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Where to Stay in Santorini – Best Areas and Hotels (2024)

Explore the top 10 areas to stay in Santorini. Uncover the perfect balance of serene beaches, lively towns, and caldera views tailored to your preferences and budget.
Where to Stay in Santorini – 10 BEST AREAS

Deciding where to stay in Santorini can be as exhilarating as the island’s famed sunsets. This jewel of the Aegean Sea, with its cliffside villages, stunning views, and deep blue waters, offers a diverse range of neighborhoods each with its own charm and appeal. 

Whether you’re visiting for the first time, seeking a romantic getaway, or planning a family vacation, Santorini has the perfect spot for you.

In this guide, we’ll explore the top places to stay in Santorini, highlighting what makes each area unique. From the iconic caldera views of Oia to the family-friendly beaches of Kamari, we’ve curated a list of the best places to stay to help you find the ideal match for your travel style, budget, and preferences. 

Plus, we’ll share our top picks for hotels, villas and, apartments, in each location, making your stay in Santorini unforgettable.

Best Places to Stay in Santorini

In summary, the best places to stay in Santorini are Oia, Fira, and Imerovigli. If you want to stay on a tighter budget, the cheapest areas to stay are the coastal zones of Kamari and Perissa, as well as the inland areas.

  1. Oia: The quintessential Santorini experience, perfect for first-time visitors seeking breathtaking sunsets and luxury accommodations.
  2. Fira: My personal favorite, offering a vibrant mix of shops, restaurants, and nightlife, all perched on the edge of the caldera. Perfect for travelers who want to be in the center of it all, with easy access to public transportation. Most likely, Fira is the best area to stay in Santorini without a car.
  3. Imerovigli: The ideal spot for couples, known as the “Balcony to the Aegean” for its stunning views and romantic atmosphere.
  4. Firostefani: A tranquil oasis just a short walk from Fira, offering peace and quiet along with spectacular views.
  5. Akrotiri: Home to Santorini’s main archaeological site, offering a quieter stay with easy access to historical sites and unspoiled beaches.
  6. Karterados: Where to stay on a budget, this hidden gem is just a short walk from Fira, offering affordable accommodations.
  7. Pyrgos: Known as the town of churches, Pyrgos offers panoramic views, traditional architecture, and a less touristy experience.
  8. Megalochori: The traditional vineyard village of Santorini, offering a glimpse into the island’s winemaking tradition and quaint local life.
  9. Kamari: The best place for families and kids, with a long black sand beach, seaside promenade, and a range of accommodations.
  10. Perissa: Ideal for beach lovers, known for its black sand beach, water sports, and laid-back vibe.
Map of Santorini: Best places to stay
Map of Santorini: Best places to stay

1. Oia, the best place to stay in Santorini for the first time

View of Oia, Santorini
View of Oia, Santorini

If you’re looking for the best place to stay in Santorini, Oia is definitely the top choice. This picturesque town is the image that comes to mind when one thinks of Santorini, with its iconic white houses and blue-painted roofs and domes perched on cliffs offering stunning views of the caldera.

Why i love staying in Oia

  • Stunning sunsets that paint the sky.
  • Fine dining with great food.
  • A lively, upscale vibe.
  • Nice for evening walks.

Walking through its charming narrow streets and taking in the breathtaking sea views is truly a dream come true, and it’s an experience that will leave a lasting impression on any traveler.

Oia is also the most popular spot for experiencing the stunning sunsets that Santorini is famous for. As you can imagine, during the summer months, this place can get quite crowded with visitors eager to catch a glimpse of the beautiful scenery at dusk. Nevertheless, the magic of the moment is still able to shine through.

Oia’s picturesque landscape is the most photographed in all of the Greek Islands, making it no surprise that it’s also the most popular place to stay in Santorini. However, due to its popularity, it is also the most expensive.

If you can’t afford to stay in Oia, there are other areas on the island that offer more affordable accommodation options. Don’t worry, the island is small enough to visit Oia multiple times without having to travel far.

