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Santorini Is One of many Most-visited Islands within the World — With Instagram-worthy Views, Romantic Villages, and Relaxed Tavernas

Lovers and honeymooners gravitate to Santorini to meander amid cliffside cave homes that hover nearly imperceptibly above a lustrous, inky Aegean Sea.

A catastrophic volcanic eruption some 3,600 years in the past, which noticed half the island swallowed by the ocean, is answerable for the dizzying visuals. Famed for its sunsets, photogenic blue-domed whitewashed church buildings, and intensely mineral white wine, Greek tourism’s poster little one has lengthy epitomized romance. It’s no surprise Journey + Leisure readers have repeatedly voted the Cycladic famous person amongst their favourite islands on the earth as lately as 2023. It’s that type of mind-blowing vacation spot it’s essential to expertise as soon as in a lifetime.

And whereas Santorini appears extra geared towards {couples}, you don’t should be partnered as much as take pleasure in a go to. Most vacationers keep in lodging in one of many caldera-facing villages in northwest Santorini, specifically Oia, Fira, or Imerovigli. It’s no coincidence that eight Santorini resorts made it into the highest 10 Greece-wide amongst 2023 T+L reader picks.

Christos Stergiou, a T+L A-Record Advisor and the CEO and founding father of True Journeys, mentioned lodging on Santorini’s “off-caldera” aspect are price contemplating if you happen to’re seeking to dodge the crowds. Cruise ship passengers, specifically, make up many guests who go to within the peak summer time months.

“There’s a bonus to staying on the caldera as a result of you may have the views. You exit your lodge, and also you’re within the coronary heart of all the things,” he mentioned. “In recent times, we’ve seen fairly a couple of resorts opening up inland on Santorini, providing extra of a non-public refuge.”

Stergiou makes an identical advice by way of sightseeing. “Rent a automotive and observe a highway to see the place it takes you,” he advised T+L. “Or ebook a non-public strolling tour to discover villages past Oia.”

In the meantime, the island’s meals scene has additionally improved in recent times. Excessive-quality eating places helmed by outstanding cooks have opened inside the island’s greatest resorts, showcasing superior native produce starting from white eggplant to yellow cut up pea (fava). Fish tavernas on the waterfront and inconspicuous eating spots within the inside improve culinary choices.

Add black sand seashores and historic and cultural sights, together with an enigmatic historical settlement and wine tasting at small-scale estates.

Dreaming of a Santorini getaway? Right here’s easy methods to plan your excellent trip on the island. 

High 5 Can’t Miss

  • Seize a dreamy Santorini sundown or, higher but, a people-free daybreak.
  • Stroll round picture-perfect Oia village.
  • Sail the caldera on a catamaran to witness the island’s magnificence from the ocean.
  • Discover the traditional web site of Akrotiri.
  • Pattern Santorini’s world-famous wines.

Finest Lodges and Resorts

Courtesy of Katikies Santorini

Katikies Santorini

A T+L mainstay, readers voted this elegant lodge as their favourite resort in Greece for 2023, Katikies Santorini is, in any case, one of many island’s luxurious hospitality pioneers. Located in Oia, the 34-room lodge’s friends can avail themselves of experiences comparable to a non-public cruise in a glossy 52-foot Riva Rivale motor yacht to unassuming Thirassia islet.

Andronis Boutique Resort

A constant T+L World’s Finest winner, this caldera-facing Oia resort echoes conventional cave homes, as soon as residence to seafarers. Of Andronis Boutique Resort’s 25 lodging choices, the biggest and most lavish is the Status Suite. Emmanuel Renaut, chef and founding father of three Michelin-starred Flocons de Sel, curates the menu at in-house restaurant Lauda. 

Grace Resort, Auberge Resorts Assortment

Oozing class, this pristine white boutique lodge seems out over enigmatic Skaros Rock and the caldera. T+L readers proclaimed Grace Resort, Auberge Resorts Assortment to be Europe’s greatest lodge in 2021. Positioned in Imerovigli, the resort incorporates a sizable infinity pool and, for the deepest pockets, a sprawling villa. 

Finest Issues to Do

Alexander Spatari/Getty Photos

Hike between inland villages

A traditional trek runs throughout the rim of the caldera, from Fira to Oia, with pit stops within the villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli and at Skaros, the primary castelli (fortress) constructed on the island. Alternatively, hike historical trails by way of the genuine settlements of Pyrgos, Exo Gonia and Mesa Gonia. Santorini Strolling Excursions gives small group and personal guided choices. 

Take a ship tour of the caldera

No Santorini go to is full with out witnessing the caldera from the ocean. Step aboard a catamaran for a personal or small group day or sundown cruise. You’ll have the chance to swim and snorkel, take a dip in scorching (lukewarm, truly) springs off the volcanic islets of Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni and consider a Nineteenth-century lighthouse. 

Discover historical Akrotiri

Akrotiri is one in every of Europe’s most vital historical settlements. Santorini’s fiery eruption preserved it in Pompeii trend however, unusually sufficient, no human stays have been discovered. Take a tour with a state-licensed information to be taught what life was like on this superior Mediterranean Bronze Age metropolis. Key excavation finds are on show on the Museum of Prehistoric Thira in Fira. 

Pattern Santorini’s nice whites

Assyrtiko, Santorini’s best-known wine, would possibly make up about 90 per cent of manufacturing, nevertheless, the island lays declare to round 50 indigenous grapes. Guide a tour with oenologist Iliana Sidiropoulou who leads personal excursions the place you’ll be taught concerning the singular terroir, view an archaic pruning technique and pattern wines at family-owned estates. 

