Santorini

Santorini entrances from the very first glance. This Greek island is known for its white-washed houses and cornflower blue rooves, its atmospheric towns and its dramatic sunsets over the ancient caldera. But where do you start on your first visit to Santorini?

Our two revolutionary new ships, Celebrity Edge® and Celebrity Apex, will be sailing to Santorini between May and October 2020, so we’ve rounded up six of our must-see sights, from unmissable beaches to the best wineries. Pack your sun cream and your camera, and prepare to be dazzled by this Cycladic isle.

1.

Red Beach

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches in Santorini, but none are quite as distinctive as Red Beach (also known as Kokkini Beach). It gets its name from the distinctive rusty colour of the volcanic sand and surrounding cliffs. Laze on the sand, paddle in the surf or go snorkelling.

Other notable beaches include Perissa, with its striking black sand, and Cape Columbo, which has a wilder feel with less tourists and rows of craggy cliffs.

2.

Akrotiri

This ancient Minoan city was buried by ash from a volcanic eruption in 1613 BC, and only unearthed in 1967. You can now wander around the perfectly preserved Akrotiri and imagine what life was like when it was inhabited in around 1450 BC. Shadowy walkways reveal clay homes, three storey buildings and historic drainage systems as well as pottery and artefacts.

Recommended Shore Excursion: Explore this ancient city by joining us on our Akrotiri and Oia Village shore excursion.

Akrotiri is easy to reach from the Santorini cruise port; only a 25-minute drive away down the coast.

3.

The Caldera

The Santorini caldera is perhaps its most famous feature. It sits mostly submerged in the Aegean Sea forming a crescent moon-shaped bay that’s surrounded by dramatic cliffs, topped by tiny villages. It was formed as a result of a volcanic eruption in the Minoan age. The caldera is completely filled with water, reaching a depth of around 400 metres.

No trip to Santorini is complete without admiring the sun set over the sea and the caldera. It’s best witnessed from a traditional hilltop restaurant, crisp glass of white wine in hand.

Recommended Shore Excursion: Explore the Caldera by catamaran on our Sailing at the Caldera shore excursion, which also includes Volcano Island and the Hot Springs.

4..

Cycladic Churches

If you can’t get enough of the idyllic white churches found on almost every Santorini postcard, head to Imerovigli. This quaint little town overlooking the caldera is most famous for its traditional churches, all of which feature the Cycladic style.

The most photographed sight in all of Santorini is the Three Bells of Fira, officially known as the Catholic Church of Koimisi Tis Theotokou. The three bells from which the church takes its name look directly out over the water, and are backed by a distinctive blue dome. 

5.

Oia

The town of Oia overlooks the caldera and typifies Santorini, with its white cliffside buildings gleaming in the sun. While here, pay a visit to the Naval Maritime Museum which chronicles the island’s sea-faring history with old chests and ship models. Or you might choose to check out the ruins of Oia Castle, a striking Venetian structure which dates back to the late 15th century.

Keen photographers can’t miss the Byzantine Castle Ruins: the remains of a hilltop settlement which overlooks the city.

Recommended Shore Excursion: On our Island of Santorini and Oia tour, browse the local boutiques and art galleries of Oia’s winding streets before exploring the clifftop village of Fira.

6.

Wineries

Santorini is home to a number of wineries, which produce some of the most delicious wines in Greece. The island’s fertile volcanic soil creates distinctive and flavoursome wines, and has made Santorini one of the oldest wine producing regions in the world. We recommend Sigalas Winery, where grapes are harvested according to an ancient technique called koulara – in which the vines themselves are woven into baskets.

At Santos Wines, you can take a tasting tour before relaxing on the terrace overlooking the caldera.

Recommended Shore Excursion: Carry on the wine adventure with our Pyrgos Village with Mezes and Wine Tour. You’ll visit the oldest winery on the island, Venetsanos Winery.

The island of Santorini is waiting. Browse all of our Europe and Greek cruises now to find your perfect itinerary, and start dreaming about your next cruise.