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.

See Also

Santorini Hotels with Private Pool

Home > Greece > Santorini > Hotels with Private Pool
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 22, 2018

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

On This Page

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 – 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 – 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 Best Greek Islands

Home > Greece > Greek Islands
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 19, 2018

See Also

The Best Islands in Greece

Best Greek island for romance and honeymoon: Santorini.

Santorini – My favorite Greek Island.

The 5 Best Greek Islands

1. Santorini

My favorite island in Greece is Santorini. If you can only make visit one island make it Santorini. Loaded with great boat tours, wine tours, fantastic hotels, amazing restaurants, and awesome things to do. Along with Crete, Santorini is the best island in Greece in the winter and shoulder seasons when it still has plenty to do.

Best Greek island for views and beauty: Santorini.

Oia in Santorini.

Best Greek island: Santorini.

Ammoudi Bay for fresh seafood and incredible sunset views.

2. Mykonos

The best nightlife and clubbing in Greece is found on Mykonos. Also has great beaches and a surprisingly charming capital village, Mykonos Town.

Best Greek island: Mykonos.

Ornos is one of my favorite beaches in Greece.

Best Greek island: Mykonos.

Little Venice in Mykonos Town. Filled with small restaurants and trendy clubs.

3. Crete

The largest Greek island and rich with beaches, historical sights, hikes, and small cities. So big that if you only have a week it’s good to limit yourself to only this island. If you have two weeks it makes a great pair with Santorini.

Chania's beautiful harbourfront.

Chania is the most charming town on Crete and a great base for exploring western Crete.

Best Greek Island: Crete.

Rethymnon has a cool old town and good beaches walking distance from most hotels.

4. Naxos

The most family-friendly island in Greece is Naxos. Great beaches and the main town is crammed with wonderful tavernas serving some of the best food on the Greek islands. The inland villages are marvelous to explore.

Best Greek island for families: Naxos.

The town beach in Naxos Town – shallow and very kid-friendly. Even better beaches are a short drive down the coast.

Best Greek island for local food: Naxos.

Naxos Town has some of the best restaurants in Greece.

5. Antiparos

If you want quiet idyllic beaches, an unhurried charm, and fantastic local restaurants then Antiparos is a great choice. It’s reachable only by boat from nearby Paros.

Best Greek Island for quiet and solitude: Antiparos.

The beaches of Antiparos are quiet, secluded, and some of the best in Greece.

Best Greek island for boutique hotels: Paros.

Nearby Paros is busier and has two of the most charming towns in Greece, Naoussa (above) and Parikia (the ferry port). Either island makes a great base for exploring the other.

Greek Islands – Where To Go

The best greek island for a honeymoon is Santorini.
The most romantic greek island and the best one for a honeymoon is Santorini (Mykonos is great if you want more nightlife). This is the Kings Suite (with whirlpool) at Keti Hotel in Fira – one of the most private and romantic suites in Santorini.

The best greek island for clubs and nightlife is Mykonos.

Mykonos has the best nightlife and club scene of any greek island. It usually starts with dinner and drinks by the water and then hit the clubs in Mykonos Town.

Best Greek island for nightlife: Mykonos.

Beach parties in Mykonos take place at Paradise and Super Paradise beaches and run from mid-June to mid-September. Other beaches, like Platys Gialos above, Paraga, or Psarrou have beach clubs that have thumping music and dancing through the day until about 10pm. Then the party moves to Mykonos Town or the Paradise beaches.

Old Town in Rhodes.

Rhodes is one of the best islands for historical sightseeing (Crete, Naxos, and Santorini are also great). This is the main entrance of the famous Knights Grand Master Palace (also known as Castello) in Rhodes Town, a must-visit museum.

The best greek island for scenery and natural beauty.

Santorini and Milos are two of the most beautiful islands in Greece and have a similar other-worldly feel. This is the fishing village of Firopotamos on Milos.

The best greek island for beaches is Ios.

The greek islands are loaded with great beaches. Some of the best are on Naxos, Crete, and Ios. This is Mylopotas beach on Ios – one of my favorite beaches in Greece.

The best greek islands for island hopping are Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Ios, and Mykonos.

Island hopping by ferry is one of the highlights of the Greek islands. Sitting on the deck of a ferry and watching the islands pass by until you arrive at your destination.

The best greek island for walks and hiking.

Folegandros is the best greek island for hiking – great paths all around this beautiful island.

The best greek island for food is Crete.

All the greek islands have great food and restaurants. The best Greek islands for foodies are Santorini, Crete, Naxos, and Paros. This is a gyros plate from a restaurant in Crete.

The best greek island for families is Naxos.

Naxos is a wonderful family destination. Great beaches, a relaxed vibe, cheap hotels (and luxury ones too), and there’s even a water park.

The best Greek island for families with teens is Paros.

Paros is also a great island for families and it’s got a bit more shopping and activity for teens – and nightlife for older family members.

Greek Islands – When To Go

Best Greek island: Crete.

Chania, Crete. One of the most wonderful towns in Greece.

Best Greek Islands To Visit in March, April, October, and November

This is shoulder season. The busiest islands and those with a local population are quieter but still humming with plenty of hotels and restaurants open. Santorini, Crete, and Rhodes are the best Greek islands to visit in the spring and autumn period.

Best Greek Islands To Visit in May, June, and September

The Greek islands have beautiful weather in the months just before and after peak season. It’s a great time to see the islands, save money, avoid the crowds, and still have great weather (though not as hot as July and August). If you want to see the super-popular islands of Santorini, Rhodes, Corfu, and Crete without the tourists then this is a great time to visit.

Best Greek Islands To Visit in July and August

The busiest and hottest months. If you like beach parties and packed clubs then Mykonos is the place to be. The less-busy islands (Antiparos, Sifnos, Ikaria, Folegandros, Milos) have short tourists seasons and this is when they’re fully open and running. Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, and Corfu are in peak-season but all are large enough to retain their charm.

Best Greek Islands To Visit in December, January, and February

Most islands are very quiet in the winter. Crete and Santorini are the best islands as they still have plenty to do even in winter and there are lots of (open) places to stay and eat.

Greek Island Map

Map of the Greek Islands - Mykonos, Santorini, Crete

It’s best to visit Greek islands within the same group. For example, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Corfu and Santorini on the same trip as they’re on opposite sides of the country. Instead, visit islands in the same island group: the Cyclades, the Sporades, the Dodecanese, the Ionian, the Saronic, and the Northeastern Aegean. For one, they’re close to each other. And two, they have frequent ferry connections with each other. For first time visitors to Greece, the Cyclades make the most natural and convenient introduction.

See Also

Greek Ferries

Home > Greece > Greek Ferries
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 18, 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.

Santorini with Kids – The Best Family Hotels

Home > Greece > Santorini > Family Hotels
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 17, 2018

  • The best places on Santorini for families: Fira, Oia, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Kamari.
  • Fira is busy and lively. Firostefani and Imerovigli are quieter and walking distance from Fira. Oia is best for a stroller. Kamari has the beach (but no caldera views).
  • Booking.com is the best website for booking hotels in Santorini.

Santorini Family Hotels – Tips and Recommendations

The 15 Best Hotels for Families in Santorini

Santorini's best hotel for famililes

The Windmill Suite at Golden Sunset Villas in Oia. (That’s my son on the patio.)

Golden Sunset Villas – Oia

This is one of the most incredible and unique places to stay on Santorini – and kids love it. It’s a converted windmill (pictured above) that you can sleep and stay in. It has 3 levels: small kitchen on the ground floor, queen bed and bathroom on the 2nd, and kids’ bed on the top floor that sleeps 2. Huge deck with incredible sunset views. The one caveat is that the stone steps inside the windmill are a little tricky for young kids and I wouldn’t want to be carrying a baby up and down them. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 071001)

Aria Suites – Fira

Great location a short walk from central Fira but down a quiet lane away from the crowds. Nice pool. Views of the caldera but the hotel is located just back from the cliff so it’s one of the few luxury hotels that allows children. The Carmen and Norma suites are the largest and comfortably sleep a family of 5. There’s also the brand new villas that are set off on their own, have great views, and their own private jacuzzis. (Hotel phone: +30 22860 28650)

El Greco Hotel – Fira

Large triple and quad rooms. Multiple swimming pools including kids pool and jacuzzi. Free simple breakfast. Located a little south of central Fira but still a short walk to restaurants and shops of town. (Hotel phone: +30 22860 24946)

Kamares Apartments – Fira

Apartments are perfect for a family of 4 or 5. No pool but most apartments have their own private jacuzzi with stunning views of the caldera. 3 minute walk to central Fira. Free breakfast. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 028110)

Caldera Butterfly Villas – Fira

Clean simple rooms with incredible caldera views. The pool is great. Family suites are large, sleep 6+, and have kitchenettes. It’s a 20 minute walk to the center of Fira or take the free shuttle. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 024856)

San Giorgio Villas – Fira

The cheapest hotel with quality family rooms in Fira. Quadruples have 2 twin and 1 full bed. Central Fira is a 2 minute walk away. The bus station is 5 minutes. Phone ahead or email ([email protected]) and they’ll pick you up for free from the port or airport. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 023516)

Agali Houses – Firostefani

Great hotel for families. Large pool has wonderful views of the caldera and rooms are large. Only drawbacks: rooms are nice but lack character; lots of steps up and down. (Hotel phone: +30 22860 22811)

Vallas Apartments – Firostefani

Great views, location, and amenities. These are very good value. Both the Two Bedroom House (big) and the Family Suite (bigger) have kitchenettes and sleep 5. It’s an easy 15 minute walk to Fira (coming back is uphill). (Hotel phone: +30 2286 022050)

Astra Suites – Imerovigli

Large family suites at one of the best hotels on Santorini. Beautiful pool and incredible sunset and caldera views. Along with Aria Suites this is probably the most luxurious hotel with caldera views that allows children. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 024763)

Tholos Resort – Imerovigli

Tholos is next door to Astra. Similar but a little cheaper and not quite as luxurious. The Cave Suite has a hot tub and sleeps 6 in a pinch (4 comfortably). Breakfasts are huge and delivered to your patio table. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 022618)

Kasimatis Studios – Imerovigli

A wonderful hotel with nice pool and good views. The Traditional Cave Apartment with Hot Tub is perfect for families and is part of the old winery (there’s still the meter-wide hole in the ceiling where the grapes would be dumped into). It’s both practical and enchanting.(Hotel phone: +30 2286 028848)

Merovigliosso Apartments – Imerovigli

The best budget hotel for families in Imerovigli. Great location and a small pool. The description for the 1-bedroom apartment says it has a caldera view – that’s being very generous but it’s still a great deal. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 025950)

Strogili – Oia

Quiet location with large pool and great views. Traditional Cave Houses are luxurious and sleep families of 4 or 5.

