonos Town (filled with shops, cafes, restaurants, and clubs). The nightlife starts late and is easy to avoid for families.

The 15 Best Hotels for Families in Mykonos

Good family-friendly hotel on Mykonos Beach.

The Petinos Beach Hotel: The best kid-friendly hotel on a beach in Mykonos.

Petinos Beach Hotel – Platys Gialos

Beautiful hotel with a nice pool located right on Platys Gialos beach. Family suites have 1 double bed and 2 sofa beds. Breakfast is served at their restaurant on the beach.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 022913)

Semeli Hotel – Mykonos Town

Awesome location: a 2-minute walk from shops and restaurants of Mykonos Town. (Located within the pedestrian zone, so no busy streets to cross.) Pool is wonderful. Semeli and Executive suites are large, luxurious, and great for families.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 027466)

Mykonos View Hotel – Mykonos Town

The apartments have small kitchens, 2 bedrooms, and comfortably sleep 4. Pool and deck have incredible views. Close to town but a good climb to get back to the hotel (hence the great view).
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 024045)

Hotel Carbonaki – Mykonos Town

Located in the heart of Mykonos Town (whether this is magical or chaotic will depend on your preferences, personally I love it). The quadruple rooms have 4 beds and are great value for a Mykonos hotel.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 022461)

Cavo Tagoo – Mykonos Town

A boutique hotel with a trendy feel. (Not the place if your kids like doing canonballs into the swimming pool). The 1 and 2 bedroom villas with private pool are the most luxurious suites in Mykonos Town.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 020100)

Porto Mykonos Hotel – Mykonos Town

The Windmill Suite is fun for kids – and pretty darn unique (yes, it’s an actual windmill). The suite is divided into 3 floors (with steep steps), the upper 2 floors are bedrooms. The hotel is across from the Old Port and great if you arrive or depart by SeaJet. But, I’d only stay here if it was to experience the Windmill Suite. The other rooms are fine but not great value.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 022454)

Hotel Mykonos Beach – Mykonos Town

This is the best value hotel on Mykonos. Steps from a good (though not amazing) beach and a short walk to Mykonos Town (but along a busyish road with no sidewalk). There’s a good local tavern just out the door. Quadruple rooms have 1 double bed and 2 singles.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 022572)

Petinos Hotel – Platys Gialos

The sister hotel of Petinos Beach (you can use their pool for free). Most rooms are located a short walk up the road away from the beach. The apartments and family suites are good value for the location. There’s also a 2-bedroom apartment with kitchen that they rent but this is located in Mykonos Town.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 022127)

Palladium Hotel – Platys Gialos

Beautiful hotel with nice pool but not right on the beach. (It’s a 5 to 8 minute walk to Platys Gialos beach.) Family rooms and suites are a good size for families.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 025926)

Nissaki Hotel – Platys Gialos

Beautiful hotel with stunning views of Psarou beach (even though you’re closer to Platys Gialos). The 2-bedroom villas sleep 4. The 3-bedroom villas sleep 6.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 027666)

Hotel Kamari – Platys Gialos

Great pool and a 3 minute walk to the beach. Family rooms are large and inexpensive for being so close to the beach.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 023424)

Santa Marina Resort & Villas – Ornos

The villas are some of the most luxurious on Mykonos (and they get fully booked months in advance). Villas come with 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms and some have private infinity pools. The cove here is as close to a private beach as you’ll find in Greece.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 023220)

Filoxenia Apartments – Ornos

The 1-bedroom apartments have 4 small beds, and are clean and inexpensive for this great location: steps from beautiful Ornos beach.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 026726)

Saint John Hotel Villas & Spa – Agios Ioannis

There are one-bedroom villas that sleep 6, six-bedroom villas that sleep 12, and everything in between. This is a 4 star resort with a beautiful pool. It doesn’t have a ton of character, but if you have a large group the huge villas are perfect.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 028752)

Arte & Mare Elia Mykonos Suites – Elia

Located on quiet Elia Beach, this hotel is perfect if you want a relaxing beach location, but perhaps too quiet and far from Mykonos Town if you want to experience the Mykonos buzz. Family suites are beautiful and sleep 6.
(Hotel phone: +30 2289 072002)

See Also

How to Get to Santorini

Home > Greece > Santorini > Getting There
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 25, 2018

  • FerryHopper.com is the best way to research ferry schedules and book tickets for ferries in Greece.
  • The earlier you can book hotels and flights the better (4 to 8 months in advance). Ferries can be booked a little later, say 1 to 3 months in advance.

