The Greek island is the world’s undisputed champion of sunset spying – and also home to some seriously stylish Santorini hotels (from which to watch the sun go down, obviously).
BEST HOTELS IN SANTORINI
The Cyclades may span hundreds of different islands, but few get more footfall than Santorini and Mykonos, and with just one glimpse of Santorini’s famous volcanic caldera from along its croissant-shaped coastline, it won’t take you long to see why. Whitewashed, cave-like suites are the standard here, but the island also has some more colourful hotels, many of which still focus, unsurprisingly, on sourcing the prime position for sunset.
Andronis Arcadia at the northern tip of the island has individual, plunge-pool-enhanced suites, for straight-to-your-terrace sunset perfection – along with an amazing sushi bar for poolside lunches that beat a club sandwich.
Down at the black-sand shores of Perivolos, Istoria tells a tale with former-stable suites, a creative restaurant and the beach (and beach clubs) on your doorstep.
The cruise liners may drop anchor for a certain time of day, but the island has plenty to keep its many visitors entertained while the sun’s up, too: there’s the archaeological site of Akrotiri, the caldera-edge town of Oia for blue-dome-church hunting and volcanic beaches.
Here's our list of the best hotels in Santorini for 2022 – enjoy!
On Santorini’s sunset-ready northernmost tip, Andronis Arcadia gives guests exclusive access to the dazzling nightly show that the coach-loads are lined up outside to catch – with a private terrace and plunge pool to make it even better.
Laid-back lunches of intricate sushi and gourmet burgers are served poolside and in the restaurant, or you can splash out on a fine-dining meal at Opson (with the sky still lit up from the fiery sunset), which has a resident culinary archaeologist spilling the beans on the dining habits of the Ancient Greeks. The spa has a sea-facing hammock, complete with billowy curtains, to snooze in post-treatment.
A 12-room boutique hotel on the black-sand shores of Perivolos Beach and far from the Oia crowds, Istoria is the former holiday home of a Greek expat who lived in Italy, but came back to Santorini every summer, with her horses in tow (hence the stable suites and riding crops).
At the Mr E restaurant, Greek classics are given a modern twist (hello, prawn saganaki) – or head down to the strip of bars and beach clubs a short walk away. Istoria’s sister properties are Mystique up in Oia and Vedema in Megalochori, and a handy shuttle runs between all three, so you can enjoy the best of every setting.
Calling all fans of classic Cycladic architecture: Ikies, whose curving whitewashed buildings are stacked up a cliff-edge, is the Santorini stay for you. The small-scale boutique hotel is on the edge of the village of Oia, with views of the caldera and neighbouring islands served straight to your terrace.
Rooms include maisonettes, studios and, of course, honeymoon suites – and with romance levels this far off the chart, any newlyweds are in for a treat. The cliffs of Oia are piled up with traditional white-and-blue houses that look out across the caldera, all adding to those amazing views.
In the village of Tholos, a few hundred metres away from Oia, Myst gives its guests the best of both worlds: proximity to Oia and its blue-domed churches, and the serenity that comes with being a little away from the action. This extends to sundown, when Oia gets even more crowded than usual and Myst guests enjoy a similar view, delivered direct to their private veranda.
Bright whitewashed cubes form the classic Cycladic architecture, which makes the blues of the sea and sky even more mesmerising. Breakfasts of pastries baked on-site, local cheese and organic omelettes with vegetables straight from the garden set the culinary tone from the Fat Duck-trained chef.
Down the coast from Oia in Imerovigli, Dreams Luxury Suites is another for the Cycladic-architecture fans: cave-like suites with curved ceilings, whitewashed arches, cliff-edge pools and precarious staircases. Every room overlooks the caldera, with freshwater plunge pools or Jacuzzis, lantern-lit patios and beach bags helpfully already stocked with towels.
In the unlikely event you tire of that view, the concierge can arrange wine tastings of Santorini’s finest, diving, horse-riding and sailing trips – or follow the cliff path all the way to Fira, the island’s capital, in one direction, and towards Oia in the other.