Where To Stay In Santorini: Towns And Beaches
In order to decide where is the best place to stay in Santorini for you, it might help to know more about this magical island.
Santorini has a surface area of approximately 73Km² , and is 18Km long and 5Km wide.
It will take about 45min to drive from north to south.
There are four very popular towns in Santorini: Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia. These villages are perched on the cliffs on the western side of the island, and are connected by a 10Km path that provides spectacular caldera views and endless photo opportunities.
There are also two well-liked beach towns on the eastern side: Kamari and Perissa. These are better options if the main focus of your trip is to spend more time on the beach.
Akrotiri, Pyrgos and Karterados are other towns to stay in Santorini that are not yet on tourists radar.
The best area to stay in Santorini is Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia. These are the towns that make Santorini so special.
If its your first time on the island, you should definitely stay on the caldera side, as thats what Santorini is famous for.
In Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia you can find whitewashed villas, cave-style hotels with terraces, and infinity pools that have served as backdrops to countless fashion photo shoots, Instagram posts, and marriage proposals.
If you still dont feel you know where to stay in Santorini, here is a bit more about the main towns and the advantages and disadvantages of staying in them.
Where To Stay In Fira
Alizea Villas & Suites
Featuring a pool, the Cycladic-style Villa Alizea is just 550 yards from the centre of Fira in Santorini. Each of the air-conditioned rooms at Alizea Villa has a flat-screen TV and a fridge. All rooms include a private, furnished balcony while some feature Aegean Sea views.
Costa Marina Villas
Costa Marina Villas is a guesthouse that is located 200 yards from the central square of Fira, the capital of Santorini. Great emphasis has been placed on the traditional island architecture and furniture. Costa Marina rooms include free Wi-Fi, hairdryer, air conditioning, fridge and electric kettle.
Platia is an adult-only property set in the main square of Fira Town, within walking distance of the Caldera, various shops and restaurants. Opening to a balcony with town views, all air-conditioned rooms come with a smart TV, a coffee machine, a kettle and a fridge. They also have a private bathroom with bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries.
How To Get To Santorini
Getting to Santorini is easiest if you take a plane from the Athens International Airport as it lasts only about 40 minutes. After reaching the National Airport of Santorini in Kamari village, you can take a taxi or a bus to the capital Fira.
You can also take a ferry boat from the port of Piraeus in Athens to Santorini. This may take nearly 8 hours, but youll get to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Caldera and the cliffs. Taxis and buses often run from the port to different towns.
There are no direct flights to Santorini from the USA, Canada, or Australia.
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Which Is The Best Area To Stay In Santorini
The best area to stay in Santorini is the west side of the island in the towns of Fira, Imerovigli, Firostefani, or Oia. This is where the famous cliff views are, and it is the most expensive area on the island. The only negative is that you wont be very close to the beach so you will have to spend most of your time at your swimming pool.
Catch The Cable Car At Fira
Fira is the capital city of Santorini, so its much bigger and more inhabited by locals. Here youll find more shops, restaurants and tourist-oriented facilities. There are many things to do in Fira, but I wouldnt recommend coming here when a cruise ship is docked as it gets packed. The cable car ride down to the seafront is quite a fun experience for the whole family and theres a cafe and a few interesting shops by the port. The cable car ride costs 6 euros each way and 3 euros for kids.
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Oia Where To Stay In Santorini For Your First Time
Oia is one of the most charming villages on the island of Santorini and where some of the best hotels are housed. Located in the north, it is a picturesque village comprised of stark white buildings with bright cobalt domed roofs, as well as traditional cave houses, hotels, restaurants and cafes. Perched on a cliff, Oia offers breathtaking views out over the sea and is the best area in Santorini to stay in to capture those iconic sunset views.
This is our recommendation for where to stay in Santorini for your first time because youll be able to enjoy a variety of delicious Greek dishes, lounge on the beach, and enjoy those iconic Santorini sunsets at some of the best hotels on the island. Its a great spot too if youre looking for a luxury hotel and most hotels offer views over the Aegean Sea with some even offering a private pool!
Costa Marina Traditional Villa Fira
Hotel phone: +30 22860 28923Affordable, family-owned hotel surrounded by lush gardens a short walk from the heart of Fira, but removed from the crowds. The Quadruple Rooms comfortably sleep 4 guests with a queen bed on the main floor and 2 single beds in the loft. The space is cozy but well-organized for efficient use of space. Service is warm and attentive.
