Offering travellers history, great food and amazing sunsets, the Greek island of Santorini is an Aegean paradise. There are hotels across the island, from five-star all-suite cliffside boutiques, to smaller, local guesthouses in the ancient towns like Oia, renowned for its beautiful whitewashed architecture overlooking the caldera basin. Whatever your style, or budget, there’s something here for you – book today with Culture Trip.
The sound of distant church bells and the engines of fishing boats drift through the windows of the rooms at Perivolas, a spectacular property near Oia which blends into the cliff face and, seemingly, the Aegean Sea itself thank to its infinity pool. Inside this luxury hotel, which once housed fishermen and their wineries and stables, there are now fluorescent furnishings, while some suites have indoor plunge pools. For a foodie event like no other, opt for the Private Dining experience – you’ll enjoy a candlelit four-course meal made by chef Theodoros Kakoulis, with local white wine handpicked by the sommelier.
You will never get bored of the sea views in Santorini and Afroessa is in a great spot to take it all in. You’re free to spend your days luxuriating on a sun lounger, looking out and marvelling at the Aegean Sea. If you do get the itch to explore, you can rent a bike or car from the hotel. The studios, spread across five floors of this 18th-century converted winery, boast beds built into the foundations, stone tile floors and shaded balconies.
With scorching summers a guarantee in Santorini, you’ll welcome the abundance of places to cool off at Andronis. This list includes a communal pool, jacuzzis and infinity and cave pools in some of the suites, where whitewashed walls and waterfall showers come as standard. Fancy exploring deeper waters? Head out on a catamaran cruise or scuba diving excursion.
Looking to go all out on your Santorini trip? Opt for the King Suite and enjoy your very own wine barrel bar and an underground plunge pool. As the name suggests, 1870 Winery Hotel has been designed as an ode to its beginnings as a 19th-century winery, and the furnishings throughout are a nod to this. There’s also a wonderful sun-drenched courtyard and pool area, plus a concierge service.
Voreina Gallery, on the northern hillside of Pyrgos, offers views of quintessential Cycladic architecture and the Aegean Sea for as far as the eye can see. The vistas aren’t bad indoors either as the owners are art lovers who have created a ‘habitual gallery’ with local art. Each suite is also equipped with its own kitchen but don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy fresh grilled lavraki (bass) at Rosemary’s restaurant just around the corner.
In the town of Fira, Villa Renos boasts amazing views over the caldera basin. Rooms are comfortable and clean, individually decorated in a contemporary Greek style. Many have balconies or terraces overlooking that amazing view, and the hotel has a pretty terrace for sunset drinks. When you finally manage to tear yourself away from the panorama, Renos is also conveniently close to the bars and restaurants of Fira, as well as the town of Plateia Theotokopoulou, the Museum of Prehistoric Thira and the Archeological Museum.
Formerly a winemaker’s house, Ikies boutique hotel has white-washed, cave-like rooms which have been individually and artfully renovated to reflect traditional Santorini aesthetics. They are situated in tiers descending the cliffs, each with sweeping views over the volcano. Rooms range from suites to studios, with plenty of private space and small self-catering facilities. There’s no restaurant, though breakfast and pool snacks are available and staff are always on hand to recommend the best places to eat in nearby Oia.
Located in a former winery owned by the Markezinis family, Canava Santino is thought to date back to the early 19th century. The hotel is made up of four independent houses and apartments, each with full self-catering facilities and access to a communal yard and barbecue area. Though situated in the centre of the island, the town of Messaria is just five minutes from the airport and another five from Fira, putting guests within easy access of all Santorini’s attractions – and, of course, those amazing clifftop sunsets.
Katerina’s Castle in the village of Imerovigli combines traditional cave architecture with contemporary Greek interiors. You’ve white-washed walls, seascapes, bold, bright patterned furnishings and all the mod cons. There are just nine relatively small rooms but there are terraces, verandahs and a pretty terrace cafe/bar when you want to stretch out and admire the sea views. Staff are very helpful and the in-house travel desk can organise a host of excursions, including car, moped and yacht rental.
A short walk from Oia, Heliophos Hotel is Finikia, a glorious medieval village. The atmosphere is local and involved with its surroundings, giving guests an insight into everyday Santorini life. The hotel is made up of eight traditionally-built cave houses, climbing up the hill and with great sea views. The interiors are decorated in a contemporary island style with Moroccan and French accents and plenty of modern amenities. Sizes range from studios to family houses. There’s no restaurant, but Sofia provides a delicious, freshly prepared breakfast every morning and there are facilities for self-catering in the apartments.
Anatoli Hotel is perfect for those who want to stay in the very heart of Santorini, 500 metres (0.3mi) from the centre of the island, in a building dating back to the 19th century. Rooms in the new wing opened in 2015 are the best, built in the old wine cellars with original features such as stone-vaulted ceilings and whitewashed wood. There’s a restaurant and pool bar, but for guests looking for a little more privacy, there are also self-catering apartments available. When you finally manage to drag yourself away from lounging by the huge pool, the town of Fira and its many attractions are just steps from the hotel.
Petit Palace Suites embodies the beauty Santorini is famous for, with 23 suites are carved into the rock and furnished with designer pieces in a contemporary Cycladic style with pale stone and woods, neutral linens and carefully integrated modern amenities. There are great views over the caldera from the pool and pool bar, the perfect place for a sundowner before enjoying a Mediterranean dinner at Elia Restaurant. The hotel is around 1.5 km (1mi) from Fira, placing it at the heart of the island and close to all the main attractions.
Located between Fira and Oia, Anastasis Apartments consists of 10 luxury apartments, all overlooking the caldera. It is a hotel made for privacy and relaxation, with several spacious sundecks, a terrace, spa facilities and a huge infinity pool sweeping out over the cliff edge. Awarded the Travellers’ Choice Award 2015, it’s a favourite spot for those looking for a way to experience Santorini without the tourist bustle. Close enough to see the sights, there is also enough on site to keep you occupied.
This two-storey mansion is carved partly into the cliff, with just four suites all decorated beautifully with hand-picked antiques in an island-style setting. Owner Tony Mosiman is on hand to recommend how to make the most of your time on the island, but on the agenda has to be hanging out at the hotel, enjoying the afternoon cocktails and appetizers, the in-house spa or simply lounging on the terrace admiring the view.
Afrodete Hotel is a great budget option with 10 nicely decorated rooms known for its wonderful service. There are sun terraces and an outdoor jacuzzi and you’re only a short walk from Fira, making it the perfect choice for those who want to experience the buzz of Greek island life while being able to retreat from it when they need to. Staff are happy to offer recommendations for excursions, restaurants and bars and the hotel boasts the most affordable caldera view on the island.