Miles of rambling landscape and brightly-painted dwellings create a dreamlike vision of this beautiful island, as you stroll through its picturesque cobbled streets, absorbing beautiful sights and authentic flavours. There are so many things to do during your holidays to Santorini, from cultural and historical discovery to beach break indulgence, ensuring endless variety to your holiday, and while Athens sits just a short ferry ride away, you’ll find Santorini is also one of the most accessible Greek islands.
With a stunning vision of white and blue, the houses of the town in Firostefani provide an endlessly picturesque location to make your base during your time on the island. Modern 5-star hotels and cosy places to stay can be found here, some with the added bonus of an incredible sea view. While the vistas provided by the coast are memorable, often the most striking of views during Santorini holidays are the precariously perched houses climbing up the face of a dramatic cliff. This is the view that will meet those staying in the traditional and authentically-Greek villages of Oia and Fira, peering out over the ocean as a sea of whitewashed splendour.
You’ll always find yourself immersed in that quaint and infectious Greek charm, wherever it is you choose to base yourself in Santorini. Whether you’re looking for secluded charm and idyllic locations or black-pebbled beaches and plenty of things to do for the family, you’ll find your perfect spot to call home during your holidays in Santorini. Those really looking to immerse themselves in culture and history should opt to stay in the beautiful coastal town of Kamari, with accommodation interspersed with Greek ruins and glorious beaches – allowing an ideal balance between discovery and coastal indulgence.
Stretches of sandy beach seduce sun-worshippers and water sports fans, while charming Greek towns offer delicious dining and lively nightlife opportunities, serving holidaying families and couples after a fulfilling experience of Greece. Santorini’s coastline is understandably a draw for many holidaymakers. Stretches of sun-drenched beaches offer ideal spots for topping up your tan during Santorini holidays, as well as snorkelling, scuba-diving and many other water sports. Revel in the beauty of the coastline with a day cruise along the island’s littoral towns, taking in the spectacular beaches of the small resort of Oia on your way and catching a glimpse of Ios.
If you can drag yourself away from lazing on the beach, Santorini’s historical attractions are well worth a visit. As well as the fascinating Ancient Thera, the beautiful Minoan city ruins of Akrotiri make for an incredible insight into the island’s past, excavated from three stories of volcanic ash – a must-visit on your Santorini holidays, before heading back to the sand to work on your tan.
If you’d rather be at the heart of the action during your stay on Santorini, you’ll love the many festivals that occur throughout the area. Amass with the colour of vivid blooms and extravagant street processions; the island becomes a hub of celebration during these times. Take a trip to the small town of Monolithos at the end of July to witness the festival of Agios Ioannis for an authentic glimpse Greek culture on your holidays to Santorini, or simply sit back in a lively bar by the sea and sip on ouzo as the sun sets – that’s cultural too right!?
Santorini is a fantastic island for beach lovers. Top picks include Red Beach, set against dramatic black and red volcanic cliffs, which create the unique black and red sand. More of a traditional choice, Monolithos Beach is small and friendly and has good facilities and shaded areas. Cape Columba is a choice for explorers; a rocky cove that makes for a fascinating place to walk.
The unusual sand of Santorini’s beaches makes them a memorable choice for beach fans. As well as tremendous natural beauty, beach life on the island is well-maintained with good facilities to ensure you can spend as much time there as possible. Many of the beaches are lined with tavernas and cafes, and several offer a variety of exciting water sports.
With the perfect beach weather, sunbathing is the first port of call on holidays to Santorini. The red and black sand beaches, though striking, are not the most comfortable to lie on, although sun beds are provided free of charge. The attractive blue waters are popular with water sports fans; try your hand at scuba diving, surfing or windsurfing.
Hermes Hotel Santorini is a resort complex just 200 metres from the popular Kamari beach, as well as the area's excellent amenities. The hotel offers a large swimming pool, Jacuzzi, restaurant, bar and cafe. The 39 guestrooms are traditionally Greek and enjoy private balconies or terraces overlooking the crystalline ocean.
One of Santorini’s best attractions is its fantastic choice of beaches. Some are truly unique, with dark pebbles, dramatic backdrops and coloured sand. The most famous are Perissa and Perivolos, black sand beaches lined with traditional tavernas. Other must-visits are Red Beach and White Beach – handily named after the unusual colour of the sand.
The area is great for wines and there are a number of local wineries where you can take a tour and enjoy samples. Santorini also has an impressive reputation for gastronomy, and foodies will love the markets and local restaurants. Shopping is also popular in Santorini, with a selection of unique shops and boutiques selling jewellery, pottery and local produce as well as thoughtful souvenirs.
In the heart of the island is Fira, the best choice for nightlife. There is a diverse selection of clubs, cocktail bars and pubs for lively all-night entertainment. There are also plenty of low-key local tavernas and quiet bars for enjoying a romantic sunset meal or drink. The excellent local restaurants are also well-worth spending an evening in to sample the delicious local cuisine.
Venus Beach Hotel and Spa is located on the beach in Santorini’s Kamari area. It is within a couple of minutes’ walk of Kamari’s shops, restaurants and nightlife and a stone’s throw from the ocean. The hotel offers a large outdoor pool, pretty gardens, spa, restaurant and beach bar. Accommodation consists of attractive modern guestrooms, some of which enjoy private Jacuzzis.
Just 10 minutes from Fira on foot, Firostefani is famed for its magnificent views of the sunset and the volcano. Also much loved for its unique perspective; Pyrgos is the highest point on Santorini and is full of quaint streets with plenty of foot paths up the mountain. For a real old Greek town feel, try the traditional village of Megalochori, full of white Cycladic houses, churches and squares.
The village of Akrotiri is a Minoan town like Pompeii, preserved for over 3000 years in volcanic ash. It is incredibly well preserved, right down to pottery and artefacts in the ruins. The classical city of Thera is also well worth a visit, founded in the 9th century with Roman and Hellenistic ruins.
Santorini is a fun island to explore, and there are lots of ways to do it. Sightsee on foot through the towns, or head out along the coast by bike or even horseback. Another good way to explore is to see the island from the ocean and plan a sea excursion around the islands, departing from Fira and Anthinios.
There are over 250 churches on Santorini, with many fascinating examples of ancient and modern Greek architecture. Panagia Episkopi is a superb Byzantine church with a rare example of marble carving, in addition to wall paintings that can be dated back as far as the 12th century. The tiny village of Karterados, near Fira, is the place to visit for traditional Santorini architecture.
Santorini has plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from. Monolithos is a charming little beach ideal for families, with soft sand, shallow water and a kids’ play area. It is also an area of great natural beauty, with classic whitewashed houses overlooking the coast and surrounded by lemon and orange groves, as well as churches and fascinating ancient buildings.
There are plenty of fun activities for all the family to enjoy in Santorini. With so many beaches to choose from, you can spend hot days relaxing and swimming, or if you’re feeling energetic, try some water sports, such as scuba diving and snorkelling. A great way to explore the coast is to see it by horseback, or for a lively day with kids, try mini golf or go-karting.
Santorini has a varied and interesting nightlife, with plenty of relaxed options for families. Head to the Caldera area to get away from the crowds and enjoy the view with your drink or meal. There are also some good live music venues around. The local restaurants have a wide choice of delicious local specialties and international options to suit all tastes.
Ideally situated close to the popular family-friendly beach Monolithos, is the large and modern resort Imperial Med Hotel, located on a small, secluded beach. Facilities include a huge swimming pool, sports facilities, playground, gift shop, sun terrace, restaurant and bar. The large and contemporary guestrooms are air conditioned and well equipped with balconies and satellite TVs.