Interesting facts and ideas for your own trip on Santorini
Excursions and tickets for Santorini
- Regular berth: At anchor in front of the Old Port
- Regular berth: New Port
- Port shuttle: not available
- Taxis: available in the island capital Firá
- Buses: central bus station in Firá, connections to the main places on the island
- Car rental*: Sixt, Fira 25is Martiou (25th March street)
- Car rental*: Hertz, at the airport
- Car rental*: Avis, Mermigkia Monolithou and at the airport
- Car rental*: Europcar, at the airport
- Car rental*: Budget, at the airport
- Post Office: Dekigala 40c
- Tourist Information: at the old harbour
- Banks and ATMs: sporadically spread in the capital Firá
- Berths of the cruise liners
Santorini (Santorini) is a landmass of the southern Cyclades consisting of 5 islands. Among them, the main island Thira is a very popular destination for cruises in the Aegean Sea. The steeply sloping coastline of the flooded volcanic cone with the villages above, which are painted in bright white, has a very special charm. In the 16th century B.C., this impressive backdrop was shaped decisively by volcanic activity. Today, cruise ships bound for Santorini usually navigate to the Old Port of Firá (Skala) and anchor not too far away. So, they lie in the roads. In this case, the cruise guests are taken ashore and back again with local tender boats. You will not find a cruise terminal here. In the small harbour at Skala Pier, however, you will find a tourist information office, duty-free shops, restaurants, taverns and small souvenir shops. Usually five or more cruise ships arrive here at the same time, daily and during the high season. Alternatively, for smaller cruise ships, there are berths in the New Harbour a little further south in Athiniós.
- From the harbour to Firá
To get from the small harbour to Firá, the capital of the island, you have to overcome a difference in altitude of around 220 metres. The most comfortable way to do this is by taking the Santorini Cable Car, opened in 1979. The valley station is accessible from the port via a few steps, and the 6 gondolas depart daily every 30 minutes from 07:00-21:30. They are only about three minutes in one direction and can carry 1200 passengers per hour. Children under 5 years of age are always transported free of charge. Between the ages of 5 and 10 years, they pay 3 euros per trip and from the age of 11, twice the price of 6 euros each. Alternatively, you can take the serpentine Caravolades Stairs with 588 long steps, which are also used as a Donkey Way by the many mules on site. On their backs, the ascent can be made easier for 8 Euros or 9 US dollars. Whether this is absolutely necessary or not, everyone can decide for himself. For the animals it is probably no pleasure to be rushed up and down in the blazing sun all day long. As a pedestrian, however, you should definitely watch out for the donkeys, as they usually stubbornly follow their path, not necessarily avoiding every obstacle.
From the high situated main town Firá, you can enjoy an excellent view on and over the charming archipelago from many positions. Often in view, too, are the cruise ships lying in the caldera, from which a great many day tourists flock to the island. In the partly very winding alleys, you will also find a variety of small boutiques, souvenir shops, taverns and restaurants. The prices for a meal, snacks and/or drinks here are considerably higher than the usual prices elsewhere.
- Local public transport
Since 1988, the KTEL Santorini transport company has been connecting the various villages on the island. The central bus station in Firá, on Mitropoleos Street, is the hub, where the buses of most lines stop. From there, you can reach the most important municipalities, such as Akrotiri, Kamari, Oia and Perissa, easily and cheaply. Tickets cost between 1.60 Euro and 2.90 Euro, depending on the route, and can be purchased on the bus from the ticket seller. The ticket vendor also coordinates individual stops, by loudly announcing an upcoming stop. If the bus stop is empty and nobody wants to get off, the bus drives on.
A magnificent view of the offshore islands and the cruise ships on site, can be enjoyed from the viewing terrace at the Greek Orthodox Metropolis Cathedral. The remarkable building with its arcaded corridors, which was built in 1827, was later severely damaged in the devastating earthquake on 9 July 1956. A complete renovation was subsequently carried out during the reconstruction. Today, Metropolis Cathedral is one of the largest church buildings in the Cyclades. An interior tour is always free of charge and photography without flash is permitted. The Atlantis, Santorini's oldest hotel is right next door.
- Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
About 500 metres north, near the top station of the port cable car, is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (Ieros Naos Agiou Ioannou tou Baptistou). It was built in 1823 right in the centre of the island's capital, and also suffered heavy damage in the earthquake of 1956. The restoration of the orange-coloured building took until the 1970s. Today, the doors are open to the public daily from 10:00-13:00 and from 17:00-20:00.
