Traveling to any European city in mid-August is like visiting a ghost town.
Paris streets are empty, rainy London is depressing, and even the protesters from Syntagma Square in Athens take a break from the heat.
Coastline cities and the Greek islands, on the other hand, are slammed with tourists.
Santorini, part of the Cyclades cluster of islands in Greece, is one of the most popular destinations in the world. In Travel + Leisure's 2013 World's Best Islands survey, it ranked #4. The island's livelihood depends almost entirely on the tourism industry, and prices have remained high despite the crisis.
Hotels in Santorini are abundant and range from affordable to ultra chic. In 2012, the Financial Times showcased the exclusive property "The Hideaway," which has a rate of $8,000 per day.
Visitors to Santorini won't spend much time in their rooms, though. Swimming at the Red Beach is transformational, taverna style fish meze beckon, and the cliffside views and sunset demand your attention.
A massive volcanic explosion in 3600 BC contributed to its unique terrain and arid landscape.
More than 1.5 million tourists visit the island each year, primarily during the summer months.
Santorini is known for its breathtaking views. Most hotels are built into the cliff-side on multiple levels, which provide awesome vistas. Be prepared to give your calves a workout.
Despite warnings about falling rocks, tourists clammer to the Red Beach, known for its iron-rich sand.
If you’re willing to trek off road or on foot, swimming coves offer access to irresistible crystal blue water and draw-dropping scenery.
Every corner presents a photo op for a perfectly set still life. At the peak of tourist season, a three-star hotel starts at $150 per night.
Happily embracing its reputation for being one of the most romantic destinations in the world; you will likely catch a wedding while you’re there.
Seaside, meze style lunches offer fish like red snapper, sea bream and fangru fresh from hook to table.
The native variety “Santorini” cherry tomato is a popular staple on restaurant menus. Try the fritters with lemon or yogurt.
A seven-mile long footpath stretches across the coastline from the port city of Fira to the island’s most northern point, Oia.
Santorini is best known for its sunsets. Throngs of tourists and amateur photographers convene at various lookout points every night for the magic hour.
If you’re lucky to catch the full moon over the caldera, it’s a stunner.
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