As iconic for its wild volcanic landscapes as it is for its whitewashed cliff-top villages, Santorini is steeped in ancient myth and bursting with natural beauty. Blue-domed churches look out from great heights over a stunning caldera, and warm Mediterranean waters lap at black-sand beaches. Located just up the coast from Fira, Imerovigli is built high on the rocks overlooking the caldera. The bars and clubs found elsewhere on the island are not permitted in Imerovigli, making it particularly serene and picturesque.
The island appeals to all types of travelers, from those who wish to explore by hiking or kayaking to archaeology buffs and beach lovers. And it’s small enough that most sites are a short drive away. The ruins of Akrotiri, frozen in time much like Pompeii by a volcanic eruption, are just a half hour south, and it takes only fifteen minutes to get to the charming town of Oia, perched on the northern tip of the island. The remnants of a medieval Venetian castle still stand on Skaros Rock, just below the hotel, and nearby trails lead to Theoskepasti church, built at the edge of the cliff with magnificent views of the volcanic islands of Palaia Kameni and Nea Kameni.
Santorini was forged by a massive volcanic eruption—one of the most powerful in history—some 3,600 years ago. The blast left an enormous underwater caldera, several still-simmering volcanic islands, and one flank of the mountainside jutting dramatically out of the sea. Not only is the eruption credited by some with bringing about the end of Minoan civilization, it also is thought to have given birth to the myth of the lost city of Atlantis. This ancient geological upheaval still defines Santorini, from the precipitous cliffs that edge the island to the black-sand beaches and the smoldering isle of Nea Kameni.
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