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Santorini is one of the most popular destinations in the Mediterranean. It’s a wonderful island for anyone who wants to explore ancient ruins, enjoy cruises in the Aegean Sea, sample the finest wines in Greece, and admire volcanic scenery.
Here are just 5 activities you can enjoy in Santorini that will make your trip special.
1. Admire Santorini’s spectacular scenery
Santorini is one of the most picturesque destinations in Greece. From the village of Imerovigli, you can admire the breathtaking scenery of the caldera from the island’s highest point. Be sure to take your camera to the capital of Fira to take spectacular photographs of the maze of white, cubic houses and blue-domed churches contrasted against the dark cliffs and turquoise sea.
Santorini boasts a range of unique architectural, geological, and archaeological sites that makes it one of the most popular Greek islands for tourists. And both Imerovigli and Fira are wonderful locations from which to witness a stunning sunset over the Santorini Caldera.
2. Discover Atlantis
Santorini boasts some of Greece’s most interesting classical ruins. Around the island, you can visit Ancient Greek, Ancient Roman, and Byzantine ruins. The Archaeological Museum of Thera in the capital Fira displays fascinating and unique artifacts recovered from archaeological excavations around the island. And history buffs will want to visit the most exciting place on the island — Akrotiri Archaeological Site.
This rich site is Greece’s answer to Pompeii. It is an ancient Minoan settlement on the eastern side of the island that was covered by ash during a volcanic eruption in the 16th century BCE. But what’s truly fascinating about this ancient settlement is that it may very well be the origin of the Atlantis myth.
Archaeologists have discovered the remains of 3-story buildings, hot and cold running water plumbing, water-flushed toilets, sewers, and surprisingly modern artifacts at Akrotiri. These advanced facilities would have made this settlement appear futuristic to early peoples on the Greek mainland over a thousand years before the Golden Age of Ancient Greece.
A similar settlement can be found on the nearby island of Crete. Minoan Palace of Knossos was the center of the Minoan civilization and culture.
When this advanced civilization disappeared overnight, it obviously would have caused a stir amongst people on the mainland. Without a written history, this story may have been passed down in oral tradition for a thousand years before becoming the legend of Atlantis. So, go to Akrotiri yourself and discover these ancient ruins that may or may not have started a legend still remembered in popular Hollywood movies today.
3. Swim in a volcanic hot spring
One of the best activities you can enjoy in Santorini is a relaxing cruise around the island. The best cruises will transport you around the volcanic caldera, provide fantastic views of the cliffs, and provide access to the remote beaches where you can see sand derived from volcanic rocks in distinct colors, such as black and red. But the most exciting activity you can enjoy during a Santorini cruise is swimming in a volcanic hot spring.
In the center of the Santorini Caldera are 2 uninhabited islands, Palia Kame and Nea Kameni. If your cruise takes you to these islands, you can see volcanic gas emissions and orange-tinted water bubbles where an underwater hot spring spills out into a shallow cove on Palia Kame.
The seawater in this cove is heated by the spring so that it ranges in temperature between 86F and 95F. If you select the right cruise, you’ll have an opportunity to experience the therapeutic benefits of the hot spring and swim in the warm waters at the very center of the Santorini Caldera.
4. Sample delicious wines
There is a long history of wine production in Santorini that stretches back over 3,000 years. The dry and mineral-rich volcanic soil and the island’s unique climate make it an especially fertile habitat for growing juicy grapes and a fantastic place to produce fine wines. Santorini is like the Bordeaux of Greece.
When the island was controlled by the Republic of Venice, Santorini wines were exported worldwide for the first time. There are 40 native grape varieties on the island. The vines are laid out low to the ground in baskets made from the vines that offer protection from the wind.
The most popular grape variety used for wine production is Assyrtiko, which is used to produce a range of sweet and dry white wines. Mantilaria grapes are used to produce light-bodied but deeply colored red wines. Some local wines are aged in oak barrels and others in stainless steel tanks to produce unique varieties of Santorini wines.
Many vineyards and wineries offer tours, but the most popular place for visitors to sample the fine wines of the island is the Santorini Wine Museum in the Koutsoyannopoulos Winery. The museum is housed in a cave 984 feet long and 26 feet underground. Inside, you can learn about wine production on the island from the 17th century to the present day and sample 4 of the best wines produced by the winery.
5. Learn how to scuba dive
Whether you’re a beginner interested in learning how to scuba dive or an expert seeking new adventures, Santorini is a fantastic destination for underwater fun. The warm Aegean waters offer average visibility of 130 feet and a mild current, making the seabed around the island a perfect environment for exploration.
The underwater volcanic step formations associated with the submerged caldera provide unique scenery. There is also a shipwreck and underwater caves to explore. And keep your eyes open for the mysterious underwater city of Atlantis!
But Santorini is not the only popular destination in Greece. Check out other unforgettable places that you can add to your Greece bucket list!