Santorini – Volcanic Island with Unique Caldera and Breathtaking Views

Santorini is one of the most mesmerizing places you will ever see! It is the most visited of all the Greek islands and one of the most popular holiday destinations in the whole world!

Top 10 things to d o in Santorini

Why Visit Santorini?

Where is Santorini?

Where to Stay?

What to See?

Santorini Beach Guide

How to get there?

Weather and Climate

Weather Month by Month

When did Santorini last Erupt?

Santorini and its Caldera and Islets

The Minoan Eruption

The Minoan Akrotiri

The Lost City of Atlantis?

Recommended Activities in Santorini

Morning for at the caldera of Santorini, Cyclades Greece
Santorini in the morning fog, with cruiseships at the caldera

Find the top 10 things to do in Santorini and all the information you need for your holidays in Santorini Greece. Santorini (or Thira / Thera) can easily be reached by ferry from Athens and is perfect for island hopping to nearby Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, and Crete.

Top 10 things to do in Santorini

Panoramic view with fishing boats at Old port Amoudi of Oia village at Santorini island in Aegean sea, Greece
Panoramic view with fishing boats at the old port Amoudi of Oia in Santorini
  1. Visit the active volcano – the heart of the island. The crater is located on the islet “Nea Kameni” facing the Caldera. It is reachable by boat from the harbour of Fira.
  2. Jet ski safari is an unconventional way of exploring Santorini. You can choose among different tours, taking you either to the beaches on the south coast, or to the volcano and Thirassia island. All tours are combined with swimming and snorkeling. It is extremely popular so book well in advance.
  3. Enjoy a sunset from one of the caldera villages. This is an absolute must at your visit in Santorini island. The golden shades on the sky and the colour explosion above the Aegean Sea is a spectacle worth living at least once in a lifetime.
  4. Visit the small harbour of Ammoudi – located right underneath the hill of Oia village. In the tiny fishing harbour you will enjoy fresh fish and seafood. It is beautiful and peaceful especially during sunset.
  5. Hike from Fira to Oia – it is one of the most spectacular hiking routes in Greece. The path is 10 km long, but the views along the caldera are mesmerizing. On your way you will pass the caldera villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli.
  6. Go on a wine tour – either the “Wine tour with sunset in Oia” or a “4-hour small group wine tour”. The Santorini wines are famous worldwide. The volcanic soil in the Aegean Sea produces some of the finest wines in the world.
  7. Explore the site of Akrotiri – an ancient Minoan huge settlement constructed approx. 4,500 B.C. It was discovered accidentally in the 1870s. Around 1.700 B.C. it was destroyed by an earthquake. The new town built on top of the ruins was destroyed a century later by the huge volcanic eruption.
  8. Swim at Red, White, and Black beaches – due to the unique geology the Santorini beaches are characterized with different coloured pebbles and sands – always surrounded by crystal-clear azure waters.
  9. Fishing Boat Tour – is an authentic and traditional activity. You embark on a “kaiki”, the wooden fishing boat, and practice fishing with a local fisherman, learning fishing techniques, and then cook and eat the catch of the day.
  10. Cable car ride from the old port to Fira – is often combined with a boat tour to the volcano at Nea Kameni islet. The boats are departing from the old port.
Viewing Fira from Nea Kameni, Santorini, Greece

Santorini Tours


Why visit Santorini?

Fantastic sunset landscape of famous travel and vacation destination. Luxury summer adventure concept. Wonderful view of Oia village, Santorini, Greece. Hotels with pools and amazing architecture
Fantastic sunset landscape. Wonderful view of Oia village. Hotels with pools and amazing architecture

The ultimate reason to visit Santorini is its magical sunset. No photo can really capture the sun sinking into the horizon while the sky is dressed in fire and the warm light colours up the island in Fira or Oia. The shades of red create the surreal sunsets and the Santorini caldera gives you the most dramatic sea views at the wild cliffs dotted with whitewashed Cycladic houses. Enjoy the luxurious feeling of the Santorini hotels, the delicious food at great restaurants, and the dramatic landscape of a volcano, just asleep.

Where is Santorini Greece?

Map of Cyclades Archipelagos
Map of the Cyclades Archipelago – Click to enlarge the map

Santorini officially named Thira, is an island located in the southern Aegean Sea. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approx. 73 km2. The municipality of Santorini comprises the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. Santorini has a unique landscape. The famous caldera, the stunning red and black volcanic beaches, and the crater of the volcano in Nea Kameni, are all evidence of the dramatic origin of a landscape shaped by volcanic eruptions.

