Whether you’ve had the privilege of visiting Santorini—aka one of the most romantic islands in the world—or not, you probably know what it looks like.
Photos of vibrant blue waters overlooked by whitewashed stone homes nestled above pristine beaches are constantly fueling wanderlust around the world (guilty as charged). But, as with many other destinations around the world, Santorini is more than just a pretty face. The island has plenty to offer in the way of quirky historical facts, geographical travel obstacles, and must-sees that only the locals know about.
Some of the little-known facts behind one of the world’s favorite (or at least most photographed) islands:
There Are Only Three(ish) Blue Rooftops on the Island
The same bright blue rooftops pop up in everyone’s photos of Santorini—enough to make you think the entire island is full of them. In reality, these photos are all variations on one vista (pictured here). You can find the most famous blue rooftops in Oia Town—you’ll know them when you see them.
Some People Think Atlantis is Located Around Santorini
Many believe you can find the mythical ruins of Atlantis buried underneath the sea around Santorini—and that the now tourist hot-spot was once actually known as the fabeled location many explorers seek. The two destinations’ stories are strangely similar—Santorini was ruined by a series of eruptions thousands of years ago. Atlantis supposedly sunk deep under the sea after its people angered the gods. No matter where your belief lies, you can find your “paradise lost” in Santorini.
The Entire Island is a Volcanic Rock
Santorini exists because of a giant event called the Minoan Eruption—one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the history of Earth. Santorini and its surrounding islands were created after a number of eruptions that spanned several hundred thousand years. The original volcano would erupt, slowly fill with magma and create a brand new volcano that would erupt and repeat the process. These leftover bits of volcanic landscape now make up Santorini and its surrounding islands.
Early Santorinians Slept in ‘Cave Houses’
Local Wine Supposedly Tastes Better Thanks to the Island’s Volcanic Landscape
Teh volcanic landscape offers an interesting environment for agriculture, and their local wine is known around the world for its unique taste. The land on Santorini is called “aspa,” and is made up of volcanic ash, pumice stone, and small pieces of solidified sand and lava. This combination leaves out most of the nutrients we’re used to expecting in soil, but is rich in minerals. Rainfall is very minimal, making these wines relatively hard to get. Aside from rain, growing areas receive moisture from a strange phenomenon called sea fog—a mix of air from the active volcano and the surrounding area.