26 November 2015

Island Hideaway | Why You Should Stay in Santorini's Akrotiri Instead of Oia

Picturesque sunset views overlooking Nea Kameni, Santorini’s dormant volcano. Pitapat of feet edging towards the island's cliff sides in search of the best spots to watch as the sun descend into the Aegean Sea. And the sun sets, blue hour draws in as the lights on the island start to flicker on. I am sure you have all seen pictures of Santorini's town of Oia, with people enticing you to go and see the sunset there. Or drool-worthy Instagram shots of pools with views of the volcano. Well, as small as Santorini is, there is more to it than just Oia. Last week I shared with you a post on my explorations of Santorini by beach-hopping on a Catamaran that saw us sailing around the Greek island.

During my visit this summer, we managed to explore the little island back to back and around it, including sailing around it. Having been to Oia and Fira I was  glad we managed to book a place away from Oia and the crowds. From my point of view, most hotels lacked a little privacy as hordes of tourists  busy looking over the hotel balconies and pool areas, while I am sure those guests where trying to relax, no doubt.

The streets also don’t seem to sleep so if your hotel is near the foot paths then that is just something you will have to deal with. I am not saying that you cannot find places in Oia that are away from the crowds but you will either have to pay a premium or be lacking in views and I wanted both the views and peace and quiet with my rest and relaxation on the Island. I found it too! In Akrotiri. Akrotiri sits directly opposite Oia.(Santorini is kind of shaped like a ‘C’ or half-moon crescent. The tips you could say is where the two towns sit.) I booked my sisters and I a place with views of the volcano, Oia, Thira, and we had views of either side of the seas on the island which was a plus!

So, Why Stay in Akrotiri?

So, Why stay in Akrotiri? Proximity to the beaches(Check out my guide to Santorini’s Best beaches – majority are near Akrotiri), less crowded spots for breath taking sunsets, restaurants that are an arm's length to the rolling small waves of the island's shoreline.  Oh and my favorite part; the total privacy of hotel accommodations without tourists peering through from the top of the cliff. You can come out and see the sun rising from your own private balcony without the possibility of photo-bombing some tourist take their self-stick for a spin. Lounge by the pool without hearing 100s of tourists that will pass your hotel entrance before the last call for breakfast.

Of course, you can stay in Oia. I would only recommend Oia if only you have a very short stay on the island. If staying longer than say 3-4 days then consider other parts of the Island which have more of a relaxed pace. One being Akrotiri. Perissa is also another place you can consider but its more of a backpacker scene or somewhere to hang out during the day as the beaches there are just stunning.


The hotel you stayed at Sigal Villa in Akrotiri which we booked via Booking.com. Spacious apartments with private terraces and sea views. What more can one ask for? Perfect for watching the sunrise from your room with a cup of tea early in the morning.

See & Do : Getting around the island

While on the island you can either rent the quads that are around 20-40 Euros a day per bike, but if there is more than 2 of you then I would recommend you just rent a car. They are not expensive at all plus you have more freedom to explore without having to think about returning the bikes daily and worrying about how to get back to your hotel after you drop them off. Most of the roads don't have names yet as the island is constantly being developed. Most places you will find that you are directed via the landmarks nearby, rather than the name of the road.

What else is there to do, Akrotiri also has the blue dome churches and the plus side of staying here is being close to many of Santorini's best beaches. Check out Perissa beach or red beach. Some of which are lined with restaurants. Some don't have many amenities near so you will have to take all you will need with you, including food and drink. For more details on beaches in Santorini.  Check out my post on Santorini's best beaches. With lots of sunset viewing spots in Akrotiri, you won't have to fight over space like you will find in Oia.

Another activity to add to your explorations of the idea is the Akrotiri Archaeological Site. If you have an interest in prehistoric settlements of the Aegean then this is a must see. It's really well preserved and a nice way to spend the afternoon.


Dine at The Cave of Nicolas. The restaurant is right on the shores of the beach. Close enough to hear the small waves beat at the shoreline. Also in close proximity to Red Beach. There are more dining option so check out Perissa beach promenade which lined with restaurants.

Above image by: Cave of Nicolas

So have you been to Santorini yet and have you heard of Akrotiri?

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  1. Going to Santorini is my dream! I am hoping to do a Greek island hoping trip next year.

    1. You definitely should. I have a few more to add to my list for next year. Santorini is absolutely stunning.

  2. Never been to Santorini, but did get married in Rhodes, which was equally stunning. The blue skies in these images have me longing to get somewhere warmer.

    1. Rhodes in on my list for next year so I will see if I can explore the Greek island next year.

  3. OMG what a beautiful place to stay! The views alone make me want to go there!

    1. You should definitely visit. Sanotirini is such a stunning little island to just chill out.