If you are fascinated by the uniqueness of natural landscapes, make Santorini your next holiday destination and see the caldera mystery close by. Let your eyes wander around the unbeatable views of the volcanic islands and contemplate the enchanting sunset, a spectacle that generates the strongest feelings.
Santorini is a perfect destination whether you travel with friends, family or if you want to spend romantic moments with your loved one.
Santorini at a glance
Typical Cycladic towns comprised of small cubist homes, tightly packed against each other as they blanket the irregular contours of the landscape, take a whole new meaning in Thera as they cling precariously to the edge of the largest volcanic caldera in the world, which is filled with the azure blue waters of the Aegean sea. The acute drop of the cliff traverses down from the town’s edge all the way to the sea level, abruptly exposing hundreds of thousands of years worth of earth strata while the inhabitants of the towns are treated to unparalleled views of the Aegean.
What makes Santorini unique is the coexistence of grand geologic time in contrast to perpetual ephemeral human activity. The geologic history of the volcano dwarfs the considerable human presence on the island that reaches back to prehistory, and which in other places would have acquired center stage.
Santorini is an island of extremes. The volcanic explosion, that some say destroyed the Minoan civilization, was one of the largest in human history and the views it left behind are some of the most spectacular on earth. Tight clusters of bright, geometric human dwellings flow atop organic, dark igneous rock formations in a peculiar balancing act against the blue horizon of the Aegean. The eyes can rest on many landscapes; geologic, cultural, or architectural, but they always return to the same point of reference prehistoric man gazed upon the infinite horizon of the azure-blue sea as it appears a bit more distant and mysterious from the edge of the volcano.
What I found interesting about Santorini was the constant reminder of man’s existence in perspective with nature’s longevity, and the ability of a culture to flourish despite the harshness and dangers of life on the volcano. Every square centimeter of Thera speaks of time. Time eternal, in the form of rock formations and dramatic terra-forming, and Time ephemeral in the form of little cubist clusters of homes hanging precariously at the edge of the sleeping volcano. Even human civilization that reaches back to prehistory is exposed as ephemeral in Santorini.
On Thera one anticipates the tremendous forces of nature that tend to emphasize our mortal fragility a bit more than usual. A reminder that makes the present moment even more meaningful, its enjoyment even more imperative, and its existence a bit more exhilarating.
How to get to Santorini Island
You can go both by boat and by plane. Fortunately, in recent years the launch of fast ships has brought the island closer.
Santorini is connected by air with Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete and the other Aegean islands with flights throughout the year. During the summer season, flights are denser to serve the increased tourist needs, while direct flights are also made from cities abroad.
The island has a very good coastal connection. Daily ferry and high-speed ferry connections between Santorini and Piraeus, Rafina, the rest of the Cyclades islands and Crete. The trip takes 8.30 hours with the conventional ship and 6 hours with the speedboat from the port of Piraeus.
On foot: There are numerous hiking routes that many people take.
By car, or a motorbike: This is the best way to discover the island.
By bus: The bus connects Fira town with most of the local villages around.
Santorini Myth and History
Pearl’s seaside 50,000 people visited each day of summer, the island is the top tourist destinations in Greece
Monument of architecture and geology, the island is, for many visual emblems of Greece. A space that was born by the disappearance of civilization.
One of the most popular destinations in Greece, Santorini has earned the reputation of Greek island-star space due to impressive landscapes and historical and cultural load. Santorini Island Cyclades archipelago in the south came after the worst natural disaster in history.
It is a volcanic eruption that buried the ashes of civilization Minoan, after over 3,600 years.
On account of the same disaster is placed and the destruction of major parts of Crete, located about 110 miles away. Another hypothesis, supported by the legend rather than historical evidence implies that Santorini is part of Atlantis Disappeared.
Island’s capital, Fira, was built on a steep, 300 m altitude.
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Most of the beaches of Santorini are lined with black volcanic smooth pebbles. The black color retains an incredible amount of heat and as a result, most swimmers end up high stepping as they speed through the short distance between the umbrella and the cool waters. Speaking of umbrellas, most of the beaches we visited were lined up with umbrellas and beach beds for which bathers paid a fee for their use. You can choose any beach umbrella you like, assuming it is free of occupants, and an attendant will arrive shortly to collect the money. We found the prices to be extremely high, as we paid €5.00 at the Perissa beach the first day, and the very next day we paid €7.00 at the Kamari beach for the same kind of accommodation. The way the beach umbrellas are organized they give the impression that one must purchase an umbrella to use the beach, but in reality, anyone can secure their own umbrella (assuming they bring one) at any part of the beach. Beach umbrellas can be purchased at any beach shop around the towns for anywhere between €5 and €15 — an excellent value if you plan to visit the beach more than once during your visit (unless of course, you like parting with your money for no apparent reason).
During our stay of four days, we visited Perissa beach, Kamari beach, and Red beach. All three provided the excellent, clean, and cool Aegean waters that were very refreshing after hours under the summer sun.
