Looking to find the best place in Santorini stay?
Whether you’re in search of stunning sunsets, a romantic honeymoon escape, thrilling hikes, or a lively nightlife scene…
Santorini has something for everyone, it’s just knowing where to find it!.
In this article, we’ve got you covered with first hand recommendations to help you find your perfect spot on this breathtaking Greek island.
Let’s dive in and uncover the hidden gems that will make your Santorini experience truly unforgettable!
Santorini: Caldera Views
Perched on the remnant edge of a massive volcanic eruption, the towns of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, and Oia offer stunning panoramas of the caldera. Their strikingly white architecture forms a stark contrast against the deep blue backdrop of the Aegean Sea, making these towns a must-visit.
Fira: The Beating Heart of Santorini
As Santorini’s vibrant capital, Fira often serves as the starting point for visitors, offering an accessible base from which the rest of the island unfolds. Its prime location and comprehensive transport facilities make exploring the island’s offerings, from sun-kissed beaches to hidden wineries, a breeze.
Fira’s bustling main square serves as the lifeblood of the town, housing an array of shops that sell everything from artisanal jewelry to distinct artwork and quintessential Greek keepsakes. Wandering through its labyrinthine lanes, one can truly feel the pulse of the town, as its terraced cafes and bars echo with lively banter from both tourists and locals.
As darkness descends, Fira metamorphoses into a haven for the nocturnal. Its dynamic nightlife features a spectrum of upscale cocktail bars, authentic taverns, and vibrant clubs, ensuring every taste is catered for. Whether you want to dance under the starlit sky or simply sip on a glass of locally brewed wine while admiring the breathtaking caldera views, Fira has you covered.
Fira’s charm extends beyond its shopping and nightlife; it’s also a gastronomic hub. Here, local taverns and luxury restaurants coexist, dishing out a smorgasbord of Greek and Mediterranean cuisines. Seafood enthusiasts can savor fresh catches of the day, while the island’s distinct produce—fava beans, cherry tomatoes, and Santorinian wine—add a unique twist to every meal.
|Fira: Best place in Santorini for||Not great for|
|First-Time Visitors: Fira, with its central location, vibrant energy, and variety of amenities, provides a perfect starting point for first-time visitors. Its convenient connectivity to the airport and ferry port, and easy access to public transport, allows for effortless navigation and exploration.||Tranquility Seekers: Fira’s bustling atmosphere, while exciting, may be overwhelming for visitors seeking a peaceful retreat. Its lively main square and vibrant nightlife may not be ideal for those seeking quiet.|
|Solo Travelers: The animated atmosphere and friendly locals make Fira a favored spot for solo adventurers. With an ever-bustling scene and numerous social hotspots, it’s easy to make connections.||Beach Lovers: Despite its charm, Fira doesn’t have direct access to a beach, making it a less-than-ideal choice for those who wish to spend their time lounging seaside.|
|Nightlife: For nocturnal revelers, Fira is the hotspot with its assorted cocktail bars, traditional taverns, and high-energy clubs. Its after-dark life caters to a variety of preferences.|
|Food Lovers: Fira is a paradise for foodies, offering a wide range of dining experiences, from local Greek eateries to upscale restaurants. The culinary scene is as varied as it is exciting.|
|Shopping: For retail therapy enthusiasts, Fira has plenty to offer. Its streets are replete with shops selling a diverse range of products, from handmade jewelry and local crafts to designer apparel and traditional Greek items.|
Firostefani: Tranquil Elegance
In the enchanting landscapes of Santorini resides the serene village of Firostefani, a quiet echo of Fira’s vibrancy. This calm oasis serves as a tranquil retreat where the hustle of Santorini’s lively capital doesn’t intrude, yet remains comfortably within reach.
Firostefani wraps its visitors in a soothing blanket of calm the moment they arrive. Meandering cobblestone pathways trace through the village, bordered by the distinctive white buildings adorned with vivacious bougainvillea, guiding you to cozy boutique accommodations and welcoming Greek taverns.
These dwellings, subtly infused into the landscape, command sweeping views of the caldera and the boundless blue Aegean. They exhibit the iconic cave-style design or allure visitors with infinity pools that blur the line between the village and sea.
Firostefani’s unhurried lifestyle is one of its hallmarks. Here, you’re invited to embrace a leisurely pace, immersing yourself in the floral fragrances wafting on the sea-kissed breeze. The vibe is quieter and less congested, yet all the advantages of nearby Fira are just a stroll away.