Anemomilos Hotel Apartments – Oia

The best value hotel for families in Oia. There’s a nice pool with a large deck and sun chairs. Shops and restaurants are a 5 minute walk away. There is a 1-bedroom with hot tub and caldera views and the 1-bedroom with sea view (meaning looking the opposite way of the caldera) is a great deal if you’re looking for something cheaper. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 071410)

Oia Mansion – Oia

This is a huge and wonderful villa that sleeps 8, has incredible sunset views, a huge rooftop deck, full kitchen, and super friendly owners. The shops and restaurants of Oia are just out the gate but since the property sits above Oia’s lanes and alleys you feel completely removed from the crowds.

Villa Agnadi – near Oia

This is a great value hotel. Wonderful pool, huge rooms, free breakfast. It’s an easy and enjoyable 20 minute walk (once you find the path) along the caldera to central Oia. The bus (to both Oia and Fira) stops directly opposite hotel. (Hotel phone: +30 2286 071647)

Tamarix Del Mar Suites – Kamari

Large pool and huge beautiful 2-level apartments (Maisonettes). Short walk to beach and tons of restaurants.

Smaragdi Hotel – Perissa

Great pool. Convenient location near Perissa beach which has the nicest sand of any Santorini beach and lots of places to eat, drink, and get ice cream. Split level apartments have 2 single beds and a double bed. (Hotel phone: +30 22860 82701)

See Also

Fira or Oia – Where To Stay

Home > Greece > Santorini > Fira vs Oia
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 17, 2018

Fira vs Oia – Summary

  • Fira has more nightlife and shopping.
  • Oia is more romantic.
  • Both Oia and Fira have some places to eat (and some average ones), but I would give a slight edge to Oia for the quality of restaurants. Fira does have more cheap places to eat.
  • Both Oia and Fira have great views of the caldera – very different perspectives but I couldn’t say one was better than the other.
  • Both Oia and Fira have good sunset views (though the best are in Imerovigli). In Fira most hotels on the caldera have a pretty direct view of the sunset. In Oia, most hotels don’t have a direct view of the sunset and you need to leave your hotel and take a short walk to see the sun set into the water.
  • Renting a car: Slightly easier in Fira. If you do pickup at the airport (recommended) then it doesn’t matter which town you stay in.
  • Closer to the airport and ferry port: Fira is about 10 minutes from the airport and 15 minutes from the ferry port. Oia is about 30 minutes from both the airport and ferry port.
  • Easier to explore the island from: Fira is more central and makes getting to the southern parts of the island easier and faster. This matters more if you’re getting around by bus as Fira is the hub for all bus routes on the island which means passengers taking a bus from Oia to the beaches will need to change buses in Fira (a bit of a hassle). If you rent a car then there’s not as big of a difference.
  • Closer to the beaches: Fira is about 20 minutes closer than Oia to the beach towns. As I say, this isn’t a big deal if you have a rental car, but makes a bigger difference if you’re getting around by bus.
  • ATMs are easy to find in both Fira and Oia. Both towns have grocery markets but Fira has an actual grocery store. If you need to do laundry Fira is better.
View of Fira from a ship.

Fira is up a the top, Athinios port (only used for cruise ships, not ferries) is at the bottom. To get up to Fira there’s a choice of cable car, walking, or riding the donkeys.

View of Oia from a ship.

Looking up at Oia. Amoudi Bay (known for it’s seafood restaurants) is at the base of the hill below Oia. It’s a short walk down to Amoudi and a lots of steps back up.

View from Fira.

The view from Fira looking north towards Skaros Rock and Oia.

View of Oia from Perivolas resort in Santorini.

View of Oia, looking northwest from Perivolas Hotel.

View from Firostefani.

That’s Skaros Rock in Imerovigli which divides (to me, at least) north and south Santorini. I point it out because you can see Skaros from Oia and Fira and appears in many pictures on this page. It offers a good landmark to get your bearings.

View of Fira from Imerovigli.

View of Fira, looking south from Skaros Rock.

View of Oia from Imerovigli.

View of Oia, looking north from Skaros Rock.

View from Oia towards Fira.

View from Oia looking south towards Skaros Rock, Imerovigli, and Fira.

View of volcano from Santorini.

A view of the volcano from Fira.

Main street in Fira.

The main street in Fira is a fun lively collection of shops and restaurants.

Donkey rides in Fira.

Donkeys in Fira.

Best restaurant with a view in Fira.

The best restaurant with a view in Fira: Naoussa.

Cable car in Fira.

Cable car ride from cruise port up to Fira.

Donkeys in Fira.

Donkeys on the stairs down to the port in Fira.

Sidewalk in Fira is not very stroller friendly.

Sidewalk in Fira.

View of cliffs from Fira.

Looking north towards Skaros Rock from Kavalari Hotel in Fira.

Caldera view from Fira.

Lots of cafes, restaurants, and hotels look out onto the caldera in Fira.

Where to watch the sunset in Oia.

The main spot to watch sunsets in Oia. Bring a bottle of wine and have fun.

View of the sea from Oia.

View of the sea from Oia.

Watching sunset in Oia.

Oia Castle is the main spot to watch sunsets in Oia.

A view towards Fira from Oia.

View of church and Fira from Oia.

Best spot to watch sunset in Oia.

Best spot to watch sunset in Oia.

Large villa in Oia.

Large villa in Oia.

Sidewalk in Oia.

The main sidewalk in Oia (flat and stroller friendly) runs pretty much the entire length of the village (with one main interruption just past Canaves hotel).

View of Fira looking north.

View of Fira looking north.

Best cheap food in Santorini.

If you’re looking to save money on food nothing beats a gyro. Lucky’s in Fira has the best gyros and souvlaki on Santorini but there are several places in Oia too.

Bus stop near Oia.

Finikia is a village near Oia. No views but it does have several cheap hotels. This is the bus stop for Finikia. All buses between Fira and Oia stop here.

Oia is better than Fira for kids and strollers.

Both Fira and Oia have lots of steps but the main walkway in Oia is flat and much better for getting around with a stroller.

Amoudi Bay in Santorini – great seafood restaurants.

Amoudi Bay below Oia. Great seafood restaurants and there’s a good swim spot here – no beach you just jump from the rocks.

View of volcano from Fira.

Fira is busier than Oia but there are still plenty of quiet spots in Fira.

Oia or Fira best for sunset?

Oia Castle with Thirassia (another island that forms part of the caldera ring) in the background. This is the most popular spot to watch sunsets in Santorini.

Pool for swimming open to the public.

Lioyerma pool in Oia. Nice size and good views. It’s the only “public” pool in Santorini and nice if your hotel doesn’t have a pool. No fee, you just have to buy something to eat or drink. Strangely, it never gets all that busy.

View of Fira and volcano.

Looking south towards Fira. Fira is roughly up the cliff from the first (closest) ship.

Shopping in Fira.

A sidestreet filled with shops in Fira.

The hike from Fira to Oia.

The foot path between Fira and Oia. From Fira to Imerovigli you’re largely walking on town sidewalks. North of Imerovigli it’s more like a dirt path.

View from Imerovigli towards Oia.

Imerovigli is about half-way between Fira and Oia and has the best views of any town along the caldera (because of it’s higher elevation).

Best beach in Santorini.

Perissa is the best beach in Santorini. It’s definitely easier and closer to get here from Fira than Oia.

Shopping in Oia: Bookstore.

Atlantis Books in Oia is a fabulous little bookstore in Oia. Don’t miss it.

Katikies hotel in Oia.

The view from Katikies in Oia looking north.

Hasapiko is the only true bar in Oia. It's tiny but gets good and lively after midnight.

Hasapiko is the only true bar in Oia. It’s tiny but gets good and lively after midnight.

Watching outdoor movies in Santorini.

I love going to the open air cinema in Kamari. It’s quite a bit easier to do this from Fira than Oia.

Best swimming spot near Fira.

Kamari is the best swimming spot close to Fira. Oia is 20 minutes farther from Kamari than Fira.

The stairs from Athinios port up to Fira.

The stairs from Athinios port up to Fira.

Koo Club and Enigma are the big dance clubs in Fira. Oia has a few bars and places to drink but no clubs.

Koo Club and Enigma are the big dance clubs in Fira. Oia has a few bars and places to drink but no clubs.

Tropical Bar (along with Franco's) is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Fira.

Tropical Bar (along with Franco’s) is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Fira.

It's easy to get (happily) lost in the paths and stairwells of Santorini.

It’s easy to get (happily) lost in the paths and stairwells of Santorini.

One of the highlights of a trip to Santorini is walking the footpath between Oia and Fira. It doesn't matter whether you walk Oia to Fira, or Fira to Oia.

One of the highlights of a trip to Santorini is walking the footpath between Oia and Fira. It doesn’t matter whether you walk Oia to Fira, or Fira to Oia.

Another sign for the footpath along the caldera. This is in Firostefani (the village closest to Fira).

Another sign for the footpath along the caldera. This is in Firostefani (the village closest to Fira).

Ouzeri is my favorite restaurant in Fira. Both Fira and Oia have lots of great places to eat

Ouzeri is my favorite restaurant in Fira. Both Fira and Oia have lots of great places to eat

Fira is the hub for buses getting around the island. If you're in Oia and want to go anywhere on the island (besides Imerovigli and Firostefani) then you have to switch buses in Fira.

Fira is the hub for buses getting around the island. If you’re in Oia and want to go anywhere on the island (besides Imerovigli and Firostefani) then you have to switch buses in Fira.

