Where To Stay In Santorini

Unlike the tiny old town of Oia, Santorini is quite a big and spacious island. So there are actually a lot of options for your stay there depending on your preference and budget. And that’s great news! But it can also be confusing when you are trying to figure out what to book. We’ve already been to the island a few times and can help you figure out where to stay in Santorini to avoid disappointment.

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One of the most exclusive rooms at Charisma suites is in the famous Oia windmill

But first – a word of caution. Oia is not for everyone. If you are just looking for the most stunning photo locations, you would love it. But if you need more privacy and quiet, it might not be the best place to spend your vacation. Read more on what we loved and hated about Santorini.

Best Place To Stay In Santorini (Overall)

The best are to stay in Santorini overall is the West Coast of the island. This is where you get the famous views of the volcano caldera, the beautiful sunsets and all of the best hotels. Most of the popular photo spots on the island are here and the hotel prices reflect that. Rooms on the cliff edge with caldera views are the most sought-after on the island.

As for the towns, Oia is the most popular but also most crowded and expensive one of all. Right next to it is Finikia, it’s within walking distance of Oia but more quiet. Other than that you have Imerovigli and Fira, where most of the fun stuff is happening. And Firostefani, which is near Fira but more quiet.

Oia – The Most Popular

Oia is the main attraction on the island. This old town is what you see in most Instagram and blog photos all over the internet. The views here are spectacular and the charm of this place is undeniable. But it comes at a high price, accordingly.

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Typical accommodation in Oia – amazing views but very little privacy

Oia has by far the most expensive accommodations in Greece and some of the most expensive in Europe. Of course, the experience of staying in a traditional Greek cave house in one of the most picturesque towns in Europe is truly unique. The hotels here have beautiful outdoor jacuzzis, stunning caldera views, and top-notch personalized service.

But again, Oia is also the most crowded place in Santorini. And the hotels here can’t offer a lot of privacy due to the tightly packed streets full of tourists at all times.

Things To Be Aware Of

✢    Prices are as high as it gets on the island
✢    Oia gets incredibly busy around sunset – between 4pm and 8pm every evening
✢    There is very little privacy – tourists will do almost anything for a good selfie, including climbing your roof
✢    There will be lots of stair climbing and unforgiving heat with no shade to hide under
✢    Other than a few nice restaurants and bars, there is not a lot of nightlife in Oia

Best Hotels In Oia

Imerovigli – Best Honeymoons in Santorini

Imerovigli is another beautiful town and almost as popular as Oia. A lot of the fancy hotels are located here nowadays. The town is not as picturesque as Oia but much more quiet and relaxed and you get more space and privacy for what you pay.

The main drawback of Imerovigli is that taking the bus to and from the town can be a hassle as you have to connect through Fira. But if you are renting a car that’s not an issue.

Hands down Imerovigli is the best place for a honeymoon in Santorini.

It is still pretty expensive, although not as much as Oia. But you will get a better value for money here – more space, larger and nicer suites with private pools and just as beautiful caldera views.

And the town as a whole is much more quiet and actually allows for privacy, unlike Oia. There will be no crowds of people jumping on your honeymoon suite’s roof every night to get the best sunset view!

Best Hotels In Imerovigli:

  • Dreams Luxury suites – right in the center of the caldera. we stayed there and everything was A class
  • Cavo Tagoo Santorini – enjoy the iconic infinity pool and deck with great chic atmosphere 
  • Irida Santorini – the pool view to the caldera and the look over the famous churches dome it’s the best place for your Santorini proposal 
  • Merovigla Studios – a more affordable way to enjoy this town. great studio, nice balcony and kitchen. we stayed there and absolutely loved it. 

Fira – The Most Happening

Fira is the capital of Santorini and the liveliest place on the island. There are lots of restaurants and bars here as well as shops, nightclubs, etc.

All of the buses and shuttles on the island come here directly. And usually you need to connect through here for your final destination. That’s one of the reasons why you might want to stay here if you are not renting a car.

fira-where-to-stay-in-santorini

There are still plenty of hotels here with volcano view and private suites. But you also get to be in the center of things and close to all the shops and clubs.

Firostefani is also very close to Fira and all it has to offer but smaller and quieter.

Best Hotels In Fira:

Perissa/Perivolos – Where The Beaches Are

By now you might be wondering.. what about the beach? Well, Santorini is not exactly known for its beaches. And if you want to get those famous volcano views from your hotel balcony, you won’t be staying anywhere near the beach. The caldera side of the island is basically a steep cliff!

But if you are thinking where to stay in Santorini to be near the beach, Perissa and Perivolos areas might be perfect for you. Here you will find the best beaches in Santorini, best beach bars and overall a more relaxed vibe.

The prices of accommodation are also considerably lower than the rest of the island. And if you rent a car, you can still visit Oia and enjoy all it has to offer when you feel like it.

Best Hotels In Perissa/Perivolos:

Best Place To Stay In Santorini With Kids

The best area for families with kids in Santorini is Kamari. It’s near the beach, spacious and relaxed, with lots of taverns, cafes and supermarkets.

You won’t get the famous volcano views here but you’ll have much more affordable accommodation and more space to breathe 🙂

Alternatively, Perissa/Perivolos can be great for families as well as they are near the beach too. But they can be a lot more noisy with lots of young people going out and loud music.

Best Hotels In Kamari:

kamari-black-sand-volcanic-beach-santorini

Where To Stay In Santorini On A Budget

Yes, it is possible! If you are not set on volcano views and staying in Oia or Imerovigli, you can find affordable accommodation in Santorini. It’s quite a big island so if you are flexible – there are plenty of options.

Akrotiri – it’s quite far from Oia and Fira (about 45 min driving) and that’s exactly why the prices here can be lower. But on the bright side, you can still find some hotels with volcano views as the town faces that side of the island. And you could snatch a pretty good deal if you plan early!

Finikia – this town is actually just a 10-minute walk from Oia so the location is amazing. Of course, there are some very expensive volcano-view hotels here. But if you stay on the other side of the town with no view, you can find some very affordable options that are within walking distance to Oia.

Karterados – a small quiet village 15-20 minute walk from Fira. There are no stunning views or a lot of shops and restaurants here, but it’s a great place to look for budget accommodation.

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3 Comments

  1. Nadia
    July 27, 2019 / 12:44 pm

    Thank you Katerina for all those amazing pictures and informations about greece. I’ve read all of them 😍🙏. I am planning our 1st trip to greece mid september with mum (hoping for good weather/ less crowd). Based on your experience what should be the best itinerary for 13 days including athens for 3days but without renting a car ? is in also realistic to add zakynthos too? (sightseeing and naturelover here) :-)). Thank you

  2. July 20, 2019 / 1:46 pm

    I have to admit that in your photos it look gorgeous! But from what I heard from others, Santorini is incredibly crowded. I’m choosing different islands. I love the whole Greece though!

    • Katerina
      Author
      July 21, 2019 / 4:22 am

      Thanks Julia! Enjoy Greece, we love other islands more too tbh 🙂

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