Fun Facts about Santorini, Greece
Santorini Greece once had a volcanic cone. The top of the cone was blown off leaving a scattering of islands that are the top peaks of a vast underwater caldera. Around the caldera, sheer cliffs drop as much as 1,000 feet into the sea. The official name of this group of islands is Thera, which was revived in the 19th century. However, the name Santorini, bestowed on it by the Romans, still persists. The main and larger island is known as Santorini. The capital city of Fira is located here, and the other smaller islands are Therasia (with a few small villages and a handful of hotels and resorts) and the uninhabited islands of Christiana, Aspronisi, Palaia Kameni, and Nea Kameni. The depth of the sea in the central lagoon is 1,300 feet, making it safe for all shipping.
Beaches – Red Beach
Santorini does not have the most famous or most popular beaches in the Greek Islands, but there are a number of excellent ones, almost all located on the eastern side of the islands. Because of the unique volcanic geology of the islands, the beaches are almost all of colored sand or pebbles, with the color determined by which volcanic layer has been uncovered. The darker the sand color, the warmer the water. Several of the beaches are only accessible by boat and most of the rest are accessible by boat or by walking.
Red Beach is located near Akrotiri, and is famous for the soaring red cliff behind it. Erosion from these cliffs created the unique red sand. Other beaches include Kokkini, one of the most popular; Aspri (White Beach), one of the few with white sand; and Kamari, a black pebble beach with a pedestrianized shore road boasting a number of tavernas, cafes, shops, and bars.
On the southern part of the island, Vlihada Beach offers a long stretch of yellow sand and cliffs filled with caves caused by wind and erosion. The water here is quite calm, and there is a protected harbor often full of traditional fishing boats and yachts. This is the last beach in a row of beaches, and is therefore less crowded than the others.
Must See Sights
Destroyed by the Thera eruption, the ancient city at Akrotiri is the most important Minoan site after Knossos on the island of Crete. The site itself, with wonderful frescoes and wall paintings, is fascinating. There is also a museum housing priceless ancient artifacts from the city. Pyrgos (which was the capital until 1800) is well worth a visit to see its 33 churches and the Monastery of Profitis Ilias that is now a museum showcasing a unique collection of icons.