While Greece boasts iconic places like the Acropolis, Parthenon and Pompeii that photographers and painters flock to, the sweeping island of Santorini may offer more incredible artistic vistas per square mile than any other place on Earth. Santorini was formed about 3,600 years ago when a volcanic eruption in the Aegean Sea spawned its rugged landscape and today, with its famous white-washed, cubist homes clinging to the cliffs above an underwater crater, past and present intersect in a myriad of idyllic images. Whether capturing the picturesque architecture, scenic land and seascapes or ancient volcanic ruins of lost cities, Santorini proves a living, breathing artistic playground.
Sunsets Over Santorini
Santorini boasts world-famous sunsets and the most popular sightseeing spot is in the city of Oia on the island’s north-western tip. Artists who embrace the island’s tranquil pace often get up early to claim an all-day perch from the nearby Byzantine Castle Ruins, one of the best vantage points to see the setting sun sink into the crystal blue water. Artists who do spend the day are treated to a kaleidoscope of ever-changing light and colors to capture in sketches, paintings and pictures. Those with a deeper commitment to their craft should pack a bottle of Assyrtiko, the island’s ubiquitous white wine, and stay later into the night to draw the moon’s glistening, milky face reflecting off the glassy Aegean Sea.
Seeing Santorini Through A Shutter
For the photographic first-time visitor to Santorini, there are several photography tour companies available that travel to the many breath-taking destinations so you can keep your eye on the sights and off the GPS. There are sites of semi-preserved ancient city ruins most notably in the prehistoric town of Akrotiri that sat upon the destructive volcano, Thera. When Thera exploded in 16th century BC, the volcanic lava and ash enveloped the advanced city preserving many streets and dwellings making it the perfect place to capture ancient history in hi-definition.
Seek Unique Vantage Points To Capture The Island Differently
Just past Akrotiri sits the natural artistic wonder of the Red Beach with its cascading iron-infused, brick-red cliffs that sink into the white sand and aqua blue water creating a mesmerizing color wheel. If you’re toting drawing or photo gear, avoid the steep hike to the beach and find a spot from a neighboring bluff looking downward. Conversely, the White Beach on the south west coast of Santorini features a rugged backdrop of chalky cliffs tumbling into a black pebble beach and is only accessible by boat. In fact, chartering a boat may be a preferable option for capturing the majesty of the glistening architecture and legendary sunsets without the disruptive presence of tourists taking selfies onshore.
Following The Footsteps Of Fellow Artists
While Santorini offers a wealth of artistic must-see spots, local artists will tell you it’s often the images off the beaten tourist paths that capture their attention and imagination. To get into the mind of the local artistic community, visit the gallery of resident Vassilis Kyrkos whose artwork is devoted to “the colours of the Aegean Sea that prove an unfailing source of inspiration.” Another local legend is Christoforos Asimis known as “the painter of Santorini,” who has been dedicated to depicting the light and landscape of the island for over 45 years.
Whatever your artistic style, there is no shortage of inspiration when it comes to Santorini. From eerily preserved ancient ruins to the modern day sun and moonscapes that make the vibrant white houses and their blue domed hats shimmer against the Aegean Sea, the island is a creative feast. With a patient eye, the variations of vibrant colours and ever-changing light lets every artistic visitor to Santorini capture an unforgettable still life.