Santorini

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WorldMediterraneanAegean SeaGreeceCycladesSantorini
Βρεθήκαμε γυμνοί πάνω στην αλαφρόπετρα
κοιτάζοντας τ' αναδυόμενα νησιά
κοιτάζοντας τα κόκκινα νησιά να βυθίζουν
στον ύπνο τους, στον ύπνο μας.
Εδώ βρεθήκαμε γυμνοί κρατώντας
τη ζυγαριά που βάραινε κατά το μέρος
της αδικίας.
We found ourselves naked on the pumice stone
watching the emerging islands
watching the red islands submerge
into their sleep, into our sleep.
Here we found ourselves naked holding
the scale that was leaning towards
the injustice.
George Seferis
Santorini or Thira
36°25.000'N, 025°25.500'E Chart icon.png
lat=36.41667 | lon=25.425 | zoom=11 | y
Thira m.jpg
Magnify-clip.png
Map of Santorini

Santorini (Σαντορίνη) or Thíra (Θήρα) is an amazing and an unique island, an active volcano. There are no good anchorages but there are hordes of tourists, disgorged daily by monstrous cruise ships, there are tourist stores selling the worst and most vulgar souvenirs and yet despite all these one is drawn to this island.

The wealthy Nomikos family of shipowners come from Thíra and they have helped with its rebuilding after the 1956 earthquake. They also, grow and make in their vineyards, some excellent white wine.

Charts

BA
1037 Nisís Falkonera to Nísos iOS
Imray-Tetra
G33 Southern Cyclades
NIMA
54321 Nisos Thira
54320 Kiklades Nisoi to Kriti
Greek
42 Andros to Chalki Island
423 Paros to Astypalia

Weather

See Aegean Sea.

Passages

Islands

Thirasia

Thirasia/wiki/Santorini#Thirasia
Island icon Thirasia [[Santorini#Thirasia|Thirasia]] 36°26.098'N, 025°20.965'E
This is the westernmost of the Thíra islands. The bay of Ayios Nikolaos provides good shelter from the meltemi but there is a constant swell. Anchor off the little pier. There is ferry service to Thíra.
The anchorage at Nea Kameni

Nea Kameni Islet

Nea Kameni Islet/wiki/Santorini#Nea_Kameni_Islet
Island icon Nea Kameni Islet [[Santorini#Nea Kameni Islet|Nea Kameni Islet]] (Καμένη) 36°24.129'N, 025°24.461'E

This is the newest of the islands. You can either come here with the dinghy or anchor and take a shore line to the quay. The shelter here is good but be aware of the large number of day-trip boats.

Warning: It is reputed that there are very big and bold rats here that may come aboard.

Communication

  • Coast Guard - VHF channel 12 & Tel. +30 22860 22 239
  • Olympia Radio - VHF channels 26 & 87

Also see World Cruiser's Nets.

Navigation

Approaches to Santorini are straightforward with no dangers as the waters are very deep. The exception is the approach to the marina.

Warning: There many reefs at the entrance to the marina. Approach it from the West.

Authorities

Those needing a stamp on their transit log or DEKPA: friendly, fast service (2017) is obtained in Fira, 200 metres NE of the cathedral, at the central Coast Guard office located in the back (E) of the Hondos Center. Useless to visit the Coast Guard office in the New (Main) Port.

Berthing

The only really good anchorage in Santorini is the newly built "marina".

Ports

Chart of Santorini Marina

Santorini Marina

Santorini Marina/wiki/Santorini#Santorini_Marina
Harbour icon Santorini Marina [[Santorini#Santorini Marina|Santorini Marina]] 36°20.1′N, 25°26.2′E

Note: The yellow buoy in the approaches mentioned in the Greek Waters Pilot by Rod Heikell is no longer in position. There is a small red buoy (shown as a yellow buoy in the image below) closer in, but it appears to mark the outer extremity of the submerged east breakwater and should be avoided. An approach from the WSW appears to avoid the shallows.

This is a new "marina" at Vlikadha just west of Cape Exomitis. It is now finished and provides alongside berthing in secure conditions with water, electricity, WCs and WiFi network included in the (June 2009) mooring fee of €20. The harbour is the only well protected harbour or anchorage on the island. The harbour tends to silt during the winter storms and dredging operations are virtually constant to keep the depths in the harbour at around 2.5 to 3.0 meters. Currently (June 2009) dredging operations are taking place in the outer harbour and the principal berths available for visiting yachts are alongside the two outer arms of the semi-circular quays, where rafting up is usually necessary. There is sometimes space for a few yachts in the inner harbour (either on an anchor moor or alongside), but it is often full of local day charter catamarans and fishing boats. The "marina" is about a 20 minute drive from Fira. The marina office or the restaurants on the cliffs above can arrange for car or scooter rental. Both the restaurants are very friendly to yachtsmen and serve good food.

