From the first moment you set foot on this unique and special island in every way, you will feel the need to visit Santorini again and again. What makes it unique and special among others is its volcanic terrain, intense color changes, its history, its distinct beaches and the view that literally takes your “breath away” from whichever side of the island you are.
It is the southernmost island of the Cyclades. The terrain of the island is volcanic and from the side of the volcano the island is extremely rocky. An extremely important archaeological wealth contributes to the special physiognomy of Santorini: the Ancient City in Mesa Vounos and the Prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri.
Santorini also has a unique heritage of folk traditional architecture, in the settlements of Vothona, Messaria, Finikia and Megalochori, and sophisticated fortified settlements at Pyrgos, Emporio and Akrotiri
The climate of the island is cool due to the north-easterly winds and the winter is sweet and mild with an average temperature of 10oC. Rains are frequent in winter and almost non-existent in summer. The soil is fertile and favors the cultivation of vines and tomatoes. The island is almost arid with little spring water
Today Santorini has 7000 permanent residents scattered in its 10 or so villages. Fira is the capital of the island and Oia, one of its most beautiful villages known throughout the world for its impressive and enchanting sunset. Its “black” beaches, with their steep cliffs and volcanic rocks give the island a special character.
The history of the island
Santorini in ancient times was called Strogyli because of its circular shape which changed with the eruption of the volcano in 1650 BC. and the central part of the island sank thus forming the Caldera. The Phoenicians called her Callisti and the Dorians Thera.
The name Santorini was taken in the 12th century by the Franks who actually called it “Santa Irene”, meaning Saint Peace. The eruption of the volcano was also the important reason for cutting off the large development of the island since until 2000 BC.
Santorini’s events in August 2023
At the end of August, the Municipality of Thira organizes the reenactment of the eruption of the volcano. Thousands of sparklers and flares, accompanied by muffled noises, evoke memories of the volcano’s eruption, fear and awe both for local residents and visitors to the island. At the end of the evening there is a concert by well-known Greek artists.
In the village of Akrotiri, the process of performing the traditional Santorini wedding is presented once during the summer, accompanied by various funny events and customs.
Fira: the base village of Santorini
Fira is the largest center and capital of Santorini. This is where you will arrive and probably stay. Its cobbled streets are full of restaurants, cafes, hotels and souvenir shops.
Oia: the most famous village of Santorini
Oia is the most photographed and advertised village of Santorini. Yes, the one you saw in thousands of Instagram photos and travel agency offers
The sunsets from here, overlooking Ammoudi Bay and the perfect lodges built into the volcanic rock, are widely considered to be among the best in the world, attracting thousands of tourists every afternoon
The most famous view is from the Castle of Oia, but you can imagine how many people there are. If you want to get a good spot, be sure to arrive early
Mesa Gonia: vines at the foot of the mountain
Also called Episkopi Gonias, it is a village in the interior of the island, surrounded by vineyards and at the foot of Mount Prophet Elias, the highest point of the island and which has a monastery at the top that you can visit
It is a quiet place famous for its wine production. If you are interested in doing a tasting, at the entrance of the town is the Canava Roussos winery, the oldest in Santorini (1836)
The church of Panagia tis Episkopi is its great symbol, built in the 11th century and surviving the great earthquake of 1956 that destroyed a large part of the city.
Emporio: a classic Santorinian village
Although not many, there are still a few places in Santorini that are not overrun with tourists, especially if you are outside of the high season months.
Emporio, the second most populous settlement of Thira, is an inland town with a small fortified historic area of narrow cobbled streets, traditional whitewashed houses and churches with blue domes, built during the Venetian rule in the 15th century, as well as the Tower. of Nibori. It’s a beautiful place to walk at sunset, when the walls are painted re
Much less photographed than Oia, on the outskirts of the city there are some windmills, structures that, although found in many parts of Greece, have become a representative image of Santorini
Nea Kameni: climbing the volcano in August 2023
From Thira you can take a boat that in 20 minutes will drop you in the heart of Santorini: the island of Nea Kameni, located right in the center of the flooded caldera
Climbing the smoking crater at the top of the volcano is an unforgettable experience, passing chimneys that release sulphurous steam along the way. But to make it a happy memory, put on a good sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and bring plenty of water, because there is no vegetation to protect you from the rays. It’s clearly not a good idea to get too close to the crater either.