SANTORINI ARCHAEOLOGICAL STROLL
The archaelogical site of Ancient Thira means an early start, if you do not want to wilt in the heat on the unshaded rocks. If you have a car take it only from Kamari. Or if you feel like walking, take the path from the Monastery of Profitis Ilias. The view from the highest point on the island is breathtaking. Wear athletic shoes because the pumice tends to crumble underfoot. There are paths to Kamari and Perissa. The ancient pathway from Kamari begins at Askitario at the edge of the mountain and it is not in a very good state of repair. On your way up you will find yourself at the little church of Zoodohou Pigis with its spring. Another church with a natural spring can be found on the path from Perissa – the impressive Panagia Katefiani, literally built into the rock. Agood destination for a walk and a swim near to Pyrgos is Therma Loutra or Tremi, at Megalohori. The serene shore offers a unique experience. Those with more conventional tastes can procced to Perissa, Perivolos or Vlyhada.
Start the day riding to the top once again, an early start if you don’t want to find crowds along the beach at Monolithos. If the full two-and-a-half hour ride seems a little too much for you, ask to do the short ride of just an hour to the nearby beach at Exo Gonia. After your morning dash, visit Panagia Episkopi, the most important Byzantine monument on the island. A swim at Kamari and as soon as the sun begins to go down, a walk round Messa Gonia. As you stroll through the ruins of houses deserted by the villages after the earthquake of 1956 you can still see some traces of theis daily lives here. If there’s time, make your way down to see the sunset from Faros-the lighthouse-at Akrotiri. Take the rosd on the other side of the mountain, which comes out at the Pyrgos crossroads, and continue towards Akrotiri. Instead of turning left into the village, go straight following the sights to the lighthouse (Faros).
THE RIM OF THE CALDERA
The old (Oia) road the path taking you along the Caldera from Imerovigli to Ia, is a walk you must take. The best hour is early in the morning, or in the late afternoon to enjoy the sunset. From Imerovigli to Ia is about 2 hours, without stops or detours. But we recommend you combine the walk with stops to Profitis Ilias, Katholika, Firostefani and Skaros. Katholika is the most attractive quarter of Fira. The magnificence of the old houses at the top of the cliff and the imposing buildings of the community make an especially colourful setting for your walk. At the district’s centre the old house house known as the Megaron Gizi, built in 17th century and maintained by the Catholic Church. Next to Megaron stands the Dominican monastery, used as guest house for artists. As you make your way to the Caldera you will pass the Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist, and the Catholic Diocesan residence, where Agios Stylianos (you’ll recognize it by its blue and pink colours) is located. As you continue towards Firostefani and Imerovigli you’ll come to the monastery of Agios Nikolaos, and from here you’ll follow the line of the Caldera until your next stopping point at Skaros, the castle at Imerovigli. During the Venetian’s administration, their command was set up on the rocks at Skaros. The conical formation, against pirate raids, is one of the most beautiful spots on the island (the moving bridge which supplied access to the fort, still remains). Agia Thedosia, protector of the castles, at the entrance of Skaros, is no longer standing. Walk as far as the Theoskepasti chapel, a picturesque little church behind Skaros. When the old la road comes out again on the main road the climb begins to the small Profitis Ilias monastery. From the plateau you can look out over both the Caldera and the plain of Ia. The continuation of the walk to Ia is a remarkable experience with the little chapels, the view and the extraordinary sense of walking. One of the oldest chapels you’ll encounter along the way is that of Agios Antonios.
CALDERA FROM THE SEA
You cannot claim to know Santorini if you haven’t been out to view the Caldera from sea. You will be sailing along one of the most beautiful coastlines in all of Greece, the colours of the sea blending majestically with the colours of the surrounding make an enchanting combination. As you leave the marina of Vlyhada and make of Akrotiri the white colour give way to the red of the beach. An enocative white rock rises at the entrance to the white beach and then the Mavrovouno (Black Mountain) – which is also known as the Indian, because of its shape-headland, comes into view. The underwater caves offer superb opportunities for drivers. A beautiful private cove where the black rock comes down to the sea is found just below the Lighthouse. If the black colour of the Caldera looks to some of you intimidating, try Aspronissi, with one of the whitest pebble beaches in the area. Do not forget the tunnel cave at the entrance of Thirassia. For the best swim of all stop at Melani. On the return back to Caldera during the evening, you’ll be dazzled by the colours of the sky. Agii Epta Pedes Church stands out white and alone against ab empty background. You should stop for a swim at Mouzakia or Melani accessible only from the sea and with caves offering shade from the sun.
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