Where to stay in Santorini for first time: 7 Safe areas

Hi guys, on my website, I already wrote an article about staying in Santorini without a car (I will put the links to it at the end of this article). In today’s article, I will help you to find the best places to stay in Santorini for first-time visitors and tourists.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Santorini for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Santorini and recommend some of the best hotels in Santorini for various budgets.

Before get into the detail of the main topic, let’s look at some facts about Santorini:

Santorini is a popular Greek island located in the southern Aegean Sea, part of the Cyclades archipelago. It is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, unique architecture, and rich history.

Santorini is the result of a volcanic eruption that occurred around thousands years ago. The eruption led to the formation of a caldera, which is now a large, crescent-shaped lagoon surrounded by steep cliffs.

The island is known for its distinctive architecture, characterized by white-washed buildings with blue-domed churches and colorful accents. These buildings create a picturesque and iconic landscape, making Santorini a popular destination for tourists and photographers.

It is famous for its breathtaking sunsets, and many visitors gather in towns like Oia to watch the sun dip below the horizon. The combination of the sun, sea, and unique landscape creates a mesmerizing view.

There are a variety of beaches, ranging from red, black, and white sand beaches to pebble beaches. Some well-known beaches include Kamari, Perissa, and Red Beach. 

You can explore the villages, go hiking along its scenic trails, take boat trips to the volcanic islands in the caldera, or indulge in water sports and snorkeling.

The island is home to ancient ruins and archaeological sites. Akrotiri, often referred to as the Minoan Pompeii, is a well-preserved ancient city buried by the volcanic eruption. It offers insights into the civilization of the time.

The island’s volcanic soil and unique grape varieties contribute to its distinctive wines. You can explore wineries and taste the wines produced there.

Santorini is generally safe for tourists with low crime rates, and friendly locals. But, like any tourist destination, it’s essential to stay cautious and take basic precautions, such as safeguarding your belongings and being mindful of your surroundings. 

Also, Be cautious when using transportation on the island, such as renting vehicles or riding scooters. Make sure you have the necessary licenses and follow local traffic rules.

While the risk of natural disasters, such as volcanic activity, exists, local authorities monitor the situation closely and have evacuation plans in place. 

Where to stay in Santorini for the first time?

The best and safest areas to stay in Santorini for first-timers and tourists are Fira, Oia, Firostefani, Imerovigli, Perissa, Kamari, and Akrotiri. It’s a good idea to book your accommodation well in advance to have the best deals, especially during the peak tourist season.

Fira is the capital of Santorini and a popular choice for many travelers. It offers a variety of accommodations, restaurants, and shops. It has a vibrant atmosphere, and is centrally located, making it a good base to explore the island. It’s also known for its amazing views of the caldera.

Oia is one of the most iconic and picturesque villages in Santorini. It’s famous for its stunning sunsets and cliffside white-washed buildings. Oia can be more expensive than other areas, but it’s a top choice for honeymooners and couples seeking a romantic and idyllic setting.

Firostefani is located just a short walk from Fira and offers a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere. It also has excellent caldera views and a range of accommodations, making it a great base for travelers who want to be close to the action but prefer a more peaceful atmosphere.

Imerovigli is another scenic village situated high on the caldera cliffs. It’s often considered one of the quieter and more luxurious options on the island. This area offers fantastic sunset views and is ideal for couples and honeymooners.

Perissa and Kamari are coastal villages on the southeast side of the island. They are known for their black sand beaches and are more budget-friendly options compared to the caldera-side towns. If you prefer beach activities and water sports, these areas are great choices.

Akrotiri is located on the southwestern part of the island and is known for its historical significance, including the Minoan ruins of Akrotiri. It offers a more relaxed atmosphere and is a good choice for those interested in history and a quieter environment.

During my trip to Santorini, I stayed in both Fira and Oia. I had a 3 day pleasant stay at the San Giorgio in Fira. It is located in the residential area just off the main road, a short walk from the local Mcdonalds, 10 mins walk from the main city bus. My room was lovely, clean, and comfortable.

In Oi, I had 3 wonderful days at the Aspaki by Art Maisons, a 5-star hotel that has magnificent views of the blue domes and the sea. It was a short distance from many restaurants and shoppings. My breakfast was lovely with good choices of food.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Santorini for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Santorini first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Santorini first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Santorini, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Santorini have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Safe areas to stay in Santorini for first-timers and tourists

1. Fira

Fira is one of the most popular areas to stay in Santorini, especially for first-time visitors. It is strategically located in the center of the island and well-connected to other parts of the island by bus, making it an ideal base for exploring Santorini.

The town is well-connected to the port of Athinios, making it convenient for those arriving by ferry. Additionally, Fira has good access to the airport.

