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Where To Stay In Santorini: Oia Or Imerovigli?


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Debra Jablonski



Santorini, a breathtaking Greek island in the Aegean Sea, is known for its stunning sunsets, pristine beaches, and enchanting white-washed buildings. When planning a trip to Santorini, choosing the right location to stay is crucial in ensuring a memorable and enjoyable experience. Two popular villages, Oia and Imerovigli, often emerge as top contenders for accommodation options.


Oia, located on the northern tip of the island, is famous for its iconic blue-domed churches, winding cobblestone streets, and unparalleled views of the caldera. On the other hand, Imerovigli, often called the “balcony of Santorini,” offers a more serene and picturesque atmosphere, boasting breathtaking vistas and a sense of tranquility.


Whether you’re seeking a lively and bustling village or a peaceful and romantic getaway, both Oia and Imerovigli have their unique charm and attractions. In this article, we will delve into the key features of each village, including accommodation options, stunning views, dining experiences, transportation accessibility, and prices, to help you decide which village is the perfect fit for your Santorini stay.


Location Overview

Before diving into the specifics of Oia and Imerovigli, let’s take a moment to appreciate the location and beauty of Santorini as a whole. This stunning island is part of the Cyclades group in Greece and is characterized by its volcanic landscape, formed by a massive eruption thousands of years ago.


Santorini is renowned for its unique crescent shape, with the caldera, a large volcanic crater, dominating the western side. The cliffside villages, built on the rim of the caldera, provide unparalleled panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and nearby islands.


When it comes to choosing between staying in Oia or Imerovigli, it’s important to consider the overall location and what each village has to offer. Oia, located at the northernmost point of the island, is about 11 kilometers away from the capital, Fira. Imerovigli, situated in the middle of the caldera, is approximately 3 kilometers away from Fira.


Both villages are easily accessible by car, bus, or taxi from the island’s major port, Athinios, and the airport. Public transportation, including buses and taxis, is readily available and allows for convenient exploration of the island.


Now, let’s delve deeper into the unique characteristics of Oia and Imerovigli to help you make an informed decision on where to stay during your Santorini getaway.


Oia: The Iconic Santorini Village

Oia, often considered the crown jewel of Santorini, is a picturesque village that exudes charm, elegance, and romance. With its stunning white-washed buildings, cobblestone streets, and blue-domed churches, Oia offers a quintessential Santorini experience.


One of the main draws of Oia is its breathtaking views of the caldera. From the village, visitors can witness the mesmerizing sight of the sun setting over the Aegean Sea, casting a golden glow on the entire landscape. This magical moment has made Oia a popular spot for honeymooners and couples seeking a romantic getaway.


In addition to its stunning vistas, Oia boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene. The village is home to numerous art galleries and boutique shops, where you can discover unique pieces of local craftsmanship and souvenirs. Exploring the narrow streets of Oia is like stepping back in time, with every corner offering a new photo opportunity.


When it comes to dining and entertainment, Oia has an array of options to satisfy every palate. From traditional Greek tavernas serving authentic local cuisine to upscale restaurants offering gourmet dining experiences, there is something to suit all tastes. Enjoy a leisurely meal while taking in the breathtaking views of the caldera, or sip on a refreshing cocktail at one of the many stylish rooftop bars.


Accommodation in Oia is diverse and caters to different budgets and preferences. From luxurious boutique hotels nestled into the cliffs with private infinity pools to charming guesthouses that showcase traditional Santorinian architecture, there is something for everyone. Keep in mind that due to its popularity, Oia tends to be more expensive compared to other areas of Santorini, so be prepared to allocate a higher budget for your stay.


Whether you spend your days exploring the vibrant streets of Oia, lounging on the inviting black sand beaches nearby, or simply immersing yourself in the postcard-perfect surroundings, this iconic Santorini village will leave you with unforgettable memories.


Imerovigli: The Serene Santorini Village

Tucked away on the cliffs above the caldera, Imerovigli offers a tranquil and serene escape from the bustling crowds. Known as the “balcony of Santorini,” this charming village is often considered the perfect spot for those seeking peace, quiet, and stunning panoramic views.


One of the highlights of Imerovigli is its breathtaking vistas. With its elevated position, the village offers unobstructed views of the caldera, the Aegean Sea, and the surrounding islands. Enjoy the tranquility as you gaze upon the sparkling blue waters and the volcanic cliffs, a sight that seems straight out of a postcard.


