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My trip to Santorini -- The Island of the Volcano

Updated on July 31, 2014

Santorini -- The Island of the Volcano

There are many stories and legends about Santorini (or Thera in the official language), this marvelous island of the Cyclades. These legends don't refer only to the island's history, but also to the causes of its geological structure and its specific shape. There isn't any doubt that its gradual formation was due to the tremendous activity of local volcanoes, which were also at the root of its beginning.

Santorini's soil and landscape, the colors of the land and sea, the strong light, the depth and transparency of its horizon, and the beauty of whitewashed structures, create a unique scene with such extraordinary beauty that it tends to make you forget the nightmare of its creation. Santorini is recognized as the most valuable pearl in the string of the Greek islands.

Fira is the capital of Santorini

the mystery of "Atlantis"

None can remain unmoved by the incomparable sight of Santorini. The vision of this island has cast its spell over people all over the world, so that Thera isn't any longer just a small and remote spot somewhere in the Greek islands. Santorini is a focus point of interest, universally known and attracting all kinds of people who ardently wish to get acquainted with it.

It's not, however, just the grandeur and splendor of a geological phenomenon that fascinates people, but also the mystery of "Atlantis" which is identified with this island by legends and writings.

The world famous island of Santorini is the southernmost island of the Cycladic group in the Aegean Sea, and is located 68 miles north of Crete, and 147 miles from Rhodes.

In its present form, Santorini has an area of 29.4 Sq. miles, and its population, distributed among thirteen villages, just exceeds thirteen thousand six hundred people, according to the census of 2001.

The Santorini group consists of the main island - and largest - horseshoe-shaped island of Thera, a smaller one Northeast of Thera called Therasia, and a still smaller uninhabited island, Aspronisi, in the middle of the opening of Thera's horseshoe, towards the Aegean Sea.

Santorini is connected with the mainland by ship and airplane. The boats pass through the passage formed by Aspronisi at the entrance to the almost round immense caldera or bay, which has a surface of about 32 Sq. miles and is 300-400m deep. One realizes immediately that here must be the crater of a gigantic ancient volcano and that the three islands around it are what remain of its walls.

At some places the cliffs of Santorini rise 1150 ft above the sea. They are marked by varying layers of light grey, black or dark red color. On the top of the lowest cliff is the dazzling white string of houses and churches of the main town and the neighboring villages.

The beautiful landscape of Santorini is embellished by snow-white hamlets and furrowed by narrow lanes framed with gum-trees, and green pots surrounded by walls built with greenish stones. So much vegetation is surprising, and at the same time, exhilarating. The green areas are vineyards, as the soil with its grey ash content is extremely fertile and gives life to thousands of grapevines. The sea provides the necessary humidity and this is why Santorini produces such fine wines, besides tomatoes, barley, beans, yellow peas, pistachio nuts and other fruit.

Visiting Santorini

The capital of the island is Fira

The town of Fira stands out like a white eagle's-nest, hanging between sea and sky. The climb from the bay to the town can be made on foot for those who want to try their strength, climbing the 600 steps on the road, or with the cable-car. There are also good-natured donkeys, who offer their backs to those who want the experience of donkey-riding. Their pack-saddles are decorated with blankets of many colors.

The capital of the island was moved to Fira from Pyrgos Kallistis in the Beginning of the 19th century. Now Fira is a growing town with a population of about 1,500 people, which live in the present but try to retain the local traditions of the past.

In the summer, a loud and good-natured crowd of people stroll, carefree, on the roads which are parallel to the cliff and the small streets that cross them.

The central part of the town, the market, is here. Numerous shops offer a great variety of merchandise, satisfying even the most demanding customers. Also, the offered merchandise, from the cheapest (cotton shirts and blouses) to the most expensive (furs and jewelry) give it a particular accent which is quite interesting to the visitor.

CeCi in Santorini

CeCi in Santorini
CeCi in Santorini

Santorini - Santorini Island in Greece

Even if you’ve never been to this Cyclades island in the Aegean Sea, you’d still recognize it immediately – candy-colored houses carved into cliffs, sapphire waters, gleaming white buildings topped with half-spheres the color of a stormy sky. Here you’ll find peace as you roam the black sand beaches or the streets of a provincial village like Imerovigli. Beautiful Oia is world famous for its sunsets, which seem tinted with every shade of an artist’s palette.

Pyrgos Santorini

Pyrgos is built on top of a hill

Pyrgos Santorini

Pyrgos was the capital Santorini until 1800, it is built on top of a hill and it is composed of traditional houses built around the Venetian Castle while its small streets following the shape of the hill. As you ascend from the square up to the castle of Pyrgos the stone houses become denser and the streets look more like a labyrinth torturing the tourists that don’t know which path to follow.

Pyrgos has about 33 churches but the most famous is the Monastery of Profitis Ilias. This monastery is known for its unique sets of icons, its chancel screen and its bell towers. The cells that were the monk’s residence have now turned into a small museum that includes a small collection of sacramental vessels, robes, wooden crucifixes, 15th century icons, patriarchal letters and over 1200 volumes of old religious publications and manuscripts.

Although Pyrgos is a lovely place, one of the prettiest locations of the island, it has only recently won a place on the tourist map. It has mostly become known because of the splendid Easter celebrations which were instituted a few years ago by its deputy mayor. They usually decorate a 17 - metre cross with rosemary that causes the whole village to smell like it. The whole island goes to the procession of the Epitaph on Good Friday while the village is ornamented with tin lanterns and the location seems to glow in the dark. Pyrgos is definitely a place worthwhile and if you are there during Easter don’t hesitate to stay there and participate in the local feasts.

