The only volcano globally with a settlement literally hanging on the edge of its crater, Santorini Caldera is one of the most geologically unique landscapes one can experience. Add to this, the fact that Santorini is a case of one of the most elegant destinations in the Mediterranean, with a town planning which is the cradle of the Cycladic colour, combined with one of the most fascinating geomorphological structure of tectonic process, on the coasts, hills and slopes there are romantic hotels, atmospheric cocktail bars, award winning restaurants and luxurious hotels and resorts, offering top-notch services, and you can understand why we’re talking about one of the hottest destinations globally at the height of cosmopolitanism.
Fira is the capital of the island and the center of the touristic activity of such volume that during high season it gives the impression of a bustling city. Plenty of hotels, restaurants, bars, cafés and shops offer spectacular views of the Caldera and the black islands of Old and New Kameni, but for the title of most beautiful settlement Fira is fiercely competing with Oia: hanging almost from the Caldera rock the settlement looks specifically designed to give visitors some of the most beautiful photos of their travel experience, with balconies overlooking the iconic sunset being a compulsory pilgrimage. Imerovigli, which used to be the Caldera’s observation point in the Middle Ages, is revealed as a seductive retreat with innumerable accommodations and a recent touch of habit of newly-married Far-Eastern couples taking official photos of their weddings, while Pyrgos, which until the 19th century was the capital of the island, is one of the few places on the island that retains their old residential character, with traditional houses spread amphitheatrically in the shadow of the Venetian castle with the monastery of Prophitis Ilias.
A must-see sight for any first-time traveler, but also an atmospheric setting for repeaters, the island of Nea Kameni is an imposing experience, revealing frame-by-frame a side of the planet generally invisible: that of the fierce temper of the earth hiding in the depth of the earth’s crust. The craters, magma frozen in mid-air and the crystalline rocks formed are awe-inspiring exhibits, while the walk is complemented by a swim in the hot waters of the sulphur springs.
With a completely different style and texture from the rest of the Aegean, due to the geological specificity of the island, the Santorini coasts stand out for the dark color of their volcanic pebbles. Perivolos is the most cosmopolitan of options, with beach bars and good fish taverns, while the once alternate Vlychada, with its trademark curious white rock formations, is now the fastest growing. Kamari is a choice equipped with hotels and restaurants, while Perissa has a youthful breeze, with fine sand and beach sports. The shallow sandy waters of Monolithos are a safe family choice; the windswept Koloumpos is an alternative choice, while the Red and White beaches (due to the color of their sandy beaches) are the most photographed proposals on the island.
Queen of Santorini’s agricultural production, served with small, arid vegetables with enhanced flavor (cherry tomatoes and zucchini, white eggplants), fava is registered as a Worldwide Protected Designation of Product and is considered one of the best varieties globally. Look for the cooked fava in local restaurants famous for emphasizing on the raw materials of their island, or get it for your own home supplies.
Assyrtiko and Mavrotragano wines
The unique geomorphology of Santorini, with its completely inorganic soil, has led to the emergence of an endemic variety of grapes whose roots need to dig up to 25 meters into the porous subsurface to detect water that will provide as much moisture as possible. Look for the legacy, as well as the special taste of the Assyrtiko and the Mavrotragano, on the island’s many wineries, which offer excellent wine-tasting experiences.
Fruit brought by the English from Japan, the small and delicate Koum Kouat adorns the houses of the locals and is served in various forms, with liqueur being the dominant but also spoon sweet, jam and crystallized having their fans. It is a trademark of the island and has been registered as a product of Protected Geographical Indication since 1994.
Useful phone numbers
Tourist Police: 2286022649
Port Authorities: 2286022239
Radio Taxi: 2286022555
General Hospital: 2286035300