A Travel Price Comparison for Greece Santorini vs. Athens for Attractions, Food, Nightlife, and Couples

Should you visit Santorini or Athens?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Santorini or Athens, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Santorini

Santorini is a romantic, stunning, and historic island. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Since it has a quaint atmosphere, you'll want to spend time soaking it all in. It's also popular because of the scuba diving and snorkeling, beaches, and hiking.

Athens

Athens is a energetic, historic, and ancient city. Travelers will also find plenty of sights and attractions here, as it's a big city that attracts lots of visitors. It's a beautiful place to visit, too. Visitors also love the museums, nightlife, and food.

Santorini and Athens: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Impressive beauty
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Active nightlife
  • Scenic old town
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Big city activities
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples


Is there more to do in Santorini or Athens?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Athens than Santorini, as it is bigger with more sights, attractions, and activities for visitors. Athens is more popular for its museums, food, nightlife, historical sights, and big city activities, while Santorini is known for its resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, hiking, shopping, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere. Santorini is more touristy than Athens and is known for its beautiful volcanic beaches, stunning natural beauty, and breathtaking sunsets over the whitewashed villages. Athens is popular for its ancient temples and landmarks as well as its influence as the birthplace of democracy. It is also home to The Acropolis.

The Acropolis
The Acropolis

How is Santorini different from Athens?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Athens and Santorini. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Santorini or Athens?

Santorini
Athens

Athens is an unbeatable place for its historical sights. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its sights and museums.

The museums and tourist attractions in Athens are world-renowned. As a historical capital of the world, this city has countless museums and archeological sites including the famous Acropolis, the National Archaeology Museum, and the Ancient Agora.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Santorini. One of the most impressive historical sights is Akrotiri Archaeological Site. The island has many archeological sites as well as the Archeological Museum in Fira.


Is the Food Better in Santorini or Athens? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Santorini
Athens

Athens is an unbeatable place for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Known for it's food and restaurant scene, Athens is always at the top of any foodie's travel list. Make sure you try the souvlaki, moussaka, and dolmades at any of the many local restaurants throughout the city.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Santorini area. Popular foods on this island include fava, Greek salad, and kofta.

Is Santorini or Athens Better for Nightlife?

Santorini
Athens

Athens is an unbeatable place for nightlife and partying. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its evening party scene.

The nightlife in Athens is well established with world renowned clubs and venues. There are all-night dance clubs as well as local bars and chill live music venues.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Santorini. It is one of the calmer, more romantic islands in Greece. For the best nightlife, you'll want to stay near Fira.

Is Santorini or Athens Better for Resorts?

Santorini
Athens

Santorini is an unbeatable place for its luxury resorts. However, Athens is not a resort destination.

Vacationers flock to Santorini for its luxury resorts. The resorts range from all-inclusive options to resorts with a more local feel. The island is one of the most romantic of the Greek Islands, and the resorts are no exception.

Athens is not a resort destination.


Is Santorini or Athens Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Santorini
Athens

Santorini is a good destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Athens is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Grab a mask and fins and explore the underwater scenery in Santorini. Some of the best snorkeling places are found at Red Beach, White Beach, and the less accessible Kambia. One of the island's best diving spots is Caldera Beach.

Athens is not a scuba or snorkeling destination.

Is Santorini or Athens Better for Beaches?

Santorini
Athens

Santorini is a good destination for the beach. However, Athens is not a beach destination.

Santorini offers a nice beach destination. The island has many beaches, most of which are made of black pebbly sand that are a result of the island's volcanic history. Popular beaches include Perissa Beach, Kamari Beach, and Perivolos Beach.

Athens is not a beach destination.

Is Santorini or Athens Better for its Old Town?

Santorini
Athens

Athens is an unbeatable place for its old town. However, Santorini does not have a historic old town.

With a famous historical old-town, Athens offers plenty to see. The city's "historic triangle" is between Syntagma, Omonia, and Monastiraki Squares. This area is also at the political and financial heart of the city.

Santorini does not have a historic old town.


Is Santorini or Athens Better for Hiking?

Santorini
Athens

Santorini is a good destination for hiking. However, Athens is not a hiking destination.

Santorini offers some nice hiking trails. The best hiking trails on the island pass by quaint villages and offers stunning ocean views. You can also hike along the edge of a volcano.

