Santorini is arguably the most visited of all Greek islands. Its main attraction is the caldera, the charming croissant-shaped coastline that follows the contour of the ancient, now submerged volcano. Year after year, millions of tourists visit Santorini to spend a romantic vacation, a honeymoon, or an active trekking adventure.

Highlights:

  • Best places to stay in Fira in 2022: Anteliz Suites, Cosmopolitan Suites (both hotels are in the best location, with Caldera views, and they have excellent reviews, but they are on the expensive side), The Last Sunbeam (mid-range prices, lovely Caldera views, easy access to shops and restaurants), Antonia Apartments (not such spectacular views, but comfortable accommodation, central, near lots of bars and restaurants, and more affordable than many hotels in Fira).
  • Best places to stay in Oia in 2022: Armeni Village (right on Oia’s pedestrian street, with Caldera views, shared swimming pool and outdoor hot tub), Alexander’s Suites (a charming boutique hotel with outdoor hot tub, sundeck and outdoor sitting area), Stelios Rooms (one of the most affordable accommodations in Oia with views of the Caldera).
  • Best places to stay in Imerovigli in 2022: Kasimatis Studios (on the expensive side, but very nice for honeymoon, for instance), Kapari Natural Resort (also expensive, but perfect for a short splurge or a romantic getaway), Merovigliosso (sustainable travel hotel, partial views of the caldera, sun terrace and a small swimming pool, cheaper than many properties near the central area of Imerovigli).
  • Best places to stay in Firostefani in 2022: Agnadema Apartments (right near the central square, with views of the caldera and outdoor hot tub), N Renieris Apartments (a few minutes away from the Fira-Oia promenade, nice, clean, with sea views opposite of the caldera, very good value for money, very helpful hosts – I stayed there and loved it)
  • Best places to stay in Perissa in 2022: Sunhaus Apartments (there are only two apartments, so you probably need to book it well in advance)
  • Best places to stay in Kamari in 2022: Seaside Breeze (in the center of Kamari, sun terrace, swimming pool), Chez Sophie (nice for couples)

Santorini Fira view

How To Choose the Best Area to Stay in Santorini

You can come to Santorini for a luxury vacation in a cliff-side suite with private pool looking over the caldera in Imerovigli, Firostefani or Fira. You can spend your honeymoon in Oia. The famous Oia sunsets, the endless stairways to the sea and the donkeys (more and more replaced by mules, more suitable to carry heavy loads on their backs) are the main things that make travel lovers from all over the world come to Santorini at least once in a lifetime.

One thing to keep in mind when searching for the best hotels in Santorini for your vacation is that many of the rooms you’re going to find are one of a kind. When you book your stay, make sure you choose the exact room you want. Simply booking a hotel or a holiday suite doesn’t automatically guarantee you’re going to benefit from all amenities and features you may see in the photos.

Before moving on to the best places to stay in Santorini, you should know that there’s more to this island than pure decadence and luxury accommodations. There are villages and towns in Santorini where you can spend a relaxing beach vacation without paying an arm and a leg for it. There’s no need to book an expensive suite only to be closer to the scenic spots where you’ll get your Santorini flying dress photoshoot. Those photographers would handle all of the details, anyway.

To start with, let’s see the map of Santorini, with the main towns and villages:

Fira to Oia Hike Map

The green line on the map is the Fira – Oia hike, the most spectacular walk on the island (and in Europe, I’d say). The trail between Fira and Oia passes through Firostefani and Imerovigli, known for their luxury hotels with Caldera views, private pools, hot tubs, and whitewashed walls with blue accents.

The word coastline is improper, as the western coast of Santorini is very high. There are lots of stairs that take you to sea level. There’s also a cable car in Fira, descending to the tourist port. Some people hire mules. I was pleased to see that there were no more donkeys in service.

If you want to spend a lot of time on the beach or swimming, you should either hire a car to drive to the beach everyday or choose another area of Santorini for your vacation. If you’re on Santorini for a very short stay, you’ll want to be as close to Fira as possible, in order to save time.

The bus network on Santorini is well-organized, with buses reaching to all of the most important spots on the island. However, all routes start in Fira, so you’ll want to be as close to Fira’s central bus station as possible. Even going from Perissa to Kamari by bus requires you to change the bus in Fira. I found this frustrating, particularly that some of these smaller villages and towns appear to be very close to each other on the map.

Where to Stay in Santorini for Couples

If you go to Santorini as a couple, chances are you’re seeking for romantic spots and activities. You may want a photo session on the cliffs by the edge of the caldera. You may want boat trips by sunset, a hotel room with private hot tub and caldera views, or dinners for two by the sea.