Santorini – Where to stay?

Vacation in Oia Santorini, swimming pool overlooking the caldera of Santorini, Greece
Vacation in Oia Santorini, swimming pool overlooking the caldera of Santorini

In Santorini, the accommodation is beyond comparation with luxurious hotels, infinity pools, whitewashed Cycladic villas, and five-stars service. Here you can spoil yourself rotten with spa treatments, vineyard tours and winetasting, shop till you drop in luxurious boutiques and enjoy romantic dinners while taking in the sunset above the endless Aegean Sea.

Santorini – What to see?

Beautiful view of Skaros Rock at the village of Imerovigli, morning sunlight at the caldera of volcanic Santorini, Cyclades Greece
Beautiful view of Skaros Rock at the village of Imerovigli, morning sunlight at the caldera
  • Ancient Thera – is located near Kamari, on top of a cliff. The road up there is a bit windy and difficult, but it is worth the trouble. Situated between Kamari and Perissa beaches it offers amazing view above the Aegean Sea.
  • Museum of Prehistoric Thera – is in Fira exhibiting findings excavated from Akrotiri, the ancient Thera and other places in Santorini. The exhibition includes marble statues, ceramics, Minoa frescoes from Akrotiri, tools, and weapons.
  • Archaeological Museum of Santorini – is in Fira, the capital village of the island. Here you will see statues, sculptures, ceramics, vases, and findings from the ancient cemetery of Thera.
  • Catholic Cathedral – is close to the Orthodox Church in the Catholic quarter of Fira. It is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist and has beautiful colours and a belltower rebuilt after the horrific earthquake in 1956.
  • Prophet Elias Monastery – is situated on the highest peak of Santorini, at an altitude of 565 metres. With its stunning view of the island, it is a perfect trekking destination.
  • Thirassia Island – a small island just opposite Oia. It used to be part of Santorini before the ancient eruption of the volcano. Today it is frequently connected to Santorini by boat tours. It is a remote beauty with untouched nature and just a few inhabitants.
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Santorini Beach Guide

Partly organized beaches

ed Beach is one of the most beautiful and famous beaches of Santorini. Greece
Red Beach is one of the most beautiful and famous beaches of Santorini
  • Red beach – is with its black and red volcanic pebbles and hot water one of the most beautiful and famous beaches in Santorini. Located 12 km southwest of Fira.
  • Perissa beach – Pebbled, family friendly, diving club, watersports, located 12 km southeast of Fira
  • Kamari beach – Sandy, family friendly, diving club, watersports, located 8,5 km southeast of Fira
  • Perivolos beach – Sandy, family friendly, watersports, located 11 km south of Fira.
  • Agios Georgios beach – Sandy, watersports, located 11 km souteast of Fira.
  • Vlychada beach – Sandy, nudism friendly, located 10 km south of Fira.
  • Kambia beach – Pebbled, secluded, located between Red beach and White beach 14 km southwest of Fira.
  • Caldera beach – Pebbled, secluded, located north of Akrotiri 10 km southwest of Fira.
  • Mesa Pigadia beach – Sandy and pebbled, located near the village of Akrotiri 14 km southwest of Fira.

Non-organized beaches

Kamari beach at sunrise, Santorini, Cyclades Greece
Kamari beach at sunrise
  • Cape Columbo beach – Pebbled, secluded, often windy, nudism friendly, located 8,5 km northeast of Fira.
  • White beach – Pebbled, secluded, nudism friendly, located 13,5 southwest of Fira.
  • Monolithos beach – Pebbled, secluded, nudism friendly, located 6 km east of Fira.
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Santorini – How to get there?

Santorini Airport viewed from Ancient Thera
Santorini Airport viewed from Ancient Thera

There are several ways to visit Santorini. You can fly directly from Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos” or embark one of the ferries from one of the main ports of Athens, Piraeus or Rafina. All year round there is a daily boat from Piraeus to Santorini. If you would like to go island hopping combining your holiday with a stay at different Aegean islands you can use the ferry service connecting the islands, for example to Mykonos, Crete, Naxos, or Paros. There are no flights between the islands, but you can reach Santorini from Mykonos by helicopter. Santorini receives direct flights from London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Prague, Frankfurt, Venice, and more. You might also reach Santorini on a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea.

