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Santorini rises dramatically from the sea on a crescent-shaped basin, or caldera, formed by an ancient volcanic eruption. Its whitewashed villages tumble haphazardly down the cliffs, dotted with churches and windmills while, at its shoreline, colourful fishing boats bob and toss on the sparkling waves.
The island was named by the Venetians who landed here in the 13th century and dedicated it to Saint Irene. A devastating earthquake in 1956 destroyed many of the ancient buildings, but it has been thoughtfully rebuilt in the traditional style and has lost none of its historic charm.
The capital, Firá, is a popular stopping-off point for island-hopping cruise ships, with plenty of shops, restaurants and bars to keep the holiday crowd happy. Picturesque Oia on the island’s northernmost tip is known for its romantic sunsets and typical blue and white houses, while the timeless village of Pyrgos has plenty of friendly tavernas as well as a 15th-century castle. The eye-catching black sand beaches of Perivolos and Perissa are popular spots for sunbathing, while the rocky coastal strips around Mesa Pigadia and Pori are fun to explore on foot.
Santorini enjoys a pleasant climate all year round, with temperatures averaging 29° C in the summer and around 15° C in winter. The narrow village streets and steeply banked harbours can get very busy during the peak tourist season though, so if you want to avoid the crowds choose a quieter time of year.
There is an airport on the east side of the island served by both scheduled and charter flights and most of the main sites are accessible by road. An economical way to see this compact island is by hiring a taxi or renting a car to get from A to B.
Located in Imerovigli, this romantic hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Skaros Rock and Archaeological Museum. Museum of Prehistoric Thira is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) away.
Located in Fira, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Santorini Folklore Museum and Museum of Prehistoric Thira. Archaeological Museum is 0.5 mi (0.9 km) away.
Located in Oia, this hotel is steps from Tramonto ad Oia, Naval Museum, and Maritime Museum. Thirasia and Byzantine Castle Ruins are also within 5 minutes.
Located in Fira, this luxury hotel is 0.3 mi (0.4 km) from Aegean Divers Dive Center - Day Excursions and within 3 mi (5 km) of Museum of Prehistoric Thira and Archaeological Museum. Santo Winery and Wine Museum Santorini Island are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Located in Fira, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Plateia Theotokopoulou, Museum of Prehistoric Thira, and Archaeological Museum. Agios Nikolaos Monastery and Navys Waterworld Dive Center are also within 5 minutes.
This family-friendly Santorini hotel is located in Fira, within 1 mi (2 km) of Navys Waterworld Dive Center, Museum of Prehistoric Thira, and Archaeological Museum. Santorini Folklore Museum and Plateia Theotokopoulou are also within 15 minutes.
Located in Fira, this romantic aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Petros M. Nomikos Conference Centre and Archaeological Museum. Museum of Prehistoric Thira is 0.8 mi (1.2 km) away.
Located in Fira, this romantic hotel is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Aegean Divers Dive Center - Day Excursions and within 3 mi (5 km) of Museum of Prehistoric Thira and Archaeological Museum. Santo Winery and Wine Museum Santorini Island are also within 1 mi (2 km).