Fira Versus Oia In Santorini, Greece
Traveling to Santorini, but having a hard time deciding where to stay? Don’t overlook choosing a hotel in Fira! This small, neighborhood town is less than 20 minutes away from Oai and accommodations are significantly cheaper! Fira is the Capital of Santorini and located on the west side of the island just a few miles away from Oai. Both Fira and Oia have equal views of the caldera (volcanic feature formed by the collapse the volcano) with different perspectives. If you’re visiting Santorini on a budget, Fira and the surrounding towns are the most affordable for accommodations. Over the past few years, I’ve been lucky enough to visit Santorini twice and during both vacations I stayed in Fira and a little beyond in a town called Messaria. Even though Fira can get busy during high season, the town has surrounding areas that feel residential. Below are my top 3 reasons to stay in a hotel in Fira instead of Oia:
Staying In Fira, Santorini
Most of the hotels, Airbnbs, and bed & breakfasts in Fira and beyond the town are reasonably priced with generous hospitality. Even though Oia is stunning and cliff side, most hotels/Airbnbs in that area start at $300 per night and upwards. Not only that, if you’re staying cliff side, the trek to get your luggage to your room from the street looks exhausting! While walking around Oia, I saw several couples uncomfortably dragging their luggage up and down cobblestone stairs in search of their Airbnb! Staying in a less dense area in Fira while vacationing in Santorini enables a convenient hotel check in and out process.
Below are two bed & breakfasts I’ve stayed at in both Fira and Messaria. One I booked through Airbnb and stayed at with my mom and the other I booked through Expedia and stay with my husband.
Cost Effective Hotels In Fira
Olympic Hotel – $140 per night | Includes Breakfast
- Small boutique hotel in Messaria, a town just 10 minutes south of Fira
- 6 minutes away the Santorini Airport and 15 minutes from the ferry port
- Directly across from a huge, American sized, grocery store
- Very close to the bus stop to transfer to Fira then to Oia
- Delicious local surrounding restaurants
Fira AirBnb – $80 per night
- Small boutique hotel hosted through Airbnb in Fira
- Concierge coordinated with a car rental service so that my mom and I could rent a fiat convertible for a couple of days
- We also booked a catamaran boat tour through the hotel! This was for sure a trip highlight! It was an all inclusive boating experience that provided unlimited food and alcohol while touring around the island! The boating service even picked us up at the hotel and dropped us back off.
New to AirBnb? I couldn’t recommend it more! Use my link for $40 off your first stay and $15 off any experience!
Affordable And Authentic Restaurants In Santorini
When my husband and I stayed at the Olympic Hotel, we fell in love with a restaurant less than 5 blocks away simply called, Traditional. We loved it so much that we ate there at least four times throughout our week long stay. Not only was the restaurant budget friendly, but also the food was delicious and run by a Greek family who didn’t even speak English! How much more local can you get? Most days, before heading to Oia, we ate lunch at local restaurants near our hotel and had dinner a few times in Oia. Below are a few budget conscious restaurant recommendations!
- King Neptune – Great place to start or end the day in Oai! Relaxed and cozy atmosphere with authentic Greek food. Plus a great view!
- Traditional – Favorite restaurant in all of Santorini! We only discovered this restaurant as it was steps away from our hotel! I ordered the mustard chicken at least three times!
- Vitrin Cafe Creperie – Cute snack place serving up crepes, sundays, and juices! Cool, air-conditioned place for a quick rest! Super close to the windmill!
- Anemomilos Restaurant – Best Moussaka and even better sunset view! Make reservations ahead as this is the spot for delicious, budget friendly food with a view!
Fira Is Less Crowded And More Accessible
Although Fira can get a bit busy, expect a lovely local experience! After spending busy days in Oia with heaps of crowds, Jason and I’s bed and breakfast in Messaria was a serene retreat at the end of the day! Even though our hotel did not have a spectacular view, it had such a nice neighborhood vibe! After spending the day in Oai, we would eat dinner in a local cafe then walk around the square!
During my stay in Fira with my mom, we rented a convertible Fiat for about 70 Euros per day and drove around the island to see the vineyards. We also visited the ancient Akrotiri Museum, an archaeology site explaining prehistoric Thera! Unfortunately we didn’t book a tour, but after visiting the site, I highly recommend booking a group tour! It’s a quite museum and the small group tours looked very informative! Overall hotels in Fira are the perfect option for a cost effective trip to Santorini, Greece!
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