Where To Stay In Santorini: The Ultimate 2017 Guide
Chances are you really don’t know what’s the best place to stay in Santorini with all these towns with weird names 🙂 . Here is our ultimate guide to help you out!
The place you will be staying in Santorini can really make or break your holidays in this magical greek island. you are probably wondering: Fira or Oia? or maybe Imerovigli? Or maybe Firostefani?
Ok…here are my tips to you (use the links to jump right where you want to):
JUMP IN QUICKLY:
- The Best Place To Stay in Santorini (overall)
- Fira or Oia?
- The Best Place for a Honeymoon
- The Best Place for a Family with kids
- The Best Place for a Young Couple
- The Best Place for Caldera Views (volcano views)
- The Best Place for Nightlife
- The Best Place for Beach Life
- The Best Place for Seniors and people with difficulty in mobility
- The Best Place for Solo Travellers
- The Best Place for Budget Holidays
Read Also Our Other Recommendations for Santorini:
- Booking.com is the website with the most available rooms and private villas in Santorini (more than Airbnb)
- Where to Stay in Santorini? (the most complete guide you will ever read)
- The Top 10 Best Hotels near Oia’s Famous Sunset (do not lower your expectations…it’s better than any picture you’ve seen)
- The 20 Best Luxury and Boutique Hotels of Santorini (nothing less than amazing service and luxury at its best)
- The 20 Best Infinity Pools in Santorini (you’ve probably already seen some of these all over instagram!)
- The 25 Most Stunning Villas To Rent in Santorini (private pools, stunning sunset views and…high prices…!)
1. The Best Place To Stay in Santorini
The best place to stay in Santorini is the west coast side that actually offers the best uninterrupted famous views of the volcano, the caldera and the sunset. If you have ever seen a picture of Santorini, 99.9999% the photographer was sitting on the edge of the cliff of that west coast side. The best towns to stay on that side of the island are Fira (where all the buzz is), Imerovigli (more quiet and seclusive), Firostefani (walking distance to Fira but more quiet) and of course the famous Oia town.
2. Fira or Oia ?
If you want to be closer to night clubs, restaurants, the shops and the local buses that can take you almost anywhere on the island then stay in Fira. You will get amazing volcano, caldera and sunset views and be where all the buzz is at the same time. On the other hand, if you want to stay in a much quieter place without any nightlife and impressive shops, with a more artistic atmosphere that unfortunately every afternoon will get super crowded because of the people who will gather to admire the beautiful sunset then Oia is your place to stay. Oia though is pretty quiet the rest of the day, even in the high season.
3. The Best Place for Honeymoon in Santorini
In my opinion, Santorini is the perfect place for a honeymoon. Make no mistake, this place is both romantic and adventurous. Seclusive but also full of energy and with lots of stuff to do.
But when you are researching all the different areas to stay in Santorini the wealth of information might be confusing for most people. I truly believe that accommodation is the A and Z for a great honeymoon. You don’t really want to be close to nightclubs and crazy parties (though you can certainly attend some…).
You have to make the best of your time with your lover and that’s all what matters during that short period of time.
Many people consider Oia as the perfect place for a honeymoon in Santorini. Even though there is nothing wrong with Oia, the fact that during the summer months of July and August every afternoon is packed with people who are rushing to watch the magnificent and famous Santorini’s sunset is really not ideal to be honest. That is why you need a place with equally beautiful views, equally amazing hotels or suites but less touristic and crowded.
Imerovigli has the most quiet and amazing hotels of the whole island and it’s the area with the perfect love nests…
Do not make the mistake to book a honeymoon package for Santorini as I have discovered from friends that these are charged surprisingly more than just a hotel room that you’d booked by yourself. Travel Agents market amazing Santorini honeymoon packages like the holy grail of honeymoons but it’s really just a nice room with your private pool maybe. You may get some extras depending on the hotel but it’s not worth it in my opinion. Just head over to Booking.com and book a suite or a room at Imerovigli.
I am warning you though… Imerovigli (and Oia) are super expensive but without a doubt you will probably find better hotels and privates suites than you would do in Oia.
4. The Best Place in Santorini for a Family with kids
People say that Santorini is only for romantic couples or for honeymooners or for solo travelers.
I say Santorini is perfect for everybody, no matter what.
Santorini is ideal for family vacations with kids. There is a catch though.
Why I say that?
Well…kids love to play on the beach, right?
A day at the beach is a day full of happiness for every child. At least…those were my best days of the summer when I was a kid. And in fact, summer meant all day on the beach in Greece for 3 consecutive summer months. Yayyyyy!
Santorini and Greece are super safe and you don’t have to worry about anything (but that doesn’t mean you should not be careful every time you are on holidays).
I honestly believe the Best Place for family holidays with kids in Santorini Is Kamari Beach.
