Crescent-shaped Santorini (or Thíra), the precious gem of the Aegean, is a group of islands consisting of Thíra, Thirassiá, Asproníssi, Palea and Nea Kaméni in the southernmost part of Cyclades. The entire complex of Santorini islands is still an active volcano (as are Méthana, Mílos, and Nísiros) and may be the only volcano in the world whose crater is in the sea. The islands that form Santorini came into existence as a result of intensive volcanic activity; twelve huge eruptions occurred approximately one eruption every 20,000 years, and each violent eruption caused the collapse of the volcano’s central part creating a large crater (caldera). The volcano, however, managed to recreate itself over and over again. The last significant eruption occurred 3,600 years ago (during the Minoan Age) when molten material (mainly ash, pumice and lava stones) covered the three islands (Thíra, Thirassiá, and Asproníssi). The eruption destroyed the thriving local prehistoric civilization, evidence of which was found during the excavations of a settlement at Akrotíri. The solid material and gasses emerging from the volcano’s interior created a vast “vacuum” underneath, causing the collapse of the central part and the creation of an enormous “pot” – today’s caldera – which is 8 x 4 kilometers in size and is located at a depth of up to 400 meters below sea level.
Oia (pronounced “Ia”), is the most famous of all villages of Santorini. It is known throughout the world for its quiet life, fantastic sunsets, and is undoubtedly the most beautiful and picturesque village of Santorini. The village is situated on top of an impressive cliff and offers a spectacular view over the volcano of Palia and Nea Kameni and the island of Thirassia. It is a traditional village with charming houses in narrow streets, blue domed churches, and sun-bathed verandas. Its streets have plenty of tourist shops, taverns, cafes, and other shops. At the entrance of the village is a car park where visitors can leave their vehicle and enjoy long walks in the picturesque paths. Oia has several cultural attractions like the Maritime Museum which houses a small library, items from the maritime life of the area, and the vestiges of a Venetian fortress. Many artists fell in love with the area and settled there. For that reason, the village of Oia has many art galleries. Oia also has a small port, Ammoudi, which can be reached by a set of 300 steps leading down. There, small boats can take you to the island of Thirassia. The beach of Armenis is also located there. Taverns in Oia offer visitors tasty meals of fresh fish.
Fira is the capital of Santorini, Greece, and the most important of all villages. It is located at the west side of the island and 10 kilometers away from the main port, Athinios. Fira has 1,600 permanent inhabitants. It is perched on the edge of an impressive cliff, at the height of 260 meters offering a magnificent panoramic view over the submerged volcano. In 1956, the island of Santorini was hit by an earthquake that destroyed a large part of the island, but luckily, some of the 18th-century buildings were saved. The town of Fira is a typical Cycladic village made of charming white houses with blue windows and doors, separated from each other by small paved streets. Many of its beautiful buildings were constructed back in the times of the Venetian invasion, including some blue domed churches and sun-bathed verandas that offer an incredible view of the volcano and the sunset. In our days, During summer and in its high season, the central streets are overcrowded with tourists and filled with all kind of shops, jewelry, restaurants, cafes, bars, and nightclubs. Fira also has a port that was, for many years, the main port of Santorini. Today, this port is only used for cruise boats. From there, boats can take visitors for a tour to the volcano of Nea and Palia Kameni.
Firostefani lies to the north of Fira, and there is little difference that separates it from its considerable larger neighbor. Without a doubt, the views from this part of Santorini are spectacular, offering another perspective of the Santorini volcano. One can enjoy the magnificent sight of Fira itself and the breathtaking sunset in the evening. The village has plenty of restaurants and cafes. Between the village of Firostefani and Imerovigli lies the Agios Nikolas Monastery. Hotels are plenty in Firostefania. There are also few shops, most of them are concentrated at the main shopping street, at the center of Firostefani.
