The story of this island is unique. The story of the island of Santorini, starts before many years ago (5 million years ago), when Europe and Africa were still connected. Now, Africa is not so far away from Greece as you can see on the map. The known Aegean Sea, then, was one piece of land, named “Aigiida” and, eventually this land began to slowly fragment and sink down, leaving only some peaks over the sea level. That’s why, many people talk about the Lost Atlantis which is the most popular myth all over the world. People who care about the history of the island, talked about the Atlantis that was actually Akrotiri, that was covered by the volcanic ashes of Santorini which all means that the island was actually the lost Atlantis. Scientists have today concluded that the mystery of Atlantis island is just a myth with many unanswerable questions and, of course, Atlantis never existed. However, this myth, especially for the island of Santorini, has raised many arguments and has inspired many people to talk about this myth.

Santorini’s shape was made by the continued eruptions of the volcano. Many civilizations are stayed there and tried to adjust to it and left their mark on the island you see today. The island of Santorini was made of lava and has changed its shape many times before. You know, Greece is known in the world not only for its pictures and the islands but also for its earthquakes. So, you can understand that the shape of the island is a combination of earthquakes and volcano eruptions. You thought about it and you feel awe, right?

The first volcanic activity in Santorini, started 2,5 million years ago and the first volcano which created was southwest of the island. This is the place where you find the “Christiana Islands” today. Later in the years, two more volcanoes raised near Akrotiri. We have the larger one volcano on the North of the island, close to Oia. Each one of these volcanoes, erupted every 20,000 years or so.Every eruption would add a new layer of tephra onto the existing island and expand it at the same time. The more catastrophic outcome from these eruptions was the creation of the “Caldera”.

Let’s talk about the Caldera. Did you know that this name is Spanish word and stands for a big boiling pot? Well, the truth is that! Imagine magma boiling inside the Volcano, and then exploding into the air, leaving the crater empty behind. Scary, right? The creation of the Caldera was supporting all the rock by the magma above the volcano and with it gone, the crater would then collapse into the sea!

The shape of Santorini was changed a few times because, inside the cavity, magma keeps boiling and eventually dries up to build a new volcano and this was a vicious cycle that repeats itself. After all of this eruptions and of course, earthquakes, Santorini eventually came to have a round shape and now, Santorini’s name is “Stroggyli” which means “round”.It is worth noticing that the two volcanoes that are now in the middle of the island were both formed after the “Caldera” was created. “Palia Kameni” (the larger one) was gradually formed between19 and 726 AD, whereas “Nea Kameni” (the smaller one) was formed later, in 1573. The last eruption was in 1950 and the volcanoes have been silent ever since. Besides these two volcanoes, there is another one on the northeast side of Santorini, named Koloumpos. This one last erupted in 1650. Don’t go looking for it, as it is underwater and that’s why many people talk about the Atlantis!

Now, tourists reach the active volcano on Nea Kameni because it is the one whose crater continues to rumble and puff out steam. You can reach this crater by way of a boat tour departing from the town of Oia, the Old port of Fira or, the most known port, Athinios which is the main port of the Santorini’s island. Volcano tours may also stop on Thirasia the second largest island in the archipelago, and at the hot springs on Palea Kameni, where boats moor at Erinia and you can swim to the springs beneath the tiny church of Agios Nikolaos. Boat trips can get crowded in high season, so choose a small-group guided tour or catamaran tour if you would prefer a more personal experience.

Some tips for you, to explore the Volcano:

  • Wear hiking-appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes. It’s not very easy to walk with your swimwear and flip-flops when you go there.
  • The sun is burning! So, that’s why don’t forget to wear a hat, sunscreen and have with you a large bottle of water.
  • If you want to visit the Volcano and you have young children with you, it is not very easy because, visiting the volcano requires at least 30 minutes of uphill hiking… Think about it before you book your tour!