Santorini, one of the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea, is home to the Cyclades. It was destroyed in a volcanic eruption in 16th-century BC. The rugged landscape has remained the same. The cubiform, whitewashed houses of Fira and Oia are clinging to cliffs high above an underwater caldera. They overlook the sea, small island to the west, and beaches made up lava pebbles of different colours.
Fira (Thira), the capital of Santorini is composed of whitewashed cube houses and terraces, winding lanes and little squares as well as blue-domed churches perched on the cliffs at 300m above the caldera. Fira is accessible from the port of Skala by either walking or riding (587 steps), or taking the cable-car. You can also reach it from nearby towns by following the Fira-Oia scenic trail, which takes you along the caldera rock.
Ferries dock at Athinios and are connected to Fira via road. Cruise ships anchor in the caldera. Passenger transport to Skala is by tender. Fira's main source of income is tourism. Many of the buildings are now used as small hotels and apartments, restaurants and cafes, souvenir shops and jewellers.
Oia is famous for its spectacular sunsets, which attract tourists from all over the globe. Ia (Oia), which is located 12 km up the coast from Fira on the northern tip Santorini's coast, is a picturesque village of whitewashed homes. Many of them have been transformed into chic boutique hotels with infinity swimming pools that overlook the caldera. It is similar to Fira but it also relies on tourism and caters to a higher-end clientele.
The caldera was formed by a massive volcanic explosion that blew out the center of the island around 3,600 years ago. It is the only sea-filled volcanic cone that remains. It measures 12 km by 7 km and is home to volcanic activity. In its center, there are two Kaimeni islands with hot springs or gas emissions.
Numerous agencies offer day trips to the caldera via boat. This includes time to soak in the hot springs, then lunch on Thirassia. Thirassia is a small island on the west side that offers stunning views of Santorini across to the sea.
Nearby, the Akrotiri site is the famous Red Beach. It lies below a stunning red cliff wall. You can reach the beach by following a path that runs from Akrotiri. You can also drive to the beach or take a bus from Fira. You can also reach the beach by boat from Akrotiri, Kamari and Perissa ports.
This small beach can get crowded in summer so make sure you arrive early to secure a spot with great views of the red rock against the aquamarine. The beach is susceptible to landslides and has been closed off to visitors.
The tiny Ammoudi, a Greek fishing port directly from central casting is located below Oia on the north end the caldera. It isn't a whitewashed cliché, but the waterfront facades are made of ruby-red rocks from the surrounding cliffs and brightly colored mortar.
There are many small fishing boats that anchor at anchor. Here you will see people fixing nets and cleaning calamari. You can wander the streets, and then stop at fancy seafront tavernas for a meal. There is a steep path that descends several hundred feet to Oia, or you can drive or take a taxi.
We are here to help you get the right advice. COVID-19 travel restrictions change quickly. You can check our live page about Greece travel restrictions to find out if you are allowed to travel from Athens International Santorini (Thira) or if quarantine is required upon arrival.
52 minutes is an average flight time between Athens International and Santorini (Thira).
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