One of the greatest attractions of Santorini and of utmost importance is the volcano, whose former intense activity gave the island its current shape and morphology. Before the several volcanic eruptions that occurred throughout the years, some of which were submarine, the size and the shape of Santorini were quite different. It was a much larger, round island, hence its name used to be Strogili (=circular).
Today the result of these eruptions is the creation of five separate islands, Santorini, Therasia, an uninhabited island called Aspronisi and the volcanic islands of Palaia Kammeni and Nea Kammeni. They compose a nice sight across the Aegean Sea, facing Santorini, and you can visit them as well. The existence of the volcano is visible all over the island of Santorini, especially on the bizarre beaches that are covered, in their majority, in black sand and pebbles made of solidified lava. The red volcanic rocks in Red beach, which reminds a lunar landscape, form a rare sight.
Another spectacular outcome is the formation of the volcanic caldera that covers a great part of the island. This unique terrain morphology is what makes Santorini such an exceptionally beautiful island, as the settlements that are built on the caldera cliffs offer a wild beauty and a sublime view. You can enjoy your time gazing this natural beauty and the volcano that lies in the sea opposite of Santorini. Or, even better, you can visit it to experience it to the fullest.
At present, it is an underwater active volcano but you can wander on the two residual islands of black lava. There you can explore the volcano, see its crater, touch the lava rocks and feel the steaming volcano underneath your feet. An entirely incomparable sensation that is totally worth a visit as it constitutes an integral part of the island.
What is more, on the island of Palaia Kammeni there are hot springs known for their beneficial and therapeutic effects. The waters there contain sulfur and you can please yourself with an alternative mud bath. It is necessary that you swim in these waters to take your experience to a whole new level. To top it all, from there you can admire the breathtaking caldera from a different point of view that will completely amaze you.
There are daily boat tours to the volcano so everyone has the chance to step on it, swim in the springs and learn more facts about the volcanic activity. The boats depart either from the port of Athinios or from the old port in Fira. There is a variety of tour packages, from affordable short excursions to more expensive full day boat trips that even transfer you to the nearby island of Therasia. It is not something you get to see up close everyday so don’t miss it!