Jewel of the Aegean Sea: Santorini
Santorini is one of the most breathtaking places we have ever visited. The island itself is a caldera (volcanic crater), and the half-moon shape of the island makes for some amazing photos. We could not get enough of the traditional white cave houses perched over the crystal clear blue water, and the incredible sunsets, which draw out both locals and tourists each night. Not to mention the island’s local tavernas which serve fresh, delicious Greek food literally inches from the ocean. The famous town of Oia really is picture-perfect, it is like stepping into a postcard. You won’t want to leave and neither did we.
The first thing that caught our attention when we set eyes on the cycladic island were the whitewashed houses, usually accompanied by blue doors and windows. The houses are evidently in absolute concordance with the light blue sky and the vast Aegean Sea. The locals told us that for utility reasons, the white colour of the houses are of paramount importance. The white colour reflects the biggest part of the dazzling light, preventing the houses from getting warm and that was the basic goal of the traditional architecture. Making the houses heat resistant, the summers are much more tolerable and pleasant.
Docking in the port, we dodged the cable car queue and the donkey handlers and climbed up the 650 steps to the town of Oia. Despite 30 degrees heat, it was worth every step for the view that greeted us at the top. The maze of whitewashed buildings spilling down over the edge of a steep cliff, with the backdrop of the deep blue Aegean Sea is truly mesmerising.
Our guide Alec told us that Santorini was formed on one of the world’s biggest volcanic eruptions, which blew the middle out of the original island, leaving a crescent of smaller islands around the caldera. The landscape left behind is as dramatic and awe-inspiring as its history. Around every corner was another picturesque view one after the other, a bright white church dome, spiky cacti silhouetted against the blue sea, an infinity pool on the edge of a cliff. It might be among the most popular and sometimes crowded Greek islands, but it surely lived up to the hype.
Santorini is home to several communities spread around the island. The best place to stay depends upon ones travel style. Basically, the first thing we asked ourselves was whether we wanted to stay on the beach or atop the cliff. As most tourists visit Santorini for the gorgeous view of the caldera and the sunset, we picked a village that is perched on the island’s cliffs. We had four great options: Fira, Oia, Imerovigli, and Firostefani.
We already knew the best way to enjoy the beautiful view of Santorini is in an infinity pool that peaks over the edge of the caldera cliff. The rays of the sun make the blue water sparkle as if a sheet of diamonds spread over a vast land. The hotels in Santorini are generally small, unique, and family-owned. But there are also plenty of boutique hotels in Santorini that are luxurious and make it a hopping spot to travel to with your partner. Just imagine watching a sunset, while sitting at a restaurant on a cliff and sipping some of the best wine.
According to us, Oia is the most famous and probably the most romantic place to stay in Santorini. It may not have many shops or nightlife, but it truly has a relaxing ambience to it and some amazing restaurants. There are plenty of things to do and explore in Santorini. We made sure to visit as many beaches and art galleries as possible. The beaches are incredible with surprising colours, formations, and crystal-clear refreshing water.
For the explorers’ mind, Santorini owns several museums, archaeological sites, historic castles, imposing temples, and more gems, hidden or not, that stimulate visitors. Furthermore, the adrenaline-seeking activities, such as exciting water sports, diving, horse riding and hiking, call to a traveller’s heart. Another huge asset is to savour Mediterranean cuisine. If you haven’t tasted it yet, get ready for an unprecedented palatable experience. Santorini is renowned for its conventional legacy, among them the fine wine varieties can be tasted in welcoming wineries too.
Santorini is a perfect destination to rejuvenate your senses and travel with family, friends or the perfect escape for a romantic haven. It is a traditional island that combines tranquillity and effervescence. There are all kinds of facilities and amenities, a big variety of lovely accommodation options and entertaining activities but peaceful villages as well. The striking natural beauty is undeniable in every aspect. Santorini is reasonably among the top travel destinations worldwide for its unique characteristics and unrivalled images.
Best time to visit Santorini
April to October: The sunny skies and pleasant weather make it the best time to visit.
How to get to Santorini
Santorini (Thira) International Airport (JTR) connects the island directly to many European cities, but most of the flights are seasonal. Athens is the only city that you can fly to and from Santorini year-round.
The yummy Greek food checklist
• Saganaki - Fried cheese in filo pastry covered in honey
• Roasted Greek lamb
• Spanakopita – Spinach pie
• Souvlaki and Gyros - Barbequed Meat Fava me Koukia (Mashed up fava beans)
• Fried Calamari