The best places & beaches Santorini Greece
Santorini Island – what to see and what to do?
Approaching Santorini by boat is rewarded with breathtaking views of the island’s uniquely beautiful marine volcanic landscape. Crescent-shaped Santorini and a scattering of islets define the contours of the ancient volcano. The crenelated rim of the caldera offers breathtaking panoramic views of the bay, surrounding islands, and whitewashed villages with blue-domed churches. We would like to share with you our favorite best places and beaches on Santorini Island.
Like the eyrie of a white eagle, Fira (or Thira), the island’s capital, perched between the heavens and the earth. The distinctive architecture of Fira’s houses, with blue-domed churches, arches, white facades, and terraced buildings, imparts a unique charm. Referred to as “skafta” (dug out) by locals, these houses are built deep inside the cliff, and not upwards. Moreover, positioned on a cliff, Fira offers breathtaking views of the sea and the caldera from nearly every point!
Life in Fira pulsates both day and night. Daytime invites stroll along the central pedestrian street lined with numerous shops offering clothing, jewelry, and souvenirs. Museum exploration and a plethora of restaurants invite you to indulge. As night falls, Fira transforms into an ideal destination for those seeking vibrant nightlife, with its centrally located nightclubs and bars.
Centrally located on the island, Fira provides convenient access to all parts of the island through the KTEL bus station, with buses operating on a well-defined schedule.
The main attractions of Fira, Santorini
Fira, the picturesque capital of Santorini, perched on the edge of the caldera, вoasts a rich cultural tapestry with notable landmarks including:
- Museum of Prehistoric Thira
- Archaeological Museum
- Megaro Gyzi Museum is an exquisite building dating back to the Venetian era
- The Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, also known as the Church of Ypapantis (Candlemas), built in 1827
- The 18th-century Agiou Mina Church, renowned as Fira’s symbol, is distinguished by its prominent blue dome and white bell tower.
The Old Port of Fira, Santorini
The old port of Fira serves tenders from cruise ships anchored in the bay. The town of Fira and the old port are connected by a cable car (€6 one way). Those seeking a physical challenge can walk down the road to the port (about 600 steps) or ride a charming donkey (€5-15).
Also from this port, boats depart for the neighboring islets of Palea Kameni (hot springs), Nea Kameni (volcano), and the island of Thirassia. This cruise option is less expensive than the one departing from the port of Athinios, as it excludes the hotel-to-port transfers from the total price.
Where to stay in Fira, Santorini
Book the accommodations in Fira to enjoy breathtaking views of the volcano, caldera, sunrises, and sunsets, immersing yourself in the heart of island life. It’s worth noting that prices on the west are notably higher compared to the more tranquil eastern shore. However, the unique and unforgettable experience you’ll gain from this location is truly a lifetime memory.
When selecting a hotel in Fira and other villages along the caldera side, it’s essential to check what exactly the view of your room will have. If the description does not specify a view of the volcano and caldera, the room probably overlooks the sea on the opposite side of the island, a garden, or a patio. This option is ideal for those who wish to stay in the center while maintaining a more budget-friendly accommodation choice.
Firostefani is a small charming village, essentially an extension of Fira, blending into its neighbor. What makes it particularly appealing is the relative absence of crowds compared to bustling Fira, allowing you to capture stunning photos without worrying about other people in your shots. You’ll still enjoy the same awe-inspiring views of the caldera, iconic white houses, churches boasting blue domes, and picturesque cliffside walking paths. Firostefani also boasts a selection of luxurious hotels, and villas, as well as wonderful restaurants and cafes.
Where to stay in Firostefani, Santorini
Dana Villas holds a special place as one of the most renowned hotels in Santorini, having welcomed guests since 1986. A full renovation took place between 2019 and 2020. Widely favored by newlyweds and as a venue for wedding ceremonies. Reservation in advance is highly recommended, and please note that the hotel does not accommodate children under 16.
Other worthy hotel options in Firostefani:
Imerovigli is located near Fira and Firostefani on the west side of the island and is known for its stunning views of the caldera and the Aegean Sea. Popular activities in Imerovigli include exploring the narrow streets and alleys of the village, visiting local shops and restaurants, and enjoying the stunning sunsets over the caldera.
One of the most popular attractions in Imerovigli is Skaros Rock, a massive rock formation that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can hike to the top of the rock for a panoramic view of the sea and nearby villages. In addition to Skaros Rock, Imerovigli is also home to some beautiful churches and chapels, including the church of Panagia Malteza and the chapel of Profitis Ilias. These religious sites offer a glimpse into the history and culture of the island.
Where to stay in Imerovigli, Santorini
Imerovigli has many wonderful hotels overlooking the caldera, here are some of them:
- Gold Suites — Small Luxury Hotels of the World
- Katikies Chromata Santorini — The Leading Hotels of the World
- Above Blue Suites
- Aqua Luxury Suites
Oia is the most picturesque village in Santorini with a unique atmosphere. Located in the northwestern part of the island, it rises 200 meters above sea level. Here you will find white-washed houses and churches with blue roofs, winding marble streets, and windmills. Walking through its streets, you get the impression that you are in a fairy tale movie.
Oia attracts those who want to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, especially impressive from the ruins of Castro. This place attracts a huge number of visitors every day, ready to enjoy the splendor of the sunset.
