When In Santorini: The What, How & Where Of Things To Do & Places To Visit On The Greek Islandby | August 13, 2019
Turquoise waters, an unending blue sky, and mesmerising beaches are just the opening chapter of the book that is Santorini. Located in the vast blue waters of the Aegean sea, this volcanic island in Greece has more to offer than one could possibly imagine. Like a good drink? The local wineries and bars are a delight, to say the least. Wish to take in the sights? The cobbled streets and the scenic views are straight out of a painting. But what is it that makes this Greek island so special? Read on to find out.
History of Santorini
As history suggests, Santorini was known as Strongili, which stands for round in Greek. The beautiful island is said to have suffered a volcanic eruption in 16th century BC, which was how a number of its now-mesmerising beaches came to be. Today, a number of ruins and settlements from the bygone era tell a story of the ancient civilisation that once thrived here.
Places To Visit In Santorini
In summary, there is something for everyone when it comes to exploring Santorini, the precise details of which we have curated to give you an unforgettable experience on your next visit to the island in the Cyclades. So, before you rush to book those flight tickets, here’s the complete lowdown of places to visit in Santorini; your very own itinerary! Read on.
Indulge In The Settlements Of Pyrgos
Visiting Greece? We have said it before and we will say it again—a visit to Pyrgos Kallistis, famously known as Pyrgos, should definitely be on the cards. The medieval settlement, one that is impeccably preserved, lies about seven kilometres away from Fira, its white settlements a well-known site. Declared a protected settlement in 1995, you can count on the hamlet to offer you panoramic views that captivate. Architecture and design enthusiasts may delve in the traditional houses and churches in the village, whilst if up to it, one could also walk around the village, taking in the culture and the sights that await. Needless to say, Santorini’s highest point, one that happens to lie at the foot of Mt. Profitís Ilías, sums up as unmissable.
Explore The Ruins Of Ancient Thera
Named after erstwhile king Theras, the uninhabited ruins of the ancient city of Thera are a reminder of the civilisation that once thrived there. Located on top of Mesa Vouno Mountain, it provides a picture-perfect panoramic view of what lies below, giving the viewer an opportunity to indulge in the sights. From a historical perspective, the location would have been faultless for a number of people to form a settlement. A series of excavations undertaken by a German baron in 1896 uncovered settlements dating back to the Hellenistic Period. Constructed from limestone and stones, there were baths, cemeteries, churches, pagan temples, markets, and a number of public monuments, evidence of the style of life back in the time. On visiting Ancient Thera, one can explore the site and further discover artefacts of historical relevance from the time at the Archaeological Museum of Fira and the Museum of Prehistoric Thira.
Enjoy The Views At Skaros
Once considered one of the chief locations out of the city’s five famed fortresses, Skaros, also known as Skaros Rock or Castle Skaros, is an important remnant of the past civilisation, estimated to be destroyed in a volcanic eruption dating back to 68,000 B.C. Overlooking the azure seas, Skaros offers you perfect views of the sunset, should you choose to visit. A number of stairs take you up the rocky terrain, from where you may enjoy the scenic surroundings. Once done exploring the ruins, you can visit the Chapel of Panagia Theoskepasti, a Byzantine church, which happens to be the part of an area on the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, declared in 1980.
Delve In The History At Akrotiri
Associated with the Minoan civilisation, the site of Akrotiri was discovered during an excavation in 1967. Believed to be a fishing and agriculture-centric village in 5th century BC, it was destroyed during a volcanic eruption in 16th century BC, the volcanic ash preserving the majority of its frescos. Today, a visit to the site will give you an insight into the history and erstwhile way of life. Walkways allow visitors to observe the ruins, with several artefacts also preserved in the Akrotiri of Thera Room in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. It's similarities to the city of Pompeii impart the name 'Green Pompeii' to it.
Things To Do In Santorini
Santorini may have a lot of places of historical relevance that you could visit, but equally enjoyable are the activities that this beautiful Greek island has to offer. With an array of activities for adventure-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike, there are a number of things to do in Santorini, and here's all you need to know about the ones you should add to your wishlist.
Hike Through Fira To Oia
Best to skip reading this part if you are not a fan of walking for long durations, but if you are, a hike from Fira to Oia is unmissable. The scenic trail with picture-perfect views to offer is made up of a cobbled path, so best to put on your walking shoes if you have made up your mind. Taking an average of 3 hours, the hike allows you to relax and look at the views, click pictures for that Instagram grid, and revel in the solitude.
Stroll At Kamari Beach
The volcanic eruptions which have formed this mesmerising Greek island are also responsible for the formation of a number of beaches, and the one which you shouldn’t be missing out on is the Kamari beach. Comprising a stretch of black sand, gravel, and complete with an array of lounge chairs, views of the azure sea will leave you spellbound. Not to forget the plethora of beachside shops, bars, and restaurants where you may indulge in delightful cocktails, take a stroll or simply unwind with a book.
Go Cliff Diving In Amoudi Bay
If diving and water-based activities are what you have in mind, might we suggest a visit to Amoudi Bay? Descend from the tranquil, picturesque town of Oia to the bay, where you can spend an afternoon swimming, lounging and, of course, cliff diving, a popular activity. White buildings stand out on the red cliffs, making for a beautiful view to enjoy. Complete your visit with an apt sundowner, unwinding in the sights of unforgettable sunsets that Amoudi Bay offers.
Book A Sailing Cruise
Could there be anything better than spending six hours sailing on the high seas, discovering all there is to know about the history of Santorini while indulging in some local cocktails and enjoying the sights? We think not. With stops at the Red beach, the historical Minoan ruins, an exploration of the hamlet of Megalochori and more, there are many guided tours that you can find and book well in advance. Add to that your own researched customisations, a diverse menu of cocktails and a visit to the local winery, and you wouldn’t want to come back!
Top Restaurants & Bars In Santorini
A visit to Santorini would be incomplete without checking out the popular joints on the Greek island, many of which are unique in their own right. From vegetarian-serving options for your ease to ones that make a mean cocktail, here are the top restaurants and bars in Santorini that you should bookmark right away.
Comfort cuisine, complete with the delectable Mediterranean and Greek palettes is what you will find on your visit to Flora, a restaurant in Oia where you can enjoy the mesmerising views of the beach while tucking into some delicious food and wine. And, in case you were wondering, it has an array of vegetarian options too!
If enjoying the nightlife on the Greek island is what you crave for on your trip, we have just the perfect place for you. Visit the Koo Club, one of the most vivacious clubs you will find in the commercial circles of Fira in Santorini. Put on your dancing shoes and dance the night away, but before you do, don't forget to ask the bartender to whip you a classic signature cocktail of his choice. Wish to try something more local? Sip on ouzo, the heady anise-flavoured drink consumed all through Greece.
PK Cocktail Bar
Another fun place that should be on your must-visit list is the PK Cocktail Bar, a family-run joint that has been around for 43 long years. With scenic views of Santorini for you to enjoy while sipping on expertly-made cocktails by the team, there is hardly anything more you will want to indulge in. The ambience of the place is welcoming, with the expert-run place ready to answer all your queries about the food, places, and culture of Greece.
Looking for a place where you can hold a conversation without being overwhelmed by the music? Head to the Tropical Bar in Fira, a quiet haunt with magnificent, panoramic views for you to behold. Enjoy a sundowner with your friends, sipping on the local ouzo or delectable cocktails that you can pick from their extensive menu, or ask the bartender for their recommendations.
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