Want to visit Santorini and don’t know where to stay? Or Want to stay in a location with stunning views of the famous caldera but know nothing about it? Let’s know all about visiting Santorini here.
Santorini is among the most visited places in Europe. It is a hub for honeymooners, solo travellers and families. Hence, whenever one thinks about visiting the island, “Where to stay in Santorini” is a big task on the to-do list. So before we dive into the list of probable stays in Santorini, let’s know the basics about the island.
Officially called Thira, Santorini is a picture-perfect and Instagram-worthy island in the southern Aegean sea. The municipality of Santorini governs the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and other Greek islands like Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi and Christiana, which are uninhabited.
Now what you look at is a beautiful crescent-shaped island, offering fantastic views of Caldera on one side and an experience of serene, picturesque beaches on the other. The island is built on layers of lava and collapsed magma chambers. Hence, it has changed its shape several times over a long time.
The island is a collection of several towns and villages, out of which four are the important ones- Fira, Oia, Firostefani, and Imerovigli. These four towns are conveniently perched on the edges of Caldera Cliffs and offer amazing views.
Where To Stay In Santorini
There are many options, from high-end 5-star accommodations to cheap budget-friendly hotels in Santorini. But before that, why not dive into details of the commute to Santorini and all about its airways and waterways.
How To Reach Santorini
Want to visit Santorini? Want to know, How? Let’s have an idea about the travel to Santorini.
The plane is the quickest way to reach Santorini. You can take a flight from Athens to Santorini airport, which is within a 30-minute drive from all the major destinations on the island. In summers, charters from major cities in Europe also have direct flights to Santorini.
You can take a ferry from the port of Piraeus in Athens, which is connected to Athens airport by bus. Choice of the ferry depends on the budget and availability of time as there are two options available. The first is a ferryboat that takes 8 hours, and the other is a high-speed ferryboat that reaches Santorini in just five hours but is a little heavy on the wallet.
Where To Stay In Santorini- Towns And Villages
Santorini is a magical place for tourists. Every traveller wants to witness and capture those gorgeous caldera views, sunset views, cobbled pathways and white-washed houses during their stay in Santorini.
Depending upon preference and budget, one can choose the area of their stay in Santorini. One can either choose the popular towns on the West coast or go with the beach towns. Though it is challenging to explore Santorini on foot, the island has a well-connected bus network.
Staying in the four famous towns- Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia, is highly recommended for the iconic Santorini vibe. But if you are a beach person and a little tight on budget, you can try living in the beach towns of Kamari, Perissa and Perivolos. Also, it’s essential to keep in mind that outside the season of May to October, these places are not suitable for the stay as most businesses close during that time of the year.
Santorini has four main towns that are inhabited and lie on the island’s west coast. On the other side of the island lie three beach towns. Let’s get an overview of each town to figure out where to stay in Santorini and all the things you can do while you are on the island.
1. Fira Town
Fira is the capital of Santorini and the most populated area on the island. It is 10 kilometres away from the port and 5 kilometres away from the airport. Fira is the largest town on the island, and the central location has the best hotels- luxury or budget, couple-friendly or kid-friendly, and Hotels with a view or without a view. It has got the best shops, restaurants, bus connectivity and clubs. Hence, Fira is the best option for all kinds of tourist crowds.
Main attractions that you can visit from here include the Megaro Gyzi Cultural Center, which organizes cultural events like concerts and theatrical events; two cathedrals; the Archaeological Museum of Thera and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera and the Folklore Museum of Emmanuel A. Lignos.
If you are the one who doesn’t like bustling crowds too much and prefers quieter stays, Firostefani is just the place for you. This beautiful village is just a 10-minute walk away from Fira. The town provides equally stunning caldera views and has about 12 restaurants and a few shops but no nightlife.
Though the local buses connect Firostefani conveniently with Fira, making it easier to enjoy life in both the towns.
This charming village is known as “the balcony of the Aegean sea” and comfortably sits on the highest cliff of the caldera. Only 3 kilometres away from the capital, Imerovigli gives stunning views of the volcano and fantastic caldera views.
Being the quietest village in Santorini, Imerovigli comes out as the best option for honeymooners. As the village is located on the highest cliff and has many staircases, it is not considered a kid-friendly spot.
