So you decided to visit the most beautiful place in the world (according to myself) for your holiday but you’re wondering if Santorini is really as expensive as they say it is? I hate to break this news to you but it is actually very expensive. Santorini together with its equally popular Cyclades island sister Mykonos are the two most expensive places you can go to in Greece, that’s why most of the Greeks I know hate those two islands. They’re both very touristic and crazy expensive but you know what? I personally think it’s worth all your money that’s why I went there twice and hopefully I can go back there every year.
You can however go there during the off-peak season which is anytime before May and after September but you risk of having most of the businesses closed because the “locals” tend to go back to the mainland during those times of the year as the business is slow. You also don’t get to enjoy its numerous beaches but fret not, Santorini does NOT have incredible beaches if you ask me. I’ve seen much more breathtaking beaches in other parts of Greece. On the plus side, you get to see the island almost completely empty and trust me, you’ll love it more without the throngs of tourists around you. I have yet to visit it during winter time to be able to capture its true beauty. Maybe next time.
There are two main areas in Santorini where all the famous blue and white houses are: Fira which is the capital of the island and Oia which is where the famous sunset is. Between the two, I love Oia the best because it’s more classy compared to the overcrowded Fira. Now for anyone who’s visiting Santorini for the first time, these are the best two villages to stay in but of course it comes with a price. A ridiculously expensive price.
There are a few other villages near these two which might require a few minutes of walking (depending on how fast you walk). So it really is a matter of whether or not you want to be in the center of the action itself and pay the price or be a little far away from the center and pay a (somehow) normal price? Warning, their normal prices are still expensive. Lol.
On this blog post, I’d break down the pros and cons of staying in some of the villages in Santorini and the accommodations I can highly recommend in each areas based on 1. my own experiences and 2. the reviews of my clients who I’ve sold holiday packages to Santorini when I was a travel agent. Just to be clear though, I am in no way affiliated with any of these properties and I’m not getting anything from them for promoting it (although I wish I am).
Stay in Fira, the capital of Santorini.
I absolutely hate Fira and I will never ever stay in this village plainly because I hate congested places. As the capital, this is where the cruise ships dock and when they do – expect this village to be absolutely packed with daytrippers from the cruise liners plus the tourists who are staying in Santorini. If you’re into parties though, I absolutely suggest for you to stay in this village since this is the liveliest village in the island at night. It offers a lot of hip clubs and bars with loud music blasting from each of their own speakers at night.
Pros: Great view of the caldera. A lot of restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, bars and clubs. Liveliest place in Santorini at night.
Cons: Packed! Away from the beach. Packed! Expensive. Packed! Oh and did I say packed?
Highly recommended to: Younger tourists who’d like to be in the center of the action specially at night. If you’re planning to party during your stay in Santorini, you should definitely stay in Fira to avoid driving back at night after drinking. Roads in Santorini are narrow and quite dangerous, you wouldn’t want to be driving around after heavy drinking.
$$$ Fira Deep Blue Suites
$$ Fira Blue House
$ Anemomilos Suites
Stay in Imerovigli, an alternative to Fira.
If you want to stay away from the crowd but still want to be close to Fira (only 10 minutes away by driving), I suggest Imerovigli as the place to stay. Although it’s not a party village, it is only a short drive away from Fira if you wish to have numerous options to go to at night. It’s very romantic with the amazing views of the caldera.
Pros: Great views of the caldera. Extremely romantic with less crowd and less expensive compared to Fira and Oia. Very near to Fira.
Cons: Not much restaurants and bars around the area. Away from the beach.
Highly recommended to: Couples and honeymooners.
$$$ On The Rocks
$$ Santorini Princess Spa Hotel
$ Artemisia Apartment
Stay in Oia for the true Santorini experience.
My favorite village in Santorini is the beautiful Oia where I’ve sold numerous packages to my clients who were going to Santorini when I was a travel agent. It does have options of restaurants and bars at night but it’s not as lively and not as crazy as Fira. It has more class and sophistication, so to speak.
Pros: The prettiest and the most luxurious village in Santorini according to myself. Stunning views and it also gives you a chance to witness the famous sunset of the island from this village.
Cons: The most expensive place to stay in Santorini. Far away from Fira if you wish to go there at night to party. No beach access. It also gets crowded during the peak season. Away from the beach.
Highly recommended to: Couples and honeymooners or anyone with the money to pay. :p
$$$ Andronis Boutique Hotel
$$$ Canaves Oia Hotel
$$ Alexander’s Boutique Hotel
Stay in Finikia, an alternative to Oia.
This is where we always prefer to stay as it’s very close to Oia and definitely less expensive. During my recent trip to Santorini, I walked from our hotel to Oia to get some Greek frappe and while the walk may not be pleasant to do during the summer season because of the heat – it was absolutely feasible. So you’ll get the best of both worlds from Finikia – the stunning views of Oia within your reach and paying a (somehow) reasonable price for it.
Pros: Very near to Oia. Less expensive definitely less crowded.
Cons: No caldera views from this village. Away from the beach. Also away from Fira if you wish to have a lively nightlife.
Highly recommended to: Families or anyone who’s visiting Santorini on a budget but would like to stay close to Oia.
$$$ Heliophos – where we stayed at during our first trip to Santorini.
$$ Villa Pezoula
$ Kiklamino Studios and Apartments – where we stayed at during our recent trip to Santorini
Stay in Perissa Beach, the cheapest of them all.
The cheapest area to stay in Santorini is Perissa beach, one of the most famous beaches in the island. Here you’ll find a multitude of guest houses and hotel apartments which offers reasonable prices. Bear in mind though that you’d be by the beach, far away from the blue and white houses Santorini is famous for. You would also require your own transportation to go around from here.
Pros: Cheapest area in the island. Near the beach and a lot of beach bar options.
Cons: Far away from Fira and Oia which means no scenic views from here which Santorini is famous for. Would require a transportation to go around the island.
Highly recommended to: Budget travelers and those who’d like to be near the beach.
$$ Meltemi Village Hotel
$ Aretousa Villas
During our first visit to Santorini five years ago, we also stayed for one night in Soulis Apartments which is in Koloumpos. I can also recommend this accommodation as it was clean and the whole property has a friendly atmosphere. During that one night of our stay there, all of the guests in the property were watching football at the common area of Soulis Apartments. It was great fun spending time with the owners and the guests all together. Probably not recommended if you’re not into socializing. :p
There you have it, everything I know about choosing a hotel in Santorini. No matter where you stay though, I’m sure you’ll love this beautiful island.
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