Sunset view from Fira.

Fira is busier than Oia through the day but quieter than Oia during the sunset. Oia is the most popular town on the island to watch the sun set but unset views from Fira are still pretty great.

Nightlife in Fira.

Fira has far more nightlife, bars, and clubs than Oia.

Shopping in Fira.

There’s plenty of shopping in both Fira and Oia – but Fira definitely has more shops and more variety.

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How To Rent a Car in Mykonos

Updated: May 17, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 means 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 pickup you can reserve through Rentalcars.com and pickup 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 an easy 10-minute drive to Mykonos Town. About 15 minutes to the beaches of Platys Gialos, Ornos, Psarou, Agios Ioannis, and Elia.

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 and pickup late in the day or maybe even the next day.

Should I Rent A Car In Mykonos?

It definitely makes getting around the island 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. Often 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 recommend not doing a car pickup at the port. Instead, take a bus or taxi into Mykonos Town 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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The 10 Best Hotel Infinity Pools in Santorini

Home > Greece > Santorini > Hotels with Infinity Pool
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 16, 2018

Santorini Hotels with Infinity Pool

Santorini hotel with infinity pool that allows kids.

My son doing a handstand at Tholos Resort in Imerovigli.

One of the most common pictures of Santorini is a dazzling pool perched on the cliff with the water of the pool merging with the waters of the Aegean in the distant background.

In reality, there are very few true infinity pools on Santorini and – I’ll be honest – not all of the pools listed below are technically infinity pools, which for aficionados has a very specific definition. But they are all wonderful pools that peak over the edge of the caldera cliff and have incredible views of the volcano or sunset – or both.

The best swimming pool on Santorini is at Grace Santorini.

1. Kirini Suites – Oia

The infinity pool at Kirini Suites in Oia, Santorini.

The infinity pool at Kirini Suites.

2. Chromata – Imerovigli

The infinity pool at Chromata hotel on Santorini.

The infinity pool at Chromata.

3. Grace Santorini – Imerovigli

The infinity pool at Grace hotel on Santorini.

The pool at Grace Santorini hotel.

4. Katikies Hotel – Oia

The infinity pool at Katikies Resort on Santorini.

The infinity pool at Katikies hotel.

5. Perivolas – Oia

The infinity pool at Perivolos hotel on Santorini.

The infinity pool at Perivolos.

6. Tsitouras Collection – Firostefani

The infinity pool at Tsitouras Collection hotel on Santorini.

The infinity pool at Tsitouras Collection.

7. Astra Suites – Imerovigli

The infinity pool at Astra Suites in Imerovigli, Santorini.

The infinity pool at Astra Suites.

8. Cosmopolitan Suites – Fira

The infinity pool at Cosmopolitan Suites in Fira.

The infinity pool at Cosmopolitan Suites.

9. Mystique – Oia

The infinity pool at Mystique in Oia, Santorini.

The infinity pool at Mystique hotel.

10. Tholos Resort – Imerovigli

Cheap hotel with infinity pool and caldera view.

The infinity pool at Tholos Resort in Imerovigli. This is one of the least-expensive hotels with an infinity pool in Santorini.

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Santorini Cave Hotels

Home > Greece > Santorini > Cave Hotels
by Santorini Dave • May 16, 2018

The best santorini cave hotels with pool and view.

What is a Santorini Cave Hotel?

Watch this video for a great introduction to Santorini and its cave hotels.

Cave hotels are very popular in Santorini (and Oia especially) and are pretty much what they sound like – rooms and suites that are built into the cliffside to form a cave. They’re usually decorated simply and sparsely, but when done right they’re close to magical. Another plus is that they stay cool inside even when it’s very hot outside in July and August. (And for locals they were warm in winter when it was cold outside.) Many of the best hotels have a mix of cave suites and regular suites which can make it a little tricky to know what you’re getting.

Five of the best cave hotels on Santorini

All are stunningly gorgeous – The Perivolos is the hotel seen in the video above.

Perivolas (Oia, +30 22860 71308)
Oia Castle Hotel (Oia, +30 2286 071831)
Aris Caves (Oia, +30 2286 071511)
Iconic Santorini (Imerovigli, +30 2286 028950)
Tsitouras Collection (Firostefani, +30 2286 023747)

And the recently opened Sophia Suites in Imerovigli is wonderful.

Santorini cave hotels that are a little cheaper

Chroma Suites (Oia, +30 22860 71910)
Delfini Villas (Oia, + 30 22860 71600)
Kavalari Hotel (Fira, +30 2286 022455)

Santorini Airbnb Cave House & Villas

I’m not a huge fan of Santorini Airbnbs. But if you need a Santorini cave house then Dream Blue (+30 21080 02307) is a privately owned home that sleeps 6, has a fully equipped kitchen, a hot tub, 2 bathrooms, and free wi-fi. It’s 600€ and up a night (depending on season and number of guests) but it’s an amazing house and worth it if you can afford it. The owner also rents a smaller house, My Blue, with traditional Santorini architecture. It sleeps up to 4 and is a little more affordable.

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The Best Santorini Travel Agencies

Home > Greece > Santorini > Travel Agencies
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 16, 2018

Best Travel Agency in Santorini, Greece

Pelican Travel agency in Fira, Santorini.

Recommended Santorini Travel Agencies

  • Omega Travel – Friendly and helpful travel agency in Santorini that can help with tours, transfers, boat trips around the caldera, and pretty much anything related to a Greek vacation. They have a five star rating on Tripadvisor. Call them at +30-694-142-4488 or email at [email protected].
  • Pelican Travel – Located in the center of Fira. Travel agents here can help with any kind of boat or island tour. If you booked ferry tickets in advance (Blue Star and Hellenic Seaways) this is where you pick them up. Phone: +30-228-602-2220 or email: [email protected]
  • Nomikos Travel – If you booked SeaJets ferry tickets in advance you pickup tickets here (near the post office in Fira). Also good for booking any type of ferry ticket and sunset tours to Oia. Phone: +30-22860-22660 or email: [email protected]

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Cheap Santorini Hotels with Caldera View

Home > Greece > Santorini > Cheap Hotels with View
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 16, 2018

Budget Hotel in Santorini with good view of caldera.

Santorini Hotel with Caldera View: The budget-friendly Hotel Kavalari in Fira.

Budget Hotels in Santorini with Caldera View

These are cheap hotels by Santorini standards but might still be out of some visitor’s budget. If you have to have a hotel with a caldera view these are the cheapest options. Most of these places have good sunset views (except the ones in Oia – which don’t look towards the sunset). The best way to save money on accommodations is to stay at a cheap Santorini hotel without a view and then enjoy the views on long walks along the caldera. Hotels back from the caldera can be 50% cheaper than caldera-view hotels but you’re only 1 or 2 minutes from the cliff. That said, obviously staying along the caldera is a wonderful experience.

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Day Trips to Santorini

Home > Greece > Santorini > Day Trip to Santorini
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 16, 2018

  • Day trips to Santorini from Athens, Mykonos, Crete, or other nearby islands are usually not worth the time and effort. Staying on Santorini for several nights is awesome. Visiting for a few hours in the middle of the day (on a day trip) is hectic and busy.
  • Ferry schedules are inconsistent and ferries are often late, cancelled, or delayed. Even under perfect conditions a day trip to Santorini will rarely allow more than 4 or 5 hours on the island. It’s difficult to experience any of the best things to do on a day trip.
  • If possible try to spend a night (or more) on Santorini. Otherwise use that day exploring the island you’re currently on.

Day Trip to Santorini from Other Greek Islands

Getting to Santorini for Day Trip

This is the ferry from Crete to Santorini that you would take for a day trip. (Day trip ferries from Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Ios, and Athens would be similar and dock at the same port.) After you arrive in Santorini you still need to get up the cliff to the main caldera towns.

Is a day trip to Santorini worth it?

Generally, no. It’s much better to spend that time on the island that you’re currently staying on and use it to explore there. But can you have a great day while doing a day trip to Santorini? For sure. I would just set your expectations to the lower end of the scale. If you think you’re going to get to do a boat tour of the caldera (highly recommended), a wine tour of the local wineries (highly recommended), or hike from Fira to Oia along the caldera (highly recommended) then you’ll be disappointed. But if you’re thinking, hey, we’ll take a ferry to Santorini, walk around a bit, see the caldera at least a little bit, and be back to our home base by early evening, then sure, you could have a fine day. As I say, just don’t have sky high expectations for what you’re going to be able to do on Santorini.

Why is a day trip to Santorini so difficult? It looks easy enough.

The main difficulty is the ferries and the ferry schedule. They usually don’t allow enough time on Santorini to make travel times worth the effort. It’s different for every island, every month, and every year but for most schedules you can catch an early morning ferry that will get you to Santorini around 11am. Then you need to catch a bus to Fira or taxi to Fira, Oia, or Imerovigli. This will take 30 to 45 minute and it will likely be noon before you’ve made your way to the caldera and are looking out into the caldera. The last ferry returning to your island could be anytime between 4pm and 8pm. Let’s say it’s 6pm. If you’re catching the bus it will probably leave for the port at 4:30 so you’ll need to head back to the bus station at about 4:00. In this scenario you’ve had 4 hours to explore Santorini. Not nothing and it could certainly be an enjoyable 4 hours. But, as I say, it’s a lot of time and effort for a pretty small payoff.

My Recommendation: An Overnight Day Trip

Instead of making a day trip try to spend a night on Santorini. Don’t check out of your hotel on your home base island (too much of a hassle). Pack a small bag with just a few necessities for an overnight stay at a cheap Santorini hotel. This will expand your time on Santorini from 5 or 6 hours to almost 30 hours all for just an extra €50 to €100 (the hotel cost). Yes, you are “wasting” the hotel night you’re spending on your home base island. But it’s worth it for the ease, convenience, and extra time you’ll get on Santorini. Of course, even better is to include Santorini in part of your plans and spend 3 to 7 nights here. But assuming that’s not possible, an “overnight day trip” is much better than just the few hours you’ll get if you do a normal Santorini day trip.