Immerovigli is a picturesque village situated at the north of Santorini, only 2 kilometers away from the capital of Fira and is a continuation of Fira. The name of Imerovigli comes from the word “vigla” which means view spot. The position of the village provides a clear view of the caldera, and during the old times, it allowed villagers to see the pirate ships approaching. Today, Immerovigli is one of the recognized traditional settlements. Hotels and traditional houses are plentiful in Imerovigli. There are also many taverns and cafes with stunning views to the caldera. In front of Immerovigli lies an enormous rock called Scaros. Immerovigli has numerous chapels and churches built on the cliffs overlooking the blue sea. The village is known as the ultimate romantic destination.
Pyrgos is 8 kilometers southeast of Fira. The village is located on a fabulous spot on top of a hill and displays incredible panoramic views of the island. At the bottom are some nice taverns and the usual tourist shops. Pyrgos used to be the capital of the island until the early 1800s. The village consists of traditional houses built all around the Venetian castle, and the small streets that follow the natural flow of the surrounding landscape. The houses are the perfect example of Cycladic design and in superb condition. The Venetian castle is one of the five on the island of Santorini and dates back to the 13th century. The fortified settlement is amphitheatrically built on the hill and offers superb views of both sides of the island. The village has many churches, one of which is the most famous church of Santorini – the Monastery of Prophet Elias which is built at the highest spot of the mountain.
Akrotiri is located next to the famous Red Beach. It is amphitheatrically built at the southeastern side of the island. Akrotiri was initially a Minoan settlement and today is one of the major tourist attractions and the most important archeological site of Santorini. The ancient town was destroyed due to a massive volcanic eruption around 1600 BC. Today, the beautiful frescoes of the old city of Akrotiri can only be seen in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Some beautiful houses are dotted around the village as well as a traditional windmill. Many tour boats arrive in Akrotiri. Another place of interest is the Venetian castle. The town has lovely hotels and also many local taverns with a splendid view of the sea. Akrotiri has plenty of churches to visit, and one of the most beautiful is the church of Agios Nikolaos built right above the impressive reddish rocks, on the way to the Red Beach.
Emporio is the largest settlement of Santorini and is located 12 kilometers from Fira on the foothills of Mount Prophet Elias. The village itself has a robust medieval character, and most of the houses have been well-preserved. At the entrance of the village are two lovely, blue-domed Cycladic churches with an impressive bell tower that dominates Emporio. Halfway up the village is a 15th-century fortress which looks as though it will slide down the hill at any moment. To the east of the town, you will see the market and some excellent hotels leading down to the popular Perissa beach.
Messaria is a small quaint village situated 4 kilometers southeast of Fira, around a vast area of vineyards at the center of Santorini. Most of the inhabitants work in the winemaking industry, and there is a local winery to see and taste a wide range of wine flavors. A stroll around the village reveals magnificent neoclassical buildings and restored mansions, as well as numerous taverns and beautiful accommodations. The roads in Messaria are hectic during the day as it is on the main thoroughfare for getting around much of the island. In Messaria there are a few beautiful churches with impressive bell towers that dominate the area. Visit Argyros mansion built in 1888, one of the best examples of neoclassical architecture in Santorini.
Megalochori is one the most traditional villages of Santorini and lies on a hill creating a labyrinth of steep alleys and streets. The uncountable vineyards which extend outside the village in the nearby countryside offer a magnificent setting and the top-quality wine in Santorini. Megalochori is a place to experience the rich wine tradition. The famous Boutari winery is found on the village’s outskirts. Megalochori offers a nice mix of white Cycladic houses, several churches, and narrow alleys. The main square hosts a couple of nice taverns serving delicious food.
Finikia is a small village which contains some traditional Cycladic churches as well as some of the cave houses that are dug into the rocks. The cave houses of Santorini are designed to insulate the occupants in the winter and to stay cool in the summer. Finikia is one of the most well-preserved settlements in Santorini. The small church of Kyra Panagia (Lady of the Virgin) is the ideal spot to enjoy a breathtaking sunset in total peace. The settlement has a few hotels and guest rooms.