Restaurant Recommendations in Oia

Oia is the second-largest town on the island after Fira, which means it offers a wide range of services, including bars, cafes, restaurants, boutiques, and souvenir shops. You’ll find everything you need here during your stay.

Attractions in Oia

  • Ammoudi beach
  • The Castle of St Nicholas
  • Maritime Museum
  • Armeni Bay

While strolling through Oia’s streets, take a moment to visit the small Platsani Church and the Maritime Museum. The latter is located inside an elegant mansion where the naval history of Greece is explained. The ruins of an ancient Venetian fortress also stand out.

In addition to walking through its streets, one of the must-see visits is the small port of Ammoudi, which can be reached by car, donkey, or simply by descending the stairs (300 steps) of the castle, which offer unparalleled views.

Right next to it is the mini port of Armeni, where you can treat yourself to some fish and seafood. There are several places in both Ammoudi and Armeni where you can swim.

As previously mentioned, watching the sunset from Oia has become a tradition among tourists. Every evening they gather at the northern end of the village to witness one of the most famous views in Greece. Make sure you arrive with plenty of time to secure a good spot and enjoy this unforgettable moment.

Oia is located in the northeast of the island, about 11 kilometers away from Fira by road. It is well-connected by road and public transport.

The two downsides of Oia are, on one hand, the high prices of everything and, on the other hand, the lack of nightlife. At night, the atmosphere is more of a terrace vibe with some bars, but not much else.

Regarding accommodation, everything is expensive. To give you an idea of the prices, during the low season, you may be able to find accommodation below 100 euros per night if you’re lucky. However, during the high season, don’t expect low prices.

During the peak tourist season, prices for accommodation in Oia usually exceed 150 euros per night, and if you plan to visit during that time, it’s best to make your reservations several months in advance. However, if you are looking for a place to stay within a few weeks of your visit, you should expect to pay at least 200 euros per night.

Best Hotels in Oia, Santorini

  • (€€€) La Perla Villas and Suites – Adults Only: La Perla Villas and Suites is a stylish retreat in Oia, boasting stunning sea and coastline vistas from its caldera heart. I’m drawn to the idea of sipping signature cocktails by the pool with that view. The added convenience of being close to local shopping and dining, along with top-notch amenities like a hot tub and gourmet dining, makes it a prime pick for a romantic getaway.
  • (€€€) Katikies Santorini – The Leading Hotels Of The World: The hotel offers a luxurious stay with its infinity pools and rooms with private terraces, ensuring an unobstructed view of the caldera. The offer of American breakfast with champagne delivered right to your room appeals to my love for indulgent mornings. It’s an ideal spot for couples, confirmed by its high praise for location and the refined taste evident in welcome gifts of wine and fruit.
  • (€€) Fileria Suites: The hotel offers elegantly furnished suites with the convenience of a balcony view over Oia and amenities like in-room breakfast service, which I find delightfully pampering. Its proximity to the Naval Museum and easy access to local cuisine within walking distance is perfect for couples seeking a blend of exploration and comfort. The thoughtful touches from the staff, such as the offer of cold water upon arrival, make it a hospitable haven after a day of soaking in the Santorini sun.

2. Fira, my favorite place to stay in Santorini

Fira Santorini
Fira Santorini

Fira, the capital of Santorini, is indeed an excellent alternative to Oia, with several advantages that make it a great place to stay. 

Why I Love Fira for Staying in Santorini:

  • It’s always buzzing with energy and activity.
  • The nightlife is vibrant and full of excitement.
  • There are gorgeous caldera views that never get old.
  • It’s a shopper’s paradise with plenty of stores.

One of the main reasons I would choose to stay in Fira is that it offers more options in terms of amenities, services, and entertainment compared to Oia. While prices may be higher in July and August, it’s generally easier to find more affordable accommodation in Fira compared to Oia.

