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5 reasons to visit Santorini this year

If you’ve ever had a friend come back from a Greek holiday with a stunning golden tan, a hugely positive mental attitude and a sudden craving for salads drenched in olive oil, olives and feta, you can bet they’ve been to Santorini. They’ll try to explain how blue the sea is, how white the buildings are, and how everyone they met was cheerful and welcomed tourists. And you won’t believe them – until you go there yourself. Santorini Church Think of Santorini, and you think of a Greek idyll; sand, sea, idyllic villages, breathtaking views and the best food you’ve ever tasted. All the clichés of a perfect holiday are here; it’s the most perfect Greek island you’ll ever experience. Here’s why. It’s the home of romance Sorry, but two weeks in Malta isn’t going to compare to 14 nights in what can only be the world’s most beautiful island. Oia at sunset The sunsets, the wine, the beaches, the whitewashed buildings – this is, quite simply, a place where romance wins over common sense and practical matters. If you’re loved-up and on holiday with someone you care about, this is the place for walking around, hand in hand, ooohing and aahing over all the couples posing for pictures after getting married. The sunset at Oia Imagine a gold-dipped coin sinking into a hazy, colourful sheen of pinks, blues and greens. Beautiful, no? Well, that’s not exactly what the sunset at Santorini is like, but it’s pretty darn similar. Oia sunset People come here by the coachload to watch the sun set into the sea at Oia. Unless you arrive early, it’s tough to find a good spot, so don’t be surprised if you turn up and everyone else has had the same idea. You can grab a drink and a meal nearby, but the prices have been ramped up accordingly. Our suggestion? If you want to avoid the crowds, the views from Firostefani, just down the road, are almost as good, as there are far fewer people around. The delicious food I don’t say this lightly – there’s something for everyone here. Whether you’re a strict vegan, veggie, you love your meat or you’re a seafood fan, you’ll eat well and healthily for decent prices (except in Oia, where they can get away with charging an arm and a leg). Fish and seafood are big business here, but well-known Greek staples like moussaka, the famous Greek salads and saganaki are also readily available. Greek salad If you’re after fabulous food at cheaper prices, head to Perivolos. Sea Side do excellent seafood (you’ll often see chefs hanging out freshly-caught octopus to dry in the sun on the beach), and Popeye Taverna is great for kids – the traditional tomato balls and risotto are hugely popular here. Terra Nera is a big hit with nearly everyone who visits Perivolos – excellent service, cold beers and their famous baked feta are just three reasons why. The local wines Hot, dry climates produce good wine, and Santorini’s no exception; its low levels of rainfall coupled with volcanic soil make the island’s grapes sweet, ripe and perfect for wine. Most wineries in Santorini are found in Mesa, Exo Gonia, Megalochori and Messaria. Large vineyards surround the wineries, which you can visit on your own, but it’s better (and more fun!) if you take a tour. Top tip – don’t drink too much before lunchtime. You’ll regret it. Santorini vineyard If you want to taste some of the best local wines, Santo, with its stunning views, is where the tourists tend to go, but it’s worth looking at other, smaller, local vineyards where the produce is just as good. Gaia, Canava Roussos and the Sigalas Estate is Oia are great places to taste some vino. For wine newbies, Hatzidakis is a good bet; their range includes four white dry wines, one dry red and Vinsanto, a sweet and lovely dessert wine which goes well with tiramisu. Finding God (sort of) You’ll find that Santorini has no shortage of churches; Greek Orthodox is the main denomination here, along with a sprinkling of Catholicism. Religion is big – you’ll find that most people have a small chapel inside their home, and although most people are hugely spiritual and very respectful of religion, they’ll never try to force it upon you. Chapel in Santorini Community and family are cornerstones of Santorini life, and the villagers all work together to help build each resident their own chapel, and all are the well-known combination of white, each with a sky blue roof. Why are they blue? Well, the sky is blue, and that’s where God is – so it brings the people closer to God. Remember to always be respectful when in places of worship – Santorini locals are a friendly, fun bunch, but they like to see their places of worship treated well. Cover shoulders, chests and legs, be quiet, and don’t eat, drink, or listen to music on your headphones. Vicky Anscombe is Editor-in-Chief at Columbus Direct. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. I do admit that these are the must visit place in Santorini. It’ll make add glam in your holiday and further, it’ll reduce your stress and add positive mentality.

  2. I have been before but in September we go again with our newly married son and bride. I have been searching for a cave hotel that another son stayed at last year and he can’t recall the name. Any ideas? We are looking forward to it.

  3. I loved Santorini when I was there,to think I was in the place where many people think the great city of Atlantis was is interesting. They have an interesting museum there not real big but fun.

    There are many ways to stay there as many people will find a hotel in advance and other will be greeted by local bed and breakfasts and hotels as they got off the ferry where they will talk price and how many days they want to stay.

    The tram or the donkey ride which ever you prefer is interesting. Also make sure you go to the other towns on the island as they all have interesting things to look at.

  4. Sounds like a great place to visit. I would love to explore some vineyards and try some delicious wine. My husband and I use to live in southern CA and went to the wineries in Temecula often. We are now in CO and only get to the wineries if we go to Grand Junction. Mostly it’s beer here in Denver, lol. Thanks for great post.

  5. We’ve just come back from Santorini & the whole family fell in love with each other. That’s a huge call considering we have teenage kids. We’ll be back for sure.

  6. I adored Santorini – its my idea of paradise. The Greek Salad was the best I ever tasted, fresh pistachios, art everywhere & breathtaking colours everywhere you look. Am hoping to get back there this year & will check out a few of these spots!

  7. Proposed in 1994 in Santorini to my wife. Married in 1995 and still married 21 years later. A beautiful place that holds a special place in both our hearts ❤️

  8. There are many articles about the uniqueness of Santorini, the beauty of the sunset in Oia and the blue domed churches built along the cliffs of the caldera. Santorini is an island with “many faces” and waits for you to see all of them and discover hidden pahts and flavors…

    We suggest to visit traditional villages of Santorini like Megalochori,Kamari,Firostefani and Imerovigli.

    Come accross to Baxedes and the Paradise Beach, or Ammoudi Beach, which is quite rocky – perfect spot for diving off the stones. Stroll along the black sandy beach of Perivolos in the south of the island, the longest black sandy beach, also famous as the “Party Beach” because of the countless beach bars around it. Don’t forget about the Red Beach, a stunning scenery for amazing pictures which will always remind you of your visit in Santorini.

    Do some hiking trails like the one from Fira to Oia, which offers amazing view from every point of the way. Or else, walk with us from Kamari to Perissa, passing the Mesa Vouno mountain and the ruins of Ancient Thira.

  9. The best wines of Greece! Santorini is a paradise! The oldest continuously cultivated vineyards of the world, the vineyards of Santorini, were the birthplace of one of the most remarkable white grape varieties of the world, Assyrtiko.

  10. The image of Santorini in the pics matches exactly my memories of the place. It is just one those islands that you have to have on your budget list to visit. I am finally planning a return visit myself after nearly 20 years away from Europe. Really looking forward to it.

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