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Santorini is one of the most intriguing of the Greek islands, seemingly formed in a crescent-shape, curving around the deep blue waters. Santorini was, in fact, a far more regular island shape, before a volcanic eruption in 1450BC caused the island's centre to collapse into the sea! The crater that this eruption left can be seen poking its head just above the surface of the Aegean, giving the illusion of another smaller island enclosed by Santorini's dramatic cliffs.
This tiny island isn't the place to head for all-night parties and garish tourist attractions. Instead, it offers a taste of authentic island life, with whitewashed houses stacked up the hillsides, dome-topped churches and winding cobbled streets. Thira, the island's capital, is a popular place to stay, and as picture-perfect as Greek island resorts come. If you're feeling energetic, you can hike from Thira to another popular island spot, Oia, and be treated to breathtaking views across to the crater on your way.
Time spent in Thira will mean discovering the ancient archaeological site of Akrotiri, a town that was buried by volcanic ash and which was only re-discovered 50 years ago. With just a tiny percentage of the town's ruins excavated, the potential for future discoveries of important artefacts is huge!
Over in Oia the journey back in time continues, with Byzantine castle ruins to explore. The Mnemossyne Artists House is also well worth a visit for those with an interest in fine art, photography and antique jewellery.
While Santorini isn't renowned for soft golden sands, beach lovers won't be disappointed with the dark, volcanic stretches of coastline. Kamari Beach is one of the most popular with holidaymakers, with plenty of sunloungers and beach umbrellas for you to make your own. You'll also find the site of 11th century ancient ruins as well as, for light relief, the Escape Land entertainment complex and the fantastic open air cinema.
The beaches of Akrotiri, including White Beach and Red Beach, are also key attractions on the island, and this area is the perfect place to indulge in a little coastal exploration.
Forget all night parties and raucous 'bar streets'. Holidays to Santorini offer a slice of the quieter Greek island lifestyle, where picture-postcard sugar cube houses line the hillsides and a wealth of ancient sites await discovery.
Book your flights to Santorini with Thomascook Airlines for a relaxing break crammed with culture and stunning coastlines that won't break the bank.