The Phoenicians called it kallisti, i.e. “the most beautiful”. There must be a reason, right? In reality, the reasons are different. But all still valid today. Yes why Santorinior Thira if you prefer, it’s not just one of most beautiful islands of the Greeceand therefore of the world but also one in which nature, geology in particular, has demonstrated its dramatic force. However, creating a picture so romantic and suggestive that it cannot leave anyone indifferent. And so the list of things to see in santorini in Cyclades ranges from his turquoise sea to the unique white of its houses, from the poignant panoramas of the caldera sinking to the archaeological discoveries that peek out from under the earth.
From which, yet another gift, it also comes out the vine and the wine. And over everything hovers the fascination of myth while tourists from all over the world arrive by plane, ferry and cruise ship. Because everyone wants to pay tribute to the most beautiful.
Things to see in Santorini: the eruption and Atlantis
Santorini has been inhabited since ancient times and there are traces of human settlements dating back to 3600 BC. and was also known as Stong themwhich means round. Now the island is far from round and this is due to the devastating eruption of the volcano that is under the island and which actually made it collapse. The eruption is placed in 1500 BC and was so powerful that many consider it the main cause of the destruction of the great Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, which is 70 nautical miles away, following a terrible tsunami.
After the explosion, the center of Santorini sank, and the numerous earthquakes that followed destroyed much of the rest of the island. In some ancient myths, the destruction of the island is closely related to the legend of Atlantis that it would have been precisely not a fabulous land but Santorini itself.
We were talking about the things to see in Santorini: know that there are many. But for the majority of tourists this catalog of marvels is condensed into the spectacle of their own sunsets unique to enjoy from above caldera. It is indeed a unique spectacle with the rocks that fall overhanging the sea. While the expanse of white houses it appears as perennially suspended, entangled in the abyss it attracts. Probably nowhere else on earth is there such an impressive scenery which was created by the almighty force of the volcano combined with man’s poetic will to live and move forward. These two aspects coming together created beauty.
The capital Fira
In first place among the things to see in Santorini is its capital which is called Fira and is located on the western side of the island. It is perched on the edge of the imposing cliff which overlooks the volcano panoramically, 10 km from main port, Athinios. Fira has only 1,600 inhabitants but is actually one of the most visited destinations in the Greece and of the world. We have said the reason: it is suspended on the edge of an imposing cliff, at a height of 260 meters which offers a splendid panoramic view of the submerged volcano.
In 1956, the island of Santorini was hit by an earthquake which destroyed a large part of the island. Fortunately, however, some eighteenth-century buildings were saved and today Fira is a jewel in the classic style of the Cycladeswith an expanse of white houses with blue windows and doors, separated from each other by small paved streets. Many of its beautiful buildings remain from the days of Venetian rule, including a few blue-domed churches that rest on small sun- and wind-slapped terraces. Stop for a while to enjoy the incredible view of the volcano and the sunset. And you won’t forget it.
Queen of tourism
In high season – and here the high season lasts almost all year round – Fira is though a busy city. Maybe even too much. The streets are crowded with tourists and full of shops, jewelers, restaurants, cafes, bars and night clubs, and the choice of hotels and rooms to rent is very large. But not enough since it is often sold out. Many of the nicer hotels have it overhanging pools and terraces and rooms carved into the rock. The view is splendid, the emotion guaranteed, the charm guaranteed.
But all this comes at a cost: the prices are very high, calibrated on the purchasing power of tourists arriving from far away. Despite all this do not misunderstand. It is a unique place that must be seen at least once in a lifetime. And there are too quieter areas and rooms with affordable prices. And everyone will find the right place to relax and enjoy a beautiful view of the island and the blue sea.Aegean.
Things to see in Santorini: museums and panoramas
For those who are looking to learn more about the culture of the island and find out what things to see in Santorini there is also a archaeological Museum which houses many objects from different excavations conducted in the ancient Minoan settlement of Akrotiri and several very beautiful churches such as Agios Minasthe Ipapanti cathedral and the monastery of Panagia ton Dominikanidon.
A pleasant walk on the narrow streets at the top of the caldera brings you to the village of Firostefani, just north of Fira. And that has nothing to envy to the more famous neighbor. Here too the views are unique and the sunset remains the number one attraction. Here, too, there are many clubs and hotels – perhaps slightly less expensive – and lots of shops concentrated in the main shopping street that crosses the village.
Then one can only mention Oia – which is pronounced i – the most famous among the settlements of the island, 11 km from Fira. With the capital it shares the position, overhanging the cliff, and the view of the volcano and the island of Thirassia. Here everyone comes to see the sunset and when the sun goes down, bars, terraces and streets are overrun with people. When the sun dives inAegean general applause ensues. Oia has a romantic atmosphere with its colorful houses, the usual blue-domed churches and labyrinth-like alleys. There are also some windmillsa Maritime and Port Museum of Ammoudi a series of pleasant fish taverns to visit to see the sea up close and taste its flavour.
After so many sunsets and sea baths on the beaches of Santorini a bit of history. To experience it you need to go and visit the Akrotiri archaeological siteone of the most important of the Aegean, on the southwest side of the island, not far from the famous red beach. Akrotiri was a thriving Minoan settlement but was destroyed by the usual volcanic eruption. Some of the most beautiful finds can be found today preserved in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens but the visit to the site is also beautiful because there are still interesting remains to visit such as those of the Venetian castle overlooking the settlement of Akrotiri.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Santorini, head to the village of Megalohori, one of the most traditional on the island, located on the southwest side of the island. Perched on a hillside, the village still has a fairly authentic feel to it whitewashed houses and narrow alleys. Here, you will have the opportunity to discover the rich winemaking tradition of the island: the cellars Boutaris and Gavalas are located on the outskirts of the village. For lunch instead go to the main square and then follow the road that comes out of it: there are a couple of excellent tavernas.
Things to see in Santorini: the highest monastery
Finally, before returning to the sea, let’s take a break at the Monastery of the Prophet Elijah, one of the oldest on the island which dominates the highest point of the island. The monastery has played an important role in the economic and cultural life of Santorini and houses an interesting museum dedicated to the folklore and to the ecclesiastical tradition of the island. The monastery also has craft workshops and the monks make their own wine. Here, you will be able to admire breathtaking views of the entire island and finally understand that it is true. If they called her the most beautiful, there are reasons.
How to get to Santorini
From the airport Athens there are several daily flights to Santorini and the flight lasts 45 minutes. There are then direct flights from various Italian airports and charter flights in high season. The airport is about 3km from Fira and there is a bus service (usually every hour) as well as taxis outside the airport. From the Piraeus ferries depart daily to Santorini as well as from Refine and from Crete who follow the route of Cyclades with a stopover in other islands such as Ios, Naxos, Paros, Milos And Mykonos.