SANTORINI

Earth born from the fury of nature; a tremendous catastrophe that left its mark on a historical period and formed one of the most spectacular landscapes on the planet.

Santorini, the crown jewel of the Aegean, with its multi-coloured steep cliffs, the majestic caldera crowned with picturesque villages, famous sunsets and picturesque colourful pebble and sandy beaches, is one of the most popular destinations in the world, with crowds constantly seeking its magic even during the winter months.

Like a crescent floating on the southern tip of the Cyclades, Santorini, officially called Thira, is basically a small volcanic archipelago consisting of the island of Thirasia, the tiny island of Aspronisi, and the islets of Palia Kameni and Nea Kameni.

This archipelago is actually proof that, about 3600 years ago, Santorini was a much larger round island called Strongyle (round-shaped). The colossal eruption of 1653 BC which destroyed the Minoan civilization, caused the collapse of the centre of Strongyle, forming a giant crater immersed in the sea and steep cliffs which are the trademark of the island.

The shocking history of the island is reflected in its extraordinary relief, the enormous caldera from where the views of the Aegean Sea are breath-taking; the volcanic rocks that adorn almost all beaches and the unique archaeological findings of Akrotiri are also evidence of the island’s turbulent past.

  • view_headlineRoutes and sights
    • Among the most popular destinations in Santorini are the villages built on the caldera. Fira, which is the capital of the island, Firostefani and Imerovigli are linked together, uniform in terms of aesthetics and architecture and in proximity to the enormous gap of volcanic cliffs. These villages offer infinite possibilities for walks, shopping in beautiful shops, exquisite dinners in stylish restaurants and bars. Stroll through the central square of Ipapanti in Fira to admire the magnificent views of the black island of Nea Kameni which dominates the middle of the bay.
    • Do not miss the Museum of Prehistoric Thira to admire the findings of the prehistoric city of Akrotiri, especially the mosaics and the amazing frescoes of the houses of the ancient city. Fairly close to the museum are the Bellonio Cultural Centre with art and photography exhibitions and the wonderful Megaro Gyzi, a mansion that hosts excellent exhibitions, lectures, concerts and outdoor screenings every summer.
    • In the northern part of Fira, the cable car travels to the Old Port from where you can take the boat to visit the volcano, an ultimate experience you should not miss!
    • If you like walking, you can enjoy a 20-minute walk along the edge of the cliff, the so-called “Balcony of Santorini”. Starting from beautiful Imerovigli you will reach the highest tip of the caldera of Thera. Admire the unique architecture of the picturesque houses, the “hyposkapha”, which are houses dug into the rock and their whitewashed terraces that seem to form part of the cliff; walk to remote Skaros, the imposing rock with the tiny chapel of Theoskepasti. A strange location that protrudes from the walls of the caldera which used to be part of the fortified city – as seen in the engraving by Thomas Hope, now on display at the Benaki Museum – which was abandoned by its residents in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake of 1650. From here, you can see Folegandros and Sikinos appear in silhouette during sunset.
    • Only 10 km north of Imerovigli, the village of Oia is, for many, the highlight of every journey to Santorini. The village, which stretches along the northern edge of the caldera, is famous for the views of the sunset which, during the summer months, is an attraction for hundreds of visitors. The village’s main street, which is built in marble, with its beautiful restaurants, colourful shops, captains’ mansions, picturesque churches and narrow streets with canaves (cave houses) testify to the history of the flourishing village of Oia when the ships of Ano Meria (former name for Oia) were traveling the Mediterranean and transported local sweet Vinsanto wine to the big cities. Visit the Maritime Museum, which is housed in a restored 19th century mansion, to learn about the impressive maritime past of the island. Be sure to visit the blue-white churches of Agios Georgios, Agios Stavros, Agios Nikolaos and Panagia Platsani.
    • Take a stroll through the small fishing village of Ammoudi, 219 steps below Oia (you can also drive there), where the picturesque restaurants by the sea are full of culinary surprises. Don’t miss the chance to dive from the rock of Agios Georgios!
    • For adventure lovers, the 291 steps from “Scala” restaurant in Oia, lead to another small port, the port of Armeni. There you can relax in the small tavern or enjoy a refreshing swim in the peaceful Armenaki bay.
    • Stop at Akrotiri to visit one of the most important archaeological sites of Eastern Mediterranean, the prehistoric city of Akrotiri revealed by archaeological excavations during the 60s that fuelled the legend that Santorini was actually the ancient Atlantis. Stroll under the enormous roof along the alleyways of the prehistoric neighbourhood of Telchines Street and you will feel like Indiana Jones!  The magnificent Triangle Square with restored ancient houses that hide amazing frescoes. Before you leave, do not miss a visit to the La Ponta tower, the Venetian castle, where you can admire the exhibition of ancient musical instruments or attend a workshop.
    • The picturesque landscapes of the hinterland are equally inviting for romantic visitors: The medieval village of Pyrgos, for many the most beautiful village of the island, located 10 km southeast of Fira and the imposing Casteli, with its astonishing labyrinthine architecture, the picturesque square and its excellent restaurants. Santorini’s villages are also captivating.
    • A little further south is the charming village of Megalochori with its large square, flowery gardens, beautiful alleys and picture-perfect restaurants. A real haven of serenity and beauty. From here you can discover some of Santorini’s best kept secrets, the beaches of Caldera, Thermi and Plaka (that took its name from the beautiful church of Panagia Plaka that is built inside the rock) located at the foot of the cliff of Megalochori and accessible only on foot.
  • view_headlineWhat’s not to miss…

