The most important characteristic of the island of Santorini is the submerged volcano, which errupted, resulting in the submersion of the center of the island, leaving only the crater and the 300m cliff, from which you can see some of the most beautiful traditional white painted Cycladic villages
Santorini, classically Thera and officially Thira , is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast from Greece's mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcaniccaldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 (28 sq mi) and a 2011 census population of 15,550. The municipality of Santorini comprises the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 km2 (34.990 sq mi). Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit.
Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic explosion that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft) 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 depth of the caldera, at 400m, makes it possible for all but the largest ships to anchor anywhere in the protected bay; there is also a newly built marina at Vlychada, on the southwestern coast. The island's principal port is Athinias. The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon. The volcanic rocks present from the prior eruptions feature olivine and have a small presence of hornblende.
It is the most active volcanic centre in the South Aegean Volcanic Arc, though what remains today is chiefly a water-filled caldera. The volcanic arc is approximately 500 km (310 mi) long and 20 to 40 km (12 to 25 mi) wide. The region first became volcanically active around 3–4 million years ago, though volcanism on Thera began around 2 million years ago with the extrusion of dacitic lavas from vents around the Akrotiri.
The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), 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 metres deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through a gigantic tsunami. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis.
Santorini is a volcanic island in the Cyclades group of the Greek islands. It is located between Ios and Anafi islands. It is famous for dramatic views, stunning sunsets from Oia town, the strange white aubergine (eggplant), the town of Thira and naturally its very own active volcano. There are naturally fantastic beaches such as the beach of Perissa, maybe the best beach in Santorini, the black pebble beach of Kamari, white beach and red beach.
An official Santorini travel guidebook is available for free
An alternative name for Santorini is Thira. Santorini is also a name for the family of islands surrounding Thira, once forming a single island prior to a major volcanic event in approximately 1628 B.C.E.
The small island cradles a rich variety of landscapes and villages. Visit traditional architecture in the small village of Mesa Gonia containing a mixture of ruins from the 1956 earthquake and restored villas as well as a winery at the foot of the settlement. Pyrgos is another notable village set inland with its grand old houses, remains of a Venetian castle and several Byzantine churches.
The island has one natural source of fresh water, a small spring situated in a cave behind a small chapel located halfway up the steep footpath between Kamari and the entrance to Ancient Thira. It only provides a small quantity; it is of good quality as it comes from the only remaining limestone outcrop of the pre-volcanic island. Prior to the early 1990's, it was necessary for water to be delivered to the island via tanker from Crete. However, most hotels and homes now have access to water provided by a local desalination plant. While this water is potable, it is still rather salty, so most everyone drinks bottled water while visiting Santorini.
Fira is the fiery capital, a marriage of Venetian and Cycladic architecture, whose white cobblestone streets bustle with shops, tavernas, hotels and cafes, while clinging to the rim of the caldera nine hundred feet above the its port. If arriving by sea you can take a cable car up from the port or alternatively take a trip on one of the hundreds of mules up the 588 zigzagging steps. You could also attempt to walk up the steps but be warned, they are winding, narrow in parts with only low walls, they are covered in donkey excrement and the donkeys themselves will make no attempt to avoid you.
Walking along a path for about twenty minutes will bring you to Imerovigli where you can take in the magnificent views of the island’s unique scenery from the tiny town.
Just above Fira at the highest point of the island is the quintessentially Santorininian town of Ia, also sometimes spelled Oia, with its whitewashed walls sunk into the volcanic rock and its blue domes rising above the sterling beauty of the stunning, russet Ammoudi Bay. At dusk, the town attracts crowds of people venturing to see the sunset. Santorini's sunsets, as viewed from Oia, are reputed to be among the world's most beautiful.
Due to the spectacular and unique natural beauty of Santorini, many Greek singers have chosen the island as the setting of their videos. Greek and Brazilian TV series have been shot of Santorini, as well as some Hollywood movies (e.g. Tomb Raider II). Generally Santorini is a pole of attraction for Greek and international celebrities.