The marina office is staffed from 0900 to around 1900 daily. Call on VHF channel 10 or telephone +30 (22860) 82119.

Here are some cruisers' comments:

  • June 2012 – At the port entrance there is work in progress - the depth will be dredged to 2.50 metres with a floating crane. But the situation for visiting yachts becomes worse and worse: now there are 10 day tripper catamarans with reserved places here. According to the harbour master, it is no longer called "Marina", the new name is "Fishermen's Resort"!!
  • April 2014 – We were able to tie up in the outer west part of the marina, but even that was busy. There is no room for visiting yachts in the inner harbour. All spaces being taken by fishing boats or day-tripper catamarans. In fact, even some of the charter cats now have to tie up in the outer harbour. Silting is still a problem, entry for a 2-meter draft yacht would have been problematic when we were there. The eastern-most outer wall was completely silted up for a 30m stretch. Also a swell comes in if there are SE winds. In short, don't count on getting a berth here, especially in high season!
  • July 2016' – The situation here gets more and more worser. It's no more a marina, it is called "Fishermans resort", but full filled with more than 25 catamarans for daily tourist cruisings with booked places. No space for sailyachts. Remarkable, because it was once supported by the EU with 3,2 Mio €. The other worth problem, the harbour entrance ist only 1,90 to 2,00 meter deep, the entrance in the inner circle only 1,60 meter. And, there no more a boye at the riff. It is a pity!!
  • September 2016 – Vlikadha Marina does have some space for yachts, if you're happy to raft up. It's an overnight base for a great number of day-tripper catamarans; try and avoid the rush hour.
Santorini Marina
Approach to the Marina
Chart of Skala

Skala Thíra

Skala Thíra/wiki/Santorini#Skala_Th.C3.ADra
Harbour icon Skala Thíra [[Santorini#Skala Thíra|Skala Thíra]] (Σκάλα Θήρα) 36°25′N, 25°25.5′E

Skala Thíra or Skala Fira (Σκάλα Φηρά) is the main harbor and where the cruise ships call. It is not really a harbor but a quay. There is a lot swell into the bay. The shelter is not great. It is too deep here to anchor so, yachts tie to one of two buoys and go stern-to. The problem here is that when a boat wants to depart, the boats on the outside have to untie. Under these conditions it is hard to leave your boat unattended and go sight seeing. It may be preferable to use another anchorage.

Going up to the town one can either take the cable car or the more picturesque mules. Local legend has it that the souls of "bad people," when they die, become these mules that ferry the tourist up the windy path.
Skala Thíra
Skala, the harbor of Fira

Athinios

Athinios/wiki/Santorini#Athinios
Harbour icon Athinios [[Santorini#Athinios|Athinios]] 36°23.198'N, 025°25.720'E
This is a small commercial harbor about 3 nM S of Skala. It is usually crowded with small cargo ships.

Monolithos

Monolithos/wiki/Santorini#Monolithos
Harbour icon Monolithos [[Santorini#Monolithos|Monolithos]] 36°24.692'N, 025°29.173'E
This is a small harbor on the E coast of the island. The shelter here is reasonable but there is some swell with the meltemi. The rough breakwater has 2-3 m depths. Go bows-to with a long line at the extremity of the breakwater.

Marinas & Yacht Clubs

The "new" Santorini Marina at Vlikadha at southern tip of the island has been semi-operational for at least 10 years.

Anchorages

Moorings at Oia

Oia

Oia/wiki/Santorini#Oia
Anchorage icon Oia [[Santorini#Oia|Oia]] (Οία) 36°27.533'N, 025°22.597'E

This is the anchorage of Oia and Finikia. It is a reasonably shelter from the meltemi but there is almost always some swell. There is a small pier with about 6 m depth but it usually crowded with fishing boats. Anchor off at 10-20 m depth. The bottom is rocky so use a trip line or be prepared to dive in case the anchor gets fouled.

Alternatively, there are about eight buoys, one or more of which may be free for a short stay. Just south-east of Oia are a number of smaller buoys, plus some huge ones, to which one may be able to tie up.

Oia is also referred to by the locals as Pano Meria (Upper place).

