The history of Santorini is as dramatic and impactful as its landscape. The island is located in a region that staged one of the biggest volcanic eruptions ever registered, said to have caused the disappearance of the Minoan civilization, hundreds of kilometers away in Crete. Vulcanic ashes, tsunamis and a natural disaster formed a huge crater and caldera, which we know today as Santorini. Awe struck tourists aboard large cruise ships can be seen gazing in amazement as they approach land throughout the day. And the island is just as lovely as night falls and the large groups have left Oia’s pedestrian streets, with the characteristic little white houses and small blue-domed churches. Situated in the Southern tip of the Cyclades Islands, this Greek gem will not disappoint. Days in Santorini will be well spent enjoying the beaches, vineyards, many delightful spots further away from the town center and on glorious boat trips. You can count on one of the most beautiful sunsets you will ever have the pleasure of experiencing. Charming boutique hotels, a huge array of options for excellent dinning, tiny shops in small cobblestone streets, sea diving from rock formations and an archeological site are all available for your pleasure, amidst one of the most incredible landscapes you will ever come across in your travels. And if you wish to have a more complete Greek experience, extend your stay with a few days in the vibrant and wonderful island of Mykonos, a short ferry ride away.
Where to Stay
The busiest and hippest area of the island, where you’ll find some of the best restaurants and little white dwellings hanging over steep cliffs, is called Oia (pronounced yah /jɑː/). It follows that this should, unfortunately, also be the most expensive area. Here you will see all those postcard perfect images of breathtaking sunsets, pink bougainvillea amidst tiny white dwellings and churches with blue rooftops. If you’d rather spend a tad less, go for Imerovigli, with its gorgeous caldera views and lovely hotels. This more easy going area has less tourist hype and is only 10 minutes away by cab from Oia. Another nice, tranquil and less expensive option is Akrotiri, although it is a little further away from everything. It is close to one of the most beautiful beaches of Santorini, Red Beach, but a fair distance away from Oia. All the properties we recommend are in these areas, so choose according to your criteria. Avoid staying in Thira or Fira, the island’s capital, as its slightly undeserved popularity results in way too many people for too little charm. On that note, Kamari Beach has been growing in interest and followers, although it is on the other side of the caldera and lacks the typically stunning Santorini views. Special attention should be paid to the type of hotel you are looking to book, as many have accommodation scattered throughout several floors, the hills are steep and there are lengthy stairs with many steps to climb.