If you’re wondering where to stay in Santorini with caldera views, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will scour the rugged tops of the island’s ancient volcano in search of a slice of paradise set to a backdrop of sky-blue Aegean Sea and shimmering water. We’ve gone for some seriously spectacular hotels that are a perfect pick for romantic honeymoon escapades, but also some more affordable spots for the more casual traveler.
A favourite with celebrities and newly weds, Santorini has become synonymous with luxury in recent years. But it’s also got plenty for adventurers and romantic types. In fact, Santorini is arguably the most popular Greek island of all – and for good reason. With dazzling natural scenery, balmy weather, and plenty of architectural and culinary delights to discover, it’s a wonderful setting for a summer, spring, or autumn break.
From scenic hiking routes to black sandy beaches, cubist towns to quaint villages filled with donkeys, there’s a wealth of things to do, see, and eat in Santorini. But by far the most famous aspect of the island is the caldera. This large, cauldron-like hollow is submerged in the Aegean sea. It was formed after a series of volcanic eruptions that radically reshaped the structure of the island in ancient times. Visible from the mainland, the caldera and the surrounding seascapes, make for breathtaking panoramas, and there’s really nothing better than having a hotel that can offer those right outside the window…
Virginia’s Cave Villas – Our all-round favorite caldera-view hotel
Oh boy! We remember our joy when we first strolled into one of the caldera-view suites at Virginia’s Cave Villas. It was the Santorini we’d been dreaming of. Carved straight out of the volcanic rocks, the rooms are dashed with soft adobe and painted brilliant white. Rough-stone floors roll throughout, connecting cozy seating nooks with sprawling double beds tucked into the alcoves, all before opening into a sumptuous bathroom of polished concrete with a Moroccan-style walk-in shower. And we’ve not even mentioned the outside yet!
Fling open the doors and you get a sweeping 180-degree panorama of the Santorini caldera from the north. You’ll see the crag of Skaros Rock, the white wisp of cubist cottages that is the village of Imerovigli, and dusty Tholos Naftilos island surrounded by the cobalt Aegean. The good news is that all suites in Virginia’s Cave Villas come with that view, along with an outdoor hot tub to enjoy it from! Even the most basic options have a wrap-around terrace with a glass surround and a bubbling Jacuzzi. At the top end of the spectrum, you get the Honeymoon Cave Villa, boasting a duplex al fresco area with an outdoor sunning bed. Talk about romantic.
Location wise, you’ll be right on the cusp of the village of Oia. It’s one of Santorini’s more romantic and charming locations. Less busy than the island capital in Fira, it’s a mishmash of pastel-painted homes and whitewashed churches. The center is a mere 50-meter walk from Virginia’s Cave Villas, which means there are stacks of breakfast bars (try the nearby Vitrin creperie) and tavernas (check out highly rated Pelekanos) on the menu.
Iliovasilema Hotel & Suites – Adult’s only luxury
Deluxe and uber-cool Iliovasilema Hotel & Suites cap the rocks just below the village of Imerovigli. It’s one of the island’s quieter spots, with a smattering of tavernas and donkey-filled cobbled alleys that culminate with the blazing blue dome of a Greek Orthodox church. Most of all, though, Imerovigli is perfectly located for those wondering where to stay on Santorini with caldera views…
Yep, the village spills off the volcanic ridges to look directly westwards. As it does, the Iliovasilema Hotel occupies a fantastic location at the very edge of the cliffs. That gives the rooms – all of the rooms – an epic front-on panorama of the Aegean Sea rolling all the way to the horizon. It’s fantastic for sunset viewing, as the light will fade behind the silhouette of Therasia island across the strait.
And then you have the hotel itself. Channeling a touch of traditional Cycladic design with a bit of Bali chic, this one’s truly luxurious. The suites offer swim-out infinity pools that seem to jut across the caldera itself, while the private villa option covers a whopping 861 square foot of space and has a sunken pool ringed by a wrap-around veranda. The whole thing is adult’s only, loads of rooms offer outdoor hot tubs, and there’s a fantastic bar area that also has those priceless caldera views.
Hotel Goulielmos – North-looking views
Hotel Goulielmos whisks you away to the far southern extremity of the Santorini caldera. There, it offers a whole different perspective on the dramatic geological cleft in the island’s heart. The rooms look north, straight out across the wings of the western shoreline, letting you sip those evening cocktails while trying to make out the white haze of Oia in the far distance, or the colorful church domes of Fira closer to home.
Be sure to choose one of the premium suites that have a caldera view when you come to book. Some of the options here have a garden view, which mean the balconies face south over the inland part of the island. Truth be told, that shouldn’t matter too much, as the hotel comes with a glorious shared pool ringed by see-through glass walls and a dedicated bistro-bar that serves up Mediterranean food and evening aperitif with the caldera as the backdrop. That said, the best views of all are on offer in the Apex Villa. That sleeps just two people but boasts an infinity pool that seems to fly out on a plinth above the Aegean Sea.
