Where to stay in Santorini without a car?

In today’s article, we will look at Where to stay in Santorini without a car? I will share with you what I believe are the best areas to stay in Santorini without a car (including map), where I stayed in Santorini, and the best hotels for all budgets.

Santorini is a popular tourist destination with a well-developed bus system and other transportation options that make it feasible to explore the island without a car. Some alternatives for getting around Santorini are public buses, taxis, walking, boat tours, and shuttle services.

Santorini is served by the international airport known as Thira Airport, located on the eastern side of the island, close to Kamari village, and 6km away from the capital and transport hub, Fira. From the airport, you can easily take a bus, taxi, hotel’s shuttle to your destination.

Santorini has an extensive KTEL bus network that connects most major towns on the island. Fira, the capital, serves as the central hub for bus routes, making it relatively easy to access other parts of the island. You can purchase them at the bus stations or on board.

Taxis are available on Santorini (no UBER), especially in tourist areas like Fira, Oia, and Kamari. While they can be more expensive than buses, they offer a convenient and flexible way to get around if you’re willing to pay a bit more.

Many of Santorini’s towns are compact and pedestrian-friendly. Exploring on foot can be a pleasant way to take in the local scenery, especially in areas like Fira, Oia, and Imerovigli. Be prepared for some uphill and downhill walking, as Santorini’s terrain can be hilly.

Renting bicycles or scooters is another popular way to get around Santorini. It allows you to explore at your own pace. But, be cautious as the roads can be narrow and winding in some areas.

Santorini offers several scenic hiking trails, including the famous Fira to Oia hike along the caldera’s edge. If you enjoy hiking, this is a fantastic way to explore the island’s natural beauty.

Some parts of Santorini, like the volcanic islands of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni, are best accessed by boat tours. These tours typically depart from the main ports, and you won’t need a car to participate.

Some hotels and accommodations offer shuttle services to popular destinations on the island, making it more convenient for guests to get around.

While it’s possible to enjoy Santorini without a car, it’s essential to plan your accommodations strategically. If you choose to stay in the more central towns like Fira or Oia, you’ll have easier access to public transportation, restaurants, and attractions. 

However, if you opt for accommodations in more remote areas, be prepared to rely on taxis or other transportation options to explore the island.

Where to stay in Santorini without a car?

The best areas to stay in Santorini without a car are Fira, Oia, Firostefani, Imerovigli, Kamari, Perissa, Perivolos, and Akrotiri. Fira and Oia are the best overall areas for car-free travelers, but all of the other towns are also easily accessible and explored by bus, taxi, and on foot.

In general, Fira and Oia are the two best places to stay in Santori for first-timer visitors. Fira is the capital and transport hub of Santorini located on the western side of the island. It’s known for its stunning views of the caldera, vibrant nightlife, easy access to many attractions and activities.

Oia, located at the northern tip of the island, is famous for its breathtaking sunsets, traditional white-washed buildings, and romantic atmosphere. It’s a quieter and more upscale area, with luxury hotels and villas. Oia is perfect for couples and honeymooners.

During my trip, I had 3 days in Fira and 3 days in Oia. I stayed at the 3-star family-run hotel San Giorgio in Fira. They are centrally located within a short walk from the central bus station and the town center with restaurants, and shops. They also offer an airport shuttle, which is a bonus for car-free travelers like me.

In Oia, I spent a bit more on accommodation, and stayed at the Aspaki by Art Maisons, a 5-star hotel that offers stunning views of the blue domes, the volcano, and Aegean Sea. It offers an airport shuttle, and is a short walk from restaurants and shopping districts.

Below is a map of best areas and neighborhoods in Santorini without a car. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Santorini without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Santorini without a car

Let’s get into the details of the best areas to stay in Santorini, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll explain to you how to reach each area, how to get around, as well as the best things to do and some suggestions of the best places to stay in each area for every budget.

8 Best areas to stay in Santorini without a car:

1. Fira (Thira)

Fira, also known as Thira, is the overall best area to stay in Santorini without a car and first-timers. It is the capital and largest town on the beautiful Greek island of Santorini. It is located at the heart of the island and serves as a hub for tourists and locals alike.  

