As those of you who read my site regularly know, I love lists and I also love to be surprised and taken aback by new places. It doesn’t happen often but I did a full day trip to Santorini and never wanted to leave. This amazing Greek island is right up in my top 3 or 4 islands anywhere in the world. Maybe just a notch below Easter Island, Capri and Fernando de Noronha as my all time favorites. The beauty of Santorini cannot possibly be understated as it is truly breathtaking and the volcanic caldera setting and amazing architecture make it a true feast for the eyes. Santorini teems with tourists in the summer months and becomes ungodly expensive so I am so happy I made it during the off season when the weather was still beachy but without the tourist hordes.
I took the hydrofoil over from Crete early one morning, the hour and 45 minute ride was easy and quick and the arrival into the archipelago of Santorini is amazing as the cliffs of the caldera come into view. Santorini is essentially what remains of an enormous volcanic explosion, destroying the earliest settlements on what was formerly a single island, and leading to the creation of the current geological caldera. A giant central lagoon, more or less rectangular, and measuring about 12 km by 7 km, is surrounded by 300m high steep cliffs on three sides. The island slopes downward from the cliffs to the surrounding Aegean Sea.
On the fourth side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon merges with the sea in two places, in the northwest and southwest. The water in the centre of the lagoon is nearly 400m deep, thus making it a safe harbour for all kinds of shipping. The island’s harbors all lie in the lagoon and there are no ports on the outer perimeter of the island; the capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon.
Fira is a great little town to walk around and has some of the most amazing cliffside cafes over looking the caldera below almost 1000 feet down. It also has some of the famous architecture which is most notably assocaited with the Greek isles, the white washed buildings and the bright blue doors or assorted other house parts. However, the best place to see this is in Oia at the far end of the island.
Oia gave by far the best views of the island and had some of the nicest scenery as well. There isn’t too much to actually write about it other than it was amazing to see, so i will just put up some pics because it is that beautiful. The last picture is the famous red beach on the south end of the island and only the second time I have seen this-the other was in Maui in 2004.