Another advantage of staying in Fira is its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars, restaurants, and entertainment options to choose from. Being located in the heart of the island, Fira also offers excellent connectivity through public transportation, including ferry lines and buses, making it convenient to explore other parts of Santorini.

Additionally, Fira boasts spectacular views of the caldera, similar to those in Oia, offering a breathtaking experience. The town is also conveniently located just 10 kilometers away from Athinios, the main port of Santorini, which can be easily reached by ferry or through the well-connected road network.

Fira is a charming Mediterranean village characterized by narrow alleys lined with white houses, shops, and blue-domed chapels, which are the iconic images of the place.

What truly impresses is its location, perched over 250 meters above sea level on a steep cliff, with its slopes descending towards the sunken crater of the volcano. Many of its houses are carved into the volcanic rock, adding to its unique appeal.

In addition to its picturesque setting, Fira offers a plethora of things to do and see. One of the most popular tourist activities is descending the village to the old port via donkey ride, walking, or taking the cable car, navigating the 600 steps that separate the village from the old port.

Once there, it’s customary to hop on one of the boats that sail across the volcanic caldera.

In the city, you can visit several churches, such as the Catholic Cathedral and the Orthodox Cathedral, as well as museums like the Archaeological, Prehistoric, and Gyzi Megaron Museum.

The Archaeological Museum of Thera, located close to the Catholic Cathedral, houses an interesting collection of amphorae, vases, and sculptures from the Hellenistic period. At the Prehistoric Museum, situated near the bus station, you can also see everyday objects from this historical period.

The Gyzi Megaron Museum, on the other hand, is located in a historic mansion that once belonged to the Venetian Ghizi family. Inside, you can explore a collection of objects that illustrate the history of Santorini.

For me, Fira is an even better alternative to Oia, especially because it comes alive at night. If you’re looking for nightlife, Fira is the place to stay in Santorini.

Fira offers a wide range of accommodations to suit all budgets. In general, it tends to be more affordable than Oia, with a much greater availability of budget accommodations.

During the low season, it’s possible to find accommodation starting from 60 euros per night. However, during the peak season, like the rest of the island, prices can be higher, starting from around 100 euros per night.

Best Hotels in Fira, Santorini

  • (€€€) Katikies Garden Santorini – The Leading Hotels Of The World  wows with its serenity, a stone’s throw from Fira’s historical heart. Its rooms, equipped with luxe comforts like a minibar and terrace, make for a cozy retreat after exploring nearby attractions. I appreciate the peace of a garden setting, making their vegetarian breakfast option a delightful start to a day of island adventure.
  • (€€) Anteliz Suites stands out for its hillside perch in Fira, blending traditional Santorinian charm with modern amenities like plasma TVs and iPod docks. The convenience of a five-minute walk to Fira’s vibrant nightlife, coupled with the tranquility of their poolside breakfast terrace, suits my taste for both excitement and relaxation. I value the attentive service and the ease of access to breathtaking caldera views just steps from my room.
  • (€) Antonia Apartments offers a cozy stay right near Fira’s bustling center, with the bonus of a pool to dip into on hot Santorini afternoons. I appreciate the earth-toned rooms with the essential modern comforts and the option of a kitchenette for those days when I prefer a home-cooked meal. The free Wi-Fi and proximity to the bus station make exploring the island a breeze, and the staff’s friendly touch is a cherry on top of a pleasant stay.

3. Imerovigli, where to stay in Santorini for couples

Imerovigli, Santorini
Imerovigli, Santorini

Imerovigli, perched 300 meters above sea level, is the highest village on the island overlooking the caldera, earning it the popular nickname “The Balcony of the Aegean.”

It offers unparalleled views, perhaps some of the best on the entire island. While Oia may boast the best sunset in Santorini, Imerovigli surpasses in panoramic vistas.

The stunning views, tranquility, and beauty of this village make it one of the most sought-after places to stay in Santorini. In fact, it is particularly popular among couples, many of whom choose Imerovigli as a honeymoon destination.

