Why Santorini is one of the most fascinating holiday destinations…
Santorini’s volcanic activity during the past 2-500,000 years has been dominated by very large explosive eruptions at intervals of few tens of thousands of years. The most recent of this type occurred at around 1613 BC and is known as the Minoan eruption.
During this eruption…
– sixty million cubic meters of equivalent dry rock of magma in the form of pumice and ash flew through the air at a height of 36km above the island, covering the island.
– Volcanic ash traveled eastward and spread in the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor deposited an ash layer of 30cm thickness in Rhodes and Kos and 15cm in lakes of Asia Minor.
– Traces of ash have been found in the glaciers of Greenland,
– while the effects of the volcanic winter, induced with a reduction of the temperature by 1-20oC, were recorded in tree trunks in the US and Asia.
The center of the explosion is located between Fira and Nea Kameni. Solids and gases hurled from the volcano and created a big gap in which precipitated the central part, forming the current caldera. The result was the creation of huge tidal waves that swept the coasts of the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean.
Although at present dormant, Santorini has been active several times in recent times. This activity built the dark-colored islands of Nea and Palea Kameni inside the caldera. The last eruption on Nea Kameni occurred in 1950 and activity was recorded from 2011-2012. At present, Santorini is dormant, and volcanism manifests itself as fumarolic activity and hot springs around the islands.
Little-known facts about Santorini
Santorini is an archipelago of five islands, the bigger Thira, Thirasia, Aspronisi, New and Old Kameni, and has a total area of 90.6 square kilometres (35 square miles), with the main island, Thera, measuring 73 square km.
The Santorini archipelago was originally a single island which was destroyed by the devastating Minoan volcanic eruption, one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history (7 on the VEI scale out of 8!) – 4 times the power of Krakatoa!
It is said that one of the locations on the original single Santorini Island, now dubbed as ‘Akrotiri’, is possibly the lost city of Atlantis, a Greek-originating legend, that was described by Plato.
‘Santorini’ was named during the Latin empire after the cathedral Saint Irene, and was originally known in the Greek empire as ‘Kallisti’ (the most beautiful), ‘Strongili’ (round) and ‘Thera’ (after King Theras) and the latter is now the official name.
Santorini is one of the few places on earth where you can visit and swim at white, black and red beaches. The water at the black beach is warmer due to the heat absorbing black lava rock.
Santorians would build their houses inside the island’s volcanic walls and slopes to protect themselves from the weather, called the ‘cave houses’. Many have been restored today although a lot of the buildings were destroyed by an earthquake in 1956.
The land on Santorini is called “aspa,” and is made up of volcanic ash, pumice stone, and small pieces of solidified sand and lava. It is very rich in minerals.
Although its climate is dry, the volcanic ash soil makes for some really tasty tomatoes, eggplants and courgettes… and extra-ordinary vines! There are over 100 varieties of grapes in Santorini.
Locals say “There is so little rain on the island of Santorini, that wine in more plentiful than water.” The farmers and vineyards follow ‘anhydrous’ techniques to grow crops. The wine grapes are grown with no irrigation on the ground in bunches rather than on vines to absorb the humidity from the soil and protect themselves from the strong winds.
Pumice stone on the island was a huge export business until recently and you can observe the mines even from the main town of Fira.
The Venetians built 5 fortified castle-selttemetns around the island to protect it from pirates. Since the island was inhabited by the Venetians, many of the churches are not Greek Orthodox, but rather Catholic.
Santorini has quite a few hot springs and you can distinguish the warmer waters because of the color change to a murky brown.
Santorini, the most sought after holiday destination in Greece!
It will take your breath away with its white Cycladic houses lining the cliff tops, the amazing views to the Caldera and Nea Kameni (the volcano), the spectacular sunsets, the black and red beaches… Few places in the world combine such amazing sceneries, beautiful beaches, ancient cities, gastronomical food, fabulous wine… and an active volcano!
The best way to explore the island is on foot. We offer both guided and self guided walking holidays in Santorini for 4 and 7 days.
Read about our guided walking holiday that ends in Santorini…
Our top list of things to do in Santorini
- Join a guided or self-guided walking tour, walk the island’s ancient trails and absorb the breathtaking panoramic views to the sunken Caldera,
- Enjoy a boat trip to the volcanic islands of Nea Kameni, swim in the thermal springs of Palea Kameni and expore the unspoilt island of Thirasia,
- Watch the sunset and soak up the unique atmosphere as you dine,
- Visit 100 years old vineyards, take a guided tour at one of the famous wineries and taste amazing volcanic wines.
- Take a food tour, learn about the unique agricultural practices of Santorinian farmes and taste the delicious local tomatoes, aubergines and courgettes!
- Visit the pottery workshops at Megalochori and buy one-of-a-kind, hand-made ceramic piece sold by the people who make them.
- Stay in a cave house and experience the traditional way of life of the old Santorinians!
- Visit the excavated prehistoric city of Akrotiri which was burried under volcanic ash!
- Walk to the highest peak of the island, Profitis Ilias, and admire the panoramic views of the whole island!
- Explore the Venetian fortified castle-settlements of Pyrgos, Akrotiri, Skaros, Oia and Emborio.
- Walk to admire the architecture of the unspoilt villages of Foinikia, Mesa and exo Gonia
- Enjoy a tour of the Donkey Brewery and sample its three beers.
- Try a scuba dive at rich in biodiversity waters of the caldera!
- Get a kayak and explore the caldera at your own pace!
This and much more tips and advice you will gain if you join our 4 or 7-day self-guided walking holiday at the island of Santorini…
Best time to visit Santorini
Spring is really the best time to experience nature and observe flora and fauna in Santorini. By Easter it has been raining for quite a while and the island is unrecognizable. The hills in spring and during easter are carpeted with lush vegetation… the flora is quite spectacular!
I would recommend if possible to travel out-of-season, in April, May, June, September, October or November. During these months, the islands are more relaxed and accommodation and travelling is better value.
In April, May and June, the temperature of the sea water is a bit colder, but you can still swim. In September, October and November the islands are more dry and less green but the water temperatures of the sea are warmer.
Outside the tourist season (December – March) you can expect all kinds of weather, from short thunderstorms, wind and even (rarely) snow to lovely sunny days on which everybody rushes to the beach and a dip in the water.
If you wish to discuss the above or any other matter please don’t hesitate to contact us either by phone at +30 6976 761492 or email at email@example.com
We look forward to hearing from you soon.