    • Explore the beautiful black sandy beaches of Santorini, especially in the eastern part of the island. The cosmopolitan, organized and frequented beaches of Kamari, Perissa and Perivolos evoke the widespread image of the Greek summer with comfortable sunbeds and beach bars. Further north, the beach of Monolithos and the small beach of Yalos. Close to Oia, on the north side of the island is the serene beach of Baxedes and the beach of Kolumbo with an underwater crater. The south side of the island is home to colourful beaches: the famous Kokkini (Red) beach with dark red sand and Lefki beach with white gravel are among the top destinations on the island. Close by, you will discover the secluded beaches of Mesa Pigadia with a lunar landscape, the beach of Kampia and the remote beach of Almyra. On the south coast of the island you will also find Vlychada beach with sculpted rocks and a little further on, the well-secluded white beach of Eros with its exotic beach bar.

    • Schedule a visit to the picturesque island of Thirasia, an island forgotten by time, with beautiful taverns in Riva, cave houses in Agrilia and pebble beaches.

    • Visit the volcano. Boats leaving from Athinios, the Old Port and Ammoudi will take you to Nea Kameni where you can walk on the black and burning-hot soil, and to Palia Kameni where you can dive into the hot and sulphurous waters of the volcano.

    • With a vineyard of more than 3200 years old and a very special grape variety that can grow on its volcanic soil, Santorini is one of the top wine producing regions of Greece. Be sure to visit some of the elegant wineries with their canaves (caves) – often exhibiting works of art – to taste the island’s white wine and its famous Assyrtiko, Aïdani, Athiri, Mavrotragano and Mandilaria varieties and the famous sweet wine of Vinsanto. In many wine cellars you will find local specialties prepared with the best products of the island, a not-to-miss experience for foodies who want to discover the culinary culture of the island. Most of the wine cellars are in the area of Megalochori and Exo Gonia.

  • view_headlineTravelling to and from Santorini

    Travel to and from Santorini with ANEK LINES. Enjoy a comfortable journey with one of the leading passenger ferry operators in the Mediterranean.

    ΑΝΕΚ connects Piraeus and other popular destinations with Santorini through the Cyclades, Crete and Dodecanese route (Piraeus, Milos, Santorini, Anafi, Heraklion, Sitia, Kassos, Karpathos, Diafani, Halki, Rhodes) with port-to- port itineraries. The company offers top quality services and authentic Cretan “philoxenia” on board.

    The modern fleet and highly trained crew of ANEK, promise a pleasant on board stay, meeting the needs and demands of the modern traveller. ANEK ferries have spacious cabins of all categories, comfortable and air-conditioned all-user areas with many entertainment options, modern stores, gourmet restaurants and café -bars.

    ANEK highly values gastronomy and offers exquisite menus based on authentic Cretan products and tastes of the Cretan cuisine. All ΑΝΕΚ ferries offer 24hour internet service (wi-fi and Internet Corners) at designated areas.

    Discover our best prices for ferry tickets and unique offers for passenger tickets and cabin accommodation throughout the year.

  • view_headlineArriving at Santorini

    ANEK LINES ferry arrives at the port of Athinios, located on the east side of the island, 4 kilometers southwest of Fira. The port is connected to Fira and the other villages of the island by bus and taxi.

    ANEK LINES offers reliable and value for money transportation services so you can take along your own car, motorcycle, trailer or caravan and enjoy unique trips around Santorini.

    You may also easily travel to Crete (Heraklion, Sitia) and the Dodecanese (Kassos, Karpathos, Chalki, Rhodes).

  • view_headlineUseful telephone numbers

    ΑΝΕΚ LINES – Central Reservation Dept: 0030 210 4197400, 210 4197420
    ΑΝΕΚ LINES Santorini Central Agency- PELICAN TRAVEL (Fira): 0030 22860 22220
    Thira Municipality: 0030 22860 22231
    Police Station (Fira): 0030 22860 22649
    Thira Port Authority: 0030 22860 22239
    Post Office (Fira): 0030 22860 22238.
    Health Centre (Fira): 0030 22860 60300
    Santorini Central Clinic: 0030 22860 21728
    Santorini Bus Service: 0030 22860 25404 & 25462
    Radiotaxi: 0030 22860 22555
    Information Desk: 0030 2286025940

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