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island tour

Santorini is perhaps the most famous Greek island. It belongs to the group of Cyclades islands, located towards the south. The steep coastline of the west is countered by the vast beaches of the east side, some of them sandy and others with pebbles.

From the landing-place, Skala, we can climb up to Fira, the capital, on foot or on donkey-back. There is a funicular railway for those who wish to avoid the hundreds of steps.

Fira is very attractive, with winding narrow streets, arcades and a quarter where the Catholic nobility once dwelt. There is a most important Museum, with prehistoric finds (mostly pottery), a large collection of vases dating from the 7th and 6th centuries BC (including the pieces known as 'Thera ware'), a few Archaic and Classical pieces, and some Hellenistic and Roman sculptures and portraits.

There is a superb view out from Fira to the Kamenes, the two islets of black stone created by the volcano. The islets can be visited by launch.

Ancient Thira is a site of great archaeological interest which was occupied by Phoenicians, Dorians, Romans and Byzantines. Down the centre of the city runs the Sacred Way. The buildings include groups of houses, market-places, baths, theaters, sanctuaries, the residence of Ptolemy Euergetes, tombs of the Archaic and classical periods and Early Christians remains. On the surrounding rocks the names of the god Apollo and of men and boys are inscribed in the ancient alphabet of Thira.
The site of Akrotiri has yielded the remains of Minoan city destroyed around 1500 BC by an eruption of the volcano on Thira. In effect, this is a prehistoric version of Pompeii buried beneath volcanic ash, with two and three-storeyed houses, with squares, shops, workshops and so on. Among the finds from the houses were marvelous murals (on display in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens), vases and everyday utensils. On the highest peak of Santorini is a monastery of the Prophet Elijah (Profitis Ilias), where there is a picturesque religious feast on 20 July each year.

Most tourists gather nowdays at the four calderas of Fira , Firostefani , Imerovigli and Ia , as well as the beaches of Kamari and Perissa with the gray-black pebbles. There are many hotels and studios in these areas, as well as luxury hotels, however, it is still hard to find a place to stay even in early May, since thousands of tourists gather each year to admire the unique beauty of the island.

island tour get there museums history beaches map products info shopping