All most people need to draw them to visit Santorini are the photographs of this visually magnificent destination. It is one of the most photographed locations in the world for a reason. The weather is near perfect, and the sea is the deepest of blues. All this perched over a gorgeous caldera that draws your eyes constantly to it. It is one of our favorite places in the world to photograph.
The crescent-shaped island is surreal in its beauty and has an energy that is hard to describe. The white-washed buildings with the backdrop of the deep azure Aegean sea are stunning. But Santorini is much more than that; it is home to ancient civilizations and archaeological sites of buried cities 2000 years older than Pompei. To add some added fun, Santorini is also one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the world. Enough said…
We will let the pictures speak for themselves.
Fun facts about Santorini follow the photo gallery or jump head now by clicking here.
Our Santorini Inspiration Photo Gallery
Check out our post on Santorini, Greece: The Jewel of the Aegean Sea to provide even more inspiration and all the ins and outs of making the most of your visit. Click here
Funs facts about Santorini that all visitors should know
Along with the four smaller islets nearby Santorini forms a small archipelago that is a volcanic island. It is located in the Cyclades in the Aegean sea. The are over 200 islands in the Cyclades.
What we know Santorini is a result volcanic explosion was so violent that it resulted in one of the world’s largest calderas with a diameter of over 6 miles. This massive eruption is believed to have occurred around 1600 BC and only side pieces of the previous island remain. The eruption so extreme it caused severe damage to Crete island 70 miles away and destroyed Knossos Palace.
You may ask what is a caldera? It is a huge depression in the top part of the volcano, resulting from a violent eruption destroying the upper part of the volcanic cone.
It is assumed that the main cities of Oia and Fira are cities that have been around for centuries. This could not be farther from the truth. In 1956 a powerful earthquake destroyed most of the island buildings. The structures you see today we part of a grand design to bring more tourism to the island. We would say it was successful, maybe too much.
One of the oldest civilizations of the Bronze age, the Minoans, lived on the island prior to the mass eruption. This was thousand so years BC. These were amazingly advanced civilizations with indoor plumbing and sewers.
The name of the island comes from the 13th-century character of St Irene. It was originally called Strongoli.
Tourism is the number one source of income for residents. Demand becomes so high many hospitality workers arrive seasonally from Athens. Tourist season was May to September but as Santorini’s popularity grows so does the season.
One of the biggest issues causing over-tourism is the cruise ship traffic. Some days there will be 4-5 cruise ships arriving in during a 24 hour periods. Mass people load onto the busses and make it quite difficult to move around in places like Oia and Thira.
Santorini has a few beaches but there are many more beautiful islands for beaches in Greece. There are three beaches that people visit, red, black, and white beach. They are more a rough pebble type beach with black sand.
Why are the buildings white-washed? Santorini gets hot, very hot. The white paint keeps the building cool. Test it compare a non painted or darker painted building compared to a white it. The difference is quite surprising. There are other stories of why the building are painted why but all we know is they are part of the Santorini Inspiration.
Wine-making in Santorini is one of the oldest grape growing regions of the world. The vineyards are virtually impervious to disease and grow under harsh soil and conditions. Local winemakers use the humidity in the air to help irrigate the vines. As a result the harvest is very small as each plant produces few grapes.
The wines are fantastic and are hard to find though outside of Santorin due to limited production. There are dozens of wineries to visit on the island. The most popular wine is the sweet wine Vinsanto, which many restaurants on the island will offer complimentary glass at the end of a meal. How is that for Santorini Inspiration?
This is deeply religious island and you find churches everywhere. Differing from mainland Greek Catholicism is the dominant faith in Santorini.
There is almost no rain in Santorini and it is quite humid. The water on the island absolutely should not be consumed and bottled water the only source of drinking water.
What makes Santorini unique it is one the few civilizations on earth built into volcanic rock.
Enjoy visiting castles? Santorini has several. The Venetians were a strong presence here, obvious in the Greco-Roman buildings, and used these castles as fortifications to protect against enemies.
On the Caldera side if the island there are two main ports. Fira port sits at the base of steep sheer rock walls that rise 980 feet above sea level. The trip up is not small feat. The road itself is quite a crazy windy narrow road with one hair pin turn after another. But for the more adventurous you can walk up the steep steps, ride a sky car or even hop onto a donkey.
Renting ATV’s is common for tourists on the island to get around. The island is only 11 miles long and parking is a challenge everywhere. An ATV solves many of the issues that cars have but they are also many stories of accidents. If you are visiting in the off season we would suggest a car though as there is so much to see on this island and a car makes it more possible for a short visit.
The Official Greece Santorini tourism website is a great resource and will also provide even more Santorini Inspiration.
When to travel to avoid the crowds
Santorini in peak season can be a mass of people. We have visited then and when it was empty. The huge crowds can be difficult to navigate, but we still fell in love with the island and the setting despite them. If it is the only time you can visit, don’t miss out.
Our second visit was when it was empty, as it was post-Covid, the experience was very different and by far more exceptional. Our advice is to go off-season, especially when the cruise ships are not running, or look for days when they are not in port.
We discuss the issues of over-tourism in our Santorini post. Check out how sustainable tourism is important to the future of places like Santorini.