This post, dedicated to Santorini island, is the last in the series about the Cyclades islands. I will here let the pictures tell the tale of this exceptionally wild and dramatic beauty…
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 approximately 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.
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. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km, is surrounded by 300m high, steep cliffs on three sides. The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea. On the fourth side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon is connected to the sea in two places, in the northwest and southwest.
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. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of feet deep and a theory holds that this may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km to the south, through a gigantic tsunami. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis.
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. The ground then slopes outwards and downwards towards the outer perimeter, and the outer beaches are smooth and shallow. Beach sand color depends on which geologic layer is exposed; there are beaches with sand or pebbles made of solidified lava of various colors: the Red Beach, the Black Beach, the White Beach, etc. The water at the darker colored beaches is significantly warmer because the lava acts as a heat absorber. Santorini and Anafi are the only locations in Europe to feature a hot desert climate.
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.
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.
The expansion of tourism has resulted the growth of the economy and population. Santorini was ranked world’s top island for 2011 in Travel+Leisure Magazine.
Santorini was also named “the world’s best island” by BBC in 2011.
Try sailing with Captain Ted and his crew. Captain Ted will make you feel at home right away – almost like family. The meal prepared by his shipmate will be really tasty. You will feel safe and in good company during the whole trip while enjoying the spectacular views of Santorini island from sea. Absolutely recommend.
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.
Cultural Center – Museum – Winery
The old distillery: In the old rakidio, the distilling equipment is preserved intact along with the ovens of the old steading. Another unique feature of the museum is its tomato paste processing plant as it was in the pre-industrial era of a century and a half ago. It is the only equipment of its kind that has been preserved to our days.
The old winery: The kanaves of the old 1861 winery are the display space of the works of art. Their architecture itself is a work of art on its own merit. Visitors can view on display the basins reserved for the grape treading (patitiria), each for the crafting of a different kind of wine, the must wells (lena) and the old maggano (wine mangle). Art Space Santorini
Santorini Wine Tour
Try doing a wine tour in Santorini to get to know more about Greek wines. Try and schedule this tour on one of your first days in Greece so that you will be able to confidently select and enjoy Greek wines for the rest of your trip. The tour leaders are great and make an effort to include everyone. This is a great trip both for people who know a lot and people who know little about wine.
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
Santorini Dive Center website
Contact: Pavlos Stefanidis
Perissa & Akrotiri, 847 00 Santorini
Tel: +30 22860 83190
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.
Aegean Divers website
Contact: Aegean Divers, Diving Travel and Holidays
Agia Irini, Pyrgos, Santorini 84700, Cyclades Islands, Greece
Tel: + 30 22860 33201 Fax: + 30 22860 33209
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.
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!
Breathtaking views of the caldera and totally peaceful. Perfect for relaxation without mass tourism, when you want a change of pace, not too far from Oia and Thira.