The touring season starts April 1, or around Greek Easter. The period from December through March is very much the off-season and marked by colder temperatures, rain and winds. Although the temperature is rarely cold, the poor weather makes for a less than optimal experience on this beautiful island. Most of the businesses, including hotels and guest houses, may be closed. The air is usually hot and dry during the busy summer months with very little rain between May and September. Ideal times to visit, for milder weather, lower prices and crowds, are April-June and September-October.
Santorini is one of the great natural wonders of the world, and its main attraction is the landscape and seascape of the island itself. The configuration of the present, roughly semicircular island is the result of an enormous volcanic explosion which occurred probably around 1630 bce, literally blowing the top off the island and changing what had been a typical half-submerged mountain of an Aegean island into a flooded crescent caldera, in the middle of which a few small smoking islands still bear witness to volcanic activity. Some have speculated that this event was the inspiration for the myth of Atlantis. The towns of Fira, Ia (also known as Oia) and Thirasis cling to the steep cliffs facing into the caldera bay. Tours to the central "smoking" islands are readily available and one can see and feel steam vents and recent (1950s) lava flows.
Another popular reason for coming to Santorini are the legendary sunsets, some of the most spectacular in the world. Ia is one of the few places on the island which is both close to a sea and offers a good view to a sunset over the sea: in other towns, the sun disappears behind the volcano.
Additionally the town of Fira is stunning.Donkeys Carrying Bags of Cement
Be sure to explore the areas outside of the towns. There is beautiful countryside where tradition still survives. Cave houses (both abandoned and occupied), gardens, vineyards, small family business, and tiny churches are there to be discovered.
Santorini ranks among top destinations for wedding celebrations for at least 4 years -- primarily for sunset and peace, like those in Oia. Couples often arrive with few friends, stay in Ia (places like Fanari Villas). Groups often arrive in the beginning of the week -- judging by demand for cabrios and number of corteges seen on Mondays compared to weekends.
While the island is full of medium- and top-cost hotels and villas, there are still lots of abandoned caves and modest private houses where noone seems to live for a long time -- even in western Oia where every inch seems to be occupied by some villa. And this doesn't seem to change for years, judging by 2001-2005.
Public beaches do not seem to have showers or places for changing.
In 1956 a major earthquake near Amorgos island resulted in the demolishing of many buildings in the north of Santorini, leading to the desertion of many of its villages. The expansion of tourism has resulted in the growth of the economy and population. The major settlements include Fira (Phira), Oia, Emporio, Kamari, Perissa, Imerovigli, Pyrgos, and Therasia. Akrotiri is a major archaeological site, with ruins from the Minoan era. Santorini's primary industry is tourism, particularly in the summer months. In 2007, the cruise ship MS Sea Diamond ran aground and sank inside the caldera. The island's pumice quarries have been closed since 1986, in order to preserve the caldera. Santorini was ranked world's top island for 2011 in Travel+Leisure Magazine. Santorini was also named "the world's best island" by the BBC in 2011.Panoramic view of Santorini's principal city, Fira
Volcanic activity plays a role in many of Santorini's popular activities, from swimming and sunbathing at the molten-dyed beaches to witnessing consistently gorgeous sunsets from the cliffs at Oia. Another option is to dive right in: Try sailing the clear-blue caldera where the city of Atlantis was said to have stood, or bathe in the hot springs surrounding the Santorini Volcano (Kameni). If you're more of a gastronome, take a tour of the Boutari Winery in the town of Perissa. Santorini is home to several wineries and is especially known for its strong reds.
It's not all beach in Santorini. The island is endowed with archaeological sites, pleasant hikes, charming architecture and splendid views -- especially along the northwest coast from Fira to Oia. Witnessing at least one sunset in Oia is a must for any visitor, and thankfully the dry climate means you're unlikely to have the view washed out. Fira is the best spot for nightlife.
