Santorini in the Winter: What to Expect

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Written By: Pavlos

winter santorini

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 😅).

perissa beach santorini winter
Sorry guys…no beach life in the winter in Santorini…all beach places and bars will be closed…this is Perissa/Perivolos Beach in February… a bit sad to be honest…🙁

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).

READ ALSO: 
Where To Stay in Santorini
Santorini in January: What to Expect
Santorini in September: What to Expect
Santorini in October: What to Expect
Santorini in May: What to Expect
Weather in Santorini per Month – bikinis or UGGs ?

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:

seasons santorini
I hope this graph explains everything…

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What are the pros and cons of visiting Santorini in the winter (or low season)?

Pros:
– 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)

Cons:
– 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)

fira santorini winter 2
Santorini is a completely different place in the winter (November-April)

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)
yogi souvlaki santorini 1
Winter is mostly for locals on the island with many souvlaki places and restaurants still open though (this is my favourite souvlaki place called Yogi at Fira)

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.

These are the 20 Top Ranked Hotels at Fira.

santorini fira winter
Fira is much more quiet in the winter…but it’s still lovely and it’s definitely the recommended place to stay if you want to visit Santorini off-season. And yes…you do need a thick jacket in Santorini in the winter!

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…)

fira santorini winter 3
In the winter, Santorini’s cute strets will feel very empty compared to the summer

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.

fira santorini winter 4
Forget the buzzing crowds in the winter; streets will feel empty but the views are still there!

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 bakeriessouvlaki 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 🙂

santorini bakery erotokritos 5

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!

graffiti coffeshop santorini 1
Graffiti is the best cofee shop for the winter (at Fira); no magic views but still good vibes and nice coffee.

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 🙂

yogi souvlaki santorini 2
Yogi souvlaki place is the best on the island and…it is still open in the winter! Happy days…

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.

pelikan kipos restaurant santorini 1
Pelikan Kipos restaurant is one of the best for the winter days in Santorini
pelikan kipos restaurant santorini 2 1
Pelika n Kipos restaurant has a lovely indoos space that will keep you warm in those winter windy cold days
pelikan kipos restaurant santorini 3
Pelikan Kipos restaurant has amazing food any time of the day
pelikan kipos restaurant santorini 4
The king of the table is always the yummy greek Santorini salad with local produce! (I mean…look at these cherry tomatoes…!)

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.

Tsipouradiko Tavern:

tsipouradiko restaurant santorini

Kyra Niki restaurant:

kyra niki tavern santorini restaurant

Kelari Tavern Restaurant:

kelari santorini restaurant

Home All Day Cafe:

homecafe santorini

Kathodon Cafe:

kathodon santorini cafe

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.

CONCLUSION

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…

22 thoughts on “Santorini in the Winter: What to Expect”

  1. Are there ferries to different islands available? I checked the Let’s go Ferry and I can’t find anything for mid-November. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Unfortunately there are lots of greek islands that do not have a direct connection on a daily basis during the winter months. So, you may find only 2 or 3 ferries per week for certain islands. Having said that, bear also in mind that the timetables for the ferries for the winter months are usually announced in September-October every year and that’s probably the reason why you don’t see anything on the website. Hope that helps!

      Reply
    • Absolutely! But in the winter nobody can guarantee there won’t be any clouds in the sky… Chances are though that it will be sunny even in the winter months. The weather though can be quite unstable and unpredictable between November and May.

      Reply
      • Hi Pavlos! Very helpful. I’m staying in Fira now. I’ve found enough places to eat and drink, and I’m vegan! Can you tell me if it is worth going to Oia for a few hours?

        Reply
        • That’s great Cara!
          Oia is totally worth it as it’s an amazing place no matter what the weather is. It’s definitely not going to be empty because Oia…is Oia! Don’t expect many shops and restaurant to be open though… but the views and the sunset would be the same as in August! Totally worth a visit.

          Reply
  2. Are the wineries open in the off season? I am going end of February & wondering if they are open?

    I’m staying in Oia but now thinking about changing to Fira…

    Reply
  3. Hi Pavlos, I found your websit very helpful. Thank you for all your tips. We are planning a visist to santorinin 9 -13 April. Thanks to your advises we are looking for a hotel in Fira. I know that the weather is unpredictable but wonder if it makes no sense at all to book a room with outdoor tub ? Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Marta,
      Thanks for your kind words.
      I dont think it makes much sense to book a room with an outdoor tub in early April unless it’s a heated one because the weather would be a bit cold (at least to most of the people’s preference…). BUT it really depends on you to be honest. If it’s a hot tub then you won’t have any issues but if it’s just a plunge pool with no hot water it might be challenging. If the room with the tub is much more expensive don’t go for it but if you think you can afford it and you make sure it’s a heated tub then I would say go for it! Hope it makes sense.

      Reply
  4. Hi! We will be in Santorini 1 April – 5 April. Do a few more things tend to be open by then? Any extras not highlighted on your list? Bars/tavernas would be great also.