Athens is not a hiking destination.

Is the Shopping Better in Santorini or Athens?

Santorini
Athens

Santorini is great for its shopping areas. Also, Athens is not as popular, but is still a nice city for shopping.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Santorini. Towns around the island are filled with clothing and jewelry boutiques as well as many unique Greek shopping experiences.

Athens is a great destination for shopping. Most neighborhoods have a shopping street but head to Ermou Street for some of the city's best shopping.

Is Santorini or Athens Better for Families?

Santorini
Athens

Athens is a great city for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its family-friendly activities.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Athens is very family-friendly. With its rich history, beautiful outdoor activities, and kid-friendly food, Athens is a fun place to explore with the whole family.

Santorini is a family-friendly place to visit. It is a calmer destination than many of the Greek Islands. While it's a great place to relax with kids, the beaches aren't as good as they are on some of the other islands. Most families hang out in Kamari and Perissa Beach.


Is Santorini or Athens Better for Couples?

Santorini
Athens

Santorini is an unbeatable place for couples. Also, Athens is not as popular, but is still a nice city for romance.

Santorini is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. It is a dream honeymoon destination that is famous for its picturesque setting and luxury resorts. For many couples, this is a top pick for a romantic trip to the Greek Isles.

Athens is a nice destination for couples. The city is historical, fascinating, and romantic, making it a beautiful place to explore as a couple.

Is Santorini or Athens Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Santorini
Athens

Athens is an unbeatable place for backpackers and budget travelers. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for backpackers.

With so many budget-friendly offerings, Athens is extremely popular for backpackers. The city has long been established as a backpackers destination with budget friendly food and plenty of hostels around town.

Santorini is a good island to visit for backpackers. The island has its share of 5 star resorts, but if you head a few streets in you'll find some surprisingly affordable accommodation. Backpackers are welcomed on the island and beaches are free, so it's possible to get by on a relatively low budget.

Is Santorini or Athens Better for Students?

Santorini
Athens

Athens is a great city for its student-friendly activities. However, Santorini is not popular with students.

Athens is a great city to visit as a student. International students will appreciate the rich history, archaeological ruins, and unique opportunities that are available here.

Santorini is not popular with students.


Is Santorini or Athens Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Santorini
Athens

Athens is a great city for times when you don't have a car. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its public transit.

The public transit in Athens can get you around easily. The city's metro system has 3 lines that connect to bus, tram and commuter rail lines.

Santorini has a few public transit options. There is a bus system, KTEL Santorini Buses, that runs 23 buses during the summer months but only a small fraction of that operate during the winter months.

Is Santorini or Athens a more walkable city?

Santorini
Athens

Athens is a great city for its high level of walkability. Also, Santorini is not as popular, but is still a nice island for its ease of walking around.

Athens is a very walkable city. You'll find the city's most walkable area's in the historical heart, where there are many pedestrian only streets and shopping areas.

Santorini is a somewhat walkable island. Many towns on the island are walkable, including Fira, but the actual island is too large to explore on foot.

For even more information, also check out Is Santorini Worth Visiting? and Is Athens Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Athens or Santorini?

How long in Santorini or Athens?

Both Santorini and Athens have a number of activities to choose from. In our opinion, Athens has more to see and do, so we recommend spending more time in Athens than Santorini. However, 3-7 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Athens than Santorini. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Athens, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Santorini than Athens. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Santorini that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Athens than Santorini if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Athens.


  • How many days in Santorini or Athens? Ideal Length of Stay
    Santorini 3-7 
    Athens 3-7

One day in Santorini or Athens?

Many travelers enjoy the scuba diving and snorkeling and shopping when visiting the quaint destination of Santorini. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

People visit Athens because there is so much to do. Visiting the old town is also a must. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


A weekend in Santorini or Athens?

Santorini is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

People visit Athens because there is so much to do. The old town is one of the main draws for visitors. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

Five days in Santorini or Athens?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Santorini. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

People visit Athens because there is so much to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this city makes for a great vacation. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this city has to offer.

A week in Santorini or Athens?

