Every once in a while I travel to a place that looks as though I’ve stepped into a postcard. I walk off the plane, exit the airport and emerge into a destination that’s just as vivid and drop dead gorgeous as the glossy rectangular images sold at airports and tourist shops. The island of Santorini happens to be one of those postcard places. For anyone thinking of heading to Greece—or even for those not thinking about it—I have one word for you: GO. Pack your bags, book a flight and go. Why? Well, there’s this:

Santorini - Tausha Cowan

If that still hasn’t convinced you, here are five reasons you need to visit Santorini ASAP:

Reason #1: 360-Degree Views If for no other reason, Santorini must be visited for its stunning views. Serene, blue skies meet glistening white buildings, that sit perched atop rocky red earth surrounded by seemingly never-ending water and uninhabited islands. Simply put, it’s amazing. To top it off, if you make your way to the northern part of Santorini in the late afternoon, you’ll catch one of the most truly memorable sunsets I’ve ever seen.

During my time on the island I stayed at a family-run, reasonably-priced hotel in Oia. Waking up at Hotel Lauda, I was greeted with daily views of the caldera—the island’s volcanic crater—and in the morning, mist and mountains circled the caldera while cruise ships slowly made their way to their port. Witnessing this is a truly calming experience and is what makes the island so unique.

The view from Hotel Lauda in Oia

Sunset in Oia

Reason #2: Ridiculously Amazing Food and Drinks Not to be outdone by its surroundings, the food found in Santorini is pretty spectacular. I had a few noteworthy meals during my stay there, including a delicious and scenic lunch at Skala, a wonderfully fresh seafood dinner at Taverna Katina in Ammoudi Bay and THE BEST (yes, I’m calling it) souvlaki at Kenzo Grill House, next to Perissa Beach. Beyond the food, Santorini has several vineyards for all the winos to enjoy, as well as a generous supply of the popular Greek staple, ouzo. I admit ouzo was not quite for me, but I appreciated the numerous times and places it was offered.

Skala - Tausha Cowan

Enjoying Greek wine during sunset

Reason #3: Opportunities for Romance Okay, so I went to Santorini with my parents and realize that is not in any way romantic. However, I witnessed romance all around me — from the couples strolling through the moonlit paths in Oia, to the hotels and villas showcasing all the romantic possibilities available on the island. Picture this: you and your significant other in your caldera-facing suite, where you have your own outdoor hot tub, private terrace and views that others only dream of. I’m not making this up, it actually exists.

Dusk in Oia

Reason #4: Nonstop Adventure I also felt it important to note that Santorini is not just for couples. We saw families, solo travelers and groups of friends out and about during our time there. In fact, the island is a great place to go with just about anyone and partake in some of the more adventurous activities, like quad biking or hiking a volcano. I did the latter while in Santorini and it was an amazing experience to climb to the top of Nea Kameni and feel the heat seeping out from the ground. After the hike, we all got to cool off by heading out on the water where we could swim in the cold part of the sea or head over to the hot springs (more like warm springs, but still a cool experience).

Hiking on Nea Kameni

Reason #5: Warm-Hearted Atmosphere Last but certainly not least, the atmosphere during my stay in Santorini was warm and generous, mainly because of the people who reside on the island. It’s part of what makes Santorini so special. From the brother and sister duo who owns our hotel, to the friendly locals we met while wandering through Oia, Fira and other parts of the island, there is such an approachable atmosphere that can only be made possible by its people.


Hanging out at Hotel Lauda in Oia, Santorini

So, I’ve given you five reasons why Santorini is so great. Now it’s time for you to start planning. Good luck and happy traveling!