Santorini Holidays

Romance perched on a volcano

However many postcards or photos you’ve seen of Santorini, nothing can prepare you for the real thing: dramatic, red-layered rock formations rising out of the blue Aegean sea. Santorini holidays are a must for any traveller looking to be blown away by natural beauty. The island was formed during a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago, and the landscape is defined by its geological history. The man-made buildings are just as inspiring –blue-domed houses and churches perched on the caldera’s edge, making up the towns of Oia, Fira and Imerovigli

Thanks to its otherworldly landscape and one-of-a-kind sunsets, Santorini is known as a lover’s paradise. While you could spend all day lounging by the pool soaking up the view with your partner, there’s plenty to do here, too. The rest of the island is full of black and red sand beaches, ancient ruins, traditional villages, contemporary art spaces and some of Greece’s best vineyards. There are also acclaimed restaurants serving local Santorinian cuisine, which you can wash down with wine made from local Assyrtiko grapes. During the day, the whole island is bathed in a pure, warm light that has attracted artists from all over the world, and by night the stars illuminate the white buildings and blue pools. Holidays to Santorini are a truly magical experience for anyone.

Three tips for a top trip

Pack comfy shoes
Santorini’s most beautiful villages, including Fira, Oia and Imerovigli, are pedestrian-only, so walking will play a big part in your holiday. You’ll also want to hike to the volcano’s edge.
Try sweet Visanto
Santorini produces a sweet and unusual desert wine made from sundried grapes, called Vinsanto. It can be aged up to 15 years, and is a must try.
Eat local
Because of its mineral-heavy soil, Santorini produce has a unique taste. The island is particularly famous for its cherry tomatoes, spicy arugula and white aubergine.

Best attractions to see in Santorini

Sunset in Oia

Oia is considered by many to be the most beautiful village in Santorini (maybe all of Greece) – during sundown, the whole place is bathed in a warm, pink glow.

Amoudi Bay

Descend the 300 winding steps from Oia down to Amoudi Bay, a traditional fishing village set in the volcanic cliffs with unparalleled views of the caldera.

Akrotiri

This Bronze Age settlement from the Minoans was completely covered in ash during a volcanic eruption about 4,000 years ago that perfectly preserved the town.

Your Santorini questions, answered

Santorini has mild, sunny weather throughout the year, so it will be warm whenever you visit. The quietest time of year is late autumn or early spring.

To make the most of the 35 square-mile island and see as much of it as possible during your stay, it’s recommended that you hire a vehicle.

Santorini is famous for attracting couples who enjoy spending evenings in front of a sunset, but it’s also a fun island for groups of friends or families with older kids.

Santorini is famed for its black pebble and sand beaches, formed from volcanic rock. The liveliest of these can be found at Kamari, Perissa and Perivolos. There’s also plenty of tavernas, bars and family activities nearby for long days and evenings enjoying these bustling shores. If it’s a quiet spot you’re after, then Pori beach is a good place to head. Its traditional feel and seaside taverna are ideal for a relaxing getaway.

There are so many family locations in Santorini, whether you’re looking to take a paddle in the sea or explore the castles and ancient ruins. The island is quite compact too, so active families can get out and about. Hit the beach early in the morning, while it's nice and cool, before walking around the winding streets of the traditional villages. And there are plenty of places for tired feet to stop for ice cream and take in the views.

Santorini was an active volcano many thousands of years ago. Its eruptions created the light volcanic rock that now forms much of the island. Nowadays, it’s famed for its views and traditional clifftop villages. The dark lava sand beaches are another of the island’s famous features. But it’s the postcard-pretty, white-washed buildings that are the highlight for many visitors. The preserved ancient sites such as Akrotiri and Thira are some of the world’s best. And the food has a growing reputation too.

Santorini’s food is a mix of classic Greek cuisine and dishes unique to the island. Fresh produce is at the heart of most menus, with seafood, tomatoes, aubergine and honey just a few of the flavours on offer. A variety of grilled meats and international food such as pizza and burgers can also be found in restaurants, so there’s no shortage of choice when eating out.

Santorini has both buzzing beach resorts and tranquil village locations. So, whether you’re looking to dance the night away in Fira and Perissa, or sample the food and wine at a quiet seaside taverna, you can take your choice. The bars and venues across Santorini host a good live music scene, with a mix of modern and traditional sounds. If you want a tranquil evening, head to the hillside restaurants where the outdoor terraces look out to serene sea views.

It takes around four hours to fly direct from the UK to the Aegean island of Santorini. The exact time will vary of course, depending on which airport you choose to fly from. Wherever you choose to travel from, just be sure to give yourself enough days to explore this unique island.