Be awed by the unique crescent-shaped Santorini – undoubtedly the most extraordinary island in the Aegean and the perfect Greek Island honeymoon destination.
The glamorous island of Santorini (also known as Thira) 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.
Santorini offers a good choice of exciting activities for active couples celebrating a honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Discover Santorini Island on foot, bicycle or on a motorcycle. Hike Santorini's extinct volcano (photo), or go horseback riding, learn Greek cooking, enjoy a romantic sunset picnic from the cliff top or join a sunset cruise within the caldera.
Dive into the waters around Santorini to experience underwater caves, walls, reefs and rich marine life. Go snorkelling, windsurfing and kite surfing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Browse marble figurines, ancient vases and clay statuettes of various birds, livestock and dolphins from the dig at Akrotiri.
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.
Discover pretty Kokkini Paralia Beach, located close to the ancient site of Akrotiri, or unwind on the volcanic black sand of Kamari and Perissa beaches.
This narrow strip of unique red and black sand, more commonly known as Red Beach, nestles between a soaring red lava cliff and clear blue waters, creating a magnificent setting for swimming and snorkelling.
Pack a picnic, relax on the fine-grained red sand and perhaps make time to visit the ancient Minoan ruins at nearby Akrotiri.
Red Beach is located on the south coast of Santorini, an easy drive from Thira, followed by a short walk down to the beach. You can also take a water taxi.
This seemingly endless black-sand beach stretches into the distance from the rocky headland of Mesa Vouno (which stands at 396m).
Sunbathe on the beach, swim and enjoy various watersports in the bay and later relax (or party hard) at one of the many bars, cafes, tavernas and nightclubs that line this popular beach.
Kamari is located 10km (6mi) south-east of Firá and offers a range of holiday accommodation options.
This long and smooth black-sand beach lies on the south side of Mesa Vouno.
Nestled beneath Profitis Ilias Mountain (956m), Perissa offers excellent swimming and snorkelling as well as provides ample protection from the Aegean’s meltemia (summer winds).
Perissa is one of Santorini’s most popular beaches and is lined with hotels, bars, cafes, tavernas and nightclubs.
Perissa Beach is located on the south-east coast of Santorini, around 15km (9mi) from Firá.
Often considered the most dramatically beautiful of all the Greek Islands, Santorini offers an excellent range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, including the following 5-star hotels…
Prices: from AUD1902 per room
Description: Perched on the cliffs of Oia, 92 metres above the blue waters of the Aegean, Katikies Hotel offers a rooftop restaurant. Its infinity pools enjoy sweeping views of the Caldera. Each of the white-washed rooms has a private terrace with unforgettable sea views. All rooms are air conditioned and come with satellite TV and CD player. Guests also enjoy a minibar, as well as a mini wine cellar and a fridge. The boutique hotel’s facilities include open-air and indoor hot tubs and swimming pools. Free Wi-Fi internet access is available throughout the hotel. American breakfast with champagne is served in your room, or on your private veranda. Guests receive wine and fruit as a welcome gift. Guests staying at Katikies Hotel are offered free transfers to the beach, 3 km from the hotel. Katikies Hotel is 18 km from Santorini airport and Athinios port.
Andronis Luxury Suites
Prices: from AUD1589 per room
Description: Nestled in the Caldera cliff with a view of the volcano, the surrounding islands and the Aegean Sea, this hotel combines classic luxury with modern minimal style. A healthy and natural lifestyle defines Andronis Luxury Suites. The concept extends from the massage room and luxury spa to the Mediterranean restaurant. Savour cuisine that is freshly prepared using only bio-organic ingredients. Andronis Suites are carved into the cliff, creating an authentic and charming base for your stay. The design of the suites combines traditional Cycladic and contemporary style. Relax in the atmosphere of your elegant suite, complete with a hot tub and views across the island. Andronis Suites' convenient location allows you to be close to Oia, while still enjoying peace and seclusion.
Kirini Suites & Spa
Prices: from AUD1313 per room
Description: This 5-star hotel, with its traditional architecture and its multi-levelled terraces, perches from the cliff, overlooking the blue waters of the Aegean Sea and the dramatic volcano island. The recently refurbished Kirini Suites & Spa features additional luxury amenities, such as the new Spa and the pool area with not only lounges with sea view, but relaxing facilities carved into the cliff. The recently redecorated suites offer a serene atmosphere, wooden floors, fluffy beds and luxury bath amenities. From every suite’s veranda, the views to the water-filled Caldera are mesmerizing. Each suite has air conditioning, satellite TV, direct dial phone, safety deposit box, minibar, hair dryer, bathrobes, feather-filled pillows and luxurious bath amenities. Kirini is located in Oia, just a short 15 minutes walk to the panoramic promenade. It is 30 minutes by car from the Santorini International Airport and the Athinios Port.
Andronis Boutique Hotel
Prices: from AUD1300 per room
Description: Andronis Boutique Hotel is set in the quiet town of Oia, 4 km from Paradisos Beach. The spectacular views over the Caldera are coupled with facilities such as the hotel spa, swimming pool, organic restaurant and personalized services. Andronis suites reflect traditional Aegean style. With minimalist design and decoration, each features a private furnished balcony with sea view. Amenities include free Wi-Fi and LCD TVs, a hydromassage shower cabin, bathrobes and slippers, as well as a minibar with organic snacks. You can start your day with an a la carte breakfast. Santorini's rich, unique products are cooked with age-old recipes and new cooking methods at the Andronis restaurant. The poolside snack bar serves beverages, drinks and an all-day menu for light meals and snacks. Cooking lessons, yoga classes, private candlelit dinners and restaurant reservations can be arranged through the multilingual reception staff. Fira, Santorini’s main town is 12 km away. Santorini Airport is at 18 km, and Athinios Port is at 20 km.
