HomeAway uses cookies to improve your site experience. Learn more. By continuing, you consent to our use of cookies.
HomeAway uses cookies to improve your site experience. Learn more. By continuing, you consent to our use of cookies.
Verified Review icon check navigate-up navigate-left navigate-right expand mail svg-lightning svg-24hr svg-house svg-sleeps svg-bedrooms svg-bathrooms svg-stay svg-toilet calendar svg-report-flag pet-dog svg-multiunit Default Owner Icon heart-filled

Santorini villas offer a slice of island paradise

An enchanting island paradise with an explosive past, Santorini is undoubtedly one of the Mediterranean’s most seductive islands

Forged of earth-shattering volcanic drama thousands of years ago, few places wear the mythos of their own formative history as explicitly as Santorini. And yet, for all the seismic tumult of its creation, a sense of soul-calming serenity now pervades the island, perhaps the best known of the Cyclades and a destination renowned for its stunning vistas and seductive, slow-paced Mediterranean atmosphere.

Santorini is essentially the remains of an enormous eruption that destroyed the volcanic Minoan island of Thera (‘Round Island’) in around 1628 BC. What remained after the eruption – one of the largest in recorded history - was no longer conventionally round; the core of the island collapsed into a caldera (a large volcanic crater), leaving a crescent of spectacular sheer cliffs behind.

Over the centuries, the aftershock of Santorini’s volcanic formation has gently matured into a stunning landscape of sheer, jutting cliffs decorated with a dazzling rainbow of volcanic rock and surrounded by the vivid cerulean blue waters of the Aegean sea.

Santorini villas – why rent?

There are many reasons why so many visitors to the Greek islands opt to rent a villa. For a start, all the islands, Santorini included, boast a wonderful choice of rental properties, ranging from well-located Santorini apartments in the heart of the island’s most appealing towns and villages, to expansive Santorini villas that offer a little slice of island paradise you can call your own for the duration of your stay.

Where to stay

What remains of Thera’s collapsed volcanic island is a rim of steep cliffs surrounding the caldera, essentially a vast rectangular lagoon. Several small islands form a fragmented periphery along the caldera’s western edge but the main island is to the east – this is where all Santorini’s main settlements and accommodation can be found.

When considering where to focus your search for Santorini villas, the first question you should ask yourself is whether you’d rather prioritise beach access or a stunning view across the caldera.

If you’re drawn to the former, two of Santorini’s most popular resorts, Kamari and Perissa – both situated on the east coast - stand out. Both villages offer long sandy beaches and an abundance of places to eat and drink. Once you get over the fact that the sand covering Santorini’s two most popular beaches is a few shades darker than you’re probably used to – a by-product of the island’s volcanic activity, you’ll discover warm, crystal clear waters, water sports and plenty of amenities.

The western rim of the island gazes down across the caldera from soaring, multi-coloured cliffs. It’s here that you’ll find the island’s most iconic views and Fira, its capital, arrayed precariously along the caldera edge. This beautiful, bustling village is a hive of stylish restaurants and bars, many of which offer soul stirring views across the caldera.

Further north is Oia, perhaps the island’s most picturesque village, which is going some considering the competition. Like Fira, Oia is perched on the cliff side overlooking the caldera and its exemplary whitewashed Cycladic architecture almost appears carved into the island’s steep volcanic rock face. Oia’s sunsets are legendary and its restaurants and accommodation largely cater to the luxury end of the market.

Set back slightly from the coastline, Pygos is no less magical. Thanks to its elevated position at the highest point of the island, Pyrgos – once a fortress settlement - offers breathtaking panoramic views across the whole island and an excellent choice of cafes and restaurants.

Food and drink in Santorini

For such a small island Santorini boasts a great choice of restaurants and bars, many of which offer stunning views across the caldera. The local cuisine makes good use of the island’s surprisingly fertile volcanic soil - delicious cherry tomatoes, uniquely sweet and juicy white aubergines and fresh seafood are the local specialities. Here’s our pick of the island’s gastronomic highlights:

  • Metaxy Mas (Exo Gonia)

One of Santorini’s best-loved restaurants, Metaxy Mas steers well clear of gimmicks and over-elaboration and delivers classic Cretan fare that perfectly matches the surroundings. The restaurant is housed in a classic rock-carved ‘yposkafo’, while the terrace offers fine views across Anafi. It’s a good idea to book ahead.

