Let’s be honest, Santorini is not a cheap destination. Alongside Mykonos, it is the most expensive destination in Greece, but with some wise choices, it is possible to see Santorini on a budget. Your first step? Finding great accommodation that is also excellent value. When we started searching for ours, Caveland Hostel kept popping up. We found a room here and we were so glad we did. Read on for our full Caveland Hostel review.
We were hosted by Caveland Hostel but all opinions are entirely our own.
Location of Caveland Hostel
Caveland Hostel is located just outside the main town of Fira. You will find it 20 minutes from the centre of Fira, in a small village called Karterados. I was a little concerned that it would be too far of a walk for comfort but in London terms, it’s just around the corner! If you choose to get the bus, it’s the first stop out of Fira and if you are taking the local bus from the airport, it’s the stop before Fira. From the bus stop, it is about an 8 minute walk down the hill. All in all, it is pretty convenient.
A Look Around Caveland Hostel
The Communal Spaces
Caveland Hostel’s buildings were used as a winery in the 1800s and still maintain many of their original features. You can see the hole that wine used to run through in the wall of the kitchen. There is also a nod to its history above your head in the reception. the unusual chandelier is a vine, cultivated into a nest. This is the unique way Santorini grows its wine and once you have seen the one on the ceiling, you will start to notice them all around the island!
In the reception, you will find a library of books (one of my favourite hostel additions) with plenty of classic backpacker titles. Yes, Shantaram was there! You can grab a book and curl up on a chair for a quiet moment.
Outside there is so much space. The hill that Caveland Hostel is set upon, runs down to the sea in the distance and there is an abundance of blue sky above. In summer, guests inhabit a myriad of seats, basking in the sunshine and enjoying the garden that is in bloom. We found lots of places to relax when the sun made its brief springtime appearance. One patio boasted a large outdoor oven which must make a wonderful focal point for a summer BBQ, one was decorated with twirling dream catchers, one had a wonderful view of the sea in the distance (more about that later).
Then there was the pool….
Sadly, we stayed at Caveland right at the start of the season so it was a bit too chilly to use the pool and after a very wet and cold early March, they were taking the chance to clean and refill it. The pool is an impressive size, big enough to do laps in and for everyone to enjoy without being on top of each other. It isn’t just huge for a hostel but is actually one of the largest swimming pools in Santorini! Yes, the plunge pools of the island are famous but you cant actually swim in them so for a proper splash, this is ideal.
During our visit, we stayed in the largest of the cave rooms. I loved the way the roof swooped down and hugged the bed. The walls and ceiling had beautiful curves and I loved the arched highlights. There was a huge wardrobe which easily swallowed both of our big bags, our day bags and my dresses which were trying to release their wrinkles.
Now, It may be a cave but it was very cosy. Saying that, I would recommend bringing slippers or just some slip-on shoes if you are visiting in shoulder season as the floor was a bit chilly. I am sure this is wonderful when it’s boiling outside! It was quite cold at night in March so we asked the reception staff how to use the air conditioning as a heater and it was soon lovely and warm. Below the heater was a small seating area, perfect getting our shoes on and, as it was right beneath the warm air, great for an evening relax.
On the side was a kitchen of sorts with a large fridge, a two hob electric cooker and a variety of bits you’d utilise to make dinner. This is invaluable for anyone on a really tight budget, allowing you to get groceries and self cater. Plus, we got coffee and tea making facilities and a couple of champagne flutes so I was a happy bunny, starting the day with coffee and ending it with a little Santo Wine.
The bed was surprisingly big and had a nice cosy blanket on it. Turns out, we needed a second one before we figured out that the aircon existed…rookies!Beside the bed was a little collection of guidebooks about the island so on the first evening, I spent some time reading up on activities for the next two days.
The bathroom was quite small, tucked into the back of the cave room. The shower had a rather low wall and as with most spots in Santorini, there was no shower curtain. I couldn’t figure out how to stop the water from spraying out without leaving the showerhead at waist level. In the end, I just moved everything away and let the bathroom get soggy. Luckily, as it is a cave room, the room has a dehumidifier so we just made sure to empty it after we had showered, and open the bathroom to let it do the good work!
There weren’t any bathroom amenities as such, but there was a soap dispenser on the wall which has a pretty neutral liquid soap in it.
The Other Rooms
Caveland Hostel has a few private rooms but it’s mainstay are the dorms which are amazing value and a great way to meet other travellers. You can choose a six or ten-bed dorm, all of which have lovely high ceilings and lockers. There are also four-bed, female-only dorms and private rooms with shared bathroom, so plenty of choices for however it is you like to travel.
We loved the breakfasts at Caveland Hostel. Breakfast started with some toast and fruit. So far, so normal. However, the star of the show was a small bowl of joy. Gloriously thick and creamy Greek yogurt served with oats, dried fruit and lovely runny honey. I’m not much of a breakfast girl but I would eat seventy bowls of that every day if I could!
We had our breakfast downstairs on the first day as it was a bit overcast but, luckily, the sun came out on day two so we made other plans. Upstairs, on a rooftop is the sun terrace. I was determined to soak up all the vitamin C the March sun had to offer so we took our tray up the stairs and ate breakfast in the sunshine. The view, the sun and the yogurt were all first-rate.
Oh, and speaking of breakfast, it is all put together in Caveland’s shiny new kitchen! I couldn’t help but be charmed by the turquoise colour of the wooden doors in both the kitchen and around the courtyards. As you can tell from the Flying Fluskey blog, it’s one of my favourites! Guests are welcome to use the cupboards and fridge, especially handy if you are staying in a dorm. You can also cook here between 12:00 and 21:30.
The Caveland Hostel Vibe
Caveland Hostel is a great social space with so much to offer. the family that owns it are passionate, and friendly with a couple of very confident and cool kids. As well as somewhere to hang out, and somewhere to sleep, Caveland Hostel offers travellers on a budget a great range of activities. For a start, the famous volcano tour is just €25 if booked with them. Car hire is only around €35 and so easy to arrange. Even better than this, Caveland organises free activities every week. Morning yoga, Greek meals in the evenings, film showings and special seasonal events are all part of the plan!
Oh, it is lovely to meet the furry members of the family….and the delightful but slightly less furry Luca.
Final Thoughts on our Caveland Hostel Review
Caveland Hostel is exactly the kind of hostel we love. There was a laidback social buzz and the warmth of the family and staff made it so welcoming! I loved that we arrived when they were finishing the painting for the year. It was amazing to see the passion the owners still have for their hostel!
For the price, the offerings are quite special. Having the kind of space that they do is unusual on Santorini as it is but making it great value and throwing in an enormous pool take Caveland Hostel to the next level. If you are travelling to Santorini on a budget, you couldn’t find a better place to lay down your bags!