Wondering what is the best places to stay in Santorini for your type of holidays? Beach, cliff village or off the beaten path? Below is my guide with all the best areas and some suggested hotels to help you decide where to stay in Santorini.
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Where to stay in Santorini - short answers
Best areas to stay in Santorini
Overall, my short answer to the question 'where to stay in Santorini' is as follows:
- My favorite place to stay in Santorini - Oia, so that you can explore the village early morning before the crowds (see best rated accommodations)
- Most practical to explore the island by bus - Fira, also writter Thera (see best rated accommodations)
- Best views - all the cliff villages - Oia, Fira, Imerovigli, Firostefani
- Best areas for beach vacation - There are 2 main beach villages: Perissa (see best rated accommodations) and Kamari (see best rated accommodations)
- Quieter vacation by a beach - opt for the few accommodations in Vlychada (see best rated accommodations)
- Quieter vacation by the caldera - you can find quiet areas near Akrotiri (see best rated accommodations)
- Cheaper areas - all the central villages offer cheaper accommodations since there is less demand - for example Emporio (see best rated accommodations)
- If you are staying more than 3 nights, I recommend cutting your stay in 2 and choosing 2 different areas to stay at
You can find a lot more information further in this article.
Overall best hotels or resorts in Santorini - Suggestions
You could also choose where to stay in Santorini based on your hotel preferences. Therefore I am listing some of the best hotels and resorts in the whole island depending on what you are looking for. My selection is based on the user reviews from booking.com (quantity, rating and content) - I did the research for you 🙂
Luxury accommodations with great sunset views (although the alignment may be best certain months of the year):
- Domus Solis Luxury Villa - in Oia - a place to enjoy the famous view from the castle without fighting for a space - check out photos and availability
- Perivolas Hotel - in Oia - some of the most incredible views in Oia with 5 star luxury - check out photos and availability
- Tholos Resort - in Imerovigli - love the architecture! - check out photos and availability
- Santorini Princess Spa Hotel - in Imerovigli - spacious inside and outside - check out photos and availability
- Celestia Grand - in Fira - which pool will you enjoy? - check out photos and availability
Cave Houses in Santorini
- Art Maisons Oia Castle - in Oia - avec un style traditionnel des Cyclades - check out photos and availability
- Iconic Santorini - in Imerovigli with magnificent views - check out photos and availability
- Keti Hotel - in Fira, with a breathtaking inside to outside living area - check out photos and availability
- Carpe Diem - in Pyrgos with a breathtaking view over the island - check out photos and availability
- Hotel Sunshine - in Kamari, right by the beach - check out photos and availability
Cheaper but good value
- Apartments Anemomilos - in Oia, they are not right on the edge but offer great facilities - check out photos and availability
- Olive Tree Suites - apartments in Fira (but are not on the edge of the caldera) - check out photos and availability
- Santa Barbara - in Perissa, good value for money - check out photos and availability
- Merovigliosso - in Imerovigli, very practical - check out photos and availability
All inclusive resort in Santorini
Note - Santorini does not have typical All Inclusive resorts. With the lack of space, hotels are rather small. If you do not want to cook, make sure to choose an accommodation inside the villages to be surrounded by restaurants.
Hotels that recently opened:
Note - Independence of selection
I have created this guide totally independently. None of the hotels has paid to be included. The suggestions are my own selection based on my experience and my research. But to be transparent, I am informing you that, of course, I have not stayed at all the hotels listed.
Best places to stay in Santorini - Map + Overview
Where to stay in Santorini - Map
Overview of the best areas to stay in Santorini
Santorini offers 3 main types of areas for you to stay. Below is an overview of your different options:
OPTION 1 - cliff villages
The most famous option is to stay in one of the white villages on top of the cliffs.
- Pros - Incredible views + wandering in the village with the typical architecture + possibility to sleep in cave houses on the side of the cliff + easy access to a wide range of restaurants
- Cons - very busy all the time - difficulty driving and parking
- The most famous village is Oia (see accommodations)
OPTION 2 - Beaches
Although Santorini is not really 'beach destination', it has 2 villages that have developed along black sand beaches
OPTION 3 - Central Villages
Often overlooked, the more central villages are also great options to stay in Santorini:
OIA - Hotels, Accommodations and Area description
Oia is the most famous village in Santorini. It is the most photographed, especially at the castle with the view over Ammoudi Bay (photo below).
