Santorini, a taste of island paradise

  • Chloe Marshman
  • 07 Feb 20

Santorini is the embodiment of a Grecian paradise. Formed by an enormous volcanic eruption, the island lies nestled within the Aegean Sea as a fragment of its former mainland.

Image credit: Jeremy van Heerde

Image credit: Jeremy van Heerde

Having grown up in Europe, my annual family holidays would usually take me to the islands of Greece – my love for the country began from an early age. However, visiting the island of Santorini had always eluded me, and it was only in 2011 that I finally set foot on this delightful island.

You may well have already conjured up an idea of what Santorini is like before you’ve even seen it, and I’m sure your imagination wouldn’t disappoint when compared with reality.

Its layered cliffs tower above the azure sea below, revealing the beautiful caldera that forms the island’s western edge. White washed dwellings litter the terraced rock, occasionally dotted with a blue domed roof and a Cycladic windmill.

Santorini 2

Image credit: Sacha Bunnik

Whether you are on land or at sea, this side of the island offers awe-inspiring views and at night, the twinkling lights of houses, upmarket hotels and restaurants combine to create a star-filled galaxy of their own.

Santorini 3

Image credit: Sacha Bunnik

Fira and Oia

The island’s two main towns, Fira and Oia, offer the best of what you would expect from this idyllic settlement. Nuzzled behind the caldera within the centre of the island, Fira, is the main bustling town with a labyrinth of narrow streets lined with charming shops, traditional Greek taverns and sleek bars.

Image credit: Jeremy van Heerde

The first time I visited Santorini, I was fortunate enough to stay in Fira at a cave hotel located deep on the caldera’s edge. The unspoilt views from such dizzying heights are both stunning and exhilarating.

In comparison, Fira’s good looking ‘sister’, Oia, sits teetering on the northern tip of the island. Offering much the same as its counterpart, Oia draws what seems like the island’s entire tourist population at sunset.

This sight is a real spectacle, as the huge fireball disappears behind the Aegean Sea followed by gasps and a multitude of camera clicks!

Although the west scores highest for beauty, the island’s eastern coast presents a different draw card altogether. The volcanic-sand beaches of Perissa and Kamari provide a conventional Greek island holiday experience with sun-lounger laden sand, relaxed tavernas serving delicious local food and typical souvenir shops.

Santorini 5

Image credit: Sacha Bunnik

When drenched in the summer sun, both offer what every beach lover could ever hope for.

Having travelled quite extensively, Santorini is a destination I would return to again and again. The island’s contrast of charm, elegance and classic Greek features are guaranteed to leave an everlasting impression.

Explore Greece in Depth with its beautiful islands, on our small group tour.