Santorini’s spectacular volcanic setting makes it the perfect romantic escape and the postcard Greek island experience. Famous as a honeymoon destination, for its white clifftop villages, unforgettable sunsets and breathtaking views, it’s not so much a beach destination. It doesn’t have the golden sand of Mykonos and other Greek islands, but still offers some especially picturesque beaches with dark sand and pebbles. It’s very easy to reach by ferry from Athens, and from neighboring islands, especially Mykonos.
The capital is the village of Fira, found all the way up a cliff from the main port, and from there you may go for a long walk or take a bus to Oia (pronounced Ia), the most famous village of all, the one featured in most postcards. In between are a couple of other villages (Imerovigli and Firostefani), where you find hotels with magnificent views.
Everywhere you turn you see charming white buildings with blue windows and doors, domed churches, and streets lined with restaurants and shops, catering to the thousands of tourists that arrive every year.
The best and largest beaches are on the southeast coast of the island, and, surprisingly for an island that attracts so many tourists, are often not crowded.
The Best Beaches in Santorini
Reddish sand and rocks make this beach one of Santorini’s most picturesque and most popular. Many go just for a few photos, while others arrive by boat from the village of Akrotiri for a day in the sun or a swim in the crystal-clear water surrounded by a unique landscape.
It’s not very big, so its sunbeds and umbrellas are taken over quickly in July and August.
Less than 15 minutes from Fira, this is Santorini’s most popular beach. With its black sand extending for several kilometers, it’s less affected by the frequent winds in the island. It has many umbrellas and sunbeds for rent, and several bars and restaurants.
Neighboring Perissa, and around 10km southeast of Fira, this beach is covered in dark volcanic sand. It has sunbeds and umbrellas for rent, and the village of the same name behind it has several hotels, making it an alternative to the more expensive center of the island.
Top 10 Most Recommended Hotels in Santorini
- Santorini Princess Spa Hotel
- Canaves Oia Hotel
- Grace Santorini Hotel
- Angel Luxury Suites
- Maregio Suites
- Anteliz Suites
- Aria Suites
- Altana Traditional Houses & Suites
- Above Blue Suites
- Absolute Bliss Hotel
Located in picturesque Imerovigli, with a huge pool facing the sea, this hotel is a good choice for couples or families, as its spacious rooms and apartments accommodate two to four people. It has a restaurant with magnificent views, and a spa offering different treatments.
Looking to splurge on a luxurious stay in Santorini? Consider this 5-star hotel in Oia, with its infinity pool looking out to the Caldera and the Aegean Sea. It has a restaurant serving meals throughout the day, but you may also choose to have your meals in your elegant Cycladic-style suite.
Watch Santorini’s famous sunsets from this luxurious boutique hotel in Imerovigli. It has different types of rooms, suites and a villa, but they all feature a sophisticated contemporary design together with traditional handcrafted pieces. The views are even more breathtaking from the infinity pool.
With an exceptional location in Fira, this luxury hotel offers sunset views and suites literally carved out of the cliff. Each comes with a terrace, where you can sit and admire the island’s natural beauty.
This nearly all-white hotel has a stunning location in Oia, with fabulous views and private pools in each suite. You can watch the sunset from your room, or with a drink at the restaurant’s terrace. It’s perfect for couples, on honeymoon or on a romantic getaway.
With its large terrace overlooking the Caldera, this hotel has one of the best views and locations in Fira. Guests can enjoy a swimming pool with Jacuzzi, massages and beauty treatments, and spacious stylishly-designed rooms and suites.
Secluded enough but close to the center of Fira, this boutique hotel has the perfect romantic atmosphere. It’s made up of minimalist suites and villas where candlelight dinners may be served, and offers relaxing massages and a swimming pool.
A restored traditional mansion was the starting point of this hotel which now has several suites and apartments with views, some of them with private pool.
The name describes the location -- here you’re at Santorini’s highest point, looking out to the blue Aegean. Each romantic suite has a different décor, but always following Cycladic traditions. Couples may enjoy candle-light dinners in their suite’s balcony, or watch the sunset with a drink by the pool.
Offering some of the best views in Santorini, this is a romantic hotel, with a traditional Cycladic design and Jacuzzi in many of the rooms, suites and villa. There’s also a pool, and a restaurant that may serve your meals on your private balcony.