Where to Stay in Santorini – Best Places, Hotels & Tips

Who has not dreamed about walking down Santorini’s cobbled streets, framed by whitewashed houses and admiring the dazzling panoramic views?

But with so many pretty villages and to-die-for hotels, it can be hard to decide where to stay in Santorini and you can end up feeling confused and overwhelmed.

I’ve been to Santorini twice and it’s why I’m writing this practical guide to the best places to stay in Santorini to help you plan your holiday. There’s also this post with the reviews of the seven hotels where I stayed.

When considering booking your accommodation in Santorini bear in mind that it is quite expensive, especially during the high season and even more so if the hotel provides a volcano view. You can move around the island by bus, but it’s more convenient and easier to hire a car.

In this detailed guide, you will find the best areas to stay in Santorini and the pros and cons of staying in each one of them, hotels and many tips. But first, there’s a breakdown with all the answers you’re looking for 😉

An old wooden boat on the rooftop of  Homeric Hotel Santorini, and the whitewashed houses of the villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli and the Agean Sea in the background
Keep reading to find out more about which are the best areas to stay in Santorini 😉

Most popular tours in Santorini:

Which Part of Santorini is the Best to Stay in?

Area: Imerovigli – a dream village with some of the best hotels in Santorini, the most awe-inspiring caldera views and isn’t as crowded as Fira and Oia.

For first-timers: Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia. These villages perched on the cliffs are where to stay in Santorini if you’re visiting the island for the first time.

For couples: Oia – very romantic and picturesque with many things to do and tons of famous places to take pictures together.

For honeymooners: Imerovigli – a bit like Oia, but more isolated and quieter. And it has the best honeymoon hotels in Santorini.

Where to stay in Santorini on a budget: Fira – you can find some hostels and many inexpensive hotels and you won’t need a car. But most of those places won’t have the famous caldera view.

Alternatively, you can stay in Karterados (20-min walk / 6-min drive from Fira). The hotels there are cheap.

* Accommodation on the beachside is much cheaper than the ones on the volcano side.

Best places to stay in Santorini with a view: Fira, Oia, Imerovigli and Firostefani offer the best views in Santorini.

I really love the vistas from Imerovigli and Firostefani though. They are truly amazing!!

For solo travellers: Fira – with tons of tourists, bars and clubs it’s not going to be hard to make new friends.

For nightlife: Undoubtedly Fira is where to stay in Santorini for nightlife. It has the hottest bars and nightclubs on the island.

For young couples: Firostefani – within walking distance to Fira and its nightlife, shops and restaurants, but it’s less crowded and not as expensive as Imerovigli.

If money is an issue, Karterados and Kamari would be other options.

With family: Perissa is where to stay in Santorini for families. It has a good infrastructure with sunbeds and umbrellas for hire, showers, changing cabins and even a public playground.

For beach life: Perissa / Perivolos – the beach is much longer and quieter than Kamari, has some good beach bars and in case you want to be more reclusive, you can lay your towel down on Perivolos Black Sand Beach.

Where to stay in Santorini in winter: If you’re visiting Santorini from November to April, the best place to stay is Fira. This is the only town that will be busy during the winter months.

Bear in mind that all beach bars and restaurants in Kamari, Perissa and Perivolos are closed during the winter.

Best unusual place: Pyrgos – a beautiful and non-touristy village located approximately 7 km from the island’s capital, Fira.

It’s also the highest town in Santorini and provides great panoramic views of both sides of the island.

Where to Stay in Santorini: Best Places

In order to decide the best place to stay in Santorini for you, it might help to know more about this magical island.

Santorini has a surface area of approximately 73 km² (28 sq mi) and is 18 km long and 5 km wide.

It will take about 45 minutes to drive from north to south.

There are four very popular towns in Santorini: Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia. These villages are perched on the cliffs on the island’s western side and are connected by a 10 km path that provides spectacular caldera views and endless photo opportunities.

There are also two well-liked beach towns on the eastern side: Kamari and Perissa. These are better options if the main focus of your trip is to spend more time on the beach.

Akrotiri, Pyrgos and Karterados are other towns to stay in Santorini that are not yet on tourists’ radar.

A map of the island of Santorini
Where to stay in Santorini Greece: map with the best areas.

The best places to stay in Santorini are Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia. These are the towns, perched atop the cliffs, which provide scenic views and make Santorini so special.

In this area, you can find whitewashed villas, and cave-style hotels with terraces and infinity pools that have served as backdrops to countless fashion photoshoots, Instagram posts, and marriage proposals.

If it’s your first time on the island, you should definitely stay on the caldera side, as that’s what Santorini is famous for.

