Grecian Paradise on Santorini

If you’ve ever dreamed of visiting a quintessential Greek Island – one with whitewashed villas, a dazzling blue sea and warm, radiant sunshine – head straight to Santorini. This croissant-shaped volcanic island lies in the heart of the Aegean Sea, and is undoubtedly one of the most picture-perfect, romantic places on earth. Its climate and weather conditions make Santorini the perfect location for a sunny getaway, but there’s a lot more to do than work on your tan...

Beaches and diving

The east coast of the island is where you’ll find sun loungers, bars, beach-side restaurants and water sports facilities. So, head to the black-sand beaches on this side of the island if you fancy a jet-ski tour, a spot of paragliding or aqua-biking to cool your skin down after a few hours’ reclining in the sun. 

It’s worth remembering that most diving tours take place on the east coast too, and you can choose from shore dives or deeper dives to boat wrecks. The red beach on Santorini’s south coast is a favourite with the tourists for its red cliff face and black and red volcanic pebbles. If you arrive there at sunset, you’ll snap a spectacular photograph to share on Instagram. A little further along the south coast you’ll find Perivólas and Vlyháda beaches – either way you’ll find all the amenities you’d hope for on a classic seaside holiday.


History and architecture

Santorini is an island that has endured volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, which means that portions of the island’s architecture and history have disappeared. Thankfully there are still some beautiful attractions to explore, such as the salvaged treasures from the ruins at Akrotiri, at the Museum of Prehistoric Thera in the capital, Fira. 

It’s easy to imagine what life would have been like during the Minoan era, as you learn about the relics and artworks that have been unearthed from this ancient community’s dusty streets. Don’t miss the magnificent wall paintings, including the painting of the Blue Monkeys. And while you’re in Fira, consider car hire in Santorini. You’ll be able to pick up a comfortable car here to get around the island, an absolute must if you fancy seeing as much of Santorini as possible. Once you have a vehicle, take a trip to Megalochori: this charming village slumbers under the Grecian sun and is home to a number of quaint shops, taverns and galleries.


Hiking and walks

An island as pretty as Santorini demands to be explored on foot too, and the good news is that there are plenty of hiking trails beside the sea – meaning you can take in the full view of the brilliant blue ocean. If you’re happy to embark on a long walk, head out from Fira, through to Firostefani and Imerovigli, ascending gradually along the crest of the caldera. After four hours, you’ll reach Oia (a rather exclusive part of the island, known for its beautiful sunsets and premium holiday villas). Along the way you’ll enjoy dramatic views and peppery sprinklings of white villages in the distance, and at times you’ll be able to see the vent of the volcano too. 

If you don’t fancy a walk quite as long as this, rest assured that there’s something else to suit you. The shortest scenic trail is only two miles long, but on the other hand, if you want something that will really get your heart racing (and offer some of the most mesmerising views on the island), try walking from the base of the Mountain of the Prophet Elias to the peak of the summit, and then along the mountain ridge. You’ll be encircled by sea views, and the Monastery at the top is just as beautiful. 


Food and drink

One of the best parts of any holiday is the fact you have an opportunity to sample food that’s totally different from anything you’d eat at home. Thanks to its volcanic soil, Santorini serves up some of the most delicious food in the Mediterranean, including fava (made from yellow split peas) and heady fortified wine called vinsánto. 

Of course, being an island, there’s plenty of juicy seafood on offer too, and fish is frequently accompanied by fresh ingredients that enhance its flavour. Tuck into hake served with garlic-walnut sauce, sautéed squid with white beans, and octopus with cress. Santorini is a fabulous destination for wine lovers, as the volcanic soil and climate ensures the vineyards are brimming with the minerals and conditions needed to make crisp white wines. Try Nykteri wine – it’s a dry white wine that’s named for the fact the grapes are picked at night to avoid oxidation and spoiling. 

With more than two million visitors arriving each year, Santorini is experiencing a tourism boom right now – and a visit there yourself will tell you exactly why. Lounge on its beaches, explore its history, soak up its architecture and scenery, and indulge in local food and drink: we promise you won’t be disappointed.