Pyrgos Church Bells

Pyrgos Church Bells
Pyrgos Church Bells

Pyrgos Church by Night

Pyrgos Church by Night
Pyrgos Church by Night

Pyrgos Santorini

Pyrgos Santorini
Pyrgos Santorini

A village in Pyrgos

A village in Pyrgos
A village in Pyrgos

Map Of Santorini

Map Of Santorini
Map Of Santorini

Norm and Cheryl in Santorini

Norm and Cheryl in Santorini
Norm and Cheryl in Santorini

A look at the harbor

A look at the harbor
A look at the harbor

Walking the streets of Fira in Santorini

Walking the streets of Fira in Santorini
Walking the streets of Fira in Santorini

"View of Santorini" by Sam Park

"View of Santorini" by Sam Park
"View of Santorini" by Sam Park

Santorini Map

Santorini Map
Santorini Map

Norm in Santorini

Norm in Santorini
Norm in Santorini

Santos Winery

Santos Winery
Santos Winery

Santo Wines

Santo Wines
Santo Wines

Santorini

Santorini
Santorini

Videos of Santorini

The Donkey Ride in Santorini - Our Visit to Santorini

Cecile and I decided not to take the donkey ride, so we walked the 600 steps back down the hill to rejoin our group and go back onboard the cruise ship. However, we didn't realize that we would be sharing the road with the donkeys, and watching out not to step in the donkey droppings. So next time, we will definitely go for the donkey ride.

Fira is the capital of Santorini

The town of Fira stands out like a white eagle's-nest, hanging between sea and sky. The climb from the bay to the town can be made on foot for those who want to try their strength, climbing the 600 steps on the road, or with the cable-car. There are also good-natured donkeys, who offer their backs to those who want the experience of donkey-riding. Their pack-saddles are decorated with blankets of many colors.

In 1956 a large part of the town was destroyed because of the earthquake and only few of the 18th century buildings were saved. It is a very important village and tourists flood it every summer. It is full of expensive jewelry and souvenir selling shops, clubs, cafes and restaurants. On these narrow streets you will often notice artists from all over the world offering to create your portrait, street singers and instrument players. Theotokopoulou Square is the main square of Fira, the meeting point of all the locals.

Now Fira is a growing town with a population of about 1,500 people, which live in the present but try to retain the local traditions of the past.

In the summer, a loud and good-natured crowd of people stroll, carefree, on the roads which are parallel to the cliff and the small streets that cross them.

Amazon Books on Santorini - Santorini - The Island of the Volcano

An Oil Painting of Santorini

An Oil Painting of Santorini
An Oil Painting of Santorini

Santorini Island in Greece - Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption.

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Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island.
Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island.
Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island.

Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. 980 feet high, steep cliffs on three sides surround a giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 7.5 by 4.3 miles.

The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea. On the fourth side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another, much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon is connected

— Harry Mendell Smith

Reader Feedback

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    • Valerie P Davis profile image

      Valerie Proctor Davis 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, Alabama

      What a beautiful place! I love your pictures.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      I've featured this on my fan-club thank-you lens so - thank you!

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 

      8 years ago

      Looks like a beautiful place to visit. Very nicely done.

    • Pryzym profile image

      Pryzym 

      9 years ago

      Nice Lens!

      We plan to visit Greece next year. I love all things Greek. I love the Greek dances and I love the music. And, of course, the food. My husband likes the Greek coffee. I can't wait to go!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 years ago

      This sounds amazing! I have always wanted to tour the Greek Islands - maybe someday :)

    • fotolady49 lm profile image

      fotolady49 lm 

      9 years ago

      Wow what a beautiful place, I'm adding this to my wish list of places to visit before I leave the planet!

      Thanks for sharing...

    • Francesco Matina profile image

      Francesco Matina 

      9 years ago

      hello, this is a nice lens about boat tours- i gave it five stars

      I have created a lens about Beaches in Santorini Hope you visit it and leave a comment

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 years ago

      Duh, I should have added that my squidoo profile picture is of me in Oia, Santorini!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      9 years ago

      Nice lens! My husband and I visited Santorini in Fall of 2006. It is such an amazing place. We just recently visited Egypt, also truly amazing, but a very different kind of trip. Santorini is relaxing and carefree, whereas Egypt was more about the history and visiting the historical attractions and learning about the culture. I recommend both places very much.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      9 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      600 steps! We've been vacationing on the Oregon Coast, USA and I thought the steps there were killer steps! I think we'll take the donkey ride in Santorini. Yup going to go there! 5*s, favorite and fan.

    • oneskms profile image

      oneskms 

      9 years ago

      You got me daydreaming - nice lens

    • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

      Tiddledeewinks LM 

      9 years ago

      What a handsome and happy couple you make! Nice lens.

    • Cop-Speak profile imageAUTHOR

      Smitty 

      9 years ago from Arizona

      Please feel Free to List the Best places that you have visited. Anything that has to do with travel or vacations would be appreciated!

    • isabella lm profile image

      isabella lm 

      9 years ago

      Why don't you join with this lens the Greece headquarters and the Best islands guide?

    • isabella lm profile image

      isabella lm 

      9 years ago

      nice lens on the lovely santorini island

      i have lensrolled in on my Santorini and of course given it 5*!!

      :-)

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