In the Aegean Sea, about 200 kilometres southeast of the Greek mainland, lies the beautiful island of Santorini. At just 73 square metres it is the perfect destination to combine relaxation with exploration. The southernmost island of the Cyclades, with its rugged terrain is the product of volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC which has resulted in the beautiful Santorini Caldera, situated in a half-moon-shaped bay and rocky landscape.
The capital of Santorini is Fira, located on the west side of the island. Travel to the town by road or, if you’re feeling adventurous, take a cable car or the donkey path for a more ‘traditional’ experience! The town offers a lovely blend of natural beauty, a lively social and nightlife scene and shopping! There are plenty of amazing landmarks to visit in Fira, the Megaro Gyzi Cultural Centre organises cultural events like concerts and theatrical performances, so it is well worth checking their events calendar.
Santorini offers a wealth of tours and boat cruises: from catamaran tours to yacht hire, volcano sites to scuba diving – this island has it all. A boat trip to the Caldera will allow you to walk on the black sands and take a dip in the hot springs, all overlooked by the traditional whitewashed houses on top of the reddish cliffs. If you’re more bold you could try sightseeing on a jet ski!!
Consider yourself a bit of a wine buff? Then you must try Vinsanto, the naturally sweet wine of Santorini. Or choose any of the wine tours the island has to offer, including a combination of cruising and wine tasting, culminating in an Oia sunset – the ultimate indulgence!! There is also a subterranean wine museum located in Vothanos. This is a one-of-a-kind, family-run museum with 300 metres of underground tunnels to explore. If you’re looking for a museum of a different kind, visit the Mati Art Gallery in Fira. From sculptures to drawings and jewellery, the diverse wealth of artwork makes this attraction well worth a visit.
Feeling energetic? The 10km path walk from Fira to Oia is right up your alley! You will need to allow 3 to 4 hours to complete this. You don’t need to be a seasoned hiker but consider walking either early in the morning or into the evening to avoid the heat!
One of the must-see sites on Santorini is the ancient city of Akrotiri. Discovered accidentally in 1870, the city is nicknamed ‘Santorini’s Pompeii’ as both cities were buried by volcanic eruption. Suspended walkways take you around the edge of the city and there are many artefacts to see, ranging from drinking cups to painted frescoes, all preserved by layers of volcanic ash. Also located in the vicinity is the Akrotiri lighthouse, from which some of the most stunning sunset views can be appreciated.
For something completely different, and an opportunity to experience the Greek culture first hand, why not visit the White Door Teatro in Fira for an evening of fun, food and entertainment? This activity is great for all the family.
There are so many different local delicacies to try while visiting: Saganaki: fried cheese-filled filo pastry covered in honey; the traditional Greek salad; and of course the stunning Greek dish of Moussaka. The choices are endless!
The best way to travel around Santorini is by bus allowing you to take in all the local scenery. Check out the KTEL bus routes in Fira. However, the seaside towns are best experienced on foot.
Just outside Fira is Kontochori Village, a folklore museum established by lawyer, journalist and editor Emmanuel A. Lignos in 1974. The museum is located in a traditional cave house reportedly built in 1861 which survived the earthquake of 1956, comprises six rooms depicting life at the beginning of the 20th Century. The courtyard and garden are home to the beautiful chapel devoted to Saints Constantine and Helen which is not to be missed. The museum and grounds are open to the public Monday to Friday, 10.00.am. to 4.00.p.m.