Famed for its blue domed churches and white washed buildings, Santorini delivers just what the brochures promise: an authentic Greek experience delivered with a splash of luxury.
In reality, however, the island has so much more to offer beyond this picturesque reputation.
Santorini is home to Europe’s second largest active volcano, miles of black sand beaches and intriguing excavation sights, as well as a history of destruction and rehabilitation shaped by natural disaster.
The instagrammer’s paradise prides itself as one of the smallest Greek islands with one of the richest heritages. And it is the island’s caldera’s which plays a major role in its timeline.
The crater, made up of two volcanic islands last erupted in 1950. And far from dangerous, the option to walk up the volcano while visiting its many craters (active and inactive) and impressive views of the island is available.
To complete your historial tour, you can also swim in the hotsprings which are 5 degrees warmer than the natural sea water due to its close radius to the caldera.
Another taste of Santorini’s history is offered by the Lost Atlantis Experience, new to Santorini this year.
The attraction guides tourists through the island’s history- starting with the great volcanic eruptions and succeeding earthquakes and tsunamis, and ending with the transformation of the island throughout time.
The experience is tour guide-led and features holograms, interactive information boards, a model of Zeus’ kingdom and a 9D cinematic experience.
And although highly informative, there is much joy to be gained from the experience. The 9D aspect was successful in transporting visitors back through time to 1642–1540 BCE when the island plunged into disaster following the Minoan eruption.
Using a combination of 3D images, water, air bursts and vibrations, the interactive session captures all the senses whilst guiding participants through Santorini’s history with its detailed narration.
Elsewhere on the island, there are many other points of historical interest worth investigating. For example, the Santorini of the Past museum in Pyrgos gives visitors a taste of the work and daily routines carried out my Santorini’s ancestors, as well as the rural practices which have shaped how the island functions today.
Additionally, whilst famous for the level of destruction which has undergone, there is also much on the island to be admired for its natural beauty, including the idyllic views of the caldera which can be seen from the city of Fira.
Fira is a hubbub of shopping, nightlife and dining on the island. And as well as being the prime attraction for cruise liners due to its spectacular views and cable car rides, Fira is the island’s port for all bus services transporting islanders to various areas of the region.
Another of Santorini’s popular tourist attractions is the town of Oia which flaunts promenades of pearl buildings, Greek tavernas and the most spectacular sunsets.
Just moments before a blaze of reds, yellows and oranges steal the sky, the town is captivated by a magical and romatic aura. Hundreds of people gather on rooftops and rock edges and several boats more in the ocean to observe the marvel that is mother nature.
The island’s beach scene is also one which it’s proud of. In particular, Perissa and Kamari beach (a 20 minute boat ride distance from each other) comprise avenues of tavernas, cocktail bars and shops, while giving tourists an appetising taste of the country’s culture with Greek nights including live entertainment, local dishes, and plate smashing.
Some popular food dishes include warm bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or olive paste, tzatziki (cucumber based cream drip), Kfletiko (seasoned lamb on the bone and vegetables oven baked with feta cheese), Mousakka (minced beef layered with local vegetables, potatoes and cheese), and Gyros (grilled meat served with pitta bread, chips, salad and tzatziki).
Greek local wine and speciality beers including Mythos, Amstel and Radlers are also worth trying.
The above are just a few of Santorini's incredible features which I reccomend you see and try whilst on the island. There are hundreds of historical gems and cultural paradises to visit, and countless breathtaking views to take in.