- Lookout point
One of Firá's many good viewpoints is a small car park located between the Santorini Palace Hotel and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church. The church building looks unimpressive from the path along the crater rim. However, from the aforementioned car park, the blue domed roof of the church with its three bells, makes a great photo motif with the best background. If you walk from Fira to Oía, you will inevitably pass this place, and a short detour to the signposted lookout point is highly recommended.
- Prehistoric Thera-Museum
The Prehistoric Thera Museum (New Archaeological Museum), which opened in 2000, is located almost exactly in the middle of the central bus station and Metropolis Cathedral. Most of the exhibits were discovered and recovered in Akrotiri, an archaeological site in the south of Santorini. Akrotiri was one of the most important Aegean centres in the 18th and 17th centuries BC. Today's museum exhibition is divided into four sections and focuses on geology, the island's past, the history of research and the heyday of Akrotiri. It is open Wednesday to Monday from 08:30-15:30. Tuesdays is closed. The entrance fee is 6 Euro per person, reduced 3 Euro.
- Prehistoric Thera Museum (en)
- Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum (Old Archaeological Museum Thera) is located in the immediate vicinity of the top station of the harbour cable car. Here, mainly finds are exhibited that were uncovered in the excavation site of Alt-Thera. Alt-Thera was first settled in the 9th century BC, and is located in the south-east of the island. The ruins date back to the 6th and 7th centuries BC. Opened in 1902, the earthquake of 1956 also brought down the building of the Archaeological Museum. After reconstruction, the exhibition was reopened in 1960, and today presents a wide variety of sculptures, inscriptions, vases and clay figures, among other things. It is open Wednesday to Monday from 08:30-15:30. Tuesdays are closed. Admission is 3 euros per person, reduced 2 euros.
- Archaeological Museum (en)
One of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean Sea can be found in the south of Santorini. There, near the village of Akrotiri, is the archaeological site of the same name, where first settlements began around 4000 BC. The village, with its well-planned drainage system and multi-storey buildings, grew steadily and by the time it was in its heyday had an area of around 20 hectares. There was a busy trade with the most important cities of the eastern Mediterranean. At the end of the 17th century BC, severe earthquakes occurred. The city shrank and was later, like Pompeii, buried and conserved as a result of volcanic activity. In 1967, the Greek Spyros Marinatos began the first excavations of the prehistoric site. Today, a fairly large part has been largely uncovered and can be visited. Open Wednesday to Monday from 08:30-15:30. Tuesday is closed. From mid-April to the end of October, opening hours are from 08:00-20:00 on weekdays from Thursday to Tuesday. Wednesdays are then open for a shorter period from 08:30-15:30. The entrance fee is 12 euros per person, reduced 6 euros. Finds brought to light during the excavations will be presented in the Prehistoric Thera Museum in Firá. From the centre of Firá, the spacious car park at the excavation site is about 11 kilometres away, and can be reached in 20 minutes by rental car*.
- Red Beach
Not far from the Akrotiri archaeological site is the Red Beach (Kokkini Ammos), a beach section, which differs from the black beaches common on Santorini, due to its red colouring. It is located on the south coast of the island and is accessible by a narrow dirt road. Before this path, the access road ends with a small car park and the church of Agios Nikolaos Mavrorachidi. The Red Beach consists of fine black sand, which is mixed with many red and black pebbles of all sizes. Directly afterwards, the steep and dark red rock face rises up. When entering the water, you should move carefully, as it is also mostly stony, so that the use of bathing shoes* is definitely recommended on this beach section as well. Especially during the season, and when many cruise ships anchor off Santorini, Red Beach is usually very crowded.
Another ancient excavation site can be found 15 kilometres / 30 minutes by car, east of Akrotiri, and 10 kilometres / 20 minutes southeast of Firá. The ancient Thera was founded in the 9th century B.C., on the 396 m high Mesa Vouno mountain, and was inhabited until the volcanic eruption in 726. Buried by pumice for a long time, the first work to uncover the ruins began in 1895, and the most important findings of the excavations are now exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and the Archaeological Museum of Firá. Old-Thera can be reached from Kamari by rental car* along a narrow serpentine road, and from Perissa only on foot along a gravel path, where you can make a small detour halfway along the way to the Panagia Katefiani chapel, idyllically situated in the rock. It is open Wednesday to Monday from 08:30-15:30. Tuesdays is closed. The entrance fee is 6 Euro per person, reduced 3 Euro.
