The magical island of Santorini is one of the most popular Greek Cycladic islands and every year large numbers of tourists flock to this idyllic summer destination. Santorini offers the perfect mix of sun, sea and culture and the island is well stocked for the holidaymaker, with excellent beaches, quaint towns and villages and staggering views across the Aegean Sea. Santorini is a curiously shaped island and is the result of a huge volcanic disturbance that brought this huge slab of rock out of the sea. As a result Santorini has a variety of different landscapes for an island – the western side is at an extremely high altitude with huge dramatic cliffs down to the sea whereas the southeastern side is at sea level with accessible beaches. Santorini is perhaps most famous for the dramatic sunset which can be witnessed from the town of Thira (also called Fira) – quite a crowd gathers every evening to watch this special phenomenon! Millions of tourists fall in love with the tranquil delights of Santorini – we’re sure you will too! Check out the range of accommodation available on Wimdu - from beachfront villas to mountain apartments.
Fun Facts about Santorini
- The beaches on Santorini aren’t made up of yellow sand but black sand!
- Santorini once had a volcano on top of it!
- Santorini is home to a special kind of goats cheese!
- The first traces of settlements are from the fifth Millennium BC. The huge volcanic eruptions in 1628 BC destroyed a great culture under layers of ash
Where to Stay - Villas, Apartments and other Accommodation
Apartments and villas can be found throughout Santorini at affordable prices, offering all the facilities you need at a fair price. Search on Wimdu if you need extra bedrooms, en-suite bathrooms, a swimming pool or children’s facilities for family or group holidays. Your apartment or villa host will be able to give you their top tips for the local area, such as the restaurant that no other tourists have yet made their way to! Whether you choose an apartment or villa in a quiet and relaxed area, or accommodation right in the centre of all the fun, you will not be disappointed by the hospitality and friendliness of the local people.
Things to see and do on Santorini
Thira is the main settlement in Santorini and is perched high above the cliff on the north side of the island. Thira is where most people stay when visiting Santorini and there are plenty of apartments, villas and other accommodation available. Thira is home to many amazing winding lanes, containing quaint souvenir shops, authentic Greek restaurants and buzzing bars. Make sure you’re in Thira when the sun sets during summer – the sunset is one of the world’s most famous and is almost always featured on postcards of Greece!
Enjoy the crystal clear water of the Aegean Sea at one of the many beaches on Santorini. The black and red sand of the volcanic rocks give the beaches a special feel and a wonderful sense of relaxation. Kamari and Perissa are amongst some of the best on the island but Perivolos, Agios Georgios and Monolithos are also worth a trip too. The Red Beach and Vlyhada with their extraordinary natural beauty are highlights of the island.
There are several excellent archaeological sites on Santorini that are well worth visiting. They’ll show you a different side the island and one that is far removed from the many bars and restaurants on the island. There are Byzantine churches, traditional villages and remains of castles. There are also the ruins of Akrotiri which some claim is evidence that the people that once populated the island may have been the civilisation of Atlantis!
Eating and Drinking
If you are a fan of the grape, make sure you take advantage of Santorini’s vineyards. There are ten wine producers on the island, and you can take a tour of them over the course of a few days. There is also a Wine Museum in a natural cave at Koutsoyannopoulos. To accompany your wine fest, make sure to try out some of the huge salads loaded down with fresh goats cheese, capers and local tomatoes - delicious! If you feel like splashing out, go to Selene Restaurant in the small village of Pyrgos, close to the vineyards and farms where their ingredients are sourced.
Thira offers the usual bars you would expect from a tourist destination town, and is a fun and relaxed evening out.
Most people travelling to Santorini will arrive via cruise ship or ferry – the island is 127 miles from Athens and 70 miles from Crete. Santorini is connected to the main port in Athens, Pireaus, by several ferries. Several ferries call by at nearby Naxos and Paros which are on the way from Athens. Athinios Port is Santorini’s port and is located right at the bottom of the huge towering cliff that makes up the southern side of the island. There are also direct ferries from Santorini to Crete during the summer too. It’s generally a scramble up the steep and windy road up to the main town on Santorini. Buses, mini-buses, cars and taxis meet the ferries that drop passengers off on the island and there are frequent queues up the side of the cliff – at least the view is amazing!
There is also an airport on Santorini with daily connections with Athens. Flights from Athens to Santorini take approximately 30 minutes. Getting around Santorini is relatively straightforward. Buses run from Fira to the various beaches and settlements on the island, particularly on the northern side of the island. During the summer months they run fairly regularly. Hiring a scooter is a popular way to get around the island and many tourists opt to get one! It’s a great form of transport and the ideal way to see the island and experience what it’s like to live like a local on Santorini! Your apartment host will be able to tell you the nearest place to rent one from your accommodation.