Notable landmarks grace Firostefani. Among them, the Agios Gerasimos church, characterized by its blue dome and triple bell tower, is a classic Santorini image and a favored photography spot for instagram feeds.
As daylight retreats, the village’s high perch provides a perfect vantage point for Santorini’s magical sunsets, where the sky’s golden and pink hues embrace the Aegean Sea.
|Firostefani: Best place in Santorini for||Not great for|
|Secluded Romance: Firostefani’s tranquil atmosphere, stunning vistas, and charming boutique hotels make it a dream setting for couples seeking a secluded romantic getaway.||Nightlife Enthusiasts: Firostefani’s charm lies in its tranquility, not in bustling bars and clubs, making it a less appealing choice for those seeking a vibrant nightlife scene.|
|Quiet Escapes: If you’re seeking a haven away from the commotion, Firostefani offers a quiet escape to unwind and rejuvenate amidst picturesque surroundings.||Budget Travelers: Firostefani’s luxurious accommodations, with their premium services and amenities, may not be the best fit for budget travelers.|
|Sunset Admirers: Firostefani’s elevated position provides an unrivaled perspective for admiring Santorini’s world-famous sunsets.||Adventure Seekers: For those seeking thrill-packed adventures, Firostefani, being a place more for relaxation and peace, may feel a bit too quiet and laid-back.|
|Luxurious Accommodations: Firostefani’s lodgings offer a taste of luxury with high-end amenities such as private infinity pools and terraces overlooking the caldera, ideal for a honeymoon.|
|Easy Access to Fira: Firostefani offers serene ambiance within a short, pleasant walk to Fira’s vibrant activities, making it the best of both worlds.|
Imerovigli: The Balcony to the Aegean
Perched atop Santorini’s highest cliffs, Imerovigli, known as the ‘balcony to the Aegean,’ offers panoramic views of the sea and volcanic caldera, and it’s often regarded as the Best Place in Santorini for unrivaled sunset views and unique cave accommodations.
Whitewashed buildings, many transformed into luxury boutique hotels, line the town’s narrow pathways. These cave hotels blend comfort and spectacle, featuring plush interiors, private terraces, and infinity pools overlooking the caldera.
Imerovigli’s tranquil atmosphere and slow pace make it perfect for romantic getaways. The iconic Skaros Rock at its heart provides a rewarding hike, historical significance, and a stunning 360-degree island panorama.
|Imerovigli: Best place in Santorini for||Not great for|
|Unique Cave Accommodations: The unique architecture of Imerovigli has led to the creation of distinctive cave hotels, offering guests a one-of-a-kind lodging experience that beautifully marries comfort and spectacle.||Bustling Nightlife: If you’re a night owl looking for an energetic nightlife scene, Imerovigli might not be the ideal choice. The town leans more towards tranquility and peace, making it a serene haven rather than a hub of nighttime activities.|
|Stunning Sunset Views: Imerovigli’s position atop the highest cliffs of Santorini grants it a panoramic view like no other. The breathtaking vista of the sun setting over the caldera is a sight to behold, making it a favorite among photographers and romantic couples alike.||Extensive Shopping Options: Imerovigli is more of a nature-focused destination than a shopper’s paradise. The shopping options here are limited compared to the vibrant marketplaces found in the more bustling towns of Fira or Oia.|
|Romantic Retreats: With its peaceful atmosphere and luxurious accommodations, Imerovigli is the ideal choice for honeymooners or couples seeking a serene, romantic retreat.|
Historical Interests: The presence of Skaros Rock and the remains of a medieval castle give Imerovigli a historical intrigue that is sure to fascinate history buffs and culture enthusiasts alike.
Oia: Sunsets and Luxury
Oia is famed for its breathtaking sunsets, opulent cliffside hotels, and irresistible allure.
This charismatic destination enchants visitors with its beauty, serene luxury, and romantic ambiance, making it a dream for couples and honeymooners.
Oia’s globally acclaimed sunsets—where dusk paints a vivid canvas of oranges, pinks, and purples over the Aegean Sea—leave an indelible impression on travelers worldwide.
A stroll through its labyrinthine cobblestone streets reveals charming shops, art galleries, and delectable Greek cuisine. Oia’s blend of vibrant life, Greek charm, and elegance offers a myriad of experiences that engage all senses.
Fulfilling every traveler’s dream, Oia remains a beautiful and compelling chapter in Santorini’s grand narrative.