  • Selene (Pyrgos)

Perhaps Santorini’s most gastronomically sophisticated restaurant, Selene has elevated Cycladic cuisine to a new level of refinement – without trampling on the simplicity that defines it. Foodies on the lookout for a creative take on the local cuisine will find nowhere better on the island.

  • To Psaraki (Vlychada)

Widely regarded as the best seafood restaurant on Santorini, To Psaraki does an impeccable job of serving up the sort of dishes you really want to eat on a Greek Island holiday. Fresh fish dishes are accompanied by sensitively handled local ingredients and a gorgeous view across Vlychada’s picturesque quay.

  • Franco’s Bar (Fira)

This atmospheric Fira bar is probably the island’s most famous nightspot and there’s no denying that Franco’s delivers everything a discerning drinker might hope for from an enchanting Santorini evening. Offering an exceptional vantage point from which to take in a spectacular Santorini sunset, Franco’s soundtracks the view with stirring classical music and a fine local wine list.

Wineries

Wine has a long-established reputation as one of Santorini’s most revered local products. Over the centuries, the island’s unique volcanic terroir – known locally as ‘aspa’ – has proven to be an exceptionally fertile environment for the cultivation of vines and winemaking has thrived on the island since ancient times. This rich winemaking tradition remains a crucial part of Santorini’s identity, so much so that visitors can explore the local wine scene by stopping in at wineries and sampling their wares – rather like an Aegean Napa Valley.

  • Santo Wines (Pyrgos)

The largest winery on the island, Santo Wines showcases the modern face of Santorini’s wine industry and enjoys a spectacular cliff top vantage point – the perfect environment to sample some of the island’s finest wines at the end of an excellent winery tour.

  • Domaine Sigalas (Oia)

Open daily to the public for winery tours, Domaine Sigales is a fine example of Santorini winemaking that balances a respect for time honoured tradition with progressive technology and processes. The tasting room also happens to offer stunning sea views.

  • Gaia (Exo Gonia)

Housed in an ex-tomato cannery overlooking a dramatic black sand beach, Gaia Winery has brought new life to a relic of the island’s industrial past and now stands as a fine example of Santorini’s cutting edge approach to wine production.


