As one of the most visually spectacular destinations globally, a holiday to Santorini is sure to be a hit with couples and families looking for some fun in the sun. Once a volcanic island, it was rocked by a massive eruption that saw a half of the crater fall in on itself. The collapsed part was swallowed up by the sea, leaving steep lava-formed cliffs that plunge into the dark, blue waters.
Today, Santorini is one of the hottest holiday destinations in the Mediterranean. It’s dotted with whitewashed, clifftop towns where you can enjoy a quiet coffee or a leisurely dinner, perched on the rim of a volcano and watching the glittering sea below. Santorini holidays are ideal for families and couples who want to enjoy some quality downtime together, set against one of the most stunning backdrops in the world.
Things to do
Santorini is well known for its stunning views over the Aegean Sea. There is also plenty of elegant Venetian architecture, including the famous blue-domed churches, whitewashed cottages, and authentic Greek towns. Experience the dramatic black sand beaches and spend a day soaking up the Greek sunshine, before paying the local water sports centre a visit for some adrenaline-pumping activities.
Catch the bus to Thira and have lunch by the cliff’s edge looking out over the water, or ride a donkey down the hill to see it up close. Reserve a day to explore some historic sites, from the ancient remains of Thira to the capital’s museums and blue-domed churches. When the sun goes down, hit the beach for a drink or head to the buzzing clubs in town.
The ancient city of Thira is a historical settlement dating back to the 11th century. The antique city is nestled upon a steep hill on the Messavouno Mountain, and the hike to the top is well worth it. Several other archaeological sites are dotted around the island, some of them boasting beautiful panoramic views.
Santorini is a crescent-shaped island formed thousands of years ago through an underwater volcanic eruption, which resulted in a large chunk of the island falling into the sea. It’s a spectacular sight that can be viewed from the island’s clifftops via one of the many boat tours that operate every day.
Evidence of Santorini’s volcanic nature can be found on many beaches across the island, where distinctive black volcanic sand engulfs the long stretches of landscape. Perissa Beach and Perivolos Beach on the island’s southeast coastline are two locations that perfectly exemplify Santorini’s natural beauty. As two of the longest beaches in Santorini, they’re characterised by dark sand and crystal-clear waters, ideal for swimming. These are cosmopolitan beaches where you’ll find sun loungers and umbrellas scattered from end to end, as well as plenty of water sports and activities to keep thrill-seekers occupied.
First-time travellers and those on a budget who want to enjoy Santorini holidays might benefit from staying on the island’s east side. Santorini’s east coast doesn’t face the sunset, so drinks, food and accommodation are generally a lot cheaper here. Plus, a short drive from the east coast will take you to Thira, where you can get the best of both worlds by watching the sun slowly sink into the Aegean Sea.
East coast villages such as Kamari and Perissa offer a traditional holiday feel and plenty of excellent accommodation. Here, you’ll find incredible beaches characterised by black lava sands, contributing to the island’s unique identity. The east coast also boasts an abundance of restaurants and bars where food and drinks are considerably cheaper than other parts of the island. Relax, unwind, and sample delicious Greek cuisine while you sip on a cocktail or two.
Nightlife in Santorini
While Santorini might be the most romantic island in the Cyclades, it also offers a vibrant nightlife scene with a wealth of places to unwind. Santorini’s buzzing nightlife is mainly focussed around the capital city of Fira, which is home to renowned bars and clubbing venues that cater for all tastes. Here, you can enjoy a drink at one of the atmospheric bars along the caldera before heading to the big clubs such as Enigma and Koo Club after midnight. If you’d like to sample traditional and modern Greek music, try out Mamounia Club, where you can dance the night away amid a backdrop of bright colours.
The lively coastal resorts of Kamari and Perissa also promise plenty of excitement, with open-air bars scattered along the promenade that frequently host live music events. For a quieter retreat, check out the bars and restaurants in Oia, where you can enjoy a delicious Greek cocktail while looking out over the glistening Aegean Sea. Whether you want to enjoy a drink at a peaceful bar before calling it a night or sample the exhilarating nightlife at one of the big clubs in the capital, holidays to Santorini promise something for everyone.
Food and drink in Santorini
Santorini’s produce is nurtured by the gentle sea breeze and volcanic soil, and dishes here contain exquisite flavour that is sure to tantalise your tastebuds. One of the most popular dishes to try is fava, considered a traditional meal among locals of the island. It’s a puree of yellow peas and has a smooth, velvety texture, typically eaten warm. Another dish to try is Ntomatokeftedes, made up of delicious tomato cakes that are incredibly flavourful and fried in a batter of onions, mint, herbs, and peppers.
It comes as no surprise that Santorini is home to many outstanding restaurants that serve only the highest quality dishes. For an unforgettable dining experience, spend an evening at Selini Restaurant in Pyrgos village, where you enjoy alfresco dining under the stars and a plethora of beautiful creations. Or try Koukoumavlos, in the heart of Fira, which offers award-winning modern cuisine to suit all tastes.
Santorini is also well known amongst wine connoisseurs. It has some of the oldest wineries and vineyards in all Greek islands. There are plenty of tasting sessions and cellar tours to participate in, where you can discover the art of Greek winemaking.
More Travel Guides
We also have travel guides available for destinations including Kamari