Imerovigli is situated between Oia and Fira, less than 2 kilometers away from the latter, making it almost like an extension of the capital. Due to its close proximity, it’s easily reachable with a leisurely 30-minute walk.

Despite being a short distance away from the capital, Imerovigli exudes tranquility while maintaining the same charm and appeal. The village center is adorned with the iconic white houses and sapphire-domed churches that are synonymous with Santorini’s aesthetic.

This destination is truly peaceful, offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of Fira with fewer shops and bars. However, reaching Fira is convenient and easy, whether by walking, car, or bus, so it’s never too far away if you’re seeking more lively activities.

There are indeed some excellent restaurants in Imerovigli where you can indulge in traditional island cuisine while enjoying truly priceless views.

One of the most popular activities in Imerovigli is visiting Skaros Rock, a massive rocky mound that once served as a lookout point to protect against pirate invasions in the Aegean Sea. From here, you can relish in the breathtaking views of the island.

Amidst its maze of narrow alleys, you’ll also find luxurious hotels and accommodations with private pools perched on the cliffs, offering unparalleled vistas of incredible beauty.

Finding budget accommodation within the village itself can be quite challenging, as the majority of accommodations during high season are priced above 100 euros per night.

While hotels in Imerovigli are generally cheaper compared to Oia, it is still one of the pricier locations on the island in terms of accommodation.

Imerovigli is an ideal place to stay in Santorini if you’re seeking a romantic and tranquil location where you can revel in unparalleled views and wander the beautiful streets without the overwhelming crowds of tourists.

Best Hotels in Imerovigli, Santorini

4. Firostefani, a small oasis of tranquility in Fira

Firostefani, Santorini

This charming village is nestled between Fira and Imerovigli, just one kilometer away from Fira, making it easily accessible by foot while enjoying the breathtaking landscapes of the island.

Similar to the capital and Imerovigli, it is perched on the edge of the cliff that borders the caldera, ensuring spectacular views.

One of its major advantages is that it offers tranquility while being practically located in Fira. With a short stroll, you can visit the shops and experience the vibrant nightlife of the capital, immersing yourself in the bustling atmosphere.

Firostefani is a charming village known for its renowned taverns and restaurants. Some of them boast terraces overlooking the caldera, providing the perfect setting for an unforgettable evening.

While in Firostefani, don’t miss a visit to the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos. Located halfway between the villages of Imerovigli and Firostefani, it is one of the most popular spots to capture the perfect photograph of Santorini.

In terms of accommodation, Firostefani may not have as many options as other more touristy areas, nor are its prices particularly budget-friendly. In fact, the value for money is similar to that of Fira, which means prices are lower than those in Oia and Imerovigli.

However, if you’re searching in Fira and not finding anything appealing, Firostefani is a perfect alternative for your stay in Santorini, close to the capital. It will take you no more than 15 minutes of walking to reach the heart of Fira.

In Firostefani, you can find some budget-friendly accommodations, with prices even around €60 during the low season, as well as a good number of mid-range and luxury options.

During the high season, by booking well in advance, it’s possible to find some options below €100, although the majority of choices tend to be above that price point.

Best Hotels in Firostefani, Santorini

5. Akrotiri, the main archaeological site of Santorini

Akrotiri is one of the most traditional villages in this Greek island. It is located approximately 10 kilometers southwest of Fira, at the opposite end of Oia.

In Akrotiri, you can find the archaeological remains of an ancient Minoan city, which is the most important archaeological site on the island. This prehistoric archaeological site is one of the most significant in the Mediterranean, with remains dating back to the early Bronze Age.

It is popularly known as the “Minoan Pompeii”, as it was completely covered by lava, preserving it in perfect condition, similar to what happened to Pompeii.

In addition to the archaeological site, at the western end of Akrotiri, you can find the Akrotiri lighthouse, another spectacular place to visit, especially during sunset to witness breathtaking sunsets.

