Santorini is one of the world’s magical tourist destinations, its dark volcanic sand beaches circled by rough cliffs and a unique Cycladic architecture of flat roofs, cubic shapes, dazzling whitewashed walls and blue-domed churches.
The crescent-shaped Santorini and its neighboring islets are what remain from an enormous volcanic eruption some 3,600 years ago that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island and created the caldera, or crater, that forms Santorini’s cliffs.
A harmony between built forms and natural environment gives Santorini a unique charm. One outstanding characteristic is Santorini’s utilization of hypóskapha: extensions of houses dug sideways or downwards into the surrounding volcanic rock. The resulting rooms are highly insulated by the air-filled pumice, staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Many houses are adorned with windows, domes and balconies in cobalt blue. Structures come in a variety of idiosyncratic shapes, lining the tops of rugged cliffs and spilling down the terraced sides.
Firá is the picturesque capital of the island; perched high up on the edge of the caldera, it looks like a marvelous painting. Firá, together with Oia, Imerovígli and Firostefáni located high on a cliff, make up the so-called “Caldera’s eyebrow”, the balcony of Santorini which offers an amazing panoramic view over volcanic islands and the Aegean Sea. This is considered one of the most romantic sunset locations in the world and makes a popular location for marriage proposals. Santorini has a growing reputation as a wedding destination and honeymoon location for couples not only from Greece but from all over the world.