If you could use just one word to describe the glamorous Greek island of Santorini, it would be dramatic. Created by a volcanic caldera some 3,600 years ago, the island has been dubbed the Pompeii of the Aegean and is reputed to have been the original location of the fabled lost city of Atlantis which was cast into the sea by the eruption. Santorini is known throughout the world for its breath taking scenery, out of this world sunsets and the stunning views from its volcanic cliffs, all of which make it the perfect last minute holiday getaway for couples.
The ultimate couples’ retreat is to be found in Oia, which is famed for having one of the most phenomenal sunsets in the world: the sun dips slowly beyond the horizon and almost appears to be sinking into the sea, before a glorious symphony of colour covers the sky. In the hour before sunset, every vantage point on the west side of town is taken up by locals and tourists all clamouring for a spot to sit. Many restaurants have open views of the sunset, but picnicking while the sun goes down is a popular Santorini pastime: this is considered by some to be the height of romance, but for a truly intimate experience you can hop on a cruise and watch the sunset on a private boat in the Aegean Sea.
Owing to its volcanic background, Santorini doesn’t have many expansive beaches, but the quality more than makes up for the quantity. Kamari is famed for its black sand beach, which it can thank the volcano for, and Kamari bay plays host to a number of excursion operators who can meet your every aquatic activity need: whether you fancy waterskiing, diving or just chilling out on the deck of a boat. From here you can also hop on a water taxi to one of Santorini’s other black sand beaches at Perissa. Santorini’s beaches may be few, but stunning secluded coves, diving caves and cliff-side swimming pools are plentiful and will provide you with an unforgettable seaside experience.
To get in touch with Santorini’s pre-volcanic life, take a trip to Akrotiri where an ancient settlement is waiting for you. Recently reopened after restoration work, the Archaeological Site of Akrotiri unveils masterpiece-wall paintings and well-preserved ancient buildings that until the 19th century had lain unseen for thousands of years. History buffs and the perpetually curious will savour a visit to these ruins, but Akrotiri’s heights also provide amazing views over the caldera and volcano.