Fira is best
<< Fira is best >>
I won't comment on hotels in either place because I don't know enough about them.
Fira is the main town and is always manically busy, stuffed to the gills with tourists, day-trippers, cruise ship visitors, traffic etc.
Firostefani is about 15/20 minutes away from Fira and a lot quieter. A lot of people prefer Firostefani because for this reason - it's close enough to Fira to be accessible for the bars, restaurants, clubs etc, but far enough away to offer a bit of privacy and quiet.
To get the best hotel recommendations, could you please let us know what your maximum nightly room budget is please? The whole star system doesn't really mean much here - a lot of owners will give themselves the star rating they think their hotel warrants, based on the facilties available, it's a bit of a minefield really.
In my opinion the best,most picturersque and most charming place to stay in Santorini is Oia.I fell in love!Fira is very busy.I don't know about Firostefani but it's quite a long to walk to Fira and difficult especially at night.If you are going to do this route on foot,then i think it's not the best choice.If you are not considering Oia at all i would say Fira!
Fira is the hub of the island - the main village and as such does tend to be much busier than the others. It will still be very busy in early September. With the exception of caldera views you haven't indicated what you are wanting so its difficult to suggest where will suit you.
As Martin says Firostefani is a lot quieter, its a 15 minute walk from Fira. Its an ideal place to stay if you want to be close by Fira without the chaos and noise. It isn't a long walk or even arduous (except maybe in the midday sun) - sorry Greg I don't agree - take the central path at night time instead of the cliffside path as its so much easier to negotiate. Actually unless its early in the morning I always use the central path just because its quicker as less people tend to use it.
You need to indicate your price range (per night) if you want hotel recommendations because the star system IMO isn't applicable on the Greek islands.
Personally, I would choose Imerovigli as the place to stay. It is close enough to walk to Fira for the action if desired although you might want to grab a taxi on the way back as it is all up-hill. The views of the caldera are fantastic and it is very quiet. There are a limited number of tavernas and a mini-market withing walking distance of the village.
15 minutes' walk from Firostefani to Fira is not "quite a long walk", and there is nothing whatsoever difficult about the walk. If you want easy access to Fira's nightlife that's where you should stay to avoid the crowds and traffic in Fira.
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I'm in Santorini right now. We're staying in Firostefani with a caldera view and we walk into Fira 2-3 times per day/night. It's a very easy 15 min walk. We usually take the central path which is inland from the caldera because it's faster and flatter, shaded from the sun and the heavy evening winds and much quieter. Fira is very, very touristy and crowded, especially when cruise ships are in port (7 yesterday!) and I would imagine very noisy especially at night.
7? The local businesses will have had a field day, fleecing all those poor unsuspecting saps of every last euro on their overpriced food, drink and tourist tat.