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When To Travel Santorini With Kids
The height of the tourist season in Santorini is July and August but please take my advise and avoid traveling to Santorini during these two months. The island is bursting at its seams and many hotels, restaurants and car rental companies jack up their prices. Hotels get fully booked months in advance and even if youre lucky to find something, expect to pay at least $150/night for a 3-star hotel in Oia.
We traveled to Santorini at the last week of August, and it was so overwhelmingly crowded. I know that summer is the only time for families with kids of schooling age to travel, but try to time your trip to coincide with the mid-term holidays when there are much less people.
The best time for a Santorini family vacation is spring and autumn , when the cruise ships fewer and there is less crowd. The weather is great for swimming from late May to early October. Outside of these months, the beach towns will be very quiet and the weather usually isnt consistently warm enough for swimming.
Best Place For The Winter In Santorini
All beach bars and restaurants are closed in the winter in Santorini
The best place to stay in Santorini during the winter or low season months of November, December, January, February, March and April is Fira.
The main reason for that is that Fira is the only place that stays busy during the winter months.
Winter is Santorini are considered the following months: November, December, January, February, March and April
You wont be able to swim in the sea if you are visiting Santorini in any of these months. The sea water will be too cold for most peoples standards.
So, the best thing you can actually do is stay at the liveliest town which is by far, Fira. There will still be open restaurants and hotels all year round in Fira.
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The great thing about winter in Santorini is that you should expect to pay far less for your accommodation as prices are considerably lower.
The other benefit is also the fact that most areas will be really quiet with not that many people around.
But the weather can be windy and cold though it might be sunny!
- Best Hotel in Fira: Cosmopolitan Suites
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Best Place For A Honeymoon In Santorini
Santorini is the ideal place for a honeymoon but the place you choose to stay can make or break your honeymoon
In my opinion, Santorini is the perfect place for a honeymoon.
Make no mistake, this place is both romantic and adventurous.
Seclusive but also full of energy and with lots of things to do.
But when you are researching all the different areas to stay in Santorini the wealth of information might be confusing for most people.
I truly believe that accommodation is the A and Z for a great honeymoon.
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You dont really want to be close to nightclubs and crazy parties .
You have to make the best of your time with your other half and thats all that matters during that short period of time.
Many people consider Oia as the perfect place for a honeymoon in Santorini.
Even though there is nothing wrong with Oia, the fact that during the summer months of July and August every afternoon is packed with people who are rushing to watch the magnificent and famous Santorinis sunset is really not ideal to be honest.
That is why you need a place with equally beautiful views, equally amazing hotels or suites but less touristic and crowded.
That place is called Imerovigli my dear honeymooners.
Hands down Imerovigli is the best area to stay for a honeymoon in Santorini.
Imerovigli has the most quiet and amazing hotels on the whole island and the area with the perfect love nests
- Best Hotel in Oia:
Perissa Where To Stay In Santorini On A Budget
Perissa is a delightful village located on the southeastern shores of Santorini. It is best known for its nice and well-organised black sand beaches, as well as its excellent facilities and delicious Greek tavernas.
In addition to all of the above, Perissa is one of Santorinis best neighbourhoods to stay in if youre on a budget. Here youll find a great selection of backpacker hostels, boutique hotels, holiday rentals, and beachside bungalows that will cater to travellers at all price points.
Because there are so many accommodation options in Perissa, this village also wins our vote for where to stay in Santorini for one night. Youll find some of the best cheap hotels on the island in this area which makes this paradise location accessible for all types of travellers.
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Overview Of Where To Stay In Santorini
Santorini is part of the Cycladic island group on the Aegean Sea, located roughly halfway between Athens and Crete. This crescent-shaped island has seen several volcanic eruptions and is known for its beautiful caldera and volcano views.
Santorini is home to 15 towns and villages in total. The popular ones including Oia, Fira, Imerovigli, and Firostefani, lie on the caldera-edge clifftop towards the west of the island. Fira is the islands capital, while Firostefani is the highest point at the caldera edge.
The eastern part of the island is blessed with black sand beaches like Kamari and Perissa. The islands interior is lined with traditional villages like Pyrgos and Megalochori that are dotted with vineyards.
Owing to such vast topography in such a small area on the island, one might easily get confused while looking for the best places to stay in Santorini. Here is a compilation of the best locations to stay in Santorini with some insights and tips to help you make the right decision.
Below you can find a quick overview of the best places to stay in Santorini with hotel recommendations for each area.
|More hotels in Megalochori|
Things To Do In Santorini With Kids
If you are clueless about what to do in Santorini with kids, dont worry. Weve got you covered.
Santorini has exciting activities in store for people of all ages. With incredible beaches, breathtaking views, beautiful towns, and the best food, you are likely to have a hard time beating the end-of-summer vacation blues!
