Centuries-old sights and volcanic sands are just a couple of the big pulling points on holidays to Akrotiri – a lesser-trodden spot in Santorini’s south-west corner.
This snoozy spot in southern Santorini’s got thousands of years of history to go with its Insta-worthy backdrops. The modern-day village is actually a short shuffle away from the ancient Minoan city which originally bared its name – that was smashed to smithereens by a volcanic eruption in around 1600 BC. Nowadays, you can take a wander around its ruins and check out the buildings, roads and artwork that have been dug up since the archaeologists got stuck in.
If you fancy some chillax-ation on the beach, then you’re in luck here – Akrotiri’s got a triple helping of nearby stretches to sprawl out on. Top of the pile is the aptly named Red Beach – so called for the scarlet-tinted hills that keep watch over it. For the closest-to-town spot, take a 10-minute stroll to Caldera Beach – a mix of black, volcanic sand and pebbles. And if you’re after an away-from-it-all spot, make a beeline for Balos Bay, which comes with first-class views.
Fresh fish is all the rage in these parts – so much so that lots of the restaurants take their own boats out for the catch of the day. You’ll find the likes of grouper and red snapper taking pride of place on many of the taverna menus here. And the sweeping sea views are just an added bonus.
The Venetian castle
This weathered 13th-century castle sits in the heart of Akrotiri’s modern-day village. It earned its name from the Republic of Venice, who built it in 1207 during their occupation of Santorini. Despite suffering severe damage during a 1956 earthquake, it’s been partially restored, and is now used as a workshop and exhibition space for Greek artefacts. And it’s arguably the best place in Akrotiri to admire the panoramic sea views.