About Santorini

About Santorini

Santorini is one of the most magical islands of Greece. It has a dramatic beauty as opposed to lush and green islands. Approaching the island by boat the immediate impression obtained is this is a Greek island unlike any other. The island of Santorini was formed out of the lava from the volcanic eruption in 1660 BC. The central part of the volcano sank into the sea leading to the emergence of Santorini itself and the tiny neighbouring islands of Thirasia, Palaia and Nea Kameni close by.
So, that`s what happened: the volcano of Santorini blew itself apart in a massive explosion around 1500 BC. That explosion was so powerful that a tsunami was created, a tsunami that traveled all the way to Crete, ten miles away, and destroyed any coastal towns and cities. That day was when the Minoan civilization ceased to exist.

Why do people think that the Minoans were in fact the Atlantians? It`s our best guess, really. The similarities between those two civilizations (as Plato described the Atlantians, anyway) are striking: women with high political status, peaceful cultures, ritualistic bullfighting sports. Plus, it`s easy to assume that Plato got the location wrong or, even more probable, that his texts were misinterpreted: a zero was added (which turned 900 to 9000) and the word “east” was translated wrongly as “west”.
Today, Santorini is the only inhabited Caldera (volcano cauldron) in the world. Unlike other islands in Greece, the towns and villages sit densely on top of the massive cliffs of the Caldera and from a distance appear like snow capping the towering mountain tops. The coloured strata of the volcanic rock of these cliffs are spectacular in themselves: chocolate brown, rust red, yellow ochre, white and cream. The geological uniqueness however is not the only thing that makes Santorini a special holiday destination.

The sunsets at Santorini, viewed from the Caldera, really are breathtakingly beautiful when seen as a backdrop to the volcano. The colours that streak the sky change from lilac to deep purple, from yellow to orange to red, as the golden sun sinks and becomes blood red reflecting its light on to the sea and the surrounding little islands.
What impresses at first glance in Fira is the typical architecture of the houses and the stunning views. In Fira you can visit the the art exhibition in the famous mansion Gizi, the Archaeological museum and the Prehistoric museum where in both of them you can see items from the excavations in Akrotiri as well as many artefacts and sculpture covering the rich historical past of Santorini from the Prehistoric times to the Neolithic and Minoan era, the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods.
In Pyrgos a few kilometres from the capital you can see the medieval fortress Kasteli and admire a 10th century church and a monastery both with beautiful Byzantine icons and relics. The village of Messaria is also located close to Fira and is surrounded by vineyards, you should visit the two small churches that are built in caves. In Megalochori 5 km southeast of Fira interesting is the unique way that this village combines the Cycladic architecture with neoclassical mansions, there are some interesting churches to visit and many places to stay. In Perissa in addition to the beautiful black sand beach with all kinds of shops, accommodations and water sports facilities worth visiting is the ancient site with buildings and ruins from different time periods. There is an ancient theatre, the ancient market, the ruins of a temple of Apollo, a shrine of Egyptian deities and many buildings from the Hellenistic period.

In Kamari in addition to the well organised beach you can visit a church of the 11th century with significant Byzantine frescos and sculptures from an earlier chirch. Don`t miss a chance to visit Finikia a small traditional village, Mesochori, Emporios the traditional old market village of the island and Karterados.
What to Do In Kamari and Karteradso there are tennis courts. In Perissa there is mini golf, water park, go cart and roller-skating. In Fira and Kamari there are fields for volleyball and basketball. There are also many places to go biking. Many people enjoy the two hour walk from Imerovigli to Fira- it is a very beautiful experience, but make sure you have water with you, though today the two towns with Firostefani in the middle are almost connected up. There are also opportunities to go horse riding and donkey riding. Most of the nightlife is in Kamari, Perissa and Fira. Do not forget the famous wineries of the island where you can visit and taste the local Santorini wine. If you are driving you will spot in many areas signs with the indication “wine roads”.

No one should resist the temptation of staying in a cave transformed to a hotel room! Domelike roofs, narrow facades, long spaces inside, traditional decoration and furniture make them popular to tourists and famous all around the world.
Beaches Santorini main beaches have water sports. Santorini beaches are wide with mainly black, white and red sand. There are also lots of currents and the waves can get very high especially at the north east side of the island. Kamari and Perissa are popular beaches with their beautiful surroundings and black sand. If you seek calmer beaches, it is better to go to Monolithos, Vlichada or Agios Georgios. For snorkelling visit Amoudi.
Nightlife Santorini has a varied nightlife, and most bars and discos are in Fira, Kamari and Perissa. Kamari is probably the most popular place, and here you shouldn`t miss having a drink in one of the little cafes on the steep side. The amazing view, relaxed atmosphere and live music will give you an unforgettable experience.
Food and restaurants: You can get almost everything in Santorini – from traditional Greek food to international gourmet dinners. Try the local wine Visanto and see what you think!!! In Kamari there are numerous eateries and grill taverns where you can enjoy all kinds of food.The same setting of eateries can be found in Oia, Fira and all the other resorts of the island.
Shopping Santorini is a bit of a cosmopolitan island, just the number of luxury yachts that stop here is very high for such a small island, so it is quite expensive. Many artists live here, and you can buy a lot of original stuff – hand painted umbrellas, ceramics, jewellery, art etc. You can also get nice icons, but be careful, anything older than 1821 needs a special permit to be exported. There is also local wine worth trying and taking with you, the famous fava beans of Santorini (best in Greece) , local cheeses and caper. Of course if you stay longer in Santorini and would like to have your self catering, there are major international chain supermarkets like Lidle, mini markets, green grosser and all kind of shops you will find in a city.
Getting Around Santorini is quite a small island, and it is easy to get around. There are local buses to take you to most places, but of course you can also rent a car or a bike. There are also taxis on the island.
The harbour of Athinios where the ferryboats stop is connected to Fira and the rest of the island by a well made serpentine road. Driving up or down this road can be quite an experience for anyone afraid of heights. The old port of Fira under the town is used only for passengers from the cruise ships. You can also walk up or down that road (almost 900steps) or take a donkey ride all the way. There is also a cable car taking you straight to Fira. As you arrive at Athinios you can rent a car straight away from the spot. Santorini has a very good road network and a car or a bike will make your stay more convinient.