When you are visiting Southern Greece it is a great idea to check out the possibility for a one day boat trip to the wonderful island of Santorini (Thira) is the Cyclades archipelago. Such trips are available from all the major harbors on mainland South Greece as well from the big harbors of the island of Crete, from the Dodecanese islands and from the rest of the Cycladic islands as well.
Santorini, or Thira as the locals call the island, is a small volcanic island in the centre of the Cyclades group. It was a cradle of civilization from many thousands of years due to the fertile volcanic dust that covers the land. The volcano, almost, was and the source of several major destructions that the island faced in its long history. One of the biggest eruptions of it led not only to the destruction of the most ancient civilization there, but also on the distant Crete, which was hit by a massive tidal wave.
In the Middle Ages Santorini often changed hands to Byzantines, Venetians and Turks. In more recent times in the 60s’ it was almost abandoned due to lack of fresh water, and from this times in every house there is a tank for keeping the water, delivered from the rains in the winter. Nowadays it is a world known summer resort with many boutique hotels and wonderful views.
The trip itself consists of a nice boat trip on a speed ferry, several excursions at points of interest in the island and even speedier return with wonderful emotions and tons of perfect pictures.
After leaving the speed ferry, the visitor of Santorini is taken by bus to the first stop of the trip – the village of Oia. The road goes trough rocky shores and beautiful plains and leads to this picturesque village. The village is situated on the top of a cape cliff closing a small bay and offers tremendous view to the sea. Al l the houses and churches of the village are painted in white and blue and are also an unforgettable site to see. The stop at Oia is approximately 1 hour in which you are able to see the small narrow streets of the old village, to visit the fortress and the cathedral, and to hit the shops for a while.
Your next stop is some kilometers from the capital of the island – the town of Fira. The road trough there is quite straight forward and passes close to places like the caves of the oldest inhabitants of Santorini, some historic windmills and the international airport. When you leave the bus you are taken by the guide on the “long way” to the heart of the city – a narrow pathway on the edge of the shore cliffs. From this way you have panoramic view of the whole bay and town of Fira and the cliffs surrounding it. The pathway leads to the historic centre of Fira with its mix of Catholic and Orthodox architecture, the modern lift and the donkeys that sill cycle the huge staircase, both leading to the old harbor of the island.
After reaching the center of the city of Fira, the visitor has several choices – to take a free walk in the city, to continue with the bus to a beach tavern on the dark chores of Santorini or to take a trip to the volcano situated in the centre of the Santorini bay. After this it is time to go back to the speed ferry and return to the place that you are staying in Greece with wonderful feelings, full of unforgettable memories and pictures, of course.