SANTORINI

santorini01

Santorini Island

A stroll to the volcano

Santorini ... an island with a long history of thousands of years, where the landscapes of the island are considered to be of the most spectacular in the world.

 

 

“Santorini it's a magical destination with idyllic sunset, to "breathtaking". The island's white painted villages standing on the highest point of cliffs that are about 300 meters high, offering breathtaking views.”

 

Each stone of Santorini, has followed an incredible journey from the depths of the earth, reaching through cosmogonic volcanic eruptions on the surface, literally building the island of Santorini, with the exception of the mountain of Prophet Elias.

The walls of the caldera, steep and rocky that rise to the west of the Santorini, trimmed with white villages of Oia, Imerovigli and Fira, causing intense admiration and awe visitors, as they are a unique geological monument.

 

Geography

Santorini lies in the southern part of the Cyclades islands complex. The port of Santorini is at a 130 nautical miles distance from the port of Piraeus. The official name of Santorini, is Thira as the ancient name of the island.

Santorini covers an area of 76 square km and 14.000 people live there. The island's  length is 18 km  and a maximum width of 12 km. The island of Santorini was formed out of the lava from the volcanic eruption in 1660 BC.  The island is a part of a complex of 4 smaller islands Thirasia, Old and Nea Kameni and Aspronisi. The smaller islands were all formed by lava. The highest peak of the island is at 566 meters.

Fira, the capital, is built on the edge of the caldera on the west coast, at an altitude of 250 meters, was founded in the late 18th century. This time of period,  the inhabitants of the old capital of Santorini island, began to leave it as it was severely damaged by earthquakes.

 

History

The volcano is one of the largest underwater volcanoes in the world. Perhaps the only volcanic caldera that reaches the sea. The biggest eruption occurred during the Minoan Bronze Age before 3600 years. The entire center of the  circular island sank into the sea during the tremendous volcanic eruption. The eruption caused tidal waves which virtually wiped out the advanced civilization of Minoan Crete, 70 miles south of Santorini.  Because of this huge explosion, many historians consider this as the main cause of the destruction of the great Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, another famous island destination, which is located 70 nautical miles south of Santorini island.

The huge mass of pumice ejected during the volcanic eruption covered the sea in a wide area then washed up on the shore at higher levels of the tsunami caused by the explosion. In most of the surrounding regions of the Aegean, found pumice pieces that seem to have drifted on the sea surface. Pumice also found on the northern coast of Crete, on the shores of Anafi, Limnos, Paros, Samothrace, Cyprus, and even Israel. Experts have discovered traces of this explosion even up the Nile Delta in Egypt.

 

“Many ancient myths link the destruction of the island and the legend of Atlantis.”

 

In ancient years, after the earthquake, the people of Santorini returned to their normal activities. Based on the Greek mythology, the Phoenicians were the first residents of Santorini, who were attracted around 1300 BC, by the beauty of the island. Later came the Dorians with king Thira.

During the Byzantine era, Santorini adopted the Christian faith. Appointed its own bishop and organized Christian church.

The island gained independence in 1821 and in 1830 joined the Greek Republic.

In 1956, another severe volcanic eruption in Santorini, caused significant damage but the island has managed to build and develop into one of the most popular and favorite tourist destinations in the world.

 

Weather in Santorini

The weather in Santorini is like the most Aegean islands consists of beautiful and dry summers with average temperatures of 26-26 Celsius degrees.

The northern summer winds (Meltemia) decrease the high summer temperatures. The northeast side of Santorini is mostly windy while the west part is protected from the winds from the island of Thirasia.

 

 

Accomodation

There are marvellous hotels, apartments, villas to choose from across the island. Several tour operators send organized groups in Santorini, and you can easily find a great 4 or 5 star hotel for your accommodation with “all inclusive”  packs for a week or more.

 

Time Zone

Santorini and generally all Greece is  in the Eastern European Time Zone (Greenwich Mean Time plus two hours during daylight saving time, all over the year).

 

Transportation

You can access the island by air or by boat.

By air: There are a lot of services that connects Santorini’s airport to  Athens or directly to any European airport. During the summer season charter flights from various European countries, especially from most European Countries arrive on the island.

By boat: There are regular daily services from Piraeus Port to Santorini’s port and the journey time is from 4 to 7 hours, depending on the type of boat you choose.

Buses: The central bus station in Santorini, is in Fira, the capital of the island, where buses depart frequently. This is the cheapest way to get around in Santorini. The local road network is sufficiently good but during summer it's quite busy.

Taxi’s: Of course you can also hire your taxi from the central taxi station in Fira.

Rent a Car or Bike: Tourists in Santorini, have the option to rent a car or a motorbike to explore Santorini island. Renting a car or a motorbike offers more freedom and flexibility to move around and it certainly gives the opportunity to go to places where the public transport and the taxis cannot reach. Make sure you drive safe because there is much traffic on the island in high season.

There are daily excursion boats from Santorinis old port Fira to the volcano and the small island of Thirassia.

 

“Due to the Santorini landscape, the donkeys are highly used. Cable car is also available from the old port of Fira up to the town.”

