|Santorini Experience and Sightseeing -
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.
You 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
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 painting ensembles...