Best Place in Santorini For:
|Oia: Best place in Santorini for||Not great for|
|Honeymooners and Romantics: Oia’s picturesque beauty, tranquil environment, and upscale accommodations make it the best place in Santorini for honeymooners and romantics.||Budget Travelers: Oia’s popularity and luxurious offerings make it one of the pricier towns in Santorini. Accommodation, dining, and shopping here can be considerably more expensive compared to other parts of the island.|
|Luxury Seekers: Those seeking the finer things in life will find Oia a perfect match. The town is renowned for its luxury hotels, boutique stores, and exquisite dining options.||Partygoers: Oia is known for its peaceful atmosphere, and while it does have a few sophisticated bars and taverns, it doesn’t offer the lively nightlife found in Fira.|
|Photographers and Sunset Lovers: If capturing the perfect sunset shot is on your bucket list, Oia is the place to be. Its iconic sunsets are considered the most beautiful in Santorini and provide an extraordinary backdrop for photographers.||Crowd-Averse Travelers: Oia’s fame means it can get quite crowded, especially during sunset hours. If you prefer less crowded places, you might find other areas of Santorini more to your liking.|
|Art and Culture Enthusiasts: Home to art galleries and the Maritime Museum, Oia is a great destination for art and culture lovers.||Adventure Seekers: While Oia is perfect for relaxation and leisurely strolls, aside from a magnificent hike to Fira, it doesn’t have many adventure activities. If you’re seeking thrilling outdoor activities, consider staying in areas closer to the beach or mountainous regions.|
Best Place in Santorini: The Beach Life
Craving a beach escape on Santorini with budget-friendly lodging? Look no further than Kamari, Perissa, and Perivolos! Their immediate access to beautiful beaches makes them an ideal destination for families and beach enthusiasts.
Nestled in the eastern part of Santorini, Kamari stands out with its mesmerizing black sand beach, a unique spectacle that’s a result of the island’s volcanic past. More than just a stunning beach, Kamari is also a resort town offering a plethora of amenities.
With rows of sunbeds and umbrellas, the beach is well equipped for sun-soaked relaxation. The azure waters are enticingly clear, perfect for a cooling dip or even snorkeling to explore the underwater life.
Watersports enthusiasts can find plenty of action here with options like jet skiing, paddleboarding, and windsurfing readily available.
But Kamari is more than just beach activities. At one end of the beach, the impressive Mesa Vouno mountain stands guard, housing the fascinating ancient ruins of ancient Thera. This archaeological site offers a peek into Santorini’s rich history, along with breathtaking panoramic views.
As the sun dips, Kamari doesn’t slow down. Its pulsating nightlife springs to life with beachfront bars and clubs offering a variety of music and ambiance.
Dining options are equally impressive, with beachside tavernas and restaurants serving everything from traditional Greek dishes to international cuisine.
|Kamari: Best for||Not Great for|
|Beach lovers: Kamari’s black sand beach and crystal-clear waters are a dream for beach enthusiasts.||Those seeking seclusion: Kamari is a popular resort town and can get crowded, especially during the peak tourist season.|
|Watersports: With a host of activities like jet skiing, paddleboarding, and windsurfing, Kamari is a haven for watersports fans.||Cultural enthusiasts: While the ancient ruins of Thera offer a glimpse into Santorini’s history, Kamari doesn’t have as many cultural and historical landmarks as other towns on the island.|
|Nightlife: Beachfront bars and clubs light up Kamari’s nightlife, making it ideal for party-goers.||Tranquil escapists: The energetic atmosphere, particularly in the evenings, might not be ideal for those looking for a quiet, tranquil getaway.|
|Foodies: The variety of dining options, including beachside tavernas serving Greek and international cuisine, caters to food lovers.||Mountain lovers: While the Mesa Vouno mountain is impressive, it’s the only significant elevation around, making Kamari less ideal for those seeking mountainous landscapes or extensive hiking opportunities.|
|History Buffs: The ancient ruins of Thera offer a dose of history and archaeology.||Luxury seekers: While Kamari has a range of accommodations, it might lack the luxury caldera-view hotels found in places like Oia or Imerovigli.|
Perissa and Perivolos
Perissa and Perivolos, also located on the southeastern coast of Santorini, offer an enticing mix of relaxation and activity.
Like Kamari, these towns boast striking black sand beaches, but each has its own unique charm.
Perissa’s beach is one of the longest on the island and is beautifully maintained.
With its Blue Flag status, it promises clean, safe waters alongside its stunning scenery. The backdrop of the towering Mesa Vouno, particularly impressive when lit up at night, adds to the beach’s appeal.
Nearby, you’ll find the ancient site of Thera and the intriguing Museum of Minerals and Fossils, offering engaging excursions off the beach.
