Santorini in the Winter: What to Expect
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!
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).
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.
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 and water..and much more).
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)
- Get Your Guide has the best and largest variety of Santorini Sailing and Wine Tours
- Rentalcars is the best website to rent a car for Santorini (highly recommended as you won't waste time waiting for local buses)
- Transferwise is the best service for travel money with the lowest rates compared to any bank worldwide and their Mastercard is accepted all over Santorini (you can thank me later...)
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:
Hope this graph explains everything…
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
– Many shops and restaurants might be closed
– Many hotels might 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.
This place 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
– 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
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 might 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 with 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 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 in previous articles, 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, 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 for 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).
The second recon was about shopping places and I am happy to say you will find everything you need.
Clothes, shoes, souvenirs and cosmetics (ladies we go to Hondos Center for that last one).
Recommended Websites for Hotels, Ferries, Flights and Car Rentals for Santorini:
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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