Major attractions include a vast rock called Skaros, which was once one of the five fortresses of Santorini. Along with various churches and chapels, between Firostefani and Imerovigli lies the female monastery of Agios Nikolaos that encloses in itself two museums: a folklore museum and an ecclesiastical museum.
Remember all those photos of beautiful stairs on Pinterest and Instagram? All those photos come from Oia. The town offers the most spectacular caldera views, the best sunset views and upscale restaurants. The southern part of Oia gives you the most fantastic caldera views, while the northern features the famous Santorini sunset.
The town is visited by tourists all day long; hence, it is pretty crowded, but it becomes quieter as soon as the sunsets. Though the walking distance between Fira and Oia is about 10 kilometres and takes up to 3 to 5 hours, it offers the most spectacular views of the caldera.
Kamari is famous for its eponymous Kamari beach. Kamari beach, also known as the famous black beach, is a pebble beach offering a cool and refreshing swim during summer. The beach town is quite a good substitute for budget and kid-friendly places to stay in Santorini, with options for many beach bars, beach restaurants and shops.
Having finer sand than the beach in Kamari, Perissa beach is preferred by families. As the town is farther from Fira and takes a bit more time to visit Caldera beach, it offers a quieter place for families.
With only a handful of high-end hotels and restaurants, on the one hand, Perissa still has plenty of budget-friendly hotels as well.
Perivolos beach is nothing but a quieter extension of Perissa beach. With a few new luxury hotels, fine dining and upscale beach bars coming up, this area is on its way to becoming the most luxurious beachfront area in Santorini.
Perissa and Perivolos are the best places to enjoy beach bars and restaurants. Significant attractions include The Church of the Holy Cross and hiking up Mesa Vouno Mountain.
8. Akrotiri Village
Akrotiri is another village one can stay in Santorini. While it has a beautiful Caldera view, the village is a bit isolated, and it is little within walking distance. The village makes a good option for accommodation if you can rent a car to see the caldera or are a fan of beaches and pools.
Attractions within reach are just two nearby beaches- the famous Red Beach and White Beach. So if you enjoy beach life, far from town crowds, Akrotiri is the place for you.
Pyrgos is a traditional village in Santorini with the best sunset views. Perched on the highest point, the major attractions of the village are the ruins of Venetian Castle, picturesque churches and vineyards that offer tours and tasting rooms.
While your “where to stay in Santorini” problem should have a solution, by now, there are some more towns and villages to stay in Santorini. One can stay in villages like Karterados, Megalochori, Emporio, Messaria, Finikia, Mesa Gonia, and Vothonas.
The Best Hotels To Stay In Santorini
The type of hotel room a tourist wants depends on why they decided to stay in Santorini. Whether they are a family on a vacation or a couple on honeymoon, or a backpacker on an adventure trip- everybody has a different set of parameters for their stay in Santorini.
Santorini hotels range from Luxurious suites to private villas, from Romantic hotels to cheap hotels, from boutique hotels with a Caldera view to budget hotels with a beach view, and so much more.
The best place to stay in Santorini is on the caldera side of the island, but there are many good cheap hotels on the beachside as well. From a luxury hotel to a cheap hotel, let’s know more about your stay in Santorini.
Best Luxury Hotels In Santorini
The best options for luxury accommodations with a view of Caldera or sunset are in Oia. The town charms one with its tranquillity and serene, picturesque seascapes. However, there are many other luxury options as well in all the towns in Santorini. Here is an overview of the selective ones.
Athina Luxury Suites (Fira)- A kid-friendly beautiful property with a majestic swimming pool and sun terrace with a view of the Volcano.
Volcano View by Caldera Collection (Fira)- Three swimming pools facing Volcano, Caldera and the sunset.
Tsitouras Collection (Firostefani)- Swimming Pool with a spectacular view of Caldera.
Dana villas and Infinity Suites (Firostefani)- Swimming pool with Caldera and Pool bar views.
Astra Suites (Imerovigli) -Suites feature an infinity pool, a hot tub or a private pool, and a massage centre.
Cocoon Suites (Imerovigli)- Features a hot tub or plunge pool facing Caldera and the Greek islands with an on-site bar.
