Travel: Santorini

By Mike Yardley

Grab a fast ferry and hop across to spell-binding Santorini, for a gravity-defying, island experience. Colonised by the Minoans in 3000BC, this volcanic island erupted in 1450BC, forming Santorini's crescent shape.

The catastrophic eruption is blamed for the lost kingdom of Atlantis. The main town of Fira has a bird's-eye view on the caldera, ingeniously built on the cliffside, 150m above the sea. Terraced into the volcanic cliffs with ornate domed churches and barrel-roofed cave houses, the island is a non-stop photogenic medley. The terraces are studded with stepped streets and pastel-coloured hotels. One of Santorini's quintessential experiences is to savour a sunset from one of the cliffside bars, on the lip of the caldera. Quench your thirst as you watch the sun slink into the sea.

Another box-ticker is to traverse the donkey trail, which snakes its way up the vertiginous Cliffside. For the unadventurous, a cable car plies the same route. At the northern tip of the island, Oia is a beautiful village which is so perfectly painted and manicured you may feel like you have entered Toy Town. Souvenir-hunters are spoilt for choice in Fira, with authentic handicrafts on sale. Popular items include leatherwork, worry beads, local jewellery, wall hangings and lacework.

- Hamilton News

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