Santorini Island, being an attraction itself with its incomparable beauty, has many sights to visit and various activities to do that can surely satisfy every need and taste. The attractions of the island will definitely fill you with admiration and excitement, some of them can really leave you speechless, and will offer you special memories you will treasure for a lifetime.
Sunset in Oia
It is said that Santorini’s sunset is among the most desirable wonders in the world. Whether you believe it or not, there is no denying that viewing the sun set in Santorini is spectacular and people from all over the world visit Santorini in order to photograph it and, most of all, cherish it. The sunset highlights the breathtaking beauty of the island that offers many ideal locations from where visitors can admire it.
If you really do not mind having hundreds of people around you holding their smartphone and clapping at the sight of the sun disappearing behind the horizon, Oia is definitely the top sunset spot. During the sunset time people go to great lengths to capture the moment, and sometimes come early to secure a spot in the street or on a wall. Whether you choose for settling by the Castle of Agios Nikolaos (Old Castle), which is the best place to enjoy the sunset or the windmill, you are sure to witness a dreamy moment.
Santorini is the most recognized, active volcanic structure in the South Aegean Sea. Volcano’s former activity gave the island its unique beauty and wild scenery, with approximately 12 large eruptions over the past 200,000 years. The last major eruption occurred in around 1650BC and was one of the largest within the past 10,000 years. There have been a number of smaller occurrences over the years with the most recent explosion occurring in 1950. The outcome of these eruptions is the creation of five islands, Santorini, Therasia, Aspronisi, Nea (New) Kameni, Palia (Old) Kameni and the famous volcanic caldera of Santorini.
Nea Kameni was emerged in 1707 is an attraction for tourists for its healing hot springs. The yellow waters there contain a large amount of sulfur and are characterized for their therapeutic purposes. You can walk upon the solid black lava sides of the steaming volcano and explore the whole area. After a walk of 20 minutes in the lunar scenery, you will discover the volcano’s crater and other openings bursting with sulfur steam. The area also offers an incredible view of the beautiful villages hanging on the cliffs.
Palea Kameni, the oldest volcano, is next to Nea Kameni and also has hot springs, were can take hot mud baths, usually an indication of something brewing beneath the surface.
You can visit the volcano by taking one of the daily available cruises and have the opportunity to walk on it, take a bath in the springs and learn more about the volcano.
Akrotiri Lighthouse is located in the charming village of Akrotiri and is considered one of the best and most beautiful lighthouses in Cyclades. It towers above the Aegean Sea from atop the rocky cliffs of the area, on the most southwestern tip of the island, about 8 km (13 miles) from the capital of Santorini, Fira. It offers stunning views of the island, the ancient ruins of Akrotiri and of the nearby villages.
Considered one of the oldest lighthouses of Greece, the Akrotiri Lighthouse was built by a French trading company in 1892 and ceased operating during World War II. The Greek Navy recommissioned the lighthouse in 1945. It has a square shape tower that emerges above 10 meters from the warden’s house. Before the introduction of electricity in 1988, the Lighthouse was operated by petrol fuel. At present, it emits a radiant white light at intervals of 20 seconds reaching out to the Sea for about 24 nautical miles.
A visit during sunset is probably the most romantic moment to enjoy the lighthouse in all its beauty, and once the sun has gone down, the night can start in one of the many surrounding tavernas and fish taverns that populate the area.
Prophet Elias Monastery
The Holy Monastery of Prophet Elias (Profitis Ilias) is situated between Pyrgos and Kamari villages and stands at 565 meters above the sea level on the highest point of the mountain of Prophet Elias. Built in 1972 by the Hieromonks Gabriel and Joachim Belonias, it is not only a tourist attraction but also an architectural monument.
In the first two centuries of its construction the monastery played a major role in the economic and cultural life of the island. Built in the style of a fortress, the monastery used to owe a ship in the 18th century, which carried out trade business with the rest of the Aegean and the Mediterranean, bringing prosperity to the Monastery.
During Ottoman domination there was an underground school in the monastery, it was teaching people Greek language and literature. The monastery started to decline in the 1860s and suffered much destruction in the strong earthquake that hit Santorini in 1956.
Today the monastery is a museum of religious art. It hosts an important collection of rare ecclesiastical items, hand-written books and Byzantine icons, including the episcopal mitre of Patriarch Gregory V. There are 6 monks living in the monastery who are also produce their own wine.
While visiting the monastery you can also stay at the top of the mountain to get excellent and breathtaking views of Santorini and other islands.
After the eruption of the vulcano Santorini two major islands were left: Thira (known as Santorini) and the much smaller island opposite it, which is called Therasia.
Therasia is a traditional small island, with approximately 300 inhabitants and little development. Visitors have a strong sense of stepping back in time, the daily pace is slower, and donkeys are still play an active part in village life.
There are two village communities on the island. Manolas, the larger one, is built on the highest point of the caldera, and offers accommodation, restaurants and the most facilities. The village is linked, through a series of cobbled steps, to a small harbor below, Korfos, where the only tourist shops on the island are to be found. The other community is Potamos, where many of the homes are carved into the rock.
Near Potamos is Agrilia, an almost deserted farming village. Over this landscape stands the Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary (built in 1887), which is considered one of the most beautiful in the Cyclades.
A unique hiking experience is the path leading from Manolas to the chapel of Profitis Ilias, and then on to Kera (a deserted village carved into the rock that overlooks the sea). Continuing south to the Cape of Trypiti you’ll find the Monastery of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.
On the west side of the island you can find wonderful beaches, with crystal-clear waters and volcanic pebbles and sand. The most popular ones are the black beach of Agia Irini in Riva port, a long beach with black sand and pebbles and deep waters and the small beach next to Korfos port that lies under the impressive red and black caldera cliffs.
Therasia holds 21 lovely churches and chapels of various colors. In addition, it is an ideal place for trekking as there are plenty natural paths with rich vegetation and idyllic images in pacific surroundings. You can wander in picturesque cobbled streets and admire houses of Cycladic architecture, windmills and staggering geological formations.
If you need to get away from the crowds found in Oia or Fira to watch the Santorini sunset, Therasia is the place to be.
Santorini Cable Car
Enjoy panoramic views of the Santorini caldera and take some amazing photos from a high altitude as you ride Santorini Cable Car. It connects the town of Fira with the old port or Gialos (Fira Cove), where cruise ships anchor and their passengers use it to visit Fira and return.
It was donated to the island by the “Loula & Evangelos Nomikos Foundation” in 1979, and started operating in 1982. The shipowner Evangelos Nomikos, who established the foundation, did not only construct this very important manufacture, but also handed over all rights of use and revenues generated arising from its use to the Municipality of Thera and to the communities of the island.
The Cable Car can carry 1,200 passengers per hour, it is built at an altitude of 220 from Sea level, and the ride lasts 3 minutes.