If you are a first-time visitor to this beautiful island and are trying to work out the best places to stay in Santorini, then it is important to first get an understanding of the geography of this stunning small island. It is just 95 square meters in size, and the coastline is 69 meters in total.
Santorini is a volcanic island and has an almost perfect semi-circular shape on one side. The ridge along the semi-circle is called the Caldera which stretches all the way from the most south-westerly point called Akrotiri to the most north-westerly point called Oia. At its highest point close to the capital of Thera, it is 367 meters or 1204 feet from sea level. From here there is a pretty sheer drop to the sea.
Where to Stay in Santorini?
Best Family Rental in Santorini? – Erossea Villa
Erossea Villa is not only one of the best places to stay in Santorini for families and couples, but it is also one of the most beautiful. Located in the village of Imerovigli the villa is walking distance to many lovely restaurants and shops. It is also just 2.5 kilometres to Fira, and it is possible to walk along the beautiful stoned pedestrian path that is situated along most of the Caldera. You won’t notice the walk because the views the whole way along the path are completely breath-taking.
We have included Erossea Villa on our list of one of the best places to stay in Santorini because it is simply gorgeous. The villa has 5 bedrooms and is set over two levels of the cliffside with the main bedrooms and living area built into the natural caves. Erossea Villa also has the best view of the Skaros Rock which was once the capital of Santorini and is steeped in history and beauty in equal measures.
The other wonderful thing about Erossea Villa is the terrace and the large pool area. Mostly in Santorini, the pools are small because of the limited space on the Caldera but this is not the case of Erossea. The villa is not only a really good size, the layout and décor are also really beautiful.
Erossea is not only one of my favourite villas in Santorini or one of my favourite villas in Greece, but it is also one of my favourite villas in the World!
Where to stay in Santorini for Couples? – Villa Gaia!
Villa Gaia is another property I would like to include in my list of best places to stay in Santorini. Like many of the Santorini and Caldera Villas, it is set over several levels on the cliff face. You enter Villa Gaia via a sunbathing terrace.
This is where you will inevitably want to stop and stare at the view and possibly never want to leave! The next level down is the main living area with its two guest bedrooms. One more level down some steep and narrow steps is the master suite which has its own private plunge pool, living area and small kitchen.
Villa Gaia is a great place for a honeymoon or for families with older children. We do not recommend it for people with small children under 10 because of the steep steps and the fact that the bedrooms are separated from each other.
There are lots of fabulous restaurants within walking distance, and Fira is just 20 minutes’ walk away. On my recent stay in Villa Gaia, we walked from Villa Gaia to Oia. It took less than 2 hours, even with endless stops to take photos! It was one of the most beautiful walks I have ever taken, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
When we arrived at Oia, we were blessed with an absolutely stunning sunset.
Native Eco is a beautiful 4-bedroom villa nestled in the caldera in Santorini. I love the location of this villa as you are so close to everything and you have the best view on the island. It is located in Imerovigli which is just 2 kilometres from the main town of Fira and 9 kilometres from Oia.
It is a great location.
There is a shop just around the corner, which is great for getting groceries or delicious breakfast pastries. Estia Traditional Grill House is right behind the villa and a great choice for lunch or dinner with a view.
What I loved most about this location is the beautiful walk to Fira. It takes about 30 minutes but can take longer as there are so many great photo opportunities along the way! It is a safe walk and mainly flat. Most evenings I would walk to Fira and get a taxi back to the villa.
The villa itself is stunning and has a typical white Greek interior. The lounge area of Native Eco Villa is extra special. This is where you can sit back and take in the amazing views on offer. I don’t think I will ever find a hot tub with a better view.
It is an ideal villa for a family or 4 couples. The villa is split into 2 levels which offer extra privacy for guests.
Where To Stay In Santorini For a Honeymoon? – Villa Iokasti
Villa Iokasti is, in my opinion, the best place to stay for a honeymoon.
Not only has it one of the best locations on the Caldera close to the lovely town of Fira, but it is also very romantic, beautifully decorated, has a private pool, Jacuzzi and a high level of privacy.
The terrace in Iokasti is stunning. This is where you might spend time chatting, enjoying the incredible view and the wonderful sunsets with an ice-cold glass of champagne in hand. The bedroom is really beautiful and has a small sitting area that leads directly to the terrace and pool area.
Best Place to Stay In Santorini? – Michaela Residence
Michaela Residence is one of my favourite villas in Santorini.
It is not located along the Caldera which is what makes this villa so unique. It offers space, peace, and privacy. Located in an elevated spot close to the village of Akrotiri, this villa offers a great place to relax with family and friends and most importantly it offers stunning views of the Aegean Sea and the Santorini volcano. The location is perfect as it means you are away from the crowded areas of Santorini, which in the Summer can be intense.
I like to be away from it all, yet you are only a short drive from town.
The villa is located near the historic village of Akrotiri which offers a nice selection of local tavernas, cafes and restaurants. Another plus is you are 5 minutes’ drive from Apothiki Beach. One of the main reasons I like this villa so much is the lovely private courtyard which is ideal for enjoying morning coffee. The infinity pool with large terrace and beautiful lounge area is also worth a mention; it is one of my favourite places to enjoy the beauty and nature that surrounds you.
Places to Visit
All along this cliff top are beautiful villages, hotels and villas and, consequently, the views from anywhere along the Caldera are astonishingly beautiful. Many of the Santorini villas have been built into naturally occurring caves. Santorini is one of the most photographed places in the world and all for a good reason.
From just about every point on the Caldera, it is possible to see the whole length of the Caldera as well as the beautiful islands of Kameni, Thirisia and Aspronisi.
Having visited the island many times, I think that there is no bad place to stay along the Caldera, but if you are a first-time visitor, it is nice to be within walking distance of one of the four beautiful towns called Fira, Oia, Imerovigli and Firostafani.
Almost all the Santorini luxury villas are located close to one of these towns. Fira is the capital of Santorini and is perfectly located in the centre of the Caldera. As it is slightly larger than the other towns, with a population of 15,500, there is more to do then in the other towns which make it, in my opinion, the best place to stay in Santorini for families. Oia, which is on the northwestern side, is world-famous for its incredible sunsets and therefore is the best place to stay in Santorini for young couples or for a honeymoon.
Before we have a look at the best place to stay in Santorini, it is worth mentioning the sunsets. They are the best I have ever come across on my travels, and i travel a lot! Every evening, hordes of people make their way to Oia to find the best spot, have a cocktail, and revel in the spectacular event. The second the sun hits the sea, the whole town can be heard clapping and celebrating. For anyone who loves to travel, it should be on your bucket list to do at least once.
But Santorini is not just about sunsets, and there are lots of wonderful things to do that are off the beaten track.
Santorini is without a doubt one of the most special places on earth, and for any avid traveller, I believe it should be close to the top of their bucket list.
At Exceptional Villas, we are lucky enough to visit Santorini on a regular basis and are happy to share with you our unbiased opinion on all the best luxury villas and the best places to stay in Santorini. We do love hearing from our readers so if we have missed one of your favourite spots, do let us know.