Santorini, adorned for its magical setting, history and volcanic landscape, is also an island known for its vivacious nightlife. On Santorini, visitors can find a plethora of nighttime entertainment venues as the island is packed with bars, clubs, discos and cafés that play a wide selection of different kinds of music, sure to satisfy every musical style.
The music varies widely from the classical, jazz, techno, to the hardcore rockers. Many café and bars are situated along the caldera and feature an incredible panoramic view over the submerged volcano, while others are tucked into the quaint, cobbled streets weaving through the town. Many places situated along the caldera are built into renovated cavehouses in which there are strict laws about loud music. So, these clubs are either indoors or surrounded by high walls if they have a courtyard.
The most notable spot for nightlife is Fira, the capital of the island, which offers a wide variety of bars and night clubs that keep their guests dancing and the music pumping until the early morning hours. During the summer months, these clubs and bars have guest D.J. appearances and live entertainment. Typically, they charge a small fee at the door, however, this would also include your first drink.
In Oia, there is a decent selection of bars, however, this village typically keeps a low profile as most guests in Oia are mostly interested in the romantic scenes and not the party atmosphere. For example, Mylos Cafe is located in Oia, facing the most breathtaking view of Cyclades along with the famous sunset. There you will find the unique wines of Santorini, fresh cocktails and coffees of your preference, while accompanied with relaxing music, absolutely perfect to match the setting.
Another popular alternative, is the many beach bars situated along the long black sandy beaches of Perissa, Perivolos and Kamari. It is here that the day party rolls into the night. Many travelers spending the day in the sun and water, playing beach volleyball or paddleball, will throw on their sun dresses or beach shirts and keep the laid-back beach feeling until well after the sunset. Like the bars in Fira, you can also find a wide variety of musical choices. Many places on Perissa beach like Wet Stories, JoJos, Yazz and Beach Bar will crank up the mainstream beats, while you can also find bars with traditional Greek island music like Afros, which features live traditional Greek music every Sunday afternoon. My all time favorite spot is that of Tranquilo. Here the vibe is beyond chill, offering you an eclectic, hippie atmosphere. The music is just like the name... tranquil, mostly of a transcendental, reggae style. Plus, many nights of the summer they have live music including many styles and ethnicities, from latin, reggae to rock.
If you are seeking a more relaxed, quiet evening out on Santorini, I would highly recommend a night at the Open Air Cinema, situated off the main road, towards Kamari. They are open from May until October and show recently released English movies with Greek subtitles. The doors open at 8:30pm and the movie begins at 9:30pm. They offer a nice concession stand / bar, serving snacks of all sorts and many drinks of your choice. The chairs are comfortable and the atmosphere is warm and inviting. Since Santorini brings us 300 days of sunshine, this is the perfect, relaxing evening outside.
To get a true, authentic experience of Santorini, I highly recommend attending the several cultural events that take place on the island. In July, the island hosts the annual Santorini Jazz Festival (www.jazzfestival.gr), which has been bringing numerous international jazz bands and artists here every summer since 1997. During August and September, you can see the Santorini International Music Festival (tel. 22860/23-166), featuring international musicians and singers, which provides classical music performances at the Nomikos Centre in Fira. Admission to most events starts at 15 euros. If you are seeking more traditional entertainment, I suggest attending a traditional festival like the "Ifaisteia" Cultural Festival in Fira or the Episkopi Festival in Mesa Gonia on August 15 in which you will also be served fava (a Santorini lentil dip delicacy).
Below I have listed some of my favorite and the most popular spots for nightlife on the island in the capitol of Fira, including a short description of what to expect from music to atmosphere.
• Tango Bar is on the way to the old port. It is a "must" as the most glamorous bar on the cliffside (caldera) starting early as of 21:00. Fresh fruit cocktails, though a bit expensive (12€) but very tasty and good, champagne fans & excellent service. This is the place to be early to enjoy a relaxing evening or later to dance. You can expect to find a good crowd, where the music varies from night to night. It's a good place to hold a bachelor party and one of the places to “see” and to “be seen.” They take reservations for the few tables (9) with view and are open starting 21:00. http://www.tangosantorini.gr/
• Town Club is one of the oldest and most well know clubs in Fira. They have an excellent DJ who follows the heart and energy of the guests to keep them partying all night long. There is a dancing cage, special events and parties on a frequent basis. http://townclub-santorini.webnode.com
• Enigma is the most popular of the modern disco clubs in Santorini. Enigma club was created in the summer of 1979. Since then, it is considered as one of the best night clubs of Santorini with its impressive atmosphere and lively crowds. It is said that if you have left Santorini without going dancing in Enigma club, you haven't truly seen the island.
• Franco’s is one of the most crowded spots every evening because it has an excellent view of the Santorini sunset. It also serves amazing champagne cocktails and plays a mixture of classical music ranging from Maria Callas to Secret Garden. This setting is great for couples as it is very relaxed. http://www.francos.gr/
• Kira Thira is a laidback jazz bar, nice to relax and sip a cocktail while enjoying the music. http://kirathirajazz.blogspot.com/
• Koo Club is the biggest of the modern disco clubs in Santorini. http://www.kooclub.gr/ It is always overcrowded of people in a mood to dance and to have endless party.
• Renaissance Bar offers a sunset view and more moderate prices than some of the other local bars.
• Tropical Bar is a popular Santorini nightlife spot, favored on nice summer nights because it has an outdoor balcony. Also, one of the cheapest places to drink on the island and serves Australian import beers.
• Mamounia is a spot known where the locals go. If you want to get out of the touristic clubs and dance with the local Greeks, then this is the spot for you!
• Zorba’s is the bar to go to for a more upscale drinking experience. Although it’s not a martini bar, it has the ambience of one.
• The Pure Coffee Bar is a chill out place open from early in the morning until late at night for breakfast, coffee, light lunch, with a big wine list and drinks with the most up-to-date music and atmospheric environment.
• Palia Kameni Cocktail bar is in front of the orthodox cathedral in the nearby hotel Atlantis. This is a perfect sunset location with three levels overlooking the volcanos and magnificent caldera in a romantic candle lit setting. They even place roses at every table and make amazing fresh cocktails, wine and champagne. This is the perfect place for couples to relax and enjoy occasional live jazz and soul, not as loud as other bars. A classy place, great to host wedding pre-drinks or for any occasion. Make sure to reserve ahead for the sunset as it fills very fast http://www.paliakameni.com
• Dorian's Pub offers a long list of fantastic cocktails at 3€ each! Every cocktail is decorated with fresh fruit, basically giving you a fruit salad with your drink
• Club 33 has a friendly atmosphere and good Greek dance music. Here you may meet more locals and even learn a traditional Greek dance.
• Classico Café was created in 1998 and has proven to be a regular stop for the visitor to Santorini. It is situated near the caldera and features what may be the best location for one to enjoy the famous sunset of Santorini.
So, after a day exploring this magical island, change into your night attire and go dance your heart away in Santorini's lively nightlife scene!