Fira is the transport hub of the island and is the best-connected location to the rest of the island. You can reach it by ferry, cruise ship, or through Santorini’s airport. Buses and taxis are readily available for getting around the island. You can use a cable car to travel between the port and the town center.

Fira is perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the vast Caldera, a volcanic crater filled with seawater. This location offers spectacular panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the neighboring islands.

Like many towns on Santorini, Fira features traditional Cycladic architecture with white-washed buildings, blue-domed churches, narrow cobblestone streets, and colorful bougainvillea.

Fira is a bustling town with numerous shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and bars. It’s a popular destination for those looking to enjoy Greek cuisine, seafood, and local wines.

The town has several museums, including the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, which showcases artifacts from ancient settlements on the island, and Megaro Gyzi Museum, housed in a 17th-century mansion.

Fira offers a vibrant nightlife scene with bars and clubs that stay open late into the night. Many tourists and locals gather to enjoy the music and dance the night away.

One of the main attractions near Fira is the Santorini Caldera. Tourists often take boat tours to explore the volcanic islands in the Caldera, including Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni, and swim in the hot springs.

Fira is a popular spot for watching the famous Santorini sunset. The viewpoints and terraces overlooking the Caldera offer some of the most breathtaking sunset vistas in the world.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Fira without a car:


2. Oia

Oia is one of the most popular areas to stay in Santorini, especially for couples and honeymooners. It is a great base for car-free travelers because it is walkable and is very well-connected to the KTEL bus.

You can reach Oia by flying into Santorini’s international airport or arriving by ferry at the island’s main port, Athinios. From there, you can take a taxi, bus, or rental car to Oia, which is approximately a 30-minute drive from the airport or port.

Oia is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and is often considered one of the most romantic places on Earth. The village is perched on the cliffs of the caldera (the submerged crater of an ancient volcano) and offers incredible panoramic views of the sea, the caldera, and the neighboring islands.

The traditional architecture of Oia features charming white houses with blue-domed roofs and narrow, winding streets. The buildings are typically built into the cliffs, creating a unique and photogenic landscape.

Oia is especially famous for its stunning sunsets. Many visitors gather at the Oia Castle, also known as the Byzantine Castle Ruins, to witness the sun sinking into the sea, creating a mesmerizing display of colors.

Oia has a vibrant art scene, with numerous art galleries and studios showcasing the work of local artists. You can find a variety of paintings, sculptures, and other artistic creations inspired by the island’s beauty.

The village offers a range of shops, boutiques, and restaurants. You can explore the charming streets filled with shops selling local products, artwork, jewelry, and more. It boasts excellent dining options, where you can savor traditional Greek cuisine while enjoying the views.

In addition to admiring the views and exploring the village, you can hike along the cliffs, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and take boat trips to explore the volcanic islands and hot springs.

Oia offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels with private pools and cave suites to more budget-friendly choices. Staying in Oia allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the village, especially during the quieter early morning and evening hours.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Oia without a car:


3. Firostefani

Firostefani is a picturesque village located just north of Fira, and is often considered an extension of Fira. Its central location and proximity to  the island’s capital, making it a great base for travelers without a car, especially those seeking a relaxing getaway with easy access to the island’s main attractions.

Firostefani is known for its breathtaking views of the Santorini caldera. Many hotels, restaurants, and cafes in the village have terraces and balconies that provide a perfect vantage point to enjoy these panoramic vistas, especially during sunset.

One of the notable landmarks in Firostefani is the Agios Gerasimos Church. This beautiful white church with a blue dome is a popular subject for photographs, and its tranquil surroundings make it a lovely spot for a peaceful moment.

You can take a scenic hike from Firostefani to other parts of Santorini, including Fira and the famous village of Oia. The hiking trail along the caldera rim offers fantastic views along the way.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Firostefani without a car:


4. Imerovigli

Imerovigli is a beautiful village located on the western side of the island, a short bus ride from the bustling town of Fira. It is often considered a quieter and more peaceful alternative to the island’s capital.

