Santorini, Greece

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Cruising to Santorini (Thira)

Welcome to Sunset Island

The Greek islands are all steeped in history and legend, but few can claim to have a more dramatic past - or indeed present - than Santorini. Characterised by its enormous caldera, which was formed by a cataclysmic volcanic eruption some 3,600 years ago, it's a place that's alive with seismic energy. Exploring the main island and the sprinkling of small isles that can be found in the caldera itself is a real adventure, although the thing that will really take your breath away at the end of a day of discovery is the famous sunset from the town of Oia.

Perched high on a cliff overlooking the sea, Oia is characterised by its whitewashed buildings which seem to reflect the glowing red of the sky as the sun disappears into the ocean, creating a fiery scene which resembles what the island must have looked like in the moments following the enormous volcanic eruption that shaped it.

Aside from offering amazing sunsets, the town also provides some amazing daytime views across the caldera, and is well worth a visit if you've got time.

Also among the highlights of a trip to Santorini is the chance to relax on one of its many stunning beaches, with the likes of Red Beach, White Beach and Black Beach - each named for the colour of their sand, reflecting the island's volcanic geology - being some of the best places to head to for a spot of sunbathing. Aquatic activities like snorkelling and scuba diving are also available at places like Perissa Beach and Caldera Beach.

If you want to discover some history, meanwhile, you'll be pleased to know that Santorini is home to several ancient settlements, some of which have been wonderfully preserved in volcanic ash for thousands of years. Ancient Thera is perhaps the best example of this, with this Dorian colony having been founded in the 9th century BC, while an impressive array of artefacts collecting from excavations across the island can be seen at the Archaeological Museum in Fira.

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