Santorini Secrets

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Where To Stay In Santorini – THE ULTIMATE 2020 GUIDE

These are the best places you can stay in Santorini. Chances are you are probably confused with the weird names of Santorini’s towns, but this guide will help you out ūüėČ.

where to stay in santorini

Depending on your situation this is where you should stay in Santorini (Jump quickly with the links below or keep reading):

The place you will be staying in Santorini can really make or break your holidays in this magical greek island.

READ ALSO: Where To Stay In Mykonos

READ ALSO: Where To Stay In Crete

You are probably wondering: Fira or Oia?

Or maybe Imerovigli?

What about Firostefani , Perissa or Kamari?

Where would you be able to see the famous sunset and the caldera?

The answer is actually pretty simple:

“It really depends on your situation and what you are looking for from your trip to Santorini but it also depends on how much you are willing to spend per night

Keep reading…

RECOMMENDED WEBSITES FOR HOTELS, VILLAS, FERRIES, TOURS AND FLIGHTS TO GREEK ISLANDS:

  • Booking.com is the website with the most available rooms and Private Villas in Santorini , Mykonos & Crete (more than Airbnb)
  • Let’s Ferry¬†is the best website to book your ferry tickets or check the timetables for Santorini, Mykonos , Crete¬†& all greek islands
  • Expedia¬†has all the available flights from Athens or other European cities to Santorini, Mykonos , Crete and all greek islands
  • Get Your Guide¬†has the best and largest variety of Tours on Greek islands
  • Rentalcars¬†is the best website to rent a car for the greek islands (highly recommended as you won’t waste time waiting for local buses)
  • Bikesbooking¬†is the best website to rent a quad for Santorini or other greek islands
  • Transferwise¬†is the best service for travel money with the lowest rates compared to any bank worldwide and their Mastercard is accepted all over Greece (you can thank me later…)¬†
  • Best Place To Stay in Santorini: Imerovigli – it has the best hotels of the island with the most amazing caldera views and it is not that crowded as Oia or Fira
  • Best Hotel in Santorini: Grace Hotel Santorini
  • How to Book a Hotel for Santorini: go to Booking.com and make your choice. Airbnb has far less available rooms and villas for Santorini.
  • Caldera Views: unfortunately you have to choose between the famous views you have seen in the magazines and the beach life as you cannot have both; if you are staying on the cliff with the famous views (Fira, Imerovigli, Oia, Akrotiri, Firostefani) you won’t be close to the beach (Kamari, Perissa, Perivolos) and you will pay more per night
  • Best Sunset Views in Santorini: undoubtedly in Oia but Firostefani and Imerovigli have amazing caldera and sunset views too and they are not that crowded
  • Fira or Oia: Fira is better for the winter (Nov-May) as it won‚Äôt be too empty (it’s the capital afterall) . Oia is amazing but it has thousands of tourists. Better stay at Imerovigli that has amazing caldera views and the best hotels in Santorini.
  • Beaches: If you want to be close to the best beaches of Santorini then you have to stay at Perissa, Perivolos or Kamari ; these are also the most family friendly places of the island
  • Cheapest Hotels: If you stay close to the beach in areas such Kamari, Perissa or Perivolos you will generally get more for your money as these places do not offer the famous views (but most of them have excellent services and swimming pools)
  • Best Family Place in Santorini: Kamari, Perissa or Perivolos (close to the beach – ideal for kids)
  • Most Romantic Place of Santorini: Imerovigli (with the best honeymoon hotels in Santorini)
  • Steps and stairs: if you have issues with your knees or in general you cannot use any staircase or steps avoid areas such as Fira , Imerovigli, Oia and Firostefani as chances are you will have tens of steps every day to reach your hotel; you should better stay close to the beach where there are no steps anywhere
  • Best Alternative Places to Stay: Pyrgos or Emporeio villages ; they are super cute and you will be away from the tourist crowds
where to stay santorini

1. Best Place To Stay In Santorini (Overall)

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.

Staying on any of these towns will give you the opportunity to open your window to the amazing famous views every morning…but bear in mind that these are also the most expensive areas to stay on Santorini.

2. Fira Or Oia ?

Fira is the capital of Santorini and it is the liveliest place of the island.

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 will be where all the buzz is at the same time.

Stay at Fira if:

– you are visiting any month between November and April as most other places on the island will be deserted and closed

–¬† you want to be close to the nightlife and the shops

– you don’t care about the beaches and swimming

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 but it gets super crowded between 16:00 and 20:00 every day , almost all year round.

