Santorini is an island like no other. Hundreds of white-washed buildings and blue-domed churches litter towering volcanic cliffs while the blue Mediterranean Sea sparkles below.
Three and a half thousand years ago, Santorini was wiped out by one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in human history. The dust clouded sunsets for centuries after, but eventually the island formed once again out of the caldera.[related_articles]16126,43674,30168[/related_articles]
It’s now one of the most beautiful, distinctive Greek islands.
Here are nine must-see stops on your Santorini adventure.
#1 Dive Into Hot Springs
Is diving off a boat into the Mediterranean Sea your thing? What about swimming in natural hot springs? If so, you can’t miss this.
As you swim from the boat towards the skaros rocks lining the bay, the water begins to change colour and grows warmer until it’s a balmy 33 degrees. Suddenly, you’re in the hot springs! They’re definitely worth a visit, be it for a quick dip or an entire afternoon. Just don’t wear your best swimwear – the sulphur will ruin it.
#2 Marvel At The Red Beach
One of Santorini’s most unique features is its coloured sand and rocks. Red Beach is aptly named; red volcanic rock towers over a strip of red sand. Imagine swimming away from the shore in warm, crystal clear water before turning around to see a stunning contrast of blue ocean against a vibrant blood red headland. Stunning.
Plus, an abundance of uniquely coloured and shaped rocks lay under the water making snorkelling a popular activity.
#3 Experience A Black Pebble Beach
Dozens of restaurants line the beach, so head there afterward to cool down and grab a well-deserved refreshment. Alternatively, head down for sundowners when the sand’s less hot. Winning.
#4 Watch A Spectacular Sunset
There’s a reason why everyone who’s visited Santorini recommends taking in a sunset. Standing on a rooftop in Oia and watching the sun dip below the horizon is absolutely surreal. It’s by far one of the most breathtaking and memorable sunset you’ll ever see.
Santorini sunsets are one of the island’s biggest draw-cards, so get there an hour or two early to get a good spot. Why not bring a picnic dinner to enjoy before – or during – the big event?
#5 Check Out Atlantis Books
Prepare to be enchanted by Atlantis Books. Across from the Old Town Hall on Oia’s main street, you’ll find a mural of books leading down a steep staircase. At the bottom is a small cave absolutely stuffed with books. They line floor-to-ceiling shelves, are strung across the domed roof and are displayed on every possible surface. The curated collection is home to beautifully bound poetry, short stories, biographies, novels and more.
#6 Dine With A View
It’s impossible to find a bad spot across Santorini, and it’s even more impossible to find bad Greek food anywhere on the island. Restaurants and cafes that offer panoramic views of the caldera alongside mouth-watering eats are pricier than jaunts a little further away from the main street, but it’s not every day you can treat yourself to the real meaning of food with a view. Both V Lounge Café & Cocktail Bar and Vanilia serve well-priced food and drinks alongside sprawling views of Fira and the caldera.
#7 Get Out Of Town
The best-kept secrets lie off the beaten track. Hire a quad bike and take a day trip out of Fira and Oia to explore some of the island’s older, more authentic villages.
#8 Walk The Fira Trail
Walkers are treated to some of the island’s most stunning views along the 9km Fira Trail. Starting in Fira, you’ll walk past bright pink bougainvillea-adorning white-washed buildings, get an unrivalled view of the caldera and the Mediterranean, and see the Agio Nikolaos Anapafsas Monastery.
The trail weaves through the village of Imerovigli before finishing in Oia. It takes around three hours, so pack plenty of water!
#9 Soak Up Views From The Island’s Highest Peak
Many would argue that the best spot to lift your Instagram game is the island atop Profitis Ilias. At 567m, there’s no other place from which you can marvel at the white houses of Fira and Oia, vineyards and fields inhabiting the southern corners and neighbouring islands. The lookout stands next to the Prophet Elijah Monastery so you can get a dose of history while snapping some breathtaking pics.[qantas_widget code=ATH]Check out Qantas flights to Greece.[/qantas_widget]