Been to one Greek island and you’ve been to them all, right? Wrong! Each region in this glorious country has a unique quality that you simply can’t find anywhere else – the medieval atmosphere in Rhodes’ Old Town, the fairy tale feel that engulfs Symi’s Gialos Harbour, the authentic charm of the winding cobbled streets in Kefalonia… Greece is exceedingly diverse in more ways than one. If you’re seeking a holiday with an edge, one that will immediately ensue high levels of jealousy from your friends, family and followers, let us set the scene for Santorini. From world-famous sunsets to sugar-cube whitewashed houses with blue domed roofs, the visual pleasure of this Cycladic island is just the beginning. Santorini is traditional Greece at its very best while still offering a high level of cosmopolitanism that gives the island a head-turning advantage that attracts visitors from all over the world. Romantic and playful, family-friendly and everything in between, Olympic Holidays is on hand to help you discover why Santorini is the standout superstar of the Greek islands.
The legendary Santorini sunset is unlike any other evening show you’ve ever experienced – it truly has to be seen to be believed. With a volcanic past and a unique geological make-up, a caldera has been formed on the island which is a large cauldron-like hollow that forms shortly after the emptying of a magma chamber in a volcanic eruption. This steep-edged crater peeps above the waves, and the natural disaster has now become the cause for one of the world’s most spectacular sights from the island’s hilltops. Oia takes pride of place on the caldera, an opulent northern town which is undoubtedly the best place to view the sunset in all its glory. When the sky begins to dim, take a stroll along the cliff path which sits 700 feet above sea level and admire the cascade of oranges, pinks and lilacs as the sun seemingly begins to dip in the ocean and the twinkling stars slowly begin to gently illuminate the town. Or, indulge in a delicious meal between 5pm and 7pm at one of Oia’s traditional tavernas on the clifftop with the sunset as the perfect backdrop – a feast for all the senses.
Black is the new yellow! Say goodbye to traditional talcum powder sands and make your Greek beach holiday one that you’ll never forget. Santorini, thanks to its volcanic past, boasts beaches with sands that vary in colour from burnt orange to black. These dramatic beaches are nothing short of paradise with tranquil seas bordered by striking backdrops of jagged cliffs which make them the perfectly picturesque locations for swimming and sunbathing. Kamari and Perissa are lined with some of the best stretches of sand on the island, with Blue Flag statuses and some that are perfect for watersports. Don’t forget to pack your flip-flops – the dark sands and the beaming summer heat means that the surface can get very hot in the midday sun.
A country unto itself
Each and every village in Santorini is as spectacular as the last so you can imagine it’s a difficult feat to choose where to reside. On the east coast, Kamari is one of the most popular places to stay and is the largest resort on the island. A busy cosmopolitan town, although the area doesn’t face the sunset, you’ll be able to keep yourself occupied from morning until night with the likes of the black-sand beaches, mini-golf, an open-air cinema and plenty of restaurants varying in cuisines including traditional Greek to exotic Thai. Perissa is also on the east of the island, and has more of a laidback atmosphere. This beachfront resort is where you come to forget your troubles, lay back on a hammock and simply soak up the sun. A motorised land train whisks guests along the seafront where the beach gets increasingly quiet, so a perfect piece of Perissa paradise can always be found.
Just 20-minutes away from Perissa and Kamari lies Thira, and here is where the fun truly begins. The Santorini capital is more centrally located, a melting pot of sights, smells and sounds with all the comforts and excitement that a large holiday town has to offer. Peruse the museums, art galleries and churches by day and take a ride on the cable car down to the old port, and by night, join the masses of visitors navigating the streets of Thira to enjoy laidback shisha bars, bustling clubs and live music venues. In the mood for utter opulence on your Santorini holiday? Oia ticks all the boxes – and then some. With streets paved with marble and lined with bespoke boutiques, contemporary restaurants and exclusive cocktail loungers, here is where you can expect to rub shoulders with the rich and famous and walk around the picturesque Ammoudi Bay as if you’re the star in your very own movie.
Eat, drink and be merry
Everything about Santorini is utterly majestic and beautifully indulgent, and what’s more indulgent than food and wine? With calories not counting on holiday, Santorini’s exceptional wineries and the proximity to the water resulting in delicious fresh seafood, it’s a miracle if you spend any time of your getaway outside of the tavernas. For the widest range of restaurants and bars, head to Thira, the island’s capital. The bustling square and the vibrant caldera are where you’ll find some of your new favourite establishments, but don’t leave without trying some of the local wines. Asyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani are crisp, dry white wines and the three most-loved varieties, paired dreamily with the delectable cuisine on offer throughout the region. Head to a waterside taverna for the very best of Santorini’s fish and seafood dishes, showcasing the likes of lobster pasta, grilled octopus and lemony garlicky shrimp while fresh produce is always used to create dishes such as pomegranate salads and stuffed aubergines. Oh, and if you’re a true budding sommelier, Santo Winery is the place to be. Located just on the outskirts of Pyrgos, embark on a guided tour of the property before savouring some samples along with a platter of complimentary cheese and olives. Santo Winery is perched right at the top of the caldera, so you guessed it – try to visit during the early evening so you can sit on the terrace, split a bottle of your new-found favourite wine and watch the spectacular sunset view across the sparkling waters of the Aegean.
Watch romance come alive
Falling in love with Santorini is inevitable, so a holiday here is perfect for those seeking a romantic getaway. The beautiful backdrops and spine-tingling sunsets provide the ideal location for weddings, honeymoons and vow renewals, or simply to rekindle the love with your significant other. The Santo Winery we mentioned earlier? It’s not just a place to sip your favourite tipple, but it’s also brilliantly catered for both indoor and outdoor wedding ceremonies and receptions. Heartfelt vows can be exchanged in direct view of the stunning volcano and striking Aegean Sea and your guests can celebrate your nuptials by dancing the night away in the illuminating light of the fiery sunset. If your wedding party is slightly smaller, the gorgeous Irini Church can cater for up to 25 guests and is located on the cliff edge of Thira. Cherish your wedding photos forever as you tie the knot in the gorgeous courtyard which is abundant with magical archways, neck-craning steeples and breath-taking features. Santorini also boasts plenty of high-end boutique hotels with beautiful architecture in-keeping with the vibrant white and blue palette of the island. Adults-only options also aren’t hard to come by – Santorini Secret Suites & Spa, Carpe Diem Santorini and San Antonio Hotel are among some of the finest establishments around, perfect for a heavenly stay in the most elegant and relaxing settings.
Santorini isn’t just a holiday – it’s an experience. An utterly out-of-this-world island where dark-as-night shores and whitewashed towns meet a spine-tingling sunset and a vibrant atmosphere, this is one getaway that you won’t forget in a hurry. Whether you’re embarking on a romantic Grecian escape, a holiday with a touch of luxury, or even a spectacular wedding day organised down to every detail, Olympic Holidays is where all your desires will be fulfilled at just the click of a button.