A very controversial island with high cliffs, black sand beaches and many many vineyards. Santorini is one of the most visited destinations in Greece and one of the most popular from around the world. Many tourists fill the island in the summer, others come here to get married, others to visit the world’s biggest caldera, or just to stay in one of Santorini’s unique accommodations, inspired by the distinct Santorinian-style of the many resorts that are hanging on the cliffs of Santorini overlooking the glorious caldera and the volcano.
It is not a very green island but it has so much else to offer a traveler. There are ancient sights to visit, including the world famous Akrotiri town with, the similar to Pompeii, excavation site. (This will re-open for the new tourist season 2012 after being closed for the last 5 years) Akrotiri - Is one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean. Ruins of a whole Minoan city were found which had been destroyed around the year 1500 B.C. by an eruption of the volcano of Thera. It is a case of a prehistoric Pompeii buried under the lava with two and three storey buildings, city squares, shops and workshops. There is also Ancient Thira for someone to visit and see the ruins of the old kingdom of Thera, which is located on the mountain. The island received the now official name of Thera(Thira), from the king Theras. In the centre of Fira (the capital of the island), you can find 2 very interesting museums, the Archaeological museum and the Pre-historic museum. Other towns worth visiting are Kamari and Pyrgos (highest village on the island), and of course a must see is the town of Oia(Ia), where most people visit in order to watch one of the best sunsets from around the world.
Santorini Festivals & Events:
All year long, but especially during the summer months, Santorini hosts a number of cultural, musical and religious festivals. The most prominent Santorini festivals are:
- The Santorini Jazz Festival, which takes place in July.
- The "Ifaisteia" Festival, which takes place in August and includes various cultural events, music concerts, traditional dance performances and representation of a volcanic explosion with fireworks.
- The International Music Festival, held in early September. Famous artists from all over the world perform at the Nomikos Conference Center.
- The Festival of Episkopi in Mesa Gonia on August 15. The traditional fava dish is served to all participants.
Church celebrations and festivals: Each church on the island has a celebration on the name day of its patron saint, which often includes open-air stalls selling traditional products, food and wine. The most popular festivals are Profitis Ilias on July 20 in Fira, Metamorfosi Sotiros on August 6 and Virgin Mary on August 15 in Akrotiri, Panagia Myrtidiotissa on September 24 in Kamari, Agion Epta Paidion on August 4 in Oia and Agios Ioannis on August 29 in Perissa.
While on Santorini Island you definately must try the local cuisine, as a meal of Santorini delicacies is a culinary masterpiece. First, select a Santorini wine from one of the three varieties: Asyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani. Generations of Santorinians have been producing these unique wines, which are very distinctive in taste and bouquet due to the volcanic soil of the island. Once you have chosen a wine, order some Santorinian dishes, such as tomato balls(tomato fritters), squash balls, fava (seasoned lentil dip), fried white eggplant, eggplant dip, sun-dried cherry tomatoes, baked squid and other fresh seafood dishes.
The south side of the island has beautiful beaches with many beach sports and activities available. The most popular is the black beach of Perissa and Perivolos, which have numerous beach bars and restaurants, and of course the (in)famous Red Beach with a breathtaking scenery. On the east side there is the beach of Kamari, which is a touristic area with a pedestrian street along the beach, full of bars, restaurants and shops. Hotels also stretch along the coast. Santorini also has beaches where clothing is optional....you can either discover them by yourselves or we can point you to the right direction.
The capital of the island (Fira) is where someone will find most bars and clubs. All kinds of venues are available, chill-out cafes, lounge bars, Jazz and rock bars, classical music cocktail bar, dance bars/clubs, and lastly the bigger mainstream clubs. Some of the venues are on the caldera cliff with a view to the volcano and the Aegean sea, and the others are in the middle of the narrow streets of Fira. Away from Fira, in Perissa beach, there are a couple of bars that stay open till the early hours, others for cocktails and others for dancing all night long. In Kamari area you can also find a few bars and a couple of bar/clubs, but the scene here is more quiet than in Perissa and Fira. Oia(Ia) is the traditional settlement so such venues don’t exist. BUT you can still have a few drinks at the 2 or 3 bars that are on the main walking path, and if you want to stay up until later at night, then you need to visit the only bar that stays open till late in Oia, «Hasapiko», which also has live performances and djs playing throughout the summer.