Holidays to Santorini are always good for volcanic beaches, stunning sunsets and foodie finds.

Santorini is a postcard picture you’ve seen before even if you didn’t know the name of the place. This is the home of Greece’s famous white-washed houses and blue-domed roofs. It looks out over the Aegean Sea and tops many people’s bucket lists, as one of the region’s most beautiful islands.

The classic Greek summer is long, hot and dry, so there’s plenty of time to see this place at its best. You can count on temperatures in the 20s right into October. It was actually formed by a bit of an accident. Santorini is the result of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history, back in the 16th century – thank you, Mother Nature. This explains its black-sand beaches and the island’s own volcano. It’s perfectly safe to hike around its crater and well worth it for the views alone, where you can spot the scattering of other volcanic islands.

Why pick Santorini

Fairytale villages

First up should be Oia and Thira. Oia is a whole reason in itself why people flock to Santorini. It’s on a cliff overlooking the volcano and where cobbled streets and many steps snake past boutiques and amazing hotels. Thira, or Fira is the island’s capital, and the Three Bells church here will definitely have featured on your Instagram feed. There’s a load of museums to visit and the nightlife is the best on the island. Most of the venues are packed into Theotokopoulou Square.

Ancient history

Santorini’s Pompeii, AKA Akrotiri, is a must-visit attraction. It’s the site of the ruins of a Minoan Bronze Age settlement from the 16th century. Excavations revealed this place to have been home to one of the most affluent societies in the Aegean, and not much has changed since.

Sunset scenes

Witness the magic of a Santorini sunset in Oia. It’s one of the more popular spots to soak it in, as the village sits on the northwestern tip of the island. Perch yourself by Oia Castle or head to the village of Imerovigli, which has been named the ‘Balcony to the Aegean’. Grab a table on the terrace of a local bar and combine golden hour with happy hour for the ultimate holiday moment.

Stunning coastline

If you’re a beach-lover, head to the east coast for Santorini’s classic black-sand beaches. Kamari is perfect for sunbathing and enjoying the local seafood dishes at restaurants along the coast. But watersports fans will probably fancy themselves at nearby Perissa for a spot of paddleboarding or a spin on a jet-ski.

For a bit more of an adventure, you can sail to some volcanic hot springs. Treat yourself to a boat tour around the caldera and take a dip in the mineral-rich waters on Palea Kameni. This island’s natural spa is said to have healing properties and the sea’s colour completely changes to a reddish shade when you enter the area, which shows the water is rich in iron.

Local wine

Now we’re talking. We all know how good Greek food is, but Greek wine is seriously underrated. Grape vines have been grown here since before Santorini’s eruption and now there are around 40 local varieties. The volcanic soil is actually perfect for producing acidic and full-bodied wines. So, a vineyard trip and tasting are a must.

Our pick

Take it from someone that's been there – here’s a top tip from our team:

“For an alternative but beautiful sunset spot, walk out of Thira as if you’re heading to Imerovigli and you can see the sunset behind one of the volcanic islands and watch it light up Thira too!”Georgina Allsop

The non-touristy pick

Instead of browsing around Oia’s boujie boutiques, step inside its unique bookstore, Atlantis. It’s been named among the most picturesque bookstores in the world and could be the perfect place to pick up a holiday read. They have books in loads of different languages and it’s a great choice to shake up your average shopping experience.

Best places to stay


With its white buildings, winding paths and blue-domed churches, Oia is the poster child of Santorini, perhaps even the whole of Greece. It’s no surprise then, that this place can get a little busy and a little pricey, so an off-peak trip in April or September might be a good pick. Terraces here are the perfect suntrap for soaking up the Mediterranean vibes and the village’s famous cave hotels are a real treat-yourself kind of stay. Art galleries, dining spots and shopping boutiques also line the streets to explore on a stroll.


Thira, also known as Fira, is the buzzing capital of Santorini, so this is the place to stay for all the best connections around the island. The airport, Oia, beaches and loads more sites can be reached by local bus from here. It’s also got more of a nightlife scene, with a selection of late-night bars and clubs, compared to Oia’s more serene sunset settings. Another perk is the prices, as you probably have a better shot at finding cheaper accommodation options too. Dive into the town's rich history and culture at the Archaeological Museum of Thira or the Orthodox Cathedral.


If you prefer a more chilled vibe, the coastal village of Perissa revolves around its long, black volcanic-sand beach. It lies at the foot of Mesa Vouno Mountain on the southeastern edge of the island, so the scenes are pretty dramatic. It’s also one of the quieter and cheaper destinations on Santorini – cocktails will only set you back around €5. You can still try out plenty of watersports, and the beach bars along the seafront buzz well into the evening.

Picks that don't cost a penny

If you’re doing Santorini on a budget and you’d rather not splash out on a hotel with a pool, Lioyerma public pool is totally free. It’s near the famous Santorini windmills, so super central for a swim. You do have to buy a drink or a snack to use one of the sun loungers though, but that can still work out cheaper.

Getting around

Santorini’s small size means journey times are never too long and there are plenty options…


The local bus network only operates over the tourist season, but they’ve got stops near all the must-see sites and go via the airport. There’s no need to worry about parking and it makes hopping from town to town super easy and affordable – that’s more money saved for souvlaki and sunset drinks.

Car hire

If you're all about that freedom and flexibility, renting a car for your holiday is a great idea. You could lap the whole island if you like, uncovering hidden gems and scenic viewpoints along the way.

Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, pick up a quadbike or scooter. There’s no need for air-con as you’ll have that sea breeze rushing through your hair, and they’re perfect for navigating Santorini's narrow lanes.


This one’s for those who prefer to be driven from place to place. You’re on holiday after all. Taxis are readily available from wherever you’re staying and relatively affordable too. They have Uber here or you can use a local service for cheaper fares.


The port of Athinios has ferry connections to other Greek islands like Mykonos, Crete and Rhodes if your itinerary involves island hopping. The buses also stop here, so you can swap from one mode of transport to another.

At a Glance

  • Catch the sunset from a bar in Oia
  • Beach it up on Kamari’s black sands
  • Cruise over the Aegean on a boat trip

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