Fira offers beautiful views of the caldera, which is a highlight of Santorini. You can enjoy breathtaking sunsets from various points in the town.

Fira has a variety of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. This diversity allows you to find a place that suits your budget and preferences.

Fira has a bustling restaurant and shopping scene. You’ll find plenty of restaurants serving delicious Greek and international cuisine, as well as shops selling local products and souvenirs.

Fira has a lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere, which makes it a great choice if you enjoy a mix of culture, nightlife, and entertainment. You can explore the charming alleys, visit museums, and enjoy the local ambiance.

Keep in mind that Fira can get busy, especially during the peak tourist season. If you prefer a quieter experience, you might consider staying in neighboring villages like Firostefani or Imerovigli, which are within walking distance and offer spectacular views of the caldera.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Fira for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): Astro Palace Hotel & Suites, popular 5-star hotel located within easy walk from the center of Fira, the caldera, and the bus depot where you can take the bus to other parts of Santorini. It has 2 swimming pools, free parking for those who drive, rooms with sea views, and paid airport shuttle services. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Atlantis Hotel, great 4-star hotel located on Mitropoleos st in central Fira, close to the Archaeological Museum. The hotel has beautiful views of the caldera and Aegean Sea. It has  24 hour front desk service, an Outdoor swimming pool, and free parking.
  • Budget ($): Loizos Stylish Residences, 3-star accommodation located on Main Street of Fira, easy access to Caldera volcano and sunset viewpoint in Fira. You can find many cafes, restaurants, art galleries and shops nearby. Also close to a local supermarket, the bus/taxi terminal, banks and museums. It has Fabulous breakfast and clean family rooms.

2. Oia

Oia is a popular and stunning village on the northern tip of Santorini, known for its breathtaking sunsets, charming white-washed buildings, and narrow streets. Oia is a great base for first-timers who want to experience the island’s famous sunsets and enjoy a luxurious and romantic atmosphere.

Oia offers a range of high-end and boutique hotels with incredible views and luxurious amenities. Many of these hotels have private terraces or balconies where you can enjoy the sunset from the comfort of your room.

Oia can get quite crowded during the peak tourist season, especially in the evenings when people gather to watch the sunset. 

Oia is well-connected by local buses and taxis to other parts of the island, including the capital, Fira. If you plan to explore the rest of Santorini, transportation is easily accessible.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Oia for first-time travelers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Aspaki by Art Maisons, 5-star Cycladic-style hotel, that has stunning views of the blue domes, the Aegean Sea and the volcano. It is located 3 mins walk from the main strip of Oia. It has exceptional breakfast, outdoor swimming pool, and paid airport shuttle services.
  • Mid-range ($$): Ducato Di Oia, great 4-star romantic hotel, located on the cliffs of Oia, close to everything. It has breathtaking views of the ocean and the volcano. The hotel has Free parking, limousine airport service, wedding arrangements, and organized excursions.
  • Budget ($): Kaleidoscope Cave Houses, great 3-star accommodation, located in the heart of Oia, within a short walk from Naval Museum of Oia, featuring views of the caldera.

3. Firostefani

Firostefani is a charming village located just a short walk north of the capital town, Fira. It offers a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere, making it a great choice for those seeking a peaceful yet convenient place to stay. 

Firostefani offers stunning caldera views, with many hotels and accommodations perched on the cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea. You can enjoy beautiful sunsets and a serene atmosphere.

Firostefani is just a short walk from Fira. This means you have easy access to Fira’s amenities, restaurants, shops, and nightlife while enjoying a quieter place to return to after your excursions.

Firostefani is a starting point for the scenic hike to Oia, offering breathtaking views along the way. This hike is a popular activity for those staying in the area.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Firostefani for first-time visitors:

  • Mid-range ($$): Belvedere Suites, great 4-star hotel located in a quiet area on a hilltop with views of the Aegean and volcano caldera. It is within easy distance from many shops, museums and nightlife. Convenient location for pick up taxi and public transportation.
  • Mid-range ($$): Kafieris Blue Studios,  4-star self-catering accommodation located in Firostefani, easy access to the capital Fira. Close to numerous restaurants, bars and mini markets.
  • Budget ($): Sunset Hotel, popular 3-star hotel, located right on the coast, offering views of the blue sea. You can enjoy spectacular sunsets from this location.

4. Imerovigli

Imerovigli is a beautiful village located on the caldera cliffs, just a short distance from Fira. It offers a peaceful and romantic atmosphere, making it a fantastic choice for those looking for a serene and picturesque getaway.

Imerovigli boasts some of the most breathtaking caldera views on the island. Many of the hotels and accommodations are built into the cliffs, offering panoramic vistas of the Aegean Sea and the volcanic caldera. The sunset views are particularly stunning.

