The Greek island of Santorini is world famous for its sunsets. The villages perched on the caldera rim enjoy some of the best views in the whole of Greece. Santorini is a small island located in the south east of Greece’s Cyclades. Its crescent shape was formed around 3600 years ago when a volcanic eruption created what is now the largest caldera of its kind in the world. The incredible sunsets seen from the villages dotted along the caldera are just one of the reasons why thousands of tourists from all over the world flock to Santorini every year.
Fira and Firostefani
Fira, the capital of Santorini, is a bustling town, particularly in July and August when the narrow streets are packed with tourists. It is a great place for shopping, nightlife, bars and restaurants. Fira has an enviable view of not just the world famous sunsets but the volcano too. If you’re not staying in town, then the most relaxing way to watch the sun go down is over dinner in one of the many restaurants located just off the caldera path. A restaurant called Vanilla in Firostefani, which serves excellent food using locally sourced ingredients, has a great view. Housed in a stone windmill dating from 1872, the restaurant’s roof terrace allows you to watch the sunset whilst enjoying dinner and a glass of Santorini wine.
Located on the northern tip of Santorini, Oia has uninterrupted views out to the Aegean Sea and is considered the best place on the island to watch the sunset. Unless you are staying in one of the many hotels clinging to the caldera edge, you will have to share the experience with hundreds of other people crammed onto the cobbled streets. Book a table at Skala and you can relax in comfort on the largest terrace in Oia. An alternative view of the sunset can be experienced at one of the fish restaurants at Ammouthi, a fishing village at the base of the volcanic cliff that leads up to Oia. The water is turquoise blue and beautifully clear and the seafood at the restaurants is fresh and delicious.
Quieter than both Fira and Oia, its position on the caldera edge, only 2.5 kilometers from Fira makes it the perfect village to peacefully enjoy the view from. There are many good hotels along the path but a fifteen minute walk from the center of Imerovigli brings you to Anastasis Apartments. This hotel, currently voted number one on TripAdvisor out of all the hotels on the island, has both apartments and suites with breathtaking views across the caldera towards the volcano and Oia. The hotel even has a hot tub, which can be privately booked for an hour or two to enjoy the sunset with a complimentary glass of chilled wine and Greek mezze.
Pyrgos and Akrotiri
Further inland, Pyrgos village is situated at the highest point on Santorini and offers panoramic views of the whole island. Away from the crowds this traditional village has a slower pace of life compared to the villages and towns on the caldera, but still has plenty of tavernas to choose from. Akrotiri at the peaceful western tip of Santorini, is perched high on the caldera. It’s worth the effort to make the trip there as it has far reaching views all the way across the caldera towards the volcano and Oia beyond. It has the added bonus of being near to one of Santorini’s colourful beaches, the Red beach. There are fish taverns close by if you’re hungry after a swim.
Santorini sunsets and more
Santorini does have more to offer than just the incredible sunsets, but there aren’t many places in the world that can beat its caldera view. Santorini is an island of contrasts, not least because of its geography. Volcanic black cliffs rise up from the sea on which picturesque villages with whitewashed buildings and blue-domed churches perch. Inland the spectacle of the caldera is contrasted with a treeless landscape sloping towards the black, red, white and pebbly beaches on the east side of the island. The best of Santorini can be found everywhere, in the food, the wine, the people, the villages and taverns, the incredible caldera, and of course in its famous sunsets.