Santorini has a harmony of sky-sea colours, the gleam of white laundry just hung out to dry and a divine magic, spoken of in the history of ancient Greece.
Known as Thira in the past, Santorini is the southernmost Greek island of the Cyclades archipelago (in the Aegean Sea), made up of some 220 islands. It has a very strong identity and is perhaps the only one of its kind.
In addition to stunning views and romantic paths, this island, if experienced in the right way, evokes really unique emotions.
Santorini is not just a romantic vacation but, much, much more.
This is immediately evident as you arrive, taking in its characteristic volcanic essence, with rugged soil,rocks of red, brown or green depending on the reflected light and its red and white beach.
And just looking at the shoreline, you find yourself immersed in the caldera of a volcano: a small marine lagoon, at its centre Thirasia, the smallest island and named after the volcano.
The villages of Caldera, Fira (Thira), Firostefani, Imerovigli, Oia, Kamari, Perissa, Perivolos and Akrotiri all seem to have a ‘mystery to reveal’ and the blue and white of the architecture make the discovery even magical.
You start exploring the fantastic marine paradises that the island offers.
We find the ‘Red Beach’, which takes its name from the red-brown sand, behind which a steep cliff of red lava stands majestically. The spectacle offered by the shades of red gives the feeling of being immersed in an impressionist picture.
It is ideal for adventure lovers, because to reach it you need to take a rugged mountain path that connects to the beach. But the effort is definitely worthwhile with the extraordinary natural spectacle offered by the Red Beach.
From red we go to white, to discover the “White beach“, reachable only by boats from Red Beach. Before getting there, the high white cliffs that stand, almost protecting it, highlight the peculiar idea of the White Beach.
White predominates, from beach pebbles to cliffs, and everything lit up in a warm light. A corner of paradise which combines with the red beach to distinguish the whole island.
And if you feel the need for well-equipped and more lively beaches, you can go to the seafront at Kamari, famous for its black sand and for being the biggest on Santorini. Here, after a day at the seaside, there are small artisan stalls, typical trattorias, restaurants and bars where you can relax during magnificent happy hours.
On the same theme as Kamari, in the southeastern part of the island, is Perissa beach, with black lava sand and an extraordinarily blue sea. Fully equipped for water sports such as diving, wind surfing and water skiing.
At the end of Perissa, is its extension Perivolos. With Chilli Bar or Lounge Bars where you can dance from the afternoon on, with a wide variety of “Psarotaverna” (fish taverns) where you can enjoy excellent grilled fish.
There are other magnificent beaches, small but very chic, which can be reached by quad or scooter, to be rented in the villages. The beach of Vlyhad (in Perivolos), Kambia (near Red and White Beach), Paradise beach (particularly quiet but very well equipped), Mesa Pigadia (near the lighthouse) – ideal for nature lovers – and finally the beaches of Oia and Monolithos.
And after a day at the sea, it is impossible not to enjoy the wonder of a Sunset. Suggestive colours ranging from pink to orange to fire red, with background music from nearby locales. And to offer a toast to the sunset, you can choose a combination of food and drink that appeals to you but always remember the inevitable “Greekfeta”with olives.
At Santorini each sunset is different and depending on where you choose to watch it, you even find the same colours are different.
Certainly, the most well-known and the one found most often on postcards, is in Oia; a small town, in the northwestern part of the island dominated by the white and blue of the houses.
For adventure lovers, you can opt for the sunset of Akrotiri (in the south of the island), on the top of a hill with the “Faro” (lighthouse).
Santorini doesn’t lack music and food
The “Kira Thira” with live jazz every night, has a long wooden counter and a fresco on the wall showing the fight between good and evil, as well as colourful musical instruments hangingfrom the arched ceiling.
The gastronomic culture of the island is dominated by olive oil and herbs such as oregano, thyme, mint and rosemary. Of renown are Greek cheeses, such as feta, metsovono, yaourti, kasseri, chloro and manovri. Finding ourselves on an island we must mention the freshly grilled fish while, for meat lovers, we find the famous “gyros pita” – pork with tomatoes or fried potatoes or onions or cucumber sauce and yogurt.
Another specialty is undoubtedly the “skewers” of meat or fish (souvlaki) and wine rolls (dolmades).
Going to Santorini, then, you go to discover magic places, with a story to experience and interpret.