Santorini erupts with charm. A volcano embraced by the Aegean, the reputation of this island-phenomenon in the Cyclades precedes it. And for good reason.
Also known as Thera in Greek, Santorini is an island immortalised by poets and painters thanks to its celebrated light, multicoloured cliffs and picture-perfect sunsets. It’s an island where all your senses seem magnified, a product of its many contrasts: black earth against whitewashed homes clinging to the cliffside, or wild volcanic sculptures against sleek Cycladic lines.
Things to do in Santorini
Summertime and the living is easy
Santorini and luxury are synonymous. This is the island of infinity pools that flirt with the edge of the cliff, with the Aegean laid out in front of you in all its glory. So how about starting off relaxing on a sunbed, a refreshing cocktail in hand? Or perhaps a romantic meal for two, paired with a fine wine (made locally, of course)? You’ll be in the mood to explore more in no time.
The Pompeii of the Aegean
Akrotiri is a prehistoric city that lies beneath a bioclimatic shelter. Walking over wooden bridges, you will encounter one of the most important and well-preserved civilisations in the Mediterranean, which was covered by the ashes of the great volcanic eruption of 1600 BC. Visit the museum of Prehistoric Thera, at Fira, to admire its famous frescoes, among them Spring, The Monkeys and The African. A world frozen in time awaits you.
Santorini’s cuisine boasts extraordinary ingredients thanks to the nutrient-rich volcanic soil. Amongst the island’s specialities are its world-famous sun-dried cherry tomatoes, fava beans (split peas), capers, and white eggplant. The local chefs are always experimenting, combining traditional recipes with modern gastronomy, making the island a top culinary destination in the Aegean.
Swim with nature
The island is lined with unique beaches in exotic colours of black, red, and white, a product of their volcanic sand. At Kokkini Paralia (Red Beach), Aspri Paralia (White Beach), Perivolos, Perissa and Kamari, the volcanic earth creates immortal works of art.
Stroll along the rim of the Caldera
Top (literally) of all the experiences to enjoy in Santorini is to take a stroll along the rim of the caldera, from Fira to Firostefani and Imerovigli. The more adventurous can challenge themselves by taking the path to Oia, passing the Prophet Elijah’s Church, Chapel of the Cross and Black Mountain, which is iridescent at sunset.
A sunset ritual
Experiencing the sunset from Oia, as thousands do each year, is a ritual. For a few minutes, the energy of the landscape is palpable. When the fiery sun sinks into the Aegean, this scene will be forever cherished in your heart.
Take a boat trip
You can easily rent one or hop on a day cruise at Athinio, Gialos or Ammoudi and take a tour around the caldera. Discover the churches built into caves and the old stairs used for mining excavations along the cliffs.
A walk along the volcano of Nea Kameni
Red and black rocks create a wild landscape around the crater on Nea Kameni, a small island at the centre of the caldera. From the top of a volcano with a 2.5 million-year history, the view is simply incredible. The myth that Santorini is the ancient city of Atlantis, which submerged over 9,500 years ago, comes to life before your eyes. And at lower ground, there are thermal waters that form a volcanic spa.
Hidden gems of Santorini
The wineries of Finikia
A stone’s throw from cosmopolitan Oia, you will discover the multicoloured settlement of Finikia. These old wineries have been converted into homes that are not your typical Cycladic stonewash white but rather are painted in ochre, blue and pink, and provide a beautiful contrast against the dark blue background of the Aegean. Walk the cobblestone streets, take a rest in the courtyard of St Matrona, with its huge palm tree, and taste the local delicacies in the area’s tavernas.
The mediaeval capital
The commanding conical rock of Skaros, visible from Fira and Imerovigli, is situated 330m above sea level. Here you will discover the medieval capital of Santorini. And within the Venetian castle, you will find houses, temples and the former residences of the nobility. Climb to the top and the entire panorama of the caldera – from Oia to Fira – unfolds before you.
A private sunset
If you prefer a quieter, more intimate experience, enjoy the sunset in Skaros at Imerovigli, in Kato Fira, or at the lighthouse of Akrotiri.
Scuba-diving in volcanic waters
Explore the mysterious depths of the Aegean: Cape Tripiti in Thirassia, the shipwreck at Taxiarchis, Palia Kameni, Adiavatis reef, the caves at Mesa Pigadia and the "Indian rock” in Akrotiri.
The taste of ancient vineyards
It’s time to invoke the spirit of Dionysus! Try the one-of-a-kind whites and reds of Santorini, especially the renowned Vinsanto from the volcanic vineyards that are over 3,200 years old.
Lessons in Santorini’s gastronomy
Enrol on one of the many culinary classes on offer and learn to make Santorini’s rich and varied delicacies, such as tomato fritters, sfougato, melitinia and sweet koufeto.
In the mood for more. Here are the top ten experiences in Santorini.
Experience the best of Santorini
Sampling the wine routes of Santorini
Exploring the hiking trails of Santorini
- A walk along the volcano of Nea Kameni
- The Pompeii of the Aegean
- Swim with nature
- A sunset ritual
- Scuba-diving in volcanic waters
- The taste of ancient vineyards