Back in 1450 BC, a massive volcanic eruption caused the middle of Santorini to fall into the sea. It left a steep-edged crater known as a caldera peeping above the waves, which, today, is a spectacular sight from the island’s clifftops.
It’s not just the geological make-up of the island that turns heads, though. With its whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and never-ending vineyards, Santorini is Greece at its traditional best. Thira, the capital, is a popular place to stay – it’s perched on top of the caldera rim overlooking the Aegean. And the northern town of Oia, which also has a spot on the caldera, is the best place to see the island’s famous sunsets.
The beach scene
If you don’t mind your sand in a darker shade of grey – a legacy of the island’s volcanic past – there are some great beaches in towns like Kamari and Perissa. Framed by jagged cliffs, Kamari’s dark sandy sweep has been given Blue Flag status. As for Perissa, the 7-kilometre stretch here comes with a good helping of watersports.
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On Santorini’s southeast coast, Perissa is a picturesque village dotted with whitewashed villas and framed by jagged volcanic scenery. It was only built in the Sixties, so is relatively new. And what it might lack in rustic appeal, it more than makes up for with its watersports portfolio, easygoing nightlife, and ancient sights.
Pyrgos is a quiet village set high on a volcanic crater on Santorini’s west coast. To say it’s postcard-pretty is an understatement. Winding lanes fan out from the remains of a Venetian castle, taking in whitewashed houses, traditional tavernas and churches with blue-domed roofs. And the sunset views from up here are pretty fantastic, to put it mildly.
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Online savings - Refers to an online discount of 10% on August and 9% on September & October on holidays and applies to the basic adult cost before supplements. Available on package holidays booked online departing between 1st May 2014 and 31st October 2014 Online discount only applies to package holidays booked on firstchoice.co.uk and does not apply to flight only, accommodation only and tailor made flight+hotel bookings. Online discount is not combinable with free Child Places.
Save up to £400 per couple on September & October holidays – Saving offer applies to new bookings only on selected Thomson package holidays booked on thomson.co.uk. Offer applies to holidays departing between 01 September & 31 October 2014 and is subject to limited availability. Savings is against brochure price. Excludes flight only, accommodation only, cruise, Thomson Ski and any other bookings. Additional supplements may apply. Saving is based on a minimum of 2 adults travelling. Thomson reserves the right to withdraw or change this offer at any time. We reserve the right to change or withdraw the offers at any time.
Free child places - Free kids offer applies to new bookings only, on selected summer 2014 holidays, subject to limited availability. Only 1 free kids place is available in each selected hotel room or selected apartment type or villa with 2 full paying adults. Other children must pay the full brochure price. Available on First Choice holidays only. Free child places may not be combinable with other discounts.