Experience and Sightseeing - slideshow
Sailing to Santorini was a breathtaking experience. When the huge cruise
ship dropped anchor right in the centre of the giant lagoon, we found us
surrounded by up to 300 m (980 ft) high, steep cliffs on three sides and
enjoyed thrilling views of the white houses, that tower right above the
cliffs. The small, picturesque, white-washed towns on top of the main
island, Thira, such as Oia and the capital
Fira, are popular tourist spots with great hotels, restaurants and
many other spots that offer spectacular views of the archipelago. One hardly
can imagine the fascination of this area without having seen it.
The principal port of Santorini is Athinias,
at the main island Thira. From here you can start all possible activities,
to explore the archipelago by boat, bus or car.
may wonder how to get on top of the cliffs - no problem. You can go by
bus and even ride a donkey, but don't miss riding the cable
car, at least one time. It takes you from Port Athinias up to Fira
and back, offering great views of Fira and the caldera, as well as of the
island's rock formation.
Once on top there are many different ways to explore the island. One
of them is a jeep safari, which was our choice
to visit the most picturesque parts of the island. We enjoyed incredible
panoramic views, saw the beaches of Vlihade and Perissa,
had a delicious Greek lunch at the charming village
Megalochori, and visited Profitis Ilias (Prophet
Elijah), the highest mountain of the island (567 meters).
Actually we wanted to visit also the excavation at
Akrotiri, but the place was closed, because of a fatal accident
that happened some time bevore. However, at the end of our safari, we had
the opportunity to visit the Museum
of Prehistoric Thira at Fira - very to recommend!
Fira itself is a marvellous tourist spot
with all kinds of shops in the narrow streets, but best are the beautiful
cafes, restaurants and hotels overlooking, and offering stunning views
of, the archipelago.
Unfortunalely there was no time left to go Oia
in the North of the island Thira. The lovely town is one of the foremost
tourist attractions of the Aegean Sea, famous for its picturesque architecture
and its most beautiful sunset.
The first traces of settlement on Thira date from the 5th Millennium
BC. In the course of huge volcanic eruptions in 1628 BC not only was the
island destroyed, but also a great culture buried under tons of ashes.
This event is also known as the Minoan eruption, as it happened at the
height of the Minoan civilization, and may have led indirectly to the collapse
of the Minoan culture on the island of Crete through the aftermath of a
gigantic tsunami some 90 years later.
In 1967, at Akrotiri (on the main island
Thira), a nearly perfectly preserved city from the Bronze Age was found
under meters of ash layers. Sophisticated, multi-storied buildings with
bathrooms, connected to a sewage system, with magnificent frescoes, furniture
and elaborately designed vessels, show the high degree of civilisation
and culture on Santorini around 3600 years ago. Beyond that, various finds
from Crete, the Greek Mainland, Cyprus, Syria and Egypt testify that Santorini
had developed an extensive commercial network, and was probably one of
the most important trading centres in the Aegean in the Bronze Age.
The Museum of Prehistoric
Thira at Fira houses a multitude of presious finds from the excavations
at Akrotiri. The exhibits cover different periods, including Akrotiri's
heyday (17th century BC) with plaster casts of furniture, household articles,
bronze vessels, and so on. Very impressive are also the magnificent wall