Jorg Greuel/Getty Photos

Swim at a black sand seaside

Santorini options some fairly cool seashores. Amongst them is Perivolos, recognized for its black sand and invigorating, deep blue waters. Positioned within the southeast, right here you’ll discover water sports activities like jet snowboarding, together with buzzy seaside bars and informal eating places. Because the solar goes down, flip up the romance with a shoreline wander to admire the rocky peaks of Mesa Vouno rising as much as the north. 

Finest Eating places

Carol Yepes/Getty Photos

Selene, Katikies Backyard Resort

Based by self-taught chef Giorgos Hatzigiannakis, Selene is the stuff of Santorinian culinary legend. With reverence and ingenuity, Botrini as we speak helms the restaurant that introduced reimagined island fare to the fore. Splurge on a tasting menu, that includes dishes like cured bonito with rock samphire, native cucumber katsouni and pistachio paired with wines chosen by Grasp of Wine Yiannis Karakasis. 

Varoulko Santorini, Grace Resort

Chef Lefteris Lazarou, whose Piraeus restaurant carries a Michelin star, quietly demonstrates his experience with fish at his Santorini outpost. Linger over a laidback a la carte lunch at Varoulko Santorini or ebook for dinner, the place degustation menus characteristic refined monkfish soup and crispy sea bream with smoked eggplant mousse, amongst different highlights.


In Vourvoulos, away from the celebrated caldera, you’ll discover Roza’s. Seasonality reigns supreme at this downhome eating spot owned and run by a Georgian cook dinner and her Greek husband. Rice-stuffed vine leaves with smoked eel and lime foam depend among the many delectable choices, whereas there are many vegan choices. 

Finest Time to Go to

Daniel Gorostieta/Journey + Leisure

“Late September by way of early October is the most effective time to go to Santorini. Crowds are thinner, costs are higher, the climate is mostly incredible and the ocean is heat,” Stergiou mentioned. The shoulder season from late April by way of Might can be a great time to schedule a visit although bear in mind the Aegean remains to be too chilly for swimming, no less than for most individuals. June gives lengthy, languid summer time days, making it a well-liked month. July and August are the busiest and hottest months of the yr. And whereas wet days are uncommon in spring or fall, it may be chilly. Stergiou mentioned winter wasn’t a perfect time to go to because it’s largely chilly and damp and that’s additionally when building and renovations happen. 

Find out how to Get There

The quickest method to attain Santorini is by airplane. Flights from Athens Worldwide Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos) to Santorini function day by day and take about 50 minutes. For individuals who favor to island hop, take a ferry from Piraeus. A quick catamaran takes round 4 hours and 40 minutes to achieve the island, whereas standard ferries require between six hours and 7 hours and 45 minutes. Santorini options on many cruise line itineraries together with these of Virgin Voyages, Silverstar, Seabourn and SeaDream Yacht Membership, although peak season means vital crowds. Viking Cruises and Windstar Cruises function Mediterranean itineraries that embody Santorini in winter. 

Areas to Go to

Daniel Gorostieta/Journey + Leisure


Santorini’s best-known village attracts the crowds to its cobblestoned alleyways lined with elegant artwork galleries, boutiques carrying Greek designer labels and the island’s iconic blue-domed church buildings. Cease in at literary treasure trove Atlantic Books and lose your self in Oia’s backstreets to peruse stately neoclassical mansions as soon as residence to sea captains. “Everybody is aware of Santorini for its sunsets however daybreak is equally spectacular,” mentioned Stergiou, who urged rising early, whereas Oia remains to be people-free. 


Few guests enterprise to the low-key inland medieval village of Pyrgos, located within the southwest, which Stergiou described as “underrated”. By day, go to the chapel atop Profitis Ilias, the island’s highest level, from the place you possibly can absorb views throughout the island. Stergiou mentioned he significantly loved strolling amid the city’s whitewashed homes within the night to take in the ambiance.


Megalochori, one other of Stergiou’s favorites, is brimming with dwelling folklore and custom. Positioned within the island’s southwest, the village is characterised by labyrinthine alleyways and ornate bell towers. Immerse your self in music, artwork and mythology at family-friendly cultural middle Symposion, the place children can be taught to craft a panpipe. Enjoyable can be assured if you happen to take a cooking class at Petra Kouzina. “There are a couple of tavernas they usually’re all good,” Stergiou added.

Find out how to Get Round

By Rental Automobile: Guide a rental automotive nicely upfront, significantly if visiting throughout summer time. “So long as you are feeling comfy driving, I all the time advocate automotive rental, so that you just’re unbiased,” mentioned Stergiou. “Enterprise off with out selecting a selected vacation spot. Go take a look at wine nation, for instance.” Google Maps is generally dependable. 

By Taxi: Silver taxis function on the island however numbers are restricted. Wait occasions may be lengthy and site visitors can spike fares. Cab ranks function on the airport, Athinios port and close to Fira’s central sq.. They might value extra if booked upfront or by way of a lodge. Taxis are metered and costs differ. It prices round €17 to €22 to achieve Fira from the airport and about €30 to €40 to achieve places additional afield. 

By bus: Santorini has a fleet of 23 buses referred to as KTEL that connects all island villages. Fira is the primary hub for all bus routes. One-way tickets begin from €2 (daytime fare) and €3.10 (night-time fare), respectively.

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