Crete to Santorini Day Trips in 2018

Starting April 4 there are morning ferries from Heraklion to Santorini that arrive at the Santorini port between 9:20am and 10:45am depending on the month and ferry company. The return ferries to Crete depart Santorini between 5:00pm and 5:25pm. On Tuesday and Saturday (from February to September) there is a Rethymnon to Santorini ferry that arrives in Santorini at 10:20am. The return ferry to Rethymnon departs Santorini at 5:30pm. Book tickets through Hellenic Seaways or SeaJets. There are no ferries from Chania to Santorini in 2018.

Mykonos to Santorini Day Trips in 2018

Starting March 23 there’s a morning ferry from Mykonos to Santorini. The earliest ferries depart Mykonos at 9:35am and get to Santorini around noon. For most months, the last ferry back to Santorini departs around 2:00pm. This makes a day trip from Mykonos to Santorini basically impossible. The best option is to spend a night on Santorini.

Naxos/Paros/Ios to Santorini Day Trips in 2018

Starting in April there are morning ferries that will arrive in Santorini around noon. The latest ferries back to Paros, Naxos, or Ios depart Santorini at around 3:30pm. This makes a day trip from Naxos, Paros, or Ios to Santorini basically impossible. The best option is to spend a night on Santorini.

Athens to Santorini Day Trips in 2018

The earliest ferries leave Athens (Piraeus) at between 7am and 7:30am and get to Santorini around noon. The last ferry from Santorini to Athens departs at 3:30pm (though there are later ferries on some days, in some months). If you did this you’d get 3 hours (at most) on Santorini and 10+ hours on a ferry. A better option (though still not great) is to fly. The first flights from Athens arrive in Santorini around 7:30am. The last flight to Athens depart Santorini between 9:00pm and 11:00pm. This would give you 12+ hours on Santorini. This would be a long full day but you would have a decent amount of time on the island. If possible, try to spend at least one night on Santorini.

Things To Do on a Santorini Day Trip

The best things to do on a Santorini Day Trip – there’s lots to do but with little time you’ll be limited.

Day Trip from Santorini to Nearby Islands

The same factors apply here as for day trips to Santorini. It’s hard to make a day trip from Santorini to other Greek islands worthwhile. If you’re interested in visiting other islands then try to spend at least one or two nights there rather than do a day trip.

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The Best Bookstore in Santorini

Home > Greece > Santorini > Bookstores
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 16, 2018

Atlantis Books in Santorini is one of my favorite bookstores anywhere. Definitely stop in for a visit (and support the store by buying something) if you’re in Oia. It’s on the main footpath that runs through town (and pretty much marks the end of the Fira to Oia hike). The owners and staff are smart and helpful and like to help customers find a great book or a good gyro so feel free to start of a conversation. The shop is on your left as you’re walking north (towards the sunset). But it’s small and easy to miss – just ask any store owner, “Bookstore?” and they’ll point you in the right direction.

Atlantis Books

Atlantis Books in Oia

Santorini Books

Santorini Books in Oia, Santorini.

Santorini Bookstore in Oia.

It’s a small bookshop but still manages to stock titles in multiple languages and in many genres. (Photo: flickr/philk37)

Santorini Bookstore

The rooftop deck above the store.

Bookstore in Santorini

Interesting and fun quotations are found inside …

Good Santorini Bookstore.

… and outside.

Is there a bookstore in Santorini?

Down the stairs into the mecca.

Best Santorini Bookstore.

Books are crammed into every little corner …

Books in Santorini.

… up above too.

Travel books about Santorini and Greece.

They have a good section on Santorini, Greece, and Greek history, myth, and classics. (Photo: flickr/Peter)

Santorini Bookstore in Greece

The owners put a lot of care and thought into what they sell (no crap) – and it shows. (Photo: flickr/Klearchos Kapoutsis)

Santorini Bookshop

Another route to the rooftop. (Photo: flickr/Robert Patton)

Video of Atlantis Books – A Quick Tour

Close To Atlantis Books

Bar in Oia near Atlantis Bookstore.

Mary Kay’s bar is very cool and steps from Atlantis Books.

Restaurant in Oia with caldera views.

Lotza is nearby and has delicious baklava and great views. Not the best restaurant in Oia, but open for lunch and has good snacks.

Cafe with views of caldera near Atlantis Books.

Meteor Cafe is a good place to relax with a new book – the opposite direction from Mary Kay’s.

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Santorini Private Tours

Home > Greece > Santorini > Private Tours
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 15, 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 Catamaran Cruise – the caldera is 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 5 Best Private Tours in Santorini

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

1. Private Half-Day Catamaran Cruise of Santorini

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/captain. If this isn’t the highlight of your trip then I’d be surprised. Starts at 10am or 3pm. Delicious BBQ meal and unlimited drinks are included.

2. 5-Hour Private Wine Tour

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

3. 6-hour Best of Santorini Experience Tours

Tour 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.

4. 30 Minute Private Helicopter Flight

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

5. Highlights of Santorini 5-Hour Photography Tour

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.

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Santorini Beaches

Home > Greece > Santorini > Beaches
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 15, 2018

  • Santorini beaches are composed of volcanic sand and pebbles. Very unique and beautiful to look at but they’re not the best beaches in Greece with idyllic white sand.
  • The best Santorini beach hotels are located in Kamari, Perissa, and Perivolos.
  • Visitors shouldn’t come to Santorini primarily for the beaches – they should come for the volcano, boat tours, incredible views, wine, hikes, nightlife, and great food.
  • Swimming in the crystal clear blue water is refreshing and wonderful. (Since the beaches have coarse sand there’s little dust to cloud the water.)
Perissa and Perivolos Beaches in Santorini

The best sand and swimming in Santorini is at Perissa and Perivolos beaches (which are essentially the same beach: Perissa is the north part, Perivolos is the south part).

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The 6 Best Beaches in Santorini

My favorite beaches in Santorini are Kamari and Perissa. Great places to swim, many places to rent beach chairs, and lots of good places to eat. High quality beach resorts are plentiful (though there are very few hotels located directly on the beach – most resorts are across a small road from the sea).

Santorini is not known for its beaches. They are good but not great – so don’t be expecting those idyllic stretches of sand you’ve seen in pictures of Greece. (That said, many people love the beaches of Santorini and find their unique sand and natural setting to be more memorable than “just another sandy beach”.)

Most of Santorini’s beaches are composed of dark volcanic sand that gets searingly hot in the mid-day sun. Beach sandals or water shoes are recommended for getting around on the sand.

But what the beaches lack in typical sandy splendor they make up for with breathtaking views and scenery. The cliffs that loom around some of the beaches and the nature of the sand itself make a surreal setting for swimming and sunning.

Perhaps it’s just in my head but I find the sea water around Santorini the most clear and refreshing I’ve ever swam in. It’s really wonderful.

The caldera is found on the west coast of Santorini. The beaches are on the east and southeast side of the island. So when deciding where to stay it’s either along the caldera with incredible views of the volcano or at one of the beaches.

It’s an easy drive or bus ride from Fira (the main town on Santorini) to get to the beaches (Kamari is the closest) so as much as I love the beaches I still recommend staying in Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, or Oia as these towns have the stunning caldera (volcano) views that make Santorini so unique.

(It does take an extra bus journey to go from Firostefani, Imerovigli, or Oia to the beaches as it requires changing buses in Fira. Renting a car is the best way to explore the island and this is especially so if you’re not staying in Fira.)

If you’re looking for nightlife you’re best to base yourself in Fira as that’s where all the clubs are found on Santorini. But the beaches of Kamari, Perissa, and Perivolos do have restaurant/bars that stay busy late into the night. But for clubbing, that’s Fira.

1. Kamari Beach

One of the best beaches on Santorini: Kamari Beach
The most upscale and touristy of the beach towns. The path along the beach is a fun and relaxing place to stroll in the evening. Lots of places to eat and drink. Kamari has a very fun vibe and one of the most family-friendly towns on Santorini. Close to the airport (but not so close as to worry about noise). It’s the closest of any of the beaches (with hotels) to Fira and the caldera. If I were to stay at a beach town it would be Kamari.
Recommended Beach Hotels in Kamari: Santorini Kastelli Resort (luxury) • Tamarix Del Mar Suites (luxury) • Sigalas (moderate)

2. Perissa Beach

One of the best beaches on Santorini: Perissa Beach
Perissa and Perivolos Beaches are essentially one very long beach that caters to the backpacker crowd and party scene (beach style, not clubs) but still has a wide range of accommodations and restaurants. The beach becomes progressively quieter as you move south towards a third beach, Agios Georgios. (It’s much farther from Perissa or Perivolos to Fira than it is from Kamari to Fira.)
Recommended Beach Hotels in Perissa: Aqua Blue Hotel (moderate) • Meltemi Village Hotel (moderate) • Sellada Beach Hotel (moderate)

3. Perivolos Beach

Perivolos Black Beach in Santorini – good bars, restaurants and beach resorts
At some point as you move south the name changes from Perissa to Perivolos (and then to Agios Georgios) but the sand and the vibe is essentially the same. The density of hotels and restaurants declines and it’s possible to have long stretches of beach to yourself.
Recommended Beach Hotels in Perivolos: Smaragdi Hotel (moderate) • Sea Sound White Katikies (moderate) • Hotel Sea View (moderate)

4. Red Beach

Red Beach in Santorini, Greece
The pebbly sand here is red and the backdrop is stunning. There’s not a lot here besides the unique scenery (though ancient Akrotiri is 5 minutes away and definitely worth a visit in its own right). Red Beach is 20 minute drive south of Fira and the walk down to the beach can be steep for some. Warning: There have been reports of some falling rock on the path down to the beach so … uhm, watch for falling rock as you walk down to the beach … or just take pictures from a distance and skip actually walking to the beach.
Recommended Hotels: Astarte Suites (luxury)

5. Monolithos

The best beach for kids on Santorini.
Monolithos Beach (a few km north of Kamari) has the nicest sand and most family-friendly beach on Santorini (unlike other beaches you can make sandcastles here). Very quiet with a small collection of hotels and restaurants. The shallow slope of the seafloor make it better for kids than the steep drop-offs at Perissa and Kamari. There’s a small play area for the kids on the sand. It’s nice here (but I wouldn’t recommend staying here), so don’t be expecting a lot of action. If you have a rental car and a few kids it might be worth an afternoon but most people would probably describe it as “dead”.

