Santorini Holidays – Romantic island, known for its stunning volcanic landscape and magical sunsets
Santorini exudes a classic charm and an air of romance, making it a popular destination with couples and honeymooners, and those looking to embrace the real character and dazzling beauty of the island. This tiny gem in the Cyclades Islands is one of the most picturesque in Greece, encompassing a dramatic volcanic landscape, delightful scenery, and breathtaking sunsets. Famed for its blue-domed churches and tumbling whitewashed houses, Santorini also boasts plenty to see and do, with the island home to archaeological sites, and authentic Greek villages. Santorini has an upmarket reputation, yet has a selection of accommodation to suit all budgets, and a varied nightlife and entertainment scene.
Most famous for its volcano and caldera, Santorini is characterised by spectacular scenery and a coastline full of unique black and grey beaches, set against red-coloured cliffs. Beaches here are very different from many other Greek islands, but no less relaxing, with Santorini known for its sparkling clear waters and steep dramatic backdrops, and a great base for sunbathing, swimming and water sports. Well-placed for island-hopping, Santorini has excellent connections to the rest of the Cyclases, with regular ferries to Naxos, Paros, Ios, Mykonos, Syros and Thessaloniki during the summer.
When to go
The tourist season on the island runs from May to October, with the busy summer months of July and August being the most popular time for a holiday. These weeks can be crowded, and experience the hottest most humid conditions, so for a quieter and more comfortable week or two on the island, think about a holiday during the months of May or June – a fantastic time to tour the island and explore. September and October still see great weather for a beach holiday, when there’s plenty of sunshine and the sea is still warm enough for swimming, but there are far fewer people around.
Weather in Santorini
Santorini experiences a typical Mediterranean climate, and enjoys long hot summers and short wetter winters. Early season sees highs of 22C – 26C and 10 – 13 hours of sunshine in May and June, and by July and August, temperatures can reach 28C – 30C. The island does see strong meltemi winds, especially along the north coast, which temper the intense heat during the peak season, when the months see virtually no rainfall, and a pleasant night-time temperature of 22C. September and October remain warm, with highs of 23C – 25C, and 7 – 10 hours of daily sunshine, with the chance for showers increasing as the season comes to an end.
Getting the best deals
The most expensive time to go to Santorini is during the height of the summer, with the island very much in demand in July and August. If you are looking for the cheapest deals, avoid these busy times, as great demand keeps the prices high, too, and look for holidays during the quieter months of the year. In May, September and October, you’ll see much lower prices, and there will be much better availability. Staying flexible and departing at the very last minute can also mean considerable savings, so look at our offers below, and visit our late deals page for the very best prices to Santorini this year.
Airport and transport need to know
The island has its own airport, with regular charter flights arriving at Santorini International Airport (JTR) throughout the summer season. There are departures from London Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle, with flights from the UK taking 4 hours. The airport is centrally located on the island, and transfers are included on package holidays to Santorini.
Renting a car is the best way to see Santorini, and you can travel around the whole island in one day, with scooters, mopeds and bikes also available. The main bus station is in Fira, the capital, and from here buses serve the main towns and beaches, with taxis available too. Boat trips are an excellent way of seeing the island, and regular ferries depart for neighbouring islands and Athens. You can also take the most traditional form of transport on the island, donkey, as the animals are readily available to carry you along local winding paths and steep trails – a very memorable experience.
Best beaches in Santorini
The beaches around Santorini are volcanic, with characteristic black sand and pebbles, but are striking and a great base for a relaxing day by the sea. The most popular can be found on the east coast, but there are beaches located all around the island, and many worth exploring. Here are our picks for the best beaches on Santorini.
Best beach for sunbathing – Perissa
A black sand beach with spectacularly clear blue waters, the Blue Flag Perissa Beach is a very long stretch of well-protected shoreline, with plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas, and boasts a beautiful setting - particularly against the stunning Mesa Vouno rock that juts out from the water.
Best beach for activities – Kamari
Kamari, next to Perissa, is another Blue Flag beach, and one of the most popular on the island, with clear blue seas and an impressive mountain backdrop. There are many tourist facilities at the beach, and here you can enjoy windsurfing and water skiing, as well as snorkelling and scuba diving along the rocky coastline.
Best beach for isolation – Kolumbo
Set on rugged coastline, the isolated Kolumbo offers a quiet and tranquil spot for peaceful sunbathing on the wilder northern shores of Santorini.