Katikies Hotel (Oia)- Offers private terraces, open-air and indoor hot tubs and swimming pools.
Kima Oia Suites (Oia) -Swimming pool with Volcano view.
Tamarix Del Mar Suites (Kamari)- Pool with a hot tub, a gym and a restaurant.
Anastasia Princess Luxury Residence and Suites (Perissa)- Adult-only Suites offer a private swimming pool during your stay in Santorini.
Skyfall Suites (Pyrgos)- Features private pools and an outdoor hot tub.
Neptune Luxury Suites (Akrotiri)- 5-star suites offer a private plunge pool.
Best Honeymoon Hotels In Santorini
The famous town of Santorini, Oia, has the best hotels for honeymooners during their stay in Santorini, though one can find some in Imerovigli.
Cosmopolitan Suites (Fira)- features balconies with views of the sea and the volcano.
Katikies (Oia)- Offers terraces, open-air and indoor hot tubs and pools.
Katikies Kirini (Oia) is a 5-star property with multilevel terraces facing the sea and the Caldera.
Cavo Tagoo (Imerovigli)- Offering hot tubs and personalized services.
Sophia Luxury Suites (Imerovigli)- Features private bathrooms with branded toiletries and a spa bath.
Best Cheap Hotels In Santorini
Most hotels on the beachside of the island fall are either cheap hotels or family hotels. These areas are ideal for kids and close to the beach. The best town for cheap accommodation will depend on your budget.
Laokasti Villas (Oia): Close to beaches of Perivolos, Perissa, Vlychada, and Katharos.
Galatia Villa (Fira): Best cheap hotel with the best location featuring rooms and studios.
Casa Bianca (Imerovigli): It offers continental breakfast on personal balconies with a classic ambience.
Afrodite Hotel (Firostefani): Features hydro-massage tubs with a view of the Aegean sea.
Horizon Resorts (Kamari): Falls under the category of best cheap hotels, featuring an outdoor pool.
Roula Villa Studio & Apartments (Perissa): Studios feature recreational activities like horse riding.
Impressive one (Pyrgos): Offers a minibar and views from the pool.
Caldera Romantica (Akrotiri): Family hotel features a beautiful terrace and a pool. With a view.
There are more options for cheap accommodations that you can explore in Santorini. Those options are Kavalari, Costa Marina Villa, Villa Ilias, Damigos Caldera World, Kasimatis Studios, Abelonas retreat, Zoe Aegeas traditional houses, Kalestesia Suites, Cultural House Hotel, Santellini Hotel, Zephyros, Meltemi Village Hotel, and Smaragdi Hotel.
Why Visit Santorini
Santorini is the best location one can visit on the Greek islands, especially during summer. With its beautiful sunset views and views of the Caldera. Offering the view of the famous Caldera on one side and the beaches on the other, Santorini can be explored on foot depending on the location you stay in, or you can rent a car for an easy commute.
As Santorini is best known for its views and white-washed buildings, it is highly recommended to stay on the caldera side to experience the real Instagrammable side of the island. The choice of where to stay in Santorini depends on the tourist’s preference and budget.
Megalochori village has the best architecture, classic mansions and cave houses. Emporio gives a medieval feel and is surrounded by vineyards and old windmills. Ammoudi is a small port village, and many boat tours are run from here.
Messaria, quite close to Fira, is a tranquil village away from bustling crowds. Finikia is located close to Oia, having very few options to stay. Mesa Gonia, located in the centre of Santorini, is famous for its wine-making tradition as beautiful vineyards surround it.
The isolated islands of Imerovigli and Oia are located on higher points of the cliff; hence most of the hotels do not allow kids to stay, but one can surely take a day trip to the villages to experience the gorgeous sunsets and picturesque, scenic seascape.
One can also take a few day’s trips from the island to Mykonos, vineyards in Emporio, Volcanic islands, hot springs and Thirassia. You can also visit the less popular villages of Santorini.
Why grind yourself with “where to stay in Santorini” issues? Have a good read, pack your bags, and plan your stay in Santorini. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuits, slip-on and hats. All the best for the journey, Folks! Hope you enjoy your stay and find this piece of helpful information.