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View of iconic whitewashed buildings with blue roofs in Santorini.

Santorini holidays are on many travellers’ bucket lists. This idyllic Greek island is famed for its whitewashed buildings with brilliant blue domed roofs and shutters. The view of these picturesque villages against the natural beauty of the surrounding sea is utterly enchanting. However, Santorini holidays have much more than just fantastic vistas to offer. Incredible beaches, historic sites and delicious cuisine all await guests here. Read on to learn more about Santorini holidays.

Table of Contents:

Santorini Island Key Facts 

  • Santorini’s Official Greek Name: Thira (Θήρα)
  • Why is it called Santorini: It is widely thought that Santorini was named after the chapel of Saint Irene (Santa Irini) by Crusaders in the 13th Century. 
  • Island group: Santorini is one of The Cyclades Islands
  • Population size: Santorini has an estimated population of 15,500.
  • What is the island known for?: Santorini is known for its whitewashed villages with contrasting bright blue roofs as well as its incredible volcanic beaches.

3 Reasons to visit Santorini

Santorini is one of the most popular Greek Islands for travellers and it boasts so many wonderful reasons to visit. Here are 3 reasons why you should book a Santorini holiday:

  1. Volcanic Landscapes – Santorini has a unique, dramatic and often wild landscape that has been shaped by volcanic eruptions throughout its history. From the mesmerising sand to the rugged cliffs, Santorini holidays leave travellers spellbound by the island’s natural beauty.
  2. Beautiful Beaches – Santorini’s beaches are stunning and perfect for a relaxing break from everyday life. The island is surrounded by crystalline waters ideal for cooling off during your hot Santorini holidays.
  3. Fascinating History – More than just a pretty place, Santorini is also one of the best Greek islands for history. With multiple archeological sites to explore as well as many superb museums, there is plenty to learn on Santorini holidays.

3 Best Places to Stay in Santorini

Santorini offers many different types of holiday accommodations. From luxury greek villas on the beach to all-inclusive hotels. Here are three of the best spots to stay in during your Santorini holidays:

  1. Fira – Santorini’s capital, Fira is an excellent but budget friendly place to stay. Its central location makes it easy to reach the rest of the island’s attractions. It has child friendly tavernas for family holidays to Santorini as well as exciting nightlife for trips with friends. Plus it is near Santorini Airport for an easy journey.
  2. Pyrgos – Pyrgos is a relaxed area slightly further from the beaten track. It is a great place to stay to get a flavour of local life during your Santorini holiday. It is also perfect for couples and honeymooners as the idyllic scenery oozes romance. 
  3. Oia – Santorini’s second largest town, Oia is one of the most glamorous places to stay during Santorini holidays. Perched on a cliff overlooking the volcano it offers sublime sunset views. The area also has plenty of sophisticated shops, restaurants and more.
Santorini holidays can involve seeing seaside villages built on red volcanic cliffs near crystal blue waters.

4 Best Places to Eat in Santorini 

Santorini holidays and delicious food go hand in hand. The island has many traditional dishes that have been passed down for generations. Make sure to try some! Here are some of the best places to eat during your Santorini holidays. 

  1. Ouzeri – For sharing dishes of Santorini specialties with friends and family in a relaxed setting, try Ouzeri
  2. Argo – For a high end dining experience in the capital, try Argo.
  3. Mezzo – With insta-worthy views and a children’s menu available, Mezzo is a family friendly restaurant both adults and kids can enjoy.
  4. Selene – For fine dining led by Michelin-starred chef Ettore Botrini in the spectacular setting of a converted monastery, try Selene.

Best Activities to Do in Santorini

Whether you are on a family holiday to Santorini or on a romantic retreat, there are lots of things to do on this idyllic island. Here are just a few examples of what Santorini holidays could involve:

  • The Akrotiri archaeological site – The Akrotiri was once an important port dating back to the Bronze Ages. It was preserved when a volcano erupted in the 17th century BC and covered the site in ash. Now, it is a fascinating attraction for history lovers to visit during Santorini holidays. 
  • Beach Days – Some of the best beaches in the Greek islands can be found in Santorini. Red Beach is famed for its black and red pebbles and warm volcanic water. Kamari beach is family friendly with clear water perfect for snorkelling. 
  • Wine Tours – Sample Santorini’s volcanic wines when visiting Sigalas and Vassaltis wineries. On these tours a friendly expert will guide you through the vineyards and explain the production process.

There are also many wonderful hikes with rewarding views across the island and surrounding water. Not to mention lots of local bars, restaurants and shops to explore.

How to Travel to Santorini

Travelling to your Santorini holiday  is relatively easy. 

  • Direct Flights – There are direct flights from London to Santorini all year round. These flights take an average of 3 hours and 57 minutes. There are also direct flights from Dubai in peak season (June – September). These flights take an average of 4 hours and 21 minutes. 
  • Flight Transfer – If you can’t get a direct flight, domestic flights from Athens to Santorini are relatively regular and affordable. The journey only takes about 45 minutes.
  • Ferry Transfer – You can hop aboard a passenger ferry which will take you to Santorini’s main port of Athinios. There are at least two ferries from Athens to Santorini per day and the journey takes just under 6 and a half hours. You can also island hop via ferry between Santorini and other islands such as Mykonos or Ios. 

Inspiring Island Adventures

We hope this guide has been a helpful introduction to everything that awaits you on a Santorini holiday. All that’s left to do is pack your eco-friendly travel essentials and make sure to remember your passport! If Santorini isn’t for you, why not check out some Italian islands or journey further afield with a holiday to America? For regular travel inspiration, follow Virtual Wanderlust on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.


Jay is the founder of Wine Travel & Song and contributor to Virtual Wanderlust. A published writer and photographer, Jay is an extensive traveller, a passionate music fan but an average cook. He loves the Eagles, U2, Genesis and Pink Floyd. A trusted Google Local Guide & TripAdvisor Superstar, Jay's travel photos have been seen over 26 million times and counting!

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