Popular Destinations


Greece Favourites

Summer Destinations

Island Gems

Favorite
    Viewed 434 times in the last 48 hours
    Exceptional! 5/5
    (39 reviews)
    avg/night
    39
    Favorite
      Viewed 181 times in the last 48 hours
      Exceptional! 5/5
      (45 reviews)
      avg/night
      45
      Favorite
        Viewed 127 times in the last 48 hours
        Wonderful! 4.8/5
        (40 reviews)
        avg/night
        40
        Favorite
          Viewed 119 times in the last 48 hours
          Exceptional! 5/5
          (9 reviews)
          avg/night
          9
          Favorite
            Viewed 170 times in the last 48 hours
            Exceptional! 5/5
            (9 reviews)
            avg/night
            9
            Favorite
              Viewed 56 times in the last 48 hours
              Excellent! 4.7/5
              (24 reviews)
              avg/night
              24
              Favorite
                Viewed 75 times in the last 48 hours
                Excellent! 4.7/5
                (25 reviews)
                avg/night
                25
                Favorite
                  Viewed 88 times in the last 48 hours
                  Wonderful! 4.9/5
                  (24 reviews)
                  avg/night
                  24
                  Favorite
                    Viewed 142 times in the last 48 hours
                    Exceptional! 5/5
                    (9 reviews)
                    avg/night
                    9
                    Favorite
                      Viewed 121 times in the last 48 hours
                      Wonderful! 4.9/5
                      (25 reviews)
                      avg/night
                      25
                      Favorite
                        Viewed 49 times in the last 48 hours
                        Wonderful! 4.8/5
                        (10 reviews)
                        avg/night
                        10
                        Favorite
                          Viewed 69 times in the last 48 hours
                          Wonderful! 4.8/5
                          (6 reviews)
                          avg/night
                          6
                          Favorite
                            Viewed 120 times in the last 48 hours
                            Wonderful! 4.8/5
                            (12 reviews)
                            avg/night
                            12
                            Favorite
                              Viewed 84 times in the last 48 hours
                              avg/night
                              4
                              Favorite
                                Viewed 49 times in the last 48 hours
                                Wonderful! 4.9/5
                                (31 reviews)
                                avg/night
                                31
                                Favorite
                                  Viewed 32 times in the last 48 hours
                                  Excellent! 4.7/5
                                  (20 reviews)
                                  avg/night
                                  20
                                  Favorite
                                    Viewed 39 times in the last 48 hours
                                    Wonderful! 4.9/5
                                    (18 reviews)
                                    avg/night
                                    18
                                    Favorite
                                      Viewed 46 times in the last 48 hours
                                      Exceptional! 5/5
                                      (24 reviews)
                                      avg/night
                                      24
                                      Favorite
                                        Viewed 93 times in the last 48 hours
                                        Exceptional! 5/5
                                        (20 reviews)
                                        avg/night
                                        20
                                        Favorite
                                          Viewed 25 times in the last 48 hours
                                          Exceptional! 5/5
                                          (12 reviews)
                                          avg/night
                                          12
                                          Favorite
                                            Viewed 134 times in the last 48 hours
                                            avg/night
                                            3
                                            Favorite
                                              Viewed 48 times in the last 48 hours
                                              Wonderful! 4.8/5
                                              (25 reviews)
                                              avg/night
                                              25
                                              Favorite
                                                Viewed 74 times in the last 48 hours
                                                Exceptional! 5/5
                                                (6 reviews)
                                                avg/night
                                                6
                                                Favorite
                                                  Viewed 51 times in the last 48 hours
                                                  Wonderful! 4.8/5
                                                  (6 reviews)
                                                  avg/night
                                                  6
                                                  Favorite
                                                    Viewed 62 times in the last 48 hours
                                                    Wonderful! 4.9/5
                                                    (32 reviews)
                                                    avg/night
                                                    32
                                                    Favorite
                                                      Viewed 62 times in the last 48 hours
                                                      Exceptional! 5/5
                                                      (9 reviews)
                                                      avg/night
                                                      9
                                                      Favorite
                                                        Viewed 45 times in the last 48 hours
                                                        Wonderful! 4.8/5
                                                        (31 reviews)
                                                        avg/night
                                                        31
                                                        Favorite
                                                          Viewed 61 times in the last 48 hours
                                                          Exceptional! 5/5
                                                          (20 reviews)
                                                          avg/night
                                                          20
                                                          Favorite
                                                            Viewed 99 times in the last 48 hours
                                                            Excellent! 4.6/5
                                                            (18 reviews)
                                                            avg/night
                                                            18
                                                            Favorite
                                                              Viewed 44 times in the last 48 hours
                                                              Exceptional! 5/5
                                                              (5 reviews)
                                                              avg/night
                                                              5
                                                              Favorite
                                                                Viewed 35 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                Exceptional! 5/5
                                                                (11 reviews)
                                                                avg/night
                                                                11
                                                                Favorite
                                                                  Viewed 147 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                  Wonderful! 4.9/5
                                                                  (34 reviews)
                                                                  avg/night
                                                                  34
                                                                  Favorite
                                                                    Viewed 74 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                    Exceptional! 5/5
                                                                    (28 reviews)
                                                                    avg/night
                                                                    28
                                                                    Favorite
                                                                      Viewed 65 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                      Exceptional! 5/5
                                                                      (8 reviews)
                                                                      avg/night
                                                                      8
                                                                      Favorite
                                                                        Viewed 35 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                        Exceptional! 5/5
                                                                        (5 reviews)
                                                                        avg/night
                                                                        5
                                                                        Favorite
                                                                          Viewed 114 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                          avg/night
                                                                          3
                                                                          Favorite
                                                                            Viewed 44 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                            avg/night
                                                                            4
                                                                            Favorite
                                                                              Viewed 39 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                              Exceptional! 5/5
                                                                              (13 reviews)
                                                                              avg/night
                                                                              13
                                                                              Favorite
                                                                                Viewed 78 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                Exceptional! 5/5
                                                                                (13 reviews)
                                                                                avg/night
                                                                                13
                                                                                Favorite
                                                                                  Viewed 31 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                  avg/night
                                                                                  4
                                                                                  Favorite
                                                                                    Viewed 30 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                    avg/night
                                                                                    2
                                                                                    Favorite
                                                                                      Viewed 50 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                      Exceptional! 5/5
                                                                                      (18 reviews)
                                                                                      avg/night
                                                                                      18
                                                                                      Favorite
                                                                                        Viewed 73 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                        Exceptional! 5/5
                                                                                        (23 reviews)
                                                                                        avg/night
                                                                                        23
                                                                                        Favorite
                                                                                          Viewed 77 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                          Wonderful! 4.8/5
                                                                                          (6 reviews)
                                                                                          avg/night
                                                                                          6
                                                                                          Favorite
                                                                                            Viewed 27 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                            avg/night
                                                                                            0
                                                                                            Favorite
                                                                                              Viewed 82 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                              Wonderful! 4.8/5
                                                                                              (26 reviews)
                                                                                              avg/night
                                                                                              26
                                                                                              Favorite
                                                                                                Viewed 35 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                                Excellent! 4.3/5
                                                                                                (9 reviews)
                                                                                                avg/night
                                                                                                9
                                                                                                Favorite
                                                                                                  Viewed 87 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                                  Exceptional! 5/5
                                                                                                  (7 reviews)
                                                                                                  avg/night
                                                                                                  7
                                                                                                  Favorite
                                                                                                    Viewed 66 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                                    Exceptional! 5/5
                                                                                                    (19 reviews)
                                                                                                    avg/night
                                                                                                    19
                                                                                                    Favorite
                                                                                                      Viewed 22 times in the last 48 hours
                                                                                                      avg/night
                                                                                                      1
                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      Recent Reviews

