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Oia, on the northwest side of the island, has fanatical fans from all over the world thanks to its world-famous sunset. It is the first settlement that was declared protected (1976) and one of the most photographed places in Greece.
Simple cave houses and two-storey captain’s houses, next to galleries, traditional weaving mills and atmospheric restaurants, give the stigma of the settlement today. From early afternoon, visitors flock to the cobbled streets to enjoy the moment when the sun sets in a crimson sea.
But do not stay only at sunset. It is worth visiting the Naval Museum, which is housed in a 19th century captain’s house, but also to go down to Ammoudi, the port of Oia, for ouzo and fresh fish in its taverns.
The villages of Santorini
You will feel Santorini even more with an inland tour. The walk to the picturesque Tower, which is built on the highest point of the island, on the slope of the hill of Profitis Ilias, is an experience not to be missed.
The old capital of the island (until 1800), at a distance of about 10 km from Fira, is a village-jewel (it has been characterized as traditional and preserved), which will reveal a different Santorini.
The typical urban planning of the Venetian era creates an atmosphere from other eras, especially if you go up to Kastelli (one of the five tower cities founded by the Venetians in the 15th century) with houses amphitheatrically built around it and the old churches like the 10th century .
Megalochori is famous for its vineyards (here are some of the most famous wineries on the island) and has a beautiful, restored square, well-preserved mansions and well-kept churches with ornate bell towers. Karterados, Vothonas, Exo Gonia and Emporio with the most well-preserved castle of the island, are some more villages worth visiting if you want to discover the “other” face of Santorini.
Visit to Akrotiri
Visitors from all over the world come to tour the prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri, in the southwestern part of Santorini – one of the most important archeological sites in Greece.
The prehistoric settlement discovered during excavations in 1967 is only a small part of a city with dense construction, high-rise buildings, sewerage system, squares, shops and workshops. The city flourished in the 2nd millennium BC, developed into one of the main urban centers and ports of the Aegean and was destroyed by the eruption of the volcano of Thera around 1600 BC.
Beneath the thick layer of ash and pumice that covered this prehistoric “Pompeii of the Aegean”, the rich frescoes of the houses were preserved as well as vases, tools and many objects of daily use. Visiting the impressive, covered archeological site is like a journey through time.
Excursion to the volcano
Do not miss the opportunity to visit by boat the two small islands in the center of the caldera, Palea Kameni and Nea Kameni. You will climb the volcano, you will see the craters and impressive rocks and you will swim in the hot springs located in the bay of Agios Nikolaos.
The beaches of Santorini
Volcanic rocks, unique geological formations, black, white and red sand, steep cliffs sculpted by salt and wind and deep blue waters. These are the “ingredients” of the special beaches of Santorini. Kamari is one of the most cosmopolitan organized beaches of the island with wonderful crystal clear waters and many restaurants and cafes. The most famous and popular beach of the island is Perissa. Its main feature is the dark sandy beach and its large area (5 km).
Perivolos is an extension of the beach that starts from Perissa and continues to Kamari. To the south you will find the huge beach of Vlychada, with the high, white volcanic rocks reaching almost to the sea. These are creations of nature that have been sculpted over the centuries by rain and wind. The beach has fine black sand and dark pebbles and is organized at the beginning.
Near the archeological site of Akrotiri is the most famous beach of the island: the Red Beach. The red of the rocks, the blue of the sea and a mixture of white, black and red sand create an impressive color palette in this rare landscape of the island. You can go to the beach either on foot from the port of Akrotiri or by boats departing from Kamari, Akrotiri and Perissa. You can also visit the White Beach by boat.
Baxedes is the most famous of the beaches of Oia and is a good choice for those who have chosen as their base settlement. If you still want to avoid the crowds, then Columbus (4 km after Oia) and neighboring Pori are ideal beaches for you.