One of the most famous beaches in Santorini, the Red Beach, is also located here. It is a small stretch of sand protected by reddish rocks. This area is known for its tranquility and is less touristy compared to other popular destinations on the island.

Red Beach in Santorini
Red Beach in Santorini

The best way to reach Akrotiri is by car, as it offers the freedom to explore both the village, the archaeological site, and the interesting beaches in the area.

Despite its small size and limited services (including no nightlife), Akrotiri is an interesting place to stay in Santorini due to its historical significance and the added attraction of its beaches.

Moreover, you can find better prices here compared to Oia and Fira. With some luck and advance planning, you can secure decent accommodation for less than €100 per night even during the peak season.

If you have a rental car (which you will need if you stay here, as public buses can be time-consuming to get around the island), Akrotiri can serve as a convenient base from which to explore Santorini.

Best Hotels in Akrotiri, Santorini

6. Karterados, where to stay in Santorini on a budget

The mill of Karterados
The windmill of Karterados

Karterados is a quaint village located almost at the center of the island, about two kilometers away from its capital. Its origins date back to the 17th century, but it was not until the 19th century that it experienced a spectacular development with the construction of its typical mansions.

Today, Karterados is a picturesque village with interesting architecture, making it an ideal place to stay in Santorini for those seeking a rural hotel or looking to save a bit. From here, you can enjoy views of the eastern coast and a green valley covered with vineyards.

In the village, you can also find a charming windmill, a monument in memory of those fallen in World War II, and several churches, adding to its cultural charm.

On the outskirts of Karterados, there is a gorge where you can see traditional houses that were carved into the rock as early as the 17th century.

There are a few cafes, restaurants, shops, and a traditional bakery that is one of its main tourist attractions.

Despite being an inland village, it is only a few minutes’ drive from the beaches. About 3 km away, you’ll find beaches like Karterados Beach, Monolithos, or the beautiful Exo Gialos.

While it may not have the same appeal as other towns, Karterados has its own charm and can be a viable option to consider if you have a rental car and want to save on accommodation. This is one of the places where you’ll find the most affordable accommodation on the island.

Best Hotels in Karterados, Santorini

7. Pyrgos, the town of churches

Pyrgos Village
Pyrgos Village

Pyrgos was once the ancient capital of the island. Today, it is a peaceful settlement located approximately five kilometers away from Fira, and it is also the highest situated locality.

It is said that among its streets, one can see more chapels and hermitages than houses. In fact, there are over 30 churches in this small village, which is truly impressive.

One church not to be missed is the Church of the Holy Trinity. It is a construction that follows the traditional style of Santorini and houses a small museum inside. The museum displays a collection of ecclesiastical clothing and Byzantine icons.

As you walk through the narrow and labyrinthine streets of medieval origin, make your way towards the hilltop where the village is nestled. There you can visit the remains of a Venetian fortress.

It’s also worth visiting the Monastery of Prophet Elias, which houses an ecclesiastical museum. Located at an altitude of over 550 meters above sea level, it offers a magnificent view of the entire island.

Pyrgos is still relatively unknown among tourists who visit this destination. That’s why it’s the perfect option for affordable accommodation in Santorini, where you can enjoy an authentic and peaceful environment.

As with the rest of the island, accommodation can be expensive, but there are some establishments that offer rooms for less than €100, even during high season.

Best Hotels in Pyrgos, Santorini

8. Megalochori, the traditional Santorini vineyard

Megalochori
Megalochori

Megalochori is a tranquil and charming village that often goes unnoticed by tourists who are drawn to the more popular attractions of the island. Its magic lies precisely in its authenticity and serenity.

Located less than six kilometers from Fira, Megalochori is conveniently close to Santorini’s main port. This small village features the typical narrow and winding streets lined with whitewashed houses that are characteristic of the island.

One of its main tourist attractions is the church of Panagia Isodion, located in the center of the village. Inside, you’ll find a collection of 365 miniatures of saints, forming a calendar, which is truly unique.

