Santorini is a dream destination for travel photography – whether you’re a pro or simply want to generate some Insta-envy, you can’t go wrong taking pictures on this gorgeous Greek island. This volcanic Cyclades island is studded with pretty cliff-side villages, blue domed churches and endless views of the shimmering Aegean Sea. So which are the best spots to document your Santorini travel?
My husband and I soon discovered that few places in the world rival the Santorini sunset or the caldera view! Here’s where you can find the best views for your photography from land and sea:
So what is this famous caldera? The crescent-shaped Santorini is actually a group of islands including Thíra, Thirassiá, Asproníssi, Palea and Nea Kaméni. This collective bunch is still an active volcano and could possibly be the only volcano in the world whose crater is in the sea!
The islands were born because of intensive volcanic activity; 12 massive eruptions followed roughly every 20,000 years, and each eruption caused the collapse of the volcano’s central core creating a large crater (the caldera). That’s why travel to this island is so unique and ideal for photography – imagine yourself on the rim of an active volcano in the middle of the sea!
Go Sailing for an Unforgettable Sunset
Santorini Sailing: Santorini is famous for its glorious sunsets, and an epic way to enjoy the vivid colours and stunning landscape is to go on a sunset cruise with Santorini Sailing. With swimming, snorkeling, dining included, you will see the Hot Springs, sail past the Volcano, Venetian Light House, Red and White Beaches and the beautiful coastline. Pure magic!
Imerovigli – the highest point on the island
Imerovigli is perched on the highest point on the caldera rim, offering one of the most spectacular panoramic views. In olden times, villagers could spot the pirate ships approaching from this vantage point. Imerovigli is about 2 kms from Fira and a sanctuary from the crowds with some lovely places to stay for discerning travel lovers. We stayed at Iconic Santorini in the village, and is one the loveliest places to park yourself and forget about the rest of the world.
Sunset at Oia
The most iconic image is taken from the pretty village of Oia (pronounced ee-ya – the locals will correct you!). Oia is a travel photography dream setting with its white washed houses, cobblestone streets, pretty churches and a view to die for. It’s no surprise that travel lovers flock here so be prepared for crowds and touristy prices, but having said that, you can’t miss the view from this cliff village.
The beaches here are unique – we went in May, so the water wasn’t warm enough for a swim, but the landscape more than made up for it. We loved the volcanic Red Beach for its dramatic cliffs of the same colour – this is also pristine snorkelling territory. Monolithos beach is perfect to travel to with kids, the black sand Agios Georgios – Perivolos beach is brimming with character. We spent one of our most relaxing days on Perissa, a blue flag beach which is essentially an extension of Perivolos. Finally, Kamari beach has not one but two blue flags!
When you travel to this island in the Cyclades, you must sample some of the exceptional wines produced from grapes grown in the volcanic soil. Some of the wineries have the most spectacular views of the caldera for photography, if the wine wasn’t incentive enough! We may have, perhaps, spent a bit too much quality time sampling a few!
Fira village is the capital, sitting pretty on the edge of a cliff, at a height of 260 meters. Naturally the view of the caldera is stunning here – another excellent point for photography. While it is undeniably busy, it’s also very convenient for transport links and hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants and also has some lovely churches and monasteries. Find all your travel needs in Fira.
Getting there & other useful info
You can fly in – that’s the quick way. But we took the scenic route – the Blue Star Ferry from Athens, which takes about eight hours to reach the volcanic island. We loved the travel experience of being on the ferry – we passed islands like Poros, Naxos and others and had a perfect vantage point for photography from the open deck.
Also, the best way to get your first memorable glimpse of the famous island is from the sea for the impact of the dramatic cliff face and its white houses set against the gorgeous Mediterranean blue. The ferry is comfortable for travel, modern and there’s plenty of room to spread out!
When to go: While May and September are pleasantly hot, the travel crowd flocks in the season between mid-June and August when the water is warm.
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