Volcano 3D. island of Santorini.
So, Santorini. I imagined it a little differently. When I was vacationing in Crete and heard the advertising of “tours” to Santorini it seemed to me that it was a tiny island on a rock with white-white houses with blue inserts and no one really lives there, but tourists come to admire it.
In early summer, a friend suggested to fly to Santorini for 17 thousand rubles, including visa, flight and accommodation. Hm….why not*) And gathered us four girlfriends on the black sands. Information about Santorini and vacationers very little. But as I got acquainted with the available material, I began to imagine the island in all its glory.
Most of all happy thought that the island is a volcano. Active. (Funny!)
When buying a tour we chose Perissa coast (Kamari was the alternative), Perissa Bay Hotel 3*. The hotel is good- we liked it- the main plus (as everyone says) – responsive, sharing hostess – yes, it’s true! And well, that the beach 50 mchrez through the road, which is extremely rare passing cars, quad bikes, motobikes. In general, the island pleased with the manner “driving” participants of the movement – cars, etc., on the roads are few, all go quietly, calmly, without a rush, not “showing off”, very comfortable, go only cars – “tiny” (Nissan micro, smart cars, etc.), jeep – 2%. Pleasant! The only minus-very few signs with the name of places, directions-at night drove “by feel”, well, again, good Greeks are always ready to help-language that they say to Kiev will bring.
Black sand on the coast of Perissa. I expected worse, but nothing! Does not get dirty, when heated certainly walk only in slippers, similar to black caviar when wet, easy to shake off. The resort itself….hmm Well how to say it – “village” in general. Deafening. Pensioners (sorry, well we also “got into” this category). And yet we were a little surprised, very few people, although the season of July, and the place is normal.
In Kamari we did not get – but like they say there more alive and young people, but of course not Ibiza. Taking into account that we constantly went somewhere, looked, and by evening were tired, especially the lack of evening life – went to bed at 11, got up at 7 am – and productively spent their days *) But if there were evening entertainment – it’s nice “brightened up” our evenings. In the evening there are tavernas with traditional Greek hospitality and delicious food, as well as “lounge bars”. So, if you’re young and active, and if you’re used to a rough nightlife – you’re definitely not in Perrisa.
By the way about the tavern-as we were reading reviews about Perrisa and our hotel, we came across an admiring review about the tavern “Posseidon”. And after several attempts of experimentation we became regulars at this place- the prices are super, the portions are huge, and how tasty). Divine grilled fish sword (7 euros), grilled calamari (7 euros), grilled chicken (6.5 euros) in cream sauce… Mmmmmmmm))))) It makes my mouth water. Nowhere else on the island we have not eaten so tasty and cheap. By the way, we took dishes for two and ate enough! + friendly staff and always a “compliment” from the tavern, a carafe of wine (in the evening), then watermelon, then a dessert (afternoon*). More than recommend!
If beach vacation is not a priority, you have to go to Santorini, the beach is secondary here. You have to go and see. We took a car for a day – the route – Red Beach, then we had the misfortune to go on a boat to White Beach. I wish we hadn’t done it, and I beg you not to repeat our mistake.
Sailing away from the Red Beach boat you could see different kinds of “earthy” rocks-white, red, with transitions, bizarre bends of the rocks-very interesting, as if a museum of “geology”.
Paddling up to the notorious White Beach, and they told us – stop you at about 15 meters from the shore (closer the boat will not come up) – you descend into the water to the waist and go to the beach. Okay okay, we go down, bags almost on his head, so as not to get wet. And then begins Fort Boyar – the waves are hitting, and under your feet arise huge boulders, slippery to the horror, it hurts, it is impossible – a miracle climbed the super stony beach – to fall when you climb like two fingers … And the boat sails away – back in an hour will be back. Horror – “Lelik!”- we shout the famous phrase of Mironov from “Brilliant Hand”, throwing a white dress on a stick and waving….
White beach – a dubious pleasure! I do not recommend it. The red beach can be visited for the sake of interest, but there is nothing to do there, just as one of the must-see places on the island of Santorini. Next to the Red Beach is a place called “Akrotiri” – something like Pompeii in Italy. We did not go there – when we took a car – it was the 2nd day of our stay – and only 7 days, and there are so many places. Maybe it’s interesting there I don’t know. In Pompeii I was *)
Next we went to the lighthouse – extreme point at the bottom of the island – there was our 1st point of observation of the volcano.
