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The Greek island of Santorini is a popular holiday destination. It’s especially loved by couples seeking a romantic getaway, while also having plenty to offer for groups of friends and families.
Santorini is celebrated for its incredible views, magical sunset vistas, striking architecture, and glorious beaches with different-colored sand. You can dine on delicious Greek specialties, enjoy watersports, tour charming traditional villages, see an active volcano, visit ruins, and much more.
Santorini has a number of fantastic towns and villages, with myriad accommodations to suit diverse tastes and budgets. Some resorts sit high on the cliffs, overlooking the famous caldera, while others lie along the coast or are spread through the lush countryside.
While the island is small enough to explore with ease, whether by bus, taxi, rental car, bicycle, or (over a few days) by foot, you’ll find varying vibes in the different resorts.
If you're like us and looking to cover more than just Santorini on your trip, we support you! Expand your trip beyond Santorini by finding out the best places to visit in Greece and making sure to add your favourites to your trip plan.
When planning a trip, “Where to stay in Santorini Greece?” is a common question in people’s minds. Why not let me answer the question? I'll take you through some of the island’s top areas and answer some typical questions to help you decide where to stay in Santorini for the very best vacation.
Where is Santorini?
We can't discuss where to stay in Santorini without first providing a little bit of context.
Santorini is in the southern section of the Aegean Sea. It's part of the Cyclades island group, the archipelago lies north of Crete but south of mainland Greece. Santorini is one of the better-known islands in the Cyclades.
The island of Santorini covers a little more than 76 square kilometers, and is situated close to the islands of Anafi to the east of Santorini, and Ios and Sikinos to the north.
Which side of Santorini is better?
Santorini is a long island, with Oia in the north and Akrotiri in the south. Areas down the west coast include Imerovigli, Fira, Karterados, and Megalohori, while east coast destinations include Monolithos, Kamari, and Perissa. Inland, you’ll find places like Emporio, Pyrgos, Messaria, and Vourvoulos.
When it comes to the best side of Santorini, there’s plenty to enjoy all around the island, with both the east and west coasts offering splendid beaches and a range of things to see and do.
However, the west coast is more popular, thanks to its amazing vistas and sublime sunsets. Oia and Fira are particularly popular hubs for holidaymakers.
What part of Santorini is it best to stay in?
There’s really no clear answer to this question, as it largely depends on your personal travel preferences. Think about what’s important for you on vacation.
Ask yourself questions to find out more about yourself. Do you want to stay right on the beach? Close to the nightlife? In a rustic setting? Does waking up each morning to breathtaking views speak to your soul? Would you prefer to stay close to the airport?
Once you’ve decided your must-haves, choosing where to stay in Santorini will be a whole lot easier. I've outlined some key points below to help you out.
Is Fira or Oia better?
Both Fira and Oia are incredible places to stay in Santorini Greece. Both are perched on the cliffs overlooking the picturesque caldera and it’s possible to witness spectacular sunsets from each resort. You can also arrange a wide array of tours from both destinations.
Fira, also known as Thera, is the island capital. It’s a bustling resort with plenty of shopping and nightlife. Oia has a more upscale vibe and many intimate eateries.
If you’re planning to explore Santorini by public transport, Fira has the edge—public buses depart from the town frequently. Fira is also slightly closer to both the airport and ferry port, and you can access the beaches a bit quicker if you stay in Fira.
That said, because of the island’s small size, particularly if you plan to rent a car, both Fira and Oia make excellent bases for an amazing holiday in Santorini in Greece.
Where should I stay in Santorini for the first time?
If you’re considering where to stay in Santorini for the first time, Fira will probably come out on top. There’s a huge selection of places to stay, with accommodations that cater to diverse budgets, along with a great choice of restaurants that range from the casual to the upmarket.
You can easily book tours to explore the island, hop on buses to easily discover other areas, and experience the local night scene. Staying in Fira comes with great amenities and facilities right at your fingertips.
However, if you have more than a few days to spend in Santorini, why not consider switching it up a bit? Book a couple of hotels all over Santorini, Greece to experience different parts of the island.
Where is the best place to stay in Santorini Greece?
I'll take you through the highlights of four Santorini areas to assist you in deciding where to stay in Santorini. Even better, I'll let you into you some recommendations for top Santorini hotels for an awesome vacation.
The island capital of Fira is a top choice if you’re wondering where to stay in Santorini for nightlife. There are many cool bars, ranging from the swanky to the low key, along with clubs where you can dance till the wee small hours.
The main town in Santorini, Fira also boasts a great number of restaurants and cafes. Local attractions include the Museum of Prehistoric Thira and Metropoli Church, and you’ll find wineries, shops, and galleries too.
Soak up the views with a ride on the cable car and take boat trips around the stunning caldera. Plus, you’re just a short drive along the coast from Imerovigli, which is said to boast the ultimate sunset vistas—it’s perfect if you’re searching for where to stay in Santorini with iconic views.
As a hub for public transportation, Fira is also ideal for anyone wondering where to stay in Santorini for the first time. But where to stay in Fira Santorini, you may ask. I have some helpful suggestions for you.
Hotels in Fira
If you’re trying to maintain a budget while on vacation, a stay at Lignos Hotel is a great pocket-friendly option. With a traditional vibe, simple rooms with a bathroom and balcony, and use of a nearby swimming pool, you'll have everything you need there.
