Santorini
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Santorini


Santorini is not an island, Santorini is a small, manageable group of islands in the south of the Cyclades, which are among the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. Santorini and Mykonos, further north, are the top travel destinations in the Cyclades. When people talk about Santorini, they generally mean Thira, an island rising steeply on the edge of a caldera. The island's main tourist attractions are the "capital" Fira, which is located high above the caldera, and the small town of Oia, twelve kilometers away.

Santorini - island capital Fira


Santorini - island capital Fira


Santorini - Oia with the port of Armeni


Santorini - Oia with the port of Armeni 


Santorini – an archipelago formed by volcanism

The Santorini archipelago was formed after volcanic eruptions that hit the Aegean Sea an estimated 1,6 million years ago. The eruptions originally created an island with an assumed diameter of 16 kilometers. The archipelago received its present form less than 4.000 years ago. At that time, renewed volcanic activity caused major parts of the island to collapse.

This disaster created a caldera that was more than 80 square kilometers in size and up to 700 meters deep. The main island Thira and the much smaller islands Thirasia and Aspronisi surround the volcanic crater. In the center of the water surface lie the collapsed volcano and the two islets Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni. The remote island of Christiana and the underwater volcano Columbos also belong to the archipelago. Because of its beauty, Santorin's caldera is one of the most famous volcanic craters in the world.

Santorini - Caldera with the island of Nea Kameni

Santorini - Caldera with the island of Nea Kameni


Santorini in numbers

The total area of ​​the islands in the archipelago is just over 92 square kilometers. The main island of Thira accounts for 76 square kilometers of the land mass. The capital and largest town on the island is Fira. 1.600 people live there permanently. The town of Oia in the north of the island has 1.200 inhabitants, including all the incorporated towns. The northern tip (Cape Mavrópetra) near Oia and Cape Exomýtis near Agios Georgios in the south are 24 kilometers apart. The highest point on the island, the Profitis Ilias massif south of the town of Pyrgos, measures 567 meters.

In the west of the island, the world-famous, phenomenal cliffs rise from the caldera. Above the coast, at around 250 and 150 metres above sea level, lie the communities of Fira and Oia. The houses in both places were built in terraces, one on top of the other, to save space.

Santorini - built on the slope - island capital Fira

Santorini - built on the slope - island capital Fira


Around 80 percent of the island's area is used for agriculture. Mainly wine is grown. Wine has been a major export item on the island for the past three centuries. The wine trade spurred the growth of the Santorini merchant fleet. At the beginning of the 19th century, Santorini's shipowners owned the third largest fleet in Greece.

Santorini - Winery near Megalochori

Santorini - Winery near Megalochori


Santorini - marked by overtourism

The fact is that the number of visitors varies depending on the source. There is a lack of accurate information. We assume that the figures fluctuate around a minimum of two million per year. That is more than enough. Locals and tourism experts view this number with mixed feelings. Guests come for their own enjoyment, to see and experience the unique island. They all contribute to overtourism.

And yet, from an economic point of view, Santorini is dependent on tourism. In addition to overnight guests, day tourists visit the island on ferries and cruise ships. Santorini's international airport handles charter flights to and from many European destinations. Beach vacationers reside in the southeast of the island in the towns of Perissa and Kamari. The communities of Fira and Oia are crowd pullers because of their spectacular location, their winding streets and the wide range of shopping opportunities. Well-developed roads, a proven public bus network, taxis and many rental cars, quads and motorbikes provide vacationers with mobility.

Santorini - bus station in Fira

Santorini - bus station in Fira


Santorini - the destination of cruise ships

Guests arriving by cruise ship are to be envied. The ships are moored in the caldera in front of Fira, and the place presents itself to passengers as if it were a picture book during their stay. Santorini is said to have recorded around 2023 cruise ship calls in 800. The number of passengers exceeded the million mark. In the past, it happened that on individual days up to 12.000 guests from the cruise ships crowded onto the island, which inevitably led to waiting times and bottlenecks on land. The number of cruise passengers has now been limited to a maximum of 8.000 per day.

Santorini - cruise ships in front of Nea Kameni

Santorini - cruise ships in front of Nea Kameni


We report about the sights of the island and a recommended daily program for the guests of the cruise ships at Santorini - attractions and One day in Santorini.

Tip

More information about Santorini can be found on our website "Greek islands - Santorini" and "Santorini island" and up "Iceland Santorini".

June 2024

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