While Imerovigli may not have the same crowded streets and bustling atmosphere as Oia, it still offers a range of accommodation options for visitors. From luxurious boutique hotels with private terraces and infinity pools to cozy guesthouses with traditional Cycladic architecture, there are plenty of choices to suit different budgets and preferences.


When it comes to dining, Imerovigli offers a more laid-back and intimate experience. Discover local tavernas serving delicious Greek cuisine with a focus on fresh seafood and local ingredients. Experience the warm Greek hospitality as you indulge in a leisurely meal with a backdrop of breathtaking views. If you’re looking for a romantic evening, many restaurants in Imerovigli offer candlelit dinners on their outdoor terraces, providing an intimate and unforgettable experience.


In terms of entertainment, Imerovigli is a peaceful village, perfect for those wishing to unwind and relax. Spend your days lounging by the pool, enjoying spa treatments, or simply taking leisurely walks along the cliffside paths. For a touch of adventure, you can also explore the nearby hiking trails that lead to Skaros, a historic rock formation that offers panoramic views of the island.


Accessibility to other parts of the island is relatively easy from Imerovigli. The village is well-connected by public transportation, making it convenient to explore other popular locations such as Fira, Oia, and the beautiful beaches along the coast. Taxis and rental cars are also readily available for those who prefer more flexibility in their transportation.


If you’re seeking a peaceful and idyllic retreat with awe-inspiring views, Imerovigli is the perfect village to relax and recharge during your Santorini vacation.


Comparison of Accommodation Options

When it comes to choosing between Oia and Imerovigli, one of the key factors to consider is the accommodation options available in each village. Both Oia and Imerovigli offer a range of choices, from luxury hotels to cozy guesthouses, each with its own unique appeal.


In Oia, you’ll find a plethora of luxurious boutique hotels perched on the cliffs, many of which offer stunning infinity pools and private terraces with unparalleled views of the caldera. These hotels often feature lavish amenities, such as spas, fine dining restaurants, and personalized services, ensuring a truly indulgent and pampering experience. Keep in mind that the luxurious accommodations in Oia tend to come with a higher price tag.


If you’re looking for a more affordable option in Oia, there are also charming guesthouses and small hotels scattered throughout the village. These accommodations often showcase traditional Santorinian architecture, with whitewashed walls and charming courtyards. While they may not offer the same level of luxury as the high-end hotels, they provide a cozy and authentic experience.


In Imerovigli, the accommodation options lean towards a more serene and tranquil atmosphere. The village offers a mix of luxury hotels and boutique guesthouses nestled into the cliffs, providing a sense of privacy and seclusion. These accommodations often blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings, allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the beauty of the caldera and the Aegean Sea.


Imerovigli also offers more budget-friendly options, including family-run guesthouses and cozy apartments. While these accommodations may not have the same lavish amenities as the luxury hotels, they still provide comfort and convenience, often with stunning views and warm hospitality.


Ultimately, your choice of accommodation will depend on your budget, preferences, and desired level of luxury. If you’re looking for a glamorous and luxurious experience, Oia offers a plethora of high-end options. On the other hand, if you prefer a more serene and intimate atmosphere, with a range of budget-friendly choices, Imerovigli may be the better fit.


Regardless of where you choose to stay, both Oia and Imerovigli offer unforgettable opportunities to wake up to breathtaking views, immerse yourself in the rich culture of Santorini, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Spectacular Views

When it comes to breathtaking views, both Oia and Imerovigli have something truly special to offer. These villages are perched on the cliffs of the caldera, providing unparalleled vistas of the deep blue Aegean Sea and the volcanic landscape.


In Oia, you’ll be treated to some of the most iconic and Instagram-worthy views in Santorini. The village’s position on the northern tip of the island offers unobstructed panoramic views of the caldera, earning it a reputation as one of the most picturesque spots in Santorini. Oia’s narrow winding streets are lined with white-washed buildings and blue-domed churches, creating a striking contrast against the deep blue sea. As evening approaches, the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant hues, with the sun setting over the horizon, casting a mesmerizing golden glow over the entire landscape.


Imerovigli, often referred to as the “balcony of Santorini,” also boasts stunning panoramic views. The village’s elevated location provides a bird’s-eye view of the caldera, creating a sense of serenity and tranquility. From Imerovigli, you can witness the interplay of light and shadow as the sun casts its rays on the volcanic cliffs and the sparkling sea below. The vistas from Imerovigli are equally captivating, offering a different perspective of the caldera and the surrounding islands.


