This tiny Greek island is famous for one of the most beautiful views on earth.
Add in jumbled cliffside villages full of traditional blue and white architecture, dramatic black and red sand beaches, craggy cliffs and its own volcano, and it becomes clear that Santorini is an island unlike any other.
Arriving at Santorini Airport
Coming in to land on Santorini is an experience in itself, as the island (and the airport) feel impossibly small on approach. The airport is the only one on the island and also serves as a base for military aircraft. It's small and basic; you won't find coffee shops and duty-free at this little island hub, although limited arrivals mean that you should move through the airport pretty swiftly.
Many hotels on the island offer an airport collection service, which may be the easiest option. There will usually be some local taxis waiting outside, but these can quickly disappear when faced with a plane-full of new arrivals. There's also a bus service going to the island's capital, Fira (20 minutes away). While this is a super-cheap option at just €2 a ticket, there are only three to four departures per day, and the buses can be very crowded – often with standing room only.
Your other option is to hire a car, although you'll need to be a confident driver to cope with the winding island roads, crowded driving conditions (especially in Fira), and the local drivers who may take a less cautious approach than you're likely to.
If you only have a few hours to spare on the island, a wander through its capital is a must. Continue through the picturesque villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli, where you can climb Skaros Rock, before quenching your thirst in one of a handful of caldera-view cafés. Then catch the bus back to Fira for a well-earned Chillbox ice-cream (with all the toppings) overlooking the main square and city's donkey statue mascot.
Your weekend on the island is likely to start with a traditional Greek breakfast in Fira, and a wander around the souvenir shops selling red wine soap, silver jewellery, donkey novelties and wood-carved corkscrews and bottle-openers.
In the afternoon, a tour of the nearby Santos Winery (five minutes in a taxi) followed by a tasting will introduce you to the delights of Santorini wines, with stunning caldera views to boot. Pick up a bottle from the on-site shop to enjoy later.
Dinner in one of the capital's traditional tavernas, followed by a cocktail or two in the jazz bar, will finish the day nicely.
On day two it's time to put on those walking boots for the Fira-to-Oia hike. Coffee and crepes will sustain you through an afternoon of trailing up and down Oia's white cliff-carved stairways and exploring its hidden alleyways. Don't miss the famous blue-domed church, which sits on the main town square.
Give yourself plenty of time to save a position on the old castle platform, for one of the best sunset views. Then try the catch of the day alfresco in one of Oia's many open-air-terrace restaurants.
Santorini's volcano view is iconic, but why not see what the picture looks like in reverse with a boat trip over to the active crater? Take the cable car down to the Old Port at Fira, then make the short crossing and hike your way up the peak.
Back in the capital, enjoy an ice-cold beer in the fragrant flower gardens of Pelican Kipos taverna. Or join a wine tasting session in the vaulted cave that sits beneath the restaurant.
Get your bearings on the hike from Fira to Oia, then spend some time browsing in the impossibly charming Atlantis bookshop – a magical Aladdin's cave of rare, unusual and particularly beautiful books. Grab a takeaway coffee and take it up to the bookshop's hidden terrace, which is completely free for browsers to access.
Head away from Fira in the opposite direction to Oia, and you'll come to the island's old capital and its highest viewing point, Pyrgos. Here you can explore the hilltop settlement ruins, including the crumbling Venetian castle, while taking in unique views over both sides of the island. You'll also get a good look at the surrounding vineyards, where the vines are wound into distinctive basket shapes to protect them from the sometimes-fierce island winds.
Time to pull those hiking shoes back on for the climb up Skaros Rock. Once you've conquered that, head to Fira to explore its many churches, including the landmark Cathedral of St John the Baptist, which sits beside the peach-domed Monastery of Dominican Sisters.
Hiring a quad bike will make exploring the island away from the main tourist draws of Fira and Oia easy. Zip across the island to the archaeological sites of Akrotiri and Ancient Thira, before hopping between the red and black beaches – just don't expect to find soft sands!
Take to the water on day six with a cruise to the hot springs and volcanic mud baths at Palea Kameni island, which sits behind the crater of the volcano. From there it's a short hop over to unspoilt Therasia, where you can trek between pretty churches, see the island's famous windmill (with waterside restaurant for a leisurely bite), and enjoy a dip to cool down.
On the last day of any holiday it's essential to pick up a few souvenirs. Choose between the upmarket boutiques and galleries of Oia, and the handicrafts and fun themed souvenirs of Fira. Don’t forget to take a picture with the island's colourful donkey mascot before you leave.