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Why I Loved Santorini

I fell in love with the place and people

Santorini is one of the most popular travel destinations not only in Greece but in the entire world. It is a part of the Cycladic Islands, located in the Aegean Sea off the western coast of mainland Greece. It is known for its incredibly dynamic landscape, striking architecture, delicious food, and incredible beaches. It attracts tourists from all over the globe every year, and for a good reason.

The Caldera and Volcano

One of the unique features of Santorini is the caldera. The caldera, which is mostly submerged, is considered one of the natural wonders in the world now. Multiple cities are built on the caldera, including Santorini’s capital, Oia. This results in a unique landscape which seems to cascade vertically down the island. Many structures are also built into the caldera itself. The caldera is shaped like a crescent moon and outlines the volcano, Thira, which sits in the middle separated by the sea.

Thira is one of the many great tourist sites if you are visiting the island. Although you can see it from the mainland of Santorini, you will need to book a boat tour to access it. Although the volcano is currently dormant, it is still very much active, and last erupted in 1950. Each time the volcano erupts, it drastically changes the landscape of Santorini, causing the locals to build around it.

Top Beaches

Many of the beaches were also formed in relation to the drastic landscape alterations caused by the active volcano. Some of the main beaches include Kamari, Perissa, Perivolos, and the Red, White, and Black Beaches. They are majestic and can form part of some of the best holiday adventures, like a luxurious desert safari in Dubai. Kamari is a beach that is surrounded by restaurants and beach bars and has beach chairs and umbrellas set up. It is one of the famous tourist beaches, as is Perissa. Perissa is a black sand beach, situated near a coastal village and multiple archaeological sites. Perivolos, on the other hand, is a bit quieter and is still located very close to Perissa. 

The Red, White, and Black Beaches are all accessible through the town of Akrotiri. You can go to the Red and White Beach by land, but to get to the White Beach, you will need to take a ferry. The ferry is cheap, only 5 euros, and you can ride between the three beaches, and get a view of their beautiful coloring from the sea.

Culture

Its tourist population makes up a large part of the culture in Santorini. For the most part, the more coastal towns consist of authentic Greek restaurants, small shops, and hotels. When you get a little more into the island and out of the coastline, it is much more localheavy. Many locals farm, own restaurants, own stores, or run tours. They are open and willing to share in the culture of their beautiful island with villagers and tourists.

Food and Local Dishes

The culture of Santorini and the appeal is so closely tied to the food. The food is authentic Greek cuisine, but of course, there are regional foods that are only available as local dishes on the island. One of these dishes is called Atherinopita. Like Spanakopita and Tiropita, it is stuffed and baked phyllo dough. However, instead of spinach or cheese, it has a tiny fried fish, complemented by onions and flour. Another dish that is a local specialty is Aimatia, which is “a kind of blood sausage stuffed with liver and rice.” In addition to that, it has all the classic Greek favorites that are popular in mainland Greece. For instance, souvlaki, tzatziki, dolmades, gyros, lamb, and more.

There are a few restaurants in Santorini that are highly regarded and stand ahead of the rest. They all are great finds with incredible food. Katharos Lounge, located in Oia, is a vegan maze bar that combines classic Greek favorites with more contemporary cuisine. If you are looking for high quality and freshly caught seafood, check out Armeni Restaurant, also in Oia, known for its outdoor patio and cozy setting. Anemoloos, located a little inland at Exo Gonia, is known for its small plates and prepares traditional meant and vegetables in the meze style. The meze style is quite popular in Santorini, as it allows you to sample a lot of small plates and pass food all around the table.

Island Access

There are many ways to access the island of Santorini. Some people take a ferry, which can take between four and eight hours. Although a ferry is by far a slower option, the views on the way to Santorini through the Aegean, and of the Santorini Caldera is by far worth it. The view from the sea is striking and is an incredible way to welcome yourself to the island. A flight from Athens to Santorini only takes 45 minutes and is much more efficient if you are looking to get to the island much quicker. Often, people take a ferry to Santorini and fly back, so they get the best of both worlds. Booking airtickets or ferry tickets is the easiest and cheapest way to get to the island of Santorini. You can also access travel guides that give you extensive information and recommendations for your trip. 

Explore

One of the most important things you can do to take full advantage of your trip to Santorini is to leave time to explore. Not everything on the island is bookable via the internet, and it is an island full with so many hidden gems. It is relatively cheap to rent a car and drive around the whole island, which is only 30 square miles. Many areas are great on foot, and have plenty to discover. Many archaeological sites, great hole in the wall restaurants and swim spots are just waiting to be stumbled upon.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Anton Lucanus

My work as a scientist has taken me around the world. I have a passion for traveling and exploring the world's most interesting cities. For work, I am currently attempting to build 10,000 digital libraries across the ...