Whether “Atlantis” is a real place or not, the myth has some basis in fact because there’s a Greek island, Santorini, that, due to a cataclysmic event around 1500 BCE, literally sunk – in a large part – into the sea.
But there’s a lot of Santorini that’s still above water! And on this beautiful island, not only are you going to find charming whitewashed houses, and picturesque villages, but you’ll also experience hilltop views of unforgettable sunsets, crystal waters just begging you to jump into them, and delicious dining that won’t be outdone.
I realize a lot of tourists arrive on Santorini by cruise ship or ferry boat with only a few hours to enjoy the sites but if you have a few days on this beautiful island, here are some of the things you absolutely must do there:
1. Get lost in the quaint town of Oia.
The northern edge of the caldera contains a town carved into the rock. Santorini’s most picturesque town, Oia’s narrow, spectacular streets will have you constantly pulling out your camera. Spend a good chunk of your day wandering the alleys here. Or stay overnight – somewhere like the Canaves Oia luxury boutique hotel, where you can swim in a beautiful pool while staring out across the Aegean Sea.
2. Take a winery tour.
Santorini produces some of Greece’s best wines, such as Assyrtiko, Nykteri, and Vinsanto. The volcanic soil gives the grapes a special flavour, added to the skill of the viticulture, developed over millennia. Explore a
place like Santo Wines Winery, near Pyrgos Village, which offers tours as well as tastings, with breathtaking views to the caldera. Or join a small group tour that brings you to many of the island’s wineries – with a tasting at each!
3. Swim at a red sand beach.
Maybe you’ve heard of black sand beaches, but did you know that you can also find red? On Santorini, that’s a possibility. The best red sand beach on the island is at Akrotiri, accessible either by boat, or via an easy footpath. Where the sand – as well as the rock of the cliffs – is a dazzling red. Whether you want to jump into the water, or just sunbathe on the red beach, this is definitely a special experience.
4. Take a cruise of the caldera at sunset.
The island of Santorini is circular, roughly, with a large bay – or “caldera” – inside. This is due to the cataclysm that happened some 3500 years ago, and may have sunk “Atlantis”. But, these days, the volcano is quiet, and the ocean has rushed in to claim the abandoned land. Taking a cruise here is incredible – and taking a cruise here at sunset will leave vivid memories etched into your soul. It’s absolutely one of the must-do things on Santorini!
5. Take a tour of the volcano itself.
Obviously, the island’s volcanic. Which means it must have a volcano! Well, it does – but due to the past eruption, it’s actually on its own island in the caldera’s center! Still, it’s possible to take a tour. And well worth it. Boats leave from Athinios Port (Santorini’s main port), the Old Port in Fira, and Ammoudi Bay in Oia, and tours take you to several stops on the central island. Yes, it will involve hiking in the heat. But, yes, it will be worth it!
And last but certainly not least, don’t forget to eat! Santorini has some of best restaurants in the Mediterranean with amazing views.
Check out my Greece Travel Guide for more historical places and spaces. And when you’re ready to visit Greece, let SelfishMe Travel help you design your next best vacation by booking a complimentary discovery call with me.
CREDITS: This blog post was created by the Travel Agent Society and sold to SelfishMe Travel in 2021.