Santorini Is One of many Most-visited Islands within the World — With Instagram-worthy Views, Romantic Villages, and Relaxed Tavernas

Lovers and honeymooners gravitate to Santorini to meander amid cliffside cave homes that hover virtually imperceptibly above a lustrous, inky Aegean Sea.

A catastrophic volcanic eruption some 3,600 years in the past, which noticed half the island swallowed by the ocean, is liable for the dizzying visuals. Famed for its sunsets, photogenic blue-domed whitewashed church buildings, and intensely mineral white wine, Greek tourism’s poster little one has lengthy epitomized romance. It’s no marvel Journey + Leisure readers have repeatedly voted the Cycladic famous person amongst their favourite islands on the planet as lately as 2023. It’s that sort of mind-blowing vacation spot you have to expertise as soon as in a lifetime.

And whereas Santorini appears extra geared towards {couples}, you don’t must be partnered as much as get pleasure from a go to. Most vacationers keep in lodging in one of many caldera-facing villages in northwest Santorini, specifically Oia, Fira, or Imerovigli. It’s no coincidence that eight Santorini motels made it into the highest 10 Greece-wide amongst 2023 T+L reader picks.

Christos Stergiou, a T+L A-Listing Advisor and the CEO and founding father of True Journeys, mentioned lodging on Santorini’s “off-caldera” aspect are value contemplating when you’re seeking to dodge the crowds. Cruise ship passengers, particularly, make up many guests who go to within the peak summer time months.

“There’s a bonus to staying on the caldera as a result of you’ve the views. You exit your resort, and also you’re within the coronary heart of every part,” he mentioned. “In recent times, we’ve seen fairly just a few motels opening up inland on Santorini, providing extra of a non-public refuge.”

Stergiou makes an analogous advice when it comes to sightseeing. “Rent a automotive and comply with a highway to see the place it takes you,” he advised T+L. “Or ebook a non-public strolling tour to discover villages past Oia.”

In the meantime, the island’s meals scene has additionally improved lately. Excessive-quality eating places helmed by distinguished cooks have opened inside the island’s finest motels, showcasing superior native produce starting from white eggplant to yellow break up pea (fava). Fish tavernas on the waterfront and inconspicuous eating spots within the inside improve culinary choices.

Add black sand seashores and historic and cultural sights, together with an enigmatic historical settlement and wine tasting at small-scale estates.

Dreaming of a Santorini getaway? Right here’s methods to plan your good trip on the island. 

High 5 Can’t Miss

  • Seize a dreamy Santorini sundown or, higher but, a people-free daybreak.
  • Stroll round picture-perfect Oia village.
  • Sail the caldera on a catamaran to witness the island’s magnificence from the ocean.
  • Discover the traditional website of Akrotiri.
  • Pattern Santorini’s world-famous wines.

Greatest Inns and Resorts

Courtesy of Katikies Santorini

Katikies Santorini

A T+L mainstay, readers voted this elegant resort as their favourite resort in Greece for 2023, Katikies Santorini is, in any case, one of many island’s luxurious hospitality pioneers. Located in Oia, the 34-room resort’s friends can avail themselves of experiences comparable to a non-public cruise in a smooth 52-foot Riva Rivale motor yacht to unassuming Thirassia islet.

Andronis Boutique Lodge

A constant T+L World’s Greatest winner, this caldera-facing Oia resort echoes conventional cave homes, as soon as house to seafarers. Of Andronis Boutique Lodge’s 25 lodging choices, the biggest and most lavish is the Status Suite. Emmanuel Renaut, chef and founding father of three Michelin-starred Flocons de Sel, curates the menu at in-house restaurant Lauda. 

Grace Lodge, Auberge Resorts Assortment

Oozing class, this pristine white boutique resort seems to be out over enigmatic Skaros Rock and the caldera. T+L readers proclaimed Grace Lodge, Auberge Resorts Assortment to be Europe’s finest resort in 2021. Positioned in Imerovigli, the resort contains a sizable infinity pool and, for the deepest pockets, a sprawling villa. 

Greatest Issues to Do

Alexander Spatari/Getty Photographs

Hike between inland villages

A basic trek runs throughout the rim of the caldera, from Fira to Oia, with pit stops within the villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli and at Skaros, the primary castelli (fortress) constructed on the island. Alternatively, hike historical trails via the genuine settlements of Pyrgos, Exo Gonia and Mesa Gonia. Santorini Strolling Excursions presents small group and personal guided choices. 

Take a ship tour of the caldera

No Santorini go to is full with out witnessing the caldera from the ocean. Step aboard a catamaran for a personal or small group day or sundown cruise. You’ll have the chance to swim and snorkel, take a dip in sizzling (lukewarm, really) springs off the volcanic islets of Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni and look at a Nineteenth-century lighthouse. 

Discover historical Akrotiri

Akrotiri is considered one of Europe’s most important historical settlements. Santorini’s fiery eruption preserved it in Pompeii vogue however, surprisingly sufficient, no human stays have been discovered. Take a tour with a state-licensed information to be taught what life was like on this superior Mediterranean Bronze Age metropolis. Key excavation finds are on show on the Museum of Prehistoric Thira in Fira. 

Pattern Santorini’s nice whites

Assyrtiko, Santorini’s best-known wine, would possibly make up about 90 per cent of manufacturing, nonetheless, the island lays declare to round 50 indigenous grapes. Ebook a tour with oenologist Iliana Sidiropoulou who leads personal excursions the place you’ll be taught in regards to the singular terroir, view an archaic pruning technique and pattern wines at family-owned estates. 