- Old-Thera (en)
- Kamari Beach
On the northern side of the Mesa Vouno mountain, there is the village of Kamari with its homonymous beach section Kamari Beach (Playa de Kamari). The Kamari Beach runs to the island airport and has a length of about 2,5 kilometres. It is one of the most popular beaches on Santorini, with a car-free promenade of about one kilometre, which invites you to take long walks. Here, you will find numerous restaurants, cafés, souvenir shops and boutiques. Natural shade is rarely found here. Sunbeds and parasols, on the other hand, are available in sufficient numbers and cost 10 euros per day. If they belong to a restaurant, you can usually use them free of charge, provided you place an order there. The Kamari Beach consists of black sand, respectively finer gravel and gets more and more stony towards the north. Beach shoes* are highly recommended due to the heated surface and partly pointed stones.
- Perissa and Perivolos Beach
In the south of the Mesa Vouno, the two black beaches Perissa Beach and Perivolos Beach line up seamlessly. The Perissa begins directly at the foot of the mighty mountain. Parallel to the beach, there is an approximately three kilometre long promenade which leads to Perivolos Beach, where numerous shops, beach bars and restaurants can be found. In most cases, the sun loungers and umbrellas in the sand-gravel mixture belong to the adjacent localities. If food and drinks are ordered, use is usually free of charge, otherwise an average of 10 euros per sunbed and day is charged. The dark ground heats up quite quickly in strong sunlight, and when entering the water, care must be taken due to uneven and sometimes slippery spots. Bathing shoes* are also recommended here. During the high season from June to August, parts of the beach are supervised by lifeguards. Between Perissa Beach and Kamari Beach, a water taxi commutes regularly from 10:00-17:00 o'clock.
- Vlichada Beach
Close to the southernmost tip of Santorini, starting at the Blycháda marina, is the approximately 800-metre long Vlichada Beach (Vlychada Beach). It was undoubtedly given the nickname "moon beach" by its impressively shaped cliffs. Just a view of the bizarre limestone cliffs alone justifies the use of a rental car* to get from the centre of Firá, 11 kilometres away, to the pebbled, dark and fine sandy beach section of Vlychada. The journey takes about 20 minutes in each direction. There is no natural shade on site, but sun loungers and umbrellas are available for 10 euros a day. The beach itself is quiet and rarely really full. In the immediate vicinity, at the marina and in the small village, there are several bars and restaurants. The rear area of Vlichada Beach is open to nudists.
- Tomato factory with art gallery
The chimneys rising in the sky on Vlychada Beach, which belong to the former cannery D.Nomikos, have not been in operation for a long time. Company founder and namesake Dimitrios Nomikos began in 1915 with the production of tomato paste from home-grown cherry-sized tomatoes, and opened this factory in 1945. With a daily capacity of 3,500 baskets, the growing area around Vlychada was one of the most productive plantations on the island at that time. The harvesting period was from June to August. In 1971, the first exports of filled cans began. Due to increased demand, the company expanded on the Greek mainland, which resulted in the closure of the local plant in 1981. The former production plant was later transformed into a modern industrial tomato museum, now the Tomato Industrial Museum D.Nomikos. The visitor is shown how the traditional Santorini tomatoes are processed. Among other things, old machines and tools are exhibited here. In the form of a guided tour in English, the visitor learns a lot about the production of the finished product. Due to the lack of signage on the exhibits, a tour without a guide is less informative. Open daily except Mondays from 10:00-18:00. Adults pay 10 euros each, and children from the age of 12 pay 6 euros each. Children up to the age of 11 have free access to the exhibition. A guided tour in English is included in the admission fee. In one part of the building, you can also admire some nice works in the attached art gallery. A souvenir shop is also accessible.
- Tomato factory D. Nomikos (en)
- Akrotiri Lighthouse
At the most south-western tip of the island is Cape Akrotiri, on whose raised rocks the Akrotiri Lighthouse does its work. Built in 1892 under French management, it is one of the oldest lighthouses in Greece. Originally, the lighthouse was kept alive with petroleum until the building was finally converted to electric light in 1983. The square tower on top of the keeper's cottage reaches a height of 10 metres, and if the cruise ship's route is appropriate, it is also very visible from on board. On the other hand, from the elevated position, the arriving and departing cruise ships can be observed very well. The lighthouse itself, which is in operation, and its immediate surroundings are unfortunately not accessible to the public. Due to its picturesque location and the far-reaching view over the sea, it is worth making a detour to the Akrotiri Lighthouse. The sunsets are particularly beautiful here. From the centre of Firá, it is ideal to use a rental car* for the 14-kilometre route, planning a journey time of 20 to 25 minutes in each direction. Parking possibilities directly at the lighthouse are very limited.
