Santorini is without any doubt one of the most beautiful islands in the world placed on many travellers’ bucket lists. Its reputation comes from breathtaking panoramas, pleasant climate all year round, large number of beaches and unique architectural style. No wonder that the island makes an indelible impression on every visitor. The best way to see the island is to go on a bus or a boat tour. The bus tours will take you the most attractive places on the island, to its towns and wineries . By boat you can reach the island of Thirassia and Nea Kameni, visit the volcano, get immersed in the therapeutic hot springs and finally sail to the island’s best beaches.
Throughout its history, Santorini has been shaped by volcanic activity. Today the island, which is also known as Thira, has half-moon shape encircling the core of the volcano, which erupted around 1613 BC burying the ancient city of Akrotiri under ash. This massive volcanic eruption was perhaps one of the largest ever witnessed and approximately 100 times more powerful than the eruption at Pompeii. The excavation works at the site of Akrotiri have shown that the island was the cradle of an advanced civilization dating back to 4000 BC. The findings from Akrotiri are impressive and include magnificent wall paintings, ceramics and other objects that can be seen now in the Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Fira. By many people the settlement of Akrotiri is believed to be a possible inspiration for Plato's famous legend of the lost city of Atlantis.
Santorini is famous for its beautiful architectural order. The buildings are built into the rock creating entire villages nestled into the island's cliffs. Many of the buildings we see today were rebuilt after very strong earthquake that hit the island in 1956. Oia is one of the places that was affected the most by the earthquake, but now it shines again like a real gem in the landscape of harsh beauty. In summer Oia’s streets are cramped by the tourists but still you can feel its charm while wandering about the town. There are some nice galleries of local arts, handicrafts and jewellery. The places worth visiting are The Naval Maritime Museum housed in 19th-century mansion and nearby ruins of Oia Castle, known for its sunset views.
One of the attractions of the island is a beautiful hiking trail from Fira to Oia. It starts in the capital of Santorini, the beautiful, traditional and cosmopolitan Fira. The town is located in the western edge of the island, opposite the volcano and the two volcanic islands of Palaia Kammeni and Nea Kammeni. Apart of a beautiful natural settlement the town offers a good night life as there are plenty of bars, restaurants and shops that you can find in the labyrinth of narrow streets. The one place that you must visit when in Fira is the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, with its Minoan murals rescued from the ancient Akrotíri.
Santorini is also the island of natural beauty of the landscape, the cliffs and the beaches. The beaches are composed of dark volcanic sand but offer breathtaking scenery and crystal waters, ideal for swimming, snorkeling or diving. They are situated mainly on the south east coast of the island. Kamari is an organised beach with cafes, bars, restaurants and a lively nightlife. Perissa and Perivolos are organised beaches with black sand and together form the longest stretch of beaches in Santorini. First one is popular for water sports and second, also called Black Beach is known for its nightlife. The beautiful beach of Vlychada, also called White Beach because of its white cliffs is excellent for swimming. Close to Akrotiri there is striking Red Beach with its red cliffs and red sand, definitely worth visiting for its unique beauty. A boat tour is a very good option to sail from one beach to the other within one day.
A trip to Santorini can be one of the most memorable experiences in your life regardless which time of the year you visit this iconic island. Be prepared and book in advance the things you want to do so you can enjoy every minute of you stay.