Santorini is quintessential Greece.
With large clusters of whitewashed homes clinging to the black earth and spilling down the cliffsides that overlook the Aegean Sea. One of the Cyclades islands, Santorini is instantly recognisable.
In the 16th century BC, Santorini was devastated by a volcano that shaped its rugged multicoloured landscape, which soars out of the sea-drowned caldera. The houses of its principal towns cling to cliffs overlooking the sea, the small islands to the west, and beaches made up of black, red, and white lava pebbles.
There’s no denying the uniqueness of this Greek destination or its huge appeal. Also known as Thera in Greek, The island has been immortalized by poets and painters, and more recently by Instagram, thanks to its celebrated light, white and blue colour mix, and picture-perfect sunsets.
Fira, the island’s capital, stretches north into villages called Firostefani and Imerovigli, both of which are within easy walking distance. The main track running through them is lined by upmarket hotels and popular restaurant terraces. These draw most visitors, together with the rather more exclusive village of Oia in Santorini’s north. Everything in Oia remains preserved, with colourful roofs topping cubist Greek homes in an endless labyrinth of curving streets.
The island has seascapes that will stop you in your tracks, but don’t omit an inner island exploration. There’s plenty to see and do, including an open-air cinema, microbrewery, wine caverns, and cooking classes to celebrate Santorini’s growing foodie culture. The myth that Santorini is the ancient city of Atlantis, which was submerged over 9,500 years ago, comes to life at Nea Kameni, a small island at the centre of the caldera.
Santorini produces crisp dry white wines and the amber-coloured, unfortified dessert wine known as Vinsanto. Both are made from the island’s homegrown grape variety, assyrtiko.
I felt once more how simple and frugal a thing is happiness: a glass of wine, a roast chestnut, a wretched little brazier, the sound of the sea. Nothing else. – Nikos Kazantzakis
** Read more about my Santorini features here.
** This post forms part of my 100x Magical Places series which offers an introduction to my favourite destinations.
** Pics sourced on Pixabay.