Where to stay in Oia, Santorini
Oia is home to the most expensive and luxurious hotels with breathtaking views of the caldera, such as:
- Canaves Oia Suites, Small Luxury Hotels of the World
- Santorini Secret Suites & Spa, Small Luxury Hotels of the World
- Andronis Luxury Suites
- Mystique, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Santorini
Several other chic new hotels are located near Oia, offering great sea and sunset views, but not overlooking the Caldera:
- Canaves Epitome, Small Luxury Hotels of the World
- Andronis Arcadia Hotel
- Santo Pure Oia Suites & Villas
Monastery of Profitis Ilias, Santorini
The Monastery of Prophet Elias is located at the highest point of Santorini, 565 meters above sea level. The spacious courtyard of the monastery offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the island and the sea. Built in the early 18th century, the monastery is one of the oldest buildings in Santorini and is a significant historical and cultural monument. The monastery has a valuable collection including relics of saints, various relics, ancient and rare manuscripts and unique Byzantine icons. The monastery has also its own vineyards for the production of unique wines.
Kamari is the most popular resort of Santorini, located 8 km from the capital of the island, Fira. Famous for its stunning 2 km long black pebble beach, the village boasts a vibrant promenade that adds to the lively ambiance from morning until night, creating a unique atmosphere of joy.
The well-organized beach stretches along its entire length, with beach bars and cafes equipped with comfortable sun loungers, umbrellas, changing cabins, and showers. Kamari’s beach and sea are very clean and are awarded the prestigious Blue Flag every year. It’s worth noting that the water is deep, with a stone slab at the entrance to the sea. However, if you go to the right side of the beach, closer to Mount Mesavuno, the shoreline is more comfortable. The left side houses the water sports center, offering enthusiasts a range of water activities to partake in.
The beachfront is lined with many cafes and bars offering refreshing drinks and seaside lunches. As the sun sets, Kamari’s vibrancy escalates. A stroll along the illuminated promenade becomes enchanting, and dinner at one of the many restaurants becomes a gastronomic delight, accompanied by moonlight and the soothing sound of the waves.
Where to stay in Kamari, Santorini
Hotels of all categories in Kamari, ensuring comfort and coziness. Along the first line of the promenade, you’ll mainly find 2-3* hotels and apartments.
- Radisson Blu Zaffron Resort, 5* — has a private beach 200 meters from the hotel
- Cavo Bianco Boutique Hotel & Spa, 5*
- Hermes Hotel, 4*
- Aegean Plaza, 4*
- Dioskouri Art Villas, 3*
- Sunshine, 3* — beachfront hotel
- Poseidon Beach Hotel, 2* — beachfront hotel
Rental villas and apartments on Santorini Island
Santorini Island is a unique destination for the summer holidays, offering plenty of opportunities. We offer a large selection of luxury villas, cozy holiday houses, and apartments there.
Book a Villa for holidays in Santorini in 2024 right now. Remember that booking in advance allows you to choose a property according to your specific requirements, such as a beachfront, or private pool. Also, you can find early booking deals and discounts which could bring the price of your holiday down.
Book a hotel to stay on Santorini Island
Looking for a hotel to stay in on Santorini Island? Check the best options at great rates and choose the hotel that suits you.Booking.com
How to get to Santorini Island
Travelling to Santorini Island by plane
The airport of Santorini serves international charter flights and local flights. So, most likely, it will be more convenient for you to fly to Athens International Airport and then fly to Santorini Island or take a ferry.
We suggest you use JETRADAR which is one of the largest online search engines for flights all over the world. This service helps to compare airfares from hundreds of airlines and dozens of travel agencies and systems and book the cheapest tickets available.
Travelling to Santorini Island by ferry
Ferries to Santorini leave from the main port of Athens, Piraeus. You can check the ferryboat schedule and buy your tickets here
Travelling to Santorini Island by private helicopter
Once you arrive in Athens we can pick you up directly from the arrival gate and take you to the helipad. This way you can reach Santorini in the fastest possible way and have more time to enjoy your vacation. Especially helicopters have the ability to fly in high wind conditions, and even in cases where transfer by sea would be impossible. Also, we can take you to destinations that have no airports and where ferryboats have infrequent itineraries. Flight from Athens to Santorini Island by helicopter has a duration of 1-1.10 hours and the price starts from € 4800.
Transfer from Santorini airport or Santorini port
Arriving in another country, it is important to see a person, who is waiting especially for you upon arrival at the airport. It gives you confidence that you will reach your destination, avoiding all troubles, long waits in the taxi queue, and possible overcharges. Our prices include all fares, VAT, and any lawful charge; therefore, you know that what you pay is the final price for your transfer. Comfort and safety will be provided, which is especially important if you are traveling with children. That’s why we offer transfer services with professional drivers and a modern car fleet. All cars and minivans are equipped with air conditioning and drinking water.
Santorini Car Rental
During your holidays on Santorini Island, you can rent a car from the airport or port, or from your villa or hotel. To find the perfect car for your trip, we recommend checking DISCOVER CARS. It is a leader in online car rental reservations. It compares car rental deals from many companies so that you can choose which is best for your trip. Many other websites hide fees and extra costs from you. Discover Cars includes all mandatory fees, taxes, and extras in the quoted price so there won’t be any surprises when you arrive at the rental desk.
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