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.
Views of the famous Imerovigli church near Irida Santorini
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.
How To Get To Santorini
The best way to get to Santorini is through Athens. Don’t try to fly all the way through to Santorini from your international destination as that could make the flight expensive. Fly into Athens and then take a ferry or a local flight.
For flights we recommend Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air. The price for a return flight to Santorini is between 50-100 Euro. Ideally try to book around January/February for the summer. If you get too close to your travel dates, the prices can go up quite a lot or sell out.
Traveling by ferry in Greece is very convenient and cost-effective. In some cases it can be faster than traveling with a plane door to door, and it is usually less expensive. Ferries are big and comfortable with snack bars and wifi (although it doesn’t always work), and run impressively on schedule. We use Let’s Ferry to book our ferries in Greece.
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.
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
- Charisma suites – stay in the famous Oia windmill!
- Canvas Suites – boutique hotel with first class breakfast
- Mystique Hotel – enjoy the cave pools with tremendous view
- Residence Suites – walking distance to all the viewing points with indoor jacuzzi
- The Arches – the heart of oia, right next to iconic domes
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.
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:
- Cosmopolitan suites – luxury suites with an insane infinity pool
- Asteras Villas – people mostly speak about the location of this place
- Anteliz Suites – spectacular view, clean, and modern rooms
- Villa Roussa – very friendly staff and comfortable bed. great location
- Lemon Suites Santorini – the room and the jacuzzi are the highlights of this place
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:
- Aqua Blue Hotel – modern and clean. people love the location
- Antoperla – wonderful hotel, great service, great facilities and pool
- Anastasia Princess Luxury – has one of the highest review scores in Perissa
- Margarenia Studios – bigger than most studios in the area
- Stelios Place – 3 minutes walking distance to Perissa Beach.
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:
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.