Megalochori’s unspoiled charm makes it a perfect getaway for those seeking a peaceful and authentic experience on Santorini, away from the crowds of tourists.

It’s also worth visiting the church of Agios Nikolaos, which is perched on a cliff and offers breathtaking views of the caldera.

But if there’s one thing that Megalochori is known for, it’s its wines. The surrounding hills are covered with vineyards, and this area is home to some of the largest wineries on the island, including Boutari, one of the most prominent in all of Greece.

It’s a perfect place to stay in Santorini if you’re looking to immerse yourself in traditional culture while indulging in good wine, all accompanied by utmost tranquility.

Megalochori is also a great option because despite the limited accommodation options, it’s one of the few places with views of the caldera where you can find some relatively affordable options.

Best Hotels in Megalochori, Santorini

9. Kamari, best place to stay in Santorini with family and kids

Kamari beach. The arch of Poseidon's sanctuary can be seen near the right edge of the image, right above the sea-level.
Kamari beach. The arch of Poseidon's sanctuary can be seen near the right edge of the image, right above the sea-level.

With its five kilometers of black sand beach, Kamari is one of the most popular areas to stay in Santorini, especially for families with children who want to be close to the beach.

The beach in Kamari has been awarded the Blue Flag multiple times and offers all the amenities you could wish for a perfect beach day. During the summer, this area is ideal for diving and other water activities.

In this part of the island, you’ll find a wide range of restaurants, bars, water activity centers, and hotels of all types.

Kamari also boasts a seaside promenade that runs parallel to the beach and offers an extensive variety of cafes, supermarkets, shops, as well as some nightlife options.

By staying here, you can visit Mount Mesa Vouno, a mountain that separates the beaches of Perissa and Kamari. At its summit lies ancient Thera, one of the most important archaeological sites on the island, with remains of this historic city.

Kamari is an interesting place to stay in Santorini, as it not only offers a beachfront location with amenities and a lively atmosphere, but also more affordable accommodation compared to the towns along the caldera coast.

If you want to save on accommodation costs, renting a car and choosing places like Kamari is a great idea, as the island is small and easily accessible by car.

Best Hotels in Kamari, Santorini

10. Perissa, where to stay in Santorini to enjoy the beach

View of Perissa
View of Perissa

Perissa is an important tourist hub located adjacent to Kamari, separated by Mount Vouno. Its beach, stretching for eight kilometers, is the longest on the island and is well-known for the dark black color of its volcanic sand.

The beach is well-equipped with umbrellas, sunbeds, and all the amenities you need for a day at the beach. Needless to say, there is a wide range of water activities available as well.

Many tourists choose Perissa as their base for staying in Santorini, as it offers an extensive selection of bars, hotels, and restaurants of all kinds.

In this area of Santorini, there is a vibrant day and night life. Perissa boasts a wide commercial area with numerous shops and souvenir stores.

At night, there are nightclubs, pubs, and bars offering various types of entertainment. Along with Fira, it is one of the liveliest places on the island when it comes to nightlife.

But it’s not all about beaches and leisure. There are also some interesting places to visit. In the central square of the village, you can find the Church of the Holy Cross, one of the largest on the entire island. There is also a small museum of minerals and fossils which appears permanently closed.

Even more intriguing is a visit to the ancient city of Thera, one of the most visited places in Santorini. Located on Mount Vouno at an elevation of about 400 meters above sea level, it offers breathtaking views of the island.

When it comes to accommodation, as one of the most popular beaches in Santorini, Perissa offers one of the largest and most diverse options on the island. It’s also known for its great value for money, and likely the area where you’ll find the most affordable accommodation during peak season on the whole island.

From large luxury resorts to mid-range hotels, guesthouses, apartment complexes, and villas, you’ll find a wide range of options on this expansive beach. With some advance planning, you’re sure to find something that fits your budget.

Believe it or not, in Santorini, you can even sleep on the beach during peak season for around 50 euros with advance booking. Where? Right here in Perissa!

Best Hotels in Perissa, Santorini

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