Santorini, Greece: climate, resorts, beaches

Santorini

Santorini (Greece) – the most detailed information about the island with photos. The main sights of Santorini with descriptions, videos and a 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 – this is 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):

Kalimera, Santorini!

From €396 per tour.

Kalimera, Santorini!

Fall in love with the island of Poseidon on a large sightseeing tour

North of Santorini

From €270 for the tour

North of Santorini.

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 Iya. Santorini

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.

Tourist information

  1. Population – 16 thousand people
  2. Capital – Fira
  3. Language – Greek
  4. Currency – Euro
  5. Visa – Schengen
  6. 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 accommodation away from the most famous coastal villages of Caldera and visit them by public transport.
  • Eat in inexpensive eateries, cook yourself (if you have a kitchen) or buy ready-made food in supermarkets.
  • Swim in secluded natural bays, not on paid beaches.

Sunset in Ia.

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 on the south side 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 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.
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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. This time is still warm, but no longer hot.

The island of Santorini can be divided into two parts: 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

View from the hotel window. Santorini

History

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.

Surroundings of Firastefani

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 flights 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.

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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.

Santorini

Santorini

Shopping

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 fabrics 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.

Attractions

Caldera

Caldera

Caldera is one of the most famous attractions of Santorini, a unique natural object, 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

Fira

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.

Catholic Cathedral

Catholic Cathedral

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

Tira

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.

Ia

Ия

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.

Acrotiri

Akrotiri

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

Red Beach

Red Beach is one of Santorini’s most famous beaches, located near the modern village of Akrotiri against a backdrop of red rock.

Pyrgos

Pyrgos

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

Perissa Beach

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.

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Panagia Episkopi

Panagia Episkopi

Panagia Episkopi is an ancient Byzantine church built in the 11th century. It has preserved many medieval frescoes and ancient icons.

Venetian Castle

Venetian Castle

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.

The Monastery of Agios Nikolaos

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.

Interesting excursions

Airport or Seaport-Santorini Transfer

Airport or Sea Port – Santorini transfer

Comfortable transportation, professional drivers and high quality service

Rest on the paradise of Santorini

One of the most beautiful places for holidays in southern Europe is rightly considered a picturesque group of islands in the Aegean Sea called Santorini. It consists of five small islands: Aspronisi, Palea-Kameni, Tirasii, Nea-Kameni and Santorini itself, which the locals call Tira.

For Europe, this place is associated more with the Greek Cyclades, rather than Greece itself. The reason for that is that the nature and the climate are very different from the mainland. Everything seems different and a little fairy-tale-like, from the stunning scenery to the sheer aristocratism that can be seen in every part of the place. If you are planning a vacation to the paradise of Santorini in 2022, learn all you need to know about the sights, activities and prices in this article and go on an unforgettable trip in 2022.

General information about Santorini

History and current state

The capital of the island is the settlement, which also goes by the name “Tira”. The town was founded more than 3.500 years ago and the traces of other ancient settlements, which you will inevitably stumble upon here and there, remind you of the rich history of the island and the affluent life of its inhabitants at that time. Some scientists have theorized that these islands were once an integral part of the long-lost Atlantis. And after what you’ve seen, you’re likely to understand their point of view.

It is here simply stop thinking about time, watching the stunning landscape, the absolutely white facades of houses, well-groomed coastline, calm sea and colorful beaches. Here you’ll feel serene when you come for a family vacation in 2022.

Many people choose this picturesque corner of the Earth in order to enjoy stunning sunsets, find inner harmony and completely disconnect from the daily bustle, which accompanies everyone throughout life.

Geography and climate

The island of Santorini has a Mediterranean climate similar to that of Crete. It is at its highest heat during summers, when the season reaches its peak: there is practically no rain and the average temperature is around 28 degrees Celsius. The water gets as warm as 25 degrees. If you don’t like the heat, you can visit the island in September – it’s still possible to swim, and the average temperature is 22 degrees Celsius.

The capital of the main island of the group and the main resort is Thira, a town that is located on a rock. Other tourists who like a more relaxed holiday, choose Imerogvili or Iya, the inexpensive option is considered Kamari. However, wherever you go in Santorini, know that your vacation will be excellent.

Santorini on the map

Safety in Santorini

Santorini, like Greece itself, is a good and peaceful place to relax. You can move around the city and the island on your own, take a walk in the evenings. It is a safe trip for women, the attitude towards the female sex is quite calm and there is no certain threat, as in the Arab countries. Holidays in Santorini, you should only remember about the basic rules of tourist safety: watch your belongings, keep documents and valuables in a safe, and, of course, to protect your skin from the hot island sun.

Planning a trip to Santorini: transport and accommodation

How to get there and how to get around?

There are only two ways to get to Santorini: by water or by air. There is an airport with the same name, the transfer is usually through Athens. It will be easier to start your fascinating journey from Domodedovo, taking into account the connection in Thessaloniki, the flight will cost about 12 thousand rubles. Be prepared for a very long trip, which together with the transfers will take about 19 hours. You should pay special attention to the various “last minute” tours and trips, which will save a lot at least for the flight.

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From the local airport to the center of the island you can take a cab, shuttle or bus. The fare is more than democratic at about 3 euros, with a transport time of no more than 15 minutes. When using a cab, which will take you not to the center, but to a specific address, you will have to pay about 20 euros. For greater confidence in the quality and reliability of transportation, you can use the transfer service, which provides the airport. True, the one-time cost of services in this case is about 55 euros.

The Aegean Sea to Santorini is very convenient and very comfortable. You can order a speedboat or take a ferry. Depending on the speed and quality of the chosen trip will cost about 65-80 euros. Travel time is from one to five hours. The largest selection of ferries and boats is in the capital of Greece, so it will not be superfluous to plan in advance a small stop in Athens, then continue your way to the fabulous Santorini.

