Destinations / Greece

Santorini Inspiration

Santorini Inspiration, Santorini Inspiration

Santorini is calling and I must go


All most people need to draw them to visit Santorini are 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 blues. All this is 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 ahead now by clicking here.

Check out our blog 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.

Funs facts about Santorini that all visitors should know

  1. Along with the four smaller islets, nearby Santorini forms a small volcanic island archipelago. It is located in the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. There are over 200 islands in the Cyclades.
  2. What we know as Santorini is the result of a volcanic explosion. It 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 powerful eruption caused severe damage to Crete Island, 70 miles away, and destroyed Knossos Palace.
  3. 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.
  4. It is assumed that the main cities of Oia and Fira have been around for centuries. This could not be farther from the truth. In 1956 a powerful earthquake destroyed most of the island buildings. Today’s structures are part of a grand design to bring more tourism to the island. We would say it was successful, maybe too much.
  5. One of the oldest civilizations of the Bronze Age, the Minoans, lived on the island before the mass eruption. This was a thousand years BC. These were amazingly advanced civilizations with indoor plumbing and sewers.
  6. The name of the island comes from the 13th-century character of St Irene. It was originally called Strongoli.
  7. Tourism is the number one source of income for residents. Demand has become so high many hospitality workers arrive seasonally from Athens. Tourist season was from May to September, but as Santorini’s popularity grows, so does the season.
  8. One of the biggest issues causing over-tourism is cruise ship traffic. On some days there will be 4-5 cruise ships arriving during a 24-hour period. Mass people load onto the busses, making it very difficult to move around in places like Oia and Thira.
  9. 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 beaches. They are more of a rough pebble-type beach with black sand.
  10. Why are the buildings white-washed? Santorini gets hot, very hot. The white paint keeps the building cool. Test it to compare a non-painted or darker-painted building to a white one. The difference is surprising. There are other stories of why the buildings are painted white, but all we know is they are part of the Santorini Inspiration.
  11. Wine-making in Santorini is one of the oldest grape-growing regions in 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 a few grapes.

    The wines are fantastic and hard to find outside of Santorini 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 a complimentary glass at the end of a meal. How is that for Santorini Inspiration?
  12. This is a profoundly religious island, and you find churches everywhere. Differing from mainland Greek Catholicism is the dominant faith in Santorini.
  13. There is almost no rain in Santorini, and it is pretty humid. The water on the island absolutely should not be consumed, and bottled water should be the only source of drinking water.
  14. Santorini is unique because it is one of the few civilizations on Earth built into volcanic rock.
  15. Enjoy visiting castles? Santorini has several. The Venetians were a strong presence here, evident in the Greco-Roman buildings, and used these castles as fortifications to protect against enemies.
  16. On the Caldera side of 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 no small feat. The road itself is a crazy windy narrow road with one hairpin 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.
  17. Renting ATVs 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.

Where to stay in Santorini

Our top recommendation is, if possible, to stay on the Caldera. Nothing beats that and having stayed in the interior once it is not even close to the same experience. Stay away if you can from the main area of Fira as it gets busy and noisy. Just a bit down along the Caldera there are lots of options. We stayed in Imerovigli and it was perfection.

It is important to price out accommodations on various sites. Expedia is a US-based company, whereas Booking.com is Europe-based. Not all properties appear on both, so it is ideal to check both out. Our personal first choice is Booking.com. If the establishment has a website, check the price there as well. Click the link below to check out hotels and vacation homes in the area. It may be just the motivation you need to start planning that next grand adventure.

The Official Greece, Santorini tourism website, is a great resource and will provide even more Santorini Inspiration.

Santorini Archipelago

When to travel to avoid the crowds

Santorini, in peak season, can be a mass of people. We visited then and when it was empty. The huge crowds can be challenging 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. We advise going off-season, especially when the cruise ships are not running, or looking 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 vital to the future of places like Santorini.

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Santorini Inspiration, Santorini Inspiration

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Expedia.com and VRBO

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Expedia is a US-based company whose mission is to power global travel for everyone and everywhere. Wanderers Compass focuses on independent travel, and using sites like Expedia makes that possible. Every aspect of travel you need, from airfare, accommodations, rental car, and cruises to activities to do at your destination, can be booked on Expedia.  


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