Santorini's boutique hotels and fine dining make it one of the classier (and pricier) Greek islands, but this is balanced by the down-to-earth hospitality and tradition for which Greece is renowned. You'll also find family-run tavernas, and away from the main tourist spots Greek life goes on as it has done for centuries.
When to Go
July and August are the hottest and busiest months, but with average temperatures in the low eighties, it's seldom unbearably hot though heatwaves do occur. A more relaxing and slightly cooler time to visit is May through June and September through October. Winter is best avoided as although the temperatures will be mild, you'll also get days of wind and rain.
There's no better time to find the real Santorini than at Easter, which is celebrated as traditionally here as it is everywhere else in Greece. Check the dates as Greek Orthodox Easter only occasionally coincides with Easter in most other countries. July not only sees the Santorini Jazz Festival, there's also an abundance of local feast days to encourage you to get out into the island's villages.
What to Eat
Santorini has several dishes which are either unique to the island or local variations on Greek dishes. Eggplant with mozzarella owes its flavor to Santorini's white eggplants, originally imported from Egypt and given a sweet and juicy taste thanks to the island's volcanic soil. That sweetness also applies to the island's tomatoes which go into tomatokeftedes. These are like meatballs and flavored with mint and other herbs.
Souvenir to Take Home
Santorini produces some classy wines from its indigenous grape varieties, especially dessert wines. The Italian Vin Santo sweet wine takes its name from Santorini, and the island has its own variation, called Vinsanto. The volcanic soil also gives dry wines a flinty minerality, distinctive of Santorini.
Sustainable Travel Tip
You can rent cars on Santorini but why not rent a bicycle instead? You could cycle from Oia in the very north to the archaeological site of Akrotiri in the far south in little over an hour. Everywhere on the island is accessible by bike.
The entire island is so Instagrammable you'll be spoilt for choice, but visiting Oia for the spectacular sunsets will guarantee color, only matched by the island's red beach and black beach. Yes, they really are that color.