Mid-range hotels in Fira include the centrally located Asimina Hotel, Hotel Santorini (which includes breakfast), and Sunny Days, which features inclusive breakfast, an outdoor pool, and a tranquil garden.
Looking to splurge a little? Stay at the luxurious Kavalari Hotel, which offers traditional twin and double rooms with en suite bathrooms, a delightful sun terrace where you can relax, and a tasty breakfast each morning.
The resort also has romantic cave rooms and you can upgrade to rooms with magical views. A major draw of Kavalari Hotel is the fact that it sits high on the cliffs overlooking the gorgeous caldera.
Winery Hotel 1870 is in the heart of Fira and has spacious rooms and a pool, while Aria Lito Mansion oozes style and has a swimming pool, lush gardens, and a wellness center.
The gorgeous town of Oia is perched on the clifftops overlooking Santorini’s famous caldera. Buildings seem to tumble down the slopes, with western facing properties getting amazing sunset views.
Donkeys trot through the picturesque streets and the overall vibe is one of romance and class. Indeed, Oia often comes out top when people are thinking about where to stay in Santorini for couples.
There are plentiful top-class restaurants where you can savor local flavors and sip locally produced wines, and you can unwind in one of the town’s relaxing spas. There are many accommodation options, including novel cave hotels that are built right into the rocks.
Hotels in Oia
Ecoxenia is one of the most affordable places to stay in Oia, located around a 15-minute walk from the center of town. There are vineyards close to hand and you can enjoy plenty of incredible views. Plus points include a pool and bar.
Other affordable options include the cellar rooms at Marcos Rooms and the double rooms at Pelagos Hotel.
A beautiful mid-price option is Aethrio Sunset Village, which is just 0.8 kilometers from the beach. Rooms and apartments in the beautiful whitewashed resort are modern with private bathrooms, Wi-Fi, a TV, and minibar. You can enjoy terrific sunset views and enjoy the pool and rooftop terrace.
In the south of Santorini, Akrotiri is less touristy than its more northern counterparts, though it still provides beautiful vistas and plenty to see and do. There’s no need to sacrifice if you’re looking for where to stay in Santorini for caldera views.
Akrotiri is a top spot for anyone wanting to escape the crowds and enjoy a more laid-back ambience!
Visiting the ancient settlement of Akrotiri is a must for history and culture lovers, with fascinating archeological remains to explore. Take a boat trip to see Red Beach, White Beach, and Black Beach, discover cute churches, and sink your teeth into fresh seafood in traditional inns.
Hotels in Akrotiri
Caldera View Resort offers lots of bang for your buck—it’s in a tranquil cliff location with amazing caldera views, a huge swimming pool, and a café-bar. There’s a choice of double or twin rooms and each has a private bathroom.
Other budget-friendly Akrotiri accommodations include Kalimera Hotel, Adamastos, and Arvanitis Cave Village.
For a mid-range Akrotiri stay, check out Rodakas Hotel, Paradise Resort, Blu Rooms, and Black Bay.
If you’re after a more exclusive break and don’t mind spending a bit extra, places like Avatar Suites, Maison Des Lys, Cape Sisu Suites, and Acroterra Rosa Hotel and Spa could be perfect choices if you’re thinking about where to stay in Santorini for honeymoon.
Located on the east coast of Santorini, Kamari has a good choice of affordable hotels, making it a top pick for anyone searching where to stay in Santorini on a budget. While you won’t have the picture-perfect caldera or sunset views, you will have easy access to the beautiful black sand beach and prime sunrise viewing.
Kamari is also just a short distance from the historic hotspot of Ancient Thira.
Kamari's atmosphere is more chill compared to other areas of Santorini. Spend blissful days lazing on the beach and enjoying diverse watersports.
You’ll find a plethora of places to eat, along with many cool bars and clubs. It could, therefore, be a good option if you’re looking for where to stay in Santorini to party.
Hotels in Kamari
Narkissos Hotel, Dilino, Lefkothea Hotel, and Santa Magia are among the most budget-friendly hotels in Santorini.
If you’re looking for mid-range Santorini Greece hotels that offer terrific value for money, there are a couple of top picks. One is Hotel Mohitero, which offers free breakfast and is situated a short walk from the beach. Another is the intimate Acqua Vatos Hotel boasts a large swimming pool and its own vineyard.
All of the spacious en suite studios and apartments at Aegean View Hotel have a private balcony or terrace, and the resort has a separate kid’s pool; it could be a great option if you’re thinking about where to stay in Santorini for families. It also has a bar, restaurant, and fitness center.
Strogili Hotel on the other hand, is an adults-only hotel, great for couples and friends. All rooms have a bathroom, TV, and fridge, and the resort has an excellent pool. Cavo Bianco Boutique Hotel and Spa and RK Beach Hotel are more top-class choices in Kamari.
Plan your trip to Santorini with Pilot.
Whether you decide to stay in Fira, Oia, Akrotiri, or Kamari, there's sure to be amazing sights to see all around Santorini given it's location.
Where do you want to stay in Santorini? Will it be on the cliffs, by the seaside, or in a charming inland village? There are so many excellent Santorini Greece hotels to choose between! Wherever you opt for, plan your travels with ease with an online trip planner.