Santorini is the most popular cruising destination of all Greek Isles.
Another popular reason for coming to Santorini are the legendary sunsets, some of the most spectacular in the world.
The best word to describe Santorini is magical, or how about romantic?
These whitewashed, cubic-shaped houses are typical of the traditional architecture of the Greek Cyclades islands, but here it’s different because they’re built on the inside rim of a volcano.
You can arrive in a unique way on the back of a mule, riding up the steep slope to the village up on top, where you’ll find beautiful restaurants, you’ll find lots of shops, and great scenery. Get ready for a visit to one of the world’s most desired dream destinations.
So scenic, it’s the second most-photographed site in Greece, after the Parthenon in Athens.
There is one main pedestrian lane and a couple of small side pedestrian lanes lined with shops. You can buy your postcards and T-shirts and more jewelry, of course.
And you have a chance to just explore. You can’t possibly get lost in this little village. It only goes for about 1/2 a mile and it’s three narrow blocks wide, some steps up and down, and then you basically get to the end of it, and there’s another panoramic viewpoint down there.
Life does not get much better than sitting on a terrace in Santorini, enjoying some meals and drinks with friends, and looking out over that scenery.
You have the village behind you, and there’s a sunset happening out over the bay, it’s spectacular!
With a setting like this involving so many outdoor restaurants, terraces, walkways and scenic views, you can understand why the sunsets of Santorini are one of the most exciting attractions of your visit.
That peaceful bay used to be the central landmass of the island until it blew up in a massive volcanic eruption.
Although there is a small airport, most travelers arrive here by ship, usually on a cruise ship on a typical five-day itinerary covering several islands, a most comfortable way to travel, and offers a dramatic preview look at Santorini, stopping for just half a day, but that’s enough time to have a look around the main village. You can also get here by inter-island ferry, which is great if you’re planning to spend a few nights on the island. For example, you could travel from Mykonos on the fast jet ferry boat in just over two hours.
There is no dock for the cruise ship or passenger terminal along the narrow shore, so passengers are brought from ship to shore on local tender boats, called skunas, which only takes about ten minutes.
Santorini is the most popular cruising destination in all the Greek Isles. In fact, it’s got too popular, to a point where the local government has put a daily limit on the number of cruise passengers allowed. Back in 2016 as many as 18,000 people a day visited the island, and the mayor said, “The island is saturated.” It was too much, putting a strain on the island’s infrastructure, and so they limited the number of passengers now down to 8000 per day.
Tender boats drop you off at the Skala marina right next to the cable car station and that’s one easy way to get up the 700-foot-high cliff, or for a more exciting trip up, you can ride a mule.
This famous mule ride is one of the special attractions of Santorini.
Mules and donkeys have worked here for many centuries, hauling goods and people from the shoreline way up to the settlements up on top of the hill. The roads were always too rough for any kind of a cart or wagon, and later on for trucks, and so the mules and donkeys have always bared the burden of hauling the stuff up and down the hill. They are responsible for the creation of these towns, because without them, no towns could’ve ever been built up here.
With increasing concerns for animal welfare, the government has banned tourists who weigh more than 100 kilograms, or 220 pounds, from riding the mule, and if a large person gets on they can be defined as much as $32,000.
The cable car provides a more scenic lift with an excellent view. With the big increase in the number of tourists here starting in the 1970s, they realize they needed to build a cable car, which opened in 1982. It can carry 1200 people per hour on a trip that takes only three minutes.
The village of Thera (also spelled, Fira) is the largest village on the island, and the smaller town is Oia which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’re showing you that as well. In this look at Santorini today.
We’re taking a quick ride out to Oia village for a brief look at this beautiful spot. Now you can organize a daytrip from your cruise ship, or when in Thera you could purchase a little tour, or you could rent a car to get out there.
But don’t leave yet. I’ve got a special surprise coming up — We are very fortunate to be able to hear the singing nuns of Santorini inside the Rozario Church of the Dominican Convent.