The ancient, prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri is one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the past decades. It was built in the Neolithic era and was considered a very important city in the Aegean, until it was destroyed by the volcanic eruption that also brought down the Minoan civilization. You can also visit the archaeological site of ancient Thira at Mesa Vouno that was built in the 9th century BC and was inhabited until the Byzantine era.
There are many picturesque Santorini villages to visit: Megalochori in the west plain that overlooks the caldera, Pyrgos, at the highest point of Santorini, that naturally offers magnificent views, Emporio, the largest village with a beautiful castle, Kamari, a sought after destination for travelers from all over the world, and Firostefani, quite close to the capital, at the edge of the caldera, an essential destination in Santorini.
Santorini used to be circular (which is why it was called Στρογγύλη, Greek for ‘Circular’). The various parts of the volcano, such as Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, the Christiana islands, are places to visit. You can easily arrange a trip there by boat, but you can still enjoy these places from afar, as Fira offers magnificent views. Sadly, you can’t visit the underwater volcano of Columbo, unless you have scuba gear.
Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km (7.5 by 4.3 mi), is surrounded by 300 m (980 ft) high, steep cliffs on three sides.
Fira, the capital of Santorini, is the best way to explore Santorini’s volcanic origins. Built on top of the caldera, with the port at the bottom, it is a wonderful experience just to reach it, either by donkey or by cable car. The people of Santorini are very proud of their volcano and Fira will let you discover why. When you’re having a drink or a meal with unparalleled views, allowed by the caldera, you’ll know why they love it.