iStock International
Santorini presents to two completely different faces: The more upscale west coast, with dramatic cliff-top villages Thira and Oia overlooking the caldera, and the cheaper east coast, home to black-sand beaches and low-rise package resorts such as Kamari and Perissa. While the west is more suited to couples, the east caters to families.

Santorini Cities and Regions


Santorini’s capital, Thira (Fira), is a huddle of whitewashed cubic buildings perched on the cliffs, 1,000 feet above the caldera. Its pedestrian-only streets are packed with hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops. A cable car runs up from the sea – alternatively, you can hike or take a mule ride up the 580 steps.


North of Thira, also overlooking the caldera, Oia is Greece’s most photographed village. Characterized by its whitewashed cubic buildings and blue-domed churches, it’s also Santorini’s most upscale retreat – luxurious boutique hotels, gourmet eateries, and unforgettable sunsets.


Santorini’s biggest package tour destination, Kamari is an inexpensive beach resort on the east coast. Popular with families, its black-sand-and-pebble beach is overlooked by a string of tavernas, cafes, and souvenir shops, and hosts pedal boats, banana boat rides, and jet skis.


Separated from Kamari by a rocky headland, low-cost Perissa is popular with younger travelers. Backed by tamarisk trees, its soft black sands host sun beds and straw umbrellas, and merge into neighboring Perivolos to form a four-mile, southeast-facing beach protected from the powerful meltemi wind, which blows through the Cyclades in July and August.


Akrotiri is best known for its Minoan settlement, which was buried below lava some 3,600 years ago before excavation in the 20th century. The modern cliff-top village affords splendid views across the caldera. On the southwest coast below Akrotiri, Kokkini Paralia (Red Beach) is composed of terracotta pebbles backed by red lava cliffs.


Composed of traditional Cycladic houses built around the ruins of a Venetian-era hilltop castle, Pyrgos was Santorini’s capital until 1800. It lies midway between Athinios port on the west coast and Kamari on the east coast, affording fine views over the entire island.

Compare Rates to Santorini

Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals

Tell Us Your Preferences

To help us understand your travel preferences, please select from the following categories

Check all that apply
Oops, something went wrong.
No Thanks