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Quinta Real
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Shaftesbury Kensington
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You are in:  Top  →  Europe  →  GREECE  →  Cyclades  →  SANTORINI

SANTORINI

Santorini, one of the best known of the Cyclades islands, differs from the other Aegean islands in the group thanks to its geological morphology, the result of action by a volcano now dormant.

View and book hotels in SANTORINI. Click here.

Cliffs of Santorini

On Santorini's west side towering cliffs, crowned by tiny and blindingly white houses, plunge straight into the depths of the sea. In complete contrast the east side has many vast sandy or pebbly beaches.

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. It is the busy center of the island with an abundance of shops of all sorts. From simple souvenirs to expensive jewelry shops the temptations are many.

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 Thera is a site of great archaeological interest, which was occupied by Phoenicians, Dorians, Romans and Byzantines. Down the center of the city runs the Sacred Way. The buildings include groups of houses, market places, baths, theatres, sanctuaries, the residence of Ptolemy Euergetes, tombs of the Archaic and Classical periods and Early Christian remains. On the surrounding rocks the names of the god Apollo and of men and boys are inscribed in the ancient alphabet of Thera.

The site at Akrotiri has yielded the remains of a Minoan city destroyed around 1500 BC by an eruption of the volcano on Thera. In effect, this is a prehistoric version of Pompeii buried beneath volcanic ash, with two and three-storey houses, with squares, shops, workshops and so an.

Among the finds from the houses were marvelous murals (on display in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens), vases, and every day utensils.

On the highest peak of Santorini is a monastery of the Prophet Elijah (Profitis Ilias), where there is a picturesque religious feast an 20 July each year.

The old-world village of Oia, 11 km. to the north of Fira, is a place of incomparable beauty. The unique appeal of Oia lies in its little houses hewn out of the soft rock (some of them whitewashed, others painted blue or ochre), its neo-classical mansions with their courtyards, its narrow paved alleys. There is a superb view out to sea.

Among the best bathing beaches some of them with black sand and others with pebbles are Kamari or Armeni, Ammoudi, Baxedes Perissa, Monolithos and Kokini Paralia.

The striking landscape, the peculiarities of the natural environment, the unusual architecture and the outstanding monuments of Santorini attract very large numbers of visitors in the summer - so many, in fact, that the excellent tourist amenities of the island can only just cope with them.

Things to buy:

  • Embroideries
  • Knitted goods
  • Rugs
  • Handicrafts
  • Wine
  • Chick peas

THIRASSIA
Off Santorini near Oia, is the largest of a chain of islets formed by volcanic activity and the only one inhabited. Its sole village, Horio, is a pretty lace with whitewashed houses, reached by a flight of 250 steps from the landing-place. In the winter, there are caiques from Oia to Therassia, while in the summer months the travel agencies of Santorini run trips from Fira and Athinios. There are a few rooms to rent on the island.



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