Many travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the stunning destination of Santorini. This island offers a variety of activities to choose from. Travelers enjoy the resorts in the area as well. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Athens is a popular choice for travelers. One week here is typical. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Athens, one week is sufficent for most. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


Which place is cheaper, Athens or Santorini?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Santorini is €175, while the average daily cost in Athens is €127. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Santorini and Athens in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Santorini 93
    Athens 63
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Santorini 186
    Athens 126
Compare Hotels in Santorini and Athens

Looking for a hotel in Santorini or Athens? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Santorini


Hotels in Athens


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Santorini Hotel Prices and Athens Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Santorini 28
    Athens 27

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Santorini

Also for Santorini, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Helicopter Transfer between Mykonos & Santorini: $3,771
  • Santorini Airport Transfer For Group: $299
  • Private Sunset Tour with Picnic & Transfer: $162
  • Santorini Luxury Catamaran Day Cruise with BBQ,drinks,transfer: $143
  • Santorini Airport(JTR) to Santorini - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $143
  • Santorini Luxury Catamaran Sunset Cruise with BBQ, Drink and Transfer: $143
  • Santorini Small-Group Catamaran Sailing Trip(BBQ,drinks, transfer): $143
  • Caldera Cruise with Greek Meal and Transfer: $140
  • Santorini Private transfer up to 8 persons: $121
  • Santorini Luxury Sailing Catamaran Cruise with BBQ, Drinks and Transfer: $121
  • Santorini Sunset Luxury Sailing Catamaran Cruise with BBQ, drinks, transfer: $121
  • Wine Tasting Tour to 3 Wineries with Transfer: $116

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Athens

Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in Athens:


  • Airport Bus for Two
    6.40
  • Metro
    1.50
  • Metro
    2.00
  • Metro from Airport to City Center
    8.00
  • Taxi from Airport
    35

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Athens

Also for Athens, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • From Paros: Helicopter Transfer to Greek Islands or Athens: $2,715
  • From Meteora Private Day Trip with Transfer: $1,056
  • From Ancient Corinth Day Trip with Private Transfer: $464
  • Private Transfer to/from Volos: $453
  • From Private Cape Sounion Sunset Tour with Transfer: $302
  • Transfer Airport Athens to NAFPLIO , up to 4 customers: $299
  • Transfer from Athens airport to Epidavros up to 4 customers: $299
  • Athens to Lefkada Private Transfer: $292
  • Athens Airport to Kyllini Transfer or from Kyllini to Athens: $292
  • Athens airport to Costa Navarino transfer or Costa Navarino to Athens: $292
  • Athens Airport to Costa Navarino Hotel Private Transfer: $286
  • Private Transfer From Athens To Lefkada: $285

Is it cheaper to fly into Santorini or Athens?

Prices for flights to both Athens and Santorini change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Santorini 48
    Athens 37

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Santorini

For Santorini, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Live Virtual Cooking Class: $25
  • Traditional Greek Night live Music & Dinner Show in Santorini: $55
  • Santorini Caldera: Sunset Cruise with Dinner: $70
  • Romantic Sunset Caldera Cruise with Dinner: $70
  • Virtual Private Cooking Class Live from Santorini: $71
  • Santorini Caldera Evening Cruise with Buffet Dinner: $75
  • Volcanic Sunset Cruise with Dinner: $81
  • Catamaran Tour with BBQ Dinner, Drinks, and Music: $92
  • Volcano and Hot Springs Sunset Dinner Cruise: $97
  • Santorini Sunset Dinner Cruise Including Nea Kameni Visit: $99
  • Greek Cuisine Cooking Class in Santorini: $104
  • Santorini Volcano Sunset Cruise Including Dinner on Board: $109

Typical Food Prices in Athens

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Athens:


  • Ice cream
    3.00
  • Souvlaki
    2.20

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Athens

For Athens, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Hard Rock Cafe Athens with Set Menu for Lunch or Dinner: $24
  • Hard Rock Cafe Athens with Set Lunch or Dinner: $26
  • Foodies’ Favorite Food tour: $46
  • Greek Street Food Tour: $48
  • Athens Street Food Tour: Explore City's Iconic Eateries: $49
  • Greek Traditional Vegan Cooking Classes in Athina: $53
  • Oriental Kitchen Cooking Classes in Athina: $53
  • Street Food Tour with Local Guide and 7 Tastings: $57
  • Small Group, Delicious Athens Food Tour: $59
  • Traditional Greek Cooking Class and Organic Lunch on Poros: $60
  • Greek Spirits & Meze, Food Tour in Athens: $63
  • Los Tacos - Vegan Cooking Classes in Athina: $64

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Santorini 36
    Athens 36

Tours and Activities in Santorini

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Santorini.

