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Best locations in Greece for a villa holiday: Santorini Island

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Santorini, Greece
Greece offers many great experiences for the holiday maker.  Whether on a sun-drenched island, a quiet beach or in a major modern and bustling city, there is so much to choose from, offering a different experience every time you visit the country. Discover Greece by visiting a couple of these very best locations in Santorini for a villa holiday on a sun-drenched and beautiful island:
For a perfect picture-postcard experience, you just can't beat the island of Santorini. 

Located in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of Greece's mainland, Santorini is one of several islands that remained after an enormous volcanic eruption destroyed the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island.  The results of this eruption can still be seen today in the current geological caldera

The main island of Santorini itself slopes down to the Aegean Sea.  While the island's main port is Athinias, its capital is the city of Firá, which hangs from the very top of the cliff looking down onto the lagoon.

All the way down the hillsides, beautiful white buildings of the traditional construction can be seen, with the odd ochre colored home and the iconic bright blue domes dotted amongst the view.

Fira on Santorini Island in Greece
Firá, Santorini. Photo:CC BY-SA Vstyslav Chernov

Santorini. Photo:CC BY-SA Simm
Santorini, along with Anafi, are the only locations in Europe which feature a hot desert climate and Santorini basically experiences two seasons with April to October being the warm, dry season and November to March the colder, rainy season.  This offers an opportunity throughout most of the year for visitors to enjoy the best weather.

The island's capital, Firá offers a series of white-washed houses hanging on the edge of the high caldera. 

The city also has two museums of interest to visitors: the Archaeological Museum of Thera and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, with the latter built on the site of an earlier church destroyed in the 1956 earthquake.  There are several shops and cafes to visit along Firáís narrow footpaths.

Oia and the Windmill

Another great location on the island of Santorini is the beautiful Oia.  Perched on the cliff's edge, Oia is particularly well-known for its picturesque and white-washed windmill (pictured right)..

The town offers the iconic white-washed houses of Santorini, which in many cases have been built into niches, which were formerly the cave houses used by ship crews in the distant past.  Between the houses there are narrow alleyways and dotted among them can be seen the traditional blue-roof churches.

Besides the fact that the white paint is attractive there was another reason for white-washing the homes. When decorating, the villagers use white lime water, which causes the rainwater which falls on the houses to run down and be collected for use by the residents.

Windmill in Oia, Santorini
Oia, Santorini. Photo:CC BY-SA Vstyslav Chernov
Oia Church
Oia Church, Santorini. Photo:CC Nadia Prigoda
With many of the houses built into the former caves, this has the added benefit of keeping the houses warm in winter and cool in summer.

Besides the iconic windmill, the city has several sights to offer including a ruined castle, right at the pinnacle point of Oia, which was once the eat of the Argyri family under the Venetians in the past. The castle offers an excellent 360-degree view. 

In the town itself there are many small shops and kiosks selling a range of ethnic handicrafts, jewellery and sourvenirs.  Art lovers will find several small art galleries dotted around town,  including Art Gallery Oia and The Art Gallery.

An interesting popular attraction in Oia is that is sunset viewing - and the sunsets are spectacular indeed.  A special event is held every evening from the Sunset Seranade point with crowds of visitors and locals gathered to watch the spectacle, when the white houses and the caldera catch all the colours of the setting sun for a few seconds.

Staying over in either Firá or Oia makes for a scenic and truly beautiful location, offering everything a visitor could possibly desire.

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Latest update: August 26, 2014