Best Areas to Stay in Santorini

The best areas to stay in Santorini are for sure:

  • Fira: Santorini’s capital, the largest town on the island and the perfect place for solo and budget travelers.
  • Firostefani: walking distance to Fira and its nightlife, shops and restaurants, but it’s less crowded and not as expensive as Imerovigli.
  • Oia: the most romantic and picturesque town. It’s indeed beautiful, but also touristy and expensive.
  • Imerogivli: a dream village with some of the best hotels in Santorini and isn’t as crowded as Fira and Oia.
  • Kamari: the perfect place to stay in Santorini by the beach. It has a brilliant range of restaurants, cafes and bars.
  • Perissa/Perivolos: very similar to Kamari, but the beach is much longer and quieter. It has some good beach bars and in case you want to be more reclusive, you can stay in Perivolos.

If you still don’t feel you know where to stay in Santorini, here is a bit more about the main towns and the pros and cons of staying in them.


Fira is Santorini’s capital and the largest town on the island. Fira is definitely one of the best places to stay in Santorini. Everything is close by and there are many restaurants to choose from.

It offers amazing caldera views and there is a plethora of hotels, restaurants, shops and a variety of nightlife.

There are hotels in Fira for every taste and pocket and if you’re on a budget you can choose the ones that don’t offer a caldera view and are not on the cliff’s edge.

Located in the centre of the island, it’s easier to explore Santorini from Fira. It’s also the best option if you intend to use public transport because the main bus terminal is located here.

But even though I like Fira, it can feel a bit too commercial and touristy.

The main disadvantage of staying in Fira is the crowds. In addition to the tourists who are already on the island, loads of visitors arrive daily from cruise ships (the cruise port terminal is also located here) or the airport, which is only a 10-minute drive away. So, the streets can get very packed.

Whitewashed houses atop of a sea cliff in the town of Fira, Santorini.
The town of Fira

Best Hotels in Fira: Anteliz Suites, Aria Suites and Cosmopolitan Suites

Best Mid-Range Hotels in Fira: San Giorgio, Costa Marina Villas and Kavalari Hotel.

Best Private Houses in Fira: The Cliff and Head of the House

A infinity swimming pool overlooking the volcano and the Aegean Sea, at Cosmopolitan Suites, Fira, Santorini
Cosmopolitan Suites is a 4-star hotel that provides one of the most impressive views of the caldera!

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Firostefani is a quiet little town with good hotels, restaurants and shops.

It offers one of the most breathtaking views of the caldera and it’s one of my favourite places to stay in Santorini.

The greatest thing about staying in Firostefani is that it’s only a 10-minute walk from Fira and yet it’s not nearly as crowded as Fira or other towns like Oia.

You can take advantage of Firostefani’s location by walking to other villages. And if you don’t want to rent a car, you can catch a bus on the main street, or even walk to the main bus terminal in Fira.

During my first visit to Santorini, I stayed in Firostefani and loved that it was a quiet town but close enough that I could walk to Fira during the day to catch the bus, and at night to have dinner and party.

You could say that this is the disadvantage of staying in Firostefani – you have to go to Fira if you want to enjoy the nightlife because Firostefani is very quiet.

The blue-domed church of Agios Theodori in the village of Firostefani, Santorini, a cruise ship sailing in the Aegean Sea and the island of Nea Kameni in the background
One of the most photographed places in Santorini.

Best Hotels in Firostefani: Homeric Poems, The Tsitouras Collection and Belvedere

Best Cheap Hotels in Firostefani: Afrodete Hotel and Damigos Caldera World.

Best Luxury Private Houses in Firostefani: Soothe My Soul and Swimming in the Clouds

Best Affordable Private Houses in Firostefani: Cobalt Cove , Villa Caldera and Hephaestus’ Haven


Oia (pronounce ee’yah) is the most famous town on the island, and if you’re looking for picturesque and charming surroundings, it’s the best place to stay in Santorini.

When you see a picture of Santorini featuring whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches, it was probably taken in Oia.

It also provides astonishing caldera and sunset views! In fact, the most popular location to admire the famous Santorini sunset is the ruins of a Venetian castle in Oia.

Santorini’s second-largest town, Oia boasts all types of accommodation, particularly boutique hotels, as well as restaurants, luxury stores and art galleries.

It’s indeed beautiful and there are a lot of things to do but it’s also quite touristy and expensive.

Staying in Oia is a bit like staying in Fira: the streets are full of tourists which sometimes makes it hard to walk, especially near the many iconic photo spots.

Its location, on the northwestern tip of Santorini, also makes it more difficult to access the rest of the island. To drive to Fira, or the airport, for example, takes about 25 min, and to Kamari and Perissa, two of Santorini’s best beaches, between 30 and 40 min respectively.

However, if you’re willing to hire a car or spend quite a bit of time on buses, Oia could be your best option.