Hotel Goulielmos is fantastic for travelers who want to explore the lesser-trodden south side of Santorini. Here, you’ll be within easy striking distance of ancient Akrotiri, where traces of human settlement go back some 6,000 years! And you can get to Red Beach, which is one of the most striking beaches in the Cyclades islands, coming ringed by rust-red cliffs and ochre-tinged boulders.
Delfini Villas – Caldera views for less money
Delfini Villas offers luxury accommodation at a competitive price. With elegantly decorated rooms and caldera views that will blow you away, this aparthotel is great value for money. Standard double rooms start at just $117 per night – pretty darn awesome for this uber-popular part of Greece!
In addition to terraces with sea panoramas, each suite comes equipped with air conditioning and a flat screen TV. Oh, and for those in search of something a little bit special, a number of the rooms at Delfini Villas boast a private hot tub. Where better to enjoy one of Santorini’s famous sunsets? Then you get the personal touch. Sima, the hotel manager, brings guests breakfast on their balcony each morning; a smorgasbord of fresh-pressed juice, fragrant coffee, and fruit on a perch high above the Aegean Sea.
Delfini Villas is located in the popular village of Oia, one of the best places to go in search of caldera-view hotels. The town’s many bars, restaurants and shops are only a short walk away down the main Nomikou promenade. Also nearby is the Naval Maritime Museum of Oia, a picturesque two-story mansion where visitors can learn all about the evolution of Greek shipping over the centuries. The nearest beach, Armeni Beach, lies 20 minute’ walk down a zigzagging road in Oia port. It’s a secluded pebble beach and a perfect spot to enjoy an afternoon away from the crowds of Oia.
Kykladonisia Traditional Settlement – A backpacker favourite
Kykladonisia Traditional Settlement is a great option for travelers in search of budget-friendly accommodation. Once a grand Greek mansion, the whole property has been converted into a small hotel with a range of reasonably priced rooms. Standard double rooms start at just $40 per night, but there are also some cheaper semi-basement options if you don’t mind not having that caldera view right outside the window. (That’s a steal compared to the hefty hotel rates that the island has become renowned for.)
Kykladonisia is also a good option for groups or families. The hotel has a range of suites for up to four people, something that’s pretty rare on an island that’s mainly focused on doubles for couples. Guests are also invited to enjoy a seasonal outdoor pool that’s tucked in between the whitewashed adobe walls of the garden. And there’s a terrace with panoramic views of the caldera and surrounding sea to the east.
Aside from its competitive prices and great facilities, what else makes Kykladonisia special? Put simply, its location. Just a stone’s throw from the capital of Santorini, Kykladonisia is a great base from which to discover the island. A short 250 meter walk takes you to the centre of Fira, where you’ll find plenty of cafés, bars and restaurants, as well as one of the best views on the island from the cliffside cocktail bars. The town is also a hub for tour organizers, so everything from boat trips to scuba diving is easy to get on the itinerary.
For coastal enjoyments, be sure to head up to Skaros Rock. It’s a craggy headland that towers over the glittering Aegean Sea. Hike there at sunset to snap some of the best shots of the caldera and the shimmering orange-red horizon beyond. Oh, and, if you’re in need of some further day trip inspiration, you’re in the right place. The owner of the hotel, Nicolas, has his very own tourist office. He can help with historic visits to Akrotiri or with booking a tour to another of the Cyclades isles.
Veranda View – South-facing caldera views that are a little different
Located in Imerovigli, Veranda View offers self-catering accommodation that won’t break the bank (a double room with a caldera view will start at around $106 per night here, which is below the average for the high season on Santorini). With whitewashed interiors and intricately tiled, cave-style bathrooms, the whole place has a stylish and calming feel. The best bit, though? The clue’s in the name: The view.
Each room opens onto a private balcony that overlooks the caldera and the glittering Aegean Sea. There are glass-fronted walls to ensure you get the full whack of the jaw-dropping scene. What’s more, because the hotel faces slightly south-southwest, the panoramas include the rugged walls of rock that rise straight out of the Med to form the Santorini west coast. That’s a touch different to your usual west-facing sunset view and definitely something worth considering.
A cheaper alternative to Oia, Imergovigli is a great place to stay for those on a budget. Veranda View is just 50 meters away from the village’s main square. Go there to find a small selection of restaurants and bars. Our favourite? Anogi, a traditional taverna that pairs Greek dishes with local Santorini wines. Guests at Veranda View can also easily join the fabled Santorini coast hiking trail. It weaves just past the hotel, linking all the way to Oia in the north and Fira in the south, offering sights of Skaros Rock and the whole bay as it goes (just be sure to pack plenty of water for that!)
Finesse Suites – A base for exploring Oia and Ammoudi
Like many of the abodes in Oia, Finesse Suites are carved into the village’s volcanic rock. With whitewashed walls and curved ceilings, the hotel’s rooms have a unique ambience. Depending on budget, there’s a range of different suites to choose from. Guests at the honeymoon cave suite, for instance, have access to a personal outdoor hot tub. At the more affordable end of the spectrum, prices for standard double rooms start at around $150 per night. No matter what you choose, guests can view the sun setting over the caldera from their own private terrace.
