Enjoy an explosive experience on the volcanic island of Santorini and take in the outstanding beauty of the Santorini Caldera. A volcanic eruption that took place over 3,500 years ago shaped Santorini's crescent bay. Thousands of years later, Santorini has become one of the most famous Greek islands in the Mediterranean. Temperatures soar to the thirties in the summer, which is the best time to visit if you want to top up your tan and go swimming in the mild sea. Black sandy beaches sweep along the coast. Most of the bay is sheltered by a mass of sheer cliffs and hilltop towns and villages. When you visit Santorini, you'll feel as though you've stepped onto an island that time forgot. Much of the historical buildings still stand today and you can explore as much of the island as you like. Whether you want to bask in the warm sunshine on the black sandy beach or go scuba diving in the sea, Santorini is the perfect holiday destination.
Shaping the Santorini CalderaIf you look at Santorini from above, you'll see that the volcanic eruption moulded the bay into a half-moon shape. The actual Santorini Caldera is somewhat of a tourist attraction. Many people visit the island to snap a few photos of the unusual bay, complete with blackened sand that looks like something from a fantasy film. The explosion is thought to be one of the biggest explosions that the world has ever experienced. It was so big that it birthed multiple islands including Thira, Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni. The ancient Minoans, who called the island home at the time of the major explosion, died out as a result of the volcanic aftermath. However, you can still explore some of the ruins left behind after the devastation. To enjoy the best views of the caldera, head to the west of the island. From here, you can gaze out at the majestic cliffs from a restaurant in one of the nearby villages.
Sail to the volcanoWhile most of the volcano is lost in the Aegean Sea, you can still see a good bit of it above water. But, you can't walk to it. Instead, you'll need to take a boat trip for easy access. Step onto the residual islets and hear about their remarkable history with a guided tour. Make sure to bring your swimwear and a towel though, as you might get the chance to enjoy the thermal waters of the volcano's natural hot springs. This relaxing experience is a great way to let the stress roll off your shoulders. Lie back and relax as you take in the spectacular views that Santorini has to offer. On your way back, stop off at the village of Oia. Find a peaceful spot on the beach and admire the splendour of the romantic sunset dipping over the horizon. Or, if you're looking for some excitement, head to Ammoudi Bay for some cliff diving with friends.
Wine tasting and restaurantsAfter a long day of sightseeing and exploring, you've got to treat yourself to some fine Greek cuisine. The villages scattered around the island are home to lots of restaurants, bars and cosy cafes. Make your way through the maze of whitewashed houses and enjoy some traditional tavern dishes such as tomato fritters, fava or melitzanosalata. If you love wine, don't leave Santorini Caldera without visiting a winery. The island is known for making fabulous wines. You can even book a fun tour of the Santo Winery on the northeast of the Caldera. Here, you can sip on the island's most excellent wines and nibble on delicious local delicacies.
Visit archaeological sitesThere's a lot more to the Santorini Caldera than its beaches and rugged coastline. A little further inland you'll find the archaeological site of Akrotiri. View the prehistoric settlement and discover the unique ceramics left behind by the volcano's fury. Despite its hardships, the small town is in excellent condition with well-preserved pieces of art and colourful frescos. If you want to feel like royalty for the day, make your way to Skaros Rock. This ancient fort was built to protect the island from looting pirates. It's up on a hill, so make sure you've got a good pair of shoes on for the walk. The trek is worth it though. At the top, you'll get to take in the outstanding views of magma-formed cliffs.