When an ancient volcanic eruption devastated what is now Santorini, few would have guessed that Mother Nature at its fiercest could create something so exquisitely beautiful. Its crescent caldera – a volcanic depression filled now with glistening Aegean waters – is scattered with five surviving islets.
Over the years white sugar cube houses and blue-domed churches sprang up, running up the cliff sides, creating those now-famous sunset vistas. But when it comes to this most-iconic of Greek Islands, its beauty goes more than skin deep. Teeming with things to do, from blissful boat trips to its ancient archaeological sites, it’s a villa holiday destination like no other.
Our brand new bucket-list destination for 2019, why not take a look at our ideal itinerary for your own little Greek Odyssey…
You’ve arrived in Santorini footloose and fancy free! It’s time then to explore. If you’ve been looking longingly at pictures of your holiday destination, you’ll already be well-acquainted with the capital, Fira. Wander the winding streets and take in those sea vistas. Make sure you grab a table in one of the cliff-side bars or restaurants and settle in for your first Santorini sunset. Bliss.
Discovering the charms of Santorini is what a holiday here is all about, but you can’t forget to get some ‘R and R’ in. Have a lazy morning around the villa pool, put your feet up and read a good book, or just drink in those spectacular views. If the beach is your sanctuary, head over to the eastern side of the island for a peaceful day of sun-worshipping. Kamari Beach is a must-visit for those in need of some vitamin sea. Luxury champagne beach bars sit alongside traditional tavernas and sandy shores. There’s something for every taste here!
Santorini’s answer to Pompeii is the ancient settlement of Akrotiri. Take a trip through time and wander the streets lost under a blanket of volcanic ash. It’s well worth a visit. Rest your legs on the island’s dark, fine sands of Red Beach. Take a dip in the turquoise waters with the red craggy cliffs as your backdrop.
Retail therapy, tasty traditional cuisine and sloped, narrow streets await in Oia. Wander through this small village and stumble across the various vantage points looking out across the Aegean Sea. After a morning of exploration, cool off with a swim in the waters of Amoudi Bay before drying off and heading to one of the waterside tavernas for lunch al fresco. Yamas!
It’s impossible not to be intrigued by the volcanic history of Santorini, so a boat trip to the neighbouring islets is a must! Your first stop is Thirasia; once a part of the main island before the volcanic eruption, it’s now separated by sweeping waters. The sheltered seas are wonderfully calm on this side of the caldera and make for an idyllic dip. Jump back on the boat and stop off at Nea Kameni, which sits right in the middle of the two islets. The peak of the volcano is here, where a hike to the top through the lingering smell of sulphur is rewarded with the most breathtaking panorama.
Where to stay
After days of exploration return to this oasis of calm and tranquillity. Set on the outskirts of Firostefani, it’s the perfect place to unwind, reminisce and then think ahead to what tomorrow might bring.