The long and wide famous Kamari beach is in walking distance and there are literally tens of tavernas, restaurants, cafes, super markets and other shops to spend your time and have a great summer day. There is lots of amenities too, all in walking distance…. And tons of ice-cream!!
A family day in Santorini could easily be a day on the beach and then evening walks and dinner in Oia or Fira. Can you think of anything better?
Alternatively, you can also stay close to Perissa/Perivolos Beach (this is the famous black beach) but I‘d say that Perissa with all its beach bars and parties is probably noisier. There are areas though that are great for kids and if your kids are in their teens they would probably enjoy Perissa and Perivolos beaches more as there are also plenty of watersports available for them to try.
5. The Best Place in Santorini for a Young Couple
If you are adventurous and you want to see the best of Santorini with your other half I believe you should stay at Fira.
Fira is the hub of the island and it has great nightlife, lots of shops and mainly it is the bus hub of the island.
If you don’t want to rent and drive a car or a scooter on the island (which will make your life much easier to be honest…) try to find a place at Fira as all the buses start from and end there.
As an extra tip, for those who are worried that Santorini is super expensive and that they would not be able to afford a room with a view well…just accept it and try to stay in Karterados. It’s where most of the locals hung out and it’s pretty close to Fira as well. Nothing fancy about it though.
Karterados is the place to be if money is an issue.
6. The Best Place to stay in Santorini for caldera Views (volcano views)
I believe that my sketch above will give you a rough idea where the famous views are.
Fira, Firostefani , Imerovigli, Oia and Akrotiri all have the famous views to the caldera (which is the famous sea lagoon with the active volcano-island in it.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that these are the most expensive areas to stay.
Akrotiri is awesome in my opinion but it is far away from….the civilization (25mins drive from Fira…) but it’s still a great and possibly cheaper option if you want the amazing views but not willing to pay the price.
I have seen some amazing new hotels being built around Akrotiri the last years and I can easily predict that this is the area of the island that will be developed the most within the next years (if you are planning to invest in Santorini property then I strongly believe this is the place to do it!) . Bear in mind though that you will probably have to have a car as most of the shops and the restaurants are in Fira, in Oia or the beach side areas.
7. The Best Place in Santorini for Nightlife
Ok…that’s an easy one.
If you really want to be as closer as possible to all the nightlife of the island then you should stay at Fira.
Read Also: Our Ultimate Guide on Santorini Nightlife
Apart from Fira there is literally no serious nightlife elsewhere on the island.
Oia has literally no clubs or bars. Just restaurants.
It’s supposed to be a quiet and artistic place and rumor has it that Oia’s residents didn’t want to ruin that with crazy club-goers or drunk tourists so they never let a club or a bar to open in that area.
But Fira. is a completely different story.
Fira has the best clubs and bars of the island and if you are looking into crazy nightlife then you should stay as close as possible to Fira. If you stay anywhere else than Fira, then coming back home early morning might be tricky as there might not be any buses you can take or not that many available taxis around.
I have to say though that if nightlife is the main purpose of your travel then I would probably visit Mykonos as it is a place with much more options in clubs and bars.
8. The Best Place in Santorini to enjoy the Beach Life
Perissa and Perivolos are basically the same long beach and it is the famous black beach with black sand and red volcanic pebbles.
Perissa/Perivolos Beach has the best beach bars of the island, the best beach restaurants of the island and overall the best beach life of Santorini. The great thing about Perissa and Perivolos beaches is that accommodation prices are considerably lower than the other areas.
Bear in mind though: if you stay in Perissa or Perivolos black beaches you are not going to have the famous views that Santorini is known for.
If being close to the beach is your highest priority in your Santorini holidays then you could also stay in Kamari , eventhough I would say Perissa and Perivolos are much funnier places for younger people with lots of crazy beach parties during the summer months, amazing sunbeds and yummy cocktails. Even world famous DJ’s often play in Perissa’s beach bars.
9. The Best Place in Santorini for Seniors or people with difficulty in movement
If you are travelling with seniors or with people with difficulties in mobility in general, I would strongly advice to avoid the areas on the west side of the island such as Fira, Oia, Firostefani or Imerovigli.
There are literally thousands of stairs everywhere and it’s going to be a nightmare.
That doesn’t mean that even those people cannot enjoy the magnificent famous views but living on those areas would make a terrible holiday, honestly.
On the other hand , I truly believe that staying in Kamari beach would be ideal in such a case.
However, if you do choose to stay at any of the west side areas (Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, Oia, Akrotiri) please make sure that you inform your hotel in advance and let them know of your situation. I am sure they will do their best to make sure you have a great and comfortable stay.
Best Hotel in Kamari beach: Sunrise Studios
10. The Best Place in Santorini for Solo Travellers
Santorini is an amazing place and that makes it super attractive for solo travellers as it’s in the bucket list of many people from all over the world.
