Introduction & General Information

The everlasting beauty of Santorini Greece attracts thousands of visitors every year. Hence, it is no wonder that the island is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Its wild volcanic landscape, rugged cliffs, wild nature, and beautiful shores, combined with its rich history and traditions, make the island the gem of Greece.

Santorini got its current half-moon shape around 1,650 BC after a huge volcanic eruption. In ancient times, its shape was round and, in fact, a myth claims that the island emerged out of the sea in a miraculous way. However, the intense volcanic eruption eliminated about half of the island, covered the Minoan settlement of Akrotiri on the south of the island in ashes, and raised waves so high that reached the northern coasts of Crete and destroyed Minoan towns, including the famous Knossos Palace.

Today, half of the caldera is submerged, which makes it the only sunken caldera in the world. The volcano remains active and, throughout the centuries, many eruptions have occasionally occurred. The latest was as recently as 1956 when small volcanic islets emerged from the bottom of the caldera. In one of these eruptions, the islet of Nea Kameni emerged just opposite the caldera villages. The volcano can be approached by boat or jet ski excursions and is a must-see in Santorini.

Another enchanting sight that Santorini displays is the architecture of the villages, built right on the edge of the caldera. Those picturesque villages stand out for their sugar-cube houses, paved streets, wonderful churches, and, most of all, the breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea. In fact, the incredible architecture of the island makes it a convenient location for parkour, a new impressive sport. From Oia, you will enjoy the most romantic sunset ever, with the orange sun dipping into the sea. Due to this unique atmosphere, the island has become a popular wedding and, at the same time, honeymoon destination.

The beauty of Santorini has inspired many writers and artists, as well as cinema makers, who frequently choose the island for shooting their movies. Jules Verne had visited the place during one of his travels and, in fact, he mentions Santorini in his book Twenty thousand leagues under the sea. The island also constitutes the inspiration behind his novel The Mysterious Island, in which Captain Nemo and his crew witnessed a volcanic eruption. Greek poet George Seferis wrote a poem about Santorini in the 1960s, while the internationally-famous composer Yanni created a wonderful composition inspired by the island.

Many people also link the island of Santorini with the mythical Atlantis, although this theory is believed to be a myth today. Apart from walking the caldera villages, the lovely beaches on the southern side of the island, including Red Beach, Kamari, and Perissa, which have developed into large beach resorts, are also worth a visit.

General Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to know before visiting?

- The caldera villages of Imerovigli and Oia offer the best vistas.
- Invest time in visiting the volcano and the wineries.
- Witness the sunrise and sunset of Santorini.
- The eastern and southern Santorini offer optimal bays.
- Rent a vehicle for easy transportation.
- Santorini gets fully booked in the summertime, so plan your stay much in advance.
- Island-hopping is excellent when you have more than three days of vacation.

How big is the island?

Santorini is a relatively small island in terms of size, with a land area of about 76 square kilometers.
Along with Santorini, Thirasia island and the other nearby islets belong to the Municipality of Thira (not to be confused with Fira, the capital of Santorini).

How many people live there?

The population of Santorini is approximately 15,500 permanent residents, while 2 million visitors arrive at the island every year.
Many seasonal workers stay in Santorini during the tourist season, working in the tourism & hospitality industry.
The smaller islets near the crescent-shaped caldera of Santorini that are also part of the volcanic complex are all uninhabited, except for Thirasia.

Are one or two days enough for visiting?

One day is not sufficient for Santorini, especially if you arrive via ferry after a long journey. It’s highly advisable to spend at least three full days in order to visit the core sights and attractions. Discover how many days you need for your visit.

How long should I stay for a holiday?

The optimal vacation length for Santorini is between three and five days. By following a strict schedule, you can visit the key attractions in three days. Having five days available ensures comfort and a lighter schedule.

How much money do I need?

Santorini is quite pricey during the high season. If you plan on dining and drinking out, an average of €150 per person daily should be considered. If preferred, you can blend some free and low-cost activities in your program to keep expenses moderate.

Why the island is so expensive?

Santorini is rather expensive as it has been in the tourist spotlight for decades thanks to its sunken Caldera, Volcano, and unparalleled sunsets. More than 1.5 million visitors visit it annually and the caldera establishments have incurred tremendous growth. The island has adopted a luxurious style and is also advertised globally as a must-visit Greek island.

When is island hopping ideal?

Island hopping from Santorini is a great addition to your schedule when you have more than four days of vacation available. It is not recommended for fewer days, though, as you will have to do it in a rush and subsequently not enjoy it to the fullest.

Is the island safe?

Santorini is very safe, as are all of the Cycladic islands. Petty crime is rare and mainly performed by other tourists, so simply keeping your bag and personal belongings on you is enough. In case you forget your wallet/purse in an establishment, the staff will put it aside until you retrieve it.

What does the name Santorini mean?

Interestingly enough, the modern name “Santorini” was established in the 13th century by the Crusaders. The island is named after a small church of Saint Irene found in Perissa. In particular, the name derives from the conjunction of ‘Santa Irini’.

Is Santorini a good option for couples?

Santorini is excellent for couples, honeymooners, vow renewal, and proposing to your significant other, thanks to its stellar and romantic sunset vistas of the Caldera settlements. Actually, most lodgings offer honeymoon suites and special arrangements for newlyweds.

Is Santorini windy?

Santorini is affected by the seasonal Meltemi wind during July and August. Meltemi is a strong northern wind that can be very beneficial for windsurfing and kitesurfing but not for long boat rides in medium or small vessels, as it can cause seasickness. A light jacket and a hairband are enough when it's windy.

What is Santorini like?

Santorini is a fantastic Cycladic island in the southern Aegean Sea with astonishing volcanic scenery and world-famous sunset vistas. It comprises a luxury-oriented destination that is perfect for couples, with rich viticulture and history to dive into.

Can I fly directly to Santorini?

You can fly directly to Santorini’s international airport from many European countries, like France, Germany, Spain, the UK, and others. No direct flights to Santorini from North America are available, though. Learn more about the flights.

How to get from Athens to Santorini?

Athens is connected to Santorini both by domestic flights from Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport and via daily ferry routes from the ports of Piraeus and Rafina. Ferry routes are more frequent during the tourist season. Learn more about how to get there.

How can I visit on a budget?

- Avoid high season since every facility is overpriced.
- Book a room away from the Caldera villages.
- Hike from Oia to Fira on your own.
- Use public bus transportation.
- Rent a bike instead of a car for a couple of days.
- Swim at the unorganized bays and do not book a sunbed.
- Avoid dining in restaurants - buy groceries and prepare your lunch instead.
- Go on your own wine and walking tours instead of booking a guided one.
Read more on our blog: Visit on a budget: Tips and secrets