Santorini Caldera tours

Santorini Caldera

Our Santorini Caldera tours will give you the oportunity to experience the wild beauties of the island.  Santorini is a strange island, without any similarity to the rest of the Cyclades. The others islands feel friendly, warm and tender as an embrace. Santorini is neither calm nor gentle. On the contrary, it is wild and threatening. The whole island is one huge pile of volcanic lava. Its ground is not part of the earth`s crust. It has been created by the hardening of a viscous liquid expelled from the bowels of the earth. Red, black and brown are its colours. The length of the Caldera is, from north to south, 11km.and its width 7.5 forming an area of 83 square kilometers.

Santorini Caldera’s history

What you will discover during Santorini Caldera tours, about the history of the island? The island`s geological history begins at a time when Europe and Africa were still joined. At that time, what is today the Aegean was dry land (Aegeis) and it linked mainland Greece with Asia Minor and Crete. After a long series of geological upheavals, Aegeis sank beneath the surface of the waves. This must have happened about six million years ago. The mountain peaks of the “lost continent” are what we call today the islands of the Aegean Sea. Where Santorini is situated today, we had two or three insignificant islets. The volcano first manifested itself 80,000 years and the first eruption was terrific.

It poured out every kind of volcanic material which have been united with the other existing islands. That formed through the years a round island called Strogyli. Many thousands of quiet had passed when, in about 2,000 B.C. a great pressure formed by accumulated gases and vapours grew under one or more central craters. This pressure blew up the center part of Strogyli. At the same time, the parts between Oia-Thirasia, Thirasia-Aspronissi and Aspronissi-Acrotion were cracked and sunk. Thus, the sea rushed through these three channels, filled the great depression and formed a gigantic caldera.

 

Santorini Caldera Tours – The formation of the islets

Palea and Nea Kameni were formed as a result of multiple underwater explosions in the center of the caldera. Not long after the caldera was formed, molten rock, viscous magma with few gases, again began to flow up in the center of it. The magma became solid in contact with the seawater and thus slowly building up a submarine volcanic structure.  It would eventually become the foundation of the Kameni islets.

Palea Kameni and Nea kameni – “the volcano”, to the local people – are the youngest volcanic land in Greece. The Old Burnt island (Palea Kameni) is less than 2000 years old. Nea Kameni, this young burnt Island that we will visit at Santorini Caldera tours, began to form only 425 years ago and its youngest lavas are less than 50 years old.

 

Palea kameni

It has a total surface areas of 60 hectares and a maximum elevation of 98.5 meters. Palea Kameni’s two thousand years of existence have been enough to create a thin layer of soil certain areas. There, the islanders of Santorini used to grow animal feed. Today a few goats manage to eke out a living on the island. Also, wild rabbits and doves find safe hiding places in the many deep fissures in the lava rock.

Nea kameni

During Santorini Caldera tours, we will visit Nea Kameni. It has a surface area of 340 hectares, and its highest point reaches 127 meters above sea level. Here there is virtually no soil. Where the volcanic tephra has formed a thick enough layer, some grasses manage to survive. In addition, in the spring wild flowers spread a colourful carpet over the summit.

The animal kingdom is represented by a few wild rabbits and thousands of tiny lizards. Furthermore, the sole example of larger plant life is a single wild fig tree. It has managed to survive on the southern slopes of the hill known as Mikri Kameni, the oldest lava on the island. There must have been many fig trees here in the 19th century. Hence, at that time, this separate islet was called Sykia (Fig tree).

 

The caldera of Santorini

Today, at the edge of the caldera are built several villages of Santorini. Some of them are the capital of the island Fira, Oia and Imerovigli. At its foot, there are impressive volcanic beaches, but also the ports of Santorini, Athinios, where ships moor today. In Fira, there is Gialos harbor where you will find the cable car. Below Oia, there is Ammoudi where we can take the boat for Thirasia, or for a swim. Further south, below Megalochori, there are two beaches with warm waters, Plaka and Thermi. During Santorini Caldera tours, we will visit a picturesque church of Christ. While even further south, in Akrotiri, you can admire a completely different view of the majestic reddish cliff. The views from Akrotiri village and from the Lighthouse of Akrotiri are so special. Everyone deserves to admire it, in order to be able to have the whole picture.

The caldera of Santorini is one of the places in Greece with the greatest value. On its edge, you will find the most luxurious hotels. Most of them are cave houses, respecting the traditional architecture and hosting every year the most distinguished guests. The people of Santorini burrowed deep into the volcanic ash to build their cave-like dwellings. They used volcanic materials – lava and pouzzuolana. In Oia, the most impressive spectacles are both the caldera and the sunset. You can admire the sunset from the old Kastelli of Agios Nikolaos, which was built entirely on the cliff. Unfortunally, a large part of it collapsed during the earthquake of 1956. The route from there to Imerovigli and Fira is amazing and it is the right place for hiking. Visitor during Santorini Caldera Tours, will have the opportunity to understand the greatness of the natural phenomenon that happened 3,500 years ago.