Driving to Santorini by car was an endless serpentine, steep precipices, spectacular views. The views: the “walls” of the island, the water column in the caldera, the dormant top of the volcano, the huge liners, the blue sea and sky, white houses – from afar seem snowy peaks – an amazing spectacle – from all points! And then we went to contemplate-“volcano 3D”:). On the way we stopped in Pirgos not bad, but we didn’t have to walk long, because it was hot and divine Iya was ahead. We went there!
Iya is beautiful! Chic! Snow-white houses, located on steep slopes, narrow streets, beautiful designer things – very interesting jewelry (in Fira also a lot of stores – but in Iya, somehow more beautiful and stylish look on the counter). The beauty is unbelievable!
The main attraction in Ia is the sunset. Locals call it a movie. People go crazy. Crowds rushing to watch the sun go below the horizon.
We decided to arrive early and take the best seats – while we went back and forth – places in places with a good view were melting away – and we are 4 friends, so the choice is complicated. Shuffling from corner to corner – we thought we were doomed to failure, all argued down the line. And wandering depressed, were ready to sit on a ledge somewhere in the corner and watch a movie out of sight, by some miracle came across an institution quite decent, surprisingly almost empty run jumped into the seats. And we got ready. The sun was still high, we tired of a day of impressions sipping cocktails, catching our breath. People began to pull up, and then piled in, everybody was sizzling, waiting in anticipation. And then it started, it crawled down. It began. The sky slowly began to change before my eyes, slowly going through all the shades of red and pink, as if a painter (very much like Monet) was mixing the palette. As a sensitive nature to this kind of thing (a cultural scientist by training and from birth open to the perception of beauty in any form) I fully enjoyed and penetrated.
I assume that many people were also affected. Even during this movie, I sharply felt the “cosmic” nature of everything that was happening – the Earth is spinning in the solar galaxy, stable, rhythmic, almost forever, and we are drawn by the force of gravity sitting in a cafe and imbued with a universal sense of the beauty of this world. That’s how the sunset in Oi caught us. And when the sun went down, the sky was pinkish-lavender reflection of the sun gone below the horizon coupled with the white houses and the sea – very poetic and romantic to me so the most beautiful time of day for Iyi. The cult of the sunset in Oi “woke up” an interest in the sunset, and somehow returning recently from Moscow suburbs, my girlfriend and I were admiring the beautiful Moscow sunset *). Seeing and observing the beauty in our lives and enjoying it is wonderful!)
The next day we traveled to the capital city of Fira- by bus from Perrisa. We were warned and how many times convinced – the Greeks are extremely unpunctual, if the schedule says bus arrives at 13-00, and if at 13-00 bus is not, and he will come in 13-14 – is more than normal! Come on time, but do not be alarmed that the Greek is late *) We ordered a rental car at 9 am, after our endless calls and tantrums – brought her at 10 with difficulty.(((((((
So Fira compared to the idea of not as white and marshmallow and airy, but quite “alive”. The so-called “square” (the center of all tourist life) – a lot of stores, cafes, bars, discos in the evening. The view of the volcano – clear. Well in general Fira – it’s the central point of the island – the view is good *). In Moscow, we booked a room for 4 people near the center of Fira (7 minutes walk to the “square”) – inexpensive – 20 euros per person (we just spent the night). In the afternoon we booked a table with a good view. In the evening we went to watch the sunset. But it has not made that incredible impression that we had in Oi. But still beautiful view of the caldera captures!
Evening program – well, not mega super active – close bars, a few clubs. Well if you have a mood you can relax. (I will say it again about jewelry – very interesting design, and it is not important precious or just bijouterie!) Girls advise!
So 24 hours in Fira “revived” our journey + good shopping (souvenirs, gifts, etc.).
