If you’ve ever admired photographs of Greece that show clusters of square whitewashed houses and blue domed churches clinging to steep cliffs, overlooking an azure sea, they’re most likely taken on the Greek Island of Santorini. This rocky outcrop in the Aegean Sea, formed by an ancient volcanic eruption is one of the most iconic and popular destinations on a Greek Island cruise.
Things to do in Santorini, Greece
One of the best places to start your Santorini tour is in the island’s capital Fira with its winding streets and iconic Cycladic architecture. From here you can take in some of the best views across the Santorini caldera, the crater left by a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago and now filled with water, that gives the island its distinctive semi-circular shape. The Santorini volcano, which formed and then partially destroyed the island in ancient times, is still active and in the middle of the caldera you can witness it’s growth in the form of Nea Kameni Island.
When you visit Santorini you may be able to spot steam escaping Nea Kameni from high vantage points like Fira, but many people choose to get closer to the action with a visit to the island itself. A rejuvenating swim in the Nea Kameni volcanic hot springs along the shores of the island is said to be an excellent tonic for the skin and remains a popular Santorini vacation activity.
The fertile volcanic soil combined with high daytime temperatures and humidity at night results in top quality local produce that will have any gastronome salivating. Santorini wine is renowned throughout the world for its traditional methods of manufacture and a strong fruity taste, especially from the indigenous Assyrtiko grape. There’s nothing like sampling a wine at its source, so during your Santorini holiday consider a tour of the local vineyards or indulge in a glass at a restaurant while enjoying delicious local dishes such as Tomatokeftedes or Fava.
The steep trek down to the beaches in Santorini is worth the trip once you catch sight of the incredible blue waters of the Aegean Sea. The volcanic activity of the island has resulted in a variety of beaches from red rocks to grey pebbles and fine black sand. Named for the unique colour of its sand and soaring cliffs, Red Beach is a popular Santorini beach with locals and tourists alike, while the less frequented Avis Beach offers tranquillity away from the crowds.
In a destination with such a long and rich past, museums bring the history of Santorini to life. One of the most interesting things to do in Santorini is explore the ancient artefacts of the Archaeological Museum and then get a taste for how locals have lived through the centuries at the Folklore Museum.
At the end of the day on your Santorini tour, don’t miss the spectacular sunset over the Aegean Sea from the western side of the island. The sheer beauty of a Santorini sunset draws photographers from all over the world and is a highlight of a Greek Island holiday.