You don’t have to be a history buff to explore ancient archaeological sites on cheap holidays in Santorini, and you might even find yourself falling in love with the place despite not being familiar with its past. But from the spectacular 2,400-year-old remains of ancient Thera – close to Perissa on the east of the island – to Akrotiri in the west, you’ll find evidence that humans have lived and loved on Santorini for very many years. As well as the archaeological sites, there are also some beautiful old churches and monasteries as well as plentiful museums throughout the island.
Santorini has so many ruins partly because of geological events – including the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that created the island and have continued to affect it throughout history.
The food and drink you’ll find on Santorini holidays lives up to the beauty of the island. Fresh seafood is delivered daily to all of the restaurants, and some even use their own boats to secure their catch. Many restaurants have farms attached to them – so you can rest assured when food’s advertised as ‘locally-sourced fresh produce’, it really is just that. Vegetarians are well catered for thanks to the wonderful array of vegetables and other non-meat dishes enjoyed by the islanders.
Some restaurants also run cooking classes so that you can reproduce the wonderful fare when you return home.
The attractions of vines and hops
Santorini is home to some 13 vineyards, though there may be even more. Vinsanto is the island’s main export and is famous for its deliciously-sweet taste and is a splendid accompaniment to any pudding. If your palate prefers a dry white wine, then Assyrtiko might be more to your liking. Visiting the wineries where they’re made is a fantastic holiday experience and you’ll find that you’ll be positively encouraged to sample the wines at each of the vineyards you visit.
And beer lovers needn’t fear they’ll miss out. The Santorini Brewing company in Thira, is a young company that’s developed into a successful microbrewery. Among the range of beers that the company produces is the Donkey family of brews. Visitors to the brewery are welcomed with open arms.
Getting around the island
Donkeys really are popular on the island. You can use a donkey to travel the distance between Kamari and Ancient Thera, and donkeys and horses are also used for exploring the charming village of Megalochori where the narrow and winding streets aren’t really suitable for cars. The uphill climb from Thira’s port to the town itself is best managed astride a donkey.
Of course there are plenty of opportunities for car hire and the local bus service is also efficient. If you fancy having a bit of an adventure you could always hire a quad bike or motorcycle, go off-road and really get to know the island.
Charms and treats
From the charms of its wonderful villages – with their fantastic tavernas and restaurants – to its beautiful monuments and churches, Santorini is a stunning island to explore, day and night. There are also waterparks for daytime fun, and cocktail bars and nightclubs in Kamari and Thira if you enjoy a lively end to your day.
Shoppers will love the range of outlets on the island. From upscale clothes and leather goods to fantastic pottery and artwork, Santorini is a wonderful place for some retail therapy. There’s also spas and wellness clinics in abundance – though the balmy weather and magical scenery of the island will revive the most jaded of tourists.
Sunsets and beauty
Santorini is really famous for the splendour of its sunsets. Oia is the place to grab yourself a seat, or a place in a restaurant or bar, and simply sit back and prepare to be stunned. People have been flocking from all over the world for decades to enjoy this extraordinary natural spectacle. Others worth a visit during your Greece holidays are the island’s magnificent coloured cliffs, and the mysteries of the caldera – the remnants of volcanic activity – on the west side of the island.