Awe is possibly the best characterization for the way the imposing rocky landscape makes you feel as you approach Athinios bay. Once you get to the port of Santorini, Fira is only a short drive away. This city was 854 feet above sea level and it’s the perfect starting point for your exploration of the island. The essence of Fira is the promenade with the breath-taking view overlooking the volcano. Fira is the wealthy capital that has everything and then some; accommodation, restaurants, tavernas, bars and clubs. In the glamorous Gold Street (or Ypapanti Street) you will also find renowned jewelers for luxurious shopping. If you are fascinated by the historical past of the island, pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum, where you will have the chance to see significant finds dating from the Archaic to the Roman eras, and the Museum of Prehistoric Thira.
At a mere 7,5 miles north of Fira, the town of Oia awaits you. The marble-lined Oia, decorated with arches, countless domes and the legendary Captains’ Houses, welcomes you every time as if it were the first. The “ritual” is always, more or less, the same; just before the big show, you are fighting for a place on the terraces of Agios Nikolaos’ old watchtower (called goulas) with hundreds of visitors ... The sun dives in the Aegean, infinite photographic clicks capture the most famous sunset of the world and just as the colors start to fade, the fiesta begins. The enchanted crowd pours into the cobbled streets and into the dreamy bars that almost literally hang on the edge of the cliff and you, somewhere among them, leisurely sip your cocktail, gazing at the volcano. A few minutes away, you can choose to explore the colorful Finikia village.
The boat takes you down to the black land of Nea Kameni. You climb the path leading to the largest crater of the active volcano of Santorini. By now, you can smell the sulfur, you notice the red and black rocky layers below your feet and you feel that the history of the island is playing before your eyes like a film… It was around 1613-1614 BC when the colossal Minoan Eruption caused most of the ancient Santorini (then called Strogili) to sink. The prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri was buried under tons of lava, the islands within a 37 miles radius were completely destroyed and a huge tsunami swept away everything in its path, reaching as far as the coasts of Crete. At that time, the famous sea basin (Caldera) was formed, with a diameter of 6.2 miles, while Aspronisi, Thirasia, Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni were the souvenirs left behind by lava throughout the centuries.
Your next stop would be Imerovigli. In the past, the highest point of the volcanic ‘basin’ was used as an observatory for the detection of pirate ships. Today, it constitutes an official traditional settlement and one of the most romantic locations in Santorini to admire the view of Thirasia and the Kameni islands. If you choose to descend the path to the conical rock of Skaros, the view of the Caldera will reveal itself in all its glory right before your eyes, from the ruins of the old, inaccessible Venetian castle.
Just under Oia, a historical harbor hidden among the red volcanic rocks determines the picturesque beauty. Apart from the looks, it is mainly known for the Vinsanto wine export during the 19th and 20th centuries as well as for the excellent fish taverns. You are bound to choose this nice bay if you look for fresh fish, swimming in deep waters or if you want to board on the boats departing for Thirassia and Nea Kameni
Just follow the Caldera ‘brow’ and you will reach ‘the ring of Fira’ or Firostefani, the natural extension of the town. Whitewashed houses, alleys, and of course, the endless view of Caldera form a genuine maritime setting here as well. The famous blue dome of Panagia in Saint Theodoroi, typical picture of the area, stars in thousands of photos and Santorini-related postcards.
Built at the foothill of Mount Prophet Ilias, Emporeio was the center of commercial activity in the island since the Venetian occupation. The largest village in Santorini forms the perfect spot for getting your supplies before heading to the beaches as it’s full of stores. Here you will also see the best preserved medieval Castle in Santorini, a token of great fortified architecture with arcades, vaults and buildings with curved shaped made of volcanic ashes.
Popular among the elite in Santorini, Perivolos is situated in the southeastern part of the island (between Agios Georgios and Perissa) with deep clear waters and volcanic black sand. The organized beach of Perivolos is packed with beach bars and frequented by young people, celebrities, and families alike.
A favorite Scandinavian destination, only 6 miles away from Fira. In the shadow of Mesa Vouno and ancient Thira an extensive, cosmopolitan sandy beach stretches with comfortable sun loungers, beach bars, hotels, rooms to let, cafes and restaurants.
Within 2 km from Fira, a stretch of black sand, pebbles and rocky hills offers a unique relaxation experience set in extraordinary scenery. The beach bar-restaurant Yalos is a one-way choice for those who seek to relax (χαλάρωση), high end service and quality.
The most famous beach in Santorini has been awarded a Blue Flag for the purity of its waters. The black volcanic sand and the Mesa Vouno mountain in the background compose a magical, mystified image. Perissa offers a variety of water sports options, including a water park, diving center, beach bars, taverns and hotels.