Mesa Gonia – Before the devastating earthquake in 1956 that destroyed the village, Mesa Gonia used to be one of the most important wine tasting places of the island. In this small rural village, you can still visit Roussos Winery, one of the oldest wineries of the island that dates back to 1836. Mesa Gonia is much quieter than the nearby Kamari. One of the best attractions of Mesa Gonia is the Church of Panagia Episkopi, the most important Byzantine monument of Santorini.
Karterados is a picturesque village just 2 kilometers away from the town of Fira. The village is distinguished for its unique architecture and natural landscape and is surrounded by uncountable vineyards that create a beautiful setting. Karterados offers a plethora of modern amenities like ultra-modern sports facilities, ethnic taverns with delicious delicacies, cozy cafes and lively bars. Also, there is an old bakery which still makes homemade bread and delicious cookies. Several whitewashed churches with brilliant architecture are found around the village. The beaches are beautiful offering total tranquility. There are some traditional stone-built houses and elegant 19th-century mansions built by shipowners which showcase the village’s prosperity in the past. Karterados has numerous hotels.
Ammoudi is the charming port of Oia and is a tiny settlement with just a few traditional buildings built around the natural bay. It offers port services and a few taverns. Several fishing and tour boats moor there during the summer, creating a very picturesque scenery. Ammoudi is encircled by the impressive high red cliffs, and it is considered the most picturesque village of Santorini. Approximately 300 narrow and steep steps lead the way between Ammoudi and Oia. Donkeys can also be used for transport. A small rocky beach stands right next to Ammoudi, ideal for diving. Several tour boats stop in Ammoudi on the way to Thirassia islet and the famous volcano.
Athinios Port – Athinios is not a village, but the main port of Santorini serving ferries from Athens and other Greek islands. The cruise ships and boat trips arrive in the small port of Fira, but the ferries arrive in Athinios, at a distance of 7 kilometers south of Fira. The port is connected to Fira and all the other villages of Santorini by bus or taxi. The cliff around Athinios is impressive. There are no houses there, only the buildings of the port authorities and some travel agencies.
Vothonas Village is located 6 kilometers away from the town of Fira. It is among the most picturesque settlements of Santorini, offering a peaceful and beautiful setting for your holidays. Vothonas village is built on a picturesque ravine with traditional houses which are carved out of rocks. A stroll around the paved streets leaves any visitor spellbound by the creativity of the craftsmen who knew how to protect their houses from violent storms. Vothonas is characterized by this unique layout and stylish details that match perfectly with the white-domed churches and the traditional houses. The trip to Vothonas village would be incomplete without visiting the magnificent church of Agia Anna, the oldest church of the village that dates back to 1827. The most beautiful part of the church is the carved wooden panel, which artistically portrays scenes from the Old Testament. If you have enough energy left, you may as well visit the pretty chapel of Panagia Trypa located on the edge of the cliff. The walking trail is about 20 minutes.
The Akrotiri Lighthouse is among the oldest lighthouses in Greece and was constructed in 1892 by a renowned French trading company. It stands like a sentinel on the southern peninsula of Santorini Island. The lighthouse of Akrotiri is conspicuous by its square-shaped tower that looms 10 meters above the lighthouse warden’s house. The best time to visit the Akrotiri Lighthouse is during sunset. The view of the red molten ball dipping into the azure blue Aegean Sea makes for a colorful vignette.
Ancient Thera Museum is quite spectacular even from the outside. It hosts a rich collection of finds from the excavations in the sites of Akrotiri and other Cyclades islands. The whole area is air-conditioned offering visitors a comfortable tour around the exhibition hall that is divided into four sections. The first section refers to the history of Fira, the second one to the geology of Fira, the third section includes finds from the Neolithic and the post-Cycladic era while the last part consists of a beautiful collection from the flourishing period at the town of Akrotiri. All objects in the museum include detailed information for all tourists. Some of the exhibits that particularly stand out are a clay oven and a bathing tub as well as the tall and oval-shaped vases.
on you can see some marvelous frescoes including the House of Ladies. Close to the exit is a gold ibex figurine which shines brightly. The museum offers a great insight from the prehistoric times in the town of Fira with thousands of exhibits.
