Greece Greek Islands
Greece and the Greek Islands

Cyclades

Santorini

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General Informations

Capital of the island is Thira, which is also called Phira. It is located almost exactly in the middle of the round Kalderna Bay, 260m above sea level. Unique and overwhelming is the view of the Kamenes Islands that occurred during the eruption.

The location of the main town on the edge of the grey lava rock is great, there is not like on any other island in the Cyclades. From Skala (also known as Phiron) said harbor, you tackle the stages on foot or by lift to go to the city.

In the Archaeological Museum are exhibits from the excavations on the island. At the Skaros mentioned point you can see the ruins of to the five castles (fortified settlements) of the island.

From Skala Phiron you can take the boats to the nearby islands of Palia and Nea Kameni, where you can see the crater of the volcano, from which smokes emerges between gold shiny rocks. Almost direct at Phira then liesThirostefani and Merovigli with beautiful views of the Kalderna Bay.

The road leads from there to the west coast of the island along further north, to Phinikia, a complex of houses in Cycladic style, and then into the lovely Oia, 11km northwest of Phira, with its unique houses who where dug deep into the steep rock. The village has a Marine Museum. The steps lead you down to the beaches Armenaki, Ammudi and Katharos. Pyrgos is located in the inland village in southeastern Phira which is built like an amphitheater on the slopes of the Profitis Ilias mountain. The location was one of the medieval castles of the island, of which some remains are preserved.

A little further west of this is the port Athinio. In the southwest of the capital, near the village of Akrotiri is the eponymous archaeological site, one of the largest not only in the Cyclades, but all over the Aegean: The excavations began there in 1967 and brought a prehistoric city to light. The terrible volcanic eruption of 1500 BC. destroyed and buried the city. Under its thick layer of Lava the city remained for centuries almost intact, as it’s had been on the day of the disaster. The magnificent murals of Akrotiri are exhibited in a separate room in the National Museum of Athens.

East of Akrotiri is Emporio or Niborio as the locals call it, and then a little further lies Perissa, a coastal settlement with a beautiful black sand beach. A little further north, at the so called Mesa Vouno location, the remains of ancient Thira are seen, the island’s capital during the 8th century BC. Music Festivals will be held in the summer in Phyra. During the year there are many churches and chapels Festivals on the island with banquets, dancing and singing.

Weather in Santorini

Geography and History

Santorini and the on the east lying island Anaphi are the southernmost islands of the Cyclades. Santorini consists of volcanic rock, the west coast is rocky and steep, in the east there are beautiful beaches and fertile plains, with vineyards and vegetable fields, tomatoes and yellow lentils grow plentiful here. Of the agricultural products wine and the tasty yellow lenses are known beyond the borders of the island.

Originally the island was called because of her beauty Kallisti (that is "The Best") and Strongyli (i.e. "the round"). The Dorians, which settled on the island at the beginning of the first millennium BC. called it the island of Thera, after their first mythical settlers. The Venetians called the island Santorini and this name sticked to the Island even after the Venetian rule out ("Santorini", Greek "Santorini" is a corruption of "Santa Irene" after the namesake church).

The island was inhabited since the 3rd millennium BC. Around 1500 BC. there was a catastrophic volcanic eruption, in which a part of the island sank and its hitherto brilliant economic and cultural development came to a halt. During the Persian Wars Santorini was conquered by the counterparties.

During the Byzantine times the island belonged to the province Aegean, in 1207 it was conquered by the Venetians. After the attack and looting by Barbarossa (1537), they surrendered to the Ottomans. During the period of Venetian rule, many inhabitants of Santorini attended the Catholic faith, indicated by many Catholic churches that were built during that time period.

Useful Telephone numbers
Santorini:
  • Area code: 0286
  • Police: 22 649
  • Port authority: 22 239
  • Municipality office Phira: 22 231
  • Ambulance Thira: 23 237

Thirasia

General Informations

Rhirasia is the only inhabited island in the small islands off the west coast of Santorini. It lies opposite the town of Oia, from where it can be reached by boats. The island also has connections by boat with Thyra and Athinio. The pretty village of Thirasia is built on the edge of a steep cliff of a volcanic rock. From the small harbor from where the boats dock, you can climb the steps up to the small village. There are few rooms in private homes.

Useful Telephone numbers
Thirasia:
  • Area code: 0286
  • Municipality office: 23 190
  • Ambulance: 23 191

How to get there

By Plane
Santorini has flight connections with Athens, Mykonos, Rhodes and Heraklion in Crete, during the summer also with Thessaloniki. The airport is located 7km outside of the main town.
Informations:
  • Olympic Airways Santorini, Fon.: 22 493 and 22 793
By Ferry
Regular connections from Piraeus and Thessaloniki to Athinio-Santorini. The distance is 130 nautical miles from Piraeus and 291 to Thessaloniki.
Informations:
  • Port administration Santorini: Tel.:22.239
  • Port administration Thessaloniki: Tel.: 031-53 1504-5
Santorini also maintains Ferry connections with other Cycladic islands as well as with those of the Dodecanese and Crete. During the summer, there are also connections with Skitahos and Skyros.
By Speedboat
Speedboat connections are operated from Rafina to many islands of the Cyclades.
  • Port administration Rafina: Tel.: 0294-22.300

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