Sailing in the caldera of Santorini – Catamaran cruise

Arriving to Santorini, you can`t miss sailing in the caldera and cruising along the coastline. Normally, you will get on board from the south part of the island at Vlychada port. You will sail towards the Red Beach, White beach. Also, you will pass the Lighthouse and enter the Caldera for a unique view of the entire caldera.

Visitors will gradually realize that the walls of the caldera are all around them. Now, you are seeing the caldera not from above, but from the inside the cruise route includes a close sail by the volcano crater with a full view of it. With the breathtaking views of Thirasia Island as a backdrop matching the picturesque Village of Oia, your Santorini caldera tour is complete in a unique and marvelous way.

Your Santorini Sailing experience shall culminate in the most unique and unforgettable way possible. Together with Santorini Caldera tours, it is a must do during your stay on Santorini Island!

 

The best villages to visit on the Caldera

 

FIRA

It is the capital of Santorini with a population of about 2000. Fira, is the cultural and economic centre of the island. In fact, during Santorini Caldera tours you can visit the Orthodox and Catholic Cathedrals, two museums. The prehistoric and the archeological museums and even an art galleries. Also, in Fira, there are several restaurants, bars, cafes and is the leading destination for nightlife on the island.

Fira also has its own port, called Ormos, reachable via a cable car or via a mule path by foot or on a mule’s back. The capital is among Santorini`s most recent communities. It came into being in the late 18th century, when circumstances no longer obliged the islanders to live high up on the inaccessible parts of the islands. On our private tailor-made tours, we will be happy to show around this beautiful Town and to reveal you its secrets.

 

FIROSTEFANI

The name of the village means “red rock” and it is an extension of Fira. The village is long and narrow, standing on the edge of the precipice. It has its own square, restaurant, hotels, coffee-shop, and a large and impressive church, of St. Gerasimos. Firostefani has a marvelous view of the caldera, different to that from Fira. The cliff here is much steeper, and the little harbour at Mesa Yialos do not come between the visitor and the view as in Fira.

In Firostefani, there is Nunnery of St. Nicholas. It was founded in 1651 by the Gyzis family, one of the few Orthodox families living at that time in the Skaros castle. Moreover, it was originally located on Skaros, and operated there without interruption until 1815. Want to experience Santorini Caldera tours? To discover this exquisite spot Firostefani, book “Aroma of Santorini” to discover the particularly picturesque features of its path with its steps.

 

Imerovigli

The name comes from the days of piracy, and means the day-time look out post. The site of the village is located in the center of the caldera and at its highest point. It would indeed have permitted watch being kept over the whole area. Thus the timely warning of the islanders should pirates appear. The main interest of the village today lies in its proximity to Skaros.

Our lady “Malteza”, the famous church, takes its name from the icon around which it centres. it is reputed to have been found in the sea off Malta. As we pass through the village in the direction of the caldera, we will encounter the path to Skaros. By booking a Tailor made tour, you will be able to spend enough time at this village. In addition, you will watch one of the most breathtaking view for the sunset.

 

 

SKAROS

It was once among the five most important settlements on the island. Very few traces of that town now remain. Skaros, is one of the most exciting walks that the island has to offer. On Skaros, there is a path which leads to the “Theoskepasti” chapel. This dazzlingly white little building, apparently growing out of the rock, commands the abyss from on high.

Book our hiking tour Imerovigli-Skaros -Fira to experience the most awe-inspiring point on the island, with an unparalleled view. The walk takes at least an hour, there and back, and should not be attempted by those who suffer from vertigo.

 

 

OIA

The village of Oia is the second most important in Santorini, and for many the most beautiful spot. Its name is ancient. During the period of “Frankish” rule, Oia was among the five largest settlements. After the liberation from the Turks, the inhabitants of Oia developed into leading seafarers. As they grew richer, they invested their wealth in the mansion houses. Most of them two-storey, which stand on the upper level of the village.

They give the village a personality of its own, not least because they are all painted. The walls are ochre, and the door and window-frames are built in red limestone, as are the little stones used for decoration on the outer walls.

So don`t hesitate and Book our traditional Santorini tour or hiking from Fira to Oia, in order to show you the magic of this village

 

 

The breathtaking view of the caldera

Yet none of this can explain the fascination which caldera holds for so many people. Santorini Caldera tours is the activity that makes you very sensitive to poetry. Although we know everything about the Santorini caldera, it still remains a breathtaking view that never loses its mystery. People come from all over the world to Santorini just to see this wonder.

 

Golden Ibex Tours
info@ibextourssantorini.com