The Archaeological Museum of Santorini in Fira displays many exhibits that reveal the long history of the island. The halls of the museum host some unique collections of sculptures and inscriptions from the Archaic to the Roman period while the museum’s highlights are the ceramic vessels and vases that date back to the Geometric and the Hellenistic era from Akrotiri and marble figurines.
The Archaeological site of Akrotiri is one of the main attractions of Santorini. Located on the southern side of the island, between the village of Akrotiri and the famous Red beach, this site is visited by thousands of visitors every year. Excavations on Akrotiri started as early as the 1870s by the French Archaeological School of Athens. The excavations over the years revealed a fully-working and developed settlement. Archaeologists believe that the town was was destroyed by earthquakes more than once. The location of the town was ideal, as it served as a safe port and thus it developed an important commerce activity. The urban planning was dense, the buildings had many stores, the walls were decorated with amazing frescoes, the streets were paved and there were also squares and storehouses. The frescoes depict a rich society, where people were dressed luxuriously and elegantly. The enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the settlement of Akrotiri took place around 1,650 B.C. The entire town was covered with ashes and lava, which preserved Akrotiri almost intact through time. As no human bodies have been found covered by lava, as is the case in Pompeii, archaeologists believe that precursory earthquakes made the residents leave before the volcano erupted. The eruption probably took place in spring because flowers of olive trees were found under the lava ashes.
Argyros Mansion (Archontiko Argyrou) is a wonderful traditional mansion in the village of Messaria, in the center of Santorini island. Argyros Mansion is renowned for its elegant Neoclassical architecture. This mansion was built in the year 1860 and visitors can get a view of life in Santorini through the past two centuries. The mansion is characterized for its high-quality ethnic architecture, the arched ceilings and exquisite floors. The museum is located on the first floor and has a good collection of artifacts and antiquities that offers fascinating insight on the fabled Greek tradition, culture and heritage.
Bellonio Cultural Center in Fira is the melting pot of Santorini’s culture, tradition and heritage. It is one of Santorini’s most popular and prestigious cultural venues. It contains a well-stocked library with a stupendous array of books on various subjects that provide fascinating insight and info. The Bellonio Cultural Center regularly hosts cultural shows and art exhibitions. In the past, the center has successfully hosted Mural Art Exhibitions depicting Mural paintings belonging to a pre-Historic period, Hellenistic period, Byzantine period and modern period. Not only does the center display the art objects, typical art exhibitions include brainstorming sessions wherein renowned artists, academics and scholars are invited to deliver lectures on the technique and preservation of such highly acclaimed art objects.
The Catholic Cathedral is in great contrast to many of its Byzantine neighbours. The peach exterior and its size make it stand out from afar. It has a wonderfully ornate clock tower which overlooks the town. The interior is beautifully decorated with large religious portraits framed with pillars. The interior dome is lilac blue and other parts are colored orange and cream. The Cathedral is located at the Catholic neighborhood of Fira and is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist. The church was greatly damaged by the earthquake in 1956 but was renovated in 1975.
The Church of Holy Cross is located in the central square of Perissa, just above the beach, and is among the largest churches in Santorini. It was originally constructed in 1835-1840, but after the severe earthquake of 1956, the church was reconstructed. This reconstruction revealed the foundations of two three-aisled basilicas, which shows that the original church was constructed on top of them, although the original basilicas had been totally ruined. Today the church of Holy Cross is distinguished due to its large bell tower, the blue dome and its impressive size.
