Just a Day’s Trip Away from Crete
Santorini – also known as Thira – is one of the closest islands to Crete. The fastest boats will take you there in 2.5 hours, either from Heraklion or Rethymnon. You can visit Santorini on a day trip, making it a possible destination even on a one week stay in Crete. The fast catamaran boats depart from Rethymnon at around 08:15 in the morning (slower ships operate more randomly and according to changing timetable) and returns at 20:15 in the evening.
You can purchase a package ticket for Santorini in advance, which includes bus transportation and a local guide. You can get the package from the ship as well. After the guided tour you are left with 1.5-2 hours of free time on the island for eating and exploring.
Stay overnight in Santorini and experience the world famous sunset and velvet like Santorini night
The Santorini Harbor is the center of sea traffic. There are bus connections from the harbor to the other parts of the island, or you can call a cab or rent a car according to your plan and needs. The capitol of the island, Thira, is located north from the harbor. In front of Thira, close to Nea Kameni, giant cruisers anchor in order to transport passengers ashore below Thira by smaller boats and vessels. There is a cable car operating from the shore up to the city.
The Oia Village is probably the place of which you have seen numerous pictures in books and brochures. In Oia are located the famous churches with blue domes familiar from postcards and magazine articles around the world.
There is a archaeological excavation site in south-eastern part of the island near Kamari, and remnants of Minoan period have been known and found from the island (see the map below). The main island is 75 square kilometers in area, and has a width that varies from 2-6 kilometers. The island is only 18 kilometers long, and there is an airport in the middle of the island south-east from Thira.
In Santorini blue and white are bright blue and clean white.
Santorini is the southernmost island of Cyclades Islands. The closest islands are Ios, Folegandros and Sikinos in the north, Anafi and Amorgos in the east and Crete in the south. Santorini is often regarded as a single island, but it consists of five different islands altogether. With Santorini also Thirasia and Asprosini are located on the crater ring. The volcanic islands in the middle of the crater are Palea Kameni (older) and Nea Kameni (created from vulcanig magma in the 1950’s).
Famous tomatoes from Santorini
Santorini is among the destinations “everyone should see at least once in their life”
Santorini is truly a remarkable experience. The giant crater surrounded by white villages almost like attached to the walls of the crater is itself a significant and impressive sight. The feel of the strongest forces of nature is evident as the ships enter inside the volcanic crater lake. Everything in Santorini is in reality just as clean and white as seen in the pictures and postcards.
The trips to Santorini are mainly operated by gigantic cruisers. Smaller vessels operate to Santorini from Piraeus harbor of Athens and from many small islands. There is also an airport on the island.
The short history of the island
The birth of Cretan and Minoan culture had an effect also on Santorini. The excavations in Akrotiri revealed an entire village and houses decorated with colorful paintings, which proved that the island was first inhabited in 3200 BC. The paintings were similar to paintings found from the Minoan palaces in Crete.
In 1500 BC a powerful explosion took place in the Santorini volcano that changed the course of history at once. A large portion of the island vanished into the sea, and an estimated tidal wave (nowadays known as a tsunami) of 100 metres tall was created, as a huge empty space was created in the explosion into which the seawater surged massively causing the tsunami when the empty crater was filled in a matter of seconds.
The sea between Santorini and Crete is very deep – mostly two kilometers deep – which explains the huge kinetic energy of the tsunami which destroyed the Minoan culture in Crete and the entire northern coast of the island (this is only one theory – there are also many others). Even as high as on the mountains traces of coastal soil and materials have been found, washed there by the enormous wave.
The volcanic explosion destroyed Santorini and all life for a long time. According to some sources some villages were already abandoned and evacuated, so for some there were warning signs of the upcoming disaster somehow available.
Almost all travel agencies in Crete sell trips to Santorini.
Coordinates for Santorini: 36°24’27.97″N 25°23’32.94″E
Ship line website: www.ferries.gr