The southermost and one of the most visited island in the Cyclades is Santorini and for many good reasons. Many of us associate Santorini with romantic, warmth, glamour and the photogenic side and I can agree to all that. Some will be surprise to know its historical side and the beach options available on this island.
I have to concur that Santorini is a must see island, there is so many emblematic Greek symbol in one place that you should make a stop of more than a few hours, more than one night. I will summarize to my best why you should stop in Santorini: the sun, the volcano, the cities, Akrotiri Archeological Site, the beaches, the wine, the lighthouse, just to name a few.
Did you know that the current island shape has not always been like this; a croissant. The center part has actually sunk during a major volcanic event that occurred a long long time ago – 16th century BC. This is why at many occasions, guides refer to the caldera, the inner part of the volcano that have claps that is now filled with water.
Today, Santorini is not only one island but a group of islands. Excursions are offered to reach some of them. It is even possible to relax in the hot springs.
Fira and Oia are the two major villages to explore. Fira, the capital, is centrally located and sits atop steep cliffs. Oia is located about 12 km away from Fira. It is possible to walk between the two places however it is not a simple stroll. From what I understood, it takes more than 5 hours- one way, there is no public bathrooms and it is very beautiful.
Both villages have clean pedestrian only streets and don’t try to find the best walking path or itinerary like you would do in major cities, no use here. Since you can only explore on foot, wear your good shoes, follow your instincts and move at your rhythm. Since the alleys, stairs lead you to a new way, you will likely to encounter beautiful entrance, stair cases, a lazy cat, a boutique, a church, a café, a fountain, nice garden, enjoy! It feels like a labyrinth but with many exits.
Wine production is common on the island with some wineries open to the public. You won’t see the vines standing tall as usually. They are low to the ground. Since there is no river, a long period with very little rain, the agriculture has been adapting.
Typical Santorini experience comes with a glass of wine. I have to admit that white wines are growing back on me. Cheers!