The Church of Panagia Episkopi was built in the 11th century in the area of Mesa Gonia. It has survived many invasions and earthquakes and is well-preserved to this day. It is reached by a bumpy road and has an orange tile roof. Initially, the church was used as an Orthodox Metropolis and during the Venetian times, the church belonged to the Catholics. It was finally returned to the Orthodox people. Today, the church hosts many interesting frescoes and holy icons from the 11th and 12th centuries.
The Dominican Convent is located in the predominantly catholic quarters of Fira in the town center. The Convent hosts twelve nuns of different nationalities. It is a much-venerated convent for people belonging to the Christian faith. Inside the Convent, there is the Rozario Church, renowned for its marvelous traditional architectural brilliance. The church’s baroque features have attracted the attention of historians and archaeologists. In fact, a visit to this magnificent Convent offers a fascinating insight into the high degree of craftsmanship that prevailed in Santorini in the medieval times. There is a street that meanders through the Convent and if you are lucky, you can hear the nuns singing Vespers.
The Folklore Museum of Santorini is located in an old cave house that dates back to 1861. This one-of-its-kind museum showcases a matured winery along with priceless artifacts made by indigenous carpenters and tinsmiths. The museum also boasts of a well stocked library with numerous books and manuscripts of the Aegean world. This impressive museum is the brainchild of Manolis Lignos and it is in many ways a perfect replica of a quintessential Santorini village. There is also a chapel inside, the Chapel of Agios Konstantinos, and a visit to this chapel will provide a fascinating insight to the wonderful church heritage of Santorini. A visit to the museum offers significant insight into the culture, tradition and heritage of the island of Santorini. Of special interest is a traditional house, which is a perfect replica of the caved dwellings that are found in this place.
The Island of Thirassia is located in close proximity to Santorini and, in fact, it was once a part of it. The volcanic eruption that happened at around 1500 BC broke Santorini into many pieces and Thirassia emerged as one of those. Thirassia is today a virgin island, still untouched by tourism and modern life style. The island of Thirassia is only 9 square kilometers in size and has only 150 permanent inhabitants. Manolas Village is the capital of Thirassia. Other settlements include Korfos, Riva and Potamos. Manolas has small, picturesque houses painted in various colors. The virgin beaches and the pure nature are the main attractions of Thirassia. From Manolas, you can trek to the Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin. Apart from this monastery, there are other twenty churches on Thirasia. There are also some hot springs. There are quite a few places to stay on Thirassia and the local taverns serve authentic Greek cuisine. In summer, daily boat trips are organized between Santorini and Thirasia.
The Monastery of Agios Nikolaos is a historical female monastery located between the villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli in Santorini. The monastery is dedicated to three saints: Agios Panteleimon, Zoodoxos Pighi (which means life giving source in Greek) and Agios Nikolaos. This monastery was originally founded in 1651 and it was the second monastery built in Santorini. The Gizi family, one of the few Orthodox families who lived inside the Venetian Castle of Skaros, decided to turn their private chapel into a monastery, which eventually remained on that position till 1815. That year, the archbishop of Santorini gave permission to move the monastery to its present location, where the small chapel of Zoodohos Pighi was located. The construction of the new monastery lasted till 1820. Today, the large halls of the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos host a folklore museum and an ecclesiastical museum with rare Byzantine icons.
The Monastery of Holy Trinity (Agia Triada) is located in Pyrgos village, on the southern side of Santorini. Constructed in the traditional architectural style, the white color dominates this monastery complex. Today the church of the Holy Trinity houses a small Museum of icons and Ecclesiastical Relics inside. The museum showcases the long religious tradition of Santorini island, exhibiting valuable Byzantine icons, made by local or Cretan painters, as well as ceramics, woodcarving works and ecclesiastical clothing and objects dating mostly from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The Museum of Megaro Gyzi in Thira contains exquisite drawings, some of which date back to the 16th century. There are also original dresses and historic maps of the Cycladic group of islands. There is also an exclusive photography pavilion where rare photographs of Fira, taken before and after the 1956 eruption, provide fascinating insight of the capital city of Santorini. This museum acts as a catalyst for all Cycladic works of art. The exclusive Gyzi Cultural Centre regularly hosts high quality art exhibitions, photographic exhibitions, theater shows, music concerts, film festivals as well as other cultural programs for the entertainment of both residents of Thira and visitors alike. There are also rare Cycladic paintings of the 19th century on display. Thousands of rare public and confidential documents, the majority of which are in Greek, are of particular significance. These documents provide a fascinating insight into the culture and lifestyle of Santorini from the 16th to 19th century.