                                                                                                      Peaceful location

                                                                                                      4 of 5
                                                                                                      Great location with lovely views of the fishing harbour, nice and clean apartments, got the sun in the morning on the balcony, which was great fro watching the sunrise at 6am, worth getting up for. There is another seating area out of the front door, which we used for a morning cup of tea in the shade and in the late afternoon for some sunshine. The apartments had everything you need for cooking, which we didn't do! a washing machine and a good fridge freezer. There is a television in the lounge and the bedroom but we don't tend to watch it on holiday. It would have been good to have some more comfortable seating on the balcony as the recliner chairs although comfy meant you could only see the wall when you were in them. Savina was great from the welcome to when we left, she is so lovely. Monolothis is very quiet at night, 3 restaurants, we tried them all, the village taverna serves very simple food which is good but they do not seem to be very welcoming to tourists, we went there twice, captains is good went there 3 times, and went twice to the Italian, it was ok for a pizza, the café is good for a cheap snack and a frappe or beer. The beaches are great something for everyone, a quite beach to the right of the apartment with very shallow water ideal for small children. The main beach is big with gently shelving sand and the far beach is good for big waves and windsurfing. We found it very windy in Monolithos the sand does get blown about and some nights were chilly, bring some cardigans and long trousers for the evenings. The bus service is good to Fira where you can then catch a bus to other parts of the island, the last bus back is 9pm. We hired a quad bike for more freedom, there are bike and car hire places in Kamira, the next place along or Fira if going there by bus, some firms will deliver to the apartment
                                                                                                      • Review Submitted: Jul 23, 2017
                                                                                                      • Date of Stay: Jul 2017

                                                                                                      Fantastic property with super views over Santorini...lovely decor...clean & all mod con

                                                                                                      5 of 5
                                                                                                      Pyrgos is a beautiful mountain village with great views of Santorini. Lovely narrow streets with quintessential Santorini buildings. Great restaurants with amazing views & not as busy as other towns such as Fira or Oia. Great to use as a base.
                                                                                                      • Review Submitted: Jul 22, 2017
                                                                                                      • Date of Stay: Jul 2017