See Also

How To Get To Santorini

The morning ferry from Athens to Santorini. Most ferries to Santorini (but not all) leave between 7am and 8am from the Piraeus ferry port. Flying to Santorini is faster but the ferry is more fun and unique. I also find ferry travel more relaxed and hassle-free than the stress of airport crowds and security checks.

How To Get To Santorini from Athens

  • Step 1: Get to Athens – there are many cheap flights from western Europe.
  • Step 2: Buy ferry ticket – book online, at a travel agent in Athens, or at the ferry port.
  • Step 3: Take the metro to the Piraeus ferry port. Most ferries leave in the morning, plan to arrive 1 hour in advance.
  • Step 4: Enjoy the ride to Santorini. Views as you enter the caldera are wonderful.

How To Get To Santorini from London

  • Step 1: Search for direct flights on Kayak.com. Buy the cheapest flight as there’s no difference in quality between the airlines.
  • Step 2: If there are no good direct flights search for flights via Athens, Paris, Rome, Naples, or Venice.
  • Step 3: If you want to spend time in Athens fly to Athens, then ferry to Santorini.
  • Step 4: When you arrive in Santorini take a short bus or taxi ride to Fira, Oia, or whatever town you’re staying in. (The island is small and all towns are less than 40 minutes away.)

How To Get To Santorini from Paris

  • Step 1: Search for direct flights on Kayak.com. Buy the cheapest flight as there’s no difference in quality between the airlines.
  • Step 2: If there are no good direct flights search for flights via Athens, Rome, Naples, or Venice.
  • Step 3: If you want to spend time in Athens fly to Athens, then ferry to Santorini.
  • Step 4: When you arrive in Santorini take a short bus or taxi ride to Fira, Oia, or whatever town you’re staying in. (The island is small and all towns are less than 40 minutes away.)

How To Get To Santorini from Italy

  • Step 1: Search for direct flights to Santorini from Rome, Naples, Pisa, Milan, or Venice on Kayak.com. Buy the cheapest flight as there’s no difference in quality between the airlines.
  • Step 2: If there are no good direct flights search for flights via Athens, Mykonos, or Crete.
  • Step 3: If you want to spend time in Athens fly to Athens, then ferry to Santorini.
  • Step 4: When you arrive in Santorini take a short bus or taxi ride to Fira, Oia, or whatever town you’re staying in. (The island is small and all towns are less than 40 minutes away.)

How To Get To Santorini from Crete

  • Step 1: There are usually no direct flights from Crete to Santorini. If you still want to fly search for flights via Athens on Kayak.com.
  • Step 2: Book tickets on either Hellenic Seaways or Sea Jets ferries.
  • Step 3: Arrive at Heraklion ferry port 45 minutes in advance to pick up tickets from ticket kiosk (located directly beside departing ferries).
  • Step 4: When you arrive at the Santorini ferry port take a short bus ride to Fira (then switch buses if you’re going somewhere other than Fira) or taxi ride to Fira, Oia, or whatever town you’re staying in. (The island is small and all towns are less than 40 minutes away.)

How To Get To Santorini from Rhodes

  • Step 1: There are usually no direct flights from Rhodes to Santorini. If you still want to fly search for flights via Athens on Kayak.com.
  • Step 2: Book tickets on a Blue Star ferry (usually the only ferry between Rhodes and Santorini).
  • Step 3: Arrive at Rhodes Town ferry port 45 minutes in advance to pick up tickets from ticket kiosk (located near departing ferries).
  • Step 4: When you arrive at the Santorini ferry port take a short bus ride to Fira (then switch buses if you’re going somewhere other than Fira) or taxi ride to Fira, Oia, or whatever town you’re staying in. (The island is small and all towns are less than 40 minutes away.)