Also took an excursion “to the volcano”-one day tour guide from the tour operator offered this tour for 55 euros, the hotel we bought the same tour for 35 euros. All the same, the same program, the same places. In a nutshell the meaning – are taken from Perissa by bus, carried to the pier, then the ship to the volcano, then climb and “walk” – despite the fact that the rise is in the afternoon, ie in the heat on a volcano is not hot – there SUPER wind – be careful – protect yourself from the sun – the heat is not felt, but can bake ogo ho! I wore a baseball cap, wrapped my shoulders and hands with a scarf. After ascending-descending-take you to the so-called hot springs-here I will focus your attention-and give the advice of an experienced – when you are invited to swim (and you will be offered of course) – reject boldly and stay on the ship, because it is HOT! Stinking, yellow, rusty water, it floats some nasty pieces of iron, or what, well, very much resembling something, the smell is appropriate, the water is warm – horror, then the whole crowd on a whistle to the boat – do not break through, get out of the water foul-smelling and rusty. Not worth it! No super effect these springs do not produce. Then you are taken to the island Tirrassa (I can misspell the name, I do not remember exactly) – there is lunch, then the sunset in Oyu. The ascent up from the port – 2 options on “donkeys” or on foot. Which of the two evils you choose: “donkeys” there as horses are huge, of course smelly, rushing up the slippery serpentine ascent over the abyss, overtake each other – danger! Very scary I squealed, two of our friends were going up on foot – is also something else the ride – first steep ascent – hard, secondly slippery and “oops” all over the bottom “costs” of donkeys, unpleasant, but the most fun – donkeys rushing down after the passengers – that fear – like a hurricane in a cloud of dust, super speed, sweep everything in their path. So choose for yourself.
Santorini (Greece) – the most detailed information about the island with photos. The main sights of Santorini with descriptions, videos and map.
Island of Santorini (Greece)
Santorini (or Tira) is a picturesque island in Greece in the Cyclades archipelago, located in the Aegean Sea. It’s one of the most stunning places in Europe and a true Greek paradise, attracting honeymooners and lovers as the most romantic place to stay. Santorini – it’s incredible sunsets and pearly white buildings, climbing in tiers on steep slopes, churches with blue domes and charming windmills, great gastronomy and stunning beaches.
Interestingly, Santorini is actually a group of islands: Thira (the largest island), Thirasia, Aspronisi, Palea and Nea Kameni. They took their present form in 1650 B.C., when there was a strong volcanic eruption. In this case, the volcano of the same name is still active. During the eruption in ancient times formed a vast caldera (volcanic depression), which was flooded with water.
Santorini is considered a true gem of Greece, fascinating with its fantastic volcanic landscapes, steep cliffs and crystal clear sea. But the most amazing thing here is the architecture of the coastal villages, built right on the edge of a volcanic depression with spectacular views of the Aegean Sea. These picturesque settlements feature fabulous white houses resembling sugar cubes, punctuated by charming cobbled streets and adorned with beautiful churches with bright domes.
Things to do (Santorini):
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Fall in love with the island of Poseidon on a great sightseeing tour
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Explore the most picturesque corners of the island and see the sunset in the village of Iya
Geography and climate
Santorini is located in the southern Aegean Sea, 200 km from the Greek mainland. It is a semi-circular archipelago of volcanic islands, nestled between the islands of Ios and Anafi. The area of the island is 96 km 2 and the coastline has a length of 69 km.
The city of Ia on the island of Thira. Santorini
The most impressive part of the relief is the famous caldera, which is closely linked to the history of the island. This volcanic depression is round and completely filled with water. In fact, it is the only sunken caldera in the world. It resembles a lagoon, up to 400 meters deep. Caldera is surrounded by steep cliffs, on top of which are built beautiful villages.
The eruption that formed the caldera caused giant tsunamis that struck the northern coast of Crete and destroyed the Minoan civilization that flourished at the time.
Santorini has an arid Mediterranean climate characterized by hot, dry summers and warm, slightly rainy winters. Santorini is subject to strong northerly winds in July and August, which can interfere with calm sea walks.
- Population – 16 thousand people
- Capital – Fira
- Language – Greek
- Currency – Euro
- Visa – Schengen
- Time – UTC +2
How to visit the island for budget tourists
Santorini is an expensive resort, even in low season. But there are some simple ways to save a little money:
- Don’t book accommodation in high season, choosing to visit in spring or the second half of fall.
- Choose lodging away from Caldera’s most famous coastal villages and visit them by public transportation.
- Eat at inexpensive eateries, cook yourself (if you have a kitchen), or buy ready-made food from supermarkets.
- Swim in secluded natural bays, not on paid beaches.
Sunset in Ia.
