Being one of the top destinations in Greece, the Cycladic island of Santorini is famous for its magical sunsets and wild volcanic landscape. The impressively beautiful caldera of Santorini which was shaped by the past activity of the volcano is adorned by special structures carved deep into the volcanic rock, known as the cave houses of Santorini.
Centuries ago, a unique style of architecture emerged in Santorini, as the island’s inhabitants exploited the island’s volcanic geological profile to build their houses using as little resources as possible. The solid rocks along the coastline of Santorini could be carved with ease and at the same time, they were hard to collapse and would also offer natural thermal insulation. Although the currently renovated cave houses in Santorini are designed to offer luxurious accommodation, this type of residences was initially constructed to house working-class families. The island’s wealthy families on the other hand, would rather live in more up-scale houses that were stone or brick built and located on the hills.
The cave houses are in fact, simple structures, with walls that are carved inside the cliff rocks facing the sea, rather than built. Most of them are tiny and consist of no more than 2 rooms, while in some cases, an additional room has been constructed outside the cave for extra space. Only the facades are stone-built. The houses have one entrance and just a few small windows that offer, nonetheless, stunning views and adequate ventilation. Numerous cave houses that are many centuries old have been restored and many more are constantly emerging, using the old building techniques to preserve the traditional architecture. Houses, hotels, chapels, restaurants and wine cellars known as “canaves” are nestled in the steep volcanic rocks!
Stay at a cave hotel
In order to make the most out of the island’s volcanic background, many lodging facilities have been set in cave houses. A large number of modern hotels in Santorini, on the caldera, offer at least a few cave rooms and suites with an authentic design and a romantic atmosphere that is ideal for couples, honeymooners and anyone interested in a unique accommodation experience! Their traditional style is usually accompanied by excellent views and the luxurious addition of cave pools. Keep in mind that many hotel complexes do not consist entirely of cave houses, so you will need to specifically book a cave room or suite. Due to the increased demand, they tend to get sold out many months in advance, so booking early enough is a must!
Best cave hotels in Santorini
Built on the edge of a cliff in Imerovigli, Iconic Hotel offers a variety of traditional cave suites with a vaulted ceiling that have been equipped with traditional furniture. Each suite guarantees panoramic views of the sea and the volcanic landscape and many of them come with private indoor or outdoor plunge pools for an additional hint of luxury.
Combining the best features of the old Cycladic architecture with the latest modern amenities for a truly comfortable stay, Cocoon Suites can be found in Imerovigli. Many of them feature cave-like shower cabins or built-in hot tubs and fine dining with a breathtaking sea view is only one of the numerous services available.
Located in Imerovigli, Divine Cave Experience stands out for its impressive architecture. Each suite in the collection comes with a private jacuzzi and its modern interior design complements the traditional features of built-in furniture, in cave-like rooms with a vaulted ceiling and stunning views of the caldera.
Carefully decorated with unique works of art and equipped with elegant pieces of furniture, the Tsitouras Collection offers luxurious accommodation in cave houses with a timeless classical design. The romantic atmosphere at the hotel’s pool is enhanced by breathtaking sea views, making it the perfect place for private candlelit dinners!
Perivolas Hotel offers vaulted cave suites with whitewashed walls for your accommodation in Oia. Some of them come with private jacuzzis, while in others you will find a private swimming pool and in each suite an arched doorway will lead you to a small private terrace with mesmerizing views of the picturesque caldera.
Offering some of the best views of the sea and the ruins of Oia’s castle, the building complex of Art Maisons Oia Castle consists of traditionally designed cave suites with whitewashed walls and a minimal decoration. Discover arched passages, cave-like pools and built-in shower cabins among other impressive design features!
Enjoy the world famous beauty of the Cycladic sunset in Oia by booking your accommodation in Charisma Suites! You can either stay in a vaulted cave house with a stylish and modern interior or in a renovated traditional windmill. Most suites come with private pools or hot tubs with an amazing sea view.
Experience the elegance of Cycladic simplicity in Cave Suite Oia, a traditionally built cave house, situated in the picturesque alleys of Oia. With arched passages and a vaulted ceiling, the villa’s traditional design results in a cozy ambience. One indoor and one outdoor hot tub are available, with the latter one offering great sea views.
Overlooking the Aegean Sea and the caldera in the area of Oia, Lava Caves is a traditional house that has minimally decorated cave rooms with a romantic atmosphere. An outdoor cave-like hot tub with sea views is available and there is a private bathroom with a built-in shower cabin.
Constructed above a steep cliff in Oia, Maregio Suites come with magical views of the sunset and the volcanic scenery of Santorini. The suites have been constructed according to the architecture of the traditional cave houses, with vaulted ceilings and built-in furniture. All the suites have been equipped with heated pools from where you can gaze at the Aegean.
The traditional cave houses at Virginia Cave Villas have an excellent location on a cliffside in Oia, above the Aegean Sea. All the suites are minimally decorated, with a design inspired by the colors and textures of the Cycladic landscape. They have cave-like bathrooms and most of them also offer private hot tubs with a view.
Discover an authentic Cycladic atmosphere at Oia Mare Villa, on one of the most picturesque spots on the caldera! This resort offers cave suites that have been equipped with traditional furniture and are great for all visitors who want to combine luxury with the aesthetics of Santorini’s Cycladic architecture. Built-in tubs with sea views are available.
The cozy cave houses of Alisaris Cave Suites are located in Oia, overlooking the Aegean Sea and the whitewashed caldera. The small building complex consists of cave suites with a modern interior design. They are well-equipped, with cave-style bathrooms and luxurious amenities have been added, including built-in plunge pools.
Carved into the volcanic rocks of Oia, Sophia Oia View offers the opportunity to stay in a traditionally constructed cave house with stunning views of the whitewashed caldera houses, the Aegean Sea and a blue-domed chapel. The cave rooms have a minimal interior and they feature built-in furniture and private plunge pools.
> Read also: What to do in Santorini: 10 special things