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Santorini is one of the most iconic destinations in the world. It is known for its breathtaking sunsets, picturesque villages, and stunning views of the Aegean Sea. With its white-washed buildings and volcanic landscape, it's no wonder why it is a popular vacation destination. Moreover, our travel guide will help you plan the perfect trip. We've covered you with all the best tips and recommendations for your dream Santorini vacation.
Between 1579 and 1821, the island was under Turkish control. The Turks called it Dermetzik. This is probably due to the number of windmills on the island. Santorini had a lot of autonomy but was subject to a tax. The Ottomans seized piracy, and Santorini's merchant navy developed. Unique manor houses, which still exist today, are evidence of the general prosperity in Santorini. Santorini's fleet was mighty during the Greek War of Independence. Finally, Santorini became part of Greece in 1912.
Santorini was also a prosperous port city that exported cotton, textiles, and famous wine. This prosperity ended in 1956 due to a catalytic earthquake and a volcanic eruption. As a result, the island suffered from decline and desertion until 1970, when tourism reconstructed the industry. These unfortunate events are a distant memory today, and Santorini has become a sought-after destination.
The volcano and the caldera are reminders of how the island's development is interconnected with the forces and nature, making it so popular. These elements produce magnificent natural beauty, stunning landmarks, and dramatic landscapes with breathtaking views. The magical aura fills millions with wonder and amazement.
September-October and April-May are the best times to visit Santorini. That's when the weather is pleasant, and there are few people. Like all the Cyclades, Santorini also welcomes most summer visitors. But if you want to visit anytime between June and August, you must book your reservations months ahead.
Winter is also a great time to save your hotel room rate money. However, remember that the average temperature in this season is only 50 degrees (not ideal for sunbathing), and there is a lot of precipitation. The spring season is warm and beautiful because of all the rain. Crowds in spring will be at an all-time low, but tourists will start to invade the islands in May.
These are some of the best things to do and places to visit in Santorini.
Amazing sunsets are a hallmark of the Greek island. Oia is where you can see the sunset at its finest. The magical scene at sunset is captured from the top of a ruined castle close to the windmill. But, if you go during high season, you might have to jump over several heads to get a view of the sunset.
Akrotiri's lighthouse is an alternative spot to enjoy the tranquility of the sunset. Spend quality time with your loved one while admiring a boat sailing towards the setting sun in this more peaceful spot. A sunset cruise is another way to enjoy the stunning sunsets of Santorini.
Perivolos beach is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway. This vibrant beach is the ideal place to relax and entertain. It is covered in black sand with sparkling waters, inviting adventure seekers to participate in exciting water sports like Jet Ski Safari. However, this is where you'll find the loudest music playing all day at the beach bars.
Perissa and Kamari beaches are also great places to spend quality family time near the water. This beach offers a beautiful view of the crystal-blue water dancing across the sandy beach. This beach also provides comfortable and luxurious amenities that will make your family's trip unforgettable.
Santorini also boasts incredible wine. One of the best wineries in Pyrgos can provide high-quality wines. Enjoy a range of wines while you relax in an outdoor area with live music. Besides, you will see the stunning Caldera volcano and the Aegean Sea from this spot. You should bring your partner if you plan to visit this area in the evening. The sunset colors are stunning, and the view is breathtaking.
Santorini Island is home to several churches. From small chapels to large monasteries, you will find it all. One of the most popular attractions is the Prophet Elias Monastery. It looks almost like a fortress. It is famous for its rich history and its unique view of Santorini from the highest point. You can also take photos from the monastery's four chapels.
It will be regrettable not to visit the excavations at Akrotiri's prehistoric settlement while you're in Santorini. The remains of the well-maintained town can be walked through, and you will be taken back to the prehistoric age. It is a must-see for those who love history and archeological explorations.
The Lost Atlantis Experience Museum is a great place to end your exploration. This interactive museum is the first in the world to explore the theories of Atlantis and its connection with Santorini.
Many routes will take you to this historical location. However, a bus tour is the best way to get the most out of your trip. This allows you to discover the rich history and natural beauty of Santorini.
Although Greek is the island's official language, it's more common to meet English-speaking Greeks in tourist areas due to the many tourists visiting the island daily. It is also important to understand body language. Pay attention to your gestures. Be aware of how you use your gestures. It would be best not to use the thumb or index finger to sign "OK." It's also offensive to raise your palm to anyone. Make sure that your palm faces you when you wave goodbye. To indicate "yes," nod your head. Also, a slight downward nod signifies 'yes,' while an upward nod suggests 'no.'
In social situations, it is common to shake hands with a Greek when you meet them. Furthermore, two kisses are the norm when you meet someone new - one on each cheek. Greeks are also open-minded and can become very engaged in conversations. You can also get personal fast with them. But you can always change the subject if you are uncomfortable talking about topics like politics or if they are asking too many personal questions. Lateness is also a standard feature. You can expect to arrive 15 minutes late if you have any plans with the Greeks.