The best beaches in Santorini
- Red Beach is one of the most beautiful and famous beaches of Santorini, located 12 km from Fira. It is covered with red volcanic pebbles, which create an interesting contrast to the blue sea.
- White Beach is a cove surrounded by white rocks, located near the Red Beach.
- Kambia is a secluded beach between the Red Beach and the White Beach.
- Yalos is a small secluded beach with a beautiful view on the volcano.
- Monolithos is a quiet pebbly beach 6km east of Fira and is perfect for families.
- Perivolos is one of the biggest sandy beaches of Santorini, surrounded by numerous hotels and taverns.
- Perissa is the famous black sand beach of Santorini, located 12km from Fira.
- Kamari is a famous resort and beach in the south of the island, very close to Perissa.
Popular cities and places
– The capital of Santorini and the busiest city of the island. From here you can take a bus to almost anywhere in Thira. – The jewel of Santorini, a colorful village on the rocks of the volcanic caldera, located at the northern tip of the island of Thira. It is a place with charming architecture and stunning sunsets. – a small village located at the highest point of the caldera, which offers the best view of Nea Kameni, the black volcanic island in the center of the lagoon. There is an opinion that the sunset views here are as good as those from Ia.
- Firastefani is a small, quiet village between Imerovigli and Fira. It is located on one of the steepest rocks of the caldera.
- Perissa is a coastal village on the southeast coast of Santorini, known for its black sand beach stretching for several kilometers and for its excellent Greek tavernas.
- Votonas is a small stone village, one of the oldest settlements in Santorini.
- Megalohori is a traditional village with many old white Cycladic churches.
- Emporio is one of the largest settlements of Santorini, located at the foot of Mount Profitis Ilias. Emporio was once one of the main outposts of the island and still has a distinctly medieval character.
- Akrotiri is a small village located near the famous Red Beach in the southeastern part of the island. It is best known for the ruins of an ancient Minoan city destroyed by a volcanic eruption, which are considered the most important archaeological site of Santorini.
- Pyrgos is the former capital of the island, which consists of traditional houses built around a Venetian castle and winding streets that follow the natural flow of the area.
- Camari is a cosmopolitan beach resort that boasts all the trappings of modern infrastructure.
Best time to visit
The tourist season in Santorini lasts from May to October. The resort is one of the most popular and expensive in Europe, so during the high season (July to September), prices can be a bit steep. To explore the nature of the island and to save a little money we recommend to visit Santorini in the transition months of April / May or October / November. At this time it is still warm, but no longer hot.
The island of Santorini can be divided into two parts: the western and eastern. The most popular western part of the island, where there is the famous caldera and picturesque coastal villages such as Fira and Ia, built on the rocks. The eastern side of Santorini resembles the rest of the Greek islands, although also quite picturesque. Accommodations on the east side of the island should be more budget-friendly.
View from the hotel window. Santorini
Recent archaeological findings indicate that Santorini was inhabited as early as the Neolithic period, about 3,600 years BC. A major city of the Minoan civilization was built on the island, destroyed by a major earthquake in 1650 B.C. In 1500 BC the Phoenicians settled there and founded the city of Thera. In 1100 BC. Santorini was conquered by the Lacedaemonians (Spartans).
During the Hellenistic period Tira, the largest island of Santorini, due to its central position in the Aegean Sea, became an important trading center and naval base for the Greeks.
Interestingly, the modern name of the island was formed in the 13th century by the Crusaders (or Venetians) from the name of the small church of St. Irene (Santa Irini) in Perissa.
The surroundings of Firastefani
After the collapse of the Roman Empire and for most of the Middle Ages, Santorini was part of the Byzantine Empire. In the 13th century, the islands were ceded to Venice. The Venetians owned Santorini until the 16th century, when the Turks arrived and turned the local port into one of the most important ports of the Eastern Mediterranean.
In the early 20th century, after a series of wars Santorini is in decline. In 1956 there is another catastrophic earthquake, forcing the inhabitants to leave the islands. Santorini begins to “revive” only in the 1970s. And now it is one of the most popular resorts in Greece and throughout Europe.
How to get there
The international airport is located on the island of Thira, north of the village of Kamari. It has regular connections to Athens, as well as seasonal flights from Dusseldorf, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Munich, London, Milan, Zurich, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Paris, Barcelona, Prague, Venice, Rome. From the airport you can take a bus to Fira, from where you can take buses to other places in Santorini.