How To Get To Santorini from Mykonos

  • Step 1: There are usually no direct flights from Mykonos to Santorini. If you still want to fly search for flights via Athens on Kayak.com.
  • Step 2: Book tickets on either Hellenic Seaways or Sea Jets ferries.
  • Step 3: Pickup tickets at designated travel agent in Mykonos Town (different for each ferry company).
  • Step 4: Be sure you know which ferry port your ferry departs from. Most ferries depart from the new ferry port (a 10 minute bus ride from Mykonos Town) but some smaller catamarans depart from the Mykonos Town ferry port (walking distance from town).
  • Step 5: Arrive at appropriate ferry port 30 minutes in advance.
  • Step 6: When you arrive at the Santorini ferry port take a short bus ride to Fira (then switch buses if you’re going somewhere other than Fira) or taxi ride to Fira, Oia, or whatever town you’re staying in. (The island is small and all towns are less than 40 minutes away.)

How To Get To Santorini from The US and Canada

  • Step 1: Search for direct flights to Athens on Kayak.com. Usually, Toronto and New York have direct flights to Athens, other cities will need to fly via Toronto, New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, or Frankfurt.
  • Step 2: Search for flights from Athens (or a hub city in western Europe) to Santorini. There are no direct flights from North America to Santorini.
  • Step 3: If you want to spend time in Athens fly to Athens, then ferry to Santorini.
  • Step 4: When you arrive in Santorini take a short bus or taxi ride to Fira, Oia, or whatever town you’re staying in. (The island is small and all towns are less than 40 minutes away.)

What’s the best way to get to Santorini?

Flying to Santorini is the quickest and easiest way. You can fly to Santorini from Athens or directly from cities in western Europe such as London, Manchester, Paris, and Amsterdam.

But there are no direct flights to Santorini from other Greek islands – though this changes from year to year and some summers there will be flights from Mykonos, Rhodes, or Heraklion (Crete) to Santorini.

If you’re already in the center of Athens it can be easier to take a high speed ferry or catamaran from Piraeus (the Athens port) than to deal with getting to the airport and through security. But flying would still be a few hours faster.

The big advantage of flying to Santorini is that it’s much easier to book flights in advance than to book ferries in advance. But if you’re on a flexible schedule or you’re already in Greece (and can book the ferry at a travel agency) it’s very easy to book ferry tickets. It’s the booking in advance, figuring out routes and timetables from outside the country, that makes ferry planning difficult (though online booking has improved the last few years).

Arriving by ferry in Santorini is a great experience. The cliffs loom over your boat and it’s a really awesome first impression of the island. (Less so if you arrive by a high speed ferry as you’re trapped inside, behind sea-sprayed windows.) On the Blue Star ferry you can wander the decks and you’ll have a great view of the volcano and caldera. The Blue Star ferry from Athens to Santorini runs 365 days a year.

There are also high speed ferries and catamarans to Santorini, most often on Hellenic Seaways and Sea Jets ferries. These ferries do not run in the off-season and in the shoulder season they can be smaller catamarans that can have a very bumpy ride. In summer they are usually larger ferries. But if you’re very concerned about seasickness then take the Blue Star.

There are cabins available on the Blue Star ferry to Santorini. But since the most popular ferry leaves form Athens early in the morning it’s silly to spend the time in a cabin when you could be walking the decks and enjoying the view of passing islands. A 2nd class or “deck” ticket is the cheapest ticket. For an extra few euros you can reserve an airplane style seat which is what I recommend doing.

A good compromise between flying and ferry is to take the ferry to Santorini and then fly back. It does take some planning to find the right tickets but the perfect route is to fly to Athens, ferry to Santorini (perhaps stopping at a few islands along the way), then flying from Santorini back to Athens – or fly directly from Athens to Western Europe as you will have already been to Athens and don’t need to visit again.

If you’re island hopping Santorini has good connections with most of the other popular islands like Crete, Mykonos, Naxos, and Paros. Rhodes is more difficult to get to from Santorini (and a longer ferry ride) but still doable.

There are no direct ferries or flights from Santorini to Istanbul. If you want to travel from Santorini to Istanbul the quickest and easiest way is to fly to Athens and then fly to Istanbul. If you want to take the ferry from Santorini to Turkey the easiest route is to ferry to Rhodes (usually an overnight ferry when a cabin would be recommended) and then a short 90 minute ferry to Marmaris on the Turkish coast. Ferries between Santorini and Rhodes run 2 or 3 times per week and take 7 to 15 hours.

