An Island That Once Was A Volcano

Posted On November 30, 2009 

Among the Islands of Greece, is the crescent shape Island of Santorin, an archipelago. The volcano last erupted hugely about 3,600 years back in the Bronze Age. Mild eruptions continue till date. The small islands of Caldera, Palea and Nea Kameni are testimony to the recent activity of the volcano.

As per the 2001 census, the population of Island of Santorini is about 3,600 people.


The Island of Santorini is spread over 73 square kilometers, distributed among thirteen villages, at 63 nautical miles to the Island of Crete. It is the southern most island of the Cycladic group in the Aegean Sea and is listed under the Islands of Greece.


Best Time to Visit

The island has a dry climate and abundance of sunshine all through the year, which makes it perfect to be visited by tourists at any time as per their plans and conveniences.

The climate prevailing over the Island of Santorini is typically Mediterranean, with warm and dry summers and mild, rainy winters.

Summer lasts in the months of April to October and winter season is in the months of November to March end. The days in the summer months have a bright sun in a clear sky with almost no rainfall. Evenings are cooler even in these months and you might need to take along some warm clothes.

The rains in winter too are not continuous and the sun peeps out after a few days of cloudy sky.

How to reach Santorini Island

While there are no direct international flights to the Island of Santorini, most of the international tourists can reach here through a connecting flight in Athens. It takes about 40 minutes from Athens to reach here by flight.

During the summer months however, there are direct charter flights from different European cities to the Island of Santorini. There are direct flights from Thessaloniki too in this period.

The island can also be reached via ferries that serve from the ports of Piraeus, Thessaloniki or Crete and most of the Cycladic Islands. Daily high speed boats that cover the journey in about 5 hours are available during summers from these places.

Tourist attractions in Santorini Island

The tourist attractions in Santorini Island are plenty and will set you busy as soon as you put your steps here. While there are natural attractions for a good time, there are museums and archaeological sites that speak of the history of the Island of Santorini.

Most of the reputed beaches in this island are to the east and the south east of the island. The wild beauty of the beaches at the Oia coastline is sure to enchant you and has been recently discovered by tourists as it is not visible from the main road. The beach of Baxedes, Koloumbus and the small fisherman’s port of Pori follows as you move beyond the Oia beaches.

To the south east of the island are the well-organized and tourist friendly beaches of Monilithis, Avis and Kamari with a number of eating-joints and shops around them. Avis is good for water sports.

The two other well- known beaches of the Santorini Island are the Perissa beach and the Perivolos beach, the two of which together form the longest black- sanded beach on the island.

houses-overlooking 020

The southern most beach of the island is the Vlychada beach where you will marvel the beautiful carved mountain, sculptured by strong winds since years. The beaches that you must go to when here are the Red beach with its vertical cliffs, the White beach and the Mesa Pigadia beach, that still remains untamed by the tourism industry and hence attract the tourists.

There is a lot of scope for hiking in the Santorini Island. The longest hike, of about 3 hours, is the Fira, via Firostefani and Imerovigli to Oia. On the way, there are the fantastic views of the caldera. For a shorter walk of about half an hour, take the route from Imerovigli to Firostefani and then to Fira.

Also worth hiking is the pathway from the summit of the Profitis Ilias to the hill of Mesa Vouno, where Ancient Thera was located and then further to Perissa.

The city has a number of museums that narrate the history of the past to you. Located in the capital of the Santorini Island, Fira, is the Museum of Prehistoric Thera. The museum has master pieces of arts from the prehistoric Aegean such as paintings and the unique gold figurine. There are three dimensional life size reproductions of wall paintings found in Akrotiri too on display.

The Archaeological museum, again in Fira, has a good collection of sculptures from the Archaic to the Roman period and vases and clay figurines from the Geometric to the Hellenistic periods. The Folklore Museum here is a cave house built in 1861 and has displays of workshops of carpenters, barrel makers, and shoe makers, tin smiths along with an original old winery, a gallery with displays of work by contemporary local artists and an archive for documents.

The Megaron Gyzi was formally a mansion. Today, this museum has exhibitions of engravings from the 16th to the 19th century that include dresses, maps of the Cycladic Islands, old photographs of Santorini from the pre-earthquake period of 1956 and old manuscripts as well. There are paintings of Greek artists who worked on this Island as well.

The Naval Museum in La has displays of marine objects that depict the maritime history of the Island, especially the 19th century. The Wine Museum on way to the Kamari beach presents the history of wine in the Island of Santorini from 1660 to 1950 through figures and sound effects.

The Argyros Mansion is a recently built monument of Santorini that reflects a blend of Theraic architecture with neoclassic elements and hence allows you to get a glimpse of the Greek cultural heritage. There are period furnishings as well as ceiling paintings preserved here.

The Art Space Museum serves as a cultural center cum winery too and has displays of contemporary visual arts and canavas of an old 1861 winery. Modern paintings and sculpture by Greek and foreign artists are on display too.

The two main archaeological sites in the Island are the ancient city of Akrotiri that belongs to the pre-historic times and the ancient city of Mesa Vouno that is a Greek civilization.

Mesa Vouno

The Lacedaemonian colonizers founded the city upon the limestone rock of Mesa Vouno. Form the 9th century BC to the spread of Christianity, the Mesa Vouno city was the island’s only urban center.

About 250 churches too adorn the Island that have fine architecture.  The Panagia Episkopi is a church with marble templon and marble carvings with wax décor. The Byzantine Emperor Alexius I Comnenus founded this church. The Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral in Fira was originally built in 1827 and was reconstructed in 1956. The local artist Christoforos Assimis painted the beautiful frescoes inside.

The Prophet Elias Monestary dates back to the 18th century. Its attractions include old books, manuscripts, and a collection of ethnological material. The Catholic Church in Fira is a Baroque church with and elegant bell tower. The Dominican Convert and Agios Mikolaos Monastery are other beautiful churches of the Island.

Boat tours to the recently formed islands of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni are worth a trip as well.

Other than the above mentioned sites, the Island has a number of water sports you could lay your hands at and also a number of villages that are worth taking and excursion to.

Overall, with unique land formations, sunny beaches, historical sites and water sports that are common attractions of any Island, the Island of Santorini is a perfect holiday destination, for you alone as well as for your whole family.

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