Imerovigli is known for its peaceful ambiance, making it ideal for couples and travelers seeking a tranquil environment. It’s less crowded compared to Fira and Oia, so you can enjoy a more relaxed stay.

You can access the hiking trail that leads from Imerovigli to Oia, which is a scenic and popular activity for visitors. The path provides stunning views along the way.

Imerovigli offers a range of accommodations, including boutique hotels and luxury resorts, many of which are designed to take full advantage of the stunning caldera views.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Imerovigli for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Aqua Luxury Suites Santorini, 5-star family and couple-friendly hotel that has the beautiful views of the Caldera and Volcano ocean. Rooms are spacious and clean.
  • Mid-range ($$): Langas Villas, 4-star accommodation, situated in the picturesque Imerovigli, away from the crowds, 20-30 mins walk from Fira.
  • Budget ($): Villa Happening, 3-star traditional lodging located in the central square of Imerovigli,  known as the Balcony of Santorini, just a few steps from Caldera. You’ll be close to various restaurants, café and mini markets. There is free parking, which is a bonus if you rent a car.

5. Perissa

Perissa is a popular beach town located on the southeastern coast of Santorini. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option and want to enjoy the island’s beautiful beaches, Perissa is a good choice. 

Perissa is known for its stunning black sand beach, which is unique to Santorini. The beach is well-organized with sunbeds, umbrellas, and water sports activities. It’s a great place to relax and swim.

In addition to swimming, you can also participate in watersports such as jet-skiing, paddleboarding, and snorkeling.

Perissa offers a range of accommodations, including budget-friendly options like hostels and mid-range hotels. It’s a more affordable alternative compared to the caldera side.

Perissa has a vibrant nightlife scene with beachfront bars and clubs. It’s a great place to enjoy music and cocktails by the sea in the evenings.

You can visit the ancient ruins of Thera, an archaeological site with remnants of Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine civilizations. It’s located on the nearby Mesa Vouno mountain and offers historical insights and scenic views.

Perissa has a more laid-back and less touristy atmosphere compared to some of the caldera towns, allowing you to experience a bit more of the local culture.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Perissa for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): Aqua Blue Beach Hotel, 5-star beachfront hotel with private beach with sunbeds and umbrellas, located right on Perissa Beach. It has 3 pools including a children’s pool.
  • Mid-range ($$): Exi Sea Side Suites, 4-star seafront accommodation located just a few steps from Perissa Beach, featuring free parking, and family rooms.
  • Budget ($): Helios Beach Hotel, popular 3-star hotel, Perissa, offering Superb breakfast and free parking for guests with a car. The rooms are big, comfortable big beds, air-conditioning, fridge and a coffee espresso with free cafe.

6. Kamari

Kamari is beautiful beach town on the southeastern coast of Santorini, situated near Perissa. It shares some similarities with Perissa but also has its own unique charm.

Like Perissa, Kamari is famous for its black sand beach, which is well-organized with sunbeds, umbrellas, and a variety of beachfront bars and restaurants. It’s a great spot for swimming and sunbathing.

Kamari offers a range of accommodations, including hotels, guesthouses, and apartments. It caters to different budgets, making it a suitable choice for various travelers.

Kamari is located relatively close to Santorini’s airport, which can be convenient for travelers.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Kamari for first-timers:


7. Akrotiri

Akrotiri is a picturesque village located in the southern part of Santorini, known for its historical significance and tranquility. It is an excellent choice for travelers who appreciate history, a peaceful environment, and a more secluded vacation. 

Akrotiri is home to the Akrotiri Archaeological Site, and visiting this well-preserved archaeological site is a must for history enthusiasts.

Akrotiri is close to the famous Red Beach, which is named for its distinctive red volcanic sand and cliffs. It’s a unique and beautiful spot for sunbathing and swimming.

You can find various accommodations in Akrotiri, including boutique hotels and guesthouses. Many of them offer excellent views and a relaxed atmosphere.

The Akrotiri Lighthouse is nearby and offers a fantastic spot to watch the sunset with fewer crowds. It’s an alternative to the crowded sunset views in Oia.

Best places to stay in Akrotiri for tourists:


In conclusion, Fira, Oia, Firostefani, Imerovigli, Perissa, Kamari, and Akrotiri are the best areas to stay in Santorini for first-timers and tourists. They are safe and popular towns on the island that provide plenty of amenities, accommodations, and activities for visitors.

If you’re looking for iconic sunsets and a lively atmosphere, Oia or Fira may be your top choices. For a more tranquil setting, consider Firostefani or Imerovigli. Beach lovers may prefer Perissa or Kamari, while history enthusiasts might enjoy Akrotiri. 

If you don’t plan to drive in Santorini, you can check this article: Best areas to stay in Santorini without a car.

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest towns that you can stay during your first trip to Santorini. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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