 

The village of Oia in Santorini is the first settlement in Greece, which in 1976 pronounced preserved. It is a magical place with magical sunsets that exudes calm, tranquility, luxury and of course a chic, cosmopolitan aura that makes it special. If we look from above you will see among the streets to stand out more than 70 churches.

 

Gastronomy

You can get almost everything on Santorini - from traditional greek food to international gourmet dinners. Try the local wine Vinsanto, the Holy Wine is the actual name, a traditional sweet wine in a dark bronze color! In Fira on the side of the Caldera there are numerous eateries and grill taverns where you can enjoy all kind of foods from cheap souvlaki, gyros with pita bread and hamburgers to expensive up market restaurants. The same setting of eateries can be found in Oia, Imerovigli and all the other resorts of the island.

 

Top attractions

 

 

  1. Cruising the Caldera: This is a slightly different but equally enjoyable way to visit the Caldera and enjoy the stunning sunsets of Oia. Many tour operators run these cruises and you will find many being advertised in Fira. The cruises last all day and leave from Fira around mid-morning. Typically, the ship visits Nea Kameni, the active volcano in the centre of the caldera and usually you will be able to stop off here and climb the volcano. Don’t forget that you will need to wear suitable footwear for this climb. Ships usually spend one hour at Nea Kameni before sailing on to Old Kameni and its hot springs. After a refreshing dip into the water, the ships continues on to Thirassia, or ‘Little Thira’. Here you will stop off for lunch, a swim and perhaps a donkey ride up to the town of Manolas. From Thirassia, the ship continues on to Oia where you can alight to explore the town and watch the sunset before returning to the ship for the cruise back to Fira.

  2. Beaches: Being a volcanic island, the beaches are not of the ubiquitous golden sand variety that you can expect to find on the other Cycladic islands. The south-eastern side of the island gives the best beaches of wide black lava sand. Other beaches around the island consist of black sand strewn with pumice stones and black pebbles. Because the beaches of Santorini consist of black volcanic matter, the heat of the sun is absorbed rather than reflected. Consequently, the sand can get incredibly hot during the day so, to avoid burning the soles of your feet, wearing protective shoes is highly recommended. Kamari and Perissa are popular beaches on this southeast coast both with beautiful mountain surroundings and wide stretches of black sand. Santorini main beaches have water sports. If you seek calmer beaches, it is better to go to Monolithos, Perivolos, Vlihada or Agios Georgios. For snorkelling visit Amoudi.

  3. Wineries: Do not forget the famous wineries of the island where you can visit and taste the local Santorini wine-Vinsanto, Nychteri etc-. When you drive, you will spot in many areas signs with the indication "wine roads".

  4. Ancient Thira: is a historic site you must visit in Santorini. It is situated on top of high cliff just above Kamari, and there is also an old church there from 1100 AC. From the top of the Ancient Thira the view is breathtaking and the coastal villages of Kamari and Perissa seems like a tiny towns.  

  5. Imerovigli: is located 2 miles north of Fira and south of Oia. The village of Imerovigli is built on the top of the Caldera at 300 metres over the sea level. The most famous landmark of Imerovigli is the castle of Skaros.

  6. Perissa: is the longest beach in Santorini, a very impressive length of 7km that stretches to the next beach of Perivolos. Except the beautiful black sand beach it worth visiting the ancient site with buildings and ruins from different time periods.

  7. Fira: The amazing architecture of Santorinis houses and stunning views impresses all the visitors. In Santorini’s capital Fira, you can also visit the exhibition art in the famous Gyzi mansion. The Archaeological Museum and the Prehistoric Museum where you can see the data from the excavations at Akrotiri, and many objects and sculptures from Santorini’s rich history, from prehistoric times, the Neolithic and Minoan era, the Hellenistic, the Roman and Byzantine period.

 

Nightlife

Santorini has a varied nightlife, and most bars and clubs are in Fira, Kamari and Perissa. Fira 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, the relaxed atmosphere and soft live Jazz music from “The Zafora” cafe, for example, will give you an unforgettable experience. Koo, Franco’s, Enigma Club, Mylos, Tango are some of the hot spots for the night that you must visit.

 

Currency

In Santorini and throughout Greece, the euro is the standard currency. This converter allows you to determine the value of other currencies compared with the euro.

Of course, there are so many places where you can exchange your currency for euro such as Banks, Currency exchange offices etc.

 

Safety

Santorini is a popular holiday destination and generally a quite safe place for visitors. Use common caution and be careful when walking around after dark and you won't face any problems while staying on Santorini.

 

Staying Connected

Power sockets in Greece deliver 220-240 volts at 60 hertz, and you may need a converter to use your electrical and electronical devices here.

If you have a laptop or a tablet with you, wireless Internet is available throughout Athens, including in many hotels, coffee shops, parks, Metro Stations etc. At some locations, you have to pay for WiFi.

 

Local Laws

The drinking age in Santorini —and throughout Greece—is 18, and smoking is banned in public places throughout the Town, including bars, restaurants, Public Transport and taxis. Cigar smoking is permitted at cigar bars that register with the Town. In Santorini, those who are 18 or older can purchase tobacco and cigarettes.

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