Spectacular Santorini owes its fame to its physical beauty
As the site of one of the most spectacular volcanic eruptions in history some 3600 years ago. Today, its legacy includes 300-metre cliffs towering over natural harbours below – the perfect recipe for beautiful views and simply stunning sunsets.
Fira is the main place to go on a shopping spree in Santorini. Good buys here include pretty gold and silver jewellery, colourful ceramics, assorted leather goods and hand-blown glass items. You’ll also find plenty of other arts and crafts, ranging from little trinkets to larger artwork, and including vivid paintings of Santorini’s island vistas and even replicas of famous Greek masterpieces populating the souvenir shops. In Fira, the main street, Odos Ipapantis (Gold Street), has lots of jewellery stores. Local wineries sell very good value bottles of white wine and dessert wine – and it is possible to taste before purchasing.
Food & Drink
You’ll find tasty and fresh food all around Santorini, not least at many of the island’s high-end hotels, at their fittingly impressive restaurants. For fresh fish and sea views in Amoudi, Dimitris Taverna (Amoudi Bay) right up by the waterfront is a popular choice. In Fira, Nikolas Taverna (Erythrou Stavrou) is a lovely, low-key eatery with an affordable menu, while a top spot for a sunset drink in Fira is Franco’s Bar, which plays classical and opera music to accompany the stirring sea views. For a high-end dining experience, nab a table at the 1800 Restaurant in Oia (Main Street).
Greek Orthodox Easter
A colourful assortment of festivities takes place over Santorini during Easter time. Various parades can be seen on Easter Friday; a particularly arresting spectacle is the Easter Friday parade at Pyrgos, which sees the hilltop village lit by thousands of candles. It can be seen glowing in the night from across the island. It’s worth being aware that most businesses on Santorini close over the Easter period, so if you’re staying in self-catering accommodation, make sure you’ve got enough supplies.
Santorini Jazz Festival
Greek and international musicians plus a medley of jazz fans head to the coastal village of Kamari in the southeast of the island for the Santorini Jazz Festival in July. Visitors to the festival can enjoy the sultry black sands of Kamari Beach, and go to events in the Kamari Open Air Cinema.
Feast of Agios Ioannis
This is one of the island’s most significant religious events and takes place at the end of July. Watch religious processions, and dine on the likes of olives, bread and wine.
In mid-August, join in the Ifestia Festival with its dramatic fireworks and representations of volcanic eruptions, music and dancing. The festival commemorates the creation of Santorini’s distinct shape, formed centuries ago by a huge volcanic eruption.
Santorini International Music Festival
As the name suggests, this two-week festival features a wide array of music from around the world. Events take place at the Petros M Nomikos Conference Centre in Fira.
Stylish Santorini is a popular holiday haven for the rich and famous, and consequently there are many high-end hotels to choose from. But dig a little deeper and you will find lower key and more affordable options as well. For something luxurious, sit back on a private veranda and drink in the sea views at Oia Mare Villas (Main Street), and dine on the rooftop restaurant at Katikies Hotel (Main Street) after an afternoon lounging in an infinity pool. For a friendly, family-run feel, with attractive rooms and oodles of local knowledge, there’s Hotel Babis (Karterados).