Santorini might look like a small island at first sight, but truth is, the accommodation possibilities are endless. From magnificent private villas to boutique hotels and budget alternatives, Santorini has something for every type of traveler. If you’re looking for the perfect place where to stay in Santorini, you’re in the right place.
In this post, you will discover the best areas to stay in Santorini with a number of alternatives for every budget and type of traveler. Keep reading and discover what’s best for you.
On this post, you will discover the advantages and disadvantages of every part of Santorini.
Santorini hotels with the best views of the caldera
If you’re dreaming of staying in a room with a view of the famous Santorini’s caldera, then choose your accommodation either in Oía, Imerovigli, Firostefani, or Fira.
Let’s see every area a little more in-depth.
Oía is the top pick for honeymooners and engagement proposals.
Oía is the most beautiful town in Santorini and it’s probably the prettiest in the Greek islands – yeah, even more than Mykonos Town. It’s the most exclusive part of the island, with epic views and all the postcard places literally everywhere, including the blue domes and Santorini’s Instagram famous sunset.
Apart from its exclusive hotels, in Oía you will find the main street with beautiful restaurants, cafes and one of the most beautiful libraries in the world – Atlantis Books.
Where to stay in Oía:
- Canaves Oia Hotel, a luxury hotel especially recommended for its location, on the quieter side of Oía. Here you can have the privacy that the hotels in the caldera lack (think hundreds of tourists trying to get their Instagram shots).
Why you should stay in Oía: Oía is the most beautiful and exclusive area of the island and once the sun sets and the tourist crowds disappear, it’s very calm.
Why you shouldn’t stay in Oía: Your privacy can be very, very compromised as there are tourists taking photos in almost every single corner. During cruise ship days the town is so busy that it’s not easy to walk those crowded narrow streets. It’s the most touristy area in Santorini.
Imerovigli is located at the highest point in Santorini. As you can imagine, the views from there, of the caldera and Skaros Rock, are quite memorable. Oía may have the most famous sunset, but the view from Imerovigli is as wonderful and more importantly, you can enjoy it far from the crowds.
Where to stay in Imerovigli:
- Kasimatis Suites: recommended for its location and the panoramic views, including a unique perspective of the sunset over the caldera. The staff is also great and it’s a great value for the price, with your private bathtub on your terrace.
Why you should stay in Imerovigli: Imerovigli is a less expensive and busy alternative to Oía and the view is also beautiful. The trekking to Skaros Rock is a must during a trip to Santorini.
Why you shouldn’t stay in Imerovigli: You won’t find budget-friendly places in this area.
Firostefani is a very good option if you’re looking for tranquility and cheaper prices with a view to the caldera. and restaurants nearby. Firostefani is perfectly located, 15 minutes walking distance from Imerovigli and Fira.
Where to stay in Firostefani:
- Dana Villas, recommended for its panoramic views and an incredible breakfast that is served at the terrace.
- Erato Apartments, with a view of the sea (the other side of the caldera) and everything you need for your stay, including swimming pool and jacuzzi. A great alternative to staying in Santorini without breaking the bank.
Why you should stay in Firostefani: Firostefani has luxury options at the caldera and budget alternatives looking to the other side of the island. It’s also really well located between Fira and Imerovigli, so you can go walking and avoid transportation.
Why you shouldn’t stay in Firostefani: Firostefani is not as beautiful as its neighbors Fira and Imerovigli, but it’s still a great location.
Fira is the heart of Santorini and also the most touristically developed. Expect way more souvenirs shops, fast food restaurants, traffic, and tourists, but also a wider variety of hotels for every budget.
It’s also the best area if you’re looking for nightlife.
Where to stay in Fira:
- Cosmopolitan Suites, recommended as part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
- Gianna Suites is a great budget alternative.
Why you should stay in Fira: Fira is the heart of Santorini so it’s really well connected with anywhere else in the island. It also has a wide variety of restaurants and shops and it’s still beautiful.
Why you shouldn’t stay in Fira: Fira gathers the bigger amount of tourists and all the touristy shops and restaurants make it a little less charming.
South of Santorini
The south of Santorini hides some beauty secrets that are well worth a visit: the Red beach, the Megalochori ruins, and an unforgettable sunset.
Akrotiri is the name of the archaeological site that gives the name to this little town in the south of Santorini. The most famous tourist attraction in the south of the island is the Red Beach, the most beautiful beach in Santorini.
Where to stay in Akrotiri:
- Astarte Suites, recommended for the panoramic views and the infinite pool. It’s the perfect place to relax and disconnect. It’s holiday time!
Why you should stay in Akrotiri: The views are amazing and the sunset is something else. For those looking for absolute tranquility this place is perfect, apart from everything.
