Imagine sitting on your private balcony, high on a cliff, overlooking the Aegean Sea and the blue-and-white city of Santorini, Greece. It is the ultimate destination for couples, and the supreme spot for honeymooners. As you explore the island it’s impossible not to run into a bride and groom posing for wedding photos in the post card villages of Oia, Fira, or Imerovigli. Lovers walk hand in hand, perusing the many shops selling jewelry and gems. Husbands and wives snuggle in infinity pools looking out over the caldera.
Santorini is part of a group of islands formed by a giant volcanic eruption over 3,600 years ago. This eruption collapsed the center of one large island, breaking it into an archipelago. Several islands now surround the still-active volcano, which is located hundreds of meters beneath the water. Santorini is the largest of the islands housing picturesque villages clinging to its 300-meter (900 feet) high cliffs.
When visiting Santorini it’s not about racing around the island to check off a list of things to see and do, it’s more about stealing quiet moments to take in the exquisite views.
It’s all about the sunsets here. People gather each evening to watch it sink behind the caldera from the ruins of a byzantine castle. It’s a beautiful sight, but crowds can be brutal. That’s why staying at a cave hotel perched on the edge of the volcano is the way to go. We had our own private viewing of sunset from the Iconic Santorini Cave Hotel in Imerovigli. From our personal balcony, we relaxed in silence. We were free from the crowds, which left time to appreciate the scene. Built into the side of the cliffs, countless exclusive cave hotels line the rim of the caldera, offering couples privacy and seclusion.
My husband Dave and I awoke each morning to a private breakfast served on our balcony. Creamy Greek yogurt and honey, delicious local produce, and rich coffee started our day before we set out to explore the island.
Dining is a major part of the experience in Santorini. Each evening we’d choose a restaurant to enjoy extraordinary Greek dishes like muscles and shrimp saganaki, or Santorinian tomato keftedes followed by delicious baklava. There are many restaurants to choose from, but it’s the terraces lining the caldera that always fill up first.
We took our time during our seven days in Santorini, not wanting to rush one moment in paradise. After walking through the maze of narrow white walking paths in the towns, we spent the rest of day driving around to explore every corner.
Renting a car is reasonable, and offers more freedom than taking a bus or taxi. We were happy to be able to come and go as we pleased, and spent time checking out the various beaches of Santorini.
The most popular beach on the island is Black Beach. This volcanic sand beach makes for a delightful day trip where you can stroll along the waterfront lined with beach huts and cafés. The Aegean Sea is warm and inviting and the perfect escape from the Mediterranean heat.
If you are looking for something quieter, Red Beach is another option. This beach requires a bit of a hike over a rocky shore, but once you turn the corner, you are treated to jaw-dropping views of stark red cliffs towering over a small sandy beach. It is here that catamarans stop for a dip in the sea, and that’s exactly what we did on our catamaran sunset cruise.
If you truly want to see a different side of Santorini, you must see it by boat. We booked a semi private catamaran tour that offered up close and personal views of the staggering sea cliffs of the island.
Sitting on the front of the boat, feeling the wind in our hair and watching the scenery pass as we sailed along the shore, is pure romance. With Dave’s arms draped around my shoulders, I felt that there is no place I’d rather be.
Santorini was made for romance. If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion, or simply to be with the one you love, this is the place for couples.