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Santorini on a Budget: Best Restaurants, Places to Stay, & Things to Do

Let’s make no mistake, Santorini in Greece is beautiful but it is expensive. It’s super touristy and only getting more popular., so the prices just seem to be going up.

With plenty of A-Listers choosing to spend their summer vacations on this gorgeous island, there’s definitely a luxury vibe that goes with the restaurant and foodie scene. I love eating out, but I also don’t want to be spending a fortune every night.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a fancy place from time to time, but I’ll try local street food any day!

Don’t get duped by the luxury reputation in Santorini, Greece. There are definitely restaurants in Santorini that cost less money and I’m going to show you my top recommendations so you can travel to Santorini on a budget.

Places to Stay

It’s hardly news that a large chunk of your vacation budget is going to get eaten up by accommodation. With the number of major hotels and villas on the island of Santorini, it’s easy to blow the budget out of the water, however, with these affordable and gorgeous places to stay, you can save that well-earned cash for another day!

Caveland

Santorini is famous for its natural caves and unique architecture and the beautiful and vibrant Caveland hostel just outside Fira offers just that. In fact, the caves at this hostel were used as a winery 250 years ago so it’s a place that’s brimming with history and culture.

Back in the present, each hostel room, including the specific female-only dorms, has a different theme and decor scheme, populated by quirky vintage and preloved furniture items.

There’s also a huge pool to lounge around, surrounded by shady trees, as well as free parking, and a whole host of events to enjoy. If you’re working while you’re away, you can also find plenty of workspaces for digital nomads. 

Bedspot

Looking for an affordable spot right in the center of Fira town? The bright and airy decor of Bedspot makes it a calming and refreshing place to chill out and rest your head after a long day of exploring the island. 

Make sure you head up to their amazing roof terrace so that you can take in the sunset and experience the jaw-dropping views of the volcano in the distance. It’s a really central spot if you want to be in the heart of the action.

Anny Studios – Pernissa

If you’re wanting a bit more space or are traveling as a family or group, check out Anny Studios in Pernissa. Located close to the beautiful beach, Anny Studios can accommodate anywhere from solo travelers looking for privacy all the way up to groups of eight.

Each room has a balcony, fridges, and kitchenette spaces so you can keep some snacks or breakfast items cool if you don’t want to spend tons on eating out.

You can also keep costs down by drinking at Anny’s Pool Bar. Grab a cocktail, stick your feet in the pool, and cheers to another day in paradise. 

Places to Eat

So, I’m breaking it down into these categories to help you navigate the interesting Santorini food scene.

  • Best budget restaurants
  • Best restaurants in Santorini
  • Top dishes and food recommendations
  • Best areas and restaurants for large groups and families

Ready to uncover some of Santorini’s best budget restaurants? Let’s dive in and find out more. 

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Best Budget Restaurants

Let’s start off with some of my favorite cheap spots in Santorini. It’s worth mentioning that these are cheap by Santorini standards, so still might not be like street food levels of cheap!

Gyros Place in Pernissa

Close to the beach in Pernissa you’ll find the pretty unassuming Gyros Place. Let’s just get one thing out of the way, if you want to eat cheaply in Santorini, gyros are going to become your new best friend.

These filling wraps, full of flavor and sauce somehow just hit the spot every time, especially in the Santorini heat.

At Gyros Place you can either dine in, sit outside, or get takeout and wander back to the beach with your food in time for an impressive sunset.

The Blue Sky in Oia

Oia is one of the most expensive places in Santorini, so to find this place tucked away in the Caldera District was great. The Blue Sky serves up classic Greek dishes like moussaka and Greek lamb-based meals. 

If you’re stopping by, make sure you get a cocktail or two, they’re seriously good! One of the best things about The Blue Sky is its adorable suntrap of a courtyard. Sit outside with a cocktail or a glass of island-made wine and relax!

Pitogyros

So, commonly known as the best gyros stop in the whole of Oia, this is a place that you definitely have to cheap out if you’re visiting Santorini on a budget. If you’ve already had your fill of gyros, try the souvlaki or a giant platter to share with friends.