Why you shouldn’t stay in Akrotiri: There’s not much to do and see in Akrotiri, you could visit everything in just half a day. Because of that, you will need to hire your own transportation to visit other parts of Santorini.
Megalochori is a lovely little town, really picturesque, where you can get an authentic experience meeting locals and escaping the hustle and bustle from the north of the town.
Where to stay in Megalochori:
- Athermi Suites, recommended for the views, decor, and staff.
Why you should stay Megalochori: Tranquility, better prices, and getting to know the real-life on the island.
Why you shouldn’t stay in Megalochori: As in Akrotiri, there’s not much to do so you’ll need to rent a car or a motorbike to explore around the island.
Where to stay by the beach in Santorini
Kamari & Perissa
If you want to stay close to the airport, Kamari is the place. Almost every hotel in the area offers a paid airport transfer. Kamari and Perissa are the most populated beaches in Santorini.
Where to stay in Kamari:
- Hotel Sunshine, with a lovely location in front of the sea.
Where to stay in Perissa:
- Meltemi Village Hotel, recommended for its huge pool and great value for the money.
Why you should stay in Kamari o Perissa: If you’re looking for a summer holiday including some beach time and without breaking the bank, Kamari and Perissa are the best options.
Why you shouldn’t stay in Kamari o Perissa: Kamari and Perissa have nothing to do with the postcard-perfect Santorini. To get to Oía from there you’ll have to rent a car or a bike or use the public bus.
The lesser-known places in Santorini
Santorini has many little villages where you can get an authentic and also budget-friendly experience if you decide to stay there. It’s a recommended option if you choose to explore the island on your own bike, quad or car.
Karterados and Pyrgos
Karterados is just 2 km away from Fira and it’s not far from the airport, so it’s a really convenient option. Some of its houses and churches are really Instagram-worthy but it doesn’t get as crowded as other villages only because it’s missing the caldera views. If you decide to stay in Karterados, hire a moto or quad so you don’t need to use public transportation every time.
Pyrgos is Santorini’s old capital city. It’s a picturesque town with a castle, a monastery, and 33 churches. However, it’s not as visited as the rest of the towns in Santorini just because it’s missing a view of the caldera, but it’s still quite interesting. In Pyrgos, you will find boutique and budget hotels at lower rates. As in Karterados, it’s recommended to have your own transportation.
Where to stay in Karterados:
Floralia, a small hotel where you can stay in Santorini for just 30€ a night. It’s a modest place that offers a lot of advantages, like free transfers to the port or the airport at any time with no extra cost (even at night!). You can expect a wonderful staff and enjoy Santorini with a low budget.
Where to stay in Pyrgos:
Boutique Hotel Anagennisis, recommended for its decor, location and breakfast.
Why you should stay in Karterados or Pyrgos: They’re not as touristy so the prices are more budget-friendly and you can expect a great staff and facilities.
Why you shouldn’t stay in Karterados or Pyrgos: As in other parts of Santorini, you will need to rent a bike, a car or a quad.
What’s the best area where to stay Santorini?
All in all, what’s the best area where to stay in Santorini?
The final decision is obviously up to you and it depends on both your preferences and your budget:
- If you’re looking for a unique and memorable hotel experience, then splurge and book your stay in the most beautiful part of the island: choose a boutique hotel in Oía or Imerovigli.
- If you’re travel on a budget but you still want to stay in the most beautiful part of Santorini, then book your hotel in Fira or Firostefani.
- To save as much as possible on accommodation and if you don’t mind a little bit of driving, then book your hotel in Karterados, Pyrgos, or at Kamari and Perissa beaches. You can also find apartments, hostels, camping areas, and Airbnb options on the island. Take into account that you will end up spending a bit more on transportation if you choose to stay a bit away from the touristy areas.
Transportation in Santorini
It doesn’t matter where you stay in Santorini, you will need transportation though. There are a few options:
- Walking: you can definitely visit Fira, Firostefani, and Imerovigli on foot. If you want, you could even hike from Imerovigli to Oía (5,5km) – if you do so, don’t forget to bring water, a hat, and sunscreen!
- Public bus: the public buses work really great in Santorini – although expect a huge queue after sunset in Oía. Every trip costs around 2€ so it can be worth it to rent a bike or a quad instead.
- Bike, quad, or car: if you know how to ride a bike, it’s ideal for Santorini. Just make sure it’s powerful enough to go up the hills on the way to Oía. Quads and cars are also a good option, but not as practical when it comes to parking or traffic jams (really common during high season).
- Taxi or private transfer: another option is taxis and private transfers. My advice is that you book it directly with your hotel, especially if your flight is early before sunrise or late after midnight. It’s not as easy to find a taxi at those times of the day.