You can also go here by ferry from Athens and from many Aegean islands (Mykonos, Crete, Paros, Naxos). The port at which all ferries to Santorini arrive and depart is called Athenios (or New Port). It is located on the southwest side of the island of Thira, 9 km from Fira and 19 km from the village of Iaia.
Santorini has a well-developed bus network. Roads on the islands are good, but often quite narrow and winding. If public transport does not suit you, you can rent a car or motorcycle.
A great souvenir brought back from a trip to Santorini is local wine. You can also buy cosmetics made from volcanic ash, jewelry, ceramics and fabric products made in the traditional way.
Santorini has an interesting cuisine, shaped by the climatic and natural features of the island. Here we recommend trying the local grilled fish or seafood, melidzanosalata, mashed garlic and olive oil white eggplant, tomato fritters, dolma and great local wines.
The best recommendation is to stay away from the expensive restaurants and try to find a traditional tavern where the food is much cheaper and sometimes tastier.
Caldera is one of the most famous sights in Santorini, a unique natural site formed by a volcanic eruption more than 3,600 years ago. It is a sea-filled volcanic crater with an area of 84 km 2 , surrounded by steep cliffs. The volcano itself is located on the island of Nea Kameni, almost in the center of the caldera.
Fira, the capital of Santorini, is located in the eastern part of the caldera, on several high cliffs. It is the largest city on the island and consists of traditional whitewashed houses and terraces, pretty winding alleyways, small squares and churches with blue domes. A picturesque 10-kilometer trail connects Fira with Iaia.
Fira, like almost all settlements in Santorini, lives off tourism. Most of the buildings are small hotels, apartments, restaurants, tavernas and stores.
The Catholic Cathedral in Fira contrasts with the traditional Cycladic churches. It has a peach-colored facade and a beautifully decorated clock tower that towers proudly over the city. The interior of the cathedral is beautifully decorated with paintings framing the columns. The cathedral was rebuilt in 1975 after the 1956 earthquake.
Thira is the ruins of an ancient city, including fragments of Hellenistic temples and foundations of Roman and early Byzantine structures. Ancient Tira is located on the southeast coast of Santorini and was founded in the 9th century BC.
Finds from here are on display in a small archaeological museum located near the upper station of the cable car in Fira.
Iya is a coastal village at the northernmost point of the caldera and a true gem of Santorini, famous for its incredible sunsets. It is a picture-perfect Cycladic village, most of whose houses have been converted into luxury hotels with landscaped pools and stunning views of the caldera.
Windmills are one of the symbols of Santorini. Such structures operated on most of the Cyclades Islands from the 16th to the late 19th century, taking advantage of the frequent local winds. Most modern mills are tourist attractions converted into boutique hotels.
Akrotiri is the most important archaeological site in Santorini. It is an ancient Minoan settlement buried under lava from a volcanic eruption that occurred in the 16th century BC.
Red Beach is one of Santorini’s most famous beaches, located near the modern village of Akrotiri against a backdrop of red rock.
Pyrgos was the capital of Santorini until the 19th century. It is a tiny village located in the center of Santorini, consisting of white Cycladic houses built around the ruins of a medieval castle on a hilltop.
Perissa Beach is one of Santorini’s largest and most popular beaches, located on the southeast coast of the island between the villages of Perissa and Perivolos. It is a six-kilometer strip of fine black volcanic sand, along which there are numerous hotels, bars and tavernas.
The Church of the Holy Cross in Perissa is one of Santorini’s largest churches and is located near the famous beach. It was originally built in 1835-1840, but the church was reconstructed after a major earthquake in 1956. During the reconstruction, fragments of two older three-aisled basilicas were discovered, indicating that the original church was built on their foundations.
The Panagia Episkopi is an ancient Byzantine church built in the 11th century. It has preserved many medieval frescoes and ancient icons.
The Venetian Castle was built by the Venetians near the modern village of Akrotiri in the Middle Ages. After the Ottoman Turks took over Santorini the impregnable Venetian castle was completely destroyed.
Agios Nikolaos Monastery
Agios Nikolaos is a convent located between the villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli. It was founded in 1651 and is one of the oldest monasteries on the island.
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