It’s also one of the most affordable places on the island, so find yourself a spot on the bustling terrace, order some delicious food, and watch the world go by. Sounds pretty perfect to me!

Penelope’s

Okay, so it takes a while to find Penelope’s in Pyrgos but it is 100% worth the effort. I haven’t seen a place be recommended so much before, it’s that good.

Penelope’s is a tiny hole-in-the-wall type place located up on the hillside. Honestly, the terrace gets such amazing sunset views, it’s ridiculous.

It’s a family-run restaurant and the chef is Penelope herself who is super friendly and cooks up some of the most authentic Greek cuisine I’ve ever tasted. As it’s hidden away and quite small, the dishes are super affordable for the quality of them!

Taverna Geromanolis

If you’re looking for more of a family-run tavern vibe, head to Megalochori and check out Taverna Geromanolis. Serving up super fresh local dishes like fava and tomato gefthedes, it’s the perfect spot to try some authentic Santorini cuisine on a budget.

Located under a shady covered terrace, Taverna Geromanolis is ideal if you’re wanting to escape the island sun and enjoy some amazing food. A massive plus is that this place is always full of locals – something that’s always a good sign of price and quality!

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Best Restaurants in Santorini

Okay, so these next few places aren’t exactly budget-friendly, but if you’re looking to treat yourself on one of your nights in Santorini, here are some of the best restaurants on the island.

To Psaraki

If you want some of the best seafood on the whole of the island, head over to To Psaraki at Vlichada’s fishing port. Honestly, given how great the fish is, the prices are actually really reasonable. 

It does get busy and the best seats are overlooking the harbor. Make sure you call ahead to guarantee the best seats in the house. You can thank me later! The fresh catch of the day goes beautifully with the local wine…

Selene

Looking for sleek, modern, and delicious cuisine in the Fira area of Santorini? Selene takes the best local ingredients like octopus and makes awe-inspiring dishes that are definitely Instagram-ready.

Based in an old Catholic monastery, the surroundings are as beautiful as the food. It is definitely a pricey option and there are two parts to the restaurant, a more casual place, and a fine dining option, so if you want quality food without having to take out a loan, go to the former option.

Aktaion

If you want to get some of the best traditional Santorini food on the island, you have to check out the beautiful Aktaion in Firostefani. It’s the perfect place to try out the local caper dishes, tomato gefthedes, fresh mackerel, and more. 

This amazing taverna has been running for 80 years, so you know that it’s going to be good. It’s a quaint place that has super reasonable prices, making it a must-visit restaurant if you’re in the area.

Ambrosia

Treat yourself to a gorgeous meal and a jaw-dropping view. Located on the top of a caldera cliff, Ambrosia is a beautiful spot in the OIa region, with modern takes on traditional Greek cuisine. 

If you’re going to visit, make sure that you order the sauteed baby squid in ouzo and pesto sauce. It’s incredible and unlike anything else that you’re likely to try on the island.

Make sure you check out this stunning restaurant at sunset for unforgettable views!

1800

If you love eating in historic surroundings, make a reservation at 1800 in Oia. Located in the first bakery in town, this place has been operational in one form or another for over 200 years. That definitely says something about the popularity and quality of the place!

It’s certainly more of a treat kind of place than a budget option with stunningly presented dishes that’ll wow you. The renovated cave setting gives way to a terrace that overlooks the ocean, giving you the best of both worlds.

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Top Dishes and Food Recommendations

Regardless of your budget, there are some foods that you absolutely have to try when you’re in Santorini. Make a note of them and save them for later!

Gyros

If you’re traveling around Santorini on a budget, then you’re going to be eating a lot of delicious gyros. One of Santorini’s favorite dishes, this filled wrap is available in pretty much every town in some way or another. 

You can get meat or veggie-friendly gyros and they’re doused in delicious sauces like tzatziki. They’re filling, they’re portable, and they’re awesome whether you want a snack, a light dinner, or you need hangover food!

Saganaki

I love cheese. That’s just a simple fact. I also love fried food and honey. So when saganaki came into my life, it was a match made in heaven.

