The 22 best sights of Santorini.

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.

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.
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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.

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).

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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.

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

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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 southeastern coast of Santorini and was founded in the 9th century BC.

The 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.

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

The 22 best sights of Santorini

Near Kamari is Fira (Thira), the capital of the island. From Kamari, it can be reached on foot in a few hours through mountainous terrain. Rich in restaurants, cafes and hotels, the town has an atmosphere ideal for trips with friends, less tranquil but still sleepy. Situated almost on the edge of a cliff, Fira has plenty of places to eat and have a good time. Local restaurants delight visitors with a wide variety of Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, and the strong winds encourage you to take up water sports on the island, such as windsurfing, surfing, kitesurfing or sailing. Also noteworthy are the vineyards, of which there are many on the island, from small, with a few bushes, to huge arable fields.

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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.

Caldera – the heart of the volcano.

Three and a half thousand years ago a volcanic eruption completely destroyed the island, tearing it apart. The resulting giant pit, flooded by the sea along with several small islets, created today’s Santorini. The caldera, which is the sunken crater of the volcano, is most often admired by tourists during a ferry ride, when ships floating in the middle of the volcanic trench create an unusual panorama. The peculiarity and beauty of the volcanic landscape is best illustrated not by the emotions of travelers, but by the room prices. Those who choose a hotel room with a view of the volcano must pay much more.

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.

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.

Places of interest in Santorini

Those who intend to explore the popular attractions of Santorini on their own will need a list of significant places to prepare at home:

1. The village of Iya.

The sights of Santorini begin with the village of Iya.

This remote village, located in the northern part of the island, is on the edge of the caldera. Iya is one of the most picturesque places of Santorini. It is famous for its sunsets, snow-white houses and romantic atmosphere.

Imerovigli

Imerovigli is the most famous views of Santorini

The picturesque village of Imerovigli near Fira (the capital of Santorini) was once hit hard by an earthquake. But still attracts visitors with beautiful sunsets and nightlife.

3. Kamari Beach

Attractions of the island. Santorini Kamari Beach

The black sandy beach of Kamari is surrounded by the jagged cliffs of Mesa Vouno, the mountains of Profitis Illias and the Aegean Sea. Kamari offers excellent recreation, many restaurants and stores. The beach is landscaped with sun loungers and umbrellas. Fans of active recreation will be able to do diving and other water activities.

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4. Akrotiri excavations

What to see in Santorini – Akrotiri

At the excavation site you can see preserved houses and murals, enjoy meals in the tavernas built inside the rock and take a short trip on a traditional boat. The itinerary includes visits to Kokkini acti (red beach) and Aspri acti (white beach), as well as the volcanic island of Palea Kameni.

5. Donkey rides

Donkeys have become the emblem of Santorini, Greece

Donkeys and Santorini cannot be separated like pigeons and Piazza San Marco

Donkeys are an important part of the local tourist business, helping to overcome the 588 steps that separate from the old harbor of Fira. The cost of donkey rides is 5 euros.

You can see them everywhere.

6. Fira

Attractions in Fira, the capital of Santorini

A list of attractions in Santorini would not be complete without describing the beauty of its capital. Fira is located to the right of Caldera. There is much to see in the city: the stepped alleyways, Cycladic church domes, sun bathed terraces, the deep blue sea and the once dangerous volcano.

7. Perissa Beach.

Perissa beach is another interesting place of Santorini.

It is a beach with black sand, reminiscent of Kamari beach. Here the blue sea suddenly deepens and the most prominent place is the cliffs of Mesa Vouno. Not far from the beach are the historical sites of Santorini – the ruins of ancient Thera, which can be reached by a steep path.

8. Pyrgos Village

Popular attractions in Santorini – Pyrgos

Pyrgos is a perfect example of a Cycladic village. Its streets follow the contours of the hill and surround the village like belts. Pyrgos is one of the largest villages on the island. Its many viewpoints give the opportunity to see not only the main sights of Santorini, but also the surrounding scenery.

Santorini, the most beautiful island in the world

Legends and myths combined with magnificent black beaches, rugged landscapes and the deep blue of the Aegean made UNESCO decide to designate the island as the most beautiful in the world. “Sunsets here make poets unemployed,” said British writer Lawrence Durrell.

Santorini is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and popular Greek islands among tourists. From the hill you can admire the charming ports, the blue church domes and the picturesque streets. The towns on the island are actually located on top of rocky cliffs that practically roll down rocky slopes. The densely built white houses on the turquoise sea have little romantic pubs, and the maze of narrow streets encourages you to stop at a cozy tavern.

This architectural coherence also finds expression in contrasts: the island’s sleepy and lazy climate is disrupted by views of raw cliffs, a volcano and black beaches. This unusual charm of the island and its amazing scenery attract many couples who spend a romantic honeymoon here.

It’s the perfect place to relax with your loved one, away from responsibilities and the hustle and bustle of the city. Some places on the island, such as Kamari or Fira (the capital), are a great idea for a trip with friends, because in addition to beautiful views, they also offer many entertainment clubs, pubs, restaurants and hotels. Most hotels do not offer family rooms and adequate infrastructure, so trips with children are rare.

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