While there’s no pool at Finesse Suites, the hotel is within walking distance of Ammoudi Bay. There, you can swim in the glistening Aegean waters, and – if you’re daring enough – take part in some cliff diving. Once you’ve had a dip, be sure to fuel up at one of the many seafood restaurants that line the waterfront (the seafood is famed across Santorini). The center of Oia is also within short walking distance of Finesse Suites. Visitors can lose themselves the ancient village’s snaking streets and alleyways. Around every corner is a new delight to discover, whether it’s a traditional taverna, a blue-domed church, or one of Europe’s most enchanting bookstores.
Marcos Rooms – The uber-budget option
With double rooms starting at around just $62 per night, Marcos Rooms is probably one of the cheapest places to stay in the whole of Oia. In fact, it’s probably one of the most affordable hotels on Santorini, period. But there’s not too much compromise on quality. This little bed and breakfast offers a winning combination of value, comfort, and convenience. Although basic, the rooms are spacious and pleasantly decorated, with whitewashed walls and curved ceilings. You can’t go wrong.
And – there’s a view! From the rooms’ shared balconies, guests enjoy stunning sightings of the caldera unfolding below. The roof terrace also has a communal, sociable vibe. Guests congregate there after days of sailing and diving and hiking to have a few drinks and watch the sunset together, all before heading out to explore the bars of Oia.
Marcos Rooms is located in the heart of Oia. Perhaps one of the most famous sunset-watching spots on Santorini is just 20 yards away. This gives guests a head start on the crowds of tourists who flock there every evening to snap that perfect Instagram shot. Aside from sunset viewing, the village of Oia is awash with brilliant eateries. For budget-friendly fodder, PitoGyros Traditional Grill House is well renowned for selling the best gyros in Santorini. This place is no secret, though. There’s usually a queue to secure a table!
Prime Suites – Midrange option with shared hot tubs
Prime Suites is an affordable hotel to stay in Santorini. The hotel has a range of characterful, cave-style suites and studios. Located at the top of the cliff in Oia. And there are views to boot. The hotel’s private and shared terraces boast head-on panoramas of Oia’s blue-domed churches silhouetted against the expansive Aegean Sea behind. They’re all best enjoyed from the communally-accessible hot tubs in the hotel’s main outdoor area. While studios start at around $132 per night, guests who fancy paying a bit more can also opt for their own private hot tub.
Once they’ve explored the winding streets of Oia, guests at Prime Suites can take full advantage of the hotel’s in-house travel agency. That makes it a cinch to organize outings right across the island, from wine-tasting to diving trips to boat excursions across to the volcanic hot springs of Nea Kameni. The hotel also offers private airport transfers at an extra cost.
Anteliz Suites – The best caldera swimming pool
One way to supercharge your viewing of the caldera is to opt for a hotel that couples the panoramas with a swimming pool. Cue the Anteliz Suites. We’d say they have some of the very best pool options on the island. You will have to fork out a little more for one of the suites that have a dedicated swimming spot, but boy is it worth it! We’re talking perfectly crafted infinity pools that seem to merge seamlessly with the sky-blue Aegean that sloshes some 200 feet blow. You won’t want to leave.
If you can peel yourself away from the poolside, though, you’ll find that the buzz of the island capital of Fira is just on the doorstep. That’s brimming with souvenir stalls and tavernas, and is also the best-connected town of all, so you can launch expeditions to the east coast or nearby islands if you wish.
But back to the hotel itself. On top of the irresistible pools, guests here enjoy a sumptuous breakfast offering that includes crispy French croissants, fresh Greek citrus juices, and hand-cooked omelets. What’s more, the design brings in elements of the Cyclades islands and mixes that with touches of contemporary charm, creating a space that’s at once convenient and soothing throughout.
Suites of the Gods Cave Spa Hotel – For pampering
Looking to be pampered on your jaunt to the Greek islands? Why not combine those stunning caldera views with a fully-fledged spa facility? Cue the Suites of the Gods Cave Spa Hotel. With a name like that, you’d expect something pretty luxurious right? Right. The establishment does not disappoint. Claiming the full five stars, it’s opulent and classy from check in to check out.
Rooms run the gamut from junior suites to the Grand Maisonette. Not all have caldera views, but the pricier of the bunch mostly do, so be sure to check that when you book. All will get access to the on-site hotel spa, though. Head there to soak in Turkish steam rooms and saunas, or to opt for some bespoke massage and aromatherapy treatments.
Inside, the Suites of the Gods are generally spacious and airy affairs. They bring elements of Southeast Asian design – polished concrete, floating shelves – to bear on Cycladic traditionalism, so expect shell-inlaid bathrooms and white-painted walls alike. It’s all darn lovely to be perfectly honest.