Santorini, the southernmost of the Greek Cyclades, has to be one of the world's most dramatically beautiful islands. Its unique topography is the result of a massive volcanic eruption some 3,600 years ago, which blew the middle out of the island to create a caldera, a volcanic crater filled with deep blue water from the Mediterranean Sea.
The most memorable way to approach the island is by sea. As you sail into the caldera, red-and-black sheer cliffs rise directly from the water, their tops dusted by what at first looks like a sprinkling of snow. Then, as you get closer, the snow takes the shape of Cycladic buildings hanging precariously off the hillsides. Zigzagging lines across the rock face become recognizable as roads that lead up from the sea to whitewashed houses perching on the cliffs.
These are the settlements of Fira and Oia, known for their quaint cobbled alleys, white cubic buildings, chic boutique hotels with infinity pools, gourmet restaurants and unforgettable sunsets. All these things add up to make Santorini an incredibly romantic holiday retreat for couples of all ages, as well as a wonderfully glamorous wedding and honeymoon destination.
It's not surprising that Santorini's spectacular setting has made it one of the most-visited islands in Greece—in peak season it receives some 60,000 visitors each day and up to five cruise ships every morning. It's also much loved by celebrities—visitors have included Beyonce, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
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