Renowned for its breathtaking sunsets, azure-domed churches, and dramatic cliffs overlooking the caldera, Santorini is one of those picture-perfect Greek islands one never gets tired of visiting. Outside the touristic season, that is.

Santorini Greece
Oia Village, Santorini, Greece

In recent years, we have seen a trend in replicating picturesque villages that have become overly touristic. Not too long ago, we featured an article on Tourism on the Edge about Columbia’s Santorini, a hillside village in South America that mimics the architecture of Oia in Greece.

Even though the island of Santorini is made up of several towns and villages, Oia, Imerovigli and Thira remain the most visited, thanks to their easily recognisable architecture and buildings carved into the steep cliffs.

The idea of replicating Santorini has now spread to another continent. If you are living or road-tripping in Asia, you don’t need to fly 4,400 miles to Greece to experience this much talked about island.

China has its own version of Santorini. It is called Dali’s Ideal Estate and is nestled in the scenic Yunnan province.

Dali’s Ideal State: A Near-Perfect Replica

Dali’s Ideal State is a resort that mirrors the iconic Greek island of Santorini. Spread across 1,500 hectares near the Cangshan mountain range, this Chinese gem offers visitors a taste of Santorini without the long flight. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Whitewashed Buildings: Just like Santorini, Dali’s Ideal State boasts charming white buildings with blue-trimmed roofs. The visual charm is uncanny, and you’ll find yourself transported to the sun-kissed streets of Greece.
  • Cobblestone Alleyways: Wander through winding streets reminiscent of Santorini’s narrow alleys. The cobblestone paths add to the authentic feel, inviting you to explore every nook and cranny.
  • Sunny Skies: The resort enjoys the same sunny skies as its Greek counterpart. Imagine sipping refreshing drinks under the warm sun, surrounded by picturesque architecture.
  • Relaxed Atmosphere: Dali’s Ideal State captures the laid-back vibe of Santorini. Take leisurely walks, enjoy leisurely meals, and soak in the serene ambiance.
China's Santorini
Dali’s Ideal State, or “China’s Santorini” in Yunnan Province, China, Photo by cherstravels

What’s Missing?

While Dali’s Ideal State nails the aesthetics, a few elements are absent:

  • The Aegean Sea: Unfortunately, you won’t find the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean Sea here. But the nearby Erhai Lake provides its own scenic beauty.
  • The Dramatic Volcano: Santorini’s volcanic caldera is a sight to behold. In Dali’s Ideal State, you won’t witness volcanic cliffs plunging into the azure sea, but the mountainous backdrop is equally enchanting.
China Santorini Yunnan
Dali’s Ideal State, or “China’s Santorini” in Yunnan Province, China, Photo by cherstravels

How to Get There

China’s Santorini or Dali’s Ideal State is located in the northwest of the Ancient City of Dali, Yunnan Province, on the slopes overlooking Erhai Lake.

China’s Replica of Hallstatt, Austria

It’s not the first picturesque European getaway that China replicates. In 2012, the country unveiled a replica of Hallstatt, one of Austria’s fascinating lake towns.


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