One of the most worldwide well-known destinations in Greece and the most romantic island in Cyclades, is Santorini. The island was inhabited since the Neolithic Period. Known for the amazing sunset, the volcano that actually created Santorini the way it is today, the famous wines and the must destination for weddings and honeymoons!
In ancient times Santorini was known as Strongili, which means round in Greek. A huge eruption of the volcano took place in 1,500 B.C. and some people believe that the eruption with the giant waves that it created were the main causes of the destruction of the great Minoan Civilization situated in Crete, 70 nautical miles away. Due to this eruption and the earthquakes that took place later on the island, a big part of the island was destroyed and this is the reason that some ancient myths connect Santorini with the legend of Atlantis.
In the ancient times, the island was occupied by Lacedaemonians and Phoenicians. Between 1200 A.C. and 1579 A.C. the island was under the Byzantine rule. Its name was given by the Venetians after the Santa Irini, the name of the Catholic Church. All the old times, Santorini, due to its location, was a strong trade center.
How to go to Santorini
You can go to Santorini either by a ferry or with a plane.
Santorini International Airport connects Santorini with both Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece and with other European destinations as well. You can find more information about flights from and to Mykonos at the airport’s website: HERE
There are ferry connections between Santorini and Athens from either Rafina (Closer to the International Airport of Athens) or from Piraeus (Closer to the city center) and from other islands of the Aegean Sea as well. You can book online your ferry tickets to Santorini HERE.
Ancient Thera is an ancient city and capital on a ridge of the steep, 360m high Messa Vouno mountain in Santorini. The city was founded by the Doric colonists from Sparta, who recognized the strategic value of its location on a rocky ridge, that until then was an unimportant settlement. The city was named after the mythical ruler, Theras, and was inhabited from the 9th century B.C.
The ancient city consisted of a street almost 800m long that was containing several imposing buildings. After about 200m of the street the city expands in an area of about 10,000 m2 on an exposed plateau high above the rocky coast. Into the lower scope there were built a theatre and an agora and around them there was residential area. All the buildings were constructed with local limestone of the mountain.
The ancient city at Akrotiri is the most important prehistoric settlement found in Santorini and is very well-known for the famous ruins found from the Minoan period.
On the top of the town there was an old fortress that was destroyed during the earthquake in 1956 and inside the fortress was all the life of the city before the earthquake as the city was located within the walls. After the earthquake the inhabitants built the city right underneath the fortress where it extends right up to the fields of grape vines.
The Sunset in Santorini
Santorini’s sunset is one of the most amazing and romantic things you have ever seen in your life. There are a lot of different places from where you can enjoy the amazing sunset and below are displayed some of them.
From Oia Castle – Directions HERE
From Scaros Rock at Imerovigli – Directions HERE
From Akrotiri Lighthouse – Highly Recommended – Directions HERE
From the Sea – In Santorini you will find a lot of different cruises for the sunset time and some of them offer dinner as well!
Volcano & Hot Springs
In Santorini you will find a lot of options for cruises that will take to you a tour to the Volcano and the hot springs. You need to be careful as the volcano is still active as the last eruption took place in 1953. The cruises start from the old port of Santorini (Directions HERE) and they have tour guidance that can explain the geology and history of whatever you will see.
The volcano in Santorini is actually the island of Nea Kameni located at the center of Santorini caldera. Nea Kameni was formed around 1570 after a series of volcanic eruptions.
It is surrounded by warm dark waters which are known for their therapeutic benefits due to the iron and manganese which act against many diseases.
The villages in Santorini
Thera or Fira – Directions HERE
Fira is the capital of Santorini. It sprawls north into villages called Firostefani and Imerovigli that is the highest point of the caldera edge. A path running through these villages is lined with hotels, restaurants and amazing opportunities for photos.
In Fira you can find the Archeological Museum of Fira (Directions HERE), the Folklore Museum (Directions HERE) and the Museum of Prehistoric Thira (Directions HERE).
Oia – Directions HERE
Oia is the most famous of all villages in Santorini. It is a traditional village with charming houses, blue-domed churches and sun-bathed verandas, known for its beauty and the amazing sunset views!It is located 12kms north-west from Fira and offers and incredible view to the volcano.
In Oia you can find the Maritime Museum (Directions HERE) and the small port of Ammoudi (Directions HERE), which can be reached by a set of 300 steps leading down. Many artists fell in love with the area and settled there and this is the reason that you can find many art galleries in Oia.
Pyrgos – Directions HERE
Pyrgos is the largest preserved village of Santorini and the island’s former capital. Strategically built in the heart of the pre-volcanic hinterland and at the foot of Mr. Profitis Ilias.
In Pyrgos you can find the Museum Santorini of the past (Directions HERE) and the Pyrgos Castle (Directions HERE). Do not forget to visit the historic church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary (1660) (Directions HERE).
Megalochori – Directions HERE
Close to Pyrgos you can find the Megalochori, a picturesque village with historical mansions, traditional houses, pirate hideaways and wine canavas.
While being in Megalochori you should check the houses of Plaka (Directions HERE) built right by the sea, the heart of Santorini (Directions HERE) and the art gallery – 1260 CeramicStudio (Directions HERE).
Emporio – Directions HERE
Emporio is the largest village of Santorini, located at the center of the south part of the island, 12kms South-East from Fira. It was named Emporio, meaning trade in Greek, because it used to be the center of the commercial affairs in the past.
The big attraction of Emporio is the Mediavel Kasteli (Directions HERE), the Venetian Castle that inside has a church that dates back on the 16th century. Also at the edge of the village you can find the ruins of an ancient windmill (Directions HERE).
Wineries in Santorini
Santorini has a strong, long-lasting legacy of winemaking, producing some of the most amazing wines in the world. No-one can answer if the magic ingredient of the recipe is the soil, the grape varieties used, the technical know-how that the local winery owners have accumulated over the years. There are a lot of wineries in Santorini and below you can find some of the best.
Gavalas Winery – Directions HERE
SantoWines – Directions HERE
Gaia Winery – Directions HERE
Sigalas Winery – Directions HERE
Koutsogiannopoulos Winery & Wine Museum – Directions HERE
Beaches in Santorini
Caldera Beach – Directions HERE
White Beach – Directions HERE
Red Beach – Highly Recommended – Directions HERE
Akrotiri Beach – Directions HERE
Vlichada Beach – Highly Recommended – Directions HERE
Perivolos Beach – Directions HERE
Perissa Black Sand Beach – Directions HERE
Capo Colombo Beach – Directions HERE
Kamari Black Pebble Beach – Directions HERE
Kantharos Beach – Directions HERE
Restaurants in Santorini
On the island of Santorini there are many different options for dining. I would recommend you to check the restaurant before you visit it because on the island there are restaurants for big wallets!!
Aidani Restaurant – Mediterranean Cuisine – Directions HERE
Armeni Restaurant – Seafood – Directions HERE
Melitini Restaurant – Greek Cuisine – Directions HERE
Rare Greek Restaurant – Greek Steakhouse – Directions HERE
Fistikies Restaurant – Greek, European – Directions HERE
Melina’s Tavern – Seafood – Directions HERE
Le Ciel Restaurant – International Cuisine – Directions HERE
La Colline Restaurant- Seafood – Directions HERE
Il Forno Pizza – Italina Cuisine – Directions HERE
Terra Nera – Pizza – Directions HERE
Aroma Avlis Food & Wine – Mediterranean Cuisine – Directions HERE
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