Geography of Santorini Island
Rooted in the deep blue waters of the Aegean sea, looming with its cliff faces and mountainous fingers towards the blue sky, the island of Santorini awaits every passing traveller to enchant them on its sunny shores. Situated in a crescent shape like an emerging moon from a sweet lagoon, amongst a group of smaller land bodies.
Santorini sits with its sugar cube houses, almost tumbling down the hill and weaving a snowy white dream into the hillside as if to bless the sun itself. The famous blue dome church roofs weave into the tapestry of sky and sea. Then, as the sun starts to set, be prepared for a scenic shift as if a transition to another world will occur. The colours and qualities of atmosphere transform into a dreamlike haze of oranges, purples, pinks and azures that have stirred many people’s heartstrings. But, beyond all the beautiful views, Santorini is much much more.
History of Santorini
The Caldera of Santorini (also known by its ancient name of Thira) is the crater of an active volcano, which is submerged in the sea. The volcano is believed to erupt every 20,000 years, with the previous eruption happening 3,600 years ago, during the Minoan civilisation. Therefore, the island is surrounded by crystal clear, deep waters that embody the blue sky. Due to geological factors and the volcanic activity, the periphery of the island is coloured by beaches of red, white and black sands.
When the cool weather moves in, you’ll want to explore the elegant villages and towns of the island. Naturally, Greece is a country associated with ancient history, and Santorini is not short of its own historical sites. You can wander through the timeless towns that form the ‘Caldera’s eyebrow’- Fira, Oia, Imerovigli and Firostefani- and explore the pastel coloured village buildings contrasting with the cloudy white walls, towering above you in Akrotiri, Pyrgos, Megalohori, Perivolos, Perissa and Messaria. Archaeological sites at Akrotiri and Mesa Vouno are two not to be missed if you’re interested in ancient history. There are also a number of castles lining the hilltops, historic Byzantine basilicas and Ancient Thera to see. Whatever your needs are, Santorini is truly a once in a lifetime destination like no other.
Naturally, when you think of a Greek island getaway, you think of a holiday in the sun with lots of sand and sea to enjoy your time in. Due to Santorini’s unique natural formation, its beaches follow the same pattern, allowing you to find quirky sights of stone formations and coastline. Particularly at the east coast of the island, which is the wilder and less visited side, you can find a number of unmanaged and secluded beaches. If you’re travelling as a family or prefer somewhere more managed, try the north side of the island.
Summer in Santorini
Santorini is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece, but it´s beauty truly pops during summer. During the summer months, the island comes alive with local vendors, specialised tours and excited visitors. There are so many unique things to do during summer in Santorini; take a scenic hike, sample some delicious wines, bathe in hot springs, race around the island on a quad bike or relax on a black sand beach and soak up some rays. Santorini has it all.
Take a trip to Amoudi Bay
This stunning bay is hidden on a beautiful rocky cliff just down from Oia. Descend the 300 steps and find yourself transported back to simpler times. This little fishing area has a few taverns serving up the catch of the day, and of course, a few cold beers. Plunge from the rocks into the glistening Mediterranean water, or simply sit back and enjoy one of those famous Santorini sunsets.
See the black sands of Perissia Beach
As Santorini is famous for its volcano, one thing you must do in the summer is to visit the black volcanic sands of Perissia Beach. This is the perfect place to soak up some of that summer sun, cool off in the sea, take some once in a lifetime photos, or simply enjoy a traditional Greek lunch in one of the many restaurants lining the beach.
Touch the sky in the Teleferico
When traveling from Fira down to the old port you have three options; take a donkey, walk the 600 steps or take a magnificent cable car. Each ride only costs 5€, and the views from the Teleferico are second to none. In summer, when the skies are clear, you can see out over the vast stretch of blue water all the way to the magnificent Caldera.
Dive to the Hot Springs
Thanks to the volcanic island New Kameni, Santorini has a magical area of naturally formed hot springs. From Feria, you can take out a traditional wooden yacht and sail out to the hot springs. Once there you can choose to explore the fascinating volcanic island and hike around the volcano´s rim, or relax on the boat and bathe in the warm water of the springs.
Sample Delicious Wines on a Sunset Wine Tour
Summer is the absolute best time to take a wine tour, and Santorini has some of the most delicious reds on the planet. You can choose to make your own tour and visit some of the island most famous wineries, such as the fantastic Venetsanos Winery, or you can book a guided tour with Welcome. During the tour, you will visit three wineries, learn about the juicy grapes and winemaking process, and finally sample 12 different wines while watching the famous Santorini sunset.
Visit an Open-Air Cinema
Summer is the only time that these magical open-air cinemas open their doors to the public. You can grab a seat, sit out under the stars and watch one of your favorite movies… oh and don´t forget the popcorn. If you´re looking for the full experience, then head on over to Kamari Village. This tiny village on Santorini has one of the best open-air cinemas in the entire world and serves up some extremely tasty cocktails.
Hike the Fira Trail
The most scenic walk in Santorini is the 9km hike from Fira to Oia. The whole hike takes around 3 hours, and during the summer months, you have the clearest views. It is advisable to take an early morning or sunset hike to avoid the hottest time of the day and to get the best lighting for all those photos you´ll be taking. Once in Oia, you can reward yourself with a delicious Greek meal and a spot of souvenir shopping.