Santorini Holidays Greece – Santorini Holiday Packages
Santorini is the jewel in the crown of all the Greek Islands, and undisputedly one of the most beautiful spots the world. It is always coming up on lists of places one must visit, and it never disappoints. It’s amazing scenery brings thousands to its shores every year, so powerful is the draw of this ancient volcano that sits at the bottom of the Cyclades Islands.
This island is a romantic’s paradise, made for those in love, and for people seeking beauty. It is one of the most popular sites in the world for couples to marry, and on any day in summer, there are numerous ceremonies taking place cliffside, normally at sunset, where the beauty of the marriage ceremony is only just overshadowed by the sunsets. Traditional Greek weddings are a popular way to marry on the Santorini, but they need to be organised prior to visiting the island.
Approaching Santorini by sea, the island appears to be floating on a mist, the dramatic black cliffs towering out of the water to greet visitors as they enter the cadera. The towns on top of the cliffs look like frosting on top of a cake – a simply sensational sight.
After passing Nea Kameni, the active volcano in the middle of the sea surrounded by the cliffs, visitors arrive at the port, Athinios, to be taken up a zipper like road to the top of the cliffs. This part of a visit to Santorini is breathtaking and necessary and not only the faint hearted will gasp in the spectacle of driving up the port road.
Santorini has a similar history to the rest of the Cyclades Islands, with invasions by the Byzantines, Dorians and Turks. It’s the geological history which makes this island so special. Greece is prone to earthquakes, and not a day goes by on Santorini without some minor seismic activity. The island was once larger and circular until a massive earthquake around 1450BC split the island, leaving the magnificent caldera which is there today.
Over the years, sections of the cliffs have fallen into the sea, the last devestating quake being in 1956 which almost destroyed the towns of Fira and Oia. Today, Nea Kameni,the volcano that resides in the middle of the caldera, is part of the legacy of this volcanic isle.
The capital of Santorini, Fira, is a sprawling town that sits perched on the edge of the cliffs overlooking the caldera. It is a sight to behold and a town that is always on the go. Nobody ever tires of looking over the caldera into the bay, so spectacular the sight. Fira, like all of the towns overlooking the bay and the volcano, have some of the most wonderful views in the world, and the sunsets seen here are absolutely incredible.
One has not lived until they have seen a sunset from this island. Even taking in a coffee and baklava in a cliffside restaurant is a relaxing way to spend a day, taking in the sheer magnitude of the caldera, humbled and awestruck by the amazing views.
Other than the sunsets and the shopping, Fira’s streets are enjoyable to wander, and there is a very good archeological museum which houses many of the findings from Akrotiri in the inland’s south. Akrotiri can be visited on excursions. The Minoan settlement has been excavated since 1967 where an sophisticated ancient city has been discovered under the volcanic ash. The nearest town to the site is Megalahori, a charming traditional village.
The town of Oia is the northern most caldera town and a place that many visit to see the sunsets. In the summer, the streets are crowded with visitors there to watch the sun slowly disappear into the ocean. There is a small port and swimming beach at Ammoudi at the base of the cliffs at Oia, but be warned that the only ways to the top of the 300 steps that scale the cliffs is by foot or by donkey. This is the place to say if you wish to treat yourself as many of the domatias and hotels have been lovingly restored in the traditional way, where homes were cut into the cliffs.
A day trip to the volcano, Nea Kameni, the hot springs of Palea Kameni and the island of Thirasia, on the opposite side of the bay, can be booked in advance and are a wonderful way to spend a day. The volcano is still active and guides take you up the black, rocky moonface to the crater from where volcanic gas still emerges. Walking shoes are needed for this part of the visit. There has not been a major eruption for over a century. The hot springs trip can be an adventure as visitors are encouraged to jump off the side of the boat and swim over to the springs. Thirasia has a number of restaurants and tourist shops at the base of the cliffs. The day is often finished at Oia to watch the sunset.
Santorini’s other claim to fame is the black sand beaches found on the island’s east and south. The volcanic ash replaces the regular golden sand found elsewhere in Greece, the sand can get very hot in the summer sun. The other amazing thing about the beaches is that on entering the water the shallows only run to a few metres before the bottom falls away, many hundreds of fathoms in places.
The water, however, is warm, calm and perfect for swimming. Kamari, Karterados and Perissa are some of the popular beach resorts on Santorini, which have a beat of their own in the summer months. These towns have a real party atmosphere and are often feel friendlier and more laidback than the caldera towns.
Santorini is good to explore by motorbike or car, but the public transport on the island is very reliable and an option for those on a budget.
This island should not be missed, even if it is only to witness to amazing sight of the sunset from the caldera. It caters for visitors, from those on a tight budget to those looking to take in the absolute opulence that is available for those with more to spend. Once visited, Santorini is never forgotten.
Tourlos, New Port, 84600, Mykonos Town, Cyclades Islands, Greece
+30 22890 28020 to 22
+30 22890 28023