    And wineries! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Santorini in April is great and it’s not considered winter. I have actually written a very detailed article on what things to do and what are the best options for you for Santorini in April.

      April is usually the month of Greek Easter where big celebrations happen all over Greece and the greek islands (Santorini is no exception to that…) but this year you will miss it as it’s on the 22nd of April. But that doesn’t mean there will be nothing to do on the island.
      Unfortunately, none of the beachside businesses will be open when you will be on the island but there is still plenty of things to do and see. You can still visit the beautiful beaches but the seawater will be cold as it’s too early for it to be warm enough for swimming. You can definitely try if you want though! 🙂
      You will still be able to visit the 2 biggest wineries of the island: Santowines and Venetsanos winery. Read more about these 2 wineries here.
      I highly recommend you also visit the Akrotiri prehistoric ruins which will definitely be open during that time. If the weather is good you may be able to hop on a sunset cruise as well. Check the Get Your Guide website to see if there are any cruises available at that time.
      In regards to food and tavernas, your best bet will always be Fira as it is always the liveliest place of the island offseason. The restaurants on the list above will be open and have amazing food but don’t expect the famous view restaurants to be operating. Also, you should definitely visit Oia but you won’t find many shops and restaurants open, unfortunately…

      Reply
  5. Hi Pavlos,
    My son is getting married next January and then planning to go to Greece on 21st January for his honeymoon.
    He will start with Athens and then plans couple of nights on one of the islands. We were thinking of Santorini or Corfu. What is your view on this?
    Will it be better to fly to Santorini and Corfu rather then taking a ferry? Any recommendations on hotels?
    Thanks,
    Vishwajay, India

    Reply
  6. Hi Pavlos

    Thinking of going to Santorini on 23 Nov 2022 and then to Crete on 28 Nov 2022.

    I have been to Santorini 13 years ago for a day trip but was packed so I don’t mind going back when it’s less touristy but this time I will be going with a 6 month old baby.

    Not sure if there are enough places to visit that are baby friendly or do I just miss Santorini and go to Crete or corfu.

    Also I can’t find any ferry services for those dates.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hello,

      On the 23rd of Nov most of the businesses will be closed and the weather won’t be that good. You may get sunshine and 25 degrees but you may also get clod, wind and 10 degrees. Since you will be with your baby, I highly recommen you stay as close to Fira as possible where all amenities are available and the most businesses will be open. Obviously all the beachside areas will be deserted unfortunately as all businesses close at the end of October. I also highly recommned you rent a car to move around and visit some other areas. It will be much easier and safer with the baby and the island won’t be that busy.
      Having said the above, I honestly believe you would be better off visiting Crete at that time of the year. Crete is a massive island but if you focus only on one area you will find it easy to move around. Crete has life all year round and because you are with a baby it will be much safer and stress-free overall to visit. So, my advice would be to avoid Santorini this time.

      Reply
  7. Hi 🙂 This was a great read.
    My boyfriend and I are thinking of flying to Santorini 23rd-25th November (we are in Athens prior) . We are not put off by the lack of sun but wondered if hiking around that time of year is suitable?
    Is there likely to be any restaurants and bars open?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • hi there,

      November is actually a great time to hike because the weather would not be very hot.
      As long as it’s not raining, you will be fine!
      Most of the restaurants will be closed though, but in Fira, you will definitely find a few open and possibly 1 or 2 bars.
      That doesn’t mean you won’t have a great time.
      Do not forget to hike between Oia and Fira and also from Kamari to ancient Thira town.

      Reply
  8. Hi Pavlos!
    Thank you SO MUCH for this amazing website!!
    I’ll be going on a solo trip to Santorini from 11/3-11/11 (for my 50th birthday, though I look younger). 🙂
    I will be a 22 minute drive to Fira, and an 8 minute drive to Oia. I cannot change my hotel. It’s non refundable. It looks like a beautiful apartment, with wonderful reviews. I’ll have both an indoor and outdoor hot tub.
    Did I choose a bad location? Or is it good as 22 minutes from Fira is close and Oia is pretty?? So I will need a car to eat as nothing will be open in Oia?
    And, can I go to Mykonos by ferry during this time? And are the beaches nice and safe to walk on even though it will be vacant? I have so many questions!
    Thanks in advance!!

    Reply
    • I’ll be there 11/30-12/9 to celebrate my 50th. Please leave review and recommendations for good. I can’t wait to visit the historic places in Greece. I would love to hit at least one night club and visit fancy restaurants.

      Reply
  9. My friends and I are headed to Fira for my daughter’s Spring Break in college. It’s 13-16 March.
    I’m so happy to hear some things will be open. We were thinking of renting ATVs rather than a car. What are your thoughts on that? We don’t mind it being cold. We are used to that. Just wondered about them being able to go all the places we would like to see. Also saw that we can still book a catamaran tour in winter. Thoughts? I know, no swimming, but is it worth doing without the swimming? Thanks so much for your info.

    Reply

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