Santorini travel guide

Planning a trip to Santorini, Greece

Santorini (Thira in Greek—the Venetians gave it its more famous name) lies in the Cyclades, a long string of islands strewn with ruins and populated by fishermen and sun-worshippers. The last island in the chain, far out in the Aegean Sea, is Santorini, beckoning with a siren call of sunny beaches and the indulgent good life.

Santorini is a volcanic crescent, a sheer black cliff slashed with red stone and curving protectively around a caldera of green water where newer volcanic cones still sometimes hiss and smoke. This sliver of land is spotted with black-sand beaches, vineyards, whitewashed villages, and the excavations of ancient cities.

Santorini's charms have not gone unnoticed—it is one of the most heavily visited of all the Greek islands. In July and August, it can get brutally crowded and seem like one big disco, a latter day homage to Dionysian hedonism. But in spring and fall, when the visiting hordes ebb, Santoroni still shines with that fishing village magic; it becomes the prototypical "island in the sun."

The prehistory of Santorini

Santorini was a circular island volcano until an eruption in the 1600s b.c. blew half the island into the air, creating massive tidal waves, ashfall, and earthquakes that swept the Aegean—an event thought by many to have helped destroy the Minoan civilization, which was centered on Crete.

Akrotiri, a rich Minoan city, was here on Santorini, and some theorists are convinced that it was this city's volcanic destruction, on the brink of recorded history, that served as the source of the mythology surrounding a "lost continent."

In other words, welcome to Atlantis.

Hotel Loucas [€€]

Kamari Beach Hotel [€€–€€€]

Tours Under $995 G Adventures

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in December 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.