Chances are you are planning a trip to Santorini this year but when you checked the prices for the summer period you started having second thoughts, so…visiting the island off season is the next best option!
Many people are under the impression that if they come to Santorini in the winter, they will not be able to find food and water but this is not true. What is true though is that none of the best beach clubs in Santorini will be open.
This article is here to break down all these myths and tell you exactly what goes on in Santorini during the winter, where you can go, what you will find open and all the things to do.
(Spoiler alert: There is food, water..and much more 😅).
Visiting Santorini during the winter season (November-April) is a great option. Especially if you are not the person who wants to spend 24/7 by the pool or swimming in the sea (though this is one of the best things you can do in Santorini).
Let’s see the basics first:
When is considered winter or “low-season” in Santorini ?
Here is a picture to help you understand what is going on with the seasons in Santorini:
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What are the pros and cons of visiting Santorini in the winter (or low season)?
– Privacy (no hordes of cruise ships tourists)
– More Relaxing
– Much much cheaper (we are talking huge money differences)
– More “local” feeling
– Many things are more pleasant due to the not super-hot summer weather (like hiking and walking)
– Unstable Weather (it can be 25 C degrees and sunny but it can also be 1 C degree and snowing)
– Less things to do
– Very very limited nightlife (pretty much non-existent)
– Many shops and restaurants will be closed
– Many hotels will also be closed
– All open door swimming pools will be closed (or…empty)
– There is no beach life (all beach bars and beachside restaurants are closed)
What can you do if you come to Santorini in the winter?
If you come to Santorini in the winter, YOU CAN STILL:
- Do all the sightseeing you would do during the summer, with less people around.
- Taste the local wine at a winery (or at your hotel)
- Take amazing pictures (without 100 people in the background)
- Experience the romantic feeling of Santorini
- Enjoy the views and the sunsets
If you come to Santorini in the winter, YOU CANNOT:
- Go swimming, as the sea is cold and the open swimming pools will all be closed
- Rely on public transport to take you around as routes are limited
- Get a sunburn you will be proud of
- Wear your new bikini
- Enjoy the awesome summer beach life and the amazing Santorini Beach Bars
- Go on a big night out and enjoy bar hopping (read our awesome Santorini Nightlife ultimate Guide)
Where is the best place to stay in Santorini in the winter?
Since you won’t be visiting the awesome Santorini beaches at anytime (of course you can go for a walk though…and it’d be awesome and much different), it’s better if you stay at an area/town that will be the liveliest.
The best place to stay in Santorini if you are visiting in the winter (November-April) is Fira; the capital town of Santorini.
I do not recommend Oia or any other place in particular as the island is pretty much empty and you get that feeling everywhere.
Seriously, you might be disappointed a lot if you stay outside of Fira in the winter.
Things are a lot different compared to the summer.
Is Winter Holidays in Santorini for me?
Winter Holidays in Santorini are perfect for:
– Couples who enjoy their privacy and want to spend some romantic time away from the crowds (but without swimming pools and beach life)
– Solo travellers looking to spend some quality time alone to relax and enjoy the views
– Anyone who doesn’t like crowds
Winter in Santorini is not ideal for:
– Big party goers
– Groups of friends or solo travellers looking to go out, party and meet people
– Anyone looking for loud, busy places
– Anyone who loves sun, warm weather and beach life
– Honeymooners (not much to do…)
What do I definitely need to know if I am planning a winter (low-season) trip to Santorini?
– Weather: It changes suddenly and it can get quite windy (also read our Santorini Weather Guide: What to expect every month)
– Opening times: Some places open for a few hours only so make sure to call and check before you go. Opening times tend to change without notice as well…(it’s Greece)
– Bus schedules: routes are not very frequent and finish early in the evening. This is why it is best to rent a car in Santorini.
Now let’s get down to the details…
I spent a week wandering around Santorini like a tourist (I quite enjoyed that, I must say).