Santorini Night Life
Santorini entertainment options are as numerous as it is a night long. Santorini is famous for this but is also very good. Most bars and nightclubs are in the capital of Santorini island, Fira, but also in the most beautiful island, Oia, and the two main coastal resorts, Kamari and Perissa. Santorini Fira is the capital and commercial center as well. Fascinates people and therefore many cafes, bars, and night clubs were established here.
To truly experience Santorini, we recommend you go to the few cultural events taking place on the island. If you are here in July, you will want to attend the Jazz Festival is held annually (www.jazzfestival.gr), where they come from many jazz bands and international artists every summer since 1997. During August and September, you can see from Santorini International Music Festival (tel. 22860/23-166), with musicians and singers, in which classical music performances take place at the Nomikos Centre in Fira. Price of entry for most events is 15 euros. If you like more traditional entertainment, we suggest you go to traditional festivals and Cultural Festival “Ifasteia” in Fira or Episkopi Festival in Mesa Gonia on August 15, where you will be served with fava (lentil delicacy of sauce).
Greece has a tradition of wine-making that goes back 3.000 years.
Dionysos was worshipped as the god of wine and the Dionysia festivals took place in various parts of Greece, mostly during the winter months.
In very few parts of the world do you have such an abundance of sun and the right kind of soil which is ideal for producing the best kind of wines? One such spot is Greece, and especially the Greek islands, where the traditional home of ancient grape varieties are hosted.
Santorini’s volcanic soil and high daytime temperatures and humidity at night are ideal for creating a strong red wine which is well-respected throughout the world. It is these ideal conditions that have helped the islanders produce 36 different kinds of grapes (white and red) leading to excellent wine-producing.
The vintage of the wines in Santorini takes place at the end of August and if you are on the island at that time, you can visit the winemaking areas and enjoy these fine wines. The making of wine really begins with the growing of the grapes. The vines must be carefully tended to be sure that the grapes will be of the finest quality. The grapes must be picked at the perfect moment of ripeness so that they contain the greatest possible amount of sugar. The grapes are picked and sorted, and unripe or bruised grapes are removed. The remaining grapes are then mashed.
While the grapes are ripening on the vine, a special kind of yeast settles on their skins. When the grapes are mashed their yeast begins to ferment, changing the grape sugar to carbon dioxide and alcohol. For red wine, like the type on Santorini, the entire mash is allowed to ferment, so that it takes on some of the colors of the skins. If a white wine is being made, the juice of the grapes is pressed out and then fermented without the skins.
The first fermentation usually takes several weeks.
After this period the wine is fairly clear. It is drained off to remove the sediment or solids and then is placed in casks for further fermentation. During this time the wine acquires its “bouquet”, or special aroma, and it changes color. White wines become darker; red wines usually become lighter because still more solids settle to the bottom. Fine wines are usually stored for two years before they are considered ready for bottling. Santorini wines are growing in popularity on the international market and we suggest you take a few bottles back home to treat your friends.
Clubs and bars in Santorini
Santorini island visitors can find plenty of entertainment at night. The island is full of bars, clubs, discos, and cafes that play a rich collection of different types of music, something for everyone, from classical music lovers fiery rockers. Many cafes and bars are located along the caldera and offer an incredible panoramic view of the volcano sank.
The bar is located in Kamari Dom (tel. 30 22 860 33 420) and is the best place to eat drink and enjoy some music. It is considered as one of the best bars in Santorini.
Koo Club is located in Fira (tel. 22860 22025) and is one of the most popular nightclubs on the island of Santorini. It is always crowded with people to dance and going constantly.
Enigma Club (tel. 30 22 860 22 466) was founded in summer 1979. Since then, it is considered as one of the best nightclubs in Santorini. They say that if you left the island of Santorini without going to dance club Enigma if you have not seen the island, is an impressive atmosphere.
Franco’s (tel. 030 02 860 22 881) is still the most famous and best place for fun, but be prepared to pay about $ 9 for a drink. Classical music lovers can relax in the bar.
Amethistos Cafe (tel. 30 22 860 22 048) has a friendly service in a comfortable place. A place where you can drink a cup of Greek coffee, something you never forget.
Classico Cafe (tel. 30 22 860 23 112) was inaugurated in 1998, a regular stop for those visiting Santorini. It is located near the Caldera in Fira, offering what could be the best location to enjoy the famous sunset of Santorini.
Mylos Cafe (tel. 30 22 860 71001-2) is located in Oia, facing the breathtaking view of Cyclades, with the famous sunset. There you will find unique wines of Santorini, fresh cocktails and coffee, preferably accompanied by relaxing music.
Yellow Donkey Disco
Yellow Disco Donkey (tel. 30 2860 3146 2) is located in Kamari and is especially appreciated by younger guests.
Club 33 (tel. 30 22 860 23 065) is located in Fira. It has a friendly atmosphere and good music. Greek dance music, you definitely need to go to Club 33.
Tithora Bar (tel. 30 22 860 23 519) is located in Fira, dedicated rock enthusiasts.
Restaurants and Dining in Santorini
There is no shortage of restaurants in Santorini, and most of the ones that line the caldera in the towns of Fira and Ia are of the expensive variety. As a rule of thumb restaurants with a view are pricey.
