Santorini is the most popular island in Greece and one of the top world tourist destination frequent first-place rankings in surveys of favorite holiday location also Voted Best Honeymoon Destination in the World.
Santorini island is in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast of Greece’s mainland (also known as Thera in Greek). The largest island of a small, circular archipelago the Cyclades, is the remnant of a volcanic caldera, where the black earth against whitewashed homes clinging to the cliff-side, or wild volcanic sculptures against sleek Cycladic lines.
Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred some 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep. This may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, through a gigantic tsunami. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis.
The island’s principal port is Athinios. The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon. The volcanic rocks present from the prior eruptions feature olivine, and have a small presence of hornblende.
Fira together with Oia, Imerovigli and Firostefani located high above on a cliff, make up the balcony of Santorini, which offers an amazing view of the volcano.
A path running through these villages is lined with upmarket hotels, restaurant terraces and endless photo opportunities.
Oia, of course, is the most famous of all villages of Santorini. It is known throughout the world for its quiet life and fantastic sunset, and is certainly the most beautiful and picturesque village. It is situated on top of an impressive cliff and offers a spectacular view over the volcano of Palia and Nea Kameni and the island of Thirassia.
It is a traditional village, much quieter that Fira and the busiest area is the main pedestrian that runs along its length. The volcano from here is much less imposing but you can still get some gorgeous views.
It has several cultural attractions like the Maritime Museum which houses a small library, items from the maritime life of the area, and the vestiges of a Venetian fortress. The small port, Ammoudi, can be reached by a set of 300 steps leading down. There, small boats can take you opposite, to the island of Thirassia. The beach of Armenis is also located there.
Other famous smaller villages are Akrotíri and Méssa Vounó, with their famous archaeological sites, Pýrgos, Karterádes, Emporió, Ammoúdi, Finikiá, Períssa, Perívolos, Megalohóri, Kamári, Messariá and Monólithos: some of the villages are cosmopolitan some more peaceful; they are surrounded by vast vineyards; whitewashed cliff-top towns with castles affording amazing views out over the Aegean.