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Santorini Hotels

Where to Stay in Santorini

Volcano View Villas hotel Santorini This is the big question for many people. Should we stay at the beach and visit the towns of Thira and Oia and the fantastic views of the volcano, or should we stay on the volcano and make the trek to the beach by bus, taxi, rental car or motor-bike? First of all let me say that almost everyone wants to stay in Thira and Oia. They have seen the pictures and imagine waking each day to a glorious view. But if you have children this is not practical. Who wants to stay somewhere that you are on edge all the time because you imagine your kids falling off a 1000 foot cliff? Not me. Plus kids usually want to go to the beach and getting them there on a daily basis can be a strain. But if you are staying at the beach what if you want to make the nightly visits to Thira? Another hassle. So it is a matter of making the choice of whether you want to be near the beach and rely on public transportation or a rental car or bike to see the sunsets and experience the nightlife or do you want to stay in the cliff side towns and take the trek to the beach.

Volcano View Villas Hotel, Fira, SantoriniMany people e-mail me in disbelief at the cost of some of the caldera view hotels on Santorini, ready to cancel their trips because they think the island is unaffordable. It's nonsense. The most popular hotels on Santorini, the ones most highly rated on Tripadvisor, the ones that people feel they have to stay at, are no better than less expensive hotels which don't have the same presence on Tripadvisor. The hotels popularity on that site drive up the rates and if you want to pay a thousand euros or more for the same view that someone else is paying two hundred euros for than be my guest. As long as you know the price does not reflect the quality of the hotel but its popularity on Tripadvisor. For my money the Volcano View Villas Hotel offers an incredible view of the caldera, very nice rooms and excellent service, a couple swimming pools, a bar and restaurant and because it is outside of Thira and not in the middle of all the hubbub it offers something else. Peace. Some might say they would rather be in town, and I understand. But on our first night we took a taxi to Imerovigli and it cost all of 7 euros. We could have taken the free hotel shuttle that goes to Fira at ten o’clock or walked on the sidewalk that goes there. But if you can't afford a taxi then why are you even thinking about caldera view. Of course we decided to rent a car the next day because if you really want to see the island you need one, so the location of the hotel did not matter, in fact it was better because we did not have to worry about parking.

Volcano View Villas, SantoriniSo from my experience I would say that the Volcano View Villas Hotel is the place to stay if you want caldera view but don't want to go broke paying for it. I think you will be pretty impressed with the hotel, maybe stunned would be a better word. When we sent my daughter there a day ahead of us her SMS upon arrival was "OMG!" I think that was one of the more precise one-word reviews I have ever read because that is what I said when I arrived as well.  Many of the guests sat on their balconies with a bottle of wine, watched the sunset, and then had a quiet dinner at the hotel restaurant. I understand. If you are looking at something profoundly beautiful do you want to be surrounded by a bunch of tourists talking about their golf game or what they bought today? I had the foresight to bring my binoculars and every day I was able to watch the arrival of several giant cruise ships which anchored below and ferried passengers to the shore. Plus the ferry port is below as well and I could watch the boats sail in and out at all hours of the day and night. For me this is entertainment.

So if you have money to burn go stay at Katikies or Andronis Luxury Suites. But I would stay at the Hotel Volcano View Villas and take the money I saved and ship home crates of Santorini wine to my friends. By the way all the above photos were taken from my balcony.

If you are not convinced and the money is just dead weight in your pocket and you want to spend it then I suggest the Volcano View VIP Villas are five stylish, individually designed luxury villas, each with its private swimming pool and a balcony with a breath-taking view of the caldera.

Best of the Rest

Oia, Santorini, GreeceFor the price it would be tough to beat the Villa Kalimera which is highly praised by their guests and by Dolphin Hellas Travel. But there is no caldera view. You have to cross the street to see it. Plus the archaeological site of Akrotiri shows no sign of re-opening anytime soon. The Hotel Ether in Oia has what comes close to caldera view rooms for 115 euro and sometimes cheaper when there is a special. I say they come close because they don't face the center of the Volcano but are off to the side, but the view is still spectacular. Also the Delfini Rooms in Oia comes highly recommended. Keep in mind that if you want caldera view you will probably have to climb some steps somewhere along the way. If you don't like steps then the small Ellinon Thea Hotel has an entrance at street level and the rooms and balconies face the caldera with a splendid view. No steps to climb.

Dreams Luxury Suites, SantoriniIf you want to stay on the beach because you have kids, or you like beaches, the Boathouse Hotel comes highly recommended. It is a family run economy hotel with a nice pool, air-conditioned rooms, a popular seafood restaurant, the Almira and just a few steps from the black sand of Kamari Beach. Most newlyweds and couples stay in Thira or Oia as well as Firostefani and Imerovigli which are all large towns on the rim of the volcano where you can find hotels suspended in space that even have swimming pools. Hotels as well as food and beverages are a little (or a lot) more expensive in Oia and Thira, particularly if you want to be in a room overlooking the caldera. Like most places in Greece with a little effort and some assistance you can find good deals at hotels that are not on prime real-estate or even specials at the well known hotels. The newly restored cave villas, the Alexander Hotel is worth looking into if you are looking for 5-star luxury in a very romantic setting. If you are looking for something really special and have money to spend on your honeymoon or weekend escape with a beautiful movie star check out the Dreams Luxury Suites on the cliffs of Imerovigli(photo).

Volcano View Villas Hotel, SantoriniThere are people who come to the port to rent rooms on the island. The days of the little old ladies advertising a room in their house are over. They have been replaced by professionals whose job it is to get you to a hotel and they are paid by the head. They are called kamakis and the word means harpoon. You can find cheap rooms and if you are a backpacker this is a hit or miss situation because if the room is lousy you can leave and wander around and find something else or even go to Perissa Campsite. Many hotels are outside of town or some distance from the beach and you have to walk on roads that were not meant to be shared by automobiles and pedestrians. If you are a family, honeymooners or a little older you can find accommodations to suit your budget by working with a reliable Greek travel agency. In the end when you factor in things like ferry schedules and the information you can get from the agencies you come out way ahead. A knowledgeable travel agent will know the best place for you to stay out of the hundreds of hotels on Santorini. They also receive better rates with hotels they book in advance (called committment) and can offer bargain prices at certain times since they would rather put you in the room they have already paid for and break even then have it empty and lose money.

More Santorini Hotel Information

You can find these hotels as well as the agencies that book them at www.hotelsofgreece.com/cyclades or to search for hotels by catagory, price, location and book without using a travel agency see Booking.com's Santorini Hotels Search

Be sure to ask your travel agent or the hotel about transfers from the port ot airport. Santorini is not the kind of place you can just show up and easily find your hotel like smaller Greek islands.

Return to Matt's Santorini Index

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