Yes, it’s been marketed as a honeymoon destination or a super romantic place (which is true by the way…) but the diversity of the island makes it an amazing destination for people who want to explore its beauty alone or get the opportunity to meet other fellow travellers from all over the world.
I honestly believe that if you are a solo traveller you should stay at Fira because you will be where the buzz is.
Chances are you would probably spend your day on the beaches of Perissa and Perivolos meeting other people in one of the beach bars or just hiking in the island but I truly believe staying as close to Fira as possible would make your life much easier transportation wise (all the buses start and end at Fira). Also, Fira is the place with all the nightlife so…it’s pretty obvious why you should stay in Fira. Staying in Oia is not ideal in my opinion as you wouldn’t want to get surrounded by honeymooners and couples, wouldn’t you?
But i am not saying that you shouldn’t go to Oia. Visiting Oia is a must!
So…enjoy the sunset in Oia and then take the bus back to Fira for a souvlaki and then head out for bar hopping at Fira.
Alternatively though, and only if you are visiting Santorini in June, July, August or September you can also stay at one of Perissa or Perivolos beaches but you won’t get any of the famous views. What you will get though is much lower prices in accommodation and amazing beach life and beach bars. Be careful though: Those areas are pretty much deserted in November, December, January, February, March and April and all shops, hotels and restaurants are closed.
11. The Best Place to stay in Santorini for Budget Holidays
Santorini’s fame the last 10 years has skyrocketed the accommodation prices and that is why many people are really hesitating to visit the island.
I’ll be honest with you: Santorini has become a very expensive place to visit, especially in the high season months of May till October.
However, I honestly believe that if you book well in advance, if you don’t use an travel agent, if you try to avoid the famous tourist trap locations (a.k.a. Oia…) you may find some good deals. But you must be willing to compromise (as with everything in life…).
If you want to get better prices in hotels and rooms you should stay at one of the beach areas where hotels are simpler and much much much much cheaper than the famous views areas. These are Perissa , Perivolos and Kamari.
Alternatively, if you really cannot find anything good in Perissa or Perivolos then try Karterados. it’s an area close to Fira that is mainly for locals. The last year many people choose to stay there because it’s comparatively cheaper than any other areas.
Best Budget Hotel in Karterados: Sweet Home
It goes without saying that you may also find some good , cheap and decent accommodation around Fira but whenever you book a hotel in Santorini bear in mind that you may have to spend time and money on how to get there , so you may have to consider the option of renting a car (which in my opinion is the best thing you can do) or a scooter or an ATV (they are unsafe and very noisy…so it’s really not what I suggest to people visiting the island eventhough they look super cool I have to admit)
Best Budget Hotel in Fira: Villa Rose
Recommended Websites for Hotels, Ferries, Flights and Car Rentals for Santorini:
- Booking.com is the website with the most available rooms and Private Villas in Santorini (more than Airbnb)
- Let's Ferry is the best website to book your ferry tickets or check the timetables for Santorini & all greek islands
- Expedia has all the available flights from Athens or other European cities to Santorini (Santorini Airport Code: JTR)
Highest Rated Hotels in Santorini:
Best Hotel in Oia: Maregio Suites
Best Hotel in Fira: Cosmopolitan Suites
Best Hotel in Imerovigli: Grace Santorini
Best Hotel in Firostefani: Tsitouras
Best Hotel in Perivolos: Orabel Suites
Best Hotel in Perissa: Anastasia Princess
Best Hotel in Kamari: Sunrise Studios
Highest Rated Private Villas in Santorini:
Best Villa in Oia: Anemi House
Best Villa in Fira: Anteliz Villa
Best Villa in Kamari: Eolia Villa
Best Villa in Pyrgos: Sensation Villa
Best Villa in Akrotiri: Cavo Ventus
Best Villa in Firostefani: Villa Aura
Best Villa in Imerovigli: Grace Villa
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CHECK OUR OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS:
Booking.com is the website with the most available rooms & private villas in Santorini (even more than Airbnb)
WHO ARE WE:
SantoriniSecrets.com is the largest and most informative website for all things Santorini maintained by local travel bloggers who love Greece and its islands more than anything else in this world. Some of us were actually born in Santorini and some others have spent many months not only visiting the island but actually living on it for long periods of time. We are not just visitors.
We consider ourselves the tipsters of this magical place.
WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SANTORINI:
- BEST HOTELS IN SANTORINI (the best and worst areas to stay, where to stay if you are a solo traveller, the best honeymoom hotels etc)
- SANTORINI FOR FOODIES (artisanal wineries, secret restaurants, best street food and more)
- EXPERIENCE SANTORINI (things to do, secrets spots, best sunsets, secret bars and clubs, hiking, activities, tours)
Read our super detailed guide to find out what you should expect and what you need to pack!
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