The most enchanting of the Cycladic islands is known worldwide for its white hilltop villages dotted with blue churches and its unparalleled sunsets; but there is so much more. If you are thinking of visiting the Greek Islands, then look no further for five reasons to visit Santorini.
The Sunsets of Santorini are out of this world!
The iconic sunset vistas of Santorini are famous worldwide. Why? Well, the unique setting of the volcanic isle mean that when the sun sets, it literally sinks into the caldera bathing the whitewashed houses in waves of colour. Wherever you are on the island the sunset is wonderful, time stops at that magical hour and those waiting for the spectacle stop holding their breath. The most northerly town of Oia is the popular sunset spot, below the town at the castle. You will have to share that magical moment with the throngs of other visitors jostling for the view and that perfect photo. The town of Imerovigli is in the middle of the caldera ridge, from here you can watch the sun setting into the ocean directly in front of you with far fewer crowds. The ultimate view is from the Akrotiri lighthouse, although not easy to get to, with a blanket and a bottle of wine it is the perfect place to watch the majestic sunset of Santorini.
It’s hopelessly Romantic
Santorini is a top honeymoon destination thanks to the picturesque views and beautiful sunsets. The dramatic scenery of jagged volcanic cliffs against the azure blue water and the white houses speckled with blue domes are like something out of a fairy-tale. For that special stay, Santorini has luxury hotels and suites on the caldera with breath-taking sunset views. If you prefer something more intimate away from the crowds try the hidden gem of Pyrgos, a traditional hilltop town surrounded by vineyards that boasts 360 panoramic views of the whole island. The medieval alleys, untouched by tourism are home to wine bars and tavernas, galleries, and boutiques making it the perfect place to explore hand in hand without the crowds. Why not spend a dreamy day out sailing on a private yacht? Swim in hot springs and watch the sunset onboard from the middle of the caldera. There are so many romantic things to do together like horse riding on the beach, have a photo shoot or spend the day lazing in a hammock on Eros beach. One thing is for certain; you will be spoilt for choice for restaurants with a magical setting.
The Breath-taking Landscape
Santorini’s unique landscape was created thousands of years ago when the island of Thera was destroyed by a super eruption, leaving an archipelago. The rest of the island sank into the sea giving rise to the belief that Santorini is the site of the lost city of Atlantis. Where else in the world can you stay on an active volcano crater? The natural beauty of Santorini is staggering with lunar landscapes and extraordinary volcanic beaches like the Red Beach and White beach with pebbles of coloured lava. The west coast (the inside of the caldera) has unusual rock formations and striking volcanic cliffs with the main towns perched on top, whilst the eastern and southern side boasts beautiful pebble beaches. Exploring the caldera by boat gives entirely different views of Santorini, you can take a catamaran cruise that also takes you to the active part of the volcano in the middle of the caldera. If you hike through Nea Kameni Volcanic Park, you will pass active, smoking craters from the last few hundred years. Whether you are looking for relaxation or adventure, Santorini has the perfect backdrop for your holiday.
If you are looking for a holiday packed with adventure and activities then Santorini will not disappoint. The heady mix of rugged landscape and the ocean means there is an abundance of choice for active visitors. The best way to take in the extraordinary scenery is to hike from Fira to Oia, which traces the caldera edge passing through traditional picturesque villages on the way. Look no further for hiking trails with dramatic scenery like Samaria Gorge. You can explore Santorini on a quad or take to the paths on two wheels, or ride a horse on the caldera or along the beach.
The jagged cliffs of the caldera are so dramatic from the sea and no visit to Santorini would be complete without going on a boat. There are options for every taste and budget from sailing on a private yacht to a catamaran cruise and island hopping. Swimming in the sulphur springs is a highlight if you are taking to the sea. Head to Perivolos beach for water activities like kayaking, jet skiing, paddleboats or take the views in from above by parasailing. The ultimate experience by far is scuba diving in the world’s largest underwater caldera through the turquoise waters. The stunning seabed has volcanic reefs, curious shipwrecks and underwater caves.
Santorini has exceptional Wine
One of Santorini’s best kept secrets is its wonderful wines, which are hard to come by because of the relatively small production, rarely make it off the island. Despite the challenges of the windswept and somewhat barren landscape Santorini has an age-old tradition of wine making and is known for its indigenous white grape Assyrtiko. The combination of volcanic soil, age old vines twisted into little baskets and the morning dew and sea spray produce crisp citrus whites, rich full-bodied reds and the amber coloured Vinsanto, literally wine of Santorini.
The wine growing region is the widest part and highest part of the island, with unmissable views and vineyards and wineries galore. At the Koutsogiannopoulos Wine Museum (housed in an underground cave) you can discover the age-old wine making traditions of the island and the environmental challenges and advantages. Take a wine tour to enjoy a variety of tastings at several vineyards to ensure you try the best of the local varieties which are all sublimely unique.