Moving around the island is not difficult. While you can walk through the resort towns themselves, you can easily take a bus to see the sights and natural beauties of the island. The fare is a couple or three euros. If you want to go to the other islands of the group, you can use the ferry. Well, a cable car ride to Thira will bring you a lot of experiences.

Where to stay and where best to stay?

Almost all accommodation options, regardless of category, are quite decent and decent – even private owners are very trying to maintain their reputation and attract more tourists.

A double room in a small town in a 2* hotel will cost from 3 thousand rubles per night. Accommodation in a three-star facility, where, as a rule, there is a small swimming pool, will cost two tourists about 6 thousand rubles per day. Luxury five-star hotel in the capital offers double rooms for an average of 14 thousand rubles per day. Also on the island there is an opportunity to stay in apartments or villas – it will be convenient if you are traveling in a large group or family and have the means.

Travel to Santorini: where to go, where to go, what to see and what to do?

Beach and Water Sports

The beaches of Santorini will please absolutely everyone, because there are places for recreation for all tastes: white, pink and even black volcanic sand, there are also pebble beaches.

Good places for family holidays, with children, are beaches near Kamari. They have excellent infrastructure, including entertainment, marked by the prestigious Blue Flag. A quieter option would be the coast near the village of Monolithos – the waters are clean, the beach is sandy, the entrance to the water is gentle. Those who want privacy away from the crowd should go to the beach at Cape Colombo, and for unique photos go to the coast near Akrotiri.

Special attention on vacation in 2022 should be paid to diving. The local climate has made this water sport the most popular among locals and tourists. The purity and transparency of the Aegean Sea allows you to observe the underwater inhabitants at a decent distance. There are many places to dive, but for a single dive with all the necessary equipment will have to pay about 70 euros. On the island, you can take a ride on a wide variety of water transport: boat, catamaran, yacht – whatever you like. Popular are also sightseeing and fishing boat tours.

Sightseeing in Santorini

If a beach vacation is not enough for you and you want to get into the secrets of history and culture of Santorini, know that on the island there are a large number of museums.

For example, a visit to the Museum of Prehistoric Times in Thira will be quite interesting. The island is rich in archaeological finds, and most of them were brought here. The collection includes exhibits, which belong to different historical periods, from Neolithic to Cyclopean.

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Ethnographic Museum in Tyre was established in the 19th century. There you can get acquainted with the culture, traditions and everyday life of the average islanders. In addition, you will learn a lot about folk crafts: blacksmithing, winemaking.

Speaking of the latter, be sure to check out the Kamari Wine Museum. It is located in a cave, which allows you to keep the wonderful properties of local wines. You can find out about the history of the beverage and taste and buy wines from Santorini.

Be sure to pay attention to the local religious buildings. The church of Ayio Mina, which dates back to the 17th century, stands on a rock and is an eye-catcher with its blue and white coloration and is a true symbol of the island. The church of Panagia Episkopi is a Byzantine temple where you can admire icons and frescoes. Do not miss the opportunity to visit the monastery of Elijah the Prophet. Not only is it located on the highest point of the island, so you can enjoy a breathtaking view, but inside the monastery there is also a very interesting museum, where you can see the religious objects and traditional workshops.

In the town of Iya the remains of an ancient Venetian fortress are worth seeing. It used to be an observation point and now is a great vantage point. In Iya there are also several windmills, as if descended from a page in a fairy tale book.

Those who love antiquities should go to the Akrotiri archaeological site. This settlement was once very prosperous, then was destroyed by the forces of the elements, but in the last century, archaeologists excavated the city. Now you can see the remains of ancient buildings with partially preserved frescoes, look at ancient ceramics, figurines and sculptures.

If you have a lot of time and opportunity, go to the neighboring island, Nea Kameni. It is interesting for those who like unusual natural beauty, because on the island you can see a real volcano crater.

Entertainment in Santorini

Sate your mind and body! One of the true delights of Santorini is getting to know the local cuisine. For those who don’t appreciate Greek food, there is only one thing to say: what you have tried before is in no way related to the dishes that are prepared by the inhabitants of this wonderful island. Each recipe is unique in its own way and the local chefs prepare dishes according to ancient traditions, which have been handed down from generation to generation. It is also worth noting that all the dishes of local cuisine are prepared only from local products, and the proposed fish menu will contain only those dishes that can be prepared from freshly caught fish. A delicious and hearty lunch will cost about 25 Euros, while a romantic dinner for two in a good restaurant will cost 100 Euros and more.

Vegetarians will love the local eggplants under cheese, meat-eaters will appreciate the homemade sausages, and be sure to enjoy the seafood and wine!

As for children’s activities, you can’t say that there are very many. The main one will be just a beach holiday, you can organize a trip so that to visit the beaches with sand of different colors. However, in Perissa for bored kids there is a water park – mainly it will appeal to kids and middle-aged children.

For teenagers and adults will be interesting to visit one of the festivals. For example, in July on the island there is a jazz festival, in August – a festival dedicated to the volcano, a gastronomic festival. Young people will appreciate the night entertainment venues, among which are mostly bars, but there are also beach discos.

Shopping in Santorini is best done in small stores. What should you take with you as a keepsake and a gift from the resort? For example, it may be:

  • leather goods;
  • Greek pottery;
  • Products made of volcanic lava;
  • wines;
  • jewelry.

A holiday in Santorini will be remembered by all those who appreciate the natural beauty, comfort and enjoy a touch of local color. Not to say that the island has a huge number of attractions, however, there is definitely a unique, unique atmosphere. If you want a sense of harmony, go to Santorini in 2022.

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