Just a stone’s throw away from Perissa, Perivolos offers a more serene beach experience.
The longest and most tranquil beach in Santorini, it’s perfect for those looking for a relaxed day by the sea. However, as night falls, Perivolos transforms. It’s home to some of the island’s most popular beach bars and clubs, making it a hub for nightlife enthusiasts.
Together, Kamari, Perissa, and Perivolos offer a beach life experience that blends relaxation, recreation, history, gastronomy, and vibrant nightlife, making them the best places in Santorini for an all-encompassing beach holiday.
|Perissa and Perivolos: Best for||Not Great for|
|Beach Lovers: Both Perissa and Perivolos feature stunning black sand beaches, making them an excellent choice for beach enthusiasts.||Those Seeking Seclusion: These towns, especially Perissa, can get busy during the peak tourist season.|
|History Buffs: The ancient site of Thera and the Museum of Minerals and Fossils offer a dose of history and archaeology near Perissa.||Hikers: While the Mesa Vouno mountain offers some hiking, the towns lack extensive trails for those seeking serious hiking adventures.|
|Nightlife: Perivolos is known for its beach bars and clubs, making it a hotspot for those who enjoy vibrant nightlife.||Luxury Seekers: These beach towns offer a variety of accommodations, but might not provide the luxury cliffside hotels with caldera views found in places like Fira, Oia, or Imerovigli.|
|Water Safety: With its Blue Flag status, Perissa’s beach offers clean and safe waters for swimming.||Cultural Enthusiasts: Although these towns offer historical sites, they lack the breadth of cultural attractions found in more traditional towns like Oia or Pyrgos.|
|Gastronomy: A variety of beachfront dining options offers a delightful mix of local and international cuisine.||Mountain Lovers: Outside of the impressive Mesa Vouno, the landscape is predominantly flat, which might not appeal to those seeking mountainous landscapes.|
Authentic Santorini: Local Vibes and Traditional Charms
Craving an authentic Greek experience away from the tourist hotspots?
Then Emporio, Mesaria, Pyrgos, and Finikia are for you.
These off-the-beaten-path destinations are drenched in local charm, offering a fascinating peek into Santorini’s traditional life.
Here, the rhythm of life is slower than in the hotspots of Fira and Oia, the smiles warmer, and the experiences enriched with the island’s authentic allure.
Pyrgos: A Step Back in Time
Immerse yourself in the medieval grandeur of Pyrgos. Standing as a proud sentinel over the island, this well-preserved village showcases a labyrinth of narrow streets spiraling up to an old Venetian castle.
The panoramic views from the hilltop are awe-inspiring, making Pyrgos a haven for photographers and romantics.
Its traditional tavernas, elegant boutiques, and laid-back cafes complete the rustic charm.
|Pyrgos: Best for||Not Great for|
|History Buffs: Pyrgos, with its old Venetian castle and traditional village layout, is perfect for those interested in history and architecture.||Beach Lovers: Located inland, Pyrgos doesn’t offer direct beach access or sea views as some other towns on the island.|
|Photography & Romance: The panoramic views from Pyrgos are awe-inspiring, perfect for photography and creating romantic memories.||Nightlife Seekers: This traditional village is quiet and laid-back, so it may not be the best choice for those seeking vibrant nightlife.|
|Tranquility Seekers: If you’re looking for a peaceful, rustic experience away from the bustling crowds, Pyrgos is a great choice.||Shoppers: While Pyrgos has some elegant boutiques, it lacks the variety of shops available in Fira or Oia.|
|Food Lovers: Pyrgos offers traditional tavernas where you can savor local cuisine.||Accessibility: The narrow, steep streets can be challenging for those with mobility issues or who are uncomfortable with strenuous walks.|
Akrotiri: Where History Meets Breathtaking Beauty
Akrotiri beckons history enthusiasts with its ancient Minoan ruins, the remnants of a once-thriving civilization that was buried under volcanic ash around 1600 BC.
A walk through these well-preserved ruins at Akrotiri’s archeological site is like a journey back in time. Nestled in a scenic village, Akrotiri also promises breathtaking vistas.
