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Greek islands hopping

Greek island hopping

Santorini

Santorini one of the most Photographed islands of Greece, the mixture of the blue and white and the fantastic sunsets made the island one of the most visited in the Cyclades archipelago. The island of Santorini is probably the most intriguing island of Greece. Simply its name is more than enough to unfold in mind stunning sunsets and scenery, white, red and black sand beaches, impresive traditional houses, balconies with vew to the Volcano and and lively night life. All the above, allong with the remains of the antiquity and the myth of the Lost Atlantis justify the words which the tourists determine this wonderful island.
The active volcano of Santorini erupted in the 50's and ruined many towns of the island. Santorini is also called Thira and its capital is the town of Fira. It is a very touristy island and therefore rather expensive. Today, Santorini is the only inhabited Caldera (volcano cauldron) in the world.

Places to see in Santorini : 

Fira the capital of Santorini is built on the edge of the caldera at the west side of the island, at an altitude of 250 meters and was founded in the late 18th century. Oia where you get the best sunsets, and both Oia and Fira are excellent towns for just strolling around and shopping. The main street of Oia bursts of tourists, especially when cruise ships are arrived, strolling around the numerous tourist and souvenir shops. Imerovigli It is located about 2 miles north of Fira and south of Oia. The village of Imerovigli is buid on the top of the Caldera at 300 metres over the sea level. It has a few hundred inhabitants and is a national heritage village with many chapels and churches. 

  • Akrotiri is an ancient town that was buried when the volcano erupted 3500 years ago. Archaeologists are still excavating it, but you can walk around in the little street quarters and see the buildings almost like they were back then.
  • In Pyrgos a few kilometres from the capital you can see the medieval fortress Kasteli and admire a 10th century church and a monastery both with beautiful Byzantine icons and relics.
  • The village of Messaria is also located close to Fira (about 3,5 km) and is surrounded by vineyards, you should visit the two small churches that are built in caves.
  • Perissa Located approximately 14km away from Fira town, Perissa is easily reached in around 10-15 minutes by bus or road. Buses leave regularly from Fira market square and stop at pickup points all along the beach road of Perissa. The beach of Perissa is the longest in Santorini: a very impressive length of 7km that stretches to the next beach of Perivolos.
  • Kamari in addition to the well organised beach you can visit a church of the 11th century with significant Byzantine frescos and sculptures from an earlier church. From Kamari, a winding switchback road takes you up to to the ancient settlement of Thira on Mesa Vouno mountain. 
  • Emporio the traditional old market village of the island located 12 km away from Fira. The village impresses with its unique layout and its very narrow streets.
  • Don't miss to visit Finikia a small traditional village with beautiful churches in the vicinity of Oia and the beach Baxedes . The villages of Mesochori and Karterados are worth visiting as well as the village of Vourvoulos,  which is located in the northeast of the island 2.5 km from Fira.
  • Ancient Thira: is situated on top of high cliff just above Kamari, and there is also and old church there from 1100 . This was the Roman head quarters. Right at the top of the southeast peak of the highest mountain of Santorini in Profitis Helias is the ancient settlement of Thira. 

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What to Do in Santorini

  • In Kamari and Karteradso there are tennis courts.
  • In Perissa there is mini golf, water park, go cart and roller-skating.
  • In Fira and Kamari there are fields for volleyball and basketball.
  • There are also many places to go biking.
  • Many people enjoy the two hour walk from Imerovigli to Fira- it is a very beautiful experience, but make sure you have water with you, though today the two towns with Firostefani in the middle are almost connected up.
  • There are also opportunities to go horse riding.
  • Most of the nightlife is in Kamari, Perissa and Fira.
  • Do not forget the famous wineries of the island where you can visit and taste the local Santorini wine. If you are driving you will spot in many areas signs with the indication "wine roads". 
  • Nightlife Santorini has a varied nightlife, and most bars and discos are in Fira, Kamari and Perissa.
  • Food and restaurants: You can get almost everything on Santorini - from traditional Greeks food to international gourmet dinners.

 

Beaches

Being a volcanic island, the beaches are not of the ubiquitous golden sand variety that you can expect to find on many Greek islands. The south-eastern side of the island gives the bestsantorini beachbeaches of wide black lava sand. Other beaches around the island consist of black sand strewn with pumice stones and black pebbles. Because the beaches of Santorini consist of black volcanic matter, the heat of the sun is absorbed rather than reflected. 

Weather 

The weather in Santorini like in most of the Aegean islands consists of beautiful and dry Summers with temperatures reaching sometimes 35- 37 degrees but the Meletemia (north summer winds) decrease the high summer temperatures. 

Shopping 

Santorini is a bit of a cosmopolitan island, just the number of luxury yachts that stop here is very high for such a small island, so it is quite expensive.

Where to stay in Santorini. 

The island offers a plethora of accommodations in almost every tourist resort. Hotels, luxury apartments and villas, rooms, campsites and studios.

A family friendly value for money hotel is Daedalus. Astarte suites offer views over the caldera and the Aegean Sea. 

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Getting Around 

Santorini is quite a small island, and it is easy to get around. There are local buses to take you to most places, but of course you can also rent a car or a bike. There are also taxis on the island. The harbour of Athinios where the ferryboats stop is connected to Fira and the rest of the island by a well made serpentine road. Driving up or down this road can be quite an experience for anyone afraid of heights. The old port of Fira under the town is used only for passengers from the cruise ships. You can also walk up or down that road (almost 900steps) or take a donkey ride all the way.

Getting There 

Santorini has its own airport for domestic and international flights to Santorni . There are ferries to Santorini from Athens Piraeus 2-3 times a day, from Rafina four times a week, Ios-Naxos-Paros 2-3 times a day, Syros twice a week, Milos twice a week, Sikinos - Folegandros 4 times a week, Mykonos-Delos daily, Rhodes twice a week, Crete daily. The island is also connected by air with Rhodes and Heraclion of Crete during the summer season.
By plane:From Athens Airport to Santorini (the local airport is 8 km from Fira).

In general, Santorini is a great place to start if you want to go island hopping, since it is connected to most of Cycladic islands.

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