Oia, Santorini, Greece
Officially known as Thira, Santorini is perhaps the most famous of all the Greek Islands. Located at the southern end of the Aegean Sea, Santorini is part of the Cyclades group of islands and attracts about two million visitors a year. That’s a lot of adoring attention for a small island (only 73 square kilometres) of 15,000 residents. The white, clifftop villages of Santorini, like Oia in our image, are very picturesque. And so are the panoramic views of the azure Mediterranean Sea.
Its tranquil beauty belies the devastating eruption that formed the island as we know it today. The Minoan eruption, about 3,600 years ago, was one of the world’s largest known volcanic eruptions. It destroyed what was a thriving Minoan city and created a giant caldera that sank below the sea, leaving behind the pretty lagoon seen here. Volcanic activity has continued since then. At the centre of the lagoon is the uninhabited volcanic island of Nea Kameni, which emerged from the sea in 19 CE, according to Pliny the Elder. It's had several major eruptions over the past 300 years. People have learned to live with the volcanic activity of these islands. Tourism is now the main activity in Santorini, along with a small winemaking industry.