Santorini is located in the heart of the Aegean Sea at the south of Cyclades.
During winter, Santorini is a quiet and peaceful place where you can relax and seclude. However, during the summer months Santorini converts into an extremely cosmopolitan and much frequented tourist resort where the pulse of entertainment beats fast.
The Island of Santorini was formed in a massive volcanic eruption, giving way to some stunning scenery. The black sand and peddle beaches along its east coast have beautifully clear water and are great for water sports and swimming – although they shelve quite steeply, so not ideal for children. The Western coast has dramatically towering cliffs which plunge into the sea.
Santorini has been a unique destination for weddings. The imposing landscape, the world famous caldera with its impressionistic contrast of colours, the majestic sunsets, promising an unforgettable and unique wedding.
An alternative name for Santorini is Thira. Santorini is also a name for the family of islands surrounding Thira--once forming a single island prior to a major volcanic event in approximately 1500 B.C.E.
The small island cradles a rich variety of landscapes and villages. Visit traditional architecture in the small village of Mesa Gonia containing a mixture of ruins from the 1956 earthquake and restored villas as well as a winery at the foot of the settlement. Pyrgos is another notable village set inland with its grand old houses, remains of a Venetian castle and several Byzantine churches.
The island has no natural source of water and so water is delivered to the island via tanker from Crete.
Fira is the fiery capital, a marriage of Venetian and Cycladic architecture, whose white cobblestone streets bustle with shops, tavernas, hotels and cafes, while clinging to the rim of the caldera nine hundred feet above the its port. If arriving by sea you can take a cable car up from the port or alternatively take a trip on one of the hundreds of mules up the three hundred plus zigzagging steps. You could also attempt to walk up the steps but be warned, they are winding, narrow in parts with only low walls, they are covered in donkey excrement and the donkeys themselves will make no attempt to avoid you.
Walking along a path about for twenty minutes will bring you to Imerovigli where you can take in the magnificent views of the island’s unique scenery from the tiny town.
Just above Fira at the highest point of the island is the quintessentially Santorininian town of Ia, also sometimes spelled Oia, with its whitewashed walls sunk into the volcanic rock and its blue domes rising above the sterling beauty of the stunning, russet Ammoudi Bay. At dusk, the town attracts crowds of people venturing to see the sunset. Santorini's sunsets, as viewed from Oia, are reputed to be among the world's most beautiful.
Due to the spectacular and unique natural beauty of Santorini, many Greek singers have chosen the island as the setting of their videos. Greek and Brazilian TV series have been shot of Santorini, as well as some Hollywood movies (e.g. Tomb Raider II). Generally Santorini is a pole of attraction for Greek and international celebrities.
The main attraction of Santorini is the volcano. The caldera was flooded during a cataclysmic event thousands of years ago, leaving the cliffs of Santorini surrounding a lake of ocean and newly upthrust lava in the center. The towns of Fira, Oia and Thirasis cling to the steep cliffs facing into the caldera bay. Tours to the volcano center are plentiful and one can see and feel steam vents and recent (1950s) lava flows.
Another popular reason for coming to Santorini is the legend that its sunsets are one of the most spectacular in the world. Ia is one of the few places on the island which is both close to a sea and offers a good view to a sunset over the sea: in other towns, the sun disappears behind the volcano.
The fastest and most comfortable way is by air. Santorini has its own airport (a pretty small one) near Kamari village and next to Monolithos, with regular flights from Athens. Flight duration from Athens to Santorini is about 30 minutes. You can also take the ferry from Piraeus. There is also daily connection between Heraklion city of Crete, Myconos, Ios, Paros, Naxos and Santorini during high season. Ferries dock at the port of Athinios, where buses and taxis meet each arrival to transport passengers to Oia, Fira, and elsewhere. All vehicles climb up a very steep, winding road (it makes seven 180 degree turns) to get anywhere from Athinios. If you travel by cruise ship, the experience will surely leave you with lasting memories. Cruise ships that reach the island of Santorini do not anchor at Athinios port, but one or two miles away from the old port of the island. Locals with fishing boats transfer cruisers to the old port, which seems not to have changed over the last 50 years. From there you can either use the cable car to reach the town of Fira, which will take no more than 5 minutes, or if you like small adventures you can ride a donkey, which climbs up a small path on the cliff to Fira. The latter option will last longer, but is definitely a unique experience.