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Santorini
Santorini
Santorini
Santorini
Santorini
Santorini's extraordinary shape can be traced back to around 1600BC, when a massive volcanic explosion blew out the middle of the island, creating the impressive sea-filled Caldera (crater). Today, Santorini is one of Greece's most glamorous island destinations. The upmarket settlements of Fira and Oia, which are perched upon the reddish-black cliffs that plummet 300m into the deep-blue waters of the caldera, offer sophisticated boutique hotels. For many people, the quintessential Santorini experience is watching the sunset from Oia, an evening ritual during high season, when crowds gather around and applause as the sun sinks into the horizon.

Beyond the beach: The cliff-top towns of Fira and Oia, overlooking the caldera, are must-sees for their postcard-perfect, whitewashed, cubic buildings and blue-domed churches that are typical of the Cyclades. Santorini's top archaeological site is Akrotiri, an ancient Minoan town buried beneath lava in 1600 BC. However, beautiful ancient frescoes and ceramics from Akrotiri are on display in the Museum of Ancient Thira in Fira.

Exploring further: Popular excursions from Santorini include boat trips around the deep-blue caldera, where visitors can explore the tiny uninhabited black volcanic islets of Palea Kameni (with hot springs and therapeutic muds) and Nea Kameni (home to the smoldering volcanic crater). On the opposite side of the caldera, the island of Thirassia hosts several seafood tavernas affording fine views back to Santorini.