I had the absolute pleasure of visiting one of my bucket list holiday destinations this summer. Santorini is just as beautiful as the pictures, and more! It is the most breath-taking and special place I have ever been, and I am so excited for you to experience it. One of the first questions you are posed with when planning a trip is ‘where to stay?’. In many cases location can massively impact your experience in a new place. I want to make sure you get it right and have as amazing a time as we did. I have made a little guide on where to stay in Santorini that will hopefully help you make the decision.
Santorini is like one big hill, the west side being the top, and the east side being the bottom. While both sides have views of the sea, the higher up the hill you get (west) the better views you will have. For that reason, I would recommend staying in one of the towns on the west side of Santorini, which is the cliff side. These towns consist of Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia. All of these locations will give you that amazing Santorini view you see in pictures. The only issue is, the West side has very little access to the sea, so I cannot stress enough the importance of trying to get accommodation with a pool as it gets so hot. We did a day trip to the beach which we thought was plenty. So, now that you have decided you are staying in one of these towns, which one do you choose?
Unusually pronounced (Ee-ya), Oia is known for it’s beautiful sunsets, and crowded streets. Oia is the most northerly part of the island and some argue it is the most picturesque village in Santorini, as it is filled with the infamous blue roofed churches. I am not sure I agree, but I digress. Oia’s northernly location means it is a bit out of the way and may limit exploring opportunities if you are only staying for a short time. Expect nothing short of a human tsunami engulfing the town on the lead up to the sunset every night. One of the highlights of Oia for me was Amoudi Bay. Amoudi Bay it is a (kind of) quiet, little cove where you can swim, and cliff jump into the crystal clear waters. If you want to visit this gem, be prepared for the 200 cobbled steps you’ll have to ascend and descend.
Fira is the capital of the island, and is located on the west side, directly opposite the volcano and the two volcanic islands, Palaia Kammeni and New Kammeni. Wander through it’s narrow, but lively, cobbled alley ways filled with small boutiques, restaurants, and bars. As the capital, it is one of the busier towns. With cruise ships docking during the day, I would recommend leaving your exploring until the evening.
While it is often considered a separate town, Firostefani is more of an extension of Fira. Offering the same spectacular views, Firostefani has less going on than Fira, with fewer restaurants and shops.
Imerovigli is then just north of Firostefani, and extends up towards Oia. It is has a concentrated centre with some bars, cafés, and restaurants, but it’s northernly location allows for accommodation to be more spread out, and from my experience more secluded and relaxing. While it is said that the sun set from Oia is the best, we both agreed that the sunset from parts of Imerovigli were much nicer and less packed. The Imerovigli headland means that many parts of Firostefani and Fira are blocked from actually seeing the sun go down while we were there. So, grab a drink in an Imerovigli bar, sit back and relax, and enjoy a less packed sunset experience to one you may find in Oia.
As you can probably tell, we stayed in Imerovigli and absolutely loved it, so we may be biased. Imerovigli gave us the best of both worlds. It allowed for a more peaceful stay with the option to make the 15-30 minute (depending on where you are staying) cliff walk into central Fira.
We did two nights in a really nice, very expensive hotel (which we were lucky enough to get a really good deal on), and three nights in a less expensive apartment which was also lovely, both based in Imerovigli. I will include some pictures of the accommodation and a short breakdown of the tow, but if you are interested in hearing more about them just leave me a comment below.
Very glam, I mean I’ll be doing well to ever get to stay somewhere as beautiful again. The staff are more than helpful in recommending restaurants and tours and will happily organise them for you. The rooms are extremely spacious and luxurious. There is a restaurant by the pool which has amazing views of the sunset at night, better than the one we saw in Oia.
While these apartments were more inland and had views down the hill to the east of the island, they are not to be overlooked. The apartments are kitted out with a full kitchen, little living room area with a tv, spacious pool area with an infinity pool. The Airbnb host was so helpful and we were provided with fresh towels everyday.
After exploring the a lot of the island we got a snapshot of each area and what it might be like to stay in the different areas. It took us a lot of research to decide where to stay so hopefully this will make your decision a little easier. It is a beautiful island that I plan on returning to many times. If you have ever been I would love to hear about it in the comments below, do you have any recommendations for the readers/my return?
The Girl on the Go xx
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