The island of Santorini is a jewel of the Aegean,
formed of lava, red, black and white pebbles, white boxy houses, and blue and white churches; an island which rose from the deep blue sea as if determined that man would admire it for an eternity.
It's hard to imagine a visitor who, on seeing the caldera, the cliff-edge villages and the soaring rock faces, wouldn't feel awe and admiration for this other-worldly landscape, so picturesque and yet to untamed... a landscape which has transformed the island into one of the world's leading tourist destinations.…
Santorini as a destination
The island's location on the Southern Aegean's volcanic rift has determined its fate over the course of the centuries. The first island, Strongyle, which was destroyed by the volcanic eruption of 1613 BC, gave way to the current caldera, which stands proud and dominant over the blue of the Aegean sea.
Covering 76.19 km2 and having a maximum altitude of 567 m (Mt. Profitis Ilias with an 18th century monastery there dedicated to the Prophet Elijah), the horseshoe-shaped island is a mix of remote beaches, rocky terrain and deep waters. However, despite the ostensible 'harshness' of the island, it is an extremely fertile place, with extensive vineyards which produce world-renowned fine wines, and its rich soils give us local produce that rank it among the top places on the Mediterranean's gastronomic map.
The island's key features
From a tourist viewpoint, Santorini stands out for its amazing traditional villages, sites of major archaeological interest, world-class hotels, refined shops with luxury goods, unique natural environment, great potential for alternative activities like yachting, diving, hiking, horse riding or canoeing, and in recent years it has also become a top destination for extreme sports events, such as the annual parkour championship and the Santorini Experience triathlon, which attract participants from around the globe.
Santorini is a top choice for honeymooners, and its excellent hotel facilities and super deluxe accommodations, which are constantly being built, offer ideal solutions for elite conferences and prestigious corporate events.
Experiences, action, fun!
A trip to Santorini is a wash of experiences and images. From enjoying a magical sunset from the vantage point at Oia, to satisfying your palate on a wine-tasting trip, from touring the volcanic landscape of Palea and Nea Kameni, to scuba diving to caves, wrecks and sunken treasures, the choices are endless.
Horse-riding at Monolithos, rock climbing at Perivolos or Perissa beach, hiking along picturesque trails like the one from Fira to Imerovigli along the length of the caldera, or more demanding ones such as the climb from Perissa or Pyrgos, which passes by Mesa Vouno and ends at Ancient Thera, will ensure uniquely revitalising moments in landscapes of outstanding natural beauty.
One classic route takes in Fira, Imerovigli and Oia; a charming excursion that offers enchanting views. Starting from Fira, the island's capital which stands at an altitude of 260 m, continue on to Firostefani, which has a great view of the volcanic islands of Palea and Nea Kameni, then on to the traditional village of Imerovigli at 300 m, which lies between Oia and Fira, and is home to the Castle of Skaros, and then on to the listed village of Oia, and the nearby Agios Nikolaos castle.
You will find beaches to suit every taste, the most popular being Vlychada (13 km from Fira), Red Beach (8 km from Fira), close to the archaeological site of Akrotiri, and in the same vicinity, Mesa Pigadia beach, which is the ideal suntrap when northerlies are blowing. Equally popular are the cosmopolitan beaches of Perissa, Perivolos and Kamari (here you can visit the 11th century Byzantine Church of Episkopi), while some smaller, quieter beaches include Mousakia, Almyra, Baxedes and Pori.
You'll be impressed by two archaeological sites of great cultural and historical importance: the archaeological site of Akrotiri [here make time to admire the perfectly preserved archaeological finds, wall paintings, houses complete with furniture, personal effects and pottery] and Ancient Thera, on the SE side of the island, on a rock that stands at 369 m, where you can tour the Agora, theatre, necropolises, the sanctuary of Artemis, the Doric temple of Dionysus, the Gymnasium of the Epheboi, and the Basilike Stoa (Royal Stoa) with statutes of the imperial family.
Distances (in km)
• From Santorini Airport to: Fira - 6 km / 10 minutes,Pyrgos - 5.5 km/ 11 minutes, Oia - 16.6 km/ 31 minutes, Imerovigli - 8 km/ 16 minutes
• From the port of Athinios to: Fira - 8.7 km/ 17 minutes, Oia - 20.1 km/ 39 minutes, Akrotiri - 10.5 km/ 20 minutes, Pyrgos - 5 km/ 11 minutes, Imerovigli - 10.3 km/ 24 minutes
• From Fira to: Imerovigli - 3.1 km/ 8 minutes, Oia - 11.6 km/ 23 minutes, Kamari - 8 km/ 15 minutes, Pyrgos - 6 km/ 11 minutes, Akrotiri - 10.2 km/ 18 minutes, Perissa - 12 km/ 21 minutes
• From Oia to: Imerovigli - 9.5 km/ 17 minutes, Akrotiri - 21.2 km/ 38 minutes, Kamari - 23.4 km/ 35 minutes, Perissa - 26.3 km/ 41 minutes
• From Imerovigli to: Oia - 9.5 km/ 18 minutes, Perissa - 14 km/ 26 minutes, Kamari - 9.5 km/ 23 minutes
• From Akrotiri to: Perissa - 8 km/ 14 minutes, Kamari - 11.6 km/ 20 minutes
* Indicative time by car, calculated via Google Maps