Introduction & General Information

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

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

Today, half of Santorini caldera is submerged, which makes it the only sunken caldera in the world. The volcano remains still active and along 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 Nea Kameni emerged, just opposite the caldera villages. This volcano can be visited by boat or jet ski excursions and it is a must-see in Santorini.

The most marvellous thing about Santorini is the architecture of the villages, built right on the edge of the caldera. These picturesque villages distinguish for their sugar-cube houses, the paved streets, the wonderful churches and most of all the breathtaking view to the Aegean Sea. In fact, the marvellous architecture of the island makes it a great location for parkour, this new impressive sports. From Oia, you will enjoy the most romantic sunset of your life, with the orange sun dipping into the sea. Due to this special atmosphere, Santorini has become a popular wedding and, at the same time, honeymoon destination.

The beauty of Santorini has inspired many writers and artists along time as well as cinema makers who frequently choose this island for shooting their movies. Jules Vern had visited Santorini in one of his travels. In fact, he mentions Santorini in his book Twenty thousand leagues under the sea and also was inspired by the novel The Mysterious Island in which Captain Nemo and his crew watched a volcanic eruption. Also, the 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 find connections between the island of Santorini and Atlantis, although this theory is believed to be a myth today. Apart from walking the caldera villages, also worth to visit in Santorini are the lovely beaches on the southern side of the island, including the Red Beach, Kamari, and Perissa, which have developed into large beach resorts.

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 summertime so plan it much in advance.
- Island-hopping is excellent when you have more than 3 days of vacation.

How big is the island?

Santorini is a relatively small island in terms of size, with a land area that is about 76 square kilometers big.
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 in total arrive at the island each year.
Many seasonal workers stay in Santorini only 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

Is 1 or 2 days enough for visiting?

No, a day is not sufficient for Santorini, especially if you arrive via ferry after a long journey. It’s highly advisable to spend at least 3 full days to cover the core sights and attractions of Santorini. Read more.

How long should I stay for a holiday?

The optimal vacation length for Santorini is between 3 and 5 days. If you make a tight itinerary, the key attractions can be covered in 3 days. Having 5 days ensures comfort and a lighter schedule.

How much money do I need?

Santorini is quite pricey in high season. If you plan on dining and drinking out, an average of €150 per person on the daily should be considered. Blend in some free and low cost activities to keep expenses moderate if you prefer.

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 are welcomed annually and the caldera establishments have seen tremendous growth. Santorini has adopted a luxurious style and is also advertised globally as a must-visit Greek island.

When is island hopping ideal?

Island hopping is a great addition in your itinerary when you have more than 4 days of vacation available. For less days, it is not recommended as it is rather rushed and you will 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 from other tourists, so simply keeping your bag and personal belongings on you is enough. If you forget your wallet/bag 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” of the island was established in the 13th century by the Crusaders, named after a small church of Saint Irene found in Perissa. The name derives from the conjunction of ‘Santa Irini’ to ‘Santorini’.

Is Santorini nice for couples?

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

Is it windy?

Santorini during July and August is affected by the seasonal meltemi wind. It is a strong, northern wind that can be very beneficial for windsurfing and kitesurfing but not ideal for long boat rides in medium or small vessels, as it can cause seasickness. A light jacket and a hair band 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’s a luxury-oriented destination, perfect for couples, with rich viticulture and history to dive into.

Can I fly directly there?

You can fly directly to Santorini’s international airport from many European countries, like France, Germany, Spain, the UK and others. There are no flights directly to Santorini from North America. Read more

How to get from Athens to Santorini?

Athens is connected to Santorini both via domestic flights from Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport and via daily ferry routes from the ports of Piraeus and Rafina. The ferry routes are more frequent during the tourist season. Read more

How can I visit on a budget?

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

General information