The contrasting rocky headlands and volcanic beaches create a visually exciting landscape on Santorini. This iconic Greek island is home to distinctive architecture, brilliant blue-domed churches and steep volcanic cliffs dropping into turquoise blue depths.
The contrast does not end with the geography, however, as two distinct holiday experiences can be discovered here. On the mountainous side of the island you will find ancient archaeological sites, superb vineyards and romantic hideaways. And on the other – charming beaches, glistening sea and a surprisingly vibrant nocturnal scene. It’s perhaps this delightful variety that makes Santorini attractive to so many people, from adventurous culture lovers to families seeking sunshine and relaxation. Don’t miss a trip over to Nea Kameni volcano, where you can submerge and relax in the natural hot springs – a truly delightful experience. Any visit to Santorini will leave you questioning why you have not been to the island before.
A picturesque town on the north west tip of the island, Oia is famous for its beautiful blue-domed churches. The town is ideally located to view the spectacular sunsets on the western side, but beware it gets very busy around this time of day. Like most of Santorini’s villages, the beautiful whitewashed houses are carved directly into the cliff-face, with a path winding down to the former fishing village of Ammoudi below. You can find delightful little boutiques here, selling crafty gifts and trinkets.
The largest town on Santorini, 900 feet above the coastline, is a bustling metropolis during the summer months. Take a stroll through the shopping district, with boutiques and craft shops in abundance. Stop off at a friendly taverna and have a glass of the local wine and bite to eat. There are excellent bakeries in Fira selling delicious sweets and pastries, and you should definitely try the melitinia, a sweet cheese pastry. You will find all the best nightlife in Fira, so look out for clubs as they are often tucked away.
Kamari is a cosmopolitan beach resort, on the southeast of the island, ideal for families looking for a relaxing seaside break. Lying under the guard of Mesa Vouno mountain, this long stretch of beach offers a different style to the villages above. The promenade has some great bars, shops and restaurants, and some lively nightlife too. Redevelopment of Kamari started in 1956, after an earthquake all but flattened the town. As an old fishing village, the tavernas serve mouth-watering grilled fish and seafood, a staple in the Aegean.
Known for its tranquillity, and for its sublime sunsets, Imerovigli will take your breath away. Whitewashed buildings dot the landscape and beautiful churches dominate the skyline. There is an air of luxury and some of our best hotels are in Imerovigli, like the Iconic Santorini. The highest part of the island, it commands spectacular views of the volcano and the rest of the island. Nearby Skaros Rock was once the governing force of Santorini, but now is just an impressive but deserted castle.
These adjoined seaside resorts are perfect for those looking for a bit more nightlife. Both beaches have bars, loungers and lifeguards, as well as black sand and midnight blue depths. The nightlife here is more akin to Mykonos, rather than the sleepy villages among the mountains of Santorini. At night you will see the transformation with cocktail bars, restaurants and clubs coming to life. The stunning blue-domed Church of Timiou Stavrou can be found in Perissa Square, which is well worth a visit.
Alongside the spellbinding ancient ruins at Akrotiri there is a quaint little village boasting some of the best views in Santorini. In the medieval period, Akrotiri was one of five fortified towns and the castle here is a great place to visit, although it was damaged in the earthquake of 1956. Further along the coast towards Fira, you will find Megalochori, where vineyards dominate the landscape. The centre square is a meeting place for locals, to drink fine wine and play backgammon in the afternoon sun.