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It’s easy to find a room with a view when you stay in a Santorini hotel. The largest island in the Santorini archipelago of the same name, Santorini was formed by an immense volcanic eruption nearly 4,000 years ago and you’re never far from a breathtaking panorama.
Santorini lies in the southern Aegean sea, around 120 miles from mainland Greece. Considered by some to be one of the world’s most beautiful islands, it is of course busy during peak season, but it’s large enough that you can always find a little peace and quiet when required. That’s especially the case in the more luxury Santorini hotels, which provide a cornucopia of high-end amenities alongside spectacular vistas.
This is one of the few Cyclades islands with its own airport, but many visitors also arrive by boat. Ferries arrive at the new port, Athinios, while cruise ships moor up outside the old port, Skala. From there you can either take a dramatic cable car journey up to the island’s capital, Fira, or take the slow and bumpy route on a donkey as it navigates the zig-zagging paths. Some of the best hotels Santorini has to offer are found in Fira, but there are many high-end hotels and resorts scattered around the island.
Santorini is dotted with picturesque towns and villages, many of which have a variety of accommodation available, from plush 5 star hotels to bed and breakfasts run by welcoming locals, private villas with astonishing sea views, and budget hotels. Many take the form of the traditional cubic buildings, whitewashed and often brushed decoratively with volcanic ash.
If you’re interested in sampling the Santorini nightlife, then Fira is the best place to stay, while couples looking for a little romantic seclusion might want to look at hotels in Imerovigli. The sunsets here are particularly beautiful, and one of Santorini’s most popular walking trails takes you up from Fira to Oia through the village.
Santorini has a fairly small yet renowned wine industry, producing both reds and whites, and also a number of excellent dessert wines. You can take a vineyard tour, with a few tastings along the way of course, and also discover 500 years of wine-making on the island at the wine museum, which is located in a cave in the village of Vothonas. There is also a brewery on the island for those who prefer a beer.
Accompany your wine with some of the best food in Greece. The volcanic soil on Santorini helps with the growing of delicious produce such as cherry tomatoes, capers, aubergines and cucumbers. Agrotourism is popular here, and several small farms offer a menu based on locally sourced ingredients.
Naturally, the seafood on Santorini is as fresh as it comes, and utterly mouthwatering. Good beach restaurants are commonplace, especially in Kamari. Perissa is just one of Santorini’s many lovely beaches, an idyllic spot for swimming and leisurely dining. The Red Beach, so-named because of the dark hue of its sand, does get crowded but is worth a visit if only for the photo opportunity.
The Red Beach is situated very close to Akrotiri, an archaeological site where the ruins of a settlement dating back to the Minoan period have been excavated. More artefacts can be seen at the Museum of Prehistoric Thira and the Archaeological Museum, both in Fira, including displays of ancient pottery and frescoes.
For more active visitors, there are numerous walking routes across the island’s lunar-like terrain, and staff at many hotels in Santorini will be able to recommend a starting point. Watersports, including paddle boarding, kayaking and scuba diving are available off the beaches. There are around 40 different dive sites in the waters around Santorini, and you can take a boat trip out for a soothing dip in hot springs located within the volcanic caldera. You can join a boat journey out to nearby Nea Kameni as well, for the chance to walk up an active volcano.
But perhaps the greatest charm of Santorini is just strolling through peaceful villages, getting happily lost in the tangled alleyways for a few hours, knowing that there may be another splendid view just around the next corner.
Santorini has a range of religious, musical and literary events throughout the year which can make for an interesting evening out. Easter Friday is an especially good time to join the celebrations, when the town of Pyrgos is lit solely by candlelight.
If you’re planning a Santorini holiday soon, then you can save yourself time and money by booking your Santorini hotels and flights at the same time using the Expedia search tool.