What comes to your mind when you think of Santorini? Well, for me, Santorini is all about those postcard-perfect towns with white houses and blue domes that overlook the sea.
For once, I could say that those pictures on Instagram do not lie: Santorini is gorgeous in real life! It’s definitely one of the most beautiful islands in Greece.
If you’re visiting Santorini for the first time, you might feel a bit overwhelmed when it comes to deciding actually where to stay in Santorini. The island has basically two different sides with many towns to stay in, so you need to pay attention to which one you choose.
To make your decision easier, in this post I collected all the best places to stay in Santorini with pros and cons for each area.
Disclosure: *This post contains a few affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.*
Table of Contents
Overview of Where to Stay in Santorini
Santorini (officially known as Thira) 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 island’s 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 island’s 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.
|AREA||BEST FOR||RECOMMENDED HOTEL||MORE HOTELS|
|Oia||Family-friendly, Caldera views, Photography||Prime Suites||More hotels in Oia|
|Fira||Nightlife, Shopping||Theoxenia Boutique Hotel||More hotels in Fira|
|Imerovigli||Honeymoon, Restaurants||San Antonio - Small Luxury Hotels of the World||More hotels in Imerovigli|
|Firostefani||Budget-friendly, Sunsets||Ira Hotel & Spa||More hotels in Firostefani|
|Kamari||Beach, Family-friendly, Restaurants||Makris Beach Hotel||More hotels in Kamari|
|Perissa||Beach, Family-friendly, Nightlife||Meltemi Village Hotel||More hotels in Perissa|
|Pyrgos||Local feel, Seclusion||Alunia Incognito Suites - Adults Only||More hotels in Pyrgos|
|Akrotiri||Budget-friendly, Caldera views||Kalestesia Suites||More hotels in Akrotiri|
|Megalochori||Local vibes, History, Local food||Caldera's Dolphin Suites||More hotels in Megalochori|
Best Places to Stay in Santorini
Wondering where to stay in Santorini? Don’t worry, I got you covered! In this article, you will find all the best places to stay in Santorini together with a bunch of useful information about each town, pros and cons, and some hotel recommendations.
If you’re a visual type, you can use the below map to get familiar with each town mentioned in this article. Let’s dive right in!
1. Oia – Best place to stay in Santorini for first-timers
Located on the north-western tip of the island, Oia is definitely the most popular town in Santorini. If you’re looking for that postcard-perfect view with the blue domes and the white-washed houses, you definitely need to include Oia in your Santorini itinerary.
Oia is the second largest town on the island and since it’s really popular among visitors, it’s also one of the most expensive parts of Santorini as well.
However, if you want to have the best views and you don’t mind paying the price for it, then Oia is undoubtedly one of the best areas to stay in Santorini for you.
If you’re looking to splurge, make sure to check out these amazing Oia hotels with private pools!
Some of the best things to do in Oia include visiting Oia Castle for the sunset, hiking down to Ammoudi Bay for swimming, and exploring the town’s charming churches. Adventurous souls can also hike from Oia to Fira and enjoy the glorious views on the way.
Pros and cons of staying in Oia
- Provides stunning caldera and sunset views
- You will get an opportunity to stay in cave-like hotels
- Restaurants and accommodations are pretty expensive
- There is no nightlife as everything closes early
Best places to stay in Oia
LUXURY – La Perla Villas and Suites
If you’re looking for an ultimate luxurious stay, you won’t find a better place than La Perla Villas and Suites. This adults-only hotel offers incredibly unique rooms while guests can enjoy amenities like an outdoor swimming pool, terraces with caldera and sea views, and a pool bar with drinks and food.
MID-RANGE – Kaleidoscope Cave Houses
The Kaleidoscope Cave Houses have a unique mix of bungalow vibes and classic architecture. Rooms at the property have a luxurious feel with amazing caldera views while selected units provide a private hot tub or a plunge pool.
BUDGET – Laokasti Villas
Located in the eastern part of Oia, only a 15-minute walk from the beach, Laokasti Villas is one of the best budget properties in Oia. The property boasts 17 different studios and villas and also has an outdoor pool and a restaurant on site.
2. Fira – Best place to stay in Santorini for vibrant nightlife
Located opposite the volcano on the island’s western cliff, Fira is the capital of Santorini and also the largest town on the island.
If you prefer staying in a lively area with many things to do like shopping, countless choices for eating and drinking, and nightlife, then Fira is arguably the best area to stay in Santorini for you.