Stay in Oia if:

– you want to have the best sunset views (with lots of crowds every evening)

–¬† you don’t care about the prices of the accommodation (Oia has by far the most expensive hotels in Greece and some of the most expensive hotels in Europe)

– you just want to say to everyhone that you will be staying in famous Oia

3. Best Place for a Honeymoon in Santorini

honeymoon santorini
Santorini is the ideal place for a honeymoon but the place you choose to stay can make or break your honeymoon...

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 things 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.

Read Also: Best Honeymoon Hotels in Santorini

You don’t really want to be close to nightclubs and crazy parties (though you can certainly visit some…).

You have to make the best of your time with your other half and that’s all that 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.

That place is called Imerovigli my dear honeymooners.

Hands down Imerovigli is the best area to stay for a honeymoon in Santorini.

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 book 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.

If you cannot find something nice at Imerovigli try search the available hotels and rooms in Firostefani which is pretty close and also has some very impressive hotels and private rooms.

4. Best Place for Families and Kids

kamari beach
Kamari beach with its amenities and hundreds of sunbeds and restaurants is the best place for families with kids

People say that Santorini is only for romantic couples or for honeymooners or for solo travelers.

I say Santorini is perfect for everyőŅne, no matter what!

Santorini is ideal for family vacations with kids.

There is a catch though.

The most family friendly places in Santorini are the ones that are close to the beaches of Kamari and Perissa/Perivolos.

You shouldn’t stay on the west side areas on the famous cliff with the famous caldera and sunset views.¬†

Why I say that?

Well…kids love to play on the beach, right?

A day at the beach is a fun day for every child.

At least…those were my best days of the summer when I was a kid.

And in fact, summer meant that I was allowed to be on the beach in Greece for 4 consecutive summer months. Yayyyyy!

Read Also: Best Beach Hotels in Santorini

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 are 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‚Äėd say that Perissa with all its beach bars and parties is probably crazier.

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.

The great thing about Kamari and Perissa/Perivolos places is that they are considerably cheaper than the places with the famous views (Fira, Oia, Firostefani and Imerovigli).

5. Best Place for Young Couples

santorini trip
Santorini is perfect for a young couple adventurous holidays as there are hundreds of things to do and experience together!

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.

READ ALSO: Best Cheap Hotels of Santorini

On the other hand, if money is really not an issue then my advice would be exactly the same: Stay at Fira or Firostefani (15-20 mins walk from Fira) where all the buzz is.

You will enjoy the famous views, the amazing infinity swimming pools and your Instagram will be on fire! Period.

Here is a handy list of the best but good, decent and clean hotels in Santorini

6. Best Place for Caldera Views

caldera santorini
Caldera is the sea lagoon that was created by the volcano thousands of years ago. All the famous views in Santorini, overlook the caldera and it is the most expensive area to stay

I believe that my sketch on top of this article will give you a rough idea of 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 in Santorini.

Akrotiri is awesome in my opinion, but it is far away from….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 high price of Oia or Imerovigli..

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!). If you stay in Akrotiri though, bear in mind that you will probably have to have a car as most of the shops and the restaurants are in Fira, in Oia or at the beach side areas of Perissa and Kamari.

So if you really want tot have the caldera and volcano famous views then you have to choose between Fira,  Firostefani , Imerovigli,  Oia and Akrotiri.

As I have said previously: You cannot have both caldera views and be close to Santorini’s beaches , as there is no beach that overlooks the caldera and the volcano on the island.

Overall, if you are looking for caldera views the best option is Imerovigli.

7. Best Place For Solo Travellers

santorini solo
Santorini is amazing for solo travellers as there are many places to meet new people from all over the world and there are also many areas to explore by yourself

Santorini is an amazing place and that makes it super attractive for solo travellers as it’s in the bucketlist 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 and the transportation hub of the island 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.

8. Best Place for Seniors

santorini steps
Main famous towns in Santorini have hundreds of steps and you should better avoid them if you have mobility issues

If you are travelling with seniors or with people with difficulties in mobility in general, I would strongly advise 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 or Perissa 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.

9. Best Place For Nightlife

Santorini's nightlife is amazing in the summer months and the best place to enjoy it is Fira, the capital of the island.

Ok…that’s an easy one.

If you really want to be as close as possible to all the nightlife of the island then you should stay at Fira.

Read Also: My Ultimate Guide on Santorini Nightlife

Apart from Fira (and possibly Perissa in the summer months of June, July, August and September) 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 place and rumour has it that Oia’s residents didn’t want to ruin that with crazy club-goers or drunk tourists so they never let a big club or a bar to open in that area.

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.

Best Bars and Clubs in Santorini are: 

10. Best Place for Beaches

santorini beach
Santorini's beaches are amazing to swim between June and October but everything will be closed outside those months

Hands down, the best area in Santorini to enjoy the amazing crystal clear greek waters is Perissa/Perivolos beaches.

