The Ultimate Guide to Where to Stay in Santorini
Looking for somewhere to stay in Santorini? Choose from our selection of white-washed villas in the island's prettiest places
Santorini is an iconic place to visit on vacation. With a reputation for being the most beautiful island in Greece (quite an achievement when there are 6,000 to choose from), your stay here will be filled with multicoloured beaches, tumbling white and blue rooftops of the calderas, wonderful food and wine, and of course, the blazingly famous sunsets. With all of this on offer, you just have to make the delicious choice of whereabouts on the island to stay, and that's where we come in. Here at Plum Guide, we go above and beyond to ensure quality every single time, so you can always be sure that your accommodation will be top notch - all that’s left to do is choose the neighbourhood and start to enjoy yourself. Here’s our pick of where to stay in Santorini.
- Pyrgos Kallistis
Fira is Santorini’s bustling capital, and the largest town on the island. Perched on the caldera cliff, it has a truly memorable view of the volcanic crater which makes up the bay of Santorini. With the highest number of restaurants, shops, bars and places to stay, it’s the spot for you if you want to be right at the centre of the action. It’s a very walkable town (as long as you don’t mind climbing a lot of steps - you can skip the gym this week, we give you permission), and around seemingly every single corner is a different photo opportunity. The streets are a maze of whitewashed walls, blue domed churches, and the gorgeous scenery Greece is famous for. This is one place where forgetting your camera is an event punishable by not being allowed to get an ice cream after dinner. Fira has excellent transport links, with buses heading all over Santorini from here. If you’re after peace and quiet, however, it might not be the spot for you as it can get quite busy with tourists, especially during high season.
Oia is where to stay in Santorini if you’re visiting this famous Greek island with your other half. The town is located on the northernmost clifftops, and is a quiet, peaceful place - tailor made for your romantic getaway. The beautiful streets tumble down the side of the cliffs to the sea, and in the late afternoon, it feels as though the entire town holds its breath to watch the sunset (you might want to stay lounging on your private terrace at your luxury Plum Guide home for this, - the streets of Oia become packed with tourists armed with cameras at this time of day). The restaurants here are second to none, but Oia doesn’t have many bars - so if you’re hoping to stay out late and party, this isn’t the place for you. However, the large number of cute shops and boutiques more than make up for that.
If it feels as though your frustrating office job has invaded every corner of your brain, your family has barely seen you in weeks, and your sole aim of going on holiday is to finally finish a book without getting interrupted, you need to stay somewhere in Greece with the potential for serious relaxation. Welcome to Imerovigli, the quietest town on the island, and a strong contender on the list of where to stay in Santorini. Imerovigli takes the crown of Santorini’s best sunset, mostly because the view from the high clifftops here is unimpeded by any neighbouring islands. When you gaze out over the ocean, it’s just you and the deep blue sea - you couldn’t find a better spot for some meditative reflection. This town is around a 30 minute walk from Fira, so you’re still close enough to the buzzing scene of the capital to pop there for dinner. However, Imerovigli is relatively small and has no bars or late-night venues. Peace and quiet really is the name of the game here.
Located reasonably centrally on the island, Pyrgos Kallistis is right at home on this list of Santorini’s finest places. The charming village is not a place where you’ll find swathes of people (either residents or tourists), but that just means there’s more views for you. Pyrgos is actually the former capital of Santorini, and is the island’s largest preserved village, so there’s plenty of heritage to get stuck into. The quieter, more peaceful lifestyle in this region will make for a much more relaxed feel to your trip, avoiding the hustle and bustle of the island’s more popular tourist hotspots.
Enjoy the views in every direction, and marvel at the unforgettable sights out to sea. Take some time to visit a local winery, or make your way up to the renowned Castelli of Pyrgos for an eye-opening experience. Wander the narrow streets and feel like a local as you explore the main square without any sign of loud, over-excited tourists (we know you are perfectly reserved and respectful, of course). There are galleries, restaurants, and shops to indulge in, so you won't be left wanting in this part of Santorini. Everything you need, remarkable views, and a good few kilometres between you and the majority of the island’s tourists? Sign us up.
Kamari is slightly more popular for tourists than Pyrgos, so expect a few more heads, but that doesn’t take anything away from its charm and appeal. Situated at the foot of Mesa Vouno mountain, this pleasant seaside village sits just 8 kilometres away from Santorini’s capital, Fira. With views to die for (you are in Santorini remember, so that won’t come as a surprise), and an abundance of things to do, staying here will have you within reach of everything you could dream of needing for a holiday to the famous Greek isle.
Stay within walking distance of the famous Kamari Beach, with its distinctive black sand (as a result of Santorini Volcano), and watch the kids embrace the serenity of this excellent, family-friendly area. This is definitely one of the best places to stay with kids, especially if this is your first time visiting the island as a family. With so many incredible things to do, a wide array of brilliant restaurants, and views to take your breath away, it’s little wonder that Kamari is such a popular destination. And on top of all that, the airport is a stone’s throw away, so you don’t have to worry about any long, hard travel once you’ve landed.
Another part of the island with an eye-catching black sand beach, Perissa shares numerous similarities with Kamari - and yes, they’re all great. The climate, the views, the activities, and the atmosphere (we could go on) are all fantastic reasons to stay in this south-eastern coastal village, not to mention the nightlife. Perissa has a number of bars that stay open late and provide live music for you and your loved one(s) to enjoy, as well as an array of high-quality restaurants to settle into for a special evening meal. The closer you stay to the restaurant, the more wine you can justify, so if that’s not a reason to stay in Perissa, we don’t know what is.
An evening stroll along the serene beach in this corner of Santorini will have you forgetting every ounce of stress you’ve ever encountered, and home responsibilities will be nothing but a distant memory. Similarly to Pyrgos, Perissa isn’t a region where countless tourists will flock, so you should never have to worry about extreme crowds or loud streets - you’re guaranteed to get a good night’s sleep, especially in one of our luxury homes. You can hike around the area capturing breathtaking shots of the views and surroundings, and pop into the large supermarket for all your necessities. It’s like a home away from home - without all the stress.
Rounding off this expert guide, we have the largest village in the entirety of Santorini. That’s some real heritage right there, and we haven’t even elaborated on the area - that’s definitely a good sign. And it is a sign of things to come, because Emporio is more than worthy of its spot on this prestigious list. In contrast to the previous few villages, Emporio is an inland area (don’t worry, there are beaches nearby), and doesn’t necessarily have the reputation of the Firas and Oias of this world. But that’s not a problem, because the views in Emporio are just as impressive, even if they aren’t what you may expect. Instead, cast your eyes upon the restored, 15th-century Venetian castle, as well as the ruined tower of Nimborio.
The village also sits at the base of the Profit Ilias Mountain, so you can still get your fill of breathtaking natural scenes. Climb up to the village’s windmills to gain an excellent vantage point over the island, and marvel at the views out to sea, despite being a good 3 kilometres inland. This is a great place to stay for those of you seeking more of an adventurous holiday than a lazy beach trip, and is (unsurprisingly) a brilliant spot for photos. The sunset at Oia may be world-renowned, but the sight isn’t one to miss from Emporio either, so get out onto the hills to capture the picturesque moment. Or even get up early to catch the sunrise - just one more reason to stay in the Emporio. Less beach, more adventure - don’t forget your energy.