Amoudi Bay and the red cliffs that surrounds it, some boats in the water and restaurants
Amoudi Bay, Oia.

Best Hotels in Oia: Canaves Oia Suite & Spa, Katikies Santorini, Kirini SantoriniCharisma Suites and Mystique

Best Cheap Hotels in Oia: Anemomilos, Maryloujohn Villas and Zoe Aegeas.

Best Luxury Private Houses in Oia: Let’s Chill in the Cave, The Sculptor’s Delight and The Deep End


If you ask me where to stay in Santorini, my answer is without a doubt, Imerovigli.

Known as the “Balcony to the Aegean” and located on the north of the island, Imerovigli was built on the highest point of the caldera cliffs, about 300 meters above sea level.

Imerovigli is the ideal combination: it’s pretty, peaceful and relaxing, and the perfect choice for a more secluded and hustle-free holiday in Santorini.

This dream village is home to many luxury hotels and upscale restaurants and provides some of the best caldera and sunset views.

Where to stay in Santorini

Accommodation here tends to be more expensive, though, and you will need a car because it’s located about a 30-minute walk from Fira.

If you plan to use public transportation, you may have to change buses at the main terminal.

Also, bear in mind that most of the hotels in Imerovigli don’t have parking lots and finding a parking space can be very challenging.

But despite these issues, the sense of luxury and refinement makes Imerovigli the best place to stay in Santorini for me. I bet you will love it as well!

Pericles Rosa wearing a white hat and sunglasses sitting on a lounge chair by an infinity swimming pool with the Aegean Sea in the background at Cavo Tagoo Santorini
Enjoy the swimming pool and the view at Cavo Tagoo Santorini

Best Hotels in Imerovigli: Chromata, Santorini Princess Hotel and SpaAstra Suites and Cavo Tagoo.

Best Cheap Hotels in Imerovigli: MerovigliossoCasa Bianca and Anthonas Apartments

Best Luxury Private Houses in Imerovigli: Cliff Edge and Ouzo & Rack

A double bed room at Santorini Princess Spa Hotel, Imerovilgi, Santorini
Santorini Princess is one of the top-rated hotels in Imerovilgi (9.8 on Booking and Hotels.com)


Kamari is a lovely coastal town with a pebble beach located on the east side of Santorini.

There are many beachfront hotels, shops, supermarkets, restaurants, a few coffee places and “pub” style bars.

But Kamari does not feel like Santorini, but rather like any other Mediterranean island. The whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches clinging onto the cliffs that you associate with Santorini are not present here.

However, Kamari is the perfect choice if you want to spend more time relaxing on the beach rather than sightseeing and want to be away from mass tourism.

Accommodation here is cheaper compared to the other towns mentioned here and is better value for money.

Furthermore, Kamari is only a 15-minute drive from Fira and 10 minutes from the airport.

Some people walking on a black sand beach, umbrellas, sunbeds and whitewashed houses in the village of Kamari, Santorini
Kamari Beach

Best Hotels in Kamari: Bellonias Villas, La Bellezza Eco Boutique Hotel and Cavo Bianco

Best Cheap Hotels in Kamari: Hotel Matina, Santellini Hotel and Makris Beach

Thinking about visiting another island in Greece?

Perissa / Perivolos

If you want to stay by the beach, Perissa is your best option.

This seaside village, located on the southeastern edge of the island, is 13 km away from the capital Fira.

It’s known for Perissa Black Sand Beach, the best beach in Santorini.

As in Kamari, there is a beachfront walkway backed by restaurants, bars, shops and hotels.

Kamari and Perissa are very similar: wide beaches with modern facilities and some water sports. The two beach towns are separated by Mesa Vouno, a rugged mountain with views over the Aegean Sea.

Perissa is a bit further from Fira, a 25-minute drive, and I personally think it has more character than Kamari. The beach is longer, less crowded and has a brilliant range of restaurants, cafes and bars.

Perivolos has its own beach, which is an extension of Perissa’s beach, but wider, with fewer restaurants and quieter.

Pericles Rosa wearing a white hat, white tank top and blue shorts sitting on an orange couch with red pillows at Tranquilo Beach bar in Santorini
Tranquilo, one of the coolest beach bars in Santorini.

Best Hotels in Perissa/Perivolos: Aqua Blue, Antoperla Luxury Hotel & Spa and Istoria

Best Cheap Hotels in Perissa/Perivolos: Meltemi Village, Stelios Place and Smaragdi Hotel

I believe you are now able to decide where to stay in Santorini. If not, you can always send me a message.

Remember that when you book using the links on my site, there aren’t additional costs, and you help me keep blogging and bringing valuable information. Book your room with Booking here and Hotels.com here.

Safe travels and have a wonderful time in Santorini.


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