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Holidays in Santorini: The ultimate island getaway

With its attraction-filled mainland and thousands of jaw-droppingly beautiful islands, Greece has been a popular summer holiday destination for UK holidaymakers for quite some time. And this is especially the case with Santorini, which has climbed to the top of just about everyone's bucket list in recent years.

Perhaps best known for its iconic blue-and-white buildings and clifftop views, Santorini can also credit its growing reputation thanks to secluded bayscrumbling ruinsfine wines and deep orange sunsets.

Whether you're planning your next romantic getaway or an unforgettable group trip, our Santorini guide is packed with the best deals, travel tips and recommendations for the top things to do. A trip to Santorini will leave you feeling like you've experienced the island escape of a lifetime.

Travel tips for Santorini

So you've booked your holiday to Santorini and are ready to start planning? We've gathered some of our top travel tips right here, from what you can expect during every season to which plug type you'll need on the island.

When is the best time to travel to Santorini?

The peak summer months of June, July and August are undoubtedly the most popular time to travel to Santorini. And it should come as no surprise, since you can expect daily temperatures that hover between 23 and 29°C, climbing up into the high 30s on some days. If you don't cope too well with the heat, there are plenty of umbrellas on hand to keep you cool on the island's amazing sandy beaches. What's more, you can expect long days of sunshine in summer - up to 13 hours of daylight, in fact!

If you’re looking for a bit of winter sun, you’re in luck. In Santorini, you can expect a solid 6-8 sunny hours to take in all the sights during the winter months. Although not as balmy as summer, temperatures generally stay between 10 and 20°C, depending on the month. If you want warmer days and better prices (compared to summer, at least), consider travelling during the shoulder seasons of March to May or September to November. Just keep in mind that certain airlines only offer seasonal direct flights to Santorini, so you may have to consider other options outside of summer.

Santorini at a glance

Flight duration (from London): 4 hours

Main airport: Santorini (Thira) International Airport

Population: 15,000

Language: Greek

Currency: Euro (€)

Socket type: Type C and F (adapter required)

Time zone: Eastern European Time (EET); 2 hours ahead of the UK

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Top holiday destinations in Santorini

Santorini is a relatively small island, which means that anyone with a car rental will be able to explore most of the sights and towns with ease. That said, choosing where to base yourself is an important consideration, especially when taking your fellow travel companions into account.

While the western settlements of Fira, Oia and Imerovigli are prized for their caldera and clifftop views, these may not be as suitable for those travelling with kids, especially if strollers are being used.

Here are some of the top holiday destinations in Santorini.


Located in the far north of Santorini, Oia has to be one of the most photographed destinations in the world. Crowds descend upon the village every summer - and for every sunset! With its clifftop location, iconic white buildings and seaside views, this is the place that everyone wants to stay in Santorini.

If staying in Oia is on your bucket list, make sure to book well in advance or keep an eye out for early bird deals. Filled with some of the best restaurants on the island, as well as the swankiest luxury hotels, Oia is a top pick for romantic getaways and honeymoons.


The capital of Santorini, Fira is located midway along the island's famous western coastline. This is a great place to stay for people who want to be at the heart of the action, as well as for any first-time visitors. You'll find plenty of attractions in Fira, along with restaurants, clifftop views and the bulk of the island's nightlife venues.

Thanks to its central location along the coast, you could argue that Fira is an ideal base from which to explore the rest of the island. But be prepared for it to be busy, and its steep roads and stairs may not be the best choice for families with young children.


Another popular destination on the island's west coast, the hilly settlement of Imerovigli has been nicknamed 'the balcony to the Aegean'. Unsurprisingly, Imerovigli is known for its steep profile and sweeping views over the sea and Santorini's world-renowned caldera. And, thanks to its location between Oia and Fira, you'll have easy access to both of these top destinations.

Given that it's another spot that's famous for its hilly layout and winding staircases, you may want to look elsewhere if you're travelling with babies in strollers or if you're travelling with wheelchairs.

The East Coast

The villages and settlements may not be as dramatic and picturesque on Santorini's east coast compared to the western side, but these destinations are quieter and more family friendly. Plus, depending on where you choose to base yourself, you'll have easier access to the beach while still being able to see all of the island's major sights.

You can find resorts all along the coast here, including kid-friendly and more luxurious options. If you'd like to base yourself closer to a settlement, then Perissa and Kamari are our top recommendations.

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The top 6 things to do in Santorini

While many are drawn to Santorini for the fantastic views, there’s so much more to this beautiful island than just Instagram-worthy vantage points.

From historical atttractions to enjoying island life to the utmost, here are some of the top things to do in Santorini.

1. Indluge in some wine tasting

Santorini is well-known for its unique wines, made from grapes grown under the Grecian sun. Many vineyards offer tours, where you can learn about the wine-making process. If you’re more interested in the boozy aspect of wine education, book a wine tasting where you can sample the subtle notes of the island’s different delicacies.

2. Walk through the Akrotiri ruins

Greece attracts history buffs from around the globe, and Santorini does not disappoint. One of the most popular sites is Akrotiri, the ruins of an ancient city that was destroyed by a volcanic eruption thousands of years ago. It’s worth looking for a knowledgeable guide to walk you through the ruins and point out the most interesting features of the site.

3. Take a hike

Two of Santorini’s most-loved towns, Fira and Oia, are the start and end points of the island’s most picturesque hike. Depending on your party’s speed, it takes about 2.5-3.5 hours to hike the whole thing (longer if you are as mesmerised by the views as we are). The hike ends in Oia, where you can treat yourself to a cold drink and a hearty meal.

4. Hit the beach

Good beaches are so plentiful on Santorini that your hardest task is narrowing it down to just one. For an offbeat beach experience, check out Red Beach, a cove of warm water overlooked by towering red hills. For a more traditional beach experience, seek out the relaxed and friendly-family vibes of Perivolos, a long black sand beach.

5. Catch a stellar sunset

Even after a day packed with strolling, wine-drinking and relaxing on the beach, Santorini hits its true peak at sunset. That warm orange glow of the setting sun bathing the white-washed buildings is what draws so many people to visit this island in the first place. Stake out a good spot early on, and watch the sun go down with a drink in hand.

6. Take to the water

Opting for a boat cruise is undoubtedly one of the most popular activities in Santorini, and one that never disappoints. There are plenty of tours and operators around, but some of the best are sunset cruises and tours to check out local sights. Our favourite is the volcano boat tour, which allows you to view Santorini's claim to fame in much more detail.

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