When it comes to Europe’s most exclusive luxury destinations, Santorini is one of the first places that comes to mind. This breath-taking Greek island, set in the azure waters of the south Aegean sea, is the most sought-after holiday spot not just in the Cyclades, but in the entire country – and if you’ve ever been fortunate to set eyes on it, then it’s easy to see why.
Home to a spectacular stretch of volcanic sand, stunning volcanic scenery, an awe-inspiring caldera, and those iconic white-washed buildings, affluent visitors flock to the island each and every summer for its show-stopping sunsets and sophisticated vibe. Offering an exclusive feel thanks to its array of opulent five-star hotels and villas and chic restaurants and bars, it’s the perfect place to celebrate the first summer of normality since the pandemic, whether with family or friends, or as a solo traveller.
Unsure how to get the most out of your stay on the island? Then look no further, because we’ve rounded up our top tips for a memorable luxury break on Santorini this summer.
Book a sailing tour
Hopping on a luxury yacht or catamaran and exploring the island or the open sea is one of the best things to do when holidaymaking at Santorini, whether you have come with a group of friends or the entire family. There are many different cruise options to consider, including private, semi-private and group tours, most of which offer a full dinner or barbecue experience onboard the vessel and stops at the most popular (and also more remote) attractions to enjoy yourselves with swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving and sunbathing.
If you’re keen to explore beyond Santorini itself, then it’s also possible to visit neighbouring Cycladic islands, such as the cosmopolitan Mykonos or idyllic Paros. You could even organise a boat party and create unforgettable moments with your loved ones for a special occasion, taking in many of the most beautiful sights in the Cyclades as you listen to music and sip on champagne.
Tip: Joining a boat tour is a fantastic way to meet new people, given that most local sailing cruises can accommodate up to 50 to 60 people. So, loneliness won’t be something to worry about, even if travelling solo. But if you’re looking for exclusivity, then chartering a private yacht or catamaran will ensure an opulent experience.
Swim in the azure waters at volcanic sand beaches
Santorini’s volcanic landscape sets the scene for a variety of unique adventures on multiple levels. Start by soaking up some rays at the enticing Perissa and Kamari beaches, which can’t help but impress with their reddish volcanic sand and azure waters. Both are great options for families with children, as they can play games on the sand while the parents unwind and enjoy the peace. If you’re travelling with friends and are looking for some more vibrant beach fun, then head over to Perivolos Beach for plenty of beach bars, cocktails, and summer events and parties. Its hugely popular Wet Stories and JoJo beach bars are spots you won’t want to miss.
For complete seclusion and tranquillity, on the other hand, there are plenty of less crowded coves along the Santorini coastline that you can enjoy with a good book or your favourite cocktail, with just a handful of other like-minders seeking some tranquil and serene me-time. Ask at your hotel or chat with the locals for some insider tips on where to find them.
Enrich your afternoon and evening hours
Although not as legendary as the nightlife of nearby Mykonos island, Santorini offers plenty of afternoon and after-dark entertainment. The Queen of the Cyclades is home to an amazing nightlife scene and a more-than-satisfactory range of clubs and bars to keep you partying until the early hours if that’s the vibe you’re looking for.
There are also plenty of chic bars where you can enjoy some relaxing sundowners as you take in the island’s breath-taking sunsets, and some excellent eateries where you can enjoy everything from local cuisine to globally-inspired fine dining.
The great thing about Santorini nightlife is that it has something to suit all tastes and requirements, from a chilled evening out with the little ones or a nice romantic dinner for two to partying on a volcanic sand beach or club overlooking the Aegean Sea.
And if you’re travelling solo, then the chances are that you won’t be for much longer, as globetrotters choosing this beautiful Cycladic island as their summer destination often come for its friendly and welcoming vibe; the ambiance is totally party-like; and the overall sensation swirling in the air is much more than just invigorating for the body, mind and soul – and if you’re open to it, perhaps even attracting your soulmate.
Sampling delicious local cuisine (and wine)
Santorini is home to some delectable produce that you won’t find elsewhere, including the white eggplant and a special tomato variety that makes for the most mouth-watering tomatokeftedes (tomato fritters), amongst others. Of course, there’s plenty of fresh seafood to indulge in, too, as well as an awe-inspiring list of award-winning local wines to wash it all down with. From traditional seaside tavernas and caldera-perched restaurants with sweeping views of the Aegean to rooftop eateries and street food vendors, the dining options on the island are endless.
Tip: While Greece might not be as known for its wines as some other European nations, it might surprise you to know that Santorini produces its very own. Be sure to sample a glass of Assyrtiko wine while you’re here – or better yet, take a wine-tasting tour that will transport you to the most prestigious local wineries to enjoy their artistic environment, abundant cellars, superb views, and a lavish dining experience for those who want to plan a special dinner.
Whatever the reason of your visit to Santorini, no matter who you will be coming with, and irrespective of how long you are planning to stay on the hypnotic Queen of the Cyclades, be sure to book yourself an opulent luxury suite or private villa with stunning seascapes and a full range of top-tier amenities, high-end facilities and premium services for the perfect base in which to unwind, recharge your batteries, and maximise the overall experience. Luckily, some of the world’s highest-ranking five-star hotels just so happen to be located on the island, so book early, and you’ll have little trouble finding somewhere truly special.