Santorini – Weather and climate

Romantic dinner with view of the caldera in Santorini, Cyclades Greece
Average day and night temperatures in Santorini in °C

Santorini weather month by month

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When did Santorini last erupt?

The caldera of Santorini is cut by at least four partially overlapping calderas. The oldest of them was formed approx. 180,000 years before the present era (BP). The current caldera was form about 3600 years BP during the Minoan eruption (the one we know of today). Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni were formed by multiple, initially submarine eruptions at the centre of the caldera. Although dormant, the volcano of Santorini is still active.

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Santorini and its caldera and islets

Santorini, Cyclades Greece
Santorini Greece

In reality Santorini is this which remains after an enormous volcanic explosion that destroyed the earliest settlements, on what used to be one single island, and created the current geological caldera.

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The Minoan eruption and the collapse of the Minoan civilization

The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (also called the Thera erution), which occurred some 3600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization.

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Hot desert climate caused by the lava

Full moon in Santorini island, Cyclades Greece
Full moon in Santorini island

The inner coast around the caldera is a sheer precipice of more than 300 m drop at its highest, and exhibits the various layers of solidified lava on top of each other, and the main towns perched on the crest.

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The Minoan Akrotiri

Excavations that started in 1967 at the site called Akrotiri have made Thera the best-known “Minoan” site outside of Crete, the homeland of the culture. Only the southern tip of a large town has been uncovered, yet it has revealed complexes of multi-level buildings, streets, and squares with remains of walls standing as high as eight metres, all entombed in the solidified ash of the famous eruption of Thera. A loom-workshop suggests organized textile weaving for export. This Bronze Age civilization thrived between 3000 to 2000 BC, and reached its peak in the period 2000 to 1580 BC.

The lost city of Atlantis?

Pipes with running water and water closets found at Akrotiri are the oldest of its kind ever to be discovered. The pipes run in twin systems, indicating that the Therans used both hot and cold water supplies; the origin of the hot water probably was geothermic, given the volcano’s proximity. The dual pipe system suggesting hot and cold running water, the advanced architecture, and the apparent layout of the Akrotiri find resemble Plato’s description of the legendary lost city of Atlantis, further indicating the Minoans as the culture which primarily inspired the Atlantis legend.

Trips to the volcano, the hot springs and the island of Therasia

Travel to Santorini, Cyclades Islands, Greece
View of Fira in Santorini from Thirasia

Try a trip to the volcano, passing the Hot Springs and then the island of Therasia. You will enjoy the hike up the volcano. Your guide will explain about the surroundings and the geology. The terrain is like the moon or Mars. Great views of Santorini as well. You can choose to go on the glass bottom boat. The Hot Springs is really a warm inlet at the smaller volcano for swimming off the boat. This trip is worth the money, specially if you like hiking and geology.

Viewing Fira from Nea Kameni, Santorini, Greece

Santorini Tours


Santorini Dive Center

Diving in Greece

When you visit Satorini island you’ll have the opportunity to diving in the amazing surrounding sea. There are a few very good diving centers on the island among which is the Santorini Dive Center, operating from Perissa, as well as from Akrotiri. They promise to introduce you to the ultimate diving experience on the island. They have multilingual professional instructors, well maintened, high quality scube equipment and the full range of educational oportunities for certified or non divers.
You can try: Dive trips to the volcano, Wall dives, wreck dives, cave dives, discober scuba
Diving courses PADI-CMAS, Specialty dives, snorkeling

Aegean Divers

Here in Santorini you will also find the ‘Aegean Divers’ diving centre. Having had long experience in recreational diving at all levels of certified divers as well as in training, the Aegean Divers welcome both amateur and professional divers and help them experience and enjoy some of the most beautiful and exciting diving destinations in Greece. All diving tours and courses offered by “Aegean Divers” can be booked securely and safely with their online booking system.

Santorini Sea Kayak – Day Tours

Have a fantastic day out on the waters in a kayak. The tour leaders manage every thing from the pickup at the hotel, all the equipment, a good lunch, and lots of fun along the way. There wil be extra guides with the kids so that everybody feel safe to enjoy the trip.
Thoroughly recommended as a day out. You can choose to do the whole 7 mile tour or to pick one of the shorter routes.

Table for two above the Aegean Sea, Santorini. Greece
Table for two above the Aegean Sea, Santorini

Open-air Cinema Kamari

This could be a great evening for you, quite different and very cool. Popcorn, Mythos beer and a good film await you! Great little place a definite must!