Visiting Santorini

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The official name of the island is Thera, but the name Santorini has prevailed.
The visitor of the island lives a rare experience when the ship, sailing slowly, passes and leaves Aspronisi behind, and enters the deep blue waters of the caldera.

Tall reddish-back cliffs and granite rocks, of imposing appearance, frighten and cause awe as they rise vertically from the surface of the sea. Barely seen is the road which, like a snake, unfolds oh the cliff and joins the town with the harbour.
The deep blue colour of the sea, the reddish-black of the cliffs, and the smoke that is seen in the background from the crater of Nea Kameni, compose a unique picture of wild beauty.

The deep blue colour of the sea, the reddish-black of the cliffs, and the smoke that is seen in the background from the crater of Nea Kameni, compose a unique picture of wild beauty. On the edge of the cliff, literally hanging over the sea, a long white ribbon is discernible. It is the town of Fira, the capital of the island and the district of the same name. As the ship approaches, the beaches of black sand begin to be discernible, the red-black stones of the coasts, the cable railway, and the road which leads from the coast to the top of the cliff, where the white town spreads. Narrow streets which seem to be- but are not- cul- de-sacs, bring the visitor to some beautiful crossroads on a roof, which is not only a roof but the courtyard of the house above, or even a road, or bring you in front of the door of some picturesque Santorinian house.

If you happen to be in Oia, the other big village of the island, one of these streets may bring you, where it ends, to the edge of the cliff. If you are lucky and evening approaches, and the sun is getting ready to dive into the vastness of the sea, don’t turn back, do not commit the crime of turning your back to it. Stay, even if you are not a romantic. If you leave, it will be your loss; so stay and enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets that your eyes may ever see.

The beaches of Santorini, if we compare them with the beaches of the other Cyclades, have their own beauty, that makes them special. The black sand, the black gravel, and the pumice-stone give the beaches of the island their own colour.

In the south and east, in contrast to the awesome landscape of the west part of the island, lie shores many kilometres long, with wide sandy beaches, some organized and some free, which offer the visitor the joys of sun and sea. The means of transportation in the interior of the island are extremely good. A dense road network joins the villages, the archaeological sites, and the beaches of the island with the town of Fira. Buses leave Fira on a regular time-table, about every half-hour, for the villages and archaeological sites. There are taxis not only in Fira but in all large villages of the island. Moreover, there are boats for hire, either speedboats or rowboats.

The possibilities for recreation are not limited. There is great choice in the kind of entertainment offered on the island, from discos to local folk music and dances. You still may, if you like, attend the local fair, which honor the memory of various Saints. Some take place in the summer, as, for example, the fair of Aghios Ioannis on 24/7 at Monolithos, or the Stavros fair, or the Profitis Ilias fair on 20/7, or the Panaghia fair on August 15,etc.

The possibilities of one occupying himself with sports other than swimming or fishing, with a boat you own or rent, are limited. Only in Kamari you may find places which rent surfboards. There is only one tennis-court on the whole island, in the Karterados area.

If you want to buy the famous Santorinian fava, be careful and don’t buy it from a store; there is great possibility of it being imported. You should buy it directly from a producer. Also, if you buy wine, prefer bottled wine, or, again, buy it from a producer.

For any emergency that may occur, the visitor should refer to the Police in Fira, or to the Port Authotiry, also in Fira.

In the summer season, before one arrives on the island, he should have made certain he has a place to stay. Otherwise, it is very probable that he will not be able to find shelter. In such cases, he should ask the Police or the Port Autority for help.

In cases of sickness or accident, there is a Health Station in Fira, as well as country doctors in Oia, Emporio, Pyrgos and Therasia.
There is a Post Office, an office of O.T.E. ( Greek telephone and telegraph company), and an office of E.O.T. (National Tourist Organization of Greece) at Fira.

The great number of churches is impressive. The churches and chapels reach the amazing number of 352.

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