6. Ammoudi Bay

One of the best beaches on Santorini: Amoudi Bay
The best swimming spot on Santorini – but not a beach. Take the path down from Oia to the Ammoudi port (where the restaurants are) then turn left and walk along the water’s edge for 5 minutes. (You can also drive down and park near the restaurants.) Then jump from the rocks into beautiful blue water. There’s a small island that you can swim out to that has glorious views of the caldera. The walk along the sea edge can be tricky in spots and there have been reports of falling rock.
Recommended Hotels in Oia (near Ammoudi): Esperas (luxury) • Fanari Villas (luxury) • Art Maisons Oia Castle Hotel (luxury)

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Santorini Tours and Things To Do

Home > Greece > Santorini > Things To Do
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 8, 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. You might not usually do tours. It might be outside your comfort zone. But they’re awesome. Do it! You won’t regret it.

The Best Santorini Tours & Day Trips

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 Sailing Cruise in Caldera – 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.
  • 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.)
  • Santorini Private Tour (6 Hours) – The best private tour of 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 village left behind after the devastating volcanic eruption that made the island uninhabitable. The site is very well done and I highly recommend getting a guide to show you around the site and discuss the history of the island, the eruption, and the following destruction. Sometimes there can be guides waiting at the entrance but it’s better to book a good tour guide in advance.

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. Lots of fun.

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 Cooking Course

This is so much fun. Start with a visit to two wineries for 9 tastings then move to a kitchen to cook your lunch (traditional greek dishes) and eat what you’ve made.
The best food and cooking course on Santorini.

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 – you can get away from the main towns and explore the beautiful Santorini 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 and lots of restaurants. The pedestrian only street along the beach is fun to walk along 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.

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.)

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.

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

Atlantis 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.

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. Perissa Beach

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. Perissa is about a 30 minute drive from Fira and 45 minutes from Oia.

34. 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. Short tours visit nearby Red Beach and White Beach. Longer tours go all the way to the caldera (and volcano) and stop for a swim in the hot springs. Email Wavesports to enquire about openings on required dates: [email protected]. Staff are friendly and helpful. They also do parasailing, tubing, and water skiing.

35. Do A Food Tour

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.

36. Best Dance Bar

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

37. 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.

38. 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.

39. 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.

40. Best Bar in Oia

Hasapiko is the best bar in Oia.
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.

41. 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.)

42. 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).

43. 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).

44. 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.

45. 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).

46. 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.

47. Most Unique Place To Stay On 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 windmill suite on Santorini. – So book early. Free breakfast is included.

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.

See Also

Santorini Weddings

Home > Greece > Santorini > Wedding Planning
by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 1, 2018

How do I Plan and Book a Santorini Wedding?

Getting married in Santorini is not easy. It takes a lot of preparation, planning, and paperwork. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from doing a Santorini wedding. But you need to know from the start what’s involved. Much of the wedding can be prepared by wedding planners in Santorini (including getting your personal documents translated into Greek) but there is still much to be done so be prepared.

An alternative to an official wedding in Santorini is to have a symbolic ceremony that doesn’t require the legal documentation. The vows, ceremony, location, and wedding reception are all the same but without all the extra hassle. (You would, of course, have to take vows in your home country before or after your trip to make the marriage official.)

What documents are needed for a wedding in Santorini?

Passports, full birth certificates, certificate of non-impediment to marry from both bride and groom, affidavits stating the bride and groom are free to marry, as well as a few more depending on circumstances. All documents related to the marriage must be translated into Greek, certified in the Greek embassy or consulate in your home country or certain documents must also have an apostille stamp.

Can you recommend any wedding planners in Santorini?

Nicholas at Santorini Weddings and Michael from Wedding’s Santorini come highly recommended from several people.

What venues are available for a wedding in Santorini?

Popular choices for a Santorini wedding are the Le Ciel (Imerovigli), Santorini Princess Hotel (Imerovigli), Katikies Hotel (Oia), Dana Villas (Firostefani), Suites of the Gods (Megalochori), Pyrgos restaurant (Pyrgos), Sphinx restaurant (Fira), Santo winery (Pyrgos), and Santa Irini Chapel (on the caldera).

See Also

Cruises to Santorini

Home > Greece > Santorini > Santorini Cruises
by Santorini Dave • Updated: April 30, 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.
  • 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), only see the island when it’s crowded with other cruise ship passengers (your shipmates), and miss out on staying in one of the magical Santorini hotels on the caldera.

After the cruise ships 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 funner, more relaxing, and more beautiful on the island after the cruise ships have departed.

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.

See Also

Mykonos Nightlife – The Best Bars and Clubs

Updated: April 28, 2018

  • Mykonos is the party capital of the Greek islands (maybe all of Europe).
  • 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 Tours
Mykonos Town bars that have a view.

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

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 predominantly gay town bar is a popular sunset-watching spot. 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 (Enoplon Dynameon, http://astra-mykonos.com)

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 (Meletopoulou, 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 (Matoghiannia, Mykonos Town, Facebook page)

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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Santorini Boat Tours

Home > Greece > Santorini > Boat Tours
by Santorini Dave • Updated: April 27, 2018

  • My favorite tours in Santorini are the boat tours of the volcano. A must!
  • All boat tours have great views of the caldera cliffs but can be different from each other in important ways.
  • The 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/dinner on board; and watch the sunset below Oia.
  • GetYourGuide.com is the best way to book tours on Santorini.
Santorini caldera tour from Fira.

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

The Best Boat Tours of the Caldera & Volcano 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).

  • Sunset Catamaran Sailing Cruise in Caldera (5 Hours) – 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 dinner, and finally see the sunset from the cliffs below Oia. Lots of fun!
    Sunset boat cruise of caldera and volcano in Oia, Santorini.
  • Semi-Private Luxury Catamaran Day Cruise (5 Hours) – The most luxurious boat tour with the best food and smallest group. Staff are super friendly and 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.
  • 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.

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The Best Mykonos Tours

Updated: April 27, 2018

The 5 Best Tours and Things To Do in Mykonos

1. Mykonos Cooking Class (Traditional Greek Food)

Best Things To Do in Mykonos: Spiti Cooking School for Greek Food
This is an absolutely wonderful Greek cooking class: fun, informative, great food. And the wine flows freely. It lasts a little less than 6 hours and starts at 10am or 4pm with free transfer from hotel or cruise port. Highly recommended. If you only do one organized activity in Mykonos make it this one. (It’s rare for kids to do the class but when they do they have a blast.)

2. Delos 4-Hour Tour

Day tour of Delos island from Mykonos.
It’s a 45 minute boat ride to Delos and then explore the ancient island with a fully accredited guide. Delos is one of the best preserved and most important historical sites in Greece and the best day trip from Mykonos.

3. Small Yacht Cruise to Delos & Rhenia Islands

Best yacht cruise of Mykonos beaches, swimming, and snorkeling.
Swim, snorkel, and sunbathe from the yacht and along the coast of the uninhabited island of Rhenia. Light lunch (on the yacht) and a couple drinks are included. Then have a 90 minute guided tour of the ancient island of Delos. This is a semi-private tour and there is a maximum of 10 guests on the boat.

4. Mykonos South Coast Sailing Tour with Paradise Beach & BBQ

Mykonos Beach Tour
A super fun way to spend a day out on the water. Lots to eat and drink (and food is surprisingly good quality). Lie on the deck, swim, snorkel, or sightsee as you make your way around the Mykonos coastline. This one is a little expensive but worth it for the small group size and luxury service.

5. Mykonos: Half-Day City Walking Tour and Island Bus Tour

Mykonos walking tour
Starts with a walking tour of Mykonos Town and then visits the best sights, small villages (like Ano Mera above), and small hidden churches all over the island.

Best Free Thing To Do in Mykonos

The best boat tours to beaches and day trip islands from Mykonos.
Walk from Platys Gialos Beach to Paradise Beach making stops at beach bars and restaurants along the way. You’ll pass Agia Anna and Paraga beaches and several other small swimming coves. Super fun and free! (Besides what you spend on food and drinks, of course.) If you’re staying in Mykonos Town take the bus to Platys Gialos then start walking along the beach towards the east (if you’re facing the water walk to your left). There are several great places to eat along the walk. If you hike straight to Paradise Beach it will take about an hour (without stops). Then bus back from Paradise to Mykonos Town. Or take the water taxi back to Platys Gialos.

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How To Rent a Car in Santorini

Home > Greece > Santorini > Rental Cars
by Santorini Dave • Updated: April 26, 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 into Fira and then pickup your rental car.
  • Take pictures of the vehicle (inside and out) before driving away from the rental company.

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 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 in Oia and Spiridakos (which offers free pickup at the port, airport, or your hotel).

Car Rental At The Santorini Airport

For airport rental cars you can reserve through Rentalcars.com and pickup 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 airport it’s a short 10 minute drive to Fira. About 15 minutes to Imerovigli. And 25 to Oia (from the airport). 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 Budget, Hertz, and Enterprise. Their desks are located in the arrivals hall of the airport terminal.

Car Rental At The Santorini Port

The ferry port in Santorini is chaos 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 person will not be straight forward. And two, the winding snaking crazy road up the caldera cliff is scary as fuck. I have not driven up it nor do I want to. Whether reserving in advance or hiring a car after arrival just do it in Fira or Oia. Much easier.

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. If you wanted to go (from Oia) to Kamari and Akrotiri on the same day you’d be looking at 8 bus trips. However, 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 won’t be getting 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.

Car Pickup at Santorini Airport.

The car rental companies at the airport are in arrivals and super easy to find.

The airport parking lot for rental cars is just out the door and a 30 second walk from the terminal.

Taxi or rental car at the Santorini airport.

The taxi line at the Santorini airport. It can be chaotic 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.

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 into Fira and then getting your rental car in Fira – 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).
  • 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 but if you get into an accident your insurance will be not be valid (in theory). For the record: I do not have an international drivers permit and have never had a problem – but, I’ve never gotten into an accident either.
  • 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 your hotel and get your rental car in Fira later that day or the next day.