The village is famous for its stunning sunset views. Many visitors gather at various vantage points to watch the sun dip below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the caldera and the sea.

Skaros Rock is a prominent feature of Imerovigli and offers fantastic hiking opportunities. You can explore the ruins of a medieval castle perched atop Skaros Rock, providing even more panoramic views of the caldera.

Imerovigli boasts several beautiful churches, including the Church of Agios Georgios, which is a popular spot for weddings due to its charming architecture and incredible backdrop.

Imerovigli is well-connected to other towns on Santorini by walking paths. You can hike or take a leisurely stroll along the caldera, enjoying the scenic beauty along the way.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Imerovigli without a car:

5. Kamari

Kamari is the favorite car-free destination of many travelers to Santorini. Kamari is a seaside village located on the southern part of the island on the east coast, 10 km from Fira, and very close to Santorini airport. It is easily reachable by KTEL bus, taxi or rental car (of course!)

Kamari is famous for its long, black sand beach, which is in contrast to the typical white and rocky beaches found on other parts of the island. 

Kamari offers a range of accommodations, restaurants, and water activities for visitors to enjoy. It’s a popular destination for tourists looking to relax by the sea and explore the island’s beauty.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Kamari without a car:


6. Perissa

Perissa is a beautiful coastal village located at the foot of Mesa Vouno mountain, only a short ride south from Kamari, and 13 km from the capital. It is well-connected to buses and also close to the island’s airport. Many hotels in the area offer shuttle services from/to the airport.

Perissa is on the southeastern coast of Santorini and is known for its long black sand beach, which is one of the most famous beaches on the island. The black sand is a result of the island’s volcanic history, and it creates a striking contrast with the clear blue waters of the Aegean Sea. 

The beach is lined with restaurants, bars, and water sports facilities, making it a popular destination for tourists looking to relax and enjoy the sun and sea.

Overall, Perissa is a popular destination for travelers and those without a car seeking a relaxed beach vacation on the beautiful Santorini, known for its distinctive black sand beach, scenic surroundings, and traditional Greek charm.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Perissa without a car:


7. Perivolos

Perivolos is often referred to as Perivolos Beach, but it’s essentially a continuation of another popular beach called Perissa. Together, Perissa and Perivolos form one long stretch of black sand beach that stretches for several kilometers along the southeastern coastline of Santorini.

Like many beaches in Santorini, Perivolos has black volcanic sand, which makes for a unique and visually striking landscape. The black sand can get quite hot in the summer, so beachgoers are advised to bring beach shoes or flip-flops.

Perivolos is known for its vibrant nightlife scene, with beach clubs and bars that come alive after sunset. You can enjoy cocktails, music, and dancing right on the sand.

A lovely seaside promenade connects Perivolos with Perissa, allowing for a pleasant stroll by the sea. You can take a leisurely walk and enjoy the views and the sea breeze.

Many boat tours and excursions depart from Perivolos, offering visitors the opportunity to explore nearby volcanic islands, hot springs, and other attractions in the Aegean Sea.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Perivolos without a car:


8. Akrotiri

Akrotiri is a village located on the southern part of Santorini. It tends to be less crowded and quieter compared to Fira and Oia. If you’re seeking a more relaxed and tranquil atmosphere, Akrotiri is a good choice.

Akrotiri is home to the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri, which was buried by a volcanic eruption around 1600 BC and is often referred to as the “Pompeii of the Aegean.” It is a must-see site for those interested in history and archaeology.

Additionally, Akrotiri offers convenient access to beautiful beaches, including Red Beach and White Beach. Santorini is a relatively small island, so you can easily explore other parts of the island from Akrotiri by car or bus.

Best places to stay in Santorini in Akrotiri without a car:


If you are new to Santorini, you can check this article: Best areas to stay in Santorini for first time. You can also read these articles about Greece:

In conclusion, Fira, Oia, Firostefani, Imerovigli, Kamari, Perissa, Perivolos, and Akrotiri are the best places to stay in Santorini without a car. All of these towns are all easily explored on foot and are well-connected to KTEL buses, making them great locations for car-free holidays in 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.

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