It’s all about the view in Santorini. It’s sufficiently magical to draw some 2 million tourists a year to this little volcanic island in the Aegean Sea, which was blown to smithereens by an eruption in 1620 BC, and now bears a scar of otherworldly beauty. After the centre of the island collapsed into the caldera, the sea surged forth to leave a ring of mottled cliffs facing the newly formed pool.
Looking downwards from those cliffs, I was frequently left breathless by the panorama. Mostly because of its drama and grandeur and the intensity of Santorini’s sunsets, radiant swashes of hot pink and peach mirrored in the water. But occasionally I was overwhelmed by the clamour and mania that it induced, too.
Santorini, with a permanent population of 25,000 or so, is currently grappling with the unwelcome consequences of its extreme popularity. To ease the burden on the island’s infrastructure, its mayor in 2017 limited the amount of cruise-ship passengers permitted to disembark per day from 12,000 to 8,000 people, but even during my mid-September visit last year it felt uncomfortably busy.