Santorini Island Things to Do Tips by csordila
Santorini Island Things to Do: 589 reviews and 1,400 photos
Nearing Kamari Beach
Moving towards the seacoast from the foot of the caldera between plantations of pistachio and of eucalyptus we reach one of the largest and most loved holiday resorts of the island: Kamari.
The favourite holiday resort of all the people being desired to a classic beach holidays, which was destroyed totally in the 1956 earthquake, was rebuilt along the seacoast.
The enormous Mesa Vouno, which reminds more of a steep rock that has accidentally fallen on the beach, the cosy promenade, the most various leisure facilities made the former fishing village a blooming recreation area.
From the hotels with different standard, the bars, and discotheques to cosy cafes you may find everything here.
Kamari is well known for its black-sand-and-pebble beach. The car-free waterfront promenade located on a length of about one kilometers is filled, with cafes and restaurants. The tourists come mainly from Germany and England. Behind the capital, Kamari has the most llively nightlife on Santorini.
The resort is particularly suitable for tanning, bathing and sun bathing. Most tourists are families and couples spending a classic beach holiday
The prices are like everywhere in Santorini, slightly higher than on the other Greek islands.
However, it isn't anything special (I mean absolutely nothing special!!), and this side of the island is interesting but not so picturesque.
Address: The southeast side of Santorini
Directions: From the airport is about 3km; 10 km southeast of Fira.
Sunken crater, caldera and churches
Oia is considered to be the artistic capital of the island and probably the most picturesque, postcard perfect village on Santorini, inviting you with its narrow, cobbled streets, with jewel-like shops on both sides selling all kind of beautiful things, a treat for your eyes.
It perches on the top of the cliff; the village looks both inward on to the caldera and northward onto the Aegean Sea. It seems to be a smaller quieter version of Fira, and is a very trendy place.
It is packed every day, by thousands of tourists who arrive every single day during the season for the "out of this world" views of the caldera!
Oia seems to be a living picture of a natural beauty and it is worth to see at least once in your life. A view of Oia is showing the density of churches within the town. The houses are built one on top of the other, the courtyard of the house above being the roof of the house below.
The village has a small port, Ammoudi, with fishing boats, waterfront taverns and restaurants, and a path that leads you around the base of the mountain to a diving area. This was once the main port for Santorini, until the entire town was razed by the earthquake in 1956.
Ammoudi port can be reached by car or by catching a ride on the back of a mule or by a set of cca. 300 steps leading down.
Though if you have to choose between two different way, either car or boat , I should recommend the last one, instead of the first, because the cliff road to Oia is dangerous, for someone who is not used to drive in narrow streets with many turns and a lot of traffic, almost all day in full season!
The village was the place of the Tomb Raider movie "The Cradle of Life".
Address: The northernmost village
Directions: Oia is situated on the north of the island, 11 km away from Fira
Santorini is an absolutely spectacular location to visit just for its views, however, is not a place famous for its beaches. Here you can not find golden sand beaches, but you find the strangest beaches you have ever seen.
One of them is Kokkini, the Red Beach located on the eastern shore just like the others, because the west side of the island is occupied by the caldera.
Our intention was to visit Santorini's top archaeological site in Akrotiri, but currently closed for restoration, and looks unlikely to reopen before next years. So we have decided to look around Red Beach.
The access is not so easy by climbing over a very rocky trail, far away from villages, but people want to see its terracotta-coloured cliffs! Kokkini in Greek means red and here everything is red. Red pebbles, red cliffs, even red tourists but the water is chrystal-clear.
However, the first few meters of the water near the shore are quite gravelly!!
If you are not a very good swimmer watch out as the water is deep and there are usually strong waves.
It is a well organized beach, you get everything you might need, from sun beds and umbrellas (7 Euro) to snacks and drinks. The eateries built into the caves seem to have neither electricity nor running water, so if you eat or use the washrooms there, use some kind of hand sanitizer!
Directions: 10 minutes walk from the harbor of Akrotiri.
Metropolitan Orthodox Cathedral's dom
Fira is the capital of Santorini and the most important of all villages. It was built on the edge of the caldera, at a height of 260 meters and has a great view of the volcano and of the sunset.
The town is a typical Cycladic village with white houses, blue windows, doors and narrow cobblestone streets. Most of its beautiful blue domed churches were built during the Venetian rule.
The Orthodox Cathedral built in the 19th century is located in the centre. In the huge 1956 earthquake - 7.8 on the Richter scale - it has been seriously damaged, but has since been rebuilt in a quite modern form. Its dome is very impressive, and not blue!!
Fira tiny port is only used by cruise ships. Here the water is so deep that ships can not anchor; there are giant floating buoys and ships can moor to one of them.
From here you can visit the town either by cable car or by a mule ride and of course by a 30-40 minutes scenic walk.
Nevertheless, Fira is a fine place to stay, because it is really picturesque, and has an enormous offer of hotels and restaurants. However, restaurants with caldera-view ask top prices.
Directions: It is located at the west side of the island and 10 km away from the main port, Athinios.
Immerovigli is a picturesque traditional village situated only 2 km away from the capital, Fira. Actually, it is the outskirts of Fira but was built on a higher cliff. From Fira to Immerovigli the pathway is paved and developed and runs through the village of Firostefani.
Between Firostefani and Imerovigli is situated the Byzantine Monastery, founded in 17th Century by a rich family and dedicated to Agios Panteleimonas, Zoodohos Pigi and Agios Nikolaos. The monastery houses a striking Byzantine icon of Saint Nicholas.
The most attractive place in Imerovigli is the enormous rock called Scaros. Scaros is part of the land and once upon a time there was a castle on it. It was used as the main dwelling by a Venetian leader during his rule. The castle protected the western entrance of the island from attacks. Also Roman aristocrats and Catholic bishops had their residence here. The castle was never defeated for 600 years but its ruins are now all gone.
This part of the island collapsed after an earthquake, and only the huge Scaros hill is left today.
From the town there is a trail to the top and to a small church on the western slope, but only few visitors make it.
Directions: 2 km north from Fira
Hitching a ride back up
In the old harbour at Skala, directly below Fira, only small cruise ships, yachts, and excursion boats can dock safely. The cruise ships anchor between Fira and the volcano Palea Kameni and the passengers are moved with boats to the port.
If your ship berths here, you should do a 45-minute scenic uphill walk.
But if you are not completely out of your mind, since it is about one million steps, head to the village either by cable car which travels up in three minutes or by riding on the back of a mule.
The locals used mules to carry everything up and down. But today the mules are part of the native charm of the island and can be loads of fun. The highlight of your trip may be to ride them from place to place.
Our guide from the ship has recomended a mule up and the cable car down; and for those, suffering from acrophobia, only the cable car in both directions with eyes firmly closed!!
Walking seemed like it would be safer however, be prepared to share the tiny narrow street with the mules.
The price for both cable car and mule is 5€
Warning: The stepped way is littered with mule droppings, resulting a bad smells being noticeable during the entire way.
Address: The old harbour of Fira
Directions: Skala harbour
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