The volcanic activity that shaped the archipelago left its mark on Santorini's beaches as well. The southern half of Thira is speckled with multicolored sand overlooking the crystal clear waves of the Aegean Sea, and writers particularly like the black shores of Kamari and Perissa. For a change of scenery, take a westward drive to the fiery cliffs, red sand and sapphire water of the caldera in Akrotiri.
The top attraction here is the island itself; don't feel compelled to race from attraction to attraction. It's far better to make haste slowly, linger on the black beach at Kamares, and stroll Thira in the early morning when the town belongs to its inhabitants, who are buying loaves sprinkled with sesame seeds at the bakery, and sweeping and washing the pavement outside all those jewelry shops. Most importantly, wherever you are, enjoy the view. There's nowhere else in the world, let alone in the Cyclades, with that caldera view. A great way to see the caldera is to take one of the sunset cruises offered by replica 18th-century sailing ships the Thallasa and the Bella Aurora (tel. 22860/24-024). Some cruises do and others do not include a light dinner. Most travel agents sell tickets from around 45€.
Tip: If you plan to visit the ancient sites and their associated museums, get the economical 10€ ticket that's good for the Archaeological Museum, ancient Akrotiri (if open), prehistoric Thira, and ancient Thira. Even if the ticket price goes up, as it almost certainly will, and even if Akrotiri is closed, as it may be, this will be a good buy.
Winery Tours -- For information on a number of winery tours on Santorini, check out www.santonet.gr/wineries. Boutari (tel. 22860/81-011; www.boutari.gr) is the island's largest winery, and Greece's best-known wine exporter. A variety of tours are offered at their winery in Megalochiri on the road to Akrotiri, from a simple tasting of three wines (6€) to the "Libation to Santorini," with four wines, serious nibblies, and a multimedia show. This is a pleasant way to spend an hour or so (but never on Sunday, when the winery, like most on Santorini, is closed). If you want to sample other local wines, stop by the underground Volcan Wine Museum (tel. 22860/31-322; www.volcanwines.gr), just outside Fira, on the mail road to Kamari. The museum, which occupies subterranean caves and tunnels, has an audio tour and reconstructions of the wine making process; 6€. Volcan's once-a-week Greek Night, featuring dinner and belly dancers, is popular with large tour groups. Check the website of the individual wineries for their varied hours.
A Different Santorini -- A different way to explore Santorini is the 1-hour submarine tour beneath the caldera's surface. It sinks 25 to 30m (82-98 ft.) below the surface and offers you a glimpse into the submerged volcanic crater. The trip costs 65€; information is available at most travel agents and at tel. 22860/28-900.
Location, location, location: To put it mildly, Fira has a spectacular location on the edge of the caldera. Just when you think you've grown accustomed to the view down and out to sea and the offshore islands, you'll catch a glimpse of the caldera from a slightly different angle -- and be awed yet again. If you're staying overnight on Santorini, take advantage of the fact that almost all the day-trippers from cruise ships leave in the late afternoon. Try to explore Santorini's capital, Fira, in the early evening, between the departure of the day-trippers and the onslaught of the evening revelers. As you stroll, you may be surprised to discover that, in addition to the predictable Greek Orthodox cathedral, Fira has a Roman Catholic cathedral and convent, legacies from the days when the Venetians controlled much of the Aegean. The name Santorini is, in fact, a Latinate corruption of the Greek for St. Irene. Megaron Gyzi Museum (tel. 22860/22-244) in a stately old house by the cathedral has church and local memorabilia, an icon workshop, and before-and-after photographs of the island at the time of the devastating earthquake of 1956. It is open Monday to Saturday 10:30am to 1pm and 5 to 8pm, and Sunday 10:30am to 4:30pm. Admission is 4€.
Not surprisingly, Fira is Santorini's busiest and most commercial town. The abundance of jewelry stores is matched in the Cyclades only by Mykonos -- as are the crowds in July and August. At the north end of Ipapantis (also known as "Gold Street" for all those jewelry stores), you'll find the cable-car station. The Austrian-built system, the gift of wealthy ship owner Evangelos Nomikos, can zip you down to the port of Skala in 2 minutes. The cable car makes the trip every 15 minutes from 7:30am to 9pm for 5€, and it's worth every euro, especially on the way up.