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 in the other areas that have caldera views.

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 but you will be in walking distance to the beach!

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 funner places for younger people with lots of good beach parties during the summer months, amazing sunbeds and yummy cocktails.

Even world famous DJ’s often play in Perissa’s beach bars.

ALSO NOTE: Perissa, Perivolos and Kamari ARE NOT good places to stay any month outside the high season (May-October) as most shops, restaurants and businesses close at the end of October and open in late April.

ALSO VERY IMPORTANT: You won’t be able to swim in the sea water in the winter as the water will be pretty cold! If you are visitng Santorini in November, December, January, February, March and April FORGET about staying close to the beach as you will be missing a lot! These places are only for the summer months and mainly between June-September.¬†

11. Best Place for the Winter in Santorini

santorini winter perissa beach november december january february march
All beach bars and restaurants are closed in the winter in Santorini (mainly in Perissa, Kamari and Perivolos)

The best place to stay in Santorini during the winter or low season months of November, December, January, February, March and April is Fira.

The main reason for that is that Fira is the only place that stays busy during the winter months.

Winter is Santorini are considered the following months: November, December, January, February, March and April

You won’t be able to swim in the sea if you are visiting Santorini in any of these months. The sea water will be too cold for most people’s standards.

So, the best thing you can actually do is stay at the liveliest town which is by far, Fira. There will still be open restaurants and hotels all year round in Fira.

Read Also: Santorini in the Winter – What to Expect

The great thing about winter in Santorini is that you should expect to pay far less for your accommodation as prices are considerably lower.

The other benefit is also the fact that most areas will be really quiet with not that many people around.

But the weather can be windy and cold (5 degrees Celsius for example) though it might be sunny!

12. Best Place Cheap Hotels

You don't have to break the bank to visit Santorini and the secret is to stay away from the famous views but closer to the beach areas

The secret to find the best cheap hotels in Santorini is to avoid the famous caldera views and Oia. 

Basically, if you want to find the best cheap holidays in Santorini you have to stay in Perissa, Perivolos or Kamari.

Because all teh beach side areas have less promotion than the famous cliff caldera views of Oia, Fira and Firostefani they have reduced prices.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t find amazing hotels in those areas! Quite the opposite…

You will actually be getting more for your buck if you stay in Perissa or Kamari (and that applies to the restaurants as well..).

Read Also: Best Cheap Hotels in Santorini

Read Also: Best Beach Hotels in Santorini

Another area, where you can find some good priced hotels is Akrotiri. 

Akrotiri is the only area of Santorini where you can have caldera views without ripping the bank.

This is because most hotels in that area are quite new and they haven’t been promoted as much as Oia for example during the last 20-30 years.

Akrotiri is amazing to stay but you have to understand that is a bit furhter away from the main hub of the island which is Fira (25 mins drive…the island is small!)

So, if you stay in Akrotiri you probably need to get a car or a motorbike to get around the island though there is a local bus that can take you to and from Fira.  

Another option to get some cheaper prices on accomodation is to look at the villages of Emporeio and Pirgos. 

You won’t be getting any of the famous views but these are extremely picturesque and cute places with lovely traditional houses and even wineries you can stay in.

The prices in Pirgos or Emporeio are definitely lower than the ones you would pay in Oia .

So, my overall suggestion if you want to find cheap hotels in Santorini is to search in Kamari, Perissa, Perivolos or Pirgos and Emporeio.

CONCLUSION

So, there are the best places to stay in Santorini!

Always have in mind that Santorini is not a cheap place to stay but if you search a hotel in areas closer to the beaches of Perissa, Perivolos and Kamari you won’t be dissapointed.

The best area to stay if you are a couple and you want to enjoy the amazing volcano and caldera views is definitely Imerovigli which doesn’t have the thousands of touristas that visit the island and they basically go to Oia for the sunset.

Fira is also a great option if you want to be closer to the shops and the nightclubs.

If you are visiting Santorini with your kids then the best thing you can do is to stay closer to the beach and then visit the famous views areas whenever you feel like it.

The kids will always enjoy the beach more than just the amazing views…!

The best area to stay with the kids is definitely Kamari and Perissa.

As a final note, always have in mind that you should book your accommodation at least 6 months in advance as most hotels sell out quickly every year!

Santorini’s beautifull landscape won’t leave you dissapointed in any case and you will definitely want to come back some day…

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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 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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SantoriniSecrets.com is the largest and most informative travel blog for all things Santorini, Athens, Mykonos and Greece 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 greek islands but actually living on it for long periods of time. We are not just visitors. We are from Greece!

We consider ourselves the tipsters of this magical place, called Greece.

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