As your ferry approaches the port of Santorini and you watch the island getting closer and closer, it’s easy to believe that you’re sailing into the view of one of Alfred Sislay’s idyllic paintings.
On the southernmost border of the Aegean archipelago, Santorini is not only considered to be one of the most beautiful islands of Greece, but one of the most stunning in the world.
Once you set foot on the island, Santorini will take you on a trip into its past: it’s here you’ll come face to face with the ancient Minoan civilization and the magnificent frescoes it left behind, the grand and fearsome eruption of its volcano and the huge caldera that’s still marveled at by thousands of tourists each year, and of course, its beautiful re-birth as one of the most picturesque places of this Earth.
These are the four top places to visit while you’re there.
Four Places Worth Visiting in Santorini
First on the list for its wild, natural beauty, the volcano of Thera erupted some 3,600 years ago, completely destroying one of the most prominent ancient civilizations of Greece.
Today, the caldera is rich with volcanic rocks, while the small islets that formed from the volcanic eruptions (namely Nea Kameni and Aghios Nikolaos) are a popular tourist attraction chiefly due to their hot springs and their therapeutic nature.
If you’re in the mood for a bit of extravagance you can always rent a yacht and enjoy the view of the volcano while BBQing next to it!
Photo CC Pedro Szekely
Only 40 minutes away from Santorini’s capital, Oia is famous for its breath-taking view of the sunset, making the trip worthwhile for thousands of tourists each year.
But the brilliant, fiery sunset is only one of the many reasons you should visit Oia while on the island. Don’t miss out on walking the 214 steps that separate Oia from Ammoudi where you can enjoy the freshest fish.
During this small trip, you’ll have the chance to stroll through this multi-layered and densely built settlement of cave-like houses, bright white churches with blue domes and imposing, traditional houses that once belonged to seamen.
Though one of the less commercial places of Santorini, you can find several first-rate restaurants and café-bars as well as a few boutiques.
Watch the sunset from the hilltop of Oia’s castle which, once upon a time, was built to protect the islanders from pirates!
Photo CC by Nikola Totuhov
Offering the best view of the caldera, Fira, the capital of Santorini, is truly the heart of the island.
Filled with small businesses of all kinds, in Fira, you’ll have the opportunity to do anything: eat, shop, dance, scuba-dive, or ride a donkey to Firostefani which, as its name suggests, ‘crowns’ Fira.
For a more aerial view of the island you can hop on the teleferic (or cable railway) that will take you to Palio Limani and back. Visit Mpoudi and discover the greatest events of Santorini.
First inhabited some 6,500 years ago and excavated during the ‘70s, Akrotiri is perhaps the greatest archaeological discovery of Eastern Europe. A picturesque village today, Akrotiri is only 10km away from Fira and closest to one of the most amazing beaches of the Aegean, called the Red Beach.
Perched over this wild beauty, the Apanemo Hotel and the incredible view beyond its infinity pool is sure to offer you comfort and luxury as well as a long list of amenities for a very affordable price.
When you’re ready to leave the coziness of Apanemo, you can venture to Akrotiri for hiking, trail-running and mountain-biking. Make sure to visit the archaeological site of Akrotiri which is open to the public from April 1st to October 31st!
Photo credit: The Apanemo Hotel
Why Visit Santorini
The list of places worth visiting in Santorini is long and difficult to choose from, with villages like Emporeio and Pyrgos being live tokens of Greek islandish tradition. The island brims with the flavors of Greek gastronomy as well as the Greek spirit: hospitable, heart-warming and all-embracing.
Considered a utopia since ancient times and rumored to have inspired in Plato the legend of Atlantis, Santorini still feels like a utopia today. So if by chance it’s still missing from your bucket list go ahead and make it a top destination!
More than an earthly paradise to visit, Santorini is an experience that will envelope you in its company from the very start.
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Pinterest photo credit: Pedro Szekely