Whether you choose to stay in Oia or Imerovigli, you’ll have the opportunity to wake up to breathtaking views from your accommodation. Many hotels and guesthouses in both villages offer private balconies or terraces, allowing you to savor the beauty of Santorini right from your doorstep. Imagine enjoying a cup of coffee or a glass of wine as you watch the sunrise or sunset over the enchanting caldera.


During your stay, make sure to take advantage of the numerous viewpoints and scenic spots in both Oia and Imerovigli. Whether it’s the famous Oia Castle or the Skaros Rock in Imerovigli, these vantage points offer uninterrupted panoramas that will leave you in awe of Mother Nature’s masterpiece.


Whichever village you choose, one thing is certain – the spectacular views of Santorini will leave an indelible imprint on your memories, ensuring a truly unforgettable experience.


Dining and Entertainment

When it comes to dining and entertainment, both Oia and Imerovigli offer a delightful array of options to satisfy your palate and keep you entertained during your stay in Santorini.


Oia, with its bustling streets and picturesque ambiance, is known for its vibrant dining scene. The village is home to numerous restaurants, tavernas, and cafes that cater to a variety of tastes and budgets. Indulge in authentic Greek cuisine and savor traditional dishes such as moussaka, souvlaki, and fresh seafood. Many restaurants in Oia offer dining terraces with panoramic views of the caldera, allowing you to enjoy a meal while soaking in the breathtaking surroundings. The village is also renowned for its rooftop bars and lounges, where you can unwind with a cocktail or a glass of local Santorinian wine as you take in the dazzling sunset.


Imerovigli, with its serene and tranquil atmosphere, offers a more intimate and laid-back dining experience. The village is home to a selection of tavernas and restaurants that specialize in local cuisine. From fresh seafood delicacies to traditional Greek dishes, you can expect a range of flavorful options to tantalize your taste buds. Many restaurants in Imerovigli offer outdoor seating with stunning views of the caldera, creating the perfect backdrop for a romantic dinner or a relaxed evening with loved ones.


In terms of entertainment, both villages offer charming experiences that reflect the unique character of Santorini. In Oia, you can wander through the narrow streets lined with boutiques, art galleries, and souvenir shops. Discover local craftsmanship, unique artwork, and beautiful handmade jewelry as you explore the vibrant cultural scene of the village. Don’t forget to visit the Oia Castle, a popular spot for watching the sunset and taking memorable photographs.


In Imerovigli, you can immerse yourself in the calming ambiance of the village. Take leisurely walks along the cliffside paths, breathing in the fresh sea air and admiring the stunning views. For those seeking a touch of adventure, hike to Skaros Rock, a historic rock formation that offers panoramic views of the island. The tranquility of Imerovigli ensures that you can relax and unwind during your stay.


Both Oia and Imerovigli also offer easy access to other parts of Santorini, allowing you to explore the vibrant nightlife, lively bars, and clubs in Fira, the capital of the island.


Overall, whether you’re seeking a vibrant dining scene or a more intimate and tranquil setting, both Oia and Imerovigli offer a variety of dining and entertainment options that will leave you satisfied and entertained throughout your Santorini adventure.


Accessibility and Transportation

When it comes to accessibility and transportation, both Oia and Imerovigli provide convenient options for getting around Santorini and exploring the island.


Oia, located at the northern tip of Santorini, is approximately 11 kilometers away from Fira, the capital of the island. One popular way to reach Oia is by taking a taxi or a private transfer from the airport or the port of Athinios. The village is also well-connected to Fira and other parts of Santorini via a reliable bus service. Buses run frequently, offering a cost-effective and convenient transportation option for exploring the island. In addition, car rentals and ATV rentals are available in Oia, providing flexibility and freedom to explore at your own pace.


Imerovigli, situated in the middle of the caldera, is approximately 3 kilometers from Fira. Like Oia, Imerovigli can be reached by taxi or private transfer from the airport or the port. The village is also easily accessible by bus from Fira and other parts of Santorini. Buses run regularly, allowing you to explore the island’s attractions and neighboring villages. Renting a car or an ATV in Imerovigli is also a viable option for those who prefer independent transportation.


Both Oia and Imerovigli have well-developed walking paths that connect them to neighboring villages. For those who enjoy walking, taking a leisurely stroll along the cliffside paths can be an enjoyable way to explore the stunning landscape of Santorini.


