Santorini

This tiny Greek island is famous for one of the most beautiful views on earth.

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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.

Getting active

Hiking is likely to be a big part of any trip to Santorini. The island's hiking trails offer a fantastic opportunity to explore in a place where the roads don't reach the most beautiful and unique spots.

The six-mile (10km) hiking path between Fira and Oia is an absolute must. Coming from Fira, you'll follow the narrow cobbled alleyways through its peaceful neighbours Firostefani and Imerovigli, where island life suddenly seems to disappear leaving just a rocky path following the dramatic cliffs that drop directly into the caldera below. It's the last word in mesmerising views – both the sight of the volcano and the moment the tumbling whitewashed cubes of Oia come into view are two highlights that will leave you spellbound as you carefully pick your way along the coastal cliff.

Over on the east coast, a shorter three-mile (5km) hike between Kamari and Perissa will take you to Ancient Thira and the sparking black sand beaches. You can continue from Perissa to Vlychada if you like, which also has a small beach and a traditional fishing harbour.

Excursions

Volcano

A short boat ride from the Old Port will take you to the active volcanic crater, which you can access and hike for an entry fee of a few euros. You can also add a trip to the neighbouring island of Palea Kameni to your tour, where you can bathe in the famous sulphuric mud baths and wash in hot springs.

Catamaran cruises

You'll find many catamaran cruises to choose from, of varying itineraries and durations. You can even splash out and hire a private yacht with skipper to take you (and maybe a certain special someone) around the island. It's worth noting that Santorini is the name of both the main island you'll stay and land on, and the wider island group that includes smaller islands. The nearby island of Therasia is a popular stop. It's far less touristy than Santorini, and the cute little village of Manolos is well worth a look. You can also swim in the clear waters of Korfos, if the weather is warm enough.