Places Rated: Santorini in the Balance

The November/December issue of Traveler features our annual “Places Rated” survey of destination stewardship, and this year 340 expert panelists rated 99 coastal destinations around the world. Here on the blog, we’re going to highlight some of these coastal destinations and are interested in adding your feedback to the mix. What do you think?

Greece: Santorini
Rating: 60 — “In the Balance” Category

History, culture, and dramatic geology collide on spectacular Santorini, making it “one of the world’s most outstanding places to visit”–and daily submerging it in the tide of cruise-ship passengers that such a reputation attracts. Mass tourism has washed away much of the island’s authenticity, but “care has been taken in recent years to restrict new development.”

Why did the place earn this score? Read representative panelist comments after the jump.

“One of the most photogenic Greek islands. Has lost much of its authentic character to the pressures of short-stay cruise liners and low-yield package holidays. It remains a delight; the conversion of traditional cave houses into accommodation facilities has generally been done with taste and sensitivity.”

“An absolutely amazing destination. Unfortunately, an increase in cruise tourism to the island has caused the major towns, Ia and Fira, to become overrun in peak summer months. Luckily, the southern half of the island has managed to retain most of its original charm and beauty.

Care has been taken in recent years to restrict further development.”

“Peak-season crowds keep this score from being higher. A fabulous destination with an excellent built heritage and a stunning natural setting. But, oh, the crowds.”

“Charming despite overwhelming numbers of cruise-ship visitors. The ancient city of Thera is fascinating.  Getting to it requires effort, which is good.

Unfortunately, a dearth of quality heritage interpretation means that the authentic stories of the island largely go untold.”

Survey scoring system:
   74-84 Top Rated
   65-73 Doing Well
   55-64 In the Balance
   48-54 Facing Trouble
   34-47 In Trouble
   22-34 Near Catastrophic

See all 99 ratings and representative panelist comments online and share your thoughts below.