10 Reasons To Visit Santorini
Santorini is known as one of the most visually-interesting of the Greek islands - and with its volcanoes and white-washed buildings set against a vibrant blue sky, it's not hard to see why. Whether you're into your photography or just really appreciate great views, Santorini will get you gasping at just about every corner.
Current Greece Travel Advice
Update July 8: From the 19th July, if you're double vaccinated and returning to England from an amber country you won't need to self-isolate when you get back.
You'll need to take a PCR test 3 days before you travel and a PCR test on or before day 2 after you return.
Children under 18 won't need to self-isolate but will still need to take the precautionary tests. Those aged 5-10 only need to take the day 2 test and those under 4 are exempt from any testing or self-isolation.
Negative PCR no more than 72 hours before arrival. You'll also need to do a rapid test when you arrive.
When you're there:
At the moment it's mandatory to wear a mask in all public places (both indoors and outdoors), in all areas of Greece. Restrictions vary regionally and the best place to check the current restrictions is on Greece's government website.
Traffic light status:
Greece has been confirmed to be on England's amber list. At time of writing the FCDO does not advise against non-essential travel to Rhodes, Kos, Zakynthos, Corfu and Crete which means it's legal to travel to these islands for any reason, including a holiday.
1. The Best Sunset in the World
It sounds a like a big brag but Santorini is argued to have one of the best sunset views in the entire world - the sun just seems to drop into the sea in a haze of gold and amber. Oia is known as the best place to view the sunset and people flock there early every evening just to experience it. People turn up by the coach load, and restaurants and bars have priced their meals and drinks accordingly. If you want to avoid the crowds, the views from Firostefani, just down the road, are almost as spectacular, and you can appreciate the view without having to fight for a space.
2. The Romance
Sunsets, delicious wine, beautiful buildings...all of these things ensure that Santorini is the place for lovers. It's also the place for weddings so if there's anything that will tip you into getting married, it's seeing all these blissful-looking couples having their photographs taken against stunning backdrops.
3. The Fascinating Landscapes
Much of Santorini is built on the rim of an old, extinct volcano (they call this the caldera) which is why you'll see towns that look as though they are tumbling down the hillside. The effect is remarkable and extremely photogenic, but it does mean that roads and pavements are very steep. For instance, in the capital of Fira there are only three ways down to the port and back up again: by cable car, walking up or down the hundreds of steps or by donkey. Even if you decide not to do this little excursion, the steps are everywhere: often uneven and all at different heights and lengths. This is not the place to wear your heels. Sensible shoes are a must, and anyone with mobility problems should be aware that this may not be an ideal location. There is also a live volcano, which you can visit by boat on a day trip.
4. The Spirituality
Greek Orthodox is the ruling denomination here, along with a small percentage of Catholicism. Whether you are religious or not, you'll have to agree that it makes a large stamp on the landscape here. On Santorini, especially in the villages, you'll find that almost every house has its own private chapel. Indeed, the villagers all come together to help build each resident their own chapel, and all are that beautiful combination of white, each with a sky blue roofs: blue so that they reach out to the sky, where God resides.
5. The Food and Wine
Fish and seafood lovers will be delighted by the food on Santorini, but Greek staples like Moussaka and Souvlaki are well in evidence. There are a plethora of tavern-style eateries, but you can also find beautiful upmarket fare and presentation in places like Oia. Santorini wine is award-winning and it's well worth making visit to a vineyard to do some wine tasting. Santo, with its stunning views, is where the tourists tend to go, but it's worth noting that there are many smaller vineyards you can peruse.
Its low level of rainfall, together with the volcanic landscape and soil mean that Santorini is a unique environment for home-grown food and wine, and that is reflected in what you will see and eat.
6. The Photography
Almost every corner brings something new for a photographer: from iconic white washed buildings to a the rich blue of the sea surrounding it.
7. The Archaeology
If you're fascinated by archaeology, then the excavations at Akrotiri are unmissable - they're said by many to be one of the most important prehistoric settlements anywhere. Dating back to 3600 BC, this is a town that, like Pompeii, was destroyed by the volcanic ash from an earthquake.
8. The Ghost Towns
Santorini has suffered from numerous earthquakes over the years, with the biggest in living memory being one in 1965. It left the town of Mesa Gonia a ghost town, which you can now visit. Wander through its deserted streets (although there are now a handful of people living there) and watch the wild cats that are its main inhabitants.
9. The Location
You can catch a ferry to the mainland ports of Piraeus and Rafina from Santorini or go island hopping around Ios, Anafi, Crete, Naxos and Paros, amongst others.
10. The Water Sports
If getting into the water is your idea of a great holiday, then Santorini also ticks the box for an active trip. Perissa and Kamari are the two main centres for water sports. Here you'll find black volcanic sand and can take part in diving, waterskiing wind-kiting and banana-boating. Lined with bars and restaurants, these beaches are also perfect for those who just want to lie, back, chill out and catch the sun.
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