Renowned for its whitewashed hilltop towns and spectacular sunsets, Santorini features prominently on many a traveller’s bucket list. Here are five more reasons why the island is a must-see destination when on a luxury yacht charter in Greece.
The iydillic island was formed thousands of years ago by a colossal volcanic eruption, which caused its central point to sink into the sea, leaving behind a crescent-shaped rim of towering cliffs on its western edge and a caldera filled with glittering turquoise waters.
Perched atop the sheer rock faces are whitewashed houses and blue-doomed churches, creating picturesque landscapes immediately associated with the Greek isle. But, in this article, we list even more reasons why you should visit Santorini on a private yacht charter.
1. Multi-coloured beaches
The beaches of Santorini are unlike any others found in Greece. Rather than the dazzling white sand beaches found throughout the country, the island boasts a fabulous collection of different coloured sand and pebble beaches thanks to its unique volcanic nature.
Red Beach is situated on the south-west coast and, as its name suggests, features a strip of vibrant red sand and matching lava-coloured cliffs. Difficult to reach by foot, the shore is best approached via tender, meaning luxury yacht-goers are in a prime position to pay a visit.
In the south-east, a two-kilometre sweep of black sand and pebbles form part of the upmarket village of Kamari, while not much further along the coast is a expanse of dark volcanic sand making up the beaches of Perissa, Perivolos and Agios Georgios.
2. Healing hot springs
Palea Kameni is a small island lying at the centre of Santorini’s caldera and, due to its volcanic nature, hot springs are located off its coast. Yacht-goers arriving by tender can jump straight in and rejuvenate in the deliciously warm waters.
The high sulphur content is responsible for both the orange-tinged waters and the distinctive smell, yet also rich in iron and manganese, the springs are recognised for their therapeutic healing properties. But, beware, don’t wear your best swimming costume as the sulphur can turn it orange.
Another activity to include in your itinerary before or after visiting the hot springs is climbing the active volcano on Nea Kameni, a nearby island. It’s possible to hike along its black lava sides, which contrast spectacularly with the sapphire skies, and trekkers will also be rewarded with wonderful views of the iconic hilltop village of Oia.
3. Wine Tasting
Islanders say there’s more wine than water on Santorini and, accordingly, there are a number of excellent vineyards where yacht-goers can learn about the island’s viticulture as well as sample the locally cultivated delights.
What is most significant about the wineries in Santorini is the way the vines grow. Tightly bunched together, they are packed close to the earth to protect them from the island’s strong sea winds, and it is this sea air along with the rich volcanic soil that give the grapes their distinctive acidic flavour.
Wineries to visit include the old ‘kanava’ of Roussos renowned for its Thiran grapes and traditional methods, and the Boutari Winery, which is behind many award-winning white varieties and located near Faros. For wines with sensational layers of complexity try the Argyros Estate in Episkopi.
4. Ancient Thira
The fascinating ruins of Ancient Thira are situated on a high rocky headland called Mesa Vouno in the south east of Santorini. Not only are there many ancient buildings here but the views across the island and the Aegean Sea are incredible.
First inhabited by the Dorians in the 9th century BC, the 369-metre-high hilltop was also home to settlers in the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine eras, meaning the excavated buildings here are a mix of different periods.
Key monuments include the Sanctuary of Artemidoros and the Sanctuary of Apollo Karneios, an agora lined with several monuments and the Royal Stoa, the Temple of Dionysus, a 2nd century AD gymnasium for Ephebes, cemeteries and a theatre built in the 1st century AD.
5. World-class dive sites
The volcanic geology of Santorini makes for great scuba diving opportunities. Many interesting sites are found within the caldera lagoon such as the Faros Reef, located just after the lighthouse on the inside of the caldera and great for beginners.
Other colourful, marine-rich diving spots include the Adiavatous Reef located on the rim of the caldera, the twin black-sand sites of Perissa and Kamari Rock, the shallow, clear waters of the House Reef and the Volcano, where abundant sea creatures flock to the wreck of a tour boat.
For fantastic geological features such as enormous boulders, striking caverns and canyons, and swim throughs head to the Caves on the island’s south coast, while an uninhabited island in the west of the caldera known as White Island offers outstanding wall dives.
Renowned for its whitewashed hilltop towns and spectacular sunsets, Santorini features prominently on many a traveller’s bucket list