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.)

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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The Walk from Fira to Oia

Updated: April 26, 2018

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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 10.5 kms (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.
  • Best Walking Tour for the Fira to Oia Hike: Small-Group Santorini Caldera Walking Tour – Starts from Fira and takes you on the most scenic route to Oia. They do hotel pickup and drop off or even arrange to meet you near the cruise port. 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.
  • I enjoy walking from Fira to Oia but it’s essentially the same walk from Oia to Fira. I’ve seen Tripadvisor posts saying it’s harder from Oia to Fira because “it’s all uphill” (not true). Fira and Oia are roughly the same elevation so direction does not affect how much you go up and down. There is a fair bit of climbing and descending regardless of the direction.
  • 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” in 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. This map of the Fira to Oia hike (that I edited) shows the most scenic route (though it does bypass the markets in Imerovigli).
  • 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).

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 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

This is the divide (in front of San Antonio hotel) between the two paths if you’re approaching 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 until 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.

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.

The first market you’ll come upon as you enter Oia (or the last one you’ll see as you’re leaving town).

Fira to Oia Walk

There is a small stretch as you enter Oia where there is no path and you need to walk on the road for a minute or two. Traffic moves very 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

Where To Stay in Seville

Updated: April 2, 2018

The Best Areas to Stay in Seville

Old Town of Seville, Spain

The charming squares and streets of Barrio Santa Cruz in Seville.

There is no single “best” neighbourhood to stay in Seville, though some are more convenient for sightseeing than others. Since the heart of the city is compact and very walkable, and since many of Seville’s attractions are centrally located and close together, it’s perfectly feasible to stay in the neighbourhood of your choice, depending on your interests and budget, and either explore the city on foot or take inexpensive taxi, tram or metro rides to and from your hotel if you’re staying further out of the centre.

While many of the best hotels in Seville are located in the central Barrio Santa Cruz and Centre, there are other luxurious options further afield as well.

Barrio Santa Cruz is the heart of Seville, centred around the cathedral. Its maze of winding streets is home to excellent, varied dining, several worthwhile museums and much of the city’s nightlife. This is where you’ll find the widest range of accommodation in the city, from numerous boutique hotels, including 4-star and 5-star options, to excellent budget hotels. Easy to walk around, and it’s best not to drive here, since many of the streets are one-way and very narrow.

Just to the west of Barrio Santa Cruz is El Arenal, Seville’s former port area that’s bordered by the river. This neighbourhood is where you’ll find some of Seville’s most striking historical buildings, as well as the bull ring. Many of the city’s main attractions are minutes away on foot and accommodation here consists of a few mid-range and budget options.

To the north of Barrio Santa Cruz and El Arenal is Centre, the central part of town that sits between Plaza Nueva to the south and Plaza de la Encarnación to the north. Shopping streets and fashion chains abound here, and there are numerous restaurants and bars here as well the city’s top art museum. Accommodation includes boutique hotels, several 5-star and business hotels and various budget options.

Bordering Centre to the north is Macarena, the northeastern part of Seville’s old city. Formerly one of the city’s poorest area, Macarena is becoming gentrified and attracting young, professional types. With several clusters of tapas bars, it has a quieter, more residential feel than Barrio Santa Cruz, and there are numerous tiny plazas and appealing churches to discover. There are numerous mid-range, self-catering options here, as well as several hotels.

Across the river from El Arenal is the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Triana, renowned for its distinctive character. Flamenco was born here, and to date there’s a lively nightlife here and a buzzy tapas bar scene, though Triana is a longish walk from Seville’s main attractions. Accommodation here consists of several high end and boutique hotels, short-term apartment rentals and a few budget hotels.

North of Triana is La Cartuja, whose defining features are a monastery with a contemporary art museum, Seville’s popular theme park and pavilions left over from Expo 92. This is a quiet neighbourhood, with very few hotels on the periphery and practically no dining options to speak of, though the tapas bars of Triana and Macarena are both within walking distance.

South of Triana is Los Remedios, a purpose-built residential district, with apartment blocks and fashion boutiques lining wide, straight avenues. Apart from several mid-range hotels, there are numerous self-catering options. Seville’s short metro line connects Los Remedios to Barrio Santa Cruz.

The Best Places to Stay in Seville

Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville, Spain

Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville.

Best Neighborhoods in Seville for Sightseeing: Barrio Santa Cruz, El Arenas, and Centre
Since these three central neighbourhoods are right next to each other and imminently walkable, all three are very convenient for sightseeing. Barrio Santa Cruz is excellent for access to the biggest attractions: the Cathedral and the Alcazar. A couple of minutes’ walk away, El Arenal has its own share of attractions: the Plaza de Toros (bull ring), the historical Hospital de la Caridad, and the Torre de Oro naval museum overlooking the attractive riverside promenade. Centre is particularly good for shopping, and also for fine arts at the Museo de Bellas Artes.

Best Neighborhoods in Seville for Nightlife: Triana, Macarena, Centre, and Barrio Santa Cruz
There isn’t a single best area in Seville for nightlife. Lively pockets of nightlife dot the historical centre of the city, as well as Triana. Triana is very much a local scene, with lively tapas bars open until the wee hours of the morning, particularly along Calle Betis. If you’re lucky, a local might point you in the direction of the tiny dive bars where impromptu flamenco performances still occasionally take place late at night (as opposed to in Barrio Santa Cruz, where the flamenco performances are scheduled to be around dinnertime and are largely aimed at tourists). In Macarena, the largely local action centres around tapas bars along the Alameda de Hércules and Calle Santa Ana. In Barrio Santa Cruz there are numerous tapas bars and cocktail bars to choose from in the tiny streets near the Cathedral and it’s a mixed local and tourist scene. The tapas bars and cocktail bars dotted around Centre also attract a mix of visitors and locals. There’s a handful of gay bars as well, mostly in Centre.

Best Neighborhoods in Seville for Food and Restaurants: Barrio Santa Cruz, Macarena, Triana, El Arenal, Centre
As with nightlife, there isn’t a single best neighbourhood in Seville for dining out. Triana and El Arenal are renowned for their down-to-earth tapas bars where simple local dishes are beautifully executed. Macarena offers a mix of excellent tapas bars, along with some sit-down restaurants specialising in fusion cuisine. Both Centre and Barrio Santa Cruz have a mix of old-school tapas bars serving Andalusian standards, new wave gourmet tapas bars, fine dining establishments with traditional Spanish cuisine and even some international restaurants serving sushi and Indian food. Seville’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, El Abantal, is just east of Barrio Santa Cruz, en route to the train station.

Best Neighbourhoods in Seville for Families: Barrio Santa Cruz, Centre, Los Remedios
Barrio Santa Cruz is one of the best places in Seville for families because it’s a very walkable neighbourhood, with fun things for kids, such as horse-drawn carriage rides and the gardens of the Alcazar. Centre is also very walkable, has good family-friendly hotels and is closer on foot to the Isla Magica theme park, which is across the river in La Cartuja. While Los Remedios is further out of the centre and short on sights, there are good, family-friendly hotels here, as well as a large park for kids to explore.

Best Neighborhood in Seville to Stay for First Timer: Barrio Santa Cruz
If it’s your first time in Seville, then Barrio Santa Cruz is the best neighbourhood to base yourself. It’s as central as it gets, very atmospheric, has an excellent dining and nightlife scene, and numerous attractions are right on your doorstep, from the Cathedral and the Alcazar to the Museo de Flamenco and the Hospital Los Venerables art gallery. It’s also the easiest place to catch a flamenco show, there’s accommodation to suit all budgets and other neighbourhoods of interest – El Arenal, Centre, Macarena – are within easy walking distance.

Most Romantic Neighborhood in Seville: Barrio Santa Cruz
If you want a place to stay for a honeymoon or couple’s getaway, Barrio Santa Cruz is hard to beat. Must be something about the picture-perfect tiny streets, tiny plazas filled with orange blossoms, horse-drawn carriage rides by the Cathedral, some excellent formal dining options and intimate boutique hotels where Old World architecture meets personalised service. Though it’s also worth considering Triana, across the river, since the riverfront hotels give you splendid views of Seville’s historical centre.

Best Neighborhood in Seville for a Local Vibe: Triana
It’s hard to get more ‘local’ in Seville than Triana. Still rough around the edges, this working class neighbourhood is where Seville used to produce all the beautiful ceramic tiles that you see around the city, though few ceramic workshops remain open. Many of Seville’s bull fighters, artists and flamenco performers were born here and Triana is still the best place in Seville to catch an impromptu flamenco performance in tiny dive bars late at night if you’re lucky (as opposed to in Barrio Santa Cruz, across the river, where the flamenco performances are scheduled and aimed at tourists). The cobbled streets here resemble Barrio Santa Cruz, but the houses are far less grand and the lively tapas bars along Calle Betis consistently fill with locals.

Best Neighborhood in Seville for Walking: Barrio Santa Cruz
This neighbourhood consists of a maze of numerous tiny streets lined with bars, shops, and restaurants that are a pleasure to explore on foot. There is little in the way of traffic and some streets are entirely pedestrian. Barrio Santa Cruz is part of the old city and is the historical heart of Seville. You’ll find Seville’s main attractions – the Cathedral and the La Giralda belltower – right there, with the Alcazar (royal palace) directly opposite. The Hospital de la Caridad, the Plaza de Toros (bull ring) and the Torre de Oro in El Arenal are a five to ten minute walk west, while the Flamenco Museum on the edge of Centre is a 10-minute walk north. The Museo de Bellas Artes in Centre is a 15-minute walk north and it takes around 20 minutes to reach the tapas bars of Macarena (north of centre) or the plazas and churches of Triana – the latter being across the river: take the Puente de Triana west.

Safest Areas of Seville
Seville’s safest neighbourhoods tend to be the more upmarket ones. Barrio Santa Cruz, Centre, El Arenal, Macarena, Los Remedios – all these are largely safe to walk around any time of day, though precautions apply at night. In Barrio Santa Cruz and Centre, things can get rather lively on weekend nights.

