Visit Greece > Santorini
Spectacular scenery created from volcanic eruptions. Towering cliffs overlooking a crystal sea. Traditional tavernas. A fascinating history. Little surprise that Santorini is known as Calliste (most beautiful) in ancient Greek.
The volcano, now dormant, whose eruptions created the island’s dramatic landscape is thought to be the source of the legend of Atlantis and unmistakably unique to the island are the spectacular black sand volcanic beaches with their sheer mountain backdrop.
Take some time to explore the island on your Santorini holiday, and discover a wealth of ancient sites set in the most beautiful surroundings. Of particular note is the village of Akrotiri, where excavations have revealed a Minoan city just as it stood until its burial under volcanic debris. The city (still being excavated) consisted of large, well-built multi-storey houses which contain some of the finest Minoan frescoes to be found in the Mediterranean.
Whilst on holiday in Santorini, spend some time in Fira, the capital, where winding narrow streets, arcades and whitewashed houses perch precariously on the edge of towering cliffs. Wander among traditional tavernas and souvenir shops selling pumice, the island's main export, soaking up the unique atmosphere, and shopping for souvenirs of your holiday to Santorini.
There are various ways to explore Santorini: in the tourist fashion, in enormous groups disembarking from cruise ships to stay for a few hours. Or the "Made in China" version: an increasing number of Chinese are visiting, taking advantage of an express trip to the old continent. They're easily recognizable by their way of moving from place to place, hurried along by their extremely tight tour schedule. For younger visitors, Santorini has become THE wedding destination. These young couples, in wedding gown and dark suit, say their "I do's" beside the pool, facing the Caldeira. But without a doubt, the best way to discover this jewel is to slowly draw back the curtain that hides it from hurried, indifferent glances, and to take one's time. The island isn't large, certainly, but its beauty and magnetic appeal require several days of exploration, allowing it the time to draw you in.
To discover the island, there are several ways of getting around: car, bus, scooter or quad. There's nothing stopping you from trying out all of them: three days by car, crossing the island from end to end, seeing the main sites; one day by bus (the system is remarkably good). Tickets are sold on board by a zealous employee who makes sure to shout out every station. On the last day, a final tour of the island's landscape by scooter or quad. If possible, choose the latter, which offers better road stability. Finally, there's one last picturesque method of travel if you have a strong constitution: astride a horse, exhausted from transporting tourists.
We would like to thanks Marianne Bourgeois, our travel reporter in Europe and www.travel-to-santorini.com for their kind assistance
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