This tiny Greek island on the Aegean Sea has made it onto the top list of lovebird destinations in the All time edition of Outside Traveler. Want to get married on Santorini island or a looking for the perfect honeymoon?
Santorini is a famous thanks to the magnificent volcano with the hot springs and the enormous volcanic caldera, which is the most beautiful place to admire the sunset. Santorini is unique as it is probably the only volcano in the world with its caldera in the sea.
While the spectacular views of Fira (or Phira), Ia, and Imerovigli are enough to enchant the most demanding traveler, Santorini’s history which reaches back three thousand years, offers another dimension to the natural beauty of the island. The excavations at Akrotiri have unveiled a plethora of prehistoric frescos which speak of the existence of a joyous society before it was abruptly interrupted by one of the largest volcanic explosions known in the history of mankind. In addition to the Prehistoric history of Santorini, evidence of Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine cultures are also exposed on the barren rock they call Mesa Vouno on the South shore of the island.
The Museum of Prehistoric Art in Santorini, located in the town of Fira, is one of the most important museums of Cycladic Art in the world, and it mostly houses artifacts unearthed during the excavations in Akrotiri. The entrance to the museum costs € 5.00 and the same ticket allows entrance to the museum of ancient art which exhibits a collection of artifacts from the Ancient Thera archaeological site. I was also impressed with the exhibition of exact replicas of wall paintings from Akrotiri. I found the exhibit in the Nomikos Conference center at the highest part of Fira, and while the climb there was steep, the view from the veranda and the exhibit more than made up for the effort.
The incredible views of the Aegean from atop the caldera will always be etched in your memories.
What to See in Thira
There are so many sights that your holidays will not seem to be enough to admire them all.
Here are just some of them.
The volcano of Santorini is one of the few active volcanoes of Greece. It erupted once in 1500 BC and the eruption was so strong that the size of Santorini changed (from circular it became of a strange shape), the smoke recovered the entire island and many neighbouring islands and the waves caused by the eruption arrived all the way to Crete and were one of the most important cause of the destruction of the Great Minoan Civilisation. With the power of the eruption the volcano went into the sea.
The volcano is lying in the center of the basin of Santorini and has formed, after its eruption, two small islets of frozen black lava called Palea Kameni (Old Burned) and Nea Kameni (New Burned) which are respectively 2000 years and 500 years old.
Santorini’s volcano is called Caldera and has become one of the main attractions of Santorini; thousands of visitors visit it every year by regular boat excursions which let them on Nea Kameni (the central part of the volcano) where they can walk through this amazing landscape reminding of a lunar one. The volcano crater can be seen as well as some holes with sulfur steam coming out of them.
The view from the volcano over the villages of Santorini perched on the cliffs is really worthing the trip as is the view from the villages to the volcano.
Fishing boats also give the possibility to reach the surroundings of the oldest volcano (Palea Kameni) where visitors can enjoy an unforgettable swim in the deliciously hot waters.
Suggestions: running shoes for you to climb the volcano, hat, sunscreen, water bottle, bathing suit, beach towel.
During this tour you will have the opportunity to visit the active volcano of Santorini, you could go on dry lava to the top of the volcano and even feel its warmth under your feet, and there and see how steam sulfurous gases are emitted by Vulcan. The next stop will be the hot springs cruise where you can swim in the natural Jacuzzi (35-36 ° C). Towards the end of the excursion boat dock on Thirassia island where you can relax at the beach, visit the town or just relax with a meal at one of the fish restaurants. After island Thirassis ship to dock in the harbor of Armeni where we arrive in Oia village or climbing stairs or traditional, the donkey. In Oia, you have free time for shopping and to admire the famous sunset.
The first stop will be the Kameni Island, where you have the opportunity to visit the active volcano of Santorini, you can go to the top of volcanic lava and dry even feel its warmth under your feet, and there and see how gas steam sulfur are released by Vulcan. Nea Kameni was formed after a volcanic eruption between 1550-1500 BC, Caldera was formed as a second island, Thirasia. The next stop will be the hot springs cruise where you can swim in the natural Jacuzzi (35-36 ° C). At the end of the tour boat dock on Thirassia island where you can relax at the beach, visit the town or just relax with a meal at one of the fish restaurants.
Apart from its natural beauties, the island is also ideal for sports activities. You can treat yourself to moments of true excitement and a healthy body as well. In Santorini, you will find a total of three diving centers, one of which is located on Perissa beach, while the other two on Kamari and Ammoudi beach respectively.
So enjoy the fun in the water sports clubs and pump up your adrenaline!!!
There are a lot of shopping options in Santorini.
The shopping area is in the capital, Fira, where one can find a wide variety of products. Also, Oia has a shopping street with lots of interesting things, while smaller markets exist in Kamari and Perissa. Lots of wineries (called ”canava”) are scattered all around the island offer fine quality of the local special wine. It is worthy of note that some of them are famous in the global market.
For those visitors who wish to go beyond Santorini’s golden sunset and take the memory of some real gold with them, the jewelry market in Fira and a smaller one in Oia is there to fulfill every sweet vanity of the summer holidays!!!
Useful Santorini Telephone Numbers
Tourist Police: 22860-22649