Use this list to find fun things to do in Santorini with kids and plan the most exciting vacation on this island.
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Why Stay In Firostefani
A perfect option for people who want to be near Fira but also want a quieter pace of life, you can walk to Fira from Firostefani village via a beautiful direct path in just over ten minutes. The area itself offers gorgeous Caldera views similar to Fira, has a wide range of boutique hotels to choose from, and offers enough local restaurants, bakeries, and shopping to keep you busy.
Theres a lack of nightlife so evenings are a lot quieter than elsewhere on the island but youre close enough that you still enjoy all the action and transport options of Fira. For a more authentic Santorini experience and the opportunity to find some hidden gems, then you cant do better than Firostefani.
When Considering Booking Your Accommodation In Santorini Bear In Mind That:
- You can move around the island by bus, but its more convenient and easier to hire a car or a motorbike / quadricycle.
- Accommodation in Santorini is quite expensive, especially during the high season and even more so if the hotel provides a volcano view.
- Some of the most famous towns in Santorini can get very busy and walking through their alleys can turn into a nightmare.
- Travelling with a partner/friends can be cheaper as youll have someone to share costs with.
- Accommodation in the beach towns are generally better value for money than the ones perched on the steep cliffs facing the caldera.
* Affiliate disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning I earn a small fee if you click through and make a purchase. There is never any additional cost to you, and I use some of these earnings for my monthly charitable donations.
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Things To See And Do In Kamari
- Splash and play at Kamari Beach, a black sand beach with calm and shallow waters perfect for swimming and watersports.
- Go snorkelling and explore the world beneath the waves.
- Explore Ancient Thera an 11th century Dorian settlement.
- Watch your favourite films under the stars at the Open Air Cinema.
- Dine on outstanding Greek dishes at El Greco.
- Feast on calamari, pasta and more at Sunshine.
- Eat tasty dishes and enjoy the ocean views at Saliveros.
- Try fresh Greek yoghurt at Prince Bar Restaurant.
Best Place For Seniors
Main famous towns in Santorini have hundreds of steps and you should better avoid them if you have mobility issues
If you are travelling with seniors or with people with difficulties in mobility in general, I would strongly advise to avoid the areas on the west side of the island such as Fira, Oia, Firostefani or Imerovigli.
There are literally thousands of stairs everywhere and its going to be a nightmare.
That doesnt mean that even those people cannot enjoy the magnificent famous views but living on those areas would make a terrible holiday, honestly.
However, if you do choose to stay at any of the west side areas please make sure that you inform your hotel in advance and let them know of your situation.
I am sure they will do their best to make sure you have a great and comfortable stay.
- Best Hotel in Kamari beach: Sunrise Studios
- Best Hotel in Perissa beach: Anastasia Princess
- Best Hotel in Perivolos beach: Orabel Suites
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Fira Where To Stay In Santorini For Nightlife
Fira is the capital and largest city on Santorini. It is located on the caldera or western side of the island and offers spectacular sea views and breathtaking sunsets.
The most cosmopolitan village on the island, Fira is packed with exciting and entertaining things to do. It boasts museums and galleries, as well as restaurants, shops and cafes.
Fira is also the best neighbourhood in Santorini to stay in if youre looking for nightlife. This lively Greek village is where youll find a good selection of bars and tavernas, as well as a few clubs where you can let your hair down and dance the night away.
Anemomilos Hotel Apartments Oia
Hotel phone: +30 22860 71410The best value hotel for families in Oia. Theres 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 is a great deal if youre looking for something cheaper. Full Review of Anemomilos Hotel.
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Karterados Close To Fira And Beaches
The village of Karterados is positioned almost directly at the center of Santorini, a mere 2km from Fira. Although traces of ancient settlements have been found, the village established itself between the 17th and 19th centuries when wealthy captains and businessmen made it their designated place of residence.
Karterados overlooks an expansive vineyard valley on one side and the azure sea on the other, which make for the ultimate scenic stay in Santorini.
A peaceful stroll through the village will reveal the stately homes of the villages founders, as well as the older, more traditional cave houses, while the Church of Ascension, with its tower steeple, is not to be missed. Visitors will also find restaurants, cafes, bars, and even a supermarket in no short supply.
The beaches of Karterados, reached by the main road, consist of black volcanic pebbles and clear blue waters, with interesting rock formations studded throughout.
The villages hotels, private villas, and apartments reflect the unique architecture of the area, and range in price from the exorbitant to budget-friendly.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SANTORINI IN KARTERADOS