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Close your eyes. Now, imagine an island bathed by intense blue sea, with steep cliffs where white-washed villages featuring blue domes and narrow streets perch. Open your eyes and take it all in: you are in Santorini.
Described by many as the most spectacular of the Cyclades Islands, Santorini is a group of small volcanic islands with an impressive variety of landscapes and 69 kilometres of coastline to explore. A pearl in the middle of the Aegean Sea that is worth visiting at least once in your life.
Not surprisingly, the first inhabitants christened it Kallistē ("the most beautiful one"). Later it became known as Strongýlē ("the circular one"), and then Thera, in honour of a Spartan general who lived on the island. Finally, Venetian merchants arrived and named the island Saint Irene (Santa Irini in Italian), the name by which it is still known worldwide.
Full of zigzagging silhouettes and steep contrasts, Santorini offers visitors a unique, magical show: a volcano partially submerged below the sea.
Your arrival on the island provides the perfect opportunity to observe it. Stand on the deck and get ready to admire an unforgettable landscape: an enormous bay, 10 kilometres in diameter, whose dark blue colour contrasts with the range of hues that bathe the cliff walls. As you get closer, fix your gaze on the highest point of the island and you'll make out picturesque villages with rounded forms that look like white dots clinging to the cliffs. If you don't manage to take it in when you arrive, be sure to see it when you leave. It's like a scene from a postcard.
Once on land, you'll be amazed... By the colourful beaches of white, red and black sand. By the spectacular roads that run between cliffs and vineyards. By its main port, Athinios, which is permanently crammed full of yachts, boats and cruise liners. By the lively capital Fira, which is full of charm by day and by night. And by the thousand and one activities you can do on the island: take in a spectacular sunset in the village of Oia, take a magical boat trip around the caldera, take your mind off things on any of the beaches, enjoy a delicious dinner overlooking the volcano, go scuba diving to contemplate the abyss, travel back in time on the archaeological trail, take a trip on a donkey, discover the wine trail or simply go shopping.
Whichever option you choose, beauty is guaranteed. You'll share this beauty with a good few people, since the island welcomes more than half a million visitors every year. Indeed, if you have the opportunity to visit in low season, the experience is even more magical.