Santorini, the famous Greek volcanic island is located at the southeast end of the prefecture of Cyclades islands in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (130 mi) from Greek mainland 130 miles from Piraeus and 70 nautical miles from Crete.
The island is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion in 1613 B.C., destroying the earliest settlements of what was formerly a single island, and leading to the creation of the current unique geological caldera.
It is also officially called Thera or Thira and it is the largest of a complex of 5 islands which have the same name. Thira, Aspronisi and Thirasia as parts of the ancient Strogili and the two volcanic islands Palea Kammeni and Nea Kammeni.
It has a total area of 70 km2 and it is populated by 13,000 local people.
Many reasons made this island famous worldwide. The myth of the Lost Atlantis is directly connected with Thira and Jules Verne made Santorini famous with its books “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” and “The mysterious island” where captain Nemo and his crew watched the volcano erupt. He was one of the visitors and scientists that came to Thira during the eruptions of 1866 – 1870 and wrote the well known book just after it. It is really, that same mysterious island where the volcano rules.
The reputation of the Santorini Caldera View is based on the 85 meter (300 feet) high cliff that many of the island’s villages are built to perch on top of, offering a sea view as far as the eye can see. The cliff is the wall of the submerged volcano crater caused by the cataclysmic eruption. The unique caldera, the energy and the beauty of the island are the most important reasons for being ranked as the top island in Europe and one of the “must see” destinations of the world.
It has an ideal climate with rather cool summers due to northeast winds that blow through the region and mostly good winters.
Santorini’s soil is fertile and despite the lack of water it produces (small quantities but exceptionally tasty) tomatoes, barley, cucumbers and yellow peas. Among the most prized products are also its’ unique variety of vines.
During the summer the island is visited by an average of 60,000 tourists per day while during the wintertime is preferred by nature lovers.
The island is connected to Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Crete, Rhodes, Kos and all the major Cyclades islands (Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Sifnos, Milos, Tinos, Syros) by ferries as well as to Athens and many countries direct by airplane.
Oia, the Village of the fascinating sunsets
Oia, the Village of the fascinating sunsets Oia, the traditional, most charming and well preserved of all of the Santorini villages, is located on the northern top of the island, high on a cliff-top (caldera edge) 12 km from the main town of Fira.
It is famous as the place with the most magnificent view of Santorini with a picturesque road, cliffs on one side and the sea on the other. The old ruined castle overlooking the Caldera attracts most of the visitors to enjoy the unique and idyllic sunsets. From our Oia cave houses, you will enjoy fantastic view!
The main square overlooks the sea and visitors are tempted with another truly fascinating viewpoint. Below is the beach of Ammoudi and across the bay are the Burnt Islands. Ammoudi, accessible by car as well, is 214 steps below, and Armeni beach is 286 steps below.
The architecture of Oia is typical Cycladic with houses dug deep into the volcanic soil and whitewashed churches with blue domes sparkling in the sunlight. Oia today also hosts a cultural center, a central art gallery and many other Greek art galleries.
Many shops sell handicrafts, souvenirs and jewellery.
It is also home to artists and writers from all around the world, who are drawn to its aura of serenity and beauty you will therefore find countless art galleries offering the creations of its inspired inhabitants.
Fira Right in the edge of the Caldera lies the town of Fira, the capital of Santorini.
Fira is attractive, with winding narrow streets, stepped, white-washed houses, ancient marketplaces, picturesque churches, arcades and a quarter where the Catholic nobility once dwelt. There is the most important Museum, with prehistoric finds (mostly pottery), a large collection of vases dating from the 7th and 6th centuries BC (including the pieces known as ‘Thera ware’), a few Archaic and Classical pieces, and some Hellenistic and Roman sculptures and portraits.
There is a superb view out from Fira to the Kamenes, the two islets of black lava stone created by the volcano.
Ancient Thira Ancient Thira was found at Mesa Vouno, about 15km (9½ miles) south-east of today’s capital.
Its settlements date from the ninth century BC, and ancienties in Santorini the preserved ruins belong to the Hellenistic and Roman phases of the city. One of the most important monuments of the site is The Sanctuary of Artemidoros, entirely hewn in the rock, as well as the Agora (market), several temples to Dionysius and Apollo, a theatre, the garrison’s drill-ground, the gymnasium and the Roman baths. Some of the many items that have been found here are on display in the Archaeological Museum in Thira.
We can arrange a tour for you from our Oia cave houses.
Perissa This resort is one of the beautiful areas of Santorini. Perissa is very similar to Kamari beach well known for its black sand and many organized water sports. There are plenty of tavernas, cafes and hotels in the area, set in the wonderful surroundings of Eucalyptus groves. You will also find launderettes, bakeries and mini-markets. It is separated from Kamari by Mesa Vouno on which stood Ancient Thira the post eruption settlement.
Pyrgos The village is built around an old castella (Venetian fortress) and it’s a typical example of a fortified Cycladic village.
Pyrgos is one of the largest villages on Santorini and being built on a hill, it offers panoramic views towards all points of the island. At the top of the hill is the monastery of Profitis Ilias with its impressive iconostasis where you can also find a museum housing rare manuscripts and books.
Akrotiri Akrotiri is one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean. Ruins of a whole Cycladic city were found which had been destroyed around the year 1600 B.C. by a terrible eruption of the volcano of Thera. It is a case of a prehistoric Pompeii buried under the lava with two and three storey buildings, city squares, shops and workshops.
A tour from our Oia cave houses can be arranged for guests.
Read more for Santorini in Santorini’s Municipality official website
If you are interested in more information about Santorini History please read more in Wikipedia