The Nautical Museum of Santorini is located in the town of Oia, housed in a beautiful mansion. The museum was founded in 1956 and its exhibits present the nautical history and the island’s tradition, mostly during the 19th and 20th centuries. All items on display at the museum have detailed descriptions with extra information for all tourists. On the ground floor is the nautical equipment as well as tools with a short description for the use of every item. Of special interest are the nautical archives and the historic documents. On the first floor, you will see many uniforms, portraits and of course impressive ship replicas.
The Santorini Caldera undoubtedly is one of the earth’s natural wonders. The volcanic explosion that occurred here 3500 years ago forever changed the topography of the Mediterranean coast. The caldera of Santorini is actually a basin which is four miles in diamater which scientists and archaeologists have linked with the myth of Atlantis. The landscape consists of steel rocks and cliffs that tower more than a thousand feet above sea level and extend underneath the sea for an additional thousand feet, thereby creating a perfect harbor. The caldera has an elevation which varies between 150 to 350 meters. To the northernmost part of the Caldera is the town of Oia. Oia can be reached by a road that meanders along the steep cliffs located to the eastern periphery of Santorini. At certain points this road is so narrow (and has no protective railings) that it looks more like a ridge that can barely accommodate two lanes The principal port of Santorini is just below the cliff and tourists who arrive at the port of Fira always have the option of embarking on a donkey ride that takes them to the summit from where the surrounding natural panorama is absolutely breathtaking.
Skaros Rock is a rocky headland that protrudes out to the azure blue Aegean Sea. A majestic castle used to be located here and was the principal place of the Christian congregation in Santorini until the early 1800s. Unfortunately, the castle was completely ruined during an earthquake in the 19th century and all that remains today are remnants of the castle. Legend has it that the medieval castle of Skaros was never conquered during its long 600 years of existence. There is a well-defined trail that originates from the renowned Agios Georgios church that connects Skaros with the village of Imerovigli. The views are breathtaking.
Red Beach is arguably one of the most famous and beautiful beaches of Santorini. It is located only steps away from the ancient site of Akrotiri. The small size of the beach creates a very crowded atmosphere and there are many days where most of the visitors choose not to make it all the way down to the beach and instead admire this unique landscape of red and black volcanic rocks from the headland. The access is relatively easy. You can leave your car at the parking space and the beach is about a two-minute walk. Visitors will be very impressed by the different colorings of the cliffs. Many sunbeds and umbrellas cover the dark sand and there are nice pebbles on the seashore. Snorkeling is highly recommended due to the interesting rocks. You can also access the beach by boat that departs from Akrotiri port.
Kamari is a famous beach resort of Santorini situated 10 kilometers southeast of Fira. This area is similar to the landscape of Perissa. The beach is covered by black sand and on the left side of the beach is an enormous rock called Mesa Vouno that rises from the sea. The area is extremely attractive, especially at night when the rock shines in the dark. The beach of Kamari is fully organised offering a wide range of facilities like sunbeds, umbrellas and various types of water sports. Traditional houses line the village of Kamari offering a beautiful view to the sea. Visitors can take a nice walk along the waterfront. Due to the modern amenities including hotels, restaurants, snacks, cafes, bars and night clubs the village becomes quite popular with tourists during the peak season. From Kamari, a road takes you up the mountain to Ancient Thira, and a caique can bring you to the wild isle of Anafi.