How do I get from the Santorini airport to Fira, Oia, and the rest of the island?

  • Taxi – The easiest and quickest way to get into Fira and to the rest of the island is by taxi. There will always be taxis available at the airport though it can involve a long wait (especially if 2 flights arrive at the same time). It costs about 15 euros to Fira and 20 to 25 euros to go to the rest of the island. Taxi rates and reservation info. Taxi phone number: 22860-22555.
  • Bus – In high season (roughly June to September) buses run every hour between Fira and the airport. Most of these buses are running the Fira to Monolithos route and make a stop at the airport – although there might be a few additional buses each day that do only the Fira to airport run. There are fewer buses on the weekend and also fewer buses during the low season. It takes about 15 minutes to get from the airport to Fira by bus and costs about 2 euros. Plan to have small change available so that you don’t need to ask for change from a 50 euro note. If you want to go anywhere else other than Fira (or Monolithos) you’ll need to change buses in Fira (which is easy enough, but time consuming).
  • Minivan/Airport Transfer – This is a good choice for singles going anywhere or couples going to a town other than Fira (if there are no buses or you don’t want to take a bus). But for 3 or more it’s cheaper to take a taxi as the fare is about 9 euros/per person. Contact Santorini Transfers to arrange pick up at the airport or your hotel.
  • Hotel Pickup – If your hotel offers free pickup and dropoff be sure to take advantage. Most do charge but as long as it’s close to the taxi rate it’s a good choice.
  • Rental Car – If you’re planning to rent a car in Santorini you can pickup at the airport on arrival and then save yourself the cost of transportation to your hotel. But, if you’re arriving at night I wouldn’t recommend dealing with finding your hotel (and parking) in the dark. Just taxi to your hotel then get your rental car the next day.

How do I get to and from the ferry port in Santorini?

    All ferries arrive at Athinios port. Getting from the port to any town is easy and shouldn’t cause any anxiety. You can do absolutely no pre-arranging of pickup details and you’ll get to your hotel just fine. (It’s more important to pre-arrange transportation to the port then from the port.)

  • Bus – There will always be a bus waiting as your ferry arrives at the port no matter what time of day or night. If you’re staying in a town other than Fira you’ll need to get to Fira first and then switch buses there. The cost form the port to Fira is about 2 euros. The bus from the port to Fira takes about 20 minutes and drops you at the bus station in the middle of Fira. The bus, like all buses on Santorini, is air conditioned and has plenty of room for luggage. A bus leaves from Fira to the ferry port about 1 hour before every ferry departure and arrival (a schedule of bus departures from Fira is posted 1 or 2 days before and is based on the arriving ferries).
  • Taxi – There will usually be taxis waiting as ferries arrive but if it’s late at night you might want to arrange pickup in advance. It costs about 15 euros from the ferry port to Fira, 25 euros from the ferry port to Oia, and somewhere in-between to go anywhere else on the island. A taxi ride from the port to Fira takes about 15 minutes. Taxis going to the port can be hard to find. When people miss the bus to the port (which leaves about 1 hour before each ferry arrival) then the rush to grab a taxi begins. Taxi phone number: 22860-22555.
  • Hotel Transfer – Many hotels provide transportation from the port to their hotel. For some it’s free, for others it’s charged at a rate similar to a taxi or a bit more. Don’t bother pre-arranging pickup months in advance (when you book your hotel). Send an email to your hotel a few days before so the pickup details are fresh in their minds.
  • Rental Car – If you’re planning to rent a car in Santorini don’t pickup from the ferry port. Take a bus, taxi, or hotel transfer and then pickup your rental car in Fira or Oia.
  • Cruise Ships – If you’re arriving on a Santorini cruise you’ll be tendered in a small boat from the ship to the Skalafira port directly below Fira. From there you can either climb the steps (a lot of them) or take a cable car (which will probably involve waiting some time in a line). There are also donkey rides up the path you walk but many find their use offensive so be prepared for some dirty looks by people who don’t think donkeys should be used (abused) in this manner.