Cape Akrotiri

Cape Akrotiri/wiki/Santorini#Cape_Akrotiri
Anchorage icon Cape Akrotiri [[Santorini#Cape Akrotiri|Cape Akrotiri]] 36°21.154'N, 025°22.388'E
On the S of Cape Akrotiri there are a few coves, sheltered from the meltemi. Again there seems to be some constant swell. Anchor in 4-5 m. Good holding. This maybe a good place to stop for visiting the Akrotiri excavation. Untenable with strong S winds.

Red Beach

Red Beach/wiki/Santorini#Red_Beach
Anchorage icon Red Beach [[Santorini#Red Beach|Red Beach]] 36°20.899'N, 025°23.641'E
Red Beach, a couple of miles to the west of Vlikhada marina, is a safe anchorage, but you'll suffer uncomfortable rolling. The numerous tourists on the beach and cats in the bay will completely disappear at sunset. Untenable with strong S winds.

36°20.818N; 25°24.001E - Anchorage - Ancient Akrotiri Excavation. Untenable with strong S winds. Anchor in 5-meter water outside private mooring buoys. Sand bottom, good holding. Dinghy dock behind small breakwater at "The Dolphins" taverna. Private dock; ask for permission and eat in restaurant at some point. Rocks near breakwater; lift motor and row last 20 meters. Bus stop: "Red Beach", 200m E of the taverna, at the doorstep of the Excavation.

36°22.213N; 25°29.074E - Anchorage - Kamari Beach. Refuge from SW winds, possibly S. Untenable with E. Anchor in 6-meter water outside private mooring buoys. Some locals anchor SW of the waypoint, very close to where mountain and beach meet. Sand bottom, good holding. No dock, tender must be beached either SW of waypoint or W of waypoint in the access lanes between allocated sunbed spaces. Many dozens of restaurants on beach.

36°23.646N; 25°23.175E - Anchorage - Palaia Kameni. Anchor in 5-meter water, sand and scoria. No risk of fouled anchor as any stones are small. You should be able to see your anchor resting on bottom from your own deck, in daylight. Incredible views. Stayed here in modest 15 kn N wind well sheltered in flat water.

Amenities

Facilities
Water N/A (Not Available)
Electricity N/A
Toilets N/A
Showers N/A
Laundry The Pelican Laundry off the main square in Fira has same day service
Garbage There are many bins
Supplies
Fuel he restaurant over the cliff from the "marina" can arrange for a delivery
Bottled gas ?
Chandlers None
Services
Repairs N/A
Internet In Internet cafés
Mobile connectivity Good signal
Vehicle rentals Many agencies the town of Fira. The restaurant over the cliff from the "marina" can arrange for a car rental.

Provisioning

  • There are a number of food stores in Fira
  • The tiny tomatoes from the island are said to be the best in Greece
  • While in Santorini one should buy some of the excellent local wines, particularly the whites

Eating out

Santorini is famous in Greece for its good food and wine. Food specialties are pseftokeftedes (false meatballs) deep-fried balls made of tomatoes, onions, and mint.

In the town of Fira there are many restaurants (sometimes it seems there is nothing else), most of them indifferent. Some of the best are reputed to be:

  • Tomates
  • The Roosters
  • Nikolas
  • Kokoroulia
  • Good food at the Archipelagos
  • Outside Fira there is Domata near Monolithos, reputed to be the best in the island
  • In Oia the well known 1800, in an old mansion and the Skala
  • The restaurant over the cliff from the "marina" are very friendly to yachtsmen and serve good food
  • Best value: the wine tastings at "Santo" Winery, S of Fira. Unbeatable views. Share the flights.
  • Best ambience: Franco's Cafe, top of the Venetian Castle, Pyrgos. Stop by for a mid-afternoon drink, stay for the views, the music, the quiet.

Transportation

There are daily flights from Athens, and ferries from Piraeus.

Tourism

History

Fresco from Akrotiri

Maybe it is its geological history of islands suddenly rising and submerging into the sea, maybe it is its because of its exquisite frescoes and other archeological sites, or its wine, or its black beaches. Maybe it is the always felt danger of angry Poseidon, the Earthshaker who has not stopped shaking this island to this day. The eruption of 1550 BC, created the great caldera and destroyed the Minoan civilization on the island, and according to some theories maybe even brought to an end the Minoan civilization in Crete. In 236 BC the volcano erupted and separated Thirasia from Thíra, in 157 BC Palea (Old) Kameni (Καμένη - burned) emerged. In 1570 AD the south coast of the island was submerged, then three years later in 1573 Mikra (Small) Kameni rose from the water to be followed in 1711-12 AD by Nea (