Jorg Greuel/Getty Photographs

Swim at a black sand seaside

Santorini options some fairly cool seashores. Amongst them is Perivolos, identified for its black sand and invigorating, deep blue waters. Positioned within the southeast, right here you’ll discover water sports activities like jet snowboarding, together with buzzy seaside bars and informal eating places. Because the solar goes down, flip up the romance with a shoreline wander to admire the rocky peaks of Mesa Vouno rising as much as the north. 

Greatest Eating places

Carol Yepes/Getty Photographs

Selene, Katikies Backyard Lodge

Based by self-taught chef Giorgos Hatzigiannakis, Selene is the stuff of Santorinian culinary legend. With reverence and ingenuity, Botrini at the moment helms the restaurant that introduced reimagined island fare to the fore. Splurge on a tasting menu, that includes dishes like cured bonito with rock samphire, native cucumber katsouni and pistachio paired with wines chosen by Grasp of Wine Yiannis Karakasis. 

Varoulko Santorini, Grace Lodge

Chef Lefteris Lazarou, whose Piraeus restaurant carries a Michelin star, quietly demonstrates his experience with fish at his Santorini outpost. Linger over a laidback a la carte lunch at Varoulko Santorini or ebook for dinner, the place degustation menus characteristic refined monkfish soup and crispy sea bream with smoked eggplant mousse, amongst different highlights.


In Vourvoulos, away from the celebrated caldera, you’ll discover Roza’s. Seasonality reigns supreme at this downhome eating spot owned and run by a Georgian prepare dinner and her Greek husband. Rice-stuffed vine leaves with smoked eel and lime foam depend among the many delectable choices, whereas there are many vegan choices. 

Greatest Time to Go to

Daniel Gorostieta/Journey + Leisure

“Late September via early October is the very best time to go to Santorini. Crowds are thinner, costs are higher, the climate is mostly improbable and the ocean is heat,” Stergiou mentioned. The shoulder season from late April via Might can also be time to schedule a visit although take into accout the Aegean continues to be too chilly for swimming, a minimum of for most individuals. June presents lengthy, languid summer time days, making it a preferred month. July and August are the busiest and hottest months of the 12 months. And whereas wet days are uncommon in spring or fall, it may be chilly. Stergiou mentioned winter wasn’t a really perfect time to go to because it’s principally chilly and damp and that’s additionally when development and renovations happen. 

How you can Get There

The quickest option to attain Santorini is by aircraft. Flights from Athens Worldwide Airport (Eleftherios Venizelos) to Santorini function every day and take about 50 minutes. For many who choose to island hop, take a ferry from Piraeus. A quick catamaran takes round 4 hours and 40 minutes to succeed in the island, whereas standard ferries require between six hours and 7 hours and 45 minutes. Santorini options on many cruise line itineraries together with these of Virgin Voyages, Silverstar, Seabourn and SeaDream Yacht Membership, although peak season means important crowds. Viking Cruises and Windstar Cruises function Mediterranean itineraries that embody Santorini in winter. 

Areas to Go to

Daniel Gorostieta/Journey + Leisure


Santorini’s best-known village attracts the crowds to its cobblestoned alleyways lined with elegant artwork galleries, boutiques carrying Greek designer labels and the island’s iconic blue-domed church buildings. Cease in at literary treasure trove Atlantic Books and lose your self in Oia’s backstreets to peruse stately neoclassical mansions as soon as house to sea captains. “Everybody is aware of Santorini for its sunsets however daybreak is equally spectacular,” mentioned Stergiou, who steered rising early, whereas Oia continues to be people-free. 


Few guests enterprise to the low-key inland medieval village of Pyrgos, located within the southwest, which Stergiou described as “underrated”. By day, go to the chapel atop Profitis Ilias, the island’s highest level, from the place you may soak up views throughout the island. Stergiou mentioned he significantly loved strolling amid the city’s whitewashed homes within the night to take in the environment.


Megalochori, one other of Stergiou’s favorites, is brimming with residing folklore and custom. Positioned within the island’s southwest, the village is characterised by labyrinthine alleyways and ornate bell towers. Immerse your self in music, artwork and mythology at family-friendly cultural middle Symposion, the place kids can be taught to craft a panpipe. Enjoyable can also be assured when you take a cooking class at Petra Kouzina. “There are just a few tavernas they usually’re all good,” Stergiou added.

How you can Get Round

By Rental Automotive: Ebook a rental automotive nicely upfront, significantly if visiting throughout summer time. “So long as you’re feeling comfy driving, I at all times advocate automotive rental, so that you just’re unbiased,” mentioned Stergiou. “Enterprise off with out selecting a selected vacation spot. Go try wine nation, for instance.” Google Maps is usually dependable. 

By Taxi: Silver taxis function on the island however numbers are restricted. Wait instances may be lengthy and visitors can spike fares. Cab ranks function on the airport, Athinios port and close to Fira’s central sq.. They might price extra if booked upfront or through a resort. Taxis are metered and costs fluctuate. It prices round €17 to €22 to succeed in Fira from the airport and about €30 to €40 to succeed in places additional afield. 

By bus: Santorini has a fleet of 23 buses often called KTEL that connects all island villages. Fira is the principle hub for all bus routes. One-way tickets begin from €2 (daytime fare) and €3.10 (night-time fare), respectively.

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