You’ve seen the postcards, but nothing prepares you for the raw intensity and devastating beauty of Santorini. The vista of dramatic caldera cliffs rearing from the Aegean and sugar cube houses dribbling seawards like gravity-defying diamonds make Santorini the can-can dancer of the Cyclades. She may seem all jazz hands and high kicks, but behind the sparkle, Instagram posts and cruise ships hides a softer, sweet side.
As Lefteris Karipidis, of bespoke guiding company Blue Shades of Greece, says: “There’s more here than just sunsets, Santorini is bursting with surprises.” Stay longer, dig deeper and get off the beaten track – that’s the message from locals this summer. Here’s how to do it.
Hidden sunset spots
There’s no denying the technicolour display of sunset from Oia, which clings to the caldera on the north of the island, is stupendous. But what the brochures don’t convey about the famed Oia Castle viewpoint is the Instagrammers twirling in ball gowns, jostling with an army of selfie sticks and the taxi jam as visitors converge on the exact same spot, at the exact same time, each day.