Where to stay in Fira, Santorini’s more colorful corner

A selection of some of Fira's most appealing villas and hotels.

Like its more expensive and more familiar sister-city, Oia, Fira (also transliterated as both Thira and Thera) has amazing caldera views, but is often overlooked as a place to stay by travelers considering the area. Oia’s reputation as a honeymoon destination, and the pervasiveness of its infinity pool suites, make it a land of luxury and relaxation—but if you’re in Santorini for fun, adventure (and maybe an infinity pool anyway), consider a stay in Fira instead.

Separated by only twelve kilometers, neither town is very far from the other. And both fill up at night with tourists and their cameras, ready to snag that perfect sunset shot. But besides that fact, the two have incredibly different vibes. While Oia is a pristine getaway where your best bet might be to stay inside and enjoy your villa suite all day, Fira is full of exquisite restaurants, unique activities, and great nightlife.

Fira is a fantastic city to explore, as well as a perfect jumping-off point for other Santorini adventures, like Aktrotiri, or the volcanic black-sand beaches of the east.

From the junior suite to the impressive Olympian Villa (and its private plunge pool), every accommodation at Vedema is truly luxurious, owing not just to the tranquil views and setting but to the tasteful design and gorgeous architecture of the building. Situated just between the caldera and the more bustling streets, this is a fantastic choice for anyone looking to truly get away from it all.

Surrounded by bars and some of the most delicious tavernas on the island, and just above the Old Port of Santorini, Aigialos Hotel is a perfectly calm and intimate oasis among the neighborhood bustle. Its breakfasts are some of the best-rated on the island, too, and the complimentary local wines also come highly recommended.

Nestled in the traditional cave-like structure of much of old Santorini, Aroma’s rooms offer indoor hot tubs, private balconies, and unbeatable views. The classic Cycladic style of the hotel is unique, especially combined with the contemporary, design-forward interiors. It is situated within walking distance of everything you’ll want to do in town.

Nestled perfectly among the hustle and bustle of Fira’s main square, this minimalist hotel offers personal balconies along with cliffside views, as well as a pool and gorgeous traditional Cycladic architecture. It’s also just across the street from Mama’s House, one of the island’s best and most lively estiotorios, traditional restaurants. You’re also just steps from the famous Tango Bar, a classy spot over the caldera featuring craft cocktails and a great dancefloor.

The lovely owner, Marina, is more than happy to help you plan your time on the island, be it a weekend jaunt over from the mainland or a two-week relaxation binge. Her recommendations and her personal touch on the rooms help to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The hotel is gorgeous, and only a five minute walk from the main drag, though it feels further removed because of its gorgeous ocean views and courtyard. Bonus: it is open year-round at fair rates.

Offering caldera views, a gorgeous swimming pool, and suites with hot tubs, Tzekos has enough luxury to help you recover from your jet-lag (or your seasickness, if you’ve come by ferry). But after you’ve gotten a taste for its finery, take a few steps outside and into the main heart of Fira. You’ll be near the gorgeous Orthodox cathedral, the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, and in perfect position to snap the sunset.

About a seven-minute walk from the heart of town, Galatia offers simple and tasteful accommodations. It has a gorgeous, small pool, and is located almost directly beside ones of Santorini’s hidden gems, the Lignos Folklore Museum (personal tours provided). After you’ve had your fill of history, take a short walk over to Enigma club for late-night dancing to some of Greece’s favorite D.J.s.

Just off the main road, Evgenia combines the elegance of a caldera-side hotel with more provincial views of the eastern coast and countryside. It has a great bar on-site, but is also within close proximity of Salt & Pepper, a favorite restaurant among those who return again and again to the island.


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