If you want to see Greece at its most beautiful, come to Santorini. This island truly embodies the ultimate perfection that nature can provide. Classically called Thera, this idyllic horseshoe shaped volcanic island is located in the warm, clear blue waters of the south Aegean Sea, about 200 kilometres from the southeast coast of mainland Greece. Santorini is essentially the ideal holiday spot for the majority of the year as it is warm throughout all seasons, as are the waters surrounding the island. 

Littered around this island are those unique-only-to-Santorini postcard-esque white and blue dome houses and quaint windmills, which make just wandering the streets a key activity of your holiday. And that is just a mere snippet into what great things Santorini has to offer. 

If you fancy a trip into the immense history of the island, visit the ancient Minoan site of Akrotiri and its intricate frescos and museums. Embrace the local traditions by taking a donkey ride around the tiny blue tiled streets; or join the crowds watching one of the most gorgeous sunsets in the world at the cliff-side town of Oia. Relax in the sun with a good book on the distinctive black beaches, which, by the way, are not scarce on the island, and take a dip in the peacefully warm waters of the sheltered Aegean Sea. 

The image alone must make you want to book your tickets today! All beaches have black sand, except for the red beach and cliffs, located on the most southerly strip of the island. For those of you who like adventure, take a boat trip around the island, with a chance to take a walk on the volcanic tip, peaking up through the water in Santorini’s bay. This can all be finished off with the exciting range of water-sports offered at the larger beaches of the island, ranging from banana boating to kite-sailing. 

Have a taste of the local fish dishes, including brantada, a simple, but tasty cod dish. If you have a sweet tooth, try the delicious melitinia cookies, found in the traditional bakeries of Santorini; or, perhaps try Santorini’s own dry, citrusy white wine.

For those party-animals that like to paint the town red, bars, nightclubs are situated in the island’s main hub capital of Fira, or the major beach resorts of Kamari and Perissa

Overview

The island of Santorini is one of the most attractive holiday destinations in Greece, and experiences over 1 million visitors a year. Santorini has a wonderful Mediterranean climate and a very long history. The island has a semi-circular form and there is a still active volcano – but don’t worry, most of it is submerged and the last eruption was in 1950.

The capital of Santorini is the lovely town of Fira. It features narrow streets, whitewashed houses with large verandas and blue-domed churches. There are many tourist attractions in Fira that are worth a visit including the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, the Archaeological Museum of Thera and the Santozeum. Fira is a vibrant place with magnificent views of the caldera.

On the southern part of the island is located the beautiful town of Perissa that is first of all famous for its beach. Fine black sand and deep clear water is surrounded by a beautiful mountain – an ideal place for beach holidays. There is another great beach in the proximity, in the town of Kamari which is especially good for families with small children. Kamari features a nice promenade along the beach and it offers a wide range of leisure activities.

The romantic town of Imerovigli is situated on the northern part of Santorini that is often referred as the ‘balcony of the Aegean’. The sunsets at Imerovigli are breath-taking and the Skaros Rock is also worth a visit.

Key facts

  • Currency: EUR: Euro
    Language: Greek
    Approximate flight time from the UK: 5 hours
    Time zone: GMT +2

Great for

Beach holidays: There are some really great beaches situated in the island of Santorini. The beach of Perissa is the most popular one with fine black sand and crystal clear water. It is also protected from the summer Aegean winds.
Weddings: The lovely town of Imerovigli is an ideal place for weddings and there is also the Santorini Sailing Centre that organises romantic yacht wedding ceremonies.
Family holidays: The island of Santorini is also great for family holidays. The island offers a wide range of services, including restaurants and souvenir shops, plus there are lots of good activities for families to try.
Water sports: Thanks to the crystal clear waters around Santorini, there are many possibilities for water sports on the beaches of the island, including snorkelling, banana boat rides and sailing.

Ancient Thira Tours

The Ancient Thira is something not to be missed while on Santorini. The old capital of the island is located next to the town of Kamari on the eastern part of Santorini and on the top of the mountain of Mesa Vouno. The name of the ancient city was given after Theras, the mythical ruler of Santorini and the area was inhabited from the 9th century BC until 726 AD. At the remains of the Ancient Thira visitors can learn more about the history and culture of the island.
Address: Kamari, Santorini, 84700 Greece
Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday: at 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm and 1pm
Entry cost: tours are available from €10 per person
Official website: www.ancient-thira.gr/ancient.html

The White Door Theatro

The famous White Door Theatro is a great place for entertainment in Santorini. This theatre is situated in the beautiful town of Fira and the best Greek shows from the island are presented here. The show gives an insight in to the fantastic culture of Santorini through traditional music and dancing, great costumes and a unique atmosphere – an unforgettable experience.
Address: City centre of Fira, Santorini, 87400, Greece
Opening hours: open from May to October, the show is at 9pm or at 8.30pm depending on the day
Entry cost: tickets are available from €45 per person that also include a nice tapas meal with local wine
Official website: http://www.whitedoorsantorini.com/

Santorini Wine Museum

Located just a few minutes from the capital of the island, the Santorini Wine Museum or the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Santorini. The island is famous for its winemaking and the museum gives an insight in to the whole process including harvesting, ploughing and stomping. Audio guides and guidebooks are also available for visitors in many languages.
Address: Vothonas, Santorini, 87400, Greece
Opening hours: November – March: from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 4.30pm, April and May: every day from 10am to 5pm, June – October: every day from 10am to 6pm
Entry cost: €9 per person and tickets are also available online
Official website: www.santoriniwinemuseum.com/

Santozeum

The popular Santozeum is located in the capital of the island, is a building built by the famous Greek architect, Constantinos Decavallas. The museum boasts several works from artists who were inspired by the beauty of Santorini and currently the wonderful wall paintings of Akrotiri are also displayed at the Santozeum. These spectacular wall paintings were excavated between 1967 and 1974. It is something not to be missed.
Address: Aigou Mina, Fira, 84700 Santorini, Greece
Opening hours: the museum is open between the 1st of May and the 31st of October, every day from 10am to 6pm
Entry cost: €5 for adults, €3 for students and seniors
Official website: www.santozeum.com/

La Ponta Venetian Tower

The Castle of Akrotiri is situated on the southern part of the island and the La Ponta Venetian Tower is an attraction not to be missed there. The name ‘la ponta’ is Latin for ‘the peak’ that refers to the location of the tower. Nowadays it hosts the famous Greek Bagpipe Exhibition where fantastic vintage instruments and tsabunas are displayed.
Address: Castle of Akrotiri, Akrotiri, Santorini, 84700, Greece
Opening hours: open between the 1st of April and the 30th of October, every day from 10am to 2pm and from 5pm to 8pm. Historical tours are available at 12pm and at 6pm
Entry cost: the admission in free
Official website: www.laponta.gr/

Have you been to Santorini recently? What are the must-do experiences that you'd suggest? Do you have tips on how to stretch that holiday budget a bit further or know of a hidden-gem that’s easy to miss?


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