Peace, antiquity and beaches: a guide to five famous Greek islands

Viewed from an incoming ferry, the island’s semi-circular volcanic caldera, surrounded by towering reddish-brown cliffs and crowned by whitewashed houses perched perilously above the sea, is awe-inspiring. The black volcanic beaches on the eastern shore, which would be the defining feature of a lesser destination, seem here to be the cherry on the cake.

What to do

It’s tempting to keep gazing at the magnificence of the caldera from the main towns of Oia and Fira like everybody else, but Santorini offers the full spectrum of Greek island experience. The excavated Minoan site at Akrotiri, buried under a volcanic eruption around 1600BC and the probable source of the Atlantis legend, will astonish even the ancient ruin-averse.