  • Majestic Shore Adventure for the First-Time Cruisers: $73
  • Motor Yacht Day Cruise with Delicious Homemade Buffet Lunch: $170
  • Santorini Secrets & Gems for Cruise Passengers: $96
  • Santorini's Panoramic Blue Shade Tour : $63
  • 1 Hour Private Archaeological Tour in Akrotiri: $192
  • 2-Day Santorini Bus Tour with Volcanic Cruise: $110
  • 3 Hours Private Santorini Tour: $137
  • 3 Hours Sightseeing Tour in the Magical Santorini: $75
  • 3-Hour Private Tour in Oia: $219
  • 3-Hour Santorini Highlights Tour: $71
  • 4 Hour Eat and Drink Private Tour in Santorini: $297
  • 4 Hour Private Guided Tour in Santorini: $219

Tours and Activities in Athens

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Athens.

  • Acropolis/Athens Highlights Private Evening Tour (5 hours) from Athens, Piraeus: $93
  • Ancient Corinth Canal Epidavrous Nafplio Private Tour 8Hours: $193
  • Apostle Paul's Footsteps in Athens Christian Private Tour 5Hours: $151
  • Athens Gems & Charms for the First Time Cruiser: $46
  • Athens Private Day Tour Best place to visit: $274
  • DELPHI and THERMOPYLAE: Full Day Private Tour Visit Arachova 8 H: $194
  • DISCOVER ATHENS IN 6HRS Private Tour BEST INTRODUCTION-FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS : $219
  • Delphi full day V.R audio guided tour with entry ticket: $34
  • EPIDAURUS & NAFPLIO : Private Full Day Tour From Athens 6 Hours : $174
  • Essential Athens Highlights Half-Day Private Tour with Flexible Options: $261
  • Food Experience in Athens including Unlimited Lunch : $64
  • Full Day Private Tour Athens & Sounio Temple of Poseidon Sunset : $163

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Santorini 26
    Athens 23

Sample the Local Flavors in Santorini

Also in Santorini, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Private Ftelos Brewery Santorini Beer tastings: $27
  • Santorini Brewery Tour and Craft Beer Tastings: $38
  • Top Sights Day Trip, Wine Tasting, & Oia Sunset: $74
  • Fira Town Walking Tour with Wine Tasting: $75
  • Visit to a Wine Museum and Wine Tasting in Santorini : $77
  • 2 Hours Private Wine Tasting Tour in Santorini With Pick Up: $88
  • Notos Day Tour through History & Wine Tasting: $99
  • Santorini 4 Hour Private Oia Tour & Wine Tasting : $105
  • Santorini Highlights Tour with Wine Tasting from Fira (small group up to 10): $110
  • 5 towns in 5 hours: Santorini Most Popular Tour with Wine tasting: $117
  • Wine Tour Santorini: $118
  • Wine Tour with Sunset in Oia: $119

Sample the Local Flavors in Athens

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Athens:

  • Polykala Distillery showroom. A125 years of history along with liqueur tasting.: $15
  • Liquer tasting in Polykala's Distillery Show Room in Athens: $18
  • The Original Athens Pub Crawl - Athens Drunk Tour: $21
  • The NightCrawlers | Athens Pub Crawl: $22
  • Greek Wine Tasting: $23
  • Wine Tasting in Athens: $26
  • Bar Crawl with Free Drinks and Club Entry: $29
  • Noble Greeks Acropolis Wine Tasting with Private Sommelier: $43
  • Wine Tasting: $43
  • Athens Wine Tasting: $44
  • 1 Hour Private Four Greek Wine Tasting and Food Pairing in Athens: $44
  • Organic and Vegan Indigenous Wine Tasting Private Experience: $44


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Santorini and Athens, we can see that Santorini is more expensive. And not only is Athens much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Athens would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Athens and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Santorini would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Santorini than you might in Athens.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Santorini Expensive? and Is Athens Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Santorini or Athens?

Athens has a larger population, and is about 22% larger than the population of Santorini. When comparing the sizes of Santorini and Athens, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.