Santorini, Greece – The Guide

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Updated: August 21, 2017

  • Santorini is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast of Athens. It has a population of 15,500 and a land area of 90 sq km (roughly 16 km in length and 1 to 5 km in width).
  • Santorini is what remains from a massive volcanic eruption 3600 years ago. The eruption destroyed all settlements and created the caldera. The caldera is a lagoon of sea water surrounded on 3 sides by the steep cliffs of Santorini and on the 4th side by Thirassia (a separate island which was part of Santorini before the eruption). The current volcano sits in the middle of the caldera. It’s active but presently not at risk of erupting.
    Santorini, Greece
  • The towns of Fira, Oia, Firostefani, and Imerovigli cling to the 300m high cliffs and have magical views of the caldera and volcano. The beaches of Santorini are on the east and south sides of the island (not on the caldera) and are composed of black volcanic sand.
  • Santorini is connected by ferry to Athens (5 to 7 hours) and the islands of Naxos, Paros, Ios, Milos, Folegandros, Mykonos, and Crete (2 to 3 hours). Flights from Athens to Santorini take less than 1 hour, flights from western Europe take about 3 hours.
  • Santorini is regularly picked as the single best destination in the world – the most romantic island, the most beautiful island, the best place for a honeymoon, and the most luxurious holiday destination. It’s known for great views, great food, fantastic wine, and luxury hotels.
  • The best things to do on Santorini include hiking the incredible caldera foot path, touring wineries, doing a boat tour of the caldera (with volcano hike/hot spring swimming/sunset), and visiting ancient and current villages. There is a vibrant nightlife with wine bars, jazz clubs, and dance clubs but it’s never crazy and easy to avoid if you’re not interested.
  • Santorini is known for high-end hotels and shopping but it’s easy to visit Santorini on a modest budget. The key to saving money is to choose hotels and restaurants not directly on the caldera. Enjoying the incredible views is free!
  • The best time to visit Santorini for great weather, boat tours, swimming, sunbathing, and nightlife is from June to September. If beach time and hot weather are not a necessity and you’re more interested in sightseeing, hiking, eating, and touring the wineries then the months of April, May, October, and early November are also good.
Santorini, Greece

The view from Oia into the Santorini caldera.

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