See Also

The Walk from Fira to Oia

Updated: May 24, 2018

See Also

Things To Know About Hiking from Fira to Oia

  • The Fira-Oia Hike is a highlight of visiting Santorini. It takes you along the caldera cliff and through the villages of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia.
  • The hike takes between 2 and 5 hours depending on how fast you walk and how often you stop. If you do a side trip to Skaros Rock it will add at least an hour.
  • The hiking trail from Fira to Oia is just under 10.5km (6.5 miles). Part of the path is similar to a sidewalk, parts are cobblestone, and parts are a dirt path. There is a good climb in both directions.
  • Elevation along the route: Oia 130 meters; Imerovigli 350 meters (the highest point on the hike); Fira 270 meters. These elevations are a little deceiving. The climb from Oia to Imerovigli is long and gradual so you don’t notice it as much. The climb from Fira to Imerovigli is short and steep.
  • Best Walking Tour: Fira to Oia: Caldera Walking Tour – Starts from Fira and takes you on the most scenic route to Oia. They do hotel pickup and drop off. Note: You don’t have to do a tour (it’s fairly easy to figure out the route on your own) but doing one will make it more rewarding, interesting, and memorable.
  • In summer, start early. It gets hot by 11am.
  • Buy water the day before as there won’t be much open if you start early in the morning. There are places to buy drinks along the way but it’s much easier to begin the trip with water and not have to worry about finding an open market.
  • Most 7 year-olds would have no trouble completing the walk in terms of difficulty (i.e. the quality of the path) but it is a long walk.
  • Do not take a baby stroller on the hike.
  • It’s easy to get a little lost on the Oia-Fira walk. But it’s hard to get really lost. Most of the time you can see the next town or landmark up ahead on the caldera cliff and if you’re walking in that direction you’re going to get there eventually.
  • There are small shops to buy water and snacks in Firostefani and Imerovigli (assuming they’ve opened for the day).
  • Between Imerovigli and Oia there are two shops/cafes but they aren’t always open.
  • From June to September return buses between Oia and Fira will be busy in the afternoon and taxis hard to find. A good option is to grab a taxi or take a bus in the morning (before your walk starts) and then walk back to your starting point (i.e. your hotel).
  • If you enter “Fira to Oia” into Google Maps and then click the walk icon, the route you get will take the most direct route that misses some of the best views. If you’re walking on the road (with cars) you’re doing it wrong. You should be on a footpath almost all of the way. The main exception is between Oia and Imerovigli when you need to walk along the road for a short stretch.
  • Good restaurants to stop at on the Fira to Oia walk are Avocado in Imerovigli (open lunch and dinner) and Cafe Galini in Firostefani (open breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

Fira To Oia Walk – Tips

Start of Fira to Oia Walk

The “start” of the path begins in the square beside Hotel Atlantis in Fira.

Hiking trail from Fira to Oia.

Then start walking north. You might make a few wrong turns as you try to get out of Fira. But there are a couple of signs and you’ll figure it out. (In general, go up, not down, as you’re starting out from Fira.) Keep moving north towards Skaros Rock (the big hump of rock you see there to the left).

Start of Fira to Oia route.

This is the main square/main street of Fira. If you use Google Maps it might start you from this spot and send you walking north along the main road. But you don’t want to be here. You want to be on the caldera footpath 100 meters to the west.

Fira to Oia Walk

The path out of Fira starts with a steep climb before you reach the next village (Firostefani), then it levels out for a bit.

Fira to Oia Walk

As you turn the corner that marks the divide between Fira and Firostefani, you can now see Skaros Rock clearly, and Oia in the far distance.

Fira to Oia Walk

There are often a few fruit sellers along the way. This one is in Firostefani.

Sign posts and distances for Oia - Fira walk.

Direction posts in Firostefani showing the distances south to Fira (10 minutes) and north to Imerovigli (15 minutes) and Oia (2 hours, 45 minutes).

Hiking trail from Fira to Oia.

In Imerovigli there is a fork in the path at Blue Note restaurant. The signs will encourage you to go to the right. This is a less scenic route that goes through town. Go this way if you need water or snacks from a market. But go left for caldera views, 5 star hotels, and an (optional) visit to Skaros Rock.

Directions for Fira-Oia hike.

If you go right you’ll come upon some makeshift directions that point you into town. These are probably made by shop owners who want walkers to go through town and spend money.

