Santorini, Greece

  View of Santorini painting by Teresa Dominici
The world famous island of Santorini is the southern most island of the Cycladic group in the Aegean Sea, and is located 63 nautical miles north of Crete.
Santorini is one of the most magical islands of Greece. It is a barren, rocky island just opposite a volcano, with black and red beaches and towns situated on high cliffs offering breathtaking views and fantastic sunsets. Santorini has a dramatic beauty as opposed to lush and green islands.
Santorini is like three islands. One side is the caldera with the villages of Thira, Imerovigli, Firastefani and Oia perched so far above the sea that it may as well be a painting. This is the commercial part of Santorini. This part of the island brings in most of the money and is completely dependent on it's image to attract the visitors.
Perissa and Kamari are full of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. There are supermarkets, campsites and even some kind of water park for kids in Perissa. Both Kamari and Perissa have diving centers. On the way to these beaches you pass through towns like Megalochori and Emborio which are agricultural communities that held out til the last minute before giving in to tourism, where you can still find restaurants that are filled with mostly Greeks.
The third part of Santorini is Akrotiri, known of course for the famous ruins from the Minoan period. The actual village of Akrotiri is not as well known and that is for a number of reasons. The main reason is that the road to the archaeological site does not even go through the town.
There is not much to see in Akrotiri town. People go about their work. They are farmers mostly or engaged in some kind of craft. Probably many of the people work in hotels and restaurants around the island. But it is a quiet village and enjoyable to wander around in. There is an old fortress at the top of the town which was destroyed during the earthquake in 1956. This was the site of the town and instead of restoring it they rebuilt the town below the fortress. You can still go up and wander around. From the top of the village you can see the caldera of the volcano and miles of grapes. In fact you can see most of the island.