Where to Stay in Santorini for First Timers

GreeceSantorini › Best Places to Stay
Updated: February 2, 2024
By Santorini Dave

My Favorite Santorini Hotels

• Fira: Athina
• Oia: KatikiesCanaves Suites
• Imerovigli: GraceAstra
• Firostefani: Tsitouras
• Beach: Istoria
• For Families: Aria
• For Couples: Aenaon
• Best Pool: Nous
• Midrange: EnigmaKavalari

Private plunge pool in Fira, Santorini.

A private plunge pool at Athina Luxury Suites in Fira.

Best Place in Santorini for First-Timers: Fira
The capital of Santorini, Fira is the island’s social, commercial, and transportation hub and the largest village on the caldera. Endless restaurants, bars, shops, and iconic domed churches and bell towers are built right into the cliffside in a picturesque maze of narrow lanes and stairways with sweeping views over the caldera, especially lovely at sunset. Attractions include The Archaeological Museum of Thera, The Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Gyzi Megaron (Gizi Mansion), and the landmark Holy Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral that sits on the main pedestrian path at the top of the caldera. Some of the island’s best restaurants are here, ready to serve local specialties, like fava, tomatokeftedes, and of course Santorinian wine. All of Santorini’s nightclubs (and most of its bars) are here, with upscale cocktail lounges on the caldera and more raucous pubs and dance clubs in a tangle of backstreets. Fira is also home to the main bus station; all bus routes begin and end here. If you don’t plan on renting a car, Fira is by far the best place to stay to get out and explore the red and black beaches, wine country, ancient ruins, and traditional villages.

Oia (quieter than Fira but still plenty of shopping and dining, and some low-key nightlife) and Imerovigli (great caldera and sunset views, expensive hotels, and several fantastic restaurants) are also good choices for first-timers to Santorini.

Fira for First-Timers

Oia for First-Timers

Imerovigli for First-Timers

Hotel in Fira, Santorini.

Athina Luxury Suites is my favorite hotel in Fira.

Hotel in Fira, Santorini.

Cosmopolitan Suites in Fira is great for couples and steps from bars and clubs.

Sunset view in Fira, Santorini.

Dinner with a view in Fira.

Bus station in Fira, Santorini.

The bus station in Fira is the hub of transport around the island.

Museum in Fira, Santorini.

Fira has a number of cultural attractions like the Museum of Prehistoric Thera.

Hotel in Oia, Santorini.

Looking south from Canaves Oia Suites into the caldera.

Best hotel in Oia, Santorini for first-timers.

Looking north from Canaves Oia Suites towards the town center.

Seafood restaurants in Santorini.

Ammoudi Bay below Oia. One of the best places for fresh seafood.

Hotel in Imerovigli, Santorini for first-timers.

Astra Suites in Imerovigli. The family suites are great for small groups or families.

Winery in Santorini with caldera views.

The caldera view from Santo Wines.

Restaurant in Pyrgos, Santorini.

The charming inland village of Pyrgos.

Best restaurant in Santorini for first-timer visitors.

Metaxi Mas is my favorite Santorini restaurant.

Best thing to do in Santorini for first-timers.

The hike along the caldera between Fira and Oia is a Santorini highlight.

Best tour in Santorini for first-timers.

A boat tour of the caldera is also a must.

Santorini airport.

The Santorini airport is in the center of the island and not more than 25 minutes from any town.

See Also

Best Hotels in Santorini
Best Family Hotels in Santorini
Where to Stay in Santorini

About Santorini Dave

Santorini Dave Author Bio. Santorini Dave was started in 2011 by a guy who loved Greece, travel, and great hotels. We're now a small team of writers and researchers on a mission to deliver the most helpful travel content on the internet. We specialize in Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Greece and recommend the best hotels, best neighborhoods, and best family hotels in top destinations around the world. We also make hotel maps and travel videos. I can be contacted at dave@santorinidave.com.