Santorini ranks among the world's best known and most desirable destinations, attracting holiday makers from every corner of the planet making it a national landmark. Due to the volcanic activity in the island that changed its shape to its current surreal and dramatic form, the breath taking view of caldera awes its visitors especially during sunset. As a creation of peeved nature, due to her special history and legends, its unique architecture and the vivid cosmic life, Santorini has conquered the whole world.
Fira, Oia, Imerovigli and Firostefani, all facing the unique geological phenomenon of the caldera, host some of the most unique hotels in the world providing high quality of services and facilities. Suitable for all forms of tourism, romantic vacations and honeymooners, wine lovers or families, visitors with archaeological or even geological interest; Santorini can easily prove to be one of the most astonishing islands, leaving no one untouched.
The significant archaeological sites, the museums, the churches and local houses with their unique architecture, the volcano, the wonderful beaches, the range of activity options as well as the nightlife and the excellent food, are all pieces of a puzzle that join yesterday with today and prove how special Santorini is.
Santorini can be accessed both by air or sea. By plane, Santorini is connected with the airports of Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete and some of Aegean islands throughout the year. Due to the large number of visitors during the summer period, frequency of flights increases radically in order to cover the tourists transportation, while numerous charger flight connect directly the island with other countries.
Being highly visited, Santorini has a very good coastal connection. Both ferries and high speed catamarans connect daily the island with the ports of Piraeus, Rafina, Crete and the rest of Cyclades Islands. Finally, Santorini is a destination not to be missed by any cruising company to sail in the Aegean Sea.
A long walk in the caldera is essential for the visitor to get the essence of all aspects of Santorini's beauties. The capital of Santorini, Fira is built in an impressive location on the top of the abrupt rocks, in a 260m height structured according to the traditional architecture of Cyclades islands. Long walks on the city pay off any visitor with its graphic neighbourhoods, the traditional excavated dwellings, churches with blue cupolas, characterize this charming capital. Approaching Oia, one of the most famous summer resorts you will be fascinated by the incredible beauty that lies before your eyes which makes it the first settlement in Greece considered conserved, where you can also take a donkey ride, being the only mean of transportation through its narrow cobblestone pavements. Oia's name is connected with sunset where every afternoon, when the horizon is painted with the colours of fire, crowds of people "hang" in caldera to see this unique and romantic spectacle. At the highest spot of the capital is Firostefani, the last and most graphic settlement of the city, while on the top of the caldera between Fira and Oia is Imerovigli where you will see the remains of the Enetic castle "Skaros". Below the castle, a long flight of steps leads down to the pebble beach of Ammoudi, with excellent fish taverns right where the waves go off. Throughout caldera's paths will find some of the most luxurious Greek hotels, a lot of shops, coffeehouses and restaurants to remind you that you are in the most cosmopolitan island of Cyclades.
Although romantic walks on the cosmopolitan caldera could last forever, the exploration of the rest of the island surely pays off. During an island tour, the visitor gets a glance on the less touristic side of the island. Numerous large vineyards flourishing on the volcanic ash or even the smaller local's fields of tomatoes or fava beans overlooked by fancy scarecrows is a proof of the island's diversity. At the south end of the island, is the handsome old village of Emborio. The town was fortified in the 17th century, and you can see its towers, a graceful marble statue of the muse Polyhymnia in the cemetery, and modern-day homes built into the ruins of the citadel. Pirgos, a village on a steep hill just above the island's port at Athinios, is a maze of narrow pathways, steps, chapels, and squares. Near the summit of the village is the crumbling Venetian castle, with sweeping views over the island.
SIGHTSEEING & MONUMENTS
The Archeological Pre-historic Museum of Santorini is located in the capital of the island, Fira and this museum holds all the secrets of the volcanic island. While discovering the rich history of the island, visitors can enjoy the Hellenistic and Roman sculptures and frescoes.
The most interesting archaeological site of the island is Akrotiri where a part of a pre historic city of the pre-eruption era was revealed partly untouched. However due to the recent collapse of the canopy covering the site it is currently closed while building a new one.
Additionally the volcanic area of the island can be visited via daily cruises to offer a unique traveller's experience. A 20 minute walk on the lunar island of Palea Kameni to discover the volcano's heart followed by a visit to Nea Kameni where you can enjoy the bubbling sulphur water is a destination worth visiting.
THINGS TO DO
Santorini, as a traditional producer of local wine has an extensive list of wineries worth visiting, along with the Wine Museum situated on the village of Messaria. Either visited individually or through local tour operators, wine lovers have the opportunity to visit vineyards, get an insights of the methods of wine production both traditional and modern, where wine tasting is a must before finally picking the bottle of your taste.
Whether you are a novice or a pro scuba diver, the Volcano Diving Center can accommodate any experience level and can be a well rewarding experience when exploring ship wreck sites as deep as 120 meters down into the seas of Greece. For less adventurous lover of the underwater is the 1-hour submarine tour beneath the caldera's surface. It sinks 25 to 30m below the surface and offers you a glimpse into the submerged volcanic crater.
White, red, gray or black sand, crystal clear deep blue waters, red volcanic rocks, Santorini offers some of the finest beaches in the Mediterranean. Most of Santorini beaches have the famous black sand where any visitor to the island remember and deep blue waters. Perissa, Kamari, Perivolos and Agios Georgios are located in the touristic areas of the island and offer lots of accommodation facilities, taverns, cafes, bars, water sports and beach bars. The Red Beach, near Akrotiri, is located in a quitter area but thanks to its unique colour it is the most famous beach of the island. On the other hand the White beach is accessible by boat and therefore less crowded. For those preferring their privacy, Monolithos, Pori, Vourvoulos beach, Couloumbo are less developed beaches, offering shallow waters, ideal for families and children.
Santorini is well known for her agricultural products. The particular consistence of its volcanic ground, the winds, the limited rainfalls along with extreme humidity throughout the year are well disposed for the cultivation of many agricultural products.
Fava is one of the most famous products of the island. It belongs to legumes and its size is almost like a big grain of sand. Another traditional product of Santorini is tomato. These small waterless cherry tomatoes belong to the variety of tomatoes with a hard peel and unique taste, also known in its sun dried version. Before the 1956 earthquake, tomato was the main agricultural product of the island previously having 9 factories producing tomato juice, only one remaining today. To friends of the eggplant, she is known as the 'apple of love', whimsical in nature, white in colour, this particular 'fruit' needs no watering, sweet to taste, juicy and quite delicious. The local round cucumber and capers are also gastronomic delicacies of the island. Lovers of good cuisine should be aware that only in Santorini can one sample these unique delicacies in taverns and restaurants all around the island.
Among the most famous products of Santorini is its unique award winning wine. Its quality and distinguished taste are bound to the combination of the ground which is rich in inorganic elements and poor in organic. The island produces various exceptional varieties such as Asyrtiko, Nikteri and Visanto being the most famous ones. Santorini has many vineyards still cultivated in the traditional local way, which are available for visit.
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Airport of Santorini: +30 22860 28405
Port Authority of Santorini: +30 22860 22239
Santorini Buses Services: +30 22860 25404
Santorini Police: +30 22860 22659
Santorini Health Care Centre: +30 22860 22237
Archaeological Museum of Santorini (Fira): +30 22860 22217