The village is full of cave houses and offers a great variety of accommodations. However it is now only a tourist village, almost all buildings are accommodations or restaurants.
Why stay in Oia - Analysis
North West tip of the island of Santorini. Oia is composed of several villages and stretches quite long over the top of the cliff
Oia is very very busy. It is the top place to watch sunset and the whole island seems to converge there in the evening to photograph the famous view.
Oia does not have a beach. You can walk down the cliff to Ammoudi Bay where you can swim or walk to Katharos beach North of the village.
- FACILITIES & SHOPS
The village has lots of restaurants, a couple of shop selling groceries and some artisanal souvenir shops on the main street
The main attraction in Oia is the village itself: its architecture and the views of the caldera. Since it is elongated there is a large choice of viewpoints.
You also have the churches with blue domes and the ruins of the castle.
What I love the most about staying in Oia, is that you can explore the village at sunrise, when there is hardly anyone in the street.
You can learn more in my article about the things to do in Oia.
Oia Hotels and Accommodation Suggestions
Below are a few suggestion of accommodations that have great ratings by visitors. Most accommodations are small and fill up quickly. I recommend booking early if you want the best rated options.
- Best view - Domus Solis Luxury Villa to enjoy the famous view from the castle without fighting for a space - Check out photos and availability
- Apartment - I stayed at Ianthe Apartments & Villa (and entirely paid for it). I felt welcome, the location was really practical and the accommodation had a common roof terrace to relax with a view - good quality for price - Check out photos and availability
- Luxury cave villa - Cleo's Dream Villa with an amazing views off the main street, so without being disturbed by the tourists - Check out photos and availability
- Hotel - The Museo Grand Hotel offers a common terrace with views, a swimming pool and a beautiful decor - Check out photos and availability
- Luxury cave - for something quite unique, check out the Lava Caves and its cave jacuzzi - Check out photos and availability
- Cheaper - the apartments Anemomilos are a great alternative. There are not right on the edge but they offer great facilities - Check out photos and availability
- Or see the best rated accommodations in Oia
FIRA (Thera) - Hotels, Accommodations and Area description
Fira is the central hub of the island. This is where all the buses start and return, where all the rental companies have offices... It is closer to the airport and to the ferry port. And this is where you will find the highest number of shops.
Why stay in Fira - Analysis
On top of the cliffs but more central on the West coast
Fira is also very busy. There are lots of accommodations but being the central hub, there is a lot of traffic
Fira does not have a beach. You can take the cable car to the old port but there is no beach. You have to drive 15min to the closest beach.
- FACILITIES & SHOPS
Fira has everything you many need - a wide range of shops, restaurants and accommodations. It can be a better option for those on a limited budget since it has a lot of choice and is the center of the bus network
Fira offers some great caldera views (although less than Oia). It has a few interesting churches and is home to the archaeological and folklore museums.
Fira Hotels and Accommodation Suggestions
- Apartments - for a great mid range option, Kamares Apartments offer great views with jacuzzi - Check out photos and availability
- Luxury Villa - if you are dreaming of being in an infinity pool with amazing views, you should look at the pictures of White Ark - Check out photos and availability
- Hotel - Children are welcome at the small Keti Hotel down on the cliff, with amazing views! - Check out photos and availability
- Hotel Adults only - Callia Retreat Suites has great facilities only a short walk away from the village center of Fira - Check out photos and availability
- Cheaper - the apartments in Olive Tree Suites are an interesting option in regards to price vs quality (but are not on the edge of the caldera) - Check out photos and availability
- Or see the best rated accommodations in Fira
PERISSA - Hotels, Accommodations and Area description
About Perissa and Perivolos
Perissa is the most famous black beach in Santorini. It is quite long and becomes wider at the level of Perivolos. The beach is a mix of sand and small pebbles which are black and mount Mesa Vouno is protecting from the North.
Don't forget to bring beach shoes because the black sand get really hot in Summer.
Why stay in Perissa - Analysis
South East coast of Santorini, South side of Mesa Vouno
Perissa is very lively in Summer. The village is quite long, especially when combined with Perivolos. But because it is more spread out, it can feel less crowded than Kamari.
This is a beach destination. At the most, your accommodation will be a 5min walk away from the beach
- FACILITIES & SHOPS
Restaurants, groceries, souvenir shops...
The main attraction is the beach.
