East coast beaches and west coast cliffs
The two coastlines of Santorini offer different terrains. On the east coast of the crescent shaped island are the beaches that feature black volcanic sand. Kamari hosts a 5km stretch while Perissa and Perivolos share a long 7km space.
The west coast is where you'll find the feature that makes Santorini so famous. Formed by a volcanic explosion which sunk the former centre of the island, the caldera cliffs line the entire coastline facing into the caldera itself. Megalochori, Oia and the capital Fira have all been built into the coasts creating a unique environment for locals and tourists to live.
Santorini is famous for its formation that has left the island looking as unique as it does today. In around 1450BC a massive volcanic explosion caused the centre of the island to be submerged under water, leaving what remains of Santorini today and the nearby islets. It is said that Santorini was the inspiration for the legend of Atlantis, the mythological city that sank into the Atlantic Ocean.
After the explosion and during the rest of the Bronze Age the island remained uninhabited until Phoenicians arrived and created the city of Thera. Ancient Thera now lies in ruins between Kamari and Perissa where tourists are free to climb towards the hilltop area at their will.
Ready for visitors
Most people consider holidays in Santorini to be all about relaxing. Whether that is sitting in the wine region of Megalochori with a glass in hand, or reclining out onto the beaches on the east coast. However there are opportunities to get active on this laidback island though.
Kamari, Perissa and Perivolos all offer an array of water sports along their coastlines. Setting off from a town or resort on the west coast, you can take a boat trip out into the caldera to view the cliffs from afar or see the nearby islands.
Fun attractions are found along the east coast resorts with Perissa hosting a small waterpark and Kamari featuring the Escape Game.
Cool nights out
The most common practice for tourists at night take them into traditional tavernas to enjoy the food, drinks and entertainment with Greek themes. Kamari offers the best source of lively nights on the island with some exciting and trendy bars to try. Many are upmarket with some quirky themes like the Love Boat that offers delicious cocktails by the beach.
Kamari is also a great place for families to visit at night thanks to the open-air cinema which lies on the outskirts of town.
Tavernas make up most of the available eateries in Santorini and the offering of Greek food within is always of a consistently high standard. The usual servings of gyros, souvlakis and moussakas, amongst other things, are readily available but Santorini also provides its own specialities.
The island is well known for its cherry tomatoes and the sweet tasting fruit finds its way into a number of dishes.
Restaurants on the west coast are often idyllically placed on the caldera cliffs. These venues may charge more but the boost in price will be worth it as you watch the sun set into the caldera.
Handmade souvenir opportunities
The east coast resorts are adept at providing plenty of souvenir options within their streets and along the beachfront. Megalochori's shops provide a more traditional fare with handmade crafts available as well as a ceramics shop where you can create your own holiday memento.
Fira is the capital of the island and typically hosts the most amount of retail opportunity for tourists. There are many art galleries, jewellery stores and trinket shops to browse along the narrow streets of town.
Flights from the UK take around four hours to reach Santorini Airport. From there the transfer times are quite short with Kamari taking just 15 minutes to reach and Perivolos taking around 25 minutes.
Busses run regularly around the island, mostly towards the capital Fira. During peak seasons there can be as many as three services an hour between 7am and 1am.
Car hire is available but not completely necessary as this is a small island and the bus service and pre-booked taxis will be the cheaper method to get around conveniently.