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SantoriniSantorini – Image courtesy of aito.com

Introducing Santorini


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 honeymoon 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.

What to do and see in Santorini

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.

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.

Firá, Santorini

Firá

Browse the cool designer boutiques and enjoy a refreshing drink in one of the many bars, restaurants and nightclubs that cling to the edge of the ancient caldera.

Enjoy a ride on the cable car, which floats for 300m past solidified lava flows and rock formations from the volcanic edge of the town to the old port.

To the east of Fira lies the town of Megalochori, another beautiful settlement crammed with old white Cycladic churches.

Oía, Santorini

Oía

To the west lies the equally stunning village of Oía (also known as Ia).

Explore the ultimate Greek Island village – all snow-white cubist buildings and blue-domed Byzantine churches set on the rugged lip of the caldera high above the bright blue Mediterranean Sea.

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 – famous for spectacular sunsets and some of the island’s finest hotels, which are located on the edge of the crater rim.

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.

Caldera, Santorini

The Caldera

Seen either from the walking path between Firá and Oía and the cliff-top streets in either of the two towns, or from the ferry as you approach Santorini, the caldera is an amazing site.

The cliff walls of red, yellow and ochre rock soar out the shimmering blue Aegean Sea.

The caldera was formed around 1600 BC, when the centre of the island was blown away in a colossal volcanic eruption, leaving behind a circular depression in the sea floor and the crescent-shaped bowl of rock known as Santorini.

Many believe that the eruption, which destroyed most of Santorini also produced a tsunami that probably reached as far as Crete, destroying the Minoan civilisation located there.

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.

Akrotiri ruins, Santorini

Akrotiri

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.

Akrotiri is arguably the most important archaeological site in the Cyclades, famous for stunning frescoes of the Minoan civilisation.

Wander through the streets of the ancient Minoan settlement, frozen in time following the eruption of 1600 BC and discover about 40 buildings uncovered to date.

Museum of Prehistoric Thira

Browse marble figurines, ancient vases and clay statuettes of various birds, livestock and dolphins from the dig at Akrotiri.

Panagia Episkopi, Santorini

Panagia Episkopi

One of the most important and well-preserved Byzantine churches of the island, dating from 1100 AD.

Another not-to-miss church is the monastery of Profitis Ilias, located at the highest point on Santorini – perfect for great views across the island and of distant Crete's mountains on a clear day.

Where to stay

Santorini offers a wide choice of hotel accommodation in Firá, Oía and Megalochori as well as at some of Santorini’s beachside resorts that face black-sand lava beaches.

Find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say about hotel accommodation in Santorini – find the best deal, compare prices and read what other travellers have to say at TripAdvisor.

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.

Note: 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.

Location

Santorini is the southernmost island in the Cyclades group of islands, which is located in the Aegean Sea, south-east of mainland Greece. The Cyclades comprise: Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Ios and Santorini, plus a number of smaller islands.

Getting there

Time-pressed holidaymakers can fly direct into Santorini, with daily flights from Athens lasting around 45 minutes.

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).

Latest update about this honeymoon destination: 7 August, 2017


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