Santorini, or Thira, is the top destination in Greece and among the most romantic destinations in the Greek islands and also in the world. Located in the Aegean Sea, in the Cyclades islands, Santorini island was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the world and what remains today is a submerged volcano and a caldera. Apart from the fabulous caldera villages, Santorini Greece is also famous for the romantic sunset, the volcano and the luxurious resorts.
Some of the most recommended attractions in Santorine
The capital of Santorini, Fira is a city having white washed houses & terraces. It is built on the edge of 400 meters high caldera on the island of Thira.
The ferries dock at the port of Athinios which is connected to Fira by road (17 km). The Cruise ships anchor in caldera and the tourists are transported to the port by small boats (tenders). Fira can be reached from there by road or by climbing a z-shaped stairs case (587 Steps) or by hoping on to a donkey or by a steep cable car. Taking the cable car is most popular and sensible thing to do.
Fira is famous for its stunning panoramic views from the caldera side. Various tourists stop and click selfies and pictures with breathtaking views in the background. There are various cafes, bars & clubs with views and some with several levels of patios & balconies. If you are lucky, you can find a corner balcony table in one of these cafes and enjoy the view gazing at various cruise ships disappearing slowly in to the horizon with a glass of smooth wine and delicious food.
Oia pronounced as Ia is among the most popular tourist destinations at Santorini. The village is famous throughout the world for most beautiful & picturesque sunset as also for the peaceful and tranquil atmosphere that prevails out here. It is located 11 KM from Fira on a cliff and mainly known for its white washed sugar cube east facing houses and blue domed churches.
You get the best view of the sunset from ancient Venetian castle, known as the Kastro of Oia. Oia also houses some of the most luxurious hotels in Greece with rooms and suites having private infinity pools, gives breathtaking view of the sea making it a perfect honeymoon destination.
Apart from the various shops and bars that are in plenty along the market street, there is a Maritime museum with a library that has plenty of material about the history and life of this area.
Santorini Caldera is infact the outcome of a volcanic explosion that occurred some 3000 years ago. The explosion left a huge crater about six and a half kilometers in diameter and about 1000 feet deep which became a perfect site for a harbor. The debris that piled up in a form of steep rocks rises almost to another 1000 feet above the Caldera that got filled by the Mediterranean waters.
In the centre of this still active volcanic site are two small islets where you find hot water springs and gas emissions from the ground under. This is a very popular tourist attraction as a bath in these hot water springs cures many a diseases.
A Santorini Caldera cruise with meals & drinks on board is a great tourist attraction. The five and a half hour cruise coupled with a dip in the sea to snorkel the underwater colorful marine life & corals is an experience just out of the world. The cruise also caters for a hop onto to beach where you can have a cool swim. The finale is the Greek buffet meal on board with Santorini wine and Greek Beer. All this can best be experienced if you opt for a daytime cruise on a deluxe catamaran. An evening cruise offers in addition a breathtaking view of the sunset that is just exclusive.
Cruise Advisory : Ideal group for a cruise is 15 people with like minded tastes and you have the catamaran to yourself.
4. SANTORINI WINE MUSEUM AND WINE TASTING TOUR
Santorini is famous for some of the most popular wines in the world. At Koutsoyannopoulos you get to see a museum that tells you all about how the grapes are grow, cultured through very systematic nurturing process and then crushed to produce the wine that rests in underground cellars for years to mature into finest wine. In-fact the museum itself is underground in a cave. A tour with a guide will keep you intrigued for 4-5 hours.
There are a number of wine estates from which you can choose 2-3 of them and visit their cellars to taste different varieties.
You can combine your tour of wine estate with a cruise on a yacht and enjoy a dip in the sea as well. For this you need to make a small group of 8-10 like-minded people (LMPs) and hire a yacht/boat that can take you on a day tour or sunset tour. Both are equally enjoyable as you can visit the wine yards, taste wine and then carry some on to the boat where you can order some delicious tapas for dining and wining during the boat ride.
5. AKROTIRI ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
In the southern part of Santorini island lies Akrotiri where a great settlement existed before the volcanic explosion, the ruins of which were excavated and now preserved for the world to witness the amazing architectural skills that prevailed during those days. Beautifully painted frescoes on the walls of multistory houses were saved because of the volcanic debris that covered it. Excellent paved paths and streets with an equally efficient sewer system kept the place neat and clean. The fountains square on cross roads decorated with huge elegant vases and items of furniture can be seen all over. A must visit place that stands testimony to the glorious past of this Aegean settlement.
6. BEACH AT KAMARI & PERISSA ( BLACK SAND BEACH )
Famous for its black sand that gets very hot on a sunny day. In-fact walking bare footed is almost not possible and one just goes hopping into the waters. On a summer hot day walking on the sand without your flip flops is out of questions. The beach has rows of beach beds and umbrellas lined up for peoples to sun bathe while loud pop music fills the air. There are numerous beach cafes that can be used for killing your appetite. In fact they have laid out wooden planks from the road to these cafes and reaching up to some rows of beach beds to enable tourists to reach bare footed without burning their feet.
The two beach towns of Perissa and Kamari are similar to each other and have plenty of bars, restaurants, cafes and shops. For entertainment there are camp sites, supermarkets and also a mini golf course for kids. There are some swimming centers that even conduct coaching classes in under water diving.
7. RED BEACH
Lying adjacent to the Akrotiri site is this very popular amazing beach that has red and black rocks in the background. In-fact the view of this comparatively small beach from the headland presents a landscape of changing colors with cliffs in the background, truly a painter’s paradise. At the beach you can find a lot of amazing pebbles in odd shapes and rounded edges which one could carry home and decorate a corner of your garden. Snorkeling in the shallow waters around this beach gives you a glorious view of the colored rocks beneath the sea water and the marine life that exists. This area can be approached either by road or by boat from the Akrotiri port.
8. ANCIENT THIRA
This ancient Greek town belongs to the Hellenistic and Roman period of 3rd BC up to 2nd AD . The ride to the place itself is very eventful and you can see carved rocks around cemeteries just outside the town area. At the entrance you are greeted by ruins of temples and two byzantine churches. The market place (agora), the theatre and gymnasium are a treat to the eye as they present an overwhelming splendid view.
You can either drive down or walk on the dusty path which will take up to an hour. This place is open to visitors on all days except Mondays from 08:30 A.M. to 03:00 P.M.
9. SANTORINI SAILING TOUR
It is almost half a days fun-filled sailing tour around Santorini in a catamaran coupled with dining and wining plus bar-be-que on board while you enjoy the crystal clear blue waters of the sea.
After you have opted for this sailing cruise you will be collected from the hotel in the morning in a luxury coach/mini bus and taken to the port Ammoudi at Oia. Your tour starts from here with three stops till you return. Passing by the Caldera Cliff and Volcano, you first stop will be at the hot springs where you can enjoy a nice mud bath and a hot water wash up in the springs for about half an hour. On your way to the next stop, you pass the lighthouse and Indian Face Rock.
This will be a stop at the white sand beach for about an hour where you can enjoy a good swim and indulge in breathtaking snorkeling after which you can relax and enjoy some delicious white wine with bar-be-cue on board the catamaran.
The final stop is at the Red Beach for about 30 minutes where again you can swim, snorkel and enjoy some more Greek platters, breads and Italian pasta along with BBQ on board. There are plenty of choices for vegetarians as well in the form of salads, pasta, fruits, etc.