Take fried cheese in filo pastry and douse it in honey. It’s a crispy and salty-sweet treat that is delicious and life-changing.

Tomato Gefthedes

Who doesn’t love tomato fritters? I know I do. With the beautifully fresh tomatoes that grow all over the island, you’re guaranteed a crispy bite that’s sweet and refreshing.

You can find them in most restaurants and cafes all around the island, so make sure you grab a few during your vacation.

Fava me Koukia

It’s pretty rare to find a vegan dish in Santorini, especially with all the cheese, meat, and seafood, however fava me Koukia is a mashed fava bean dish that’s super popular with tourists and locals alike.

Normally mashed up with lemon and dill, it’s a really refreshing and filling dish that’s available in most restaurants, and if you like houmous, you’ll want to try this Santorini alternative.

Spanakopita

Flaky pastry filled with cheese and spinach? Sign me up. This filo pastry pie is a staple in Greek cuisine and it’s the perfect dish to buy for lunch.

Anything wrapped in pastry with cheese is bound to be good but you can con yourself into thinking it’s healthy with the sheer amount of spinach in each spanakopita. 

Greek lamb

Carnivores, you need to try the Greek lamb. Whether you have it grilled, in a kofta, or on a gyro, you need to have this luscious and succulent specialty.

Paired with mint flavors, it always tastes super fresh and goes perfectly with Greek wine and island sunshine!

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Best Areas and Restaurants for Large Groups and Families

Traveling to Santorini with kiddos in tow? A lot of the nice restaurants in town can be a bit snobby or not have a ton of kid-friendly food on the menu.

Instead, check out one of these family-friendly restaurants in Santorini.

Fistikies, Kamari

Sit on the amazing sun terrace, take in the sunset, and enjoy contemporary Greek dishes at Fistikies in Kamari.

For the kiddos, there is a specific children’s menu and a popular playground around the corner for after! Give them the runaround and then stock up on delicious Greek cuisine. 

Cacio e Pepe, Fira

If you’re traveling with picky eaters or you’re getting tired of Greek cuisine, check out Cacio e Pepe in the Fira area.

This unassuming Italian joint serves up homemade pasta and pizzas that are hand-stretched in front of you. It’s got a chilled-out atmosphere that’s perfect for families. 

Mezzo – Imerovigli​

Just because you’re traveling with kids doesn’t mean you can’t eat at delicious, sophisticated restaurants on the island.

Mezzo in Imerovigli is one of those places that is beautifully designed with great food and offers a kid’s menu during lunch hours and in the early evening. Adults can enjoy the atmosphere and the views, while the kids can enjoy a delicious children-friendly menu. 

Avocado – Imerovigli

Located on one of the highest points on the Caldera, Avocado has one of the best views on the island. It’s a bustling place that’s always got a lively atmosphere, making it perfect for large groups.

It’s pretty reasonable given the amazing location and has a huge range of Santorian wines to choose from.

Order a few plates and platters, buy a few bottles, and have a great time with your friends!

Metaxi Mas – Exo Gonia

If you’re looking for a less touristy spot that has great value and delicious meals head to  Metaxi Mas in Exo Gonia near Pyrgos. It’s a place that’s popular with locals and tourists alike because of its traditional food and vibe.

There’s rustic, beautiful decor and tasty Santorini specialties that are cooked to perfection.

There’s a beautiful terrace that overlooks the ocean which will delight the kiddos, and there’s a playground that’s not too far away from the restaurant if you’re looking to treat the children after dinner or lunch. 

Summary

So, although Santorini is a notoriously expensive place to visit, if you’re traveling on a budget, there are plenty of amazing restaurants and tavernas that you can check out. Indulge in delicious local Grecian specialties like gyros and saganaki, try all the beautiful Santorian wines and cocktails, and enjoy the stunning views that are all around you.

Santorini is a bucket list destination for many of us, but it doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank to enjoy yourself – I’ve got you covered!

What are your favorite places to eat in Santorini, let me know in the comments below!

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