About Santorini, Greece
The glamorous island of Santorini is often considered the most dramatically beautiful of all the Greek Islands and, along with Mykonos, is also one of the most expensive. But don’t let the cost put you off enjoying a beach holiday or romantic getaway here, for Santorini offers all the necessary ingredients for the perfect Greek Island romance.
This uniquely shaped island was formed around 1600 BC, when the biggest volcanic eruption in recorded history blew out the centre of the island and left behind the impressive sea-filled caldera (crater) that we see today.
Things to do and see
For a lasting memory, arrive by cruise liner at the spectacular harbour of Skala, which lies beneath 300m-high multi-hued cliffs that soar out of the deep blue waters of the submerged caldera. From here, a narrow twisting cobblestone path leads up to the picture-perfect clifftop village of Firá.
To the west lies the equally stunning village of Oía (also known as Ia). With its white- and pastel-coloured structures and blue-domed churches perched high on the cliffs overlooking the blue sea of Ammoudi Bay, Oía is probably the Aegean’s most photographed town. Sunsets viewed from Oía are reputed to be among the world's most beautiful.
To the east of Fira lies the town of Megalochori, another beautiful settlement crammed with old white Cycladic churches. Soak up the ambience of these picturesque villages by strolling the labyrinth of narrow and winding cobblestone streets lined with fashion boutiques, jewellery shops, gourmet restaurants and sophisticated boutique hotels.
Away from the major settlements, savour fine Santorini wines at one of the vineyards around Pyrgos and visit the 18th century monastery of Profitas Ilias, which clings to the island’s summit overlooking the east coast beaches.
Explore archaeological remains dating back to the 9th century BC at the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri (buried under lava following the volcanic eruption in 1600 BC) and at Ancient Thera, a classical Doric city sprawling across the slopes of Mesa Vouno.
Alternatively, admire the ancient frescoes and ceramics from Akrotiri that are on display in the Museum of Ancient Thira in Firá.
Cruise the deep blue waters of the caldera and visit the tiny uninhabited black volcanic islets of Nea Kameni to peer into a smouldering volcanic crater. Or visit Palea Kameni to sample hot springs and therapeutic mud.
On the opposite side of the caldera, visit the island of Thirassia, boasting several seafood tavernas and great views across the caldera to Santorini. The unspoilt island of Anafi, located east of Santorini, offers a pleasant sandy beach and can be reached by ferry.
Santorini offers a wide choice of holiday accommodation in Firá, Oía and Megalochori as well as at some of Santorini’s beachside resorts that face black-sand lava beaches.
Best time to visit Santorini?
The best time to honeymoon in the Cyclades is during the mid-season (May, June, September and October) when the weather is warm and the islands are less crowded.
Peak season generally runs from July to August and is best avoided due to temperatures often exceeding 38°C and to the fact that Santorini, together with the main islands, are swamped with European holidaymakers.
For more climate info: Santorini Weather Guide
Location – Santorini is the southernmost of the Cyclades, a group of island that comprises Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Ios and Santorini, plus a number of smaller islands. The Cyclades is located in the Aegean Sea, south-east of mainland Greece.
Getting there – By ferry, Santorini is one and a quarter hours from Ios, three hours from Naxos, four hours from Milos and Paros, six hours from Mykonos and nine hours from Piraeus (the port of Athens). High-speed catamarans make the journey from Pireaus to Santorini in four and a half hours. Ferries dock at Santorini’s tiny port of Athinios (a few kilometres away from Skala).
Time-pressed holidaymakers can fly direct into Santorini, with daily flights from Athens lasting around 45 minutes. How to get to Santorini . . .