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Santorini:
The Ultimate Location for a Romantic Holiday

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Discover Santorini

The southernmost of the Cycladic Islands is a place of unsurpassed beauty and one of the top travel destinations in the world.

The island as we know it today was created by an enormous volcanic eruption that shook the Aegean thousands of years ago (1650 BC), forming the awe-inspiring natural scenery of the caldera and its remarkable islets. It is also associated with the myth of the lost city of Atlantis.

The rich history of Santorini can be seen in the splendid archaeological sites of Akrotiri and Thera (a name by which it was known in antiquity), proof that it was an advanced and highly cultivated civilisation. Its astounding cave houses, photogenic beaches in shades of lava and ash, and brightly coloured traditional villages, make this a unique setting with a special energy.

Santorini is the ultimate location for a romantic holiday in a luxurious and cosmopolitan environment, with the famous sunset of Oia as a backdrop. At the same time, it has emerged as an international magnet for wine enthusiasts and gastronomic tourists, as well as a paradise for lovers of hiking and diving.

The world’s most beautiful island, according to top international travel magazines, is a dream come true for millions of visitors.

Choose one of the itineraries to Santorini and experience the dream for yourself.

7 memorable experiences on Santorini
  1. If you choose one of the ferry tickets to Santorini, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a captivating sunset from various parts of the island: the castle of Oia, Mount Profitis Ilias above the village of Pyrgos, Vlychada Beach, or the lighthouse at Akrotiri.
  2. A refreshing dip at Ammoudi, a delightful bay with deep emerald waters that can be reached directly from Oia via 235 steps.
  3. Taking the path between Fira and Oia, one of the most beautiful walks in the Aegean. The 9.5-km route runs the length of the caldera, offering wonderful views of the volcano and the island of Thirasia.
  4. Discovering the stunning seas of Santorini, and an underwater spectacle of caves, gorges, shipwrecks and rare ecosystems.
  5. Learning about the art of winemaking on Santorini at some of the island’s many wineries, both modern and traditional.
  6. Visiting Thirasia, the second largest island in the Santorini archipelago. Its main settlement, which is situated at the top of a cliff and can be reached from the port via 145 steps, is a charming mixture of cave architecture, underground wine cellars (kanaves), and pretty churches.
  7. Enjoying the dramatic re-enactment of the volcano’s eruption with rockets and flares, staged in late August as part of the “Ifestia” festival.
Beaches of Santorini

The island’s dazzling beaches are a memorably arresting sight, with their natural sculptures of lava and ash recalling lunar or desert settings. It is worth discovering:

  • The outstanding Red Beach, with its marvellous volcanic rocks, red sand, and black pebbles, next to the Akrotiri archaeological site.
  • Cosmopolitan Kamari (Black Beach), with its long stretch of black sand, an ideal spot for water sports, in the shadow of Mount Mesa Vouno.
  • Spectacular Vlychada, where cliffs of solidified ash resembling a moonscape sit side-by-side with the tall chimneys of the old tomato canning factory.
  • Youth-oriented Perissa, beneath Mount Mesa Vouno, for extreme sports, all-day beach parties, and climbs to the Church of the Prophet Elijah for its breathtaking views.
  • The large and popular Perivolos, with its excellent water sports provision and trademark canning factory.
  • Family-friendly Monolithos, with its shallow sea and areas for beach sports.
  • The magnificent White Beach, with its pumice cliffs and white pebbles, which can only be reached by boat.
  • Exotic Koloumbos for lovers of seclusion.
  • Idyllic Katharos for a sunset swim.
Postcards from Santorini: 10 things not to miss

Akrotiri Archaeological Site
Known as the “Pompeii of the Aegean”, Akrotiri was among the most important settlements and ports in the Eastern Mediterranean during the prehistoric period. Excavations have revealed that the impressive and well-planned city that flourished here in the 17th century BC, before it was destroyed by a volcanic eruption, was home to an advanced society with a high level of culture.

Palia & Nea Kameni
The two islets in the centre of Santorini’s caldera are actually the peaks of the underwater volcano. A walk around the crater of Nea Kameni and a swim in the warm sulphurous waters of Palia Kameni are unique experiences.

Oia
The island’s loveliest town is a true architectural gem. Its marble-paved streets and elegant captains’ houses made of red and ochre limestone are a reflection of its maritime glory in the 19th century and the wealth of its inhabitants. The most recognisable image of Oia is its Venetian castle at sunset, while the walk along the main pedestrian street overlooking the caldera is unforgettable.

Pyrgos
Built in the foothills of Mount Profitis Ilias, the island’s highest peak, the medieval village of Pyrgos is an enchanting place. The settlement is situated in and around a striking 18th-century castle and is a charming maze of narrow whitewashed streets, innumerable churches (the oldest is the 10th century Theotokaki, inside the castle walls), neoclassical buildings and wineries. The village is surrounded by vineyards and since 1995 has been a “protected monument”.

The Museum of Prehistoric Thera
This superb museum in Fira contains major finds from the excavations at Akrotiri, as well as extraordinary treasures from other parts of prehistoric Santorini.

Oia Maritime Museum
Santorini’s great naval history is vividly brought to life in a two-storey neoclassical mansion in Oia. Visitors to the museum can learn about seafaring in the 19th century, when the island’s sailing vessels dominated maritime trade from Egypt to the Black Sea.

Skaros Rock
From the 13th to the mid-18th century, the island’s capital was this imposing fortified town of 200 stone houses, churches and quaint cobbled streets, which was connected to Imerovigli by a wooden drawbridge. Today, its ruins are accessible by a path of 300 steps that starts at the church of Saint George in Imerovigli. It is worth the effort for the best view of the caldera in all Santorini and for the brilliant white church of the Virgin Mary Theoskepasti perched on its western slope.

Inland
The Santorini that is revealed in the island’s mountainous interior is markedly different from the familiar picture-postcard views, but with villages boasting a long history and a distinctive architectural identity, it is just as attractive. Visit Megalochori, with its grand houses and great winemaking tradition; picturesque Emborio, with its amazing castle; Messaria, the heart of industrial Santorini in the 19th century, with its gorgeous mansions; Karterados, the most well-known captains’ village; and atmospheric Finikia, with its colourfully painted cave dwellings and old wineries.

The Tomato Industrial Museum
The old cannery in Vlychada, which was active from 1945 to 1981, is now a modern museum complex that offers a rare journey into the industrial heritage of the island and the cultivation and processing of the renowned Santorini tomato.

The Church of Episkopi Thiras in Mesa Gonia
The island’s most important Byzantine monument was built in the 11th century by the emperor Alexios Komnenos and is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.

Tastes of Santorini

Santorini’s gastronomic identity is defined by its volcanic soil, the source of its fine local produce and exceptional wines that have won international awards and prizes.

Santorini’s velvety fava (split pea mash), capers, cherry tomatoes (that grow with next to no water, giving them their characteristic sweet taste), white artichokes and aubergines, and katsouni (the local courgette) are ambassadors for the island’s cuisine and are enjoyed in numerous fantastic recipes.

The island’s incomparable wine culture is evident in its countless wineries, which you can visit in order to taste superlative indigenous varieties such as Assyrtiko, Athiri, Aidani, red Mandilaria and Mavrotragano. And don’t forget to enjoy the famous sweet Santorini Vinsanto.

In recent years, microbreweries producing fine craft beers have sprung up on the island. The delicious local amygdalota (almond sweets) are known as “white olives”.

MAP OF SANTORINI
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