Walking around towns and beaches is acceptable in shorts or T-shirts. Some beaches are not dress-coded. Even in restaurants, a dress is casual. However, Greeks are known to dress more elegantly when dining out at night. Also, never walk along the beach in a bathing suit or barefoot, except when eating at a restaurant.
The currency of Santorini is the euro. However, the exchange rate between the US dollar and the euro fluctuates, so check the current rate before traveling.
Enjoy the fresh Greek cuisine while you are in Santorini. Moreover, the volcanic soil and the island's mild climate enhance the flavors of the fruit and vegetables that grow here. Santorini is also a famous wine region; visiting one of its wineries is a must. You should also ensure you have cherry tomatoes, capers, and white eggplant while in Santorini. Because they are grown in volcanic soil, the eggplants are sweet and pale. Moreover, moussaka is a Greek-style lasagna made with layers of eggplant, spices, and minced meat and topped with a bechamel sauce. Another must-try Greek specialty is anything with olives or olive oil, particularly a traditional Greek salad.
The Greeks also love their dips. Fava, another traditional dip, is tzatziki sauce (yogurt and cucumber). Other popular small bites are dolmades and Keftedes. They usually serve Dolmades before meals. These are seasoned rice mixed with meats or vegetables wrapped in grape or vine leaves. Keftedes and cakes made with cherry tomatoes are also common choices.
The Greeks also love grilled meats. You can find souvlaki (skewered meat) all over the country. They often top it with tzatziki. Popular also is the Octopus. You'll find it hanging from its tentacles at seaside tavernas. You also can't leave the island without trying a gyro. And no matter what you eat, don't forget dessert. Baklava is a filo pastry with honey and ground nuts. Deep-fried donuts sprinkled with honey and cinnamon are also popular.
These are some of the best areas to stay in Santorini. Leading Hotels of the World offers rooms and suites and villas with sea views in charming boutique hotels. All hotels feature swimming pools, private pools, hot tubs, or plunge pools. The next town is mainly a short walk away.
Fira is Santorini's capital. It is the largest city on the island. Fira is a great place to stay in Santorini. There are numerous restaurants and shops within walking distance. There are also stunning caldera views, many restaurants, shops, and nightlife options. Besides, there are hotels for everyone.
It's also easy to get around Santorini by ferry from Fira, in the middle of the island. This is also where you will find the bus terminal. Fira is a great place to visit. Its main drawback is the large number of tourists. Visitors arrive from all over the world. You will also find the cruise terminal here. Plus, the airport is just a 10-minute drive away.
Firostefani has good restaurants and shops. It also has one of the most stunning views of the caldera. Firostefani is a great place to stay. Moreover, its central location allows you to walk to other villages. Plus you don't need to rent a car. Instead, take a bus along the main street or walk to the bus terminal. Firostefani is also quiet, so you must leave to enjoy the nightlife.
Oia is on the northwestern tip of the island. It is a must-see on any Santorini itinerary. It boasts postcard-perfect views with blue domes and white-washed homes. Oia also offers the best views of Oia's caldera. You can also find some of the most popular Instagram spots and the best sunset spots.
Moreover, Oia is the second-largest town on the island. It is a great place to stay in Santorini if you're looking for the best views and are willing to pay the extra. Oia Castle is great for seeing the sunset, swimming in Ammoudi Bay, or exploring the churches. Adventurers looking for breathtaking views can hike from Oia up to Fira.
Although Pyrgos is not a beach town, it has a panoramic view of the island from almost 360 degrees. Pyrgos was once the capital city of Santorini. It is a charming town with cobbled streets and white-washed homes.
Imerovigli, a charming little town on the edge of Fira, is just 2 miles from Fira. It is also one of Santorini's most tranquil caldera towns, making it a great place to honeymoon. However, the town sits on top of a cliff, so sunset views are unobstructed by nearby areas. But you can hike Skaros Rock with spectacular views if you feel more adventurous.
Walking or taking a bus is the best way to explore Santorini. Walking around the small towns along the coast is also possible, but it's much more convenient to take the bus to go from one place to the next. KTEL bus routes run from Fira, the capital city, to various destinations on the main island. KTEL also serves the Santorini Island National Airport (JTR), although you may prefer to rely on a cab for transport to town. You can also take a ferry to Athinios. This is about 5 miles south of Fira.
Santorini has an excellent reputation for safety. Many travelers report feeling safe walking along the streets at night and day. Pickpocketing is rare in this area. However, there aren't many sidewalks in Santorini, so you must be cautious when walking the streets. In addition, it would be best to be careful when navigating Santorini's beaches. Many beaches, if not all, are made of small rocks and can be too hot to touch during summer. To avoid burning your feet, bring sandals or water shoes. Tap water is also unsafe to drink.