Santorini is one of the most beautiful islands in the world. It is in the southern region of the Aegean Sea, not far from Crete. The ancient myths mention the mythical city of Atlantis that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. You can walk among the cultural memories of thousands of years if you visit here. The typical white houses, blue-domed churches and cosy tavernas will steal your heart. In this article, you can read about the 15 best places to stay in Santorini!
This article gives you an overview of the following topics:
- Best places to stay in Santorini: The most beautiful villages on the island
- What to see in Santorini: Surrounding islands and highlights of the region
- Best places to stay in Santorini: 3 must-see places!
- What to see in Santorini: Interesting things to see!
Since the mid-20th century, Santorini has become one of the world’s favourite holiday resorts. It has a unique atmosphere due to its terrain and cultural features. In the next section, we will show you the most beautiful villages.
Fira or Thera is the administrative centre of the island. In ancient times it was part of the Minoan civilisation, but after a volcanic eruption, it became depopulated. It is on top of a tall tuff wall in the eastern part of the caldera. From the port you can reach the city by climbing 600 steps carved into the rock wall. If you do not want to go up the stairs, you can use the elevator or ride a donkey.
The buildings were built in a typical Greek style. They used volcanic rocks as a building material. On top of the cliff there are beautiful white houses with blue doors and windows. The Fira Archaeological Museum has a unique exhibition of findings from the past millennia. There are gorgeous churches and monasteries in the village. The city offers breathtaking views over the water-covered caldera and the cinder cone of Nea Kameni.
Oia is 10 kilometres from Fira. The small village is one of the most popular villages on the island. Labyrinth-like streets, great restaurants and stunning sunsets await tourists here. Visit the Maritime Museum and windmills. You will also find an old Venetian medieval castle here. The Amoudi Bay and the port offer magnificent views. You cannot get away from climbing the stairs here either since the city is 50 metres above sea level.
Kamari is on the eastern side of the island. It is the most popular holiday resort in Santorini, offering fantastic recreational opportunities for tourists. Dozens of beaches, bars and shops serve the convenience of tourists. There are several open-air cinemas in the city. The Mediterranean night is loud with music events and festivals. The black-sandy beaches can be seen on postcards. Kamari is ideal for families with young children and the lovers of classic holidays. You can see the ruins of an ancient village not far from Kamari.
Pyrgos is in the heart of Santorini, between Kamari and Fira. It used to be the capital of the island. Pyrgos is a typical, quiet village at the foot of Profitis Ilias. The community welcomes tourists. Time seems to have stopped in Pyrgos. Children play on the winding, paved streets, and cats roam the rooftops. The locals love an afternoon siesta, the village comes alive only late in the afternoon. The little pubs are filled with families. They talk about life while drinking the famous Santorinian beer. If you want to visit a traditional village, Pyrgos is the best choice. You can see the monastery named after Prophet Elias on the 575 metres tall mountain.
Perissa is on the southeastern part of the island, on the southern side of Mesa Vouno Mountain. It is said that the ancient city of Elefsina once stood here. The beach is very popular among tourists. There are many restaurants, shops and nightclubs in the village. The ruins of the ancient city of are nearby. The Mineral Museum was founded in the early 2000s. You can see many rare rocks, minerals and gemstones from the past 1.5 billion years. The numerous churches testify to the deep religiosity of the locals.
Since Santorini is a volcanic island, there are many beautiful natural attractions. Just mention the 400-metres-deep caldera or the cinder cone. There are many neighbouring islands that you must visit! What to see in Santorini if you are fascinated by nature?
Nea Kameni, Palea Kameni
Nea Kameni is in the middle of the caldera. It is the cone of the former volcano you can reach on foot, by bus, or by riding a donkey. Lava covers its surface. In spring, red flowers of succulents cover the hillside. Palea Kameni is a small reef near the island. It was formed about 2000 years ago after an eruption. It does not have a port, but many people swim here from Nea Kameni. In addition, there are many hot springs on the reef. It has a beautiful little bay with a chapel. In the bay the water is yellow and there is a very strong smell of sulphur because of the thermal springs. Its healing effects have been known for centuries.
The island of Thirasia
Just two kilometres from Oia, the island of Thirasia embraces the caldera. You can find stunning bays and beaches here, many tourists hike here from Santorini. Small villages, wineries, cave dwellings and monasteries populate the island. There are several hiking trails in Thirasia. Its centre is Manolas, located at the highest point of the island.
Ios is 20 kilometres from Santorini. This small island has been the centre of the Cyclades for the past 20 years. Nightclubs, restaurants and many music festivals await you here. Wonderful landscapes, tiny whitewashed houses and windmills characterise the Ios scenery. If you are looking for a lively holiday, you can go on boat trips here from Santorini!
Anafi is the opposite of Ios. Despite Santorini’s proximity, only a few tourists visit this gem. Due to its volcanic origins, this place offers breathtaking views. There are small fishing villages along the coast. The beaches are easily accessible and very peaceful. They have showers and toilets. Anafi is a pristine paradise where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the city!
Santorini is the most magical island in the Aegean Sea. It is home to beautiful beaches, ancient ruins and the genuine Greek atmosphere. Spend your holiday on a volcanic island! In the next section, we will introduce you to the 5 best places to stay in Santorini!
Imerovigli is a few kilometres away from Fira. Many believe that this is just a resort with nothing but superb hotels and restaurants. Well, we disagree. The capital and beaches are very close, and there are beautiful hiking trails all over the island. The Skaros rock is located next to the village. You can reach this majestic lookout point by climbing the stairs carved in the stone walls and then climbing on the rocks. The whole caldera and the island can be seen from here. There is a small chapel on the side of the cliff above the sea.
Exomitis is on the southern coast of the island, near Perissa. It has a wonderful, 3.5 kilometres long beach. The village is very cosy, the winding streets will captivate the hearts of the tourists. There are ancient rock tombs and gravestones near the village. The typical motif is the snake.
Emporio is the largest city in Santorini. It is just 10 kilometres from Fira, at the foot of Profitis Ilias. Above the village, remains of the Byzantine period were discovered on Gavrrilos Mountain. Emporio has a Venetian fortress built in the 15th century. The houses were built close to each other so that they could effectively defend themselves against pirate attacks.
Walking around Santorini you will realise that it is impossible to discover all its wonders in one trip. Furthermore, the small island is full of surprises. Here are two more places to see!
Near the ancient ruins of the village, you can find one of the oldest lighthouses in Greece. It is closed for tourists but it is still a must-see monument. You have to see it at sunset because the magical lights make it quite impressive.
Profitis Ilias Monastery
It was built in 1712 on the highest point of Santorini, 565 metres above sea level. It is open to visitors, the monks offer guided tours. The terrace offers breathtaking views over Santorini. A unique collection is hiding in this monastery. Byzantine icons, handwritten scrolls, and you can also see a church history exhibition. You can try candle making or paper making.
In this article, we have introduced you the best places to stay in Santorini. The fascinating history, living traditions and the immense powers of nature make this island magical. You can spend a very exciting week here. Stop just thinking about it, plan your trip now! HELP ME TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT BOAT