The best area to stay in Santorini for couples is the coastline between Fira and Oia.

Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia are all fantastic choices.

  • Best places to stay in Fira: Anteliz Suites, Cosmopolitan Suites (both hotels are in the best location, with Caldera views, and they have excellent reviews, but they are on the expensive side), The Last Sunbeam (mid-range prices, lovely Caldera views, easy access to shops and restaurants), Antonia Apartments (not such spectacular views, but comfortable accommodation, central, near lots of bars and restaurants, and more affordable than many hotels in Fira).
  • Best places to stay in Oia: Armeni Village (right on Oia’s pedestrian street, with Caldera views, shared swimming pool and outdoor hot tub), Alexander’s Suites (a charming boutique hotel with outdoor hot tub, sundeck and outdoor sitting area), Stelios Rooms (one of the most affordable accommodations in Oia with views of the Caldera).
  • Best places to stay in Imerovigli: Kasimatis Studios (on the expensive side, but very nice for honeymoon, for instance), Kapari Natural Resort (also expensive, but perfect for a short splurge or a romantic getaway), Merovigliosso (sustainable travel hotel, partial views of the caldera, sun terrace and a small swimming pool, cheaper than many properties near the central area of Imerovigli).
  • Best places to stay in Firostefani: Agnadema Apartments (right near the central square, with views of the caldera and outdoor hot tub), N Renieris Apartments (a few minutes away from the Fira-Oia promenade, nice, clean, with sea views opposite of the caldera, very good value for money, very helpful hosts – I stayed there and loved it)

Girl with orange dress in Oia

santorini oia boat views

Where To Stay in Santorini For Honeymoon

Honeymoon is a special time in your life. Spending it in Santorini calls for a luxury hotel somewhere in Imerovigli, in a suite with views of the Skaros rock, with outdoor hot tub, comfy bed and the finest linen.

imerovigli skaros

Of course, you’ll want to experience some sunsets, cruises, restaurants and local events. Nevertheless, your main focus would probably be your spouse. The point of a honeymoon is to enjoy togetherness.

Where To Stay in Santorini With Family

If you travel with children or with other family members, you,’ll want to cater to different age groups and preferences. Unlike romantic couples, families want to move, to visit things, to enjoy some beach time and maybe some family-friendly tavernas with good food and live music.

santorini caldera blue sea

Fira can be the ideal place to stay in Santorini for families, because of its central bus station. From Fira, you can take buses to all directions on the island. This makes it easy to travel with kids or elderly parents. Also, you’d be close to a pedestrian only area with shops, and restaurants.

Where To Stay in Santorini First Time

If your first time to Santorini is a very short stay, choose a place to stay anywhere between Fira and Imerovigli. This should allow you to walk the famous Fira – Oia pedestrian trail which is the main reason why millions of tourists choose to visit this island on their first trip to Greece.

If you can stay on Santorini for at least one week, you’ll be fine with other options such as Perissa, Kamari and Monolithos.

Where To Stay in Santorini Without A Car

If you don’t want to rent a car, but you wish to visit most of the remote spots on the island, choose Fira. You’ll save time by booking an accommodation in Fira or in Firostefani, as you’ll be near the central bus station. Buses to all directions depart from this station. Also, many boat trips depart from the tourist harbor of Fira. To get to the port, you’ll either need to descend hundreds of stairs or take the cable car from the center of the town.

Where To Stay in Santorini For Sunset

Oia sunset photos draw millions of tourists to visit Santorini among all Greek islands. However, I’d not stay in Oia. I found it too crowded for my taste, even though I took some lovely photos of the famous windmills of Oia.

oia windmills sunset

Fira sunsets are also fabulous, and so are Firostefani sunsets and Imerovigli sunsets. Akrotiri is another great place to stay in Santorini for sunset. Hotels in Akrotiri are near the Greek Pompeii (the ancient city of Akrotiri, buried after the eruption of Thera, the huge volcano on the island) and two beautiful beaches: White Beach and Red Beach.

santorini fira sunset

One of the Akrotiri hotels with great reviews is The Fisherman’s House. Serenity Blue Cave House is another interesting choice for those seeking for a beachfront accommodation in the area of Akrotiri. Click here to check their latest rates.

Where To Stay in Santorini For The Beach

Perissa Beach is, in my opinion, the best place to stay in Santorini for a beach holiday. Akrotiri is another great place to stay on Santorini for the beach, even though it is far away from the more populated areas of the island.

Whatever your choice, you’ll love this island. I know I did. I felt like in a fairy tale the whole time I spent there.

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