Unsafe Areas of Seville
Parts of Triana can be sketchy at night; it’s best to stick to the more popular streets where locals are out and about until late at night. In Barrio Santa Cruz, El Arenal and Macarena it’s best to avoid any poorly lit, deserted little streets at night and it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for opportunistic pickpockets. Parks are also best avoided at night, as is the area just to the east of Barrio Santa Cruz, between the barrio and the train station.

The Best Neighbourhoods in Seville for Tourists

Where to stay in central downtown Seville

The Old Quarter in Central Seville.

Centre

This central part of the Old City sits between Barrio Santa Cruz and Plaza Nueva with Seville’s town hall to the south and Plaza de Encarnación and Macarena to the north. Centre’s main attraction is its large shopping zone, centred around Calles Sierpes, Cuna and Velazquez/Tetuan, where you can find high street Zara, Sfera, Pull & Bear and Mango offerings, as well as some superb Spanish-made leather goods – shoes, purses and boots. At night, Centre’s tapas and cocktail bars get seriously lively. It’s worth visiting Plaza de Encarnación to go up the Metropol Parasol – a wooden construction resembling giant mushrooms above some excavated Roman ruins; you get a great view of the city from the top. Towards the river is the Museo de Bellas Artes – Seville’s excellent fine arts museum.
• Best Hotel: Gran Melía Colón

Barrio Santa Cruz

Bordered by El Arenal to the west and Centre to the north, the most visited part of Seville comprises a medieval maze of tiny, winding streets, lined with picturesque whitewashed houses and dotted with tiny plazas filled with orange trees. This used to be the Juderia (Jewish quarter) and the churches here were originally synagogues. The barrio’s central feature is the splendid Cathedral and the Giralda – the bell tower that used to be a minaret. The Alcazar (royal palace) is a heavyweight attraction just south of the Cathedral. The Archivo de Indias, which houses all the documents about Spain’s conquest of the New World, is also near the Cathedral and open to the public. Flamenco enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the excellent Museo de Flamenco where you can catch nightly performances of the passionate dance. Barrio Santa Cruz has a superb dining scene catering to all tastes; Calle Mateas Gago in particular is lined with excellent tapas bars and smart restaurants.
• Best Hotels: Hotel Las Casas de la JuderiaEME Catedral Hotel

El Arenal

Sandwiched between Barrio Santa Cruz to the east and River Guadalquivir to the west, El Arenal used to be the port from which Spain’s ships sailed to the New World. The main attractions here are the Moorish Torre del Oro – the naval museum overlooking the river promenade, the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza – Spain’s most famous bullring, and the Hospital de la Caridad, formerly a charity hospital for the poor, decorated with beautiful tilework and paintings by Spanish Masters. The streets are dotted with some excellent, low-key tapas bars, and there are superb views of Triana from the riverbank.
• Best Hotels: Hotel AlabarderoHotel Mercer Sevilla

Macarena

Formerly a poor slum, the barrio of Macarena sits north of Centre in the old city. Its narrow streets are lined with characterful historical buildings, crumbling old mansions that have been restored and clusters of tapas bars popular with locals. The tiny plazas are dotted with churches, the most famous of which is the Basilica de la Macarena; during Semana Santa, the procession leaving this church with the statue of the Virgin on a solid silver float is one of the week’s highlights. This neighbourhood attracts artists and young professionals and there’s an authentic feel to it, in spite of a certain amount of gentrification. Macarena is an easy walk from attractions in Centre, Triana and Barrio Santa Cruz.
• Best Hotel: Hotel Abril

Triana

Across the river from El Arenal, the main attraction of this neighbourhood is wandering its streets and small plazas and exploring its ceramic workshops that still
produce colourful tiles that decorate many of the city’s buildings. The tapas bars are an attraction in their own right, with many concentrated along the Calle Betis that parallels the waterfront. Seville’s heavyweight attractions in El Arenal and Barrio Santa Cruz are a 20-minute walk away.
• Best Hotel: Hotel Ribera de Triana

La Cartuja

The 15th century Monasterio de la Cartuja sits in the centre of this quiet part of town, north of Triana and west of the river. CAAC (Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo) – Seville’s excellent contemporary art museum resides in the monastery grounds and Columbus himself planned his voyages to the New World at the monastery, which is why the La Cartuja neighbourhood was chosen to host Expo 92. There are some attractive botanical gardens near the monastery and by the river, as well as pavilions left over from Expo 92, in one of which there are interactive displays, charting Spain’s voyages of exploration. North of the Expo 92 grounds is Seville’s large and popular theme park, Isla Mágica.
• Best Hotel: Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento

Los Remedios

South of Triana and reachable from Barrio Santa Cruz via a short, handy metro line, Los Remedios is an affluent residential area, its wide, straight street contrasting with the medieval maze of the old city. There’s some good shopping here, as well as a large and pleasant park – Parque Los Principes – but the neighbourhood’s main draw is its proximity to the vast fairground where the Feria de Abril takes place. This exuberant, week-long celebration happens two weeks after the Semana Santa and involves costumed parades and street parties.
• Best Hotel: Hotel Monte Carmelo

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Athens Hotels

Updated: March 30, 2018

See Also

Athens Hotels – Tips and Recommendations

  • Where To Stay in Athens: The best neighborhoods for visitors are The Plaka, Monastiraki, Syntagma, and Koukaki – all are walking distance to the Acropolis and other top historical sights.
  • Athens is a great city. You might have heard it’s ugly (and some areas are) but there’s lots to see within the walkable central area. It has the Acropolis and the two best museums in Greece. The streets are filled with great food and lively restaurants. Athens can easily fill 2 full days of quality sightseeing. Recommended stay: 1 to 3 full days.
  • Athens is packed with tourists from May to October. Book hotels early for the best deals.
  • Best Luxury Hotel in Athens: Grande Bretagne on Syntagma Square. (5 minute walk to the Plaka)
  • Best Boutique Hotel in Athens: Electra Palace Hotel in the Plaka.
  • Best Cheap Hotels in Athens: Phaedra Hotel (Plaka) • A for Athens (Monastiraki) • Athens Center Square (Monastiraki) • Myrto Hotel (Syntagma/Plaka)
  • Most ferries to Santorini, Mykonos, and the Greek Islands leave between 7am and 8am from the Piraeus ferry port. If you’re catching one of these ferries then stay close to the Monastiraki metro station (which has quick direct trains to the ferry port for just 1.40€). If you take a taxi it doesn’t matter where you stay.
  • Good hotels close to Monastiraki Station (for easy access to the train to the ferry port): A for AthensPlaka Hotel360 DegreesAdrian Hotel
  • Taxi from the airport to downtown hotels costs 38€. From downtown hotels to the ferry port costs about 15€.
  • Don’t stay in Omonia Square or in Piraeus (ferry port). They’re not unsafe but gritty, ugly, and unnecessary.
  • The best restaurant in Athens is Psarras (Fisherman’s Taverna) – magical location on the steps of the Plaka with fantastic traditional Greek dishes.
  • The best bar in central Athens is Brettos in the Plaka. Great friendly vibe.
  • Best Tours in Athens: Ancient Athens Private Walking Tour (4 hours) • Hidden Athens – Plaka and Athens Hills (4 hours) • Half-Day Athens Food Tour (4 hours) • Greek Cooking Lesson & Dinner (3 hours) • Day Trip to Delphi (10 hours)

The 7 Best Hotels in Athens

1. Hotel Grande Bretagne – Syntagma Square

The best luxury hotel in Athens: The Grande Bretagne near the Acropolis and Plaka
Hotel phone: +30 210-3330000
The best hotel in Athens. Situated on Syntagma Square in the center of the action and walking distance to nearly all major attractions. The spa, rooftop restaurant, and bar are wonderful – the latter worth a visit even if you’re not a guest.

2. King George – Syntagma Square

The best hotel views of the Acropolis: King George Hotel in Syntagma.
Hotel phone:+30 210 322-2210
Wonderful location (adjacent to the Grande Bretagne) with Syntagma Square at your door, shops all about, and the Plaka and Acropolis a short walk away. Rooms are beautifully decorated. Staff top notch.

3. Electra Palace Hotel – The Plaka

The best hotel in the Plaka: Electra Palace Hotel
Hotel Phone: +30 210-3370000
The best hotel in the Plaka. The rooftop pool has amazing views of the Acropolis (there’s also an indoor pool in the basement). Beautiful grounds in a great location with restaurants only steps away. The large triple rooms are good for families.

4. Royal Olympic Hotel – The Plaka

The best hotel near the Plaka: Athens Royal Olympic
Hotel Phone: +30 210-9288400
A great hotel with a wonderful central location – cross one busy street and you’re in the heart of the Plaka. Acropolis and Acropolis Museum are a short walk away. The rooftop restaurant has incredible views of the sights. Suites are huge and luxurious.

5. Hilton Athens – near Kolonaki

The best hotel swimming pool in Athens: Hilton Athens.
Hotel phone: +30 210-7281000
Good sized rooms, the best swimming pool in Athens, and exemplary service make the Hilton a great pick. Located a 15 minute walk from the Plaka and Syntagma Square in a quieter section of the city (not far from the trendy cafes of Kolonaki). A nearby metro station connects you with everything.

6. InterContinental Athenaeum – Koukaki

The best business hotel in Athens: Athens Intercontinental.
Hotel phone: +30 210-9206000
Rooms are huge and some have amazing views of the Acropolis. The swimming pool is great. The hotel is located a 20 minute walk from the Plaka and a free shuttle bus runs guests to the main tourist spots every 30 minutes. There’s also a tram and metro station nearby to take you to Syntagma Square. If location is of prime importance then this might not be your place, but the hotel itself is a great choice.

7. Westin Athens Astir Palace Beach Resort – The Coast

The best beach resort near Athens.
Hotel phone: +30 210-8902000
Update: Recently changed ownership and closed for renovation.
Stunning setting on a private peninsula on the stretch of coast south of Athens. Great beach, pool, restaurants, kids club, and every kind of outdoor activity you can name. 10 minutes to the shops, restaurants, and nightlife of Glyfada, 20 minutes to the airport, and 40 minutes into central Athens. A free shuttle bus takes you into Glyfada (the hotel will pay for a taxi if the shuttle is delayed or full).

