Why You Should Visit Santorini This Year
The gem of the Aegean Sea, Santorini is one of the hottest destinations to visit this year. Read on to find out why it should be at the top of your 2019 travel list.
Santorini, also known as Thera or Thira, is actually the name for a group of small Greek islands – Thíra, Thirassiá, Asproníssi, Palea and Nea Kaméni, located to the south-east of the Greek mainland.
Named after Saint Irene, or Irini, Santorini was voted one of the world’s most beautiful islands by Trip Advisor users in 2015. Located around halfway between Athens and Crete, the island receives more than 2 million tourists a year.
What to see
The group of islands that form the larger Santorini area are actually the result of one of the biggest ever volcanic eruptions in history. The eruption destroyed the single original island around 1600 BC and left behind the smaller islands we know today.
The volcano is still active and erupts roughly every 20,000 years. This makes the destination a must-see for geology lovers. In fact, the entire island is a treasure trove of volcanic history and structures.
The last recorded volcanic activity on Santorini was back in 1950. Then, a number of buildings were ruined and villages left deserted as a result.
If you venture further south of the island’s capital, Fira, you can visit Santorini’s very own Pompeii. The town of Akrotiri is home to the ruins of a Minoan city which was devastated by the famous volcanic eruption of 1600 BC.
Santorini’s famous “caldera”, the crater left by the volcanic eruption which now forms the island’s jagged and colourful coastline, is a beautiful place to explore on foot.
What to eat
The volcanic ash in the soil on Santorini helps islanders to produce some delicious food. Tuck into the tastiest tomatoes in the world and sweet white aubergines which can be eaten raw.
Local speciality dishes include yellow split pea dip fava, cod dish brantada, tomato fritters known as tomatokeftdes and the traditional white aubergine dish, koskosela. All of these dishes are traditional to Santorini, so prepare for an authentic taste sensation.
What to drink
Despite the arid climate, Santorini actually has a thriving wine industry. The island’s traditional drink is vinsanto, a sweet, amber dessert wine aged for up to 25 years.
Wine lovers can also enjoy the island’s own strong, dry and citrussy white wines. However, if beer is your tipple, check out ales produced by Santorini Brewing Company, the island’s only brewery.
What to do
Santorini is famous for its picture-perfect sunsets, whitewashed buildings and clear blue sea. So, it’s the ideal place to simply relax and enjoy a romantic (and highly Instragrammable) getaway. And the romance doesn’t end there, as Santorini is becoming more and more popular as a wedding destination, too. If you’re looking for the ideal place to get married in Greece, or the most fairytale destination wedding in Europe, it’s worth checking out.
If you like to see the explore, take a hike or day cruise around the caldera. A boat trip will enable you to discover thermal waters, ancient churches built into caves and much more.
If you enjoy a drink, visit Santorini’s volcanic vineyards for tours and tasting sessions. You can also take a tour of the island’s aforementioned microbrewery to sample the beers on offer.
And if you fancy something a little different, check out the island’s open-air cinema. Screening English language movies with Greek subtitles, it’s a hit with locals and tourists alike.
Where to stay
The island’s two main towns are Fira and Oia. Fira is the capital, and it’s close to two smaller nearby villages packed with beautiful hotels (and jaw-dropping views). Oia is further south and has its own bustling tourist trade, offering more high-end accommodation.
Both Oia, Fira and its surrounding villages offer those incredible views as their hotels and villas thanks to their caldera location. However, such stunning scenery comes at a price.
If you’re travelling on a shoestring, Fira has its own campsite and more budget-friendly accommodation a short distance away from the caldera.
Akrotiri is a more affordable place to stay, but can further away from the action if you’re looking for the buzz of the main part of the island.
Kamari is a good compromise, as it’s cheaper than the more touristy towns and you can easily reach Fira by bus.
How to get to Santorini from Glasgow Airport
Sadly, there are no direct flights from Glasgow Airport to Santorini at the moment. However, there are plenty of other ways you can reach the island.
Fly to Manchester then hop on a direct flight to Santorini’s own airport. Or, fly direct from Glasgow Airport to Athens then catch a domestic flight from Athens to Santorini. You can also travel from Athens to Santorini by boat.
Where to book your airport parking when you visit Santorini
However you reach Santorini, you’re sure to have an amazing trip to this fabulous island. Don’t forget, we offer Park Mark approved airport parking from the following airports, to help you plan your trip:
Glasgow Airport parking
Edinburgh Airport parking
Gatwick Airport parking
Luton Airport parking