Fira is also the central transportation hub so you can hop on the local buses that can take you almost anywhere on the island.
Take a walk through the narrow, winding alleyways and staircases, hike down the 587 steps from Fira to the Old Port, admire the stunning caldera views, and visit the Kontochori village that houses the local folklore museum.
Oh, and don’t forget to catch a sunset from one of the many amazing bars or restaurants on the caldera! If you’re looking for something special, you can also watch the sunset from one of the best hotels in Fira with private pools overlooking the caldera.
Pros and cons of staying in Fira
- The area is known for its vibrant nightlife and shopping
- Easy access to all other places on the island through the central bus station
- The town is bustling and crowded
Best places to stay in Fira
LUXURY – Anteliz Suites
Located right on the edge of Fira, this property is perfect for guests looking for a hotel with a blue and white color scheme and classic Santorini architecture. Providing breathtaking sea views and a swimming pool, Anteliz Suites is easily the best choice when it comes to luxury accommodation in Fira.
MID-RANGE – Athina Luxury Suites
Suites at this amazing property provide an incredible view of the caldera, the volcano, and the Aegean Sea. Athina Luxury Suites is located in the center of Fira and also offers a huge swimming pool and a sun terrace.
BUDGET – City Break
You won’t find a pool or any terraces with a caldera view at this property but if you’re looking for a budget-friendly hotel, City Break is one of the best options. Located in the heart of Fira, this hotel will set you steps away from the best places in the city. Rooms come with a private bathroom and a flat-screen TV.
3. Imerovigli – Best town to stay in Santorini for high-end luxury
Imerovigli is a cute little town, located just 3.5 km (2 miles) away from Fira on a higher cliff. It is basically a continuation of Fira and has one of the best’ balconies’ on the island.
Imerovigli is the quietest among all the caldera towns on the island so it’s definitely one of the best areas to stay in Santorini for honeymooners.
As the town is located on a high cliff, the sunset views are not impeded by neighboring areas. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also hike Skaros Rock for panoramic views.
Are you visiting Santorini on a special occasion? These incredible Imerovigli hotels with private pools will make your trip even more memorable!
Pros and cons of staying in Imerovigli
- Beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing area
- Several accommodation choices with infinity pools
- Less number of shops, bars, and restaurants in this area
- The most expensive area on the island
Best places to stay in Imerovigli
LUXURY – Cocoon Suites
If you’re looking for panoramic caldera views in Imerovigli, you can’t go wrong with Cocoon Suites. Offering accommodation with hot tubs or plunge pools, this amazing property also provides candlelit dinners with local delicacies.
MID-RANGE – San Antonio – Small Luxury Hotels of the World
One of the most romantic hotels in Imerovigli, San Antonio is located in a secluded part of town and provides scenic views. The property also has an infinity pool, a spa, and a lounge bar serving cocktails and small bites.
BUDGET – Ayoba Santorini
This centrally located hotel offers budget-friendly rooms with air-conditioning and a private bathroom. Guests can also take advantage of the hot tub and the sun terrace on the property, and it’s also just a few steps away from the best restaurants.
4. Firostefani – Best place to stay in Santorini for budget-travelers
Firostefani is a small town sandwiched between Fira and Imerovigli. It is the best area to stay in Santorini if you want to be close to the vibrant lifestyle of Fira and enjoy the caldera views on a low budget.
Firostefani offers fantastic views of the caldera, has some great restaurants and bars, and is calmer than the neighboring town of Fira. The town is located on the highest point of the capital (Fira) and is also known as the ‘Crown of Fira’.
You can visit the Agios Nikolaos female monastery and a couple of museums housed in this area while staying here.
Pros and cons of staying in Firostefani
- Ideal for travelers looking for a calm place to stay with a caldera view
- Cheap accommodations are available for budget-friendly travelers
- You will have to climb too many stairs every time you plan to move out of your hotel
Best places to stay in Firostefani
LUXURY – Dana Villas & Infinity Suites
Situated in a peaceful area outside Fira’s center, Dana Villas offer views of the volcano and the famous Santorini sunset. The elegant rooms are decorated in the traditional Cycladic style. Dana Villas offers a variety of well-appointed suites and villas.
MID-RANGE – Ira Hotel & Spa
Set on the slopes of Santorini’s caldera, Ira Hotel is located in the village of Firostefani, within walking distance of Fira, the island’s capital. It features a spa center, a restaurant, and a swimming pool with a pool bar boasting magnificent sea views.