The cherry on top is its proximity to the famed Red Beach, a unique coastal stretch with towering red cliffs and sapphire waters, making it a fascinating choice if you have your own transportation.
|Best for||Not Great for|
|History Enthusiasts: Akrotiri is home to one of the most significant Minoan archaeological sites in the world, making it a must-visit for history buffs.||Nightlife: Akrotiri is a quieter village, focused more on history and nature rather than vibrant nightlife.|
|Scenic Beauty Lovers: With its picturesque village, towering red cliffs, and sapphire waters, Akrotiri is perfect for those who appreciate natural beauty.||Shopping: This isn’t the best place for shopaholics as Akrotiri lacks the variety of boutiques and shops found in larger towns like Fira.|
|Beach Goers: Akrotiri’s proximity to the unique Red Beach makes it an appealing choice for beach enthusiasts.||Dining Options: While Akrotiri has a few local taverns, it doesn’t offer as extensive a variety of dining options as other towns in Santorini.|
|Tranquility Seekers: If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the crowds, Akrotiri can be a perfect choice.||Accessibility: Public transportation options are fewer in this part of the island, making it less convenient for those without their own transport.|
Megalochori: Santorini’s Wine Wonderland
Tucked away in the heart of Santorini, Megalochori is a quiet, picturesque village in the island’s wine region.
With its cobblestone streets, bell towers, and traditional houses, it exudes a tranquil charm that’s hard to resist. Here, you can explore the vineyards, sample the exquisite Vinsanto and Assyrtiko wines, and learn about Santorini’s rich winemaking tradition.
The village’s affordable accommodations and local tavernas add to its appeal, making it a magnet for those seeking a peaceful escape with a delightful culinary twist.
|Best for||Not Great for|
|Wine Lovers: Megalochori is in the heart of Santorini’s wine region, making it a perfect choice for wine enthusiasts who can explore vineyards and sample the island’s famous wines.||Nightlife: Megalochori is a peaceful village and doesn’t offer much in the way of nightlife, making it less suitable for those looking for a vibrant night scene.|
|Tranquility Seekers: The quiet charm of Megalochori, with its cobblestone streets and traditional houses, is perfect for those seeking a peaceful escape.||Beach Goers: Megalochori is located inland, away from the beaches, making it less ideal for those prioritizing a beach vacation.|
|Foodies: Local tavernas offer a taste of traditional Greek cuisine, providing a delightful culinary experience.||Shopping: For avid shoppers, Megalochori might not be the best choice as it doesn’t offer the same variety of shops as the larger towns.|
|Budget Travelers: Megalochori’s affordable accommodations make it a good choice for budget travelers, offering a tranquil stay without breaking the bank.||Accessibility: For those without personal transportation, getting to and from Megalochori might be a bit more challenging due to its inland location.|
Embracing Seclusion: The Tranquil Getaways
If you’re yearning for peace and solitude, Santorini provides idyllic havens where you can embrace the quiet and relish in the beauty of seclusion. From the serene hills of Pyrgos to the lesser-known island of Thirassia, there’s a slice of tranquility for every solitude seeker.
Thirassia: An Unspoiled Paradise
Across the caldera from Oia lies Thirassia, a small island that seems untouched by time. Offering a stark contrast to the bustling streets of Santorini’s main towns, Thirassia is a sanctuary of calm. With its slow-paced life, traditional houses, and uncrowded beaches, it provides a refreshing escape for those looking to disconnect and immerse themselves in a simpler way of life.
|Best for||Not Great for|
|Tranquility Seekers: Thirassia is a sanctuary of calm, offering a perfect escape for those seeking peace and quiet.||Nightlife: With its laid-back, slow-paced lifestyle, Thirassia isn’t the best fit for those seeking a vibrant nightlife scene.|
|Off-the-beaten-path Travelers: Thirassia’s traditional houses, slow-paced life, and uncrowded beaches offer an unspoiled paradise for those looking to step away from the typical tourist trails.||Convenience: Given its location as a separate island, accessing other parts of Santorini from Thirassia can be challenging and time-consuming.|
|Disconnecting: If you’re looking to immerse yourself in a simpler way of life and disconnect from the modern world, Thirassia is the perfect retreat.||Wide Variety of Dining Options: While Thirassia has local tavernas, it doesn’t offer as broad a range of dining options as the larger towns on the main island of Santorini.|
|Authentic Experience: Thirassia provides an authentic and traditional Greek island experience, untouched by the rush of modern tourism.||Shopping: Thirassia isn’t the ideal place for those who love shopping, as it doesn’t have the same variety or number of shops as Santorini’s larger towns.|
The Best Place in Santorini depends on your preferences.
Be it the vibrant capital Fira, the romantic Imerovigli, the beach resort Kamari, or the tranquil Thirassia, every place has its charm.
So pack your bags and let Santorini’s magic guide your journey to find the Best Place in Santorini just for you.