Santorini is as you have always imagined her, as you have always dreamt. Bright white buildings adorned with blue shutters and doors cascade down the edge of her cliffs, staring back at the sun as it descends into the Aegean. It will leave you breathless. Wander around this beautiful island ot take a mini cruise to Santorini’s smaller islands and volcanoes. If archeology and history are your passions, visit the Akrotiri Village excavations. Or just sit in a café in spectacular Oia Village and watch the sunset. There is nowhere else on earth like Santorini, the Queen of the Cyclades. She will leave you breathless.
Everything about this island is unique – its red earth, its white, black, and red beaches. You’ll find more than 600 churches, cave settlements, classic whitewashed Cycladic houses that seem as if they’ve been scrubbed clean and bleached by the sun, traditional windmills, thrilling nightlife, and some of the warmest, most cheerful people in the Greek Islands. This is a mystical, primal, seductive place. You’ll feel it even as you stand on the deck of your ship as you approach the incredible caldera and come face to face with the island’s sunbaked vertical cliffs. An excursion anywhere in Santorini is like a visit to the sky. Its light and colors will dazzle you.
There’s more than seismic activity here. Celebrate in hilltop Fira, where Santorini never sleeps. Visit a cave settlement, literally built into the rocks, near Oia, then stroll this exquisite village’s alleys, where you’ll brush shoulders with travelers from all over the world. Wander through the ruins of Neolithic Akrotiri village, or unfurl your towel on the seductive black sand at Perissa Beach. There’s sweet red wine, Vinsanto, at the island’s wineries, and a view from Profitis Ilias at Pyrgos that will move your soul.Santorini is a complex and regal beauty, but she won’t keep her secrets from you.
During the summer months an intense wind, the Meltemia, blows across Santorini.Open your arms and give yourself to it.
The people who lived on prehistoric Santorini called the island “Strongyle” (round). In 1650 BC the massive Thira volcano erupted, sinking the center of Strongyle and leaving behind the incredible caldera, whose radius of 10 miles makes it the world’s largest. The Thira eruption was the largest in recorded history and resulted in the creation a small archipelago of five islands: Thira (also known as Santorini), Therassia, Nea Kameni, Paleo Kameni and tiny Aspro.
Less than 10 miles from Fira, the capital, lie the amazing ruins at Akrotiri, a Neolithic village from the middle of the 5th millennium BC, will take you deep into the ancient history of Santorini. Akrotiri had been a bustling town, but its inhabitants abandoned it before the Thira eruption, a mystery archeologists and historians are still trying to solve. The ash from the volcano buried the city, preserving many of its structures and some of its incredible frescoes.
Fira, the capital of Santorini and its largest town, has it all: art galleries, award-winning restaurants, chic cafes, cozy bars, museums, nightclubs, traditional tavernas, unique shopping and, of course, an incredible view of the sunset from the town’s central square, Thetokopoulou Square. You’ll want to visit the Archeological Museum, which houses Minoan finds from Akrotiri, and the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, whose exhibits date from the Neolithic era through the 17th century BC, and the Megaro Ghyzi, a cultural center where old prints, maps, and photographs of Fira before and after the 1956 earthquake are on view. The bright white Metropolitan Cathedral, also known as the Church of Ypapantis, was built in 1827; it’s famed for its elegant rolling arches and its beautiful frescoes, which were painted by Santorini artist Christoforos Assimis, and should also be on your Fira itinerary.
When you’re ready to leave town, you can take the Santorini Cable Car, the teleferik, which was completed in 1979, to the port of Old Fira, a jaw-dropping descent of more than 200 meters toward the deep blue waters of the caldera. If you’d rather “hoof it,” you have two options: you can walk down all 588 steps to the Old Fira or hire a donkey to take you! (Courage!) Once you’ve arrived, enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine in a quayside café, and spend some time in the shops of Old Fira, where you can find unique Santorini products, all with a view of your ship, which is anchored just off this section of the Santorini coast.
At the northern tip of Santorini, about seven miles from Fira, is Oia, the island’s most scenic village. When you arrive, you’ll feel as if you’ve stumbled into a three-dimensional postcard from Santorini. The sunsets here are world-famous. As sunset approaches, hundreds of visitors to the village gather, as if magnetized, to watch the finale of another perfect day in the Cyclades. Everyone grows silent as the sun slides gloriously into the Aegean; once it does, the delighted crowd bursts into applause! The sunset from Oia is intoxicating, truly one of the most beautiful sights on earth. And you are here. Turning back from the sunset, take some time to enjoy the narrow, pebble-paved streets of Oia, home to white sugar houses (there are two architectural styles, the captains’ houses and the cave houses), blue-domed churches, one-of-a-kind shops and galleries, and chic cafes and tavernas where you’ll receive a warm Oia welcome. The Maritime Museum and its small library are worth a visit, as are the ruins of Saint Nikolaos Castle, which was built by the Venetians. When the light begins to fade, Oia becomes uniquely illuminated. It grows peaceful, blissful. You can’t help but be charmed.
Have you ever wanted to take a dip in a volcano? We’ll take you swimming at Paleo Kameni, one of the two islands between Santorini (Thira) and Thirassia; the other is Nea Kameni. The temperature of the sea at Paleo Kameni is 5° C higher than it is elsewhere in Santorini, and the water is a yellowish-green, thanks to the sulfur. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Bring your waterproof camera if you have one!
Less than 10 miles from Fira, the amazing ruins at Akrotiri, a Neolithic village from the middle of the 5th millennium BC, will take you deep into the ancient history of Santorini. Akrotiri had been a bustling town, but its inhabitants abandoned it before the Thira eruption, a mystery archeologists and historians are still trying to solve. The ash from the volcano buried the city, preserving many of its structures and some of its incredible frescoes. These advanced people built two- and three-storey homes and grew crops, and you will marvel at the remnants of the houses, shops and workshops that surrounded the village square thousands of years ago. Could Akrotiri be the lost city of Atlantis? We’ll let you decide.
Cruise to Santorin's & islands and volcanoes
The little islands of Palea and Nea Kameni are of particular geological interest, since underneath them lightly slumbers an active volcano.
Spectacular Oia village perched on the caldera rim
Enjoy majestic sunsets and breathtaking views that the world-renowned island of Santorini has to offer. From the traditional village of Firostefani and Imerovigli to the picturesque and beautiful Oia this tour has you covered.