BUDGET – Afrodete Hotel
The Cycladic-style Afrodete Hotel is situated in Firostefani, a small hill in Santorini’s capital Fira. It features a hydro-massage tub and views of the Aegean Sea and the island of Anafi. The uniquely decorated bright rooms at Afrodete are air-conditioned. Each has its own bathroom, fridge, and TV.
5. Kamari – Best area to stay in Santorini for beach lovers
Kamari is located at the south-eastern end of Santorini. It is known for its beautiful black sand beaches and pedestrian beachfront walkway.
The beach is an excellent spot for swimming and snorkeling. A lot of trendy restaurants, taverns, cafes and bars line the Kamari beach shore.
This beach town is a 15-minute bus ride from Fira so day trips to the caldera towns can be easily made while staying in Kamari. It is among the best areas to stay in Santorini for tourists traveling with kids and family.
Pros and cons of staying in Kamari
- Cheaper than the caldera towns
- Ideal for seniors who cannot climb the staircases of the western areas
- The area is lively only during the summer months, most shops and restaurants are closed during winter
Best places to stay in Kamari
LUXURY – Tamarix Del Mar Suites
Tamarix Del Mar is a lovely, pleasant hotel just a short walk from the beautiful black-sand beach of Kamari. Facilities include both an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool, a hot tub, a gym, and a restaurant.
MID-RANGE – Makris Beach Hotel
Overlooking the black pebble beach of Kamari, this charming apart-hotel offers rooms with a sea or garden views. Featuring arched roofs and white-washed walls, the welcoming apartments include a seating area with a sofa and a dining table.
BUDGET – Horizon Resort
A 10-minute walk from the beach and the center of Kamari, Horizon features an outdoor pool, surrounded by tropical grounds, as well as free Wi-Fi access. All rooms feature private balconies from which you can enjoy the views of the mountain, sea, or pool garden.
6. Perissa – Best place to stay in Santorini for family-friendly holidays
Perissa is located south of Kamari and the town also has a beautiful black sand beach that is well-organized with sunbeds and umbrellas. Perivolos, which is an extension of Perissa beach, is shaping up to be the most luxurious beachfront area in Santorini.
There are plenty of water activities available for kids at Perissa beach and this area also boasts of vibrant nightlife.
The area of Perissa and Perivolos is definitely one of the best places to stay in Santorini for beach bars and beach restaurants and the area also appeals to tourists of all types of budgets.
You can also visit the largest church in Santorini, the Church of Holy Cross, and hike up the Mesa Vouno mountain to explore the ancient town of Thera.
Pros and cons of staying in Perissa
- Located close to the airport
- Offers stunning views of the sunrise
- You will be on the other side of the caldera and the best views if you opt to stay here
Best places to stay in Perissa
Located in Perissa, in Santorini, the adult-only, Cycladic-style Anastasia Princess Hotel & Suites offers a private swimming pool. The black, sandy beach of Perissa is just one minute walk.
MID-RANGE – Meltemi Village Hotel
Meltemi Village Hotel is conveniently located only 350 meters from the black sandy beach of Perissa, right in the middle of the area’s main activities. The newly built suites with outdoor, refreshing whirlpools are designed for privacy and comfort.
BUDGET – Roula Villa Studios & Apartments
Roula Villa, located just a short walk from Perissa Beach, offers a large outdoor pool with hot tub facilities and weekly Greek theme nights. Each of its comfortable rooms features a private bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen.
7. Pyrgos – Best town to stay in Santorini for seclusion and tranquillity
Pyrgos, also known as Pyrgos Kallistis, is an old, fortified village situated on the west coast, about 8 km (5 miles) southeast of Fira, the capital of Santorini. The village is at the highest point of Santorini and offers panoramic views of the entire island all the way up to Oia.
On the top of the hill, there are remains of the Kasteli Castle ruins and beautiful churches, surrounding which there is a memorial plaque commemorating those who died in World War II.
Pyrgos is one of the only villages of Santorini that is untouched by tourism, making it the best area to stay in Santorini for tourists looking for some seclusion and tranquillity.
There are a few wineries and good bars and restaurants in the area where you could spend your time admiring the views. You can easily get to Fira from Pyrgos within 10 minutes by car, and you can also reach Oia in around 30 minutes.