Perissa is a beautiful beach situated 15 kilometers southeast of Fira and extends for 7 kilometers on the southeastern side of Santorini. The beach features black sand, crystalline waters and various beach facilities. The main attraction of the beach is the enormous rock called Mesa Vouno that rises from the sea. Visitors are left spellbound by the stunning view of the rock especially when it shines in the dark. Perissa is a nice tourist resort that is extremely popular with tourists during the summer season. The village offers a great variety of hotels for all tastes and budgets, restaurants, taverns, cafes and bars. The area is extremely developed with modern amenities and quite inviting while retaining its strong traditional character. From Perissa, a small path crosses the mountain and leads to the ruins of Ancient Thera. The excursions can be made by foot or riding donkeys.
Perivolos is located close to Perissa which is only 3 kilometers away. This beautiful beach lies at the southern end of the island. The beach is distinguished for its sparkling azure blue waters and tranquil atmosphere. On the beachfront, there are numerous taverns, pubs and restaurants serving fresh fish and local delicacies. It is easily accessible by car, buses and cabs, as well as a foot path that passes through the countryside. Perivolos is basically a continuation from the beach of Perissa and Agios Georgios. Perivolos is one of the most well-organized beaches of Santorini offering a plethora of exciting water sports facilities, like windsurfing, scuba diving and jet ski.
Vlychada beach follows a smooth descent. There are two large chimneys there, one just behind the beach and one nearby, but the factories are no longer in use and the brick chimneys are attractive. Vlychada is quite long and covered with dark grey sand that one finds all over the island. There are a number of sun loungers here. It is worth having a look at the rock formations behind the beach
Agios Georgios Beach is one of the most famous black beaches of Santorini and attracts many tourists. It is located about 3.5 kilometers away from Perissa. Numerous facilities are available such as umbrellas and seats for rent, as well as hotels and bars that fit every budget. Visitors can choose among a variety of activities in the water or out at the beach. A large number of restaurants and taverns are gathered along the waterfront. The beach is a haven for water sport enthusiasts, offering them a wide range of water activities to choose from, including jet-skiing, scuba-diving, windsurfing, paddle boats and banana boats.
Cape Columbo is the most isolated beach in Santorini, 10 kilometers from Fira. There are two parking areas on the headland and narrow paths down to the beach. The impressive and dramatic landscape will amaze you. The enormous red cliffs offer shade. Around the area is the most active crater of the island and the waters are really hot. Visitors should carry some water as there are no taverns or restaurant nearby.
Monolithos Beach is close to the beach of Kamari, in the area near the airport of Santorini. It is quite popular among the locals. It is long with black sand and shallow waters and is well-organized with sunbeds and umbrellas. This beach has a pleasant atmosphere and is often crowded with children. The area is surrounded by various hotels and rooms, restaurants and cafes. There is a football pitch, basketball court and a nice play area for children. There are also trees at the back of the beach for shade seekers.
White Beach is a cove right next to the Red Beach, on the southern side of Santorini. It is very similar to the Red Beach, with black pebbles on the shore, and the surrounding cliffs are white. This beach is accessible by boat or on foot from the Red Beach. It is less popular than the neighboring cove and therefore quieter. It doesn’t have facilities, except for some umbrellas and sunbeds along the coast, although the surrounding rocks provide some shade too.
- Touring to the volcano
- Trekking paths
- Windsurfing and Kitesurfing
- Wine – Santorini is an island with long wine-making tradition. The volcanic soil and the special climate of Santorini give a unique taste to the local wine. A very special thing to do on the island is visited some of the many Santorini wineries.
- Kamari Cinema, which has been in operation since the early 1990s, is located on the main road leading to Kamari. Set amidst a thicket of trees, the cinema provides a relaxing atmosphere and it is frequented by both locals and tourists.
- Diving – The volcanic geological background of Santorini offers great chances for diving. Many Santorini diving centers have opened over the last years, particularly in popular tourist places, like Perissa, Kamari and Perivolos. These centers offer diving courses for all ages and levels, rent the necessary equipment for individual dives and organize boat trips.