Hiking trail from Fira to Oia.

When you turn left (at Blue Note) you’ll see the Church of Anastasi. Walk onto the patio area for great views then continue to the right to keep going to Skaros Rock and Oia.

Hiking trail from Fira to Oia.

Skaros Rock. It’s a beautiful walk out to Skaros Rock but this will add at least a half-hour to your hike (and lots of steps up and down). Getting out there and back to the path is a lot longer than it looks.

Hiking trail from Fira to Oia.

If you do decide to go to Skaros Rock this is where you turn off (down to the left). Stay to the right to continue to Oia. This is the only access path for Skaros Rock so you’d take this one even if walking Oia to Fira.

Fira to Oia Walk

The walk out to Skaros Rock.

View from Skaros Rock of Fira-Oia hike.

The view of Imerovigli looking back towards the village from Skaros Rock.

Fira to Oia Walk

The view of Oia from Skaros Rock (looking north).

Fira to Oia Walk

The view of Fira from Skaros Rock (looking south).

Fira to Oia Walk

The path as you continue north through Imerovigli (after the turn-off for Skaros Rock). Here you’ll pass some of the top hotels on the island: Grace, Astra, Tholos, Kapari, and Sophia Suites.

Fira to Oia Walk

If you’re walking from Oia to Fira this is the route that takes you to Skaros Rock (as you enter Imerovigli from the north) and is more scenic. If you want to visit a market (for water, snacks) in Imerovigli take the path to the left of Avaton hotel and not this one that sticks to the caldera.

Route for Oia to Fira hike as you enter Imerovigli.

The same fork in the path (as above) but back a little bit. Go left to enter Imerovigli and find a market or restaurant. Go right to get the best views and/or visit Skaros Rock.

Fira to Oia Hike

The path as you leave Imerovigli heading north towards Oia.

Fira to Oia Hike

Oia is visible in the distance but it’s still a good hour’s walk away.

Fira to Oia Hike

The path passes a handful of hotels as it leaves Imerovigli. This is West East hotel.

Hiking Trail from Oia to Fira.

The bus stop beside Cavo Tagoo hotel (about 10 minutes walk north of Imerovigli). Get off here if you want to do a shorter walk. This is roughly half-way between Oia and Fira and you can walk south towards Fira (1 hour or more), or north towards Oia (75 minutes or more).

Fira to Oia Walk

The path in this section is actually a small road as you pass the hotels (West-East, Rocabella, Cavo Tagoo, Santorini Princess) of northern Imerovigli.

Fira to Oia Walk

Looking back (south) towards Imerovigli and Skaros Rock as we’re moving north.

Fira to Oia Hike

And a little farther as the road turns to gravel and then to a path.

Fira to Oia Walk

Cafe Monopati beside Pantheon Villas. Usually open but I wouldn’t count on it.

Fira to Oia Walk

The route keeps going to Oia. To the left, there is a detour to the small Church of San Antonio down the cliff.

Fira to Oia Hike

As you approach the church of Ekklisia Profitis Ilias there is a fork in the path. The left side sticks close to the caldera. The path along the caldera is a little trickier while the right side is a better quality path but less scenic. If you have young kids do the less scenic route. There is an unmarked washroom at the church but it’s often locked so don’t count on it.

Fira to Oia Hike

The route to Oia when you take the caldera-side of the fork.

Fira to Oia Hike

The caldera side of the fork is much more scenic but the path is not great quality.

Fira to Oia Hike

The view as you descend on the caldera side above San Antonio and Aenaon hotel.

Fira to Oia Hike

If you’re walking Oia to Fira: This is the fork (in front of San Antonio hotel) between the two paths as you approach from Oia. To the left is the easier, better quality path. To the right is the trickier more-scenic path along the caldera.

Fira to Oia Hike

There is a 5 minute stretch from San Antonio hotel to the snack shop (below) where there is no path and you’ll need to walk on the road. It feels a little risky but locals know to look out for walkers. Just be quick. In the morning it’s usually very quiet.

Fira to Oia Hike

There is a snack shop as you rejoin the path and leave the road-portion of the walk behind. Oia is up that winding path to the left.

Hills on Fira to Oia path.

The path goes up again as you get closer to Oia.

Views on Fira - Oia hike trail.