Volcano View by Caldera Collection
Prices: from AUD2210 per room
Description: Standing majestically on the edge of the cliffs, Volcano View boasts a restaurant with Caldera view, and 3 swimming pools overlooking the volcano, the sea and the famous Santorini sunset. All guestrooms have a private balcony or terrace overlooking the sea and the volcano. They are equipped with individual climate control units, satellite TV and hairdryer. Volcano View by Caldera Collection is comprised of three areas, the Hotel, perched atop the caldera cliffs offering fantastic views of the sea, the VIP Villas consisting of 7 luxury villas with private pools, and the affordable rooms, which benefit from the hotel’s facilities. The Caldera restaurant is open for a la carte meals from 13:00 to 22:00. Greek breakfast can also be enjoyed daily. Volcano View is just a short drive from the centre of Fira. The reception desk is open 24 hours for assistance and enquiries, and guests are provided with free transfer to and from the town.
Lilium Santorini Villa
Prices: from AUD428 per room
Description: Situated along the rim of the Caldera, Lilium Villa offers a pool with hydromassage facilities. Rooms overlook the Aegean Sea and the volcano, and Wi-Fi is complimentary in the entire hotel. Each renovated and elegantly furnished unit is air conditioned, and features a satellite TV and a minibar. They all come with private bathroom with hairdryer. The restaurant serves creative Mediterranean dishes, prepared with fresh ingredients and carefully presented by the hotel’s chef. The bar serves exotic cocktails by the poolside. The hotel spa offers an extensive range of massages and face treatments. The outdoor pool with its stunning sea views provides every opportunity for rejuvenation. The Lilium Villa is only a 5-minute drive from Fira. The hotel provides free shuttle services to Fira, and will provide a private transfer for a small fee. Car rental can be arranged at the reception.
Location: Kamari Village
Prices: from AUD395 per room
Description: Located in Kamari Village, the Cycladic-style Cavo Bianco features a swimming pool, a sun terrace with sun loungers and a traditional restaurant. Facilities also include a gym, a spa centre and a 24-hour front desk. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout. Opening to a balcony or terrace overlooking the garden and the pool, all rooms and suites are decorated with modern furnishings and white-washed walls. Each is air conditioned and equipped with a flat-screen satellite TV, a fridge and an electric kettle. The modern bathrooms are stocked with slippers, hairdryer and free toiletries. Some units include a spa bath and an outdoor hot tub. The on-site restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, while drinks and coffees are also served at the bar. Room service is available from early in the morning until midnight. The archaeological site of Ancient Thera lies within a short walk from Cavo Bianco. Ormos Athinios Port is 8 km away, while Santorini National Airport is at a distance of 5 km. The lively Fira Town is 10 km away.
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The best time to honeymoon in Santorini 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 (100°F); and to the fact that Santorini – together with the major Greek islands – is swamped with European holidaymakers.
Summer, from June to September, enjoys daily averages of 29°C (84°F) peaking around 35°C (95°F).
You can expect average highs of 27°C (81°F) in June, 29°C (84°F) in July and August and 26°C (79°F) in September.
Cooling sea breezes are fairly consistent throughout summer.
Sea temperatures peak around 25°C (77°F) in August.
For more climate info: Santorini Weather Guide…
Santorini is the southernmost island in the Cyclades, a group of islands that lie in the Aegean Sea about 200km (120mi) south-east of mainland Greece.
The Cylades comprise Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Ios and Santorini, plus a number of smaller islands.
The most convenient route to Santorini is by air to Santorini International Airport (JTR), located about 6km (4mi) southeast of the capital town, Thera.
Note: Most international air traffic to Santornini is seasonal, therefore the most convenient route to Santorini from some international destinations is by air to Athens International Airport (ATH), followed by a connecting flight to Santorini Airport (JTR).
Santorini is also easily accessible by high-speed catamarans and ferries from neighbouring islands and from Piraeus – the port of Athens.
Pireaus to Santorini is about 4 hours 30 minutes by high-speed catamaran. However, it can also take up to 9 hours, depending on type of ferry and route chosen, especially if the ferry stops at one or more islands along the way.
By sea, the quickest route to Santorini is from the mainland port of Rafina, taking 2 hours 45 minutes, twice daily.
Rafina is located on the eastern coast of Attica, only 17km (10.5mi) from Athens Airport (ATH), around 30 minutes by bus and 15 minutes by taxi; and 25km (16mi) east of Athens city centre, around 1 hour 15 minutes by bus.
Ferries dock at Santorini’s tiny port of Athinios (a few kilometres away from Skala). Buses meet every ferry for the short ride to Fira.
By ferry, Santorini is about 1 hour 15 minutes from Ios, 3 hours from Naxos, 4 hours from Milos and Paros, and 6 hours from Mykonos.
Apart from walking, you can take a taxi, hire a moped, ATV quad-bike, or car. Or simply hop on a bus – a choice of routes range across the island.
While paved, many roads on Santorini are narrow and winding. Local drivers tend to drive fast and most of the people in Santorini – especially during high season – are tourists. As a result, road conditions are unsafe and accidents are very common.
More information about how to get around Santorini…
Latest update: Santorini Honeymoon : 9 March, 2020
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