There is an old saying: Santorini has more churches than houses and more wine than water. Regarding the religious feasts of Santorini, locals tend to organize them with great love for tradition and faith. Usually, preparations start some days before the feast day including cooking and decoration of the church. Every village has its own patron saint which is celebrated with passion with various ceremonies and church services. In Easter or on the feast day of Holy Virgin, the ceremony is very touching where local light candles and a procession takes place around the settlements of Santorini.
Religious Feasts & Festivals
Easter in Santorini is celebrated with solemn and glory. The atmosphere in the village of Pyrgos is very nice with candle lights spread at the street sides on Holy Friday.
29th of May –The feast day of Agia Theodosia is celebrated in Akrotiri village.
1st of July – The feast day of Agioi Anargyroi is celebrated in Megalochori village.
20th of July – The feast day of Profitis Ilias is celebrated in Fira village.
24th of July – The feast day of Agios Ioannis is celebrated in Monolithos village.
25th of July – The feast day of Agia Anni is celebrated in Bothonos village.
27th of July – The feast day of Agios Panteleimon is celebrated in Vourvoulos village.
4th of August – The feast day of the Holy Seven Children is celebrated in Finikia village.
6th of August – The feast day of Transfiguration of Christ is celebrated in Pyrgos, Akrotiri and Fira villages.
15th of August – The feast day of the Diocese of Virgin Mary is celebrated in Akrotiri, Firostefani and most villages of Santorini. The biggest celebration is held in Santorini in the church of Panagia Episkopi. Preparations start one day before with traditional food and local wine which is distributed to the people.
31st of August – The feast day of Agia Zoni is celebrated in Kamari village.
8th of September – The feast day of Holy Cross is celebrated in Perissa.
14th of September – The feast day of the Holy Cross is celebrated in Perissa village.
20th of September – The feast day of Agios Efstathios is celebrated in Kontohori village.
24th of September – The feast day of Mary Myrtidiotissa is celebrated in Kamari village.
26th of September – The feast day of Agios Ioannis is celebrated in Fira village.
10th of October – The feast day of Agia Zoni is celebrated in Kamari village.
20th of October – The feast day of Agios Gerasimos is celebrated in Firostefani village.
22nd of October – The feast day of Agios Averkios, Patron of wine is celebrated in most villages in Santorini.
26th of October – The feast day of Agios Dimitrios is celebrated in Messaria village.
1st of November – The feast day of Agios Anargyros is celebrated in Messaria village.
11th of November – The feast day of Agios Minas is celebrated in Fira village.
13th of November – The feast day of Agios Ioannis is celebrated in Imerovigli village.
6th of December – The feast day of Agios Nikolaos is celebrated in the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos in Thira village.
9th of December – The feast day of Agia Anni is celebrated in Bothonos village.
12th of December – The feast day of Agios Spyridon is celebrated in the villages of Pyrgos, Emporio and Oia.
13th of December – The feast day of Agios Efstratios is celebrated in Vourvoulos village.
15th of December – The feast day of Agios Eleftherios is celebrated in Kontohori village.
Cultural Events – During the summer season, Santorini has many major cultural events. The most important festivals are:
The Festival of Megaron Gyzi takes place the first three weeks of August in Gyzi Cultural Center in Fira. It includes various events, mostly musical concerts of jazz and classical music and art exhibitions.
The Santorini Jazz Festival takes place in July, in the heart of the summer and attracts lovers of Jazz music. Famous performers from the Greek and international scene will entertain you with their jazz rhythms.
The Ifestia Festival (meaning the Greek Volcano festival) is organized annually in Santorini, every August. It involves a representation of the eruption of the island’s volcano with fireworks and a series of interesting events, concerts and dance performances.
The International Music Festival welcomes artists from the international music scene to perform for two weeks in Fira, during September.