I took the bus and visited Fira, Oia, Kamari and Perissa.
Here are all the things I did in each village/town and the places I found open along the way.
SANTORINI WINTER STOP 1: Fira Town (the capital of Santorini)
Fira is the capital of Santorini and the place with more things to do, come summer or winter.
So I started from there.
Read Also: 20 Best Hotels at Fira
At this time of the year, most shops will be closed but still there is a variety of things to do and places to go.
I walked around to discover what was open and I was pleasantly surprised!
Yes, the choices are limited, but more than enough for a few days trip.
There were people walking around, but without cruise ships coming in, it was rather quite.
Where to eat at Fira in the winter?
My first recon was about food (always important).
I found bakeries, souvlaki places, coffee shops, chinese take-aways and a couple of restaurants open.
Best Bakery in Fira: Erotokritos
in case you don’t know it or you haven’t noticed it bakeries is a thing in Greece.
There is no town or village in Greece without its own list of amazing bakeries.
I am a huge fan or Erotokritos bakery and I am sure you will be too once you try it.
Located just outside Fira, this is a traditional Greek Bakery with so many delicious things: pastries, pies, sweets (yes, baklava too), cakes, coffee on the go. Everything!
I love Erotokritos Bakery.
Seriously, do not leave the island if you don’t try their Oreo Cookies chocolate cake…
I will let the pictures convince you 🙂
Best Winter Coffee Place in Fira: Graffiti
Graffiti is an all day bar, very popular amongst local people. They do make a great coffee though and the atmosphere is great as well.
I brought my laptop with me and chilled out for a while here.
No magic views or tropical sunsets here.
Just a nice coffee place on the inside street of Fira town.
You can come back here at night to get a drink as Graffiti turns into a nightclub and is actually quite busy most days!
Best Souvlaki Place in Fira: Yogi
I have mentioned Yogi previously, but I really feel the need to share it with you all.
This is my number one souvlaki place in Santorini. Period.
And good news is that it is open in the winter as well (yay!).
I was super excited to have Yogi, so I was actually outside the shop waiting for them to open at 12pm. I was their first customer.
My souvlaki pictures from Yogi will make you hungry 🙂
Best Restaurant in Fira (for the winter): Pelican Kipos
This is a no brainer for me. When in Santorini in the winter and looking for a nice restaurant, go to Pelican Kipos restaurant.
The food is great (with a large menu to choose from), they have a crazy beer list (you don’t find these beers anywhere else on the island) and there is also a wine cellar you can visit (with the corresponding wine list). There is a garden outside, but if it is too cold, you can also sit inside. no famous views here though. Most restaurants with the views are closed in the winter because they mainly work with tourists in the summer.
Overall, Perlikan Kipos is a wonderful place with great food and reasonable prices.
However, it’s not the only one.
If you walk down the road from the main square of Fira and then make a right turn, along this road you will find more places open.
This area is called “Karterados”.
It is basically an extension of Fira, very popular between the local people.
In Karterados neighbourhood you will find traditional greek food restaurants and local coffee places.
Walk around to see what you like.
Yes, you guessed it right.
No famous views and amazing sunsets here!
Santorini is a completely different island in the winter but that doesn’t mean there is no life or that there is nothing to do or that you won’t have a great time.
Santorini is a completely different place in the winter and even though the views are still there, the life of the island moves away from the edge of the cliff because locals don’t prefer to hang out where tourists go (tourism can be a curse and a blessing). Visiting Santorini in the winter is a completely different type of holidays and it will give you the opportunity to see the island in a completely different state, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be fun or that you will miss any of its famous charm. Chances are you will still get lovely sunny weather (eventhough that is very unpredictable to be honest) but sunny days in Santorini are always stunning even if the temperature is quite low. You would still be able to visit the beaches but the waters won’t be that warm for you to swim. Overall, winter in Santorini will give you a glimpse of how Santorini used to be 50 years ago: without any tourism pretty much…