Up and to the right of the cable-car station is the small Archaeological Museum (tel. 22860/22-217), which contains early Cycladic figurines, finds from ancient Thira, and erotic (or obscene, depending on the eye of the beholder) Dionysiac figures. It's open Tuesday through Sunday from 8:30am to 3pm. Admission is 4€. You can easily spend a day or more enjoying Fira, but don't count on getting much sleep: Fira has a wild all-night-every-night bar scene, with every bar seemingly competing for the award for the highest decibel level attainable with amplified music.
Oia gets most visitors' votes as the most beautiful village on the island. The village made an amazing comeback from the 1956 earthquake which left it a virtual ghost town for decades. Several fine 19th-century mansions survived the earthquake and have been restored, including the elegant Restaurant-Bar 1800 and the Naval Museum . Much of the reconstruction continues the ancient Santorini tradition of excavating dwellings from the cliff's face, and the island's most beautiful cliff dwellings can be found here. The village has basically two streets: one with traffic, and the much more pleasant inland pedestrian lane, paved with marble and lined with an increasing number of jewelry shops, tavernas, and bars.
The Naval Museum (tel. 22860/71-156) is a great introduction to this town where, until the advent of tourism, most young men found themselves working at sea and sending money home to their families. The museum, housed in a restored neoclassical mansion, was almost completely destroyed during the 1956 earthquake. Workers meticulously rebuilt the mansion using photographs of the original structure. The museum's collection includes ship models, figureheads, naval equipment, and fascinating old photographs. Its official hours are Wednesday through Monday from 12:30 to 4pm and 5 to 8:30pm, although this varies considerably. Admission is 3€.
The battlements of the ruined kastro (fortress) at the western end of town are the best place to catch the famous Oia sunset. Keep in mind that many cruise ships disgorge busloads of passengers who come here just to catch the sunset; unless you are here on a rainy February day, you may prefer to find a more secluded spot where the click of camera shutters is less deafening. Below the castle, a long flight of steps leads down to the pebble beach at Ammoudi, which is okay for swimming and sunning, and has some excellent fish tavernas. To the west is the more spacious and sandy Koloumbos Beach. To the southeast below Oia is the fishing port of Armeni, where ferries sometimes dock and you can catch an excursion boat around the caldera.
Keep in mind that because Kamari is so easily accessible with so many amenities, you won't find the peace and quiet here that you would at other beaches like the Red Beach in Akrotiri. In order to secure a good sunbathing spot, plan to get here early.Santorini's volcanic history has lead to the formation of some of the more unique beaches in the Greek Isles, and Kamari is no exception. Sitting about four miles southeast of Fira on the island's east coast, this stretch of powdery black sand is the largest on Santorini. Bordering it is the town of Kamari, the island's most developed resort area. You'll also find numerous hotels, restaurants, beachside bars and shops.
There's no better way to enjoy Santorini than with a glass of vino. And when it comes to Greek wine, no place is more famous than the Boutari Winery. Recognizable by its pristine white dome, the Boutari Winery has been producing Greece's most popular wine since 1989. You can tour the winery's grounds, located between Thira and Akrotiri in the small town of Megalochori, plus an in-depth look at the wine-making process with a tasting at the end.
Tours are offered every day starting around 10 a.m. and admission is about US$10 (€8).For more information, check out its website.
The best way to reach Santorini is by a yacht charter. Especially if you charter a motor yacht, it is the faster way to reach the island! Having your own private yacht, you have the opportunity to visit all around it and get to know all her beautiful spots! The most famous beaches in Santorini are : Kamari and Perissa. Kamari is located in the southeast side of Santorini. The beach is beautiful and is very famous. On the beach front there are shops, restaurants, hotels etc. It is a very lively place!