But you can also climb to the ruins of Ancient Thera or admire the beautiful blue domes of the main church
Perissa Hotels and Accommodation Suggestions
- HOTEL - Kouros Village Hotel (Adults only) with beautiful decor and peaceful atmosphere - check out photos and availability
- 5 STAR RESORT - The decor of Antoperla Luxury Hotel & Spa is all white and inspiring - check out photos and availability
- APARTHOTEL - 1km from the center and close to the beach, the Margarenia Studios, offer a beautiful swimming pool - check out photos and availability
- FAMILY RUN HOTEL - Santa Barbara for good value for money - check out photos and availability
- HOSTEL - not many hostels - Youth Hostel Anna is 400m from the beach - check out photos and availability
- Check out all the best rated accommodations in Perissa
KAMARI - Hotels, Accommodations and Area description
Kamari is the other main beach in Santorini. It also has black sand and pebbles.
The village is less spread out than Perissa and Mount Mesa Vouno is protecting the beach from the South.
Why stay in Kamari - Analysis
South East coast of Santorini, North side of Mesa Vouno
Kamari is also very busy in Summer. It offers a lot of entertainment.
As with Perissa, all accommodations are very close to the beach.
- FACILITIES & SHOPS
Many restaurants and shops. The advantage is that Kamari is more compact so you are always close to everything.
The beach, watersports, outdoor movie theater... and you can also climb to the ruins of Ancient Thera.
Kamari Hotels and Accommodation Suggestions
- HOTEL - The Hippocampus Hotel, modern and elegant, right on the beach - check out photos and availability
- 5 STAR RESORT - The Santorini Kastelli Hotel close to the beach, with lush gardens - check out photos and availability
- APARTHOTEL - Blue waves Suites and Apartments have kitchenette, for those who don't want to go to the restaurant all the time - check out photos and availability
- BOUTIQUE HOTEL - Hotel Sunshine - in Kamari, right by the beach - check out photos and availability
- FAMILY RUN HOTEL - If you are looking for a more personalized experience, have a look at Chez Sophie - check out photos and availability
- Check out all the best rated accommodations in Kamari
Best areas to stay in Santorini - other cliff options
Imerovigli is my second favorite options in terms of white village at the top fo the cliff. I enjoy the size of the village and its blue church.
Plus you can hike to Skaros Rock for dramatic views of the caldera
- Location - West coast, just North of Fira
- Accommodations - There is a good range of options - Check out accommodations in Imerovigli
Firostefani is officially a separate village but it is an extension of Fira.
You can enjoy some quieter options than in Fira, but that also means being further away from all the shops.
- Location - West coast, just North of Fira
- Accommodations - quite a good choice - Check out accommodations in Firostefani
Megalochori is a small village for those looking for a quieter option close to the caldera (therefore you have less restaurant options).
The village has some beautiful architectural features but it does not offer the combined views of architecture and cliffs.
- Location - West Coast, South of Fira
- Accommodations - less options - Check out accommodations in Megalochori
Akrotiri is another quieter option with views over the caldera (an again there are less restaurant options).
It offers easy access to all the South Coast highlights (Red beach, ruins, lighthouse...).
- Location - South of Santorini
- Accommodations - Check out accommodations in Akrotiri
Central villages & off the beaten path beaches
And if you are looking for options that are really different and off the beaten path, I have a few suggestions for you.
Emporio is one of my favorite places in Santorini. The old town is a fascinating maze with colorful buildings and great angles for photography.
It is often overlooked because it is not overlooking the caldera but I really enjoyed its different style. Learn more on my article about Emporio
Plus the village is very practical to explore the South region of Santorini.
- Accommodations - not as many options as in other villages but you can find great ones and delicious Tavernas - Check out accommodations in Emporio
Pyrgos' reputation is currently rising.
Located on a hill is offers great views too, even though they are not directly of the caldera.
It is famous for its wine and churches.
- Accommodations - Choice is limited compared to other villages - Check out accommodations in Pyrgos
And if you want to stay near a beach and you really don't enjoy the crowds, I recommend Vlychada. This is my favorite beach on the island in terms of scenery.
The cliffs are magnificent, sculpted by Nature - learn more in my article about Vlychada
- Accommodations - very few options - Check out accommodations in Vlychada
Now that you have found your accommodation, it is time to plan your activities.
And plan your trip around the island with my eBook:
- 6 easy-to-plan Maps
- 40 scenic locations and photo stops to consider for your itinerary
- Planning tips to make the most of your time
- GPS coordinates for peace of mind
- 90+ photos to help you select where to go
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