Pros and cons of staying in Pyrgos
- Attractive winding lanes, neoclassical mansions, and sun-drenched vineyards can be found in this area
- You can get incredible panoramic views of the island
- There is no nightlife in this area
- Less touristy
Best places to stay in Pyrgos
LUXURY – Skyfall Suites
Located in the scenic village of Pyrgos Kallistis, Skyfall Suites offers Cycladic-style accommodation with private pools or outdoor hot tubs. It also includes an a la carte restaurant preparing light meals and it is 6 km from Santorini Airport.
MID-RANGE – Alunia Incognito Suites
Situated on the outskirts of Pyrgos, Alunia Incognito Suites-Adults Only offers accommodation just 500 m from the center of the village. All suites feature a private plunge pool. Staff on site can arrange airport transfers. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.
BUDGET – Impressive One
Featuring an outdoor pool and a sun terrace, Impressive One lies within 1 km of the center of Pyrgos Village in Santorini. It offers elegantly decorated accommodation with free WiFi access and a balcony or patio. Free private parking is available on site.
8. Akrotiri – Best place to stay in Santorini for off-the-beaten-path experience
Located right at the southern edge of the island, Akrotiri is one of the best places to stay in Santorini where you can have caldera views without putting a hole in your pocket. It houses archaeological ruins and a lighthouse.
Although it is a bit far from the famous beaches of Kamari and Perissa, it is close to some of the best beaches in Santorini like the Red beach, White beach, and Caldera beach. You can get a unique sunset view from the Akrotiri lighthouse.
The village has several family-run taverns and restaurants. Since most tourists just visit the Akrotiri ruins, the rest of the village is very secluded, making it the best area to stay in Santorini for honeymooners seeking total privacy.
Pros and cons of staying in Akrotiri
- The charming village gives a local Greek island feel
- The nearby beaches are quiet, secluded yet beautiful
- Far away from the beaches and popular towns like Oia and Fira
Best places to stay in Akrotiri
LUXURY – Neptune Luxury Suites
Boasting unobstructed views of the Caldera, volcano, and the Aegean Sea, the 5-star Neptune Luxury Suites consists of elegant suites with a pool or plunge pool. It is only a 10-minute walk from the excavations of ancient Akrotiri.
MID-RANGE – Kalestesia Suites
Boasting a unique location atop Akrotiri Hill, Kalestesia Suites overlook the volcano, the Caldera, and almost the whole of Santorini. Features include a pool bar-restaurant and a swimming pool with sunbeds and sunshades for adults and children.
BUDGET – Caldera Romantica
Located in the village of Akrotiri, Caldera Romantica offers a restaurant with caldera views and a pool with a large sun terrace. It features air-conditioned rooms with a veranda and free WiFi. The famous Kokkini Paralia Beach is 2 km away.
9. Megalochori – Best area to stay in Santorini for experiencing local life
Megalochori is a village located more inland and provides the most authentic look at local life in Santorini. It is amongst the best areas to stay in Santorini if you have had enough of the caldera views of the west and beaches of the east and want to spend a quiet time in the vineyards.
Several vineyards and wineries surrounding Megalochori offer wine tasting tours. The village is one of the oldest in Santorini and it also houses a lot of old white Cycladic churches.
The locals have restored traditional buildings in their original state in this tiny village, making it among the best locations to stay in Santorini for photography.
Megalochori can be reached via a steep road with amazing views of the caldera and Agios Nikolaos’ churches and Our Lady of Plaka perched on the cliffside.
Pros and cons of staying in Megalochori
- You can get a taste of the authentic Greek life while staying in Megalochori
- Several vineyards offering wine tasting tours
- There is no nightlife and very few restaurants
Best places to stay in Megalochori
LUXURY – Suites of the Gods Cave Spa Hotel
Featuring breathtaking views of the caldera, volcano, and Santorini, this luxurious boutique hotel offers exclusive spa facilities with complimentary à la carte breakfast, free internet access, and free parking.
MID-RANGE – Caldera’s Dolphin Suites
Located in Megalochori Village, Caldera’s Dolphin boasts a heated outdoor pool with sunbeds and a pool bar. Featuring free Wi-Fi, the spacious accommodation looks out onto the caldera and the Aegean Sea from its balcony.
BUDGET – Hotel Star Santorini
Star Hotel lies just 50 m from the caldera, in the traditional settlement of Megalochori in Santorini. Leisure options include 2 outdoor pools, a poolside snack bar, and a hot tub. Perissa Beach is around 3 km away.
Planning a trip to Santorini?
Then you might want to take a look at all our other travel guides about Santorini. I promise, they are just as awesome as this article was!
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