To the left of Oia is the island of Thirassia.

Fira to Oia Hike

Then back down as Oia comes into view. Almost there!

Fira to Oia Hike

Entering Oia and heading towards town.

Market for drinks, water, snacks on Fira-Oia hike.

If you’re walking from Oia to Fira this is where the path really begins – take the footpath to the right of the market and walk along the caldera. If you’re walking from Fira to Oia this is the first market you’ll come upon as you enter Oia.

Fira to Oia Walk

There is a small stretch as you enter Oia where there is no path and you’ll need to walk on the road for a minute or two. Traffic moves slowly here, so not a big concern.

Fira to Oia Walk

Lioyerma pool in Oia. A good place to finish the walk. You can use the pool as long as you buy a drink or some food. Also has great sunset views.

Fira to Oia Walk

The view of Imerovigli from Oia, with Fira the clump of white buildings to the far right. It’s a good feeling knowing you just walked that entire way.

End point on Fira-Oia hike.

Meteor Cafe is a good stop for drinks and snacks. Sit here and look out on the caldera. You’ll have a pretty good view of your entire route along the caldera edge.

Place to eat on Fira-Oia walk.

Keep walking through Oia and descend to Ammoudi Bay where you’ll find 4 or 5 really good seafood restaurants. After you eat, restaurant staff will call a taxi for you that will take you all the way back to Fira.

Swimming spot on Oia-Fira walk.

If you turn to the left (from the Ammoudi Bay restaurants) and walk along the sea path for 5 minutes you’ll arrive at a great swimming spot where you can jump from the ledges. Super refreshing after a long walk. Imerovigli is visible in the distance.

See Also

Santorini Villas – The 2018 Guide

Home > Greece > Santorini > Villas for Rent
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 22, 2018

Santorini Private Pool Villa at Grace Santorini
Villa with Private Pool at Grace Santorini

Santorini Luxury Villas – How To Rent

Renting a Santorini villa or house is a great choice if you’re staying for a week or longer – any shorter than that and I don’t think it’s worth the effort (and many villas have a minimum one-week stay).

Here are some tips for choosing and booking a holiday villa in Santorini.

  • The Villa with Private Pool at Grace Santorini is the best luxury villa on Santorini.
  • In general, stay in a villa if you’re in Santorini for longer than a week – or are traveling with a large group. The best hotels on Santorini are stunning and not many villas match them for luxury, convenience, views or private pools.
  • It takes more effort to rent a villa than to book a hotel. That’s not to say it takes hours and hours of research but be prepared for a little more time to plan your stay.
  • Reconfirm your reservation (at least once). If you book a villa 6 months in advance double check the dates with the owner 3 months later and then again a week before your arrival.
  • Booking.com is the best site to use for renting villas. Like with booking hotels, the site has verified guest reviews so you’re not reading fake reviews written by the owners.
  • Most private villas are located in Oia. Villas in Fira and Imerovigli tend to be part of a hotel.
  • Check and double check the location of any villa. Many look like they’re close to the main towns (or close to the beach) but are located in the middle of nowhere. Which can be fine, but obviously good to know what you’re getting. If you can’t get a good feel on where it’s located ask me and I’ll take a look.
  • Book early. People plan trips to Santorini months (sometimes years) in advance. Hotels fill early in the year, and villas get booked even earlier.
  • If you’re paying the owner upon arrival you’ll sometimes need to pay cash, even if you booked online and used a credit card to reserve the villa.
  • Weddings and wedding receptions are common at villas and rental homes. If you need more info ask the owner.
  • Is AirBnb good for Santorini? Yes and no. It is getting more rentals but few of them are right on the caldera with good views. Airbnb (and VRBO) are good if you’re looking for inexpensive places to stay without a caldera view. If you do see a good place with a caldera view it’s often a hotel listing some of their rooms on Airbnb (and usually charging more).

The 23 Best Villas in Santorini, Greece

Most of these rentals have full kitchens. Some have internet (free wifi), washer/dryer, and either a pool or jacuzzi. Book very early in the year as the best places fill up more than 6 months in advance.

Aria Villas – Fira

Sleeps 4 to 6 – There are four brand new villas here. Each has a private outdoor plunge pool, some have an indoor pool as well. Views are amazing. The hotel (and suites) are a one minute walk away and there’s a large pool that villa guests are welcome to use.
Private villa in Fira, Santorini.