Perissa is also well known. The beach is well protected from the Aegean winds the “meltemia“ and it is fun to be there during your holidays. Hire a mega yacht charter in Santorini to reach Perissa beach or Kamari with your yacht. Anchor and have fun with your water toys. Then take your tender and go ashore to mix with the local people or to go shopping - dining.
The vineyards in Santorini are rare because they have never been attacked by phylloxera. As a result, there are vineyards that are more than 100 years old, retaining their original root stocks. To enjoy the beauty of island, book a boat charter in Santorini visit the local vineyards, taste the local wines and make your trip memorable. The winds during the summer protect the grapes from the sun exposure. The whole climate helps the vineyards to grow healthy grapes. The people train the vines into a basket shape to protect the growing grapes from the strongest winds, the Meltemi. More than 14.000.000 sq m of vineyards are found in Santorini today. Well known red grapes are Mandelaria and Mavrotragano. White grapes: Assyrtiko, Athiri , Aedani, Platani, Potamisi etc. Three Santorini wines are in the category of “name of origin of top quality” and belong to the group of European Union wines” quality wines .They are as follows: Nykteri, Assyrtiko and Vinsanto. Nykteri takes its name from the Greek word meaning “night work”.Santorini’s shape is a result of her volcano in prehistoric times. The last one was 3600 years ago and the eruption created the current. It is a place that millions of people visit and admire every year. Enjoy your Greek island vacation in Santorini to utmost. The impressive view from the top of the caldera is unique and spectacular! It is possible to visit the volcano, you can take a tour by sea with a local water taxi. On the island of Santorini there is a geological-volcanological museum, worth visiting. The island has a marvelous dry climate, lots of sunshine and it is one of the most popular cruising destinations in the world! Santorini has a great local cuisine with plates made out of local pure, healthy ingredients. The local production of wines is also distinguished. These two activities are well associated with tourism. The island is a gastronomical destination! You can find here some of the finest restaurants and wineries. During the past twenty years the wine “assyrtiko” has gained a worldwide recognition as it is one of the best varieties of great Greek wines. Somewhere in between the ages 1620-1640 BC there was an explosion on the island. All remaining parts of the land were covered in volcanic ash. The evidence showed existence of viniculture and winemaking as far back as the Bronze Age. The soil allows the earth to retain water during the high summer months and the hot Greek summer. It does not rain much during the year and the only source of water during the summer for the vineyards is the nocturnal fogs. When the sun goes down, the island is covered in a small fog that comes from the sea. This fog helps the retaining of the water.
Assyrtiko is most popular white variety and represents 80% of the total cultivated varieties producing full bodied wines of high acidity and aroma. Vinsanto is a traditional wine. Sun dried grapes are laid on the ground in the sun usually for a period of around 15 days and then undergo a long slow fermentation. This produces a honey colored sweet wine.
Boutari wines are the biggest and most well known wine producers in Greece. On the island they have a beautiful winery and visitor center. You can make a tour, watch the wine making process, explore the cellars and vineyards and taste all the wines. They produce Selladia, Asyrtiko Boutari, Santorini Boutari, Kallisti and Vinsanto.
The family produces several high quality wines and in particular a lovely Vinsanto. Located in Pirgos village and it is housed in a renovated cave.
At Pyrgos village , on the top of the Caldera cliff, with a magnificent view. This winery welcomes more than 80.000 visitors each year from all over the world to sample their wines. Santo Wines offer some wonderful space for weddings. Wonderful terrace and breathtaking views of the volcano.
|Located in Oia. Production of very high quality. Guided tours are offered, wine tasting, with local traditional snacks, local cheese, etc. A great view from the winery! There are also other wineries on the Greek island of Santorini. The expansion of tourism has resulted the growth of the economy and population on the island. The major settlements are : Fira, Oia, Emporio, Kamari, Perissa, Imerovigli, Pyrgos and Therasia. Akrotiri is an archaeological site, that has ruins from the Minoan era. 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.|