Santorini, Greece: A Photographer's Utopia

Santorini, Greece: A Photographer's Utopia

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Sun-kissed and soaring out of the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, Santorini is a special place. It’s equal parts rugged and romantic, spectacular and secluded — and those sunsets are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. There are two things every person who travels to Santorini needs to take along for the journey: a sense of adventure, and a camera. Simply put, Santorini is a photographer’s utopia. And whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur making memories every step of the way, you’ll find photo opportunities here that will leave you in awe.

A few short years ago, Ann Tran had the opportunity to experience Santorini with us. This is her story — complete with some amazing photos we’ve compiled especially for the occasion. 

Ann’s Santorini Story 

White wash staircases on Santorini

For years, I’ve seen photographs and artist depictions of the beautiful whitewashed villages, black-sand beaches, and blue-domed churches of a fairytale place called Santorini. When I finally had the opportunity to visit the Greek Isles with Azamara, I was struck by this incredible island. Those magnificent buildings clinging high atop the volcanic cliffs make it a wonder to behold and a memorable highlight for any traveler.

My day in Santorini began with the Azamara Journey tendered against the backdrop of magnificent sheer cliffs. I was ferried to the new port, where I hopped aboard a bus that climbed the steep mountain face through a series of narrow switchbacks. The views from this climb are genuinely something to behold, and as you look outward to the sea, it’s impossible not to feel impressed — and maybe a little nervous if you’re afraid of heights! 

History Awaits its Closeup

Lighthouse at Akrotiri through a frame of a window of a cave,

I made my way to the south side of the island, stopping in the village of Akrotiri. Here, I climbed the winding cobblestone passages and took in the sights. These early settlements existed beginning around 1500 BC but were destroyed by volcanic eruptions. Now a lovely collection of churches, historical markers, and multi-generational family homes cover these hills above the deep blue Adriatic Sea.

Wine? Wine Not!  

Grape field in Santorini with church in the background

Next, I visited a family-owned winery overlooking the wind-swept sea below. It is said that the soils of Santorini act like a sponge. Crops and vegetation receive all their moisture from a haze that envelops the cliff tops. There is no irrigation used on any part of Santorini, and the grapevines grow along the ground, not vertically as in most other vineyards around the world. I enjoyed some lovely local white wine and a plate of delicious Greek appetizers.

Greek red, white and rose wine close up

Fira and Oia

From here, it was off to Fira, where I was hungry for more pictures. Luckily, locals directed me in the direction of Oia. The bus ride to Oia was about 15 minutes and a good option since taxis can be difficult to find in the height of tourist season.  

Panoramia of colorful buildings in Oia, Santorini

At the cliffside, I’ll admit that my photographic mind may have been bigger than my stomach. If I were still shooting on film, I would have depleted Kodak supplies dry. Fortunately, all my cameras have plenty of memory. Plus, I had my iPhone, which has a surprisingly sharp camera. There was a gorgeous shot every 10 to 20 feet along the cobblestone paths that wound between whitewashed homes and shops. It was photographic heaven. After the photo session, I enjoyed a wonderful Greek lunch, paired with some absolutely fantastic views of the panorama below. Oia is filled with such unique color, grandeur, and spectacle that I could have stayed many days.

Oia at sunset

Many visitors come to Santorini to uncover the mysteries of the lost kingdom of Atlantis, while others revel in its relaxed mountaintop atmosphere to enjoy the scenes of the Mediterranean. For me, I found Santorini to be a photographer’s paradise and a shopping mecca. I love it here, and my photographs will keep a lasting memory alive of this beautiful Greek oasis high above the sea.

Too Much is Never Enough

We’d like to thank Ann for sharing her story with us. Now, we want to share something with you — more photos! Check out a few of these bonus Santorini shots to inspire your next photoshoot.

Boats in the water near Oia, Santorini, Greece

The waters of the old port near Oia are truly breathtaking, and with fishing boats frequently anchored in the harbor, there are plenty of opportunities to capture the mix of peacefulness and energy the make this village so special.   

sun bleached buildings in Santorini with pink flowers in the foreground

The sunbleached buildings throughout Santorini are striking on their own, but they also make colors pop. With a little creative camerawork like the shot above, you can ensure the vibrant colors throughout Santorini stand out, while also documenting what makes this part of the world so iconic. 

Top aerial of Oia town, Santorini 

Sometimes, a different perspective can change everything. This ariel shot of Oia perfectly captures the wonderfully chaotic layout that gives the village so much charm. 

Ready to capture Santorini while Santorini captivates you? We're excited to be visiting here again soon and would love for you to join us. Browse our upcoming cruises to Santorini, Greece today. 

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