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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.
Take advantage of everything there is to see and do and make your way home with the greatest souvenir of all — warm memories of your amazing vacation!
Santorini has a huge range of activities. Here are our top options to get you going:
If you'd like to view a comprehensive list of activities, jump onto our Santorini things to do page.
Located in the heart of Santorini, this spa hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Petros M. Nomikos Conference Centre, Archaeological Museum, and Museum of Prehistoric Thira. Wall Paintings of Thira Exhibition and Megaro Gyzi are also within 15 minutes.
This family-friendly Santorini hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Skaros Rock, Archaeological Museum, and Museum of Prehistoric Thira. Petros M. Nomikos Conference Centre and Wall Paintings of Thira Exhibition are also within 3 mi (5 km).
Situated in Santorini, 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 the heart of Santorini, this romantic aparthotel is within a 15-minute walk of Petros M. Nomikos Conference Centre and Archaeological Museum. Museum of Prehistoric Thira is 0.8 mi (1.3 km) away.
Situated near the airport, this luxury hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Wine Museum Santorini Island, Museum of Prehistoric Thira, and Archaeological Museum. Venetsanos Winery and Antoniou Winery are also within 2 mi (3 km).
Located in the heart of Santorini, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Museum of Prehistoric Thira and Archaeological Museum. Santorini Folklore Museum and Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral are also within 10 minutes.
Situated near the airport, this luxury hotel is 1.1 mi (1.7 km) from Venetsanos Winery and within 3 mi (5 km) of Museum of Prehistoric Thira and Archaeological Museum. Wine Museum Santorini Island and Antoniou Winery are also within 2 mi (3 km).
Located in the heart of Santorini, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Agios Nikolaos Monastery and Museum of Prehistoric Thira. Archaeological Museum is 0.6 mi (1 km) away.