Santorini is known as the gem of the Aegean, and it is no wonder with its rugged and picturesque landscapes, lava pebble beaches and, of course, the whitewashed buildings and blue rooftops for which it is most recognised.
Lying some 218 km southeast of Greece’s capital city of Athens, Santorini is a small island that forms part of the Cyclades archipelago.
Aside from the world-famous clifftop view of the Island’s caldera, Santorini has an abundance of unforgettable attractions to offer.
Santorini’s sunsets are considered some of the best in the world, with visitors travelling from everywhere to experience them. Best viewed from the northwestern town of Oia, this magical hour showcases a different side of the volcanic island. As the sky fades away into pastel oranges, pinks and purples, Oia’s cliff-edge skyline descends into a silhouette, and its narrow taverna-lined streets come alive with a laidback evening ambience.
The Island is also rich in both geographical and social history. Formed as the result of volcanic activity around 1.5 million years ago, Santorini’s first settlements date back to circa the 5th millennium BC. The village of Akrotiri, one of the Island’s first settlements, offers an insight into its fascinating history. Somewhere between 1620 and 1530 BC, Akrotiri was destroyed when the volcano Thera erupted and created the caldera now overlooked by Fira and Oia. One of the largest in history, its eruption covered the town in thick volcanic ash, which preserved many of its original features. Nowadays, the site is covered by a bioclimatic roof and the archaeological remains are viewable by suspended walkways that connect the roofs of the village’s low-rise buildings.
Santorini is home to a number of towns and villages scattered across its mountainous landscape. Of these, Fira and Oia are the most popular with visitors to the Island.
Situated on the west coast, Fira is the capital of Santorini and overlooks the volcanic islets of Palaia Kammeni and Nea Kammeni. As the Island’s most cosmopolitan town, Fira offers all the natural beauty of Santorini as well as a good variety of nightlife and shopping.
Further north along the Island’s west coast is the village of Oia. Known not only for its sunset views, Oia is considered by many as the most picturesque village of Santorini. Its white and blue buildings, domed roofs and windmills create the ubiquitous scene which can be found on postcards and magazines world-over.
By night, Oia is less busy than Fira and offers a more laid-back traditional Greek atmosphere. A meander through its narrow streets will bring you to smaller boutiques and tavernas.
Santorini (Thira) International Airport (JTR/LGSR) is the only airport serving the island of Santorini and is approximately 5.5 kilometres (3.4 miles) from Fira and 17 kilometres (10.5 miles) from Oia. Accessible by private jet, a transfer from Santorini Airport takes around 10 minutes by road to Fira and 25 minutes to Oia.
Approximate flight times:
|Dubai ✈ Santorini||4 hours 30 minutes|
|London ✈ Santorini||3 hours 30 minutes|
|New York ✈ Santorini||9 hours 30 minutes|
|Paris ✈ Santorini||3 hours 15 minutes|
|Singapore ✈ Santorini||11 hours 30 minutes|
|Zurich ✈ Santorini||2 hours 30 minutes|