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Guide to Santorini 2019, officially known as Thira

The most beautiful island?

Santorini is one of the most spectacular Greek islands - part of the Cyclades islands, so called because they form a circle around the ancient island of Delos.

Nothing can prepare you for the first magical view of the towering multi-coloured lava layered cliffs rising out of an azure blue sea, topped with clusters of whitewashed villages and stunning cobalt blue-domed Byzantine churches.

It is picture postcard stunning, with no need of any artistic touching up - blue, blue sea, snow-white buildings and wonderful blue domes abound everywhere, particularly in the capital Fira and the ancient town of Oia. Away from the caldera, Santorini has many quiet corners where the pace of life slows right down and you can experience the timeless peace of rural Greece. The historic villages of Pirgos and Megalochori are particularly worth a visit.

tourist eating ice cream

Santorini owes its unusual shape to a massive volcanic eruption around 3,500 years ago - the magnificent submerged caldera (crater) is the epicentre.

As well as wiping out the thriving Minoan civilization with huge tidal waves (tsunami), the explosion led to the centre of the island collapsing to form the caldera or crater. The caldera has very steep sides (essentially the cliffs you see above sea level continue down for a further 400 metres or so below the surface of the water).

This allows even the largest cruise ships to enter the sheltered waters of the Caldera and anchor safely. As a result, the island has become one of the most popular destinations on the Mediterranean cruise circuit with two or three liners arriving and departing every day.


As one of the most romantic places in the world, Santorini has always been a destination for honeymooners and in recent years it has become a very popular place to get married. Several venues host wedding ceremonies set against the stunning background of the caldera. There are a number of companies which specialise in arranging weddings, blessings and civil ceremonies and dealing with the paperwork for US, UK and other EU citizens.


Top 10 - What to see and do on Santorini


The Caldera

- visit the volcanic island of Nea Kameni and swim in the hot sulphur springs of Palia Kameni


Sunset at Oia

(known locally as Ia), enjoy a meal or drink at this beautiful village overlooking the scenic Caldera

wine tasting


and see the extensive vine growing areas of the island by following the wineroads - Santo Wines in Megalohori

red beach

Visit the stunning Beaches

- try a different one every day - relax or swim in crystal clear water

fira shops

Souvenir shopping

at Fira and Oia - designer fashion and fabulous jewellery and gold shops


Next 5 Top Attractions

How safe are Greek islands?

Current UK Foreign Office advice states that there is no specific threat to visitors from the UK.

F.O. advice also states that , in common with many holiday destinations, British nationals are not normally considered a specific target, but attacks could happen in places visited by foreigners.

Santorini is considered a relatively safe destination and does not have the issues with refugees and migrants which affect some of the greek islands which are closer to Turkey.

More information for toursts and visitors

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