- Lost Atlantis
Only about 6.5 kilometres, or 12-15 minutes by car, south of Firá, you will find an interesting exhibition in the village of Megalohori. The Lost Atlantis Experience Museum focuses on the famous myth of the lost island. A single-storey building houses the exhibition area of around 700 square metres, and explains the Minoan history of Santorini with its connection to Atlantis. The museum makes use of some of the most modern equipment, such as a 9D cinema, 3D holograms and the largest Atlantis diorama in the world. It is open daily from 10:00-19:00. The entrance fee is 12 euros per person. Children from 7 to 12 years pay half price, and up to the age of 6 years, the youngsters get free access.
- Viewpoint with heart and hare
Only about one kilometre north of the Atlantis Museum, there is a special and also quite popular viewpoint. The footpath to the Viewpoint to the Plakabay is stony and partly slippery, but can be mastered very well with sturdy shoes. The view over the caldera is simply magnificent. Before that, one passes the so-called Heart of Santorini (Coração de Santorini), a naturally created hole in the pumice stone rock. Admittedly, you have to get the right angle to see the shape of the heart. In the immediate vicinity, with a little imagination and a view of the three bells of the chapel below, a rabbit or hare's head can be seen on a rock face.
At the north-western tip of the island is the tranquil village of Oía (la). Often called ''the most beautiful place in Santorini'', you will find here snow-white houses, separated by picturesque and sometimes narrow streets, windmills and church buildings with their typical blue domed roofs. In addition to numerous small shops, there are also a lot of great places to visit along the winding paths, such as bars and restaurants, which often have a charming outdoor area. As Oía also spreads out along the crater rim, you have a great view of the deep blue caldera and parts of the archipelago, from almost every position. The fastest and most comfortable way to reach Oía is by rental car* or taxi (one way costs about 20 Euros). From Firá, there are about 14 kilometres to drive, which takes 20 to 25 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a hike along the crater rim. For this, you have to calculate around 10 kilometres and a pure running time of 2 to 3 hours in each direction. The path is mostly unpaved. In addition, it goes up and down a bit. You should bring sturdy shoes, drinks and possibly some sun protection.
- Excursion portals and excursion providers
Through the tour and excursion providers GetYourGuide*, Meine Landausflüge*, rent-a-guide - Kreuzfahrtausflüge* and Viator*, you can book various excursions, activities, tours, tickets and admission tickets on Santorini, which are often much cheaper than comparable excursions offered by the shipping companies. Thus, if you book in time, a large number of excursions can be realised on your own.
We have compiled a small preselection of independent excursion offers for, in and around Santorini for you here.
- Cruises and special offers
If you have not yet booked an Adriatic or Mediterranean cruise, but would like to get to know Santorini personally and make excursions on your own, you will find great offers from the major cruise operators in the German-speaking world. Aida*, Costa* und Tui Cruises* offer attractive routes with their modern cruise ships, together with other interesting destinations. Book your next dream holiday directly with your favourite shipping company at fair conditions.
All ocean and river cruises can also be booked conveniently and inexpensively online with the cruise specialist Kreuzfahrten-Zentrale Astoria*. This means that you can choose from a wide range of up-to-date offers from various shipping companies. These include AIDA Cruises, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruises. Also attractive are the popular special offers, which allow you to travel at very reasonable prices and possibly even get a great bargain.
- Opening hours of the museums: daily except Tuesdays from 08:30-15:30
- Opening hours of the post office: Monday to Friday from 07:30-14:45
- Opening hours of the banks: Monday to Friday from 09:00-14:00
- Opening hours of the tourist information office: Monday to Sunday, a few hours after the arrival of a cruise ship
- Opening hours of the shops: Monday to Saturday from 10:00-21:00. Some boutiques are also open on Sundays.
- Country code: +30
- Taxi Santorin: Tel. +30 228 602 2555 (Santorini Taxi)
- General emergency call: Tel. 112
- Police: Tel. 100
- Emergency doctor: Tel. 166
- Fire Department: Tel. 199
- Recommended vaccination: Tropical Institute Greece
- Safety Instructions: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Greece
- Buses: KTEL Santorini (en)
- Map: Santorini Map
- Climate table: Santorini climate
- Port occupancy: Cruise ships in the caldera of Santorini
- Port occupancy: Registered berths
- Official language: Greek
- National currency: Euro, 1 EUR = 100 Cent
Land Excursions Santorini ..... continue to 2nd page
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