Best time to visit: May, June, July, August, September, October
Average high: 21˚C
Average low: 15˚C
Price of meals: 3/5
Holiday type: Beach / Culture / Romantic
Santorini is the largest of Greece’s islands in the volcanic Cyclades archipelago and one of the most recognisable holiday destinations. The distinctive whitewashed buildings and striking blue domes of the steep, mountainside towns contrast with the surrounding landscape of volcanic rock. The island’s settlements, once built so the residents could keep a lookout for pirates, now serve as ideal holiday destinations for tourists, where holidaymakers can enjoy Mediterranean sunshine, food and wine, before retreating into cool, cave-like homes with views that overlook the turquoise Aegean Sea for miles in all directions.
The small village of Pyrgos is just as beautiful as the famous Oia and Fira, but more inhabited by locals and, so, gives a more genuine impression of life on the island. Meanwhile, there is no better way to soak in the wonderful panoramas on offer than to follow the coastal Fira to Oia trail.
Despite the island being very rocky and volcanic, it still has some beautiful beaches, both to sunbathe and swim but also to simply admire. The red cliffs which give the Red Beach its name contrasts considerably with the black sand of Perissa.
Santorini is so closely linked with paradise and perfection that many Greeks have suggested it holds an affiliation with the lost city of Atlantis. Indeed, while there are plenty of scuba and snorkel diving spots around the island to try your hand at uncovering this mythical city, there are also land ruins to explore, including the ancient Minoan settlement, Akrotiri; which, like Pompeii in Italy, was destroyed and preserved by a volcanic eruption.
Finally, those wanting to escape the busy crowds in the main towns can hop on a boat and take a trip to any of the neighbouring islands. Therasia is the only other inhabited island, but Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi and Christiana all offer their own natural wonders to explore.
Santorini has a typically Mediterranean climate with warm summers of long days and mild, wet winters. As a result, most of the rainfall is between October and March, so this is considered the off-season. If you travel during this period of the year, you may find some cheap deals, but not everything will be open and the weather won’t be at its best. The hottest months are June to September, so this is the best time to visit if you want to enjoy the beaches and the ocean. However, if you’d prefer to avoid the tourist rush, the spring is dry but cooler.
Santorini’s reputation as an island paradise has made it one of the most popular and photographed destinations in the world. Unfortunately, this means prices have elevated slightly. While not overly expensive and still cheaper than many cities in the UK, meal prices in Santorini are more expensive than mainland Greece. A meal for one averages €15 and a three-course meal for two is normally €40, although cheaper options are available. Beer is €3-4 but can be as much as €6, while coffee and water are normally about €3.50 and €1, respectively.
Winter need not be that gloomy time of year with dark days and wet nights. Swap the fireplace for blue skies and sunshine and the gloves and scarf for shorts and sunscreen by booking a winter getaway ...
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