Grace Santorini Villa with Private Pool – Imerovigli

Sleeps 4 – Part of the Grace hotel but with its own private pool and huge living area and deck. It’s the best of both worlds: the convenience and service of a hotel with the privacy of a private villa. Guests have easy access to the hotel’s infinity pool with caldera views. This is the best villa on Santorini.
Best Santorini Villa: Grace Santorini Private Villa in Imerovigli

Oia Mansion – Oia

Sleeps 8 – This is a marvelous villa for larger groups perfectly located in central Oia. Good restaurants within steps. Incredible views (one of the few villas in Oia with both caldera and sunset views). Huge kitchen and rooftop hot tub.
Luxury Villa in Santorini with View

3-Bedroom Villa at Canaves Suites – Oia

Sleeps 7 – Huge private villa with pool and awesome caldera views (but no sunset view).
Oia, Santorini villa with infinity pool.

Windmill Villas – Imerovigli

Sleeps 6 – Authentic Santorinian windmill two-bedroom villas have full kitchens and private jetted pools. Located on the eastern slope of the island, near Imerovigli.
Best Santorini Villa: Windmill in Imerovigli

White Pearl Villas – Oia

Sleep 2-5 – Nine separate and centrally-located located Oia villas, each with a private pool or hot tub.
Best Santorini Villa: White Pearl in Oia

Virginia’s Traditional Cave Houses – Oia

Sleep 2-5 – Attached villas in a great Oia location, tucked in a quiet corner but close to the sunset viewpont; most with private hot tubs.
Best Santorini Villa: Virginia Traditional Cave Houses in Oia

Pegasus Villas – Imerovigli

Sleep up to 7 – Villa privacy with hotel convenience; private pools, breakfast delivered daily, on-site restaurant and wine bar.
Best Santorini Villa: Pegasus Villas in Imerovigli

Onar Villas – Oia

Sleep 2 or 4 – One- or two-bedroom villas with hot tubs, caldera views, and breakfast served daily on your terrace.
Best Santorini Villa:  Onar Villas in Oia

Kastro Oia Houses – Oia

Sleep 2 or 4 – Traditional cave villas near Oia Castle; hot tubs, daily breakfast, and on-site restaurant.
Best Santorini Villa:  Kastro Villas in Oia

Fira White Residences – Fira

Sleeps 6 – Two bedroom villa with jacuzzi terrace, centrally-located in Fira with excellent caldera views.
Best Santorini Villa: White Residences in Fira

Villa Estelle – Imerovigli

Sleeps 6 – Three bedrooms, each with a private bathroom; pool, full kitchen, great caldera views from the rooftop terrace.
Best Santorini Villa:  Estelle Villas in Imerovigli

Celestia Grand – Fira

Sleeps 2 – Quiet and private cliff villas, each with its own pool. Located 1.5 miles south of central Fira, with complimentary shuttle service into town.
Best Santorini Villa: Celestia Grand Villas in Fira.

Blue Canaves Luxury Villa – Oia

Sleeps 2 – Quiet Oia location, just down from shops and restaurants; daily breakfast, indoor hot tub, and view terrace.
Best Santorini Villa: Blue Canaves Luxury Villas in Oia.

Blue Angel Villa – Fira

Sleeps 9 – Spacious three-bedroom cave villa tucked away in central Fira; indoor hot tub, kitchen, rooftop jacuzzi.
Best Santorini Villa: Blue Angel Villas in Fira.

Villa Ariadni – Oia

Sleeps 4 – Charming Oia sunset view villas with one or two bedrooms, kitchenettes, and furnished balconies.
Best Santorini Villa: Ariadni Villas in Oia.

Anemi House & Villas – Oia

Sleep 2-8 – Oia cave villas with private hot tub, plunge pool, or sunset view from your balcony.
Best Santorini Villa: Anemi House in Oia

Anema Residences – Imerovigli

Sleeps 4 – One- and two-bedroom self-catering villas with sea and countrtyside views, many with private pools. Quiet location on the east slope of the island near Vourvoulos beach.
Best Santorini Villa: Anema Residence in Imerovigli.

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