If you’re planning to visit other popular destinations on the island, such as the Red Beach, the ancient ruins of Akrotiri, or the volcanic hot springs, transportation options are readily available from both Oia and Imerovigli. Numerous tour operators offer organized excursions and boat tours that provide convenient transportation and guided experiences.


It’s important to note that during peak tourist season, the roads and parking areas in both Oia and Imerovigli can become crowded, so it’s advisable to plan your transportation and parking arrangements in advance.


In terms of accessibility for individuals with mobility challenges, it’s worth noting that both Oia and Imerovigli have steep sloping terrain with steps and cobblestone streets. While efforts have been made to improve accessibility in some areas, it’s advisable to check with your accommodation or transportation provider beforehand to ensure that your specific needs can be accommodated.


Regardless of which village you choose, you can expect convenient transportation options and accessibility within and beyond Oia and Imerovigli, making it easy to explore and enjoy the beauty of Santorini.


Prices and Budget Considerations

When it comes to choosing between Oia and Imerovigli, it’s important to consider the prices and budget considerations associated with each village. Both destinations offer a range of accommodation options and experiences that cater to different budgets.


Oia, with its iconic reputation and stunning views, tends to be one of the more expensive areas to stay in Santorini. The luxurious boutique hotels and high-end resorts that dot the cliffs of Oia often come with a higher price tag. These accommodations offer lavish amenities such as private infinity pools, breathtaking views, and personalized services. However, if you’re on a tighter budget, there are more affordable options in Oia, such as guesthouses and small hotels, though they may not provide the same level of luxury as the high-end establishments.


Imerovigli, on the other hand, offers a more serene and intimate atmosphere with a range of accommodation options that suit various budgets. The luxury hotels in Imerovigli often provide a sense of exclusivity and privacy, but there are also budget-friendly guesthouses and apartments available. These accommodations may not have the same high-end amenities as their Oia counterparts, but they still offer comfort, stunning views, and warm hospitality at a more affordable price point.


It’s worth noting that the prices of dining and entertainment options can also vary between Oia and Imerovigli. Oia’s vibrant dining scene offers a wide range of culinary experiences, from traditional tavernas to upscale restaurants, which can come with a higher price tag. In contrast, dining in Imerovigli tends to be more laid-back and intimate, with a focus on local cuisine. While prices can still vary depending on the establishment, there are often more budget-friendly options available in Imerovigli.


When planning your budget for a stay in Santorini, it’s essential to take into account not only the accommodation and dining expenses but also transportation costs to and from the island, as well as any additional activities or excursions you plan to undertake. It is advisable to research and compare prices, read reviews, and consider the overall value and experience that each village offers within your budget constraints.


Ultimately, whether you choose Oia or Imerovigli, Santorini offers a wide range of options to suit different budgets and preferences. With careful planning and consideration, you can enjoy a memorable and fulfilling Santorini experience that aligns with your budgetary needs.



Choosing between Oia and Imerovigli for your stay in Santorini can be a delightful dilemma. Both villages offer unique experiences and captivating beauty that will leave you enchanted. Whether you seek the iconic charm and vibrant energy of Oia or the serene tranquility of Imerovigli, Santorini has something to offer for every traveler.


Oia, with its iconic blue-domed churches and breathtaking sunsets, is the epitome of the postcard-perfect Santorini village. It boasts a vibrant arts and culture scene, luxurious accommodation options, and a bustling dining and entertainment scene. If you’re looking for a picturesque setting with visual delights at every corner and a lively atmosphere, Oia will not disappoint.


On the other hand, Imerovigli is the perfect escape for those seeking serenity and relaxation. Boasting panoramic views, intimate dining experiences, and a tranquil ambiance, Imerovigli offers a peaceful retreat. With its more affordable accommodation options, it caters to various budgets without compromising on the breathtaking beauty that Santorini is known for.


When making your decision, consider factors such as the views you wish to wake up to, your dining preferences, accessibility and transportation, and your budget constraints. Take into account the atmosphere and activities that align with your travel aspirations to ensure a fulfilling and unforgettable Santorini experience.


Whatever village you choose, Santorini’s stunning landscapes, charming architecture, and warm Greek hospitality will leave you with lasting memories. Whether you find yourself captivated by the picturesque streets of Oia or immersed in the peaceful serenity of Imerovigli, Santorini offers a destination that transcends expectation.


Ultimately, your choice between Oia and Imerovigli is a matter of personal preference. Whichever village you choose, let the enchanting beauty of Santorini guide you to a memorable and extraordinary getaway.