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Historical, Santorini used to be a round island, but during an earthquake and volcano-outbreak in the 15th century BC the middle of the island sunk and gave it the shape it has today. The underwater volcano, which is one of the rare examples of volcanoes in the world created from a circular island that was there before the explosion, a group of islands namely Thira, Thirassia, New and Old Kameni and Aspronisi. This is one of the reasons why many believe Santorini really is where Atlantis once was. The Minoan civilization on the island was razed after this, but apparently, most people managed to flee.
The island has changed names through history. Originally it was called Stroggyli ("round") since that was the shape of the island. When the Phoenicians came they named it Kallisti ("the very best"), and finally it got the name Thira after its first ruler.
Thira’s was the son of the Theban hero Autesion who was a descendant of Cadmus. He was the vice king of Sparta and responsible for his twin nephews Procles and Eurysthenes. When they were old enough to rule by themselves, Thira’s left Sparta with a company of aristocrats and settled on Santorini.
The Romans originally used the island as a place for exiles, but later helped in building up the island. The Christianization of Santorini took place between the 2nd and 5th century. The island was often ravaged and even destroyed by pirates and in 1204 it was conquered by the Venetians. It was about then the island got its current name. The islands patron saint was Agia Irina (St Eirene) and the foreign sailors called her St Irina - thus Santorini.
Don't miss Akrotiri
, probably the most important
archaeological site in the Cyclades. The city was one of the Aegean Sea's most significant before earthquakes and a volcanic eruption destroyed it in the 17th century BC. The volcanic material preserved the buildings and their content, just like at Pompeii.
Fira has even more designer outlets than Mykonos Town and there are a fair number of cool bar/restaurants and nightclubs here, too.
Nea Kameni island, in the middle
of the flooded caldera, is one of the most violent volcanoes
on the planet; it is also, of course, one of the contested sites for the lost city of Atlantis
. The eruption that destroyed most of Santorini 3,600 years ago
produced tsunamis that reached as far as Turkey and probably wiped out maritime Minoan civilisation. The new craters that appeared in the following centuries are currently snoozing, although they are under constant surveillance by scientists at Fira's volcanology institute. Tour the volcano by boat, or go for a walk around the crater to see it up close.
- its most attractive village, Oia, is the ultimate Greek Island village - all white houses and domed churches tumbling over the lip of the caldera
. The town must be one of the most
magnificent hotel settings on Earth
, with its converted peasant houses on the very edge of the crater and spectacular sunsets that draw coach parties from across the island.
Santorini’s famous beaches
are spread out mainly along the eastern and the south-eastern side of the island. Each beach has special characteristics, which make it unique and outstanding.
The black shining pebbles
, the unique land formations, the black, white and red sand, make up unforgettable scenery. Most beaches are well organized offering the choice of lounging chairs, umbrellas, and various water sports.
Starting from the northern part of the island, the beaches on the coastline of Oia
will instantly amaze, they have a wild and remote beauty. These beaches were frequented by locals, however recently they have been discovered by few tourists, mainly by families and couples; they can easily be passed by since they cannot be seen from the main road.
Coming from Oia, one will first come upon the beach of Baxedes
, then follows the beach of Koloumbos
and lastly we come upon Pori, a small fisherman’s port.
In the south-eastern part of the island one will find the beaches of Monolithos, Avis and Kamari
. They are organized beaches, mainly preferred by families with small children. Numerous hotels, restaurants, tavernas and small shops are located along the beaches, especially in Kamari. Water sports are offered at the beach of Avis
, which attracts younger people.
We continue to the south to Perissa
two of the most famous beaches of Santorini
. These two beaches together form the longest black-sanded beach on the island
. Here one will find also a variety of tavernas and restaurants as well as hotels.
Finally, one reaches the most southern beaches of the island. Vlychada
with its beautiful carved mountain, the “moonscape” landscape
, sculptured by the wind through the years. The White beach
, which can be reached only by boat
, and the unspoilt beach of Mesa Pigadia
form the epilogue of an unrevealing landscape, which has been transformed through the ages.
''Grace Santorini'' 5* Luxury Boutique Hotel
Exclusive luxury boutique hotel in a spectacular location high on Santorini’s Caldera. It has been designed to integrate perfectly with its unique geography. From its setting on the exclusive Imerovigli hillside in northwest Santorini, guests can enjoy famed Aegean sunsets over the Cyclades. This graceful property with its individually-styled suites and bedrooms appeals to those seeking the ultimate romantic escape and indulgence.
"Katikies" 5* Hotel
A legendary Oia Santorini Hotel in a Unique Location. Inspiring deep emotions of enchantment and fascination, The Katikies Hotel in Oia Santorini is renowned for its leading luxury, unparallel services, warm atmosphere and sense of romance uniquely combined in an exceptional setting and natural environment in Oia Santorini, inviting its guests to experience moments of pure luxury.
"Astarte" 5* Suites
Perched on the volcanic rock of Santorini, Astarte offers suites with private hot tub and stunning views over the caldera and the Aegean Sea. It features an infinity pool and serves fine Mediterranean cuisine. Romantically decorated in natural tones and feature built-in beds. They all open out to a private terrace overlooking the volcano. Bathrobes, slippers and Hermes cosmetics are offered for extra comfort.