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Best Islands in the World: Santorini

Best Islands in the World: Santorini among the TOP 5

Sprawling beaches, rolling waves and untouched pockets of wilderness are all credentials accredited to the best islands in the world. These islands boast a little something that keeps travelers enchanted. According to experts and U.S. News readers, Santorini is THE best island in the world.

Have you visited this unique island before? If not, what are you waiting for?

Santorini is “THE place to be” in the Cyclades. Maybe 2017 is your year to experience this magical holiday destination.

Santorini #1 Best Island in the World

Why visit Santorini

Santorini is ranked as:

Greeks often joke about the fact that many tourists know of Santorini but are not entirely sure where to find the mainland of Greece on the map. Santorini is one of the most heavily visited of the Greek Isle destinations, and Santorinians are known for their friendliness toward travelers.

Your first order of business in Santorini is to hit the colorful beaches — the black and red sands make for a memorable visit. Next up, indulge in the archaeological delights of the impressively preserved Ancient Akrotiri or climb the ancient stairs that lead to the historic city of Manolas in Thirassia. From there, catch a breathtaking view of the caldera, a brilliant turquoise pool of water that serves as a nucleus for the varied isles of this archipelago.

Some would say you only need a day to enjoy these islands’ charms (they are a popular port of call for cruise ships), but to really drink in all Santorini has to offer, you’ll need a few days to a week. Then you’ll have plenty of time to learn there’s more to these comely dots of the Cyclades than meets the eye.

What you need to know

A volcanic eruption around 1650 B.C. forced the center of what was then a single island, called Strongyli, to implode and succumb to the sea. Some say that Strongyli was the original home of the lost city of Atlantis, which long ago disappeared into the ocean’s depths. Whatever remains of this mythological metropolis is now guarded by beautiful beaches and stately whitewashed churches.

Today, Santorini consists of two inhabited islands and several islets. Most visitors spend their time on Thira (the archipelago’s largest island), which is home to Santorini’s major towns, including Fira and Oia. Sleepy Thirassia makes for a relaxing day trip too. And don’t count out the quieter islands: Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana are all worth exploring.

 

Santorini is not only a summer destination. The fall (and spring) seasons are known for warm weather, but very few tourists take advantage of it. You can find some great deals on prime hotels if you skirt the summer crowds with a shoulder season visit

Olive oil and garlic are staple ingredients in any Santorini restaurant, as are fresh vegetables, meat, and seafood. Be sure to sample a variety of dishes, such as hummus, fava, tomato keftedes, grilled octopus and lamb skewers. If you’re in the mood for a lighter meal, try a crisp salad decorated with fried calamari and feta cheese.

Pair your meal with the house wine to get a taste of the different varietals produced in the region. Santorini’s rich volcanic soil is ideal for growing grapes, making wine the beverage of choice here. Head to a local taverna to try some of the best. And of course you should save some room for sweet, creamy gelato at the end of any (or every!) meal — Lolita’s in Oia and Il Gelato D’Oro in Fira are both known for their cool, tasty treats.

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