Did you know that Santorini is actually made up of not one, but several islands? When people say Santorini, they usually refer to Thira, the largest of the volcanic archipelago.
Lesser known, but no less beautiful, are the islands of Thirassia, Nea Kameni, Palea Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. I had the chance to cruise Thirassia, Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni before arriving at Thira’s Ammoudi Bay—and here’s my first-hand recount of the experience.
We started our journey from the Athinios Port—which we reached with much fanfare after skilfully dodging donkey craps as we descended hundreds of steps down from Fira. We clearly couldn’t wait for the trip to start… and finally the boat arrived!
Our first stop is Nea Kameni, which was a site of major eruption responsible for creating the dramatic landscape that Santorini is today. There are large boulders of lava remains and even up to today, it still has many active sulfur vents so the authorities are constantly monitoring the island’s volcanic activity.
Hiking up the barren volcano, we were rewarded with magnificent views of Thira in the distance. That’s Imerovigli, that’s Skaros Rock, that’s Fira… we could see everything clearly from here!
At the top of the volcano hill, we could overlook the smaller Palea Kameni in what seemed like just a few rows away. It looks like a complete paradise!
Palea Kameni is the oldest volcano of the archipelago, and it has an amazing hot spring, which the passengers happily jump down to when we had a quick 30-minute break on the island. And then we headed to Thirassia.
Other than mainland Thira, Thirassia is the only inhabited island in the cluster. As we hiked a donkey up, we saw what looks like a “rundown Santorini”. Having been bombarded with images of “luxurious Santorini” all our lives, it’s a very different sight.
But while it may not be fully polished, it has its own understated, eerie quality to it that feels very authentic.
As we descended down from the top of Thirassia, we were treated with a gorgeous sight of the beach underneath.
Aquamarine and turquoise mixes into one glorious sight!
Finally, we headed back to the boat on our way to Ammoudi Bay, which wows us as soon as we reached. Look at all those boats and waterfront houses and the Oia village perched at the top of the cliffs!
We were greeted with the sights of octopuses on the beachfront, where we stopped by for a quick lunch on this restaurant called Sunset Ammoudi Tavern. The seafood is impeccable, especially their shrimp saganaki and locally-brewed alcohol.
The alcohol was really good… but really “strong” too. As we tried to ascend hundreds of steps up to Oia village tipsily, we were completely out of breath and sweated like mad, laughing at our ridiculous decision… what were we thinking??? The alcohol was A BAD IDEA!!!
Despite a little tipsy, we were still amazed by the incredible sights of Byzantine ruins, windmills and Oia village above us. We stopped many times admiring the beautiful views, gathering our breath, and somehow, we managed to survive the ordeal… we reached the top of Oia successfully!
It was such an incredible experience and we had so much fun doing the volcano tour.
Never again with the alcohol, though!
Have you ever had any memorable “misfortune” with alcohol when traveling?