When one thinks of the Greek islands, with the whitewashed houses featuring vivid blue detailing, it is really Santorini that is pictured. These houses in hues that match the Greek flag and reflect perfectly the tones of the surrounding Aegean Sea and endless sky are no accident: the white walls were meant to protect inhabitants from the heat of summer. In a quirky coincidence, even the beloved eggplants are white on this island. The volcanic island of Santorini dials up the drama, with little towns perched on cliffs from which you can admire the arguably most intensely beautiful sunset in the world – and a whole lot of people do argue this – or the best beaches in all of Europe to spend a lazy afternoon. One famous bathing spot – Kamari – even features jet black sand instead of the fine, pale variety found elsewhere on the island. Only a couple hundred kilometers from the Greek mainland, Santorini is easy to reach thanks to its international airport. Be sure to visit its small surrounding islands which provide fantastic options for day trips.

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