Santorini’s group of islands is consisted of Thera, Thirasia, Aspronisi, Palea and Nea Kameni (Volcanoes) islands and is located in the most southern part of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea, 63 nautical miles north of Crete. The surface area of Thera is 73 sq. km. and its population, distributed among thirteen villages, is 13.600 people, according to the 2001 census.
Latitude: from 36 19’ 56’’ to 36 28’ 40’’ N
Longitude: from 25 19’ 22’’ to 25 29’ 13’’ E
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How to Reach
Santorini can be reached from most international airports via Athens. The flying time from Athens to Santorini is approximately 40 minutes.
Nearly all international scheduled flights arriving in Athens allow adequate time for making the connecting flight to Santorini. Numerous charter flights from different European Cities fly directly to the island during the summer period. During the same period Santorini is also connected with flights to and from Thessaloniki.
By ferry boat
Another way to reach the island is by a regular ferry boat service from the port of Piraeus, Thessaloniki or Crete and almost all the Cycladic islands. The boat trip takes approximately 5 - 9 hours depending on the ferry and the ports of call.
Daily high speed boats are also available only during the summer period leaving from the port of Piraeus and from numerous other Cycladic islands and Crete. The trip lasts about 4 - 5 hours.
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The present-day crescent shape of the island is a consequence of the activity of the volcano in prehistoric times. The island itself owes its very existence to the volcano.
The last huge eruption of the volcano dates back 3,600 years, to the late bronze age. Thirty million cubic meters of magma in the form of pumice and ash were blown to a height of up to 36 kilometers above the island. Pumice deposits, dozens of meters thick, buried one of the most prosperous pre-historic settlements of that period, feeding the myth of the lost Atlantis.
The mild activity of the volcano after this major eruption continues into the present (the most recent eruption occurred in 1950) building up two small islands within the caldera, Palea and Nea Kameni. These islands represent the volcano's most recent activity.
The marvelous dry climate and continuous sunshine create year around conditions which are perfect for observation, photographs and videos under an extraordinary variety of natural lights and colours that give the visitor the exceptional advantage of reaching the interior of the volcano by boat.
Santorini, a “window” for volcanology
Following this explosion, the volcanic activity continued through time with slower pace, building two islets inside the Caldera, the Palea (Old) and Nea (New) Kameni. The latter is the newest land in the Mediterranean as it was formed by lava between 434 and 57 years ago. The round craters, hot fumaroles, new minerals, and gushing warm multi-coloured water, impress visitors. The collapse of the central part of the volcano created the Caldera’s slopes and cliffs, “gremna” as local called them, and it is possible for visitors to take a tour by sea within the “internal” part-the offspring of the active volcano. In this way one may come close to the volcano and get a very realistic picture of its slopes, which stretch in a total length of 25 km and reach a height of 100-300 m above the sea level, acquiring a better understanding of its development and the way in which the volcano acted. The variety of rocks, the alternation of their colours, the way in which they relate to each other and the details of the volcanic shaping are all extremely impressive. The natural light that falls on the slopes is different each moment of the day and offers unique views throughout the year.
The view from the sea is made complete thanks to various routes in land, close to the Caldera rim. In addition, some of the natural cross-sections and the old quarries on the two larger islands (Thera and Thirasia) offer the opportunity for observation, consolidation and finally the delight of experiencing a wide range of geological structures and forms. Finally, the panoramic view from various points at the top of the caldera helps the imagination to comprehend the phenomena and simplify the historic evolution of the volcanic events on the two Kameni islands.
It is clear that a huge natural geological-volcanological museum has been created in Santorini, ideal for observing the structural formation and development of a classic volcano, easy to explore and providing an alluring invitation into the world of volcanology. It offers for free a colored, three-dimensional open “window” which is accessible not only to specialists but to all visitors of the island.
* Michalis Fytikas,
Professor Emeritus, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Department of Geology
Source: Santorini Guidebook 2011
Since the 1st of January 2002, the Euro (EUR) is the currency of Greece. Notes in circulation are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro while coins are in denominations of 1 euro, 2 euro, 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents. A currency converter is available here.
Time zone difference
Greece is in the Eastern European Time Zone. Eastern European Standard Time (EET) is 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+2). Like most countries in Europe, Summer (Daylight Saving) time is observed in Greece, where the time is moved forward by 1 hour, 3 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+3). After the summer months the time is moved back by 1 hour to Eastern European Time (EET) or (GMT+2). Daylight Savings Time (GMT+3) in Greece begins at 3 a.m. on the last Sunday of March and ends at 4 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.
The banks on Santorini are open 8.00 am-2.30 pm Monday to Thursday and 8.00 am-2.00 pm on Friday. ATMs are available in almost all villages on Santorini. Most accept Visa and MasterCards as well as debit cards of internationally recognised networks.
The electricity supply in Greece is alternating current, 220-250 volts, 50 cycles. Appliances for 110 or 120 volts may be operated by using step down transformers of 220 - 250/110 volts connected to each outlet.
Formalities for entering Greece
Passport and visa requirements vary from country to country. Please click here for details.
Greek Diplomatic and Consular Missions abroad: click here
In case of health problems you may visit the Santorini Health Center in Fira (Tel.: 2286360300-4) or ask your hotel reception for a private specialist doctor.
At the Zacharopoulos Pharmacy, located next to the Fira main square (Tel.: 2286023444), you can find medicines, food supplements and advice for minor problems.
Bottled water is recommended for drinking. Tap water can be used for washing, bathing and cleaning your teeth. In the area of Oia the tap water that comes from the local desalination plant is drinkable.
ELTA is the official name of the postal service and their colours are blue and yellow. The main postal offices on Santorini are located in Fira, Emporio and Oia. Postal agencies are located in Pyrgos, Kamari and Perissa. Mailboxes are available in all the villages of Santorini. A standard letter or postcard less than 20 grams sent anywhere in Europe or abroad costs € 0.75 (as per January 2011).
Courier services are also available. Ask your reception for more details
Most hotels provide Internet access to their guests. Internet cafes are available mostly in Fira. In Oia there is free wireless Internet access in the outdoor space of the bus terminal square.
The international access code for Greece is +30. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001 for the USA or Canada, 0044 for the UK). Calls can be made from your hotel or from OTE (Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation) offices in Fira. Public phone card booths are available all over the island and cards can be bought from kiosks, mini markets and OTE.
The local mobile phone operators (Vodafone, Wind, Cosmote and Q-Telecom) use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators.