Santorini(updated December 20, 2007)
Santorini is the southernmost and most famous island of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea. From Crete there are many excursions offered to Santorini. For that reason we spend a little attention to this island on this website.
The name Santorini comes from St. Irene (St. Irini). Actually Santorini consists of one large island and several smaller islands. The group of islands was created by volcanic activity. As a result a large island arose from the sea. Due to a large volcanic eruption large parts of the island where knocked away. There are several small islands remaining. Besides the mainland Thira that are Thirasia, Aspronisi, Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni. All together the islands cover a total area of approximately 73 square kilometers. The big eruption, 1628 years before the beginning of our era, caused the 100-meter-high tsunami, which destroyed a large part of the Minoan culture on Crete.
Santorini is inhabited by a total of about 13,670 people. Most of them live on the mainland of Thira. This name comes from the Dorian's, where Thira had the power. At Thira you'll find the capital of the island: Fira. This city lies high on the steep rocks and consists of a large number of white houses with round blue roofs, which where chopped out of the lava.
At Thira you also find an important village from the late Neolithic period; Akrotiri. During a volcanic eruption this village was flooded with volcanic ash. Under the ashes a large part of the village survived. In 1967, the village was recovered. There appeared to be houses with multiple floors and things like frescoes and pottery were found. Because people on the run from the volcano had to leave their houses in a hurry many of their belongings survived. Because no human remains were found, we do assume that the people themselves have had time to flee. In October of 2004 a part of the visitors' space collapsed. After that the excavations of Akrotiri were provisionally closed to visitors. When a visit is possible again is unknown. You can visit a museum where discoveries from Akrotiri are exhibited.
Also a visit to the village Oía is worthwhile. From here you can descend via stairs to a number of beaches. Most of these beaches have a black color. This is because the beaches are actually on volcanic soil. There are also beaches with underground in other colors, as the red beach, Kokkini Paralia (near Akrotiri). And there is a white beach; Vlichada. Other beaches bear names like Baxedes, Koloumpos, Pori, Monolithos, Avis, Kamari, Perissa, Perivolos, Aspri paralia and Mesa pigadia.
There is the possibility of a bus ride over the whole island of Thira. It brings you along imposing rocks, which, depending on the location on the island have different colors.
In order to reach Santorini from Crete you can book a one-day excursion. You will be picked up from your hotel very early in the morning to go to the port. From the port you will depart to Santorini. Depending on the boat the trip to the island will take 100 minutes to 4 hours. On the boat, some things about the island are told. The purpose of this is, of course, that you will book additional excursions. However, it is more fun and cheaper to explore the island yourself. At the end of the day the ferry to Crete leaves the island. From the rest of Greece Santorini is also reached very easily. For example, from Piraeus, the port of Athens, with a ferry from Aegean Speed Lines.
The boats arrive in Santorini in the port of Skala. From there you can climb a number of steps to visit the capital Fira. You can also use a donkey to climb the stairs. But fortunately there is also a cable car since 1979 which you can use. The island is not very big and you can go almost everywhere with a taxi. These are very inexpensive and set to tourists.
A day Santorini is sufficient for the whole island to visit. The sunsets on the island are, in general, very beautiful. This of course you do not see during a day trip. There is enough accommodation for tourists on the island. Thus you can still enjoy the sunset.
Despite that Santorini is very touristy, a visit to the island is worthwhile. If you do not book additional excursions you can escape from the major tourist population on the island and discover the island yourself.