Santorini is a famed vacation spot in the
Greek Islands, and although relatively small, it leaves
a large impression upon its visitors. Santorini Greece
is located in the south Aegean Sea, some 125 miles southeast
of the Greek mainland. It is part of the Cycladic group
of islands, and is the southernmost in the Cycladic chain. Crete lies just 63 nautical miles
to the south of Santorini and there are numerous Greece
ferries operating in
the Aegean Sea that can transport travelers to and from
Santorini from the other Cycladic Islands, as well as
Crete. From the mainland, regular ferry service from Athens,
via the port of Piraeus, and Thessaloniki offer a way to reach Santorini. Charter flights out of
a number of European cities serve the island in the summer,
as well as regular flights between Santorini and Thessaloniki.
Santorini is a beautiful island whose history of significant
volcanic eruptions has left behind a unique and stunning
geography. As for legends, it has been theorized that
Santorini Greece was among the possible sites for the
lost civilization of Atlantis.
Santorini Island is actually a grouping of a few volcanic islands. These islands surround a large caldera that was formed primarily hundreds of thousands of years ago when a large Santorini volcano eruption collapsed the interior section of land and filled with water. Excavations on Santorini island show human inhabitation dating back to the 3rd millennium BC, and cultures such as the Minoans lived on the island. However, the Santorini volcano erupted again around the time of 1500 BC, leaving the island buried beneath layers of volcanic ash. This eruption was among the most significant volcanic eruptions in the last couple of thousand of years, and it contributed again to the formation of the large caldera. Two “young” islands are located in the center of the Santorini island caldera, and they are named Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni. Palea Kameni is just shy of 2,000 years old, while Nea Kameni began to emerge 425 years ago. Nearly fifty years ago, the Santorini volcano, as these islands are called by locals, experienced its last series of major lava flows on Nea Kameni.
The volcanic activity of Santorini Greece has defined the island’s landscape and contributed to some of the most unique Greece beaches. Sand colors like red and black characterize some of these beaches, giving them an appearance and feel that is hard to find anywhere else. At Red Beach, the rich red sand is set between the blue sea and scaling red cliffs, creating a colorful combination that is quite spectacular. The volcanic-rich soil is also responsible for aiding in the production of some notable wines from Santorini island, and Santorini’s version of Greek food revolves highly around the local agricultural products.
In regards to the Greece tours that can be enjoyed on Santorini island, the hiking tours are among the most popular. The longest Santorini Greece hiking tour lasts close to 3 hours. It begins in the island’s capital of Fira and ends in the wonderful village of Oia. Oia is a prime destination for visitors to Santorini, its white-washed buildings perched atop cliffs overlooking the caldera. Especially in the summer, tourists come to Oia for its charming ambiance and superb sunsets. Shorter Santorini Greece hiking tours that last less than 3 hours can be found on Santorini as well. Regardless of the length of the experience, you will surely get a taste of the island’s amazing scenery. Sea Excursions are another popular idea for tours on the island, and visiting Palea and Nea Kameni by boat is a wonderful way to sail the caldera and look back on the high cliffs surrounding it. Coach tours, or bus trips, are just one more way to see some of the sights of Santorini and they are usually easy on the budget. A popular full-day bus trip starts in Fira, with a highlight being a stop at the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, followed by a wine-tasting excursion to Profitis Ilias. The trip rounds out at Perissa, where you can enjoy a swim at one of the island’s most notable beaches and grab some lunch. Then you return back to Fira.
Santorini offers so much to do, and you could ideally spend your entire Greece vacation here taking advantage of the wealth of options. Visitors to Santorini can visit archeaological sites one day and relax at the beach the next. A truly unique mix of museums can be found around Santorini, and you’ll likely want to visit some of them to gain insight into the island’s history and past inhabitants. Wine lovers should include a stop at The Wine Museum, found at the “Volcan Wines” winery along the route to Kamari Beach. There, you’ll get an in-depth look at Santorini wine production from 1660-1950. The nightlife and entertainment of Santorini Greece is renowned, and whether you want it loud and crazy or tame and tidy, you’ll find the right mix for you. Santorini hotels offer travelers a nice array of options, and visitors to this awe-inspiring Greek island can also consider the vacation rental options when trying to find their ideal lodging fit.