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The Honeymoon

Santorini

A sexy island paradise featuring world-famous sunsets, hot clubs, and ancient ruins.

  • Photo courtesy of Perivolas

Regardless of whether Santorini is actually the lost city of Atlantis, the crescent-shaped island is a natural spectacle. Those lucky enough to approach by sea are greeted by a dazzling harbor nestled hundreds of feet beneath the whitewashed towns of Fira and Oia, which thrive atop a volcano. Santorini has no shortage of worthy destinations-ancient ruins, gourmet restaurants, sultry nightclubs-yet its greatest pleasures are often discovered by driving along its cliff-hugging roads, wandering its cobblestone streets, or simply lingering over a chilled bottle of Nichteri.

MOST RELIABLE WAY TO GET THERE:

Although Olympic Airlines is your best bet for the 50-minute puddle-jump from Athens to Santorini, avoid the carrier's transatlantic flight. Opt instead for Delta's nonstop flight from JFK to Athens, available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

THE TWO SEXIEST ROOMS:

Visitors to Santorini seem divided on whether Astra Apartments & Suites or Perivolas is the best place to stay. The truth is, both are spectacular-if only for their views of the caldera. At Astra, book the Jacuzzi Suite. As its name implies, the room's standout feature is a private hot tub overlooking the sea. Perivolas recently added the Perivolas Suite, featuring a gorgeous infinity pool.

BEST WAY TO PLAN YOUR DAY:

To ensure you're dining with locals rather than tourists, stick to the following schedule: breakfast between 10 and 11 a.m., lunch 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., nap 7 to 9 p.m., and dinner 10:30 p.m. to midnight. Then hit the clubs.

MOST ROMANTIC WALK:

The pedestrian path from Fira to Oia wends its way along the caldera rim, ending with a stretch of marble walkway that cuts right through town to the very tip of the island. The path, dotted with churches, tavernas, jewelry shops, and art galleries, is at times wide enough for just one person. But considering the views of Oia laid out before you, with the sparkling Aegean to your left, it's easy to use an entire roll of film before you reach the end.

TOP WINERY:

The white wines of Santorini (strong Nichteri, oakey Kalliste, and sweet Vin Santo) are considered to be among the best in Greece. The Boutari Winery is the most popular spot for tastings; however, it's quite touristy. Instead, buy a few bottles at the local market and sip them on your private terrace.

  • Photo by Aris/Tips Images

BEST WAY TO SPEND A DAY:

Charter a sail with Captain Ted. A Bergen County transplant, the sailor and his first mate will take you out on the 41-foot catamaran Blue Lagoon for a sail around the island. Highlights include swimming in the hot springs and the crew's barbecue dinner-a fantastic spread of Greek salad, grilled calamari and shrimp, fresh eggplant salad, and steak.

IDEAL VANTAGE POINT FOR SUNSET:

Sunset is a big event on Santorini; you'll often hear waves of applause from locals and tourists who step outside each evening to watch, champagne-filled flutes in hand. Although it's tough to beat the views from Astra and Perivolas, venture out to the very tip of Oia, where the ramparts of a ruined fortress offer unmarred views.

THE FINEST DINNERS:

For fancy Greek fare in elegant (and, of course, romantic) settings, call a few weeks ahead to book a table at Selene or Koukoumavlos in Fira; in Oia, try 1800 or Ambrosia. Those seeking something less fussy should go the taverna route. Along the waterfront in the tiny fishing harbor of Ammoudi, Dmitri's and Katina's display the day's catch so diners can handpick their squid or bream.

THE SULTRIEST NIGHTS:

To fully appreciate the allure of a night in the Greek islands, strap on your sandals, slip into your most goddessy dress, and dance to Euro-pop with the locals at Fira's most popular clubs: Enigma, Koo Club, and Two Brothers.

SITE NOT TO MISS:

Skip the Archaeological Museum, and instead stroll the eerily preserved streets of Akrotiri, a Minoan city destroyed by a volcano in 1625 B.C. After, take a swim at the beach, famous for its red, white, and black sand.




When to go
May, June, and September are the ideal months to visit the Greek islands. July and August are considered peak season, when Santorini is loaded with day-trippers and all-night revelers. October through April can be chilly.

Details
Olympic Airlines (800-223-1226); Delta Air Lines (800-323-2323); Astra Apartments & Suites (30-22-86-02-36-41); Perivolas (30-22-86-07-13-08) Boutari Winery (30-20-16-03-98-52) Captain Ted (30-69-44-24-11-62) Selene (30-22-86-02-22-49); Koukoumavlos (30-22-86-02-38-07); 1800 (30-22-86-07-14-85) Ambrosia (30-22-86-07-14-13) Dmitri's (30-22-86-07-16-14); Katina (30-22-86-07-12-80).

What to pack
Days can be beastly hot, but the evenings are cooler; pack a light sweater, and bring heels only if you plan to go dancing-you'll be happier walking the cobblestones in flats. Also, bring your favorite toiletries: Greek hotels are not big on amenities.