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Santorini

What's Popular In Santorini

  • Currency: Euro(EUR)
  • Language: Greek

Santorini – also known as Thera in Greek – is the island immortalized by poets and painters, thanks to its celebrated light, multi-coloured cliffs and picture-perfect sunsets. On this island all senses are magnified, a product of its many contrasts: black earth against whitewashed homes clinging to the cliffside, or wild volcanic sculptures against sleek Cycladic lines. Santorini erupts with charm. A volcano embraced by the Aegean, this island-phenomenon in the Cyclades gives its visitors a mythical experience. 

Best Time to Travel


Santorini attracts over 1.5 million tourists annually, which is quite a lot considering how small the island is!

Best time to travel to Santorini for weather – May to September
Best time to visit Santorini to avoid crowds – Not July and August
Cheapest time of year to visit Santorini – Low season October to March
Best time of year for Santorini nightlife – June to September

Transportation

Public buses

The central bus station is in Fira, the capital of the island, where buses depart very frequently. They cover routes to almost all places around the island and certainly to the most tourist spots. This is the cheapest way to get around in Santorini. 

Taxis and private transfers

Many taxis can be found in every village of Santorini, at the port and the airport of the island, at the central squares of Fira and Oia, as well as near every beach resort. They are surely more expensive than the bus, however, they will take you to your destination faster.
You can contact some local drivers directly (0030 690 679 4316, 0030 22860 22555) or book your taxi online.

Car and Motorbike rentals

With a car or motorcycle, you can explore the island at your own pace and gain access to the most secluded spots! In case you don't have your own vehicle, it is an excellent idea to rent a car for your sightseeing trips! 

Attractions

Firá

The capital of Santorini, Firá (Thíra) is made up of whitewashed cubic houses and terraces, winding lanes, little squares, and blue-domed churches perched on the cliffs 300 meters above the caldera. From the small port of Skala, Firá can be reached either by walking or riding (mules are for hire) up the steep and winding stepped path (587 steps) or by taking the cable-car. It can also be reached from neighboring towns via the Fira to Oia scenic trail that takes you along the caldera cliff.

Ferries dock at the port of Athiniós, connected to Firá by road, while cruise ships put down anchor in the caldera, and passengers are transported to Skala by tender. Firá lives principally from tourism, and many of its buildings now serve as small hotels, apartments, restaurants, cafés, souvenir shops, and jewelers.

Oia
Oia is known for its famed sunsets that attract tourists from around the world. Located on the northern tip of Santorini, 12 kilometers up the coast from Firá, Ía (Oia) is a picture-perfect village of whitewashed houses, several of which have been converted into chic little boutique hotels with infinity pools, overlooking the caldera. Like Firá, it lives from tourism, but caters to a more upmarket clientele.

From Ammoúdi Bay, steep paths zigzag up to the town where you'll find a row of waterfront seafood eateries, many with alfresco dining. Oia can be reached by local KTEL bus or by walking the trail along the cliffs high above the caldera (allow three hours from Fira).

Caldera Cliff Wall

Formed by the massive volcanic explosion that blew the center out of the island some 3,600 years ago, the calder is the sea-filled volcanic crater that remained. Measuring 12 kilometers by seven kilometers, it is still home to volcanic activity - in its center rise the two Kaiméni islets with hot springs and gas emissions.

Various agencies offer one-day excursions of the caldera by boat, including time to bathe in the hot springs and then have lunch on Thirassia, a tiny island on the west side of the caldera affording amazing views back to Santorini across the water.

Archaeological artifacts at Akrotiri

Near the village of modern Akrotíri, 12 kilometers southwest of Firá, the ancient Minoan settlement of Akrotíri was buried below lava following the 16th-century BC volcanic explosion that created the caldera. At the Akrotiri Archaeological Site, visitors can walk on pathways through the debris of the town to see remains of the clay buildings of this once thriving town. It is so well preserved that it's often compared to Pompeii. The site has remnants of multi-level buildings, pottery, and drainage systems, proving that Santorini was a flourishing and prosperous island before the eruption and probably lived from shipping and trading.

Archeological Museum

Lying close to the upper station of the cable-car in Firá, the small archaeological museum displays finds from Ancient Thira, ranging from the Dorian, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Inscriptions dating from the Archaic to the Roman period, clay figurines of animals, and beautiful ceramic pottery are some of the finds exhibited at this museum.

Profitis Ilias

From Pyrgos, a road runs to the summit of Mt. Profítis Ilías (584 meters), Santorini's highest point, affording panoramic views of the island and out across the sea. Here stands the mighty Profitis Ilias Monastery, an 18th-century sanctuary that is open to the public.

The port of Ammoudi Bay

At the base of the cliffs rising to the town of Oia, the port of Ammoudi Bay glistens above sparkling turquoise waters. Descend the 200 or so steps down from Oia, and you are in the picture-perfect setting that is Ammoudi, known for quaint Greek tavernas serving the catch of the day just inches from the waves, and isolated coves ideal for swimming. Another popular activity is cliff diving if that's what gets your adrenaline pumping.

For a less adventurous and still exhilarating experience, hire a sailboat to bring you to the volcano for a swim in the hot springs.


What to Do

A spa in the Aegean Sea

If you don’t have a boat, you can easily rent one or hop on a day cruise at Athinio, Gialos or Ammoudi, and take a tour around the caldera. Discover the churches built into caves and the old stairs used for mining excavations along the cliffs. On the small island of Palia Kameni, if you dare, you can dive into the thermal waters that form a volcanic spa.

Get your feet onto higher ground

Holidays in the villages of the caldera are one of a kind, with extraordinary cave-like houses grouped together in volcanic soil. Enjoy a leisurely stroll from Fira to Firostefani and Imerovigli. The more adventurous can challenge themselves by taking the path to Oia, passing the Prophet Elijah’s Church, the Chapel of the Cross and the Black Mountain, which is iridescent at sunset, all of which makes a walk that defies description.

Summertime and the living is easy

Santorini is one of the most luxurious destinations in Greece. Plunge into one of the infinity pools that flirt with the edge of the cliff, the Aegean laid out in front of you in all its glory. Relax on a sunbed, a refreshing drink in your hand. Enjoy a massage in your suite and a dip in your jacuzzi.

Santorini’s gastronomy

Cuisine here, boasts extraordinary ingredients thanks to nutrient-rich volcanic soil. Amongst the island’s specialties are its world famous sun-dried cherry tomatoes, fava beans (split peas), capers, and white eggplant. Santorini’s chefs are always experimenting with local products, combining traditional recipes with modern gastronomy, and making the island a top culinary destination in the Aegean.

Swim with nature

The island is lined with unique beaches in exotic colours of black, red, and white, a product of their volcanic sand. At Kokkini Paralia (Red Beach), Aspri Paralia (White Beach), Perivolos, Perissa and Kamari, the volcanic earth creates immortal works of art. Comfortable sun beds, hammocks, cocktails and delicious snacks await you at all of the organised beaches of Santorini.

A sunset ritual

Experiencing the sunset from Oia, as thousands do each year, is a ritual. For a few minutes, the energy of the landscape is palpable. When the fiery sun sinks into the Aegean, this scene will be forever emblazoned across your mind.

Things to Do in Santorini