World-famous Santorini is the southernmost island in the Cyclades. A magnificent setting, quality accommodation, delicious local cuisine, exquisite wine and a rich history dating back to the Bronze Age, are some of the island's traits beguiling thousands of visitors each year.
Santorini is without a doubt the most photographed island in Greece. Its blue-domed churches and white houses sit atop sheer black and red cliffs and the views are simply breathtaking. Many come in summer to enjoy its black volcanic beaches but it is equally popular in Spring when masses of colourful wild flowers enter the mix.
Santorini's history is as dramatic as its scenery. Originally its three islands were connected and were referred to as Strongilil (the round one). In 1645 BC an ancient volcano blew up and took most of the island with it. The volcano walls caved in and the sea swept into the void. This created a crater (Caldera) 10km in diameter and 400m deep.
The ensuing tidal waves destroyed coastal areas and many say that this was the cause of the demise of Minoan civilisation throughout the Aegean. Remains of Minoan villages have been discovered buried under volcanic ash on Santorini, although no bodies were found, leading experts to conclude that they had advance warning of the eruption. In 1100 BC the inhabitants named the island Thera, after their leader and some people still refer to the island by this name. From the 13th - 15th centuries the island was controlled by the Venetians. They called the island San Irene (Saint Irene), who died in exile on the island. This name became Santorini.
The island has 14 villages, each with its own character: Fira, the island's busy cosmopolitan capital; Pyrgos, with its castle; Imerovigli, its white-washed buildings climbing up the cliffside, enjoying expansive caldera views; Oia, well known for its traditional architecture and breathtaking sunsets. To the east, terraced fields slope gently towards the sea where can be found the black sand beaches, to the west, lies the rim of the crater.
Santorini is also famous for its selection of wines - there are 42 grape varieties on the island and 13 wineries and many offer tours (and tasting!)
Where to visit
"Many thanks for your email which jogged my memory, I have been meaning to email since we returned from holiday, to thank you and Dawn for organising such a wonderful holiday for us. The whole trip was very smooth and the Kastelli hotel was absolutely gorgeous. We had a really relaxing week which was just what we needed. Thanks again for organising the holiday for us. With a baby on the way it may be a while before we venture abroad again but when we do we won't hesitate to use Rediscover."
C Sherwood, June 2012
"Just a note to say a big thank you for arranging the holiday in Greece. We had a great time and we loved the selection of hotels and their locations. You did great job in putting this together and all went ahead smoothly as planned. Thank you again for the lovely holiday!"
G Maheswaran, Sept 2016
"Overall we enjoyed our holiday, and given that is was a fairly late booking with minimal input from us we thought it was good. There are one or two things which would have been an improvement. We really loved Milos and Santorini and would go back there. In comparison we thought Naxos and the resort there were a bit lacking in character. Also, we felt local people were less organised and friendly with respect to visitors (this does not apply to the staff at the hotel in Naxos who were warm and welcoming). In retrospect, less time in Naxos and more time in Milos would have been a better mix. All in all though, thank you. We did have a really nice and much-needed break and we appreciate you making the booking process so easy for us."
H Jackson, June, 2015
"I wanted to thank you for all your planning an assistance in our recent Greece trip. The drivers, additional island flight, and ferries and hotels were wonderful with no glitches."
A Swanlek, Sept 2017