Santorini Island Things to Do Tips by aukahkay
Santorini Island Things to Do: 589 reviews and 1,397 photos
After a swim at Palea Kameni
If you take a tour of the volcano, the ship will bring you to the smaller volcanic islet, Palea Kameni where you will be given an opportunity to immerse yourself in the hot spring waters. As the waters are shallow, the boat will moor about 50 meters off the coast. You will then jump into the sea and swim to the shore where you will find that the water is noticeably warmer. Coat yourself with some volcanic mud - it is supposed to be good for the skin! Your swimming gear will be stained yellowish orange so wear old swimming gear if you don't want it to be stained.
The islet of Nea Kameni is a historical site of exceptional natural beauty. The Nea and Palea Kameni islets in the caldera have also been nominated for a place on the World Heritage list of geological monuments.
The unique nature and significance of the area lies in the fact that it is the youngest volcanic landform in the eastern Mediterranean. It is an active volcanic center, its oldest rock formations dating back 430 years and most recent a mere 50 years. Nea Kameni last erupted in 1950. The only witnesses to the existence of the magma at a depth of a few km under the island are the hot springs that gush out at various parts of the shores and the hot sulphuric gases emitted from the central craters on the peak of Nea Kameni.
Address: Nea Kameni island off Santorini
Directions: You need to take an excursion of the volcano. It will include both volcanic islets of Nea and Palea Kameni by boat. There are regular departures everyday and can be booked from any travel agent in Fira.
Sunset over Fira
Most guidebooks will sing praises of the glorious sunset over Oia. Tourists will flock to Oia in the late afternoon and crowd the narrow lanes and alleys in Oia. The sunset over Fira is just as spectacular. Take in the sunset from a terrace cafe overlooking the caldera.
Address: Fira town
Directions: Fira town
Manola town, Thirassia
Thirassia is an island off Santorini which is part of the sunken volcanic rim. It is accessible by boat. If you take the volcano tour, it will include a lunch stop at Thirassia and an opportunity for you to take a donkey up to the traditional village of Manolas where the residents live a laid back life minus the commercialisation seen in Fira and Oia. The donkey ride costs 4 Euros one way. Take the donkey up and walk down. Do give yourself 20 minutes to walk down from the top of the zigzag stairs to the port.
Directions: Take a volcano tour. It will include a lunch stop at Thirassia.
Picture perfect Oia
Oia is the other town besides Fira catering to tourists. The hallmark blue-domed cathedral and bell tower that you see in postcards can be viewed from certain angles at Oia. You will have to look for the right perspective though. If you come during off-peak season in October which I did, you do not have to jostle with the crowds to get the best spots to view the sunset and to take photos.
Directions: Oia town
Have a Greek coffee overlooking the caldera
Fira is the main town of Santorini where most tourists will stay. It is a labyrinth of traditional Greek houses, hotels, boutiques, shops, cafes, tavernas and restaurants. There are many restaurants with balcony seating facing the caldera. However, these restaurants are not necessarily the best in terms of quality and you pay top euros for the scene. A better option will be to sit down in a cafe over a cup of Greek coffee. For just 3 euros, you get to enjoy a million-dollar view from a terrace cafe.
Address: Fira town
Directions: From the main square of Fira, walk towards the Atlantis Hotel. From there, just walk down any of the cafes or even take a walk down the footpath towards the donkey station.
Sunet at Oia
The most photographed and romantic sunset is probably from the town of Oia on the northern end of Santorini. I was there in late October so the sunset was around 6.30 pm. The best vantage views are from the Oia Castle or the windmill. As there will probably be hoards of tourists, especially in summer, go early and grab a good seat in one of the cafes facing the caldera. Order a Greek coffee or baclavia while waiting for one of Mother Nature's most spectacular scenes as the sun goes down and gives the skies a reddish-orange hue.
Address: The castle or windmill at Oia
Directions: Go by your instincts and walk towards the setting sun!
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