Greece has thousands of picturesque islands, but there is one which stands out like a shining gem - Santorini. If you consider yourself a hopeless romantic, a fan of traditional Greek white-blue houses, great wine and delicious cuisine, it is undoubtedly a place you will fall in love with. After oriental Istanbul, the second episode of the Go. Explore. See. series brings you to the breathtaking volcanic black-sand beaches of this magical island.
Anchored in the Aegean Sea, Santorini was formed by a strong eruption of ancient underwater volcano called Thera – that is how the 15.000 locals inhabiting this tiny piece of land still call it today.
Regularly taking the first spot in popularity surveys and widely considered the most beautiful, there is no wonder it has become Greece’s most visited place. Santorini is a dream destination for travelers, vacationers and wanderlusts from all around the world. Annually, the only airport on the island and its tiny ferry harbor welcomes more than 2 million people. It is therefore well advised to plan your visit ahead.
When to visit?
Off season. Struggling under the weight of tourism, the island has been even considering putting a cap on the number of visitors. The high season starts in June and lasts until the first half of September. If you do not like “rubbing asses with the masses”, make sure to avoid these months. Next to exploring without crowds, you will enjoy lower prices and find accommodation without hassle. Otherwise, you may have to book your stay weeks in advance.
Where to go?
The island is relatively small and you can traverse from one end to another within an hour. A couple of days is enough to cover most of the fascinating places. And after soaking up its atmosphere for another few, you may still have time to catch a ferry and find yourself discovering another of the beautiful adjacent islands.
The capital city of Thira (Fira) is the cultural and commercial heart. Interwoven with narrow romantic alleys, tiny souvenir shops, classical Greek houses and churches, it is a paradise not only for photographers. Surprisingly rich nightlife and charming atmosphere makes Thira the place where majority of tourists is heading to.
However, the place you know from all the postcards and prefaces of travel catalogs is Oia – the poster child of Greece’s tourism and by far the most beautiful place in Santorini. Yes, it is almost impossible to avoid crowds of tourists, but the views of its red cliffs contrasting white windmills and blue domed churches will still make your visit unforgettable. Oh, and make sure not to miss the sunset in this village! It may easily be the nicest you will ever see.
Our “off-beaten- path” tip and in our opinion the most attractive place on the island allthings considered – the village or Pyrgos, also known as “the second Oia”. While we were hardly able to squeeze ourselves through the overcrowded streets of Oia, Pyrgos was there just for us (and a few friendly locals). Yet, what made our visit truly unforgettable was timing. We were lucky enough to experience a traditional ceremony taking place every Easter Monday in this this tiny Mediterranean village. In the evening, thousands of candles are lit on the rooftops of its houses, making the village look like it is on fire!
We hope the Santorini episode brought a bit of sunshine to your autumn days. In the next part of the Go. Explore. See. video series, we will take you to a winter wonderland and conquer snow-covered mountains of Slovakia together.