Santorini

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

Loading...

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.

Essential sights

Santorini sunset

It's no exaggeration to say that people come to Santorini just for its breath-taking sunsets (cruise ships dock every day for that exact reason). And once you've seen the streaks of orange, peach and pink blazing their way across the sky and reflecting in the glassy waters of the caldera below, you'll understand why. The old castle ruins in Oia are one of the best places to watch this natural spectacle, but be prepared to do battle with the cruise ship crowds that descend on the town in the afternoon.

Ancient Thira

This ancient city is between the beachfront villages of Kamari and Perissa (known for their black volcanic sands), on the island's east side. With well-preserved ruins including an agora (main city square), amphitheatre, and sacred grotto dedicated to Greek gods Hermes and Heracles, it's well worth a visit for history buffs.

Santo Winery

Santorini has a passion for wine, with several wineries dotted across the island's shrubby countryside. The Santo Winery combines informative wine tours with tastings overlooking the caldera. The full package includes 18 quality wines and a platter of nibbles, and is a thoroughly pleasant way to spend any afternoon.

Skaros Rock

Skaros Rock sits part-way between Fira and Oia, in the pretty little village of Imerovigli. It's a huge triangle-shaped peninsula that wouldn't look out of place in Kong's Skull Island or Jurassic Park, and provides a challenging hike with outstanding views.

Fira Port cable car

Riding the cable car in Fira is something of an island tradition, even if you have no reason to visit the Old Port that sits at the bottom of the cliff. At just €5, it's worth half an hour of your time – just be sure to say no to the return donkey ride on offer at the bottom.