• Coastline Azure waters of the Aegean
  • Coast life Lazy days and candlelit dinners

This rugged Aegean beauty, the southernmost of the Cyclades, is famed for its sunsets, wine and the turquoise sea that surrounds it.

From its terrifying birth in the apocalyptic volcanic explosion of 1450 BC to the snow-white cubist villas hugging its sheer cliffs, Santorini (also known as Thira) is arguably the most dramatic of all the Greek islands. Barhoppers and gourmets will love its lively tavernas and outstanding restaurants, where just-landed fish is always on the menu. Shopping urges can be similarly sated in the glamorous little town of Oia, with its smart jewellery boutiques and cute narrow streets. Take a hotel room facing the vast volcanic bay (the caldera) and, as you watch ships criss-cross below, you’ll realise that you’re looking at one of the most awe-inspiring, and romantic, views on the planet.

Do go/Don’t go

The high season is April through to October, but if you can find a hotel out of season you’ll see the real Greece. Our reviewer travelled there in the second week of October and described it as ‘quiet, but busy enough to give the restaurants a good buzz'.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes The airport is only 10 minutes from Fira | the island’s capital. As of Summer 2009 Easyjet will fly direct from Gatwick. Taxis cost around six euros.
  • Trains There are no train services on the island. If you arrive by ferry, it will take you 15–20 minutes to get to Fira from the port. You’ll find car hire companies and taxis when you get off the boat.
  • Automobiles You’ll need a car to tour around the island. There’s free parking outside the towns of Oia and Thira. There are also various places where you can rent scooters. There are car hire desks at the airport.
  • Taxis Order one by phone or pick one up at a designated rank.