Why: Tourists depart at the end of summer but beach-holiday weather endures, and direct flights from the UK continue

Plus: Island ferries operate until late October

This most famous and striking Greek island curves like a crescent moon around a blue lagoon that was once the crater of an enormously violent volcano. The crater wall, or ‘caldera’, is a dramatic cliff, now topped with sugar-cube houses and blue-domed churches. For spectacular impact, arrive here by boat: there are daily ferry services from Athens to Santorini and around the other Cyclades islands until the end of October ( Direct access from the UK – on flights with EasyJet, Thomas Cook and Thomson – is also possible, until the beginning of the month. The south and east of Santorini have black-sand beaches; and the remains of ancient Thira stand on a rocky, east-coast promontory. But the caldera is the big attraction, and the best hotels are clustered around the picturesque village of Oia, on its northern tip, which is an excellent place for watching sunsets.