Where To Stay in Athens

The neighborhoods below are centrally located, safe (though be careful in Omonia at night), and within walking distance of the most popular tourist attractions. If you’re still unsure of where to stay (after reading this) then find a hotel in the Plaka.

The Plaka Neighborhood

My favorite neighborhood in Athens. Yes, it’s very touristy but it also has a lively and friendly vibe. It’s a pedestrian-friendly warren of ancient streets nestled at the base of the Acropolis (the one must-see attraction in Athens). The Plaka is filled with restaurants, tourist shops, and hotels. Sights include the Ancient Agora, Roman Agora, Museum of Greek Popular Musical Instruments, and the Museum of Greek Folk Art. Served by Monastiraki station on metro lines 1 and 3.

The Plaka neighborhood in Athens.

A view of the Plaka neighborhood from the Acropolis.


The Plaka neighborhood in Athens.

Brettos Wine Bar in the heart of the Plaka. Many places are very touristy but this cool little bar gets plenty of locals too.

The Plaka neighborhood in Athens.

Historical sites like the Roman Agora, Hadrian’s Library, and the Stoa are sprinkled around the Plaka neighborhood.

The Plaka neighborhood in Athens.

There are many quaint and friendly restaurants throughout the Plaka. Most are pretty good but for better quality food and prices try to leave the main thoroughfares and find a restaurant down a quieter street or alley.

The Plaka neighborhood in Athens.

The Plaka has lots of tourist shopping.

The Best Hotels in the Plaka

Monastiraki Neighborhood

Neighboring the Plaka and having a similar feel, Monastiraki is also a great area to stay with many places to eat and shop. The neighborhood is a little less touristy and has more antique, arts, crafts, and clothing shops than the Plaka. It’s also home to a large Flea Market every Sunday morning. The area is served by the Monastiraki station (lines 1 and 3). Line 1 is a direct route to both Piraeus and the Athens airport making Monastiraki a good choice if you have an early ferry or plane to catch.

Monastiraki neighborhood in Athens.

Monastiraki Square is a great area to stay in if you need to catch an early ferry or flight. Monastiraki metro station (the building on the right) has direct trains to both the ferry port of Piraeus and Athens International Airport.

Monastiraki neighborhood in Athens.

Monastiraki is filled with great restaurants that serve traditional Greek food. The area is a little less touristy than the Plaka and the restaurants attract more locals.

Monastiraki neighborhood in Athens.

A street in Monastiraki with the Acropolis perched overhead.

The Best Hotels in Monastiraki

Koukaki Neighborhood

After the Plaka and Monastiraki, this is my favorite area of Athens to stay. Like the Plaka and Monastiraki the area sits at the base of the Acropolis and looks up at the Parthenon. It’s an easy walk from here to the Plaka and Syntagma but the area has a more local feel and not so touristy. There are many local restaurants and cafes on the streets and squares around the neighborhood. The Koukaki (and Makrigianni) area is served by the Akropoli and Sygrou-Fix stations on metro line 2.

The Koukaki neighborhood in Athens.

Looking down from the Acropolis on the Koukaki neighborhood and the Acropolis Museum (large building with black windows).

The Koukaki neighborhood in Athens.

There’s a large farmers market in Koukaki every Sunday.

The Koukaki neighborhood in Athens.

There are lots of good local restaurants in Koukaki where you won’t see another tourist.

The Best Hotels in the Koukaki

Syntagma Neighborhood

The business and tourist hub of Athens. In Syntagma you’ll find 5 star hotels, restaurants, shopping, banks, airline offices, and the Greek Parliament buildings. Served by Syntagma metro station (lines 2 and 3). The National Historical Museum is located in the old Parliament building on Stadiou street and the National Gardens are a cool and shady retreat from the sweltering Athens’ summers.

Syntagma neighborhood in Athens.

Syntagma is a hub for getting around Athens. You can catch the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus here as well as the bus to the airport.

Syntagma neighborhood in Athens.

Syntagma Square at night with the Greek Parliament buildings in the background.

The Changing of the Guards at the Greek Parliament buildings on Syntagma Square.

The Changing of the Guards at the Greek Parliament buildings on Syntagma Square.

Syntagma neighborhood in Athens.

The Syntagma metro station is in the middle of Syntagma Square and has direct trains to the Athens International Airport. To get to the ferry port you need to change trains in Monastiraki.

Syntagma neighborhood in Athens.

Athens’ best hotel, the Grande Bretagne, overlooks Syntagma Square.

The Best Hotels in Syntagma

Kolonaki Neighborhood

A residential neighborhood northwest of Syntagma Square that’s filled with upscale shops, restaurants, boutique hotels, and cafes. Sights include the Benaki Museum, the Museum of Cycladic Art, and National War Museum. It’s walking distance from here to the Plaka and the Acropolis. Served by Syntagma station on metro line 2 & 3 and Evangelismos on metro line 3.

Kolonaki neighborhood in Athens.

Kolonaki is northwest of Syntagma and a 15 minute walk from the Plaka. Here you’ll find small boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, and stairways (Kolonaki is on the side of a hill and depending on where you’re going can require lots of steps).

The Best Hotels in Kolonaki

Piraeus Ferry Port

The port of Athens where the ferries arrive and depart for the islands. There’s not much here for tourists besides the ferries but if you need to catch an early ferry staying here is an option (but I would still recommend staying in Athens). In high season there are always tourists milling about the area near the port and the metro station so you need not fear an early morning departure or a late night arrival. It’s about 30 minutes by metro (on line 1) from downtown Athens to the port.

Recommended Hotels in Piraeus

photo credits

What Hotels in Athens Have the Best Location?

The Plaka is the best area to stay in Athens. It’s very central for seeing all the best historical sights in Athens (except for the National Archaeological Museum which is a little out of the way and requires a short metro or taxi ride). It’s also busy day and night and feels very safe.

But you don’t have to stay right in the Plaka to get that safe, busy, central feeling. Being a little outside the Plaka area is fine too. Syntagma Square, Monastiraki, and Koukaki border the Plaka and there’s no clear boundary as you leave the Plaka and enter these neighborhoods.

The following hotels all have great locations in central Athens and are an easy walk to all the major sights in the area. The Acropolis, the Plaka, the Acropolis Museum, the Ancient Agora, and a half-dozen historical sights of Ancient Athens are within walking distance of all the hotels listed below.

  • Electra Palace Hotel Athens – The best hotel location in the heart of the Plaka. Great views of the Acropolis. On a quiet street but steps from shops and restaurants.
    Location of Electra Palace Hotel
  • Electra Hotel – On a funky pedestrian-only street, close to Syntagma and walking distance to the Plaka and Monastiraki metro station.
    Location of Electra Hotel
  • Divani Palace Acropolis – In the non-touristy neighborhood of Koukaki. Close to the Acropolis and steps from the Acropolis Museum.
    Location of Divani Palace Akropolis Hotel
  • Ava Hotel and Suites – Great location in the Plaka and a stones throw to Hadrian’s Arch and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
    Location of AVA Boutique Hotel
  • The Athens Gate Hotel – Very close to the Plaka and Acropolis Museum and directly across from Hadrian’s Gate and the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
    Location of Athens Gate Hotel
  • Royal Olympic Hotel – Close to Hadrian’s Gate and across a busy road from the Plaka and Acropolis Museum.
    Location of Royal Olympic Hotel
  • Hotel Grande Bretagne – Athens’ best hotel right on the city’s most famous square. The Syntagma Metro Station is steps away from the hotel.
    Location of Grande Bretagne Hotel
  • King George – Directly beside the Grande Bretagne on Syntagma Square.
    Location of King George Hotel
  • NJV Athens Plaza – Beside the King George Hotel and on Syntagma Square.
    Location of NJV Athens Plaza Hotel
  • Plaka Hotel – In the Plaka and close to Monastiraki metro station (which has a direct link to the Piraeus ferry port so is perfect for catching early morning ferry departures).
    Location of Plaka Hotel
  • Phaedra Hotel – Great location in the Plaka
    Location of Hotel Phaedra
  • Best Western Amazon Hotel – Very close to Syntagma Square and a short walk to the Plaka and the Acropolis.
    Location of Best Western Amazon Hotel
  • A for Athens – Steps from the Monastiraki metro station (for direct trains to the Piraeus ferry port and the airport).
    Location of A for Athens Hotel

Video of Athens’ Best Hotels

A quick guide to the best hotels in Athens.

Hotels Shown in Video (in order):
Grande Bretagne (luxury)
The King George Hotel (luxury)
NJV Athens Plaza (moderate)
St George Lycabettus (luxury)
Royal Olympic Hotel (luxury)
Athens Gate Hotel (moderate)
Divani Palace Acropolis (luxury
Ava Hotel and Suites (luxury)
Electra Palace Hotel (luxury)
Electra Hotel (moderate)
Best Western Amazon Hotel (budget)
Myrto Hotel (budget)
Phaedra Hotel (budget)
Hotel Byron (budget)
A for Athens Hotel (moderate)
Plaka Hotel (moderate)
Athens Center Square Hotel (budget)
Sofitel Athens Airport Hotel (moderate)

Map of Athens

Yellow Pins – Top 10 Things To Do in Athens
Blue Pins – Top 15 Hotels in Central Athens
Green Pins – Bus and Trains to Airport and Ferry
Blue Area – Area of Athens that is best to stay in
Red Area – Plaka Area of Athens

Hotels on Map
Grande Bretagne (luxury)
The King George Hotel (luxury)
St George Lycabettus (luxury)
Royal Olympic Hotel (luxury)
Divani Palace Acropolis (luxury
Ava Hotel and Suites (luxury)
Electra Palace Hotel (luxury)
NJV Athens Plaza (moderate)
Athens Gate Hotel (moderate)
Electra Hotel (moderate)
A for Athens Hotel (moderate)
Best Western Amazon Hotel (budget)
Myrto Hotel (budget)
Phaedra Hotel (budget)
Hotel Byron (budget)
Plaka Hotel (moderate)
Athens Center Square Hotel (budget)

See Also