Santorini is an island in Greece, located on the Aegean Sea, 200 km southeast of Athens, 150 km south of Mykonos and 140 km north of Crete. Flights to Santorini take 4 hours from London, 3.5 hours from Paris, 2 hours from Rome and 1 hour from Athens.
Santorini has a population of 15,500 inhabitants and an area of 76 square miles (a little larger than Manhattan). The length of the island is 16 km and its width varies from 1 to 5 km. It takes 45 minutes to drive from one end of Santorini to the other.
Santorini is connected by ferry to Athens (5 to 7 hours) and the islands of Naxos, Paros, Ios, Milos, Folegandros, Mykonos and Crete (1 to 3 hours). Flights from Athens to Santorini take less than 1 hour, flights from western Europe take approximately 3 hours.
The best time to go to Santorini for good weather, boating, swimming, sunbathing and going out at night is from June to September. If beach weather and warm weather are not a necessity and you are more interested in sightseeing, history, hiking and exploring, the months of April, May, October and early November are also excellent.
Santorini is what remains of a massive volcanic eruption 3600 years ago. The eruption destroyed all the settlements and created the caldera. The caldera is a seawater lagoon surrounded on 3 sides by the cliffs of Santorini and on the 4th side by the island of Thirassia (which was part of Santorini before the eruption). The current volcano (on the island of Nea Kameni) is located in the middle of the caldera. It is active but is currently not at risk of eruption.
The cities of Fira, Oia, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Akrotiri cling to the cliffs of 300 meters and have magical views of the caldera and the volcano to the west. The coastal cities of Kamari, Perissa, Perivolos and Agios Georgios are on the east and south sides of the island (not in the caldera).
The best places to stay in Santorini are the towns of Fira, Oia, Imerovigli and Firostefani. These cities are located in the caldera of Santorini and have incredible views of the volcano, the sea and the sunset. All these cities are on the west side of Santorini.
The best things to do in Santorini include walking the incredible caldera path, visiting wineries, taking a boat tour of the caldera (with trekking to the volcano / hot springs / sunset), and visiting the small charming towns of the island. There's a vibrant nightlife with everything from wine bars to dance clubs, but it's never bustling and the club scene is easily avoided if you're not interested.
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