Famous for its windmills, baby-blue rooftops and stunning sunsets, Santorini boasts a dry climate and almost year-round sunshine.
The crescent-shaped Mediterranean island, 120 miles to the southeast of Greece, is the result of one of history's biggest volcanic explosions, 3,600 years ago. This eruption carved a bowl-like caldera and lagoon in the west of the island, around 30 miles square, which is surrounded on three sides by 980ft multicoloured cliffs.
Santorini is a popular tourist destination for its breathtaking volcano views, landscapes and architecture, so there is a wide range of accommodation to suit all.
Its capital, Fira, sits on a cliff and looks down on the lagoon. On the northern-westerly tip of the island, Oia village is a popular place to see the sunset, although it can be enjoyed from nearly anywhere on the caldera's edge.
On a budget
There are a number of budget options available on Santorini, and several in Perissa in the southeast.
Holiday Beach Resort, 150 metres from the black sand of Perivolos beach, one of the most famous in Santorini, and Hotel Eleftheria, 50 metres from the sea at Perivolos, rate highly for value for money. Both boast a swimming pool and pool bar.
There is also Amelie Hotel, with a pool where guests can enjoy impressive views of the Perissa mountains, a poolside cocktail bar and a private beach spot with sun loungers and umbrellas.
In Fira, Scirocco Apartments, on six levels landscaped into the cliffs provides panoramic views, a breakfast terrace and pool. Antonia Hotel Santorini, a small family-property, offers a comfortable stay in a quiet area and free transfers to and from the port or airport. Or there's Hotel Nemesis, with double bedrooms and apartments with air conditioning, satellite TV and fully-equipped kitchens, is 150 metres from the town centre.
In Oia, try Old Oia Houses, a short walk from the main pedestrian street. All the houses have terraces overlooking the caldera, sleep two to four, and have well-equipped kitchens, air conditioning and satellite TV.
There are many self-catering villas available in Santorini, most with a bit of character.
Staying in Oia, there is the Oia Waves villa, a traditional cave house on the cliff with breathtaking 180 degree views of the caldera. The villa has two apartments each with a fully-equipped kitchen, bedroom and veranda as well as a small studio with a bedroom and veranda.
The Santorini Paradise cave house, also in Oia, was built around 1,000 years ago and has been carefully decorated by its Greek sculptor and painter owner. On the cliff top with panoramic views, the house has a master bedroom and living and dining room with fully-equipped kitchen and mosaic tiles in the bathroom.
Overlooking Megalochori village on the south-westerly side of Santorini is the Mansion Kyani. This traditional property is a 50-metre walk to the village square from where a 10-minute stroll takes you to the caldera path. The mansion boasts an infinity pool and a lounge area made of volcanic rock.
In the same village is Mansion Sophia. Built around the mid-19th century, it has featured in many magazines and is a short walk from the village square. It has a private courtyard, garden and Moroccan-style swimming pool.
Kamari village is on the opposite, western side of the island, where you'll find Louis Studios, offering a range of self-catering accommodation. It is 80 metres from the quiet black sand beach of Agia Paraskevi and a five-minute drive to the town centre, and has a swimming pool and Jacuzzi.
In Fira, Athena Luxury villa has a pool and children's pool, a large living area, kitchen, two bedrooms with double beds, private terraces and a patio with sea views, and large verandas.
Santorini has fewer all-inclusive options.
The Mediterranean Royal is an all-inclusive hotel in Kamari, on 10 acres of land with gardens, terraces and a private beach 200 metres away. Mediterranean Beach is its sister hotel, which is all-inclusive and in Kamari, too. It provides seaside suites, bungalows, one-, two-, and three-bed rooms and a hotel sauna.
On the beach
There are numerous accommodation options on Santorini's beaches.
In Perissa, there's Smaragdi Hotel, near Perivolos Beach, with a large pool, pool bar and Jacuzzi; and Stelios Place, all of whose rooms have balconies, boasts a pool, terrace and gardens, a minute's walk from the beach.
The top-rated Andronis Boutique Hotel is in Oia, 100 metres from the sea with volcano views. It has 14 suites, each with private porch and Jacuzzi, flat-screen TV, mini-bar and free wifi.
Options in Kamari include Seaside Beach Hotel, 10 metres from the sea, with pool, Jacuzzi and 27 rooms with air conditioning, satellite TV and mini-bar. Or you could stay at the waterfront Boathouse Hotel, boasting rooms with air conditioning and balconies, and a pool, pool bar and restaurant.
La Mer Deluxe Hotel also in Kamari offers air conditioning throughout, a restaurant and American breakfast buffet, gym, lounge bar, roof garden, two pools, a spa and a children's pool. It's just 50 metres from arguably the most cosmopolitan beach on Santorini.
There are a few luxury hotels around if you've got cash to splash.
There's Astra Suites, on volcanic cliffs in Imerovigli, on Santorini's west coast. This hotel has a cliff-side infinity pool overlooking the Aegean sea, 300 metres beneath. Suite facilities include a fully-equipped kitchenette, mini-bar, satellite TV and CD or DVD player, and guests can expect a complimentary bottle of Santorinian wine.
Afroessa Hotel is also in Imerovigli, on the former site of a winery, built in 1700. It offers ten traditional studios, each with a caldera view, a pool, pool bar and free wifi and towels.
Aria Suites can be found on one of the highest areas of Fira, and boasts six suites and views of the volcano.
In Oia, there is Aris Caves, on the cliff, 100 yards from the village centre. Aris Caves is across four levels, with studios, apartments and a suite, each with kitchenette, air conditioning, an internet connection and its own terrace.
Aspaki Hotel and Oia Castle are two more options in Oia. The former is on the cliffs above the caldera and has volcano views and the latter, just below the castle ruins, provides private villas, swimming pools and balconies.
With a spa
There is a lot of accommodation with spa facilities in Santorini.
Traditional houses called Ikies in Oia offer terraces and Jacuzzis, mattresses made of natural materials and locally-sourced products.
In Fira, Enigma Apartments & Suites has four luxury suites with terraces and Jacuzzis with volcano views. Anastasis Apartments in Imerovigli, has 10 apartments and suites, one villa, an infinity pool with two sundecks, an outdoor relaxation area with custom-made Jacuzzi, and the option of holistic and traditional massages and treatments.
If you want a hotel where your little ones will be entertained, look no further.
Villa Renos in Fira has won awards with Trip Advisor and rates highly for its family-friendliness. All rooms boast balconies facing the volcano, standard-double and double-deluxe rooms have air conditioning, wifi, mini-bar, satellite TV, and gym. The deluxe room has an indoor and outdoor Jacuzzi.
Another Trip Advisor winner is Bellonias Villas, in Kamari, on the black sand beach, and has a pool, pool bar and outdoor Jacuzzi, restaurant, fitness centre, sauna and steam room. Also in Kamari is the Family-run Atalos Villas is 200 metres from the beach, and provides 34 apartments, suites and studios with a pool, snack bar and Jacuzzi as well as free transfers to and from the airport.
Heliotopos Hotel is in Imerovigli, with suites and studio apartments that have one or more private balconies facing the sea and volcano. Over in Oia there's Oia's Sunset, which has a bar, pool, wifi and 15 bungalows, which can accommodate two to four people, each with its own sunlit terrace.
Santorini is a famously romantic island and a popular place for weddings.
Dreams Luxury Suites in Imerovigli rates highly for romance and lives up to its name. Each suite, based on houses built more than 100 years ago, and renovated in a traditional style, has a terrace with pool or Jacuzzi overlooking the caldera. Dreams Luxury Suites also offers honeymoon and romance packages.
If you want a hotel that will help you plan your wedding, choose Grace Santorini Hotel in Imerovigli. It has featured in magazines and boasts honeymoon suites with stunning views, king-size beds, terraces and plunge pools. Or Andronis Luxury Suites in Oia overlooks the caldera and offers 22 award-winning suites, multi-level balconies and a management team that can organise all aspects of a wedding, from food to photography.
Mill Houses Elegant Suites in Firostefani, just north of capital Fira, provides king-size beds, flat-screen satellite TVs and verandas overlooking the Aegean, while offering wedding packages and personalised services. Zorzis Hotel is 250 metres from the black sand beach at Perissa and has a beautiful flower-filled garden and pool with Jacuzzi, before a mountain backdrop.
Boutique & B&Bs
Boutique hotels and B&Bs abound on Santorini.
Alexander's Boutique Hotel of Oia offers fully self-contained cave villas and suites with luxurious five-star amenities. Take a dip in the Jacuzzi, get a massage, and sip on evening cocktails and try wine tasting. The Chromata Hotel in Imerovigli has 22 modern and minimalist sea-view rooms, an infinity pool, poolside cocktail bar, and beauty treatments and massages available.
Blue Dolphins Traditional Apartments in Firostefani is a 10-minute walk to Fira village. All its standard double rooms have sea views and its suites have private balconies and views of the volcano. Guests can enjoy a daily maid service and buffet breakfasts, homemade with local products.
Top-rated B&Bs include Aenaon Villas in Imerovigil which offers seven traditional villas and an infinity pool; Voreina Gallery Suites, in Pyrgos, provides nine luxury suites, each with its own character and private veranda, and a suite for visitors with limited or restricted mobility; and Ifestio Villas, has three villas, one based on a 250-year-old cave house, one is a honeymoon villa, and one that is larger and offers three double bedrooms.
Near the airport
There are several hotels within one-and-a-half miles of Santorini Airport, and the following all run a shuttle service.
In Monolithos, try Memories Hotel, opposite the black sand beach, with a 24-hour bar and café, pool and free internet access. Or there's Santorini Renaissance, which offers three air-conditioned houses built on the beach, with bathrooms equipped with hydro-massage and balconies with sea views. Scorpios Beach Hotel, a complex of 14 studios, has eight apartments and one maisonette, with pool and snack bar, 20 metres from the beach.
Imperial Med Resort & Spa, on Agia Paraskevi Beach, Kamari, has a pool, pool bar and 47 luxury and deluxe honeymoon suites, with air conditioning and satellite TV. Or there's Markezinis Suites in Mesaria, which is a mansion transformed into a boutique hotel, with restaurant, pool and wine bar, and suites with air conditioning, satellite flat-screen TV and wifi.
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