✓ The sea of white & blue: The world famous Grecian architecture makes every little village a million times prettier than it would be if it was in plain brick red or brown. This is especially breathtaking in the harbour city of Oia at the very Northern point of the island - pretty much all the pictures you'll ever see of Santorini will be of Oia, it is the island's ultimate destination image.
✓ Caldera & volcano(s): Something you probably won't know about Santorini unless you've visited is that the island was created by numerous volcanic eruptions over the past hundreds and thousands of years. The island is on a rim of a large caldera (which is the deepest one in Europe) that still has a volcano in the centre. The Volcano (as they call it) last errupted in the 1950's and to this date it has a number of magmatic chambers which not only heat up its surface but also cause sulphur to come out into the sea around it tinting it a vibrant green colour. Watch out for a separate post on the Volcano in next few days!
✓ Black, red & white beaches: Because of the origin of Santorini, you can find three different types of beaches there. These have all been created by one or another type of volcanic rock (or even ash).
✓ Sunset in Oia (& everywhere else): For most, Santorini is Oia and Oia is Santorini. Oia are the windmills, the blue domes, the donkey rides into the sunset. And although the sunset is absolutely heart-skipping in Oia, it's also beautiful everywhere else on the island.
✓ Dunches & dinners: We stayed in Kamari, which is meant to be the low-key part of the island. Oh how mistaken you are if you think so! Kamari has beaches, dunches (not lunch but not dinner yet), souvenir shops and pretty hotels & apartments with very limited amount of wild holiday children on leashes (we're not particularly fond of those, soz not soz). The dunches in Kamari were the best though - stuffed peppers and tomatoes (local produce!), grilled sardines, salmon and shrimp salads, mmm!
✓ Friendliness of locals: Locals in Santorini are the nicest - they are quite abrupt to close a sale but once you get pass the salesmanship struggle, they are so so friendly!
✓ Roaring of the airplanes: Because Santorini is oh so tiny, you can hear the airplanes from everywhere. Our hotel was a stone throw from the airport which meant the planes were literally skirting the tops of our beach parasols. Wild!
✓ Boat trips & raging sea: Boat trips on little boats with local sea wolves who are not afraid to get you soaked with waves! Because of its volcanic origin and location above tectonic plates, Santorini is surrounded by strong currents and winds. The sea is also extremely deep and the shallow waters turn into deep waters without you expecting it!
✓ Atlantis & other stories: Santorini is like a large chest full of myths & legends. Did you know that a lot of mythological (Greek as well as Biblical) disasters can be explained by volcanic erruptions on Santorini? Starting with Atlantis, the end of Minoan civilisation on Crete, and ending with the ten plagues of Egypt.
✓ The Pompey of Santorini: Finally, something you cannot miss when on Santorini is Acrotiri - the local Pompey. It's a city which dates back 3,000 years. It was only discovered in the past century and the archaeologists have been working on excavations ever since. Acrotiri illustrates how advanced the Santorinian civilisation was before it was cut short by yet another volcanic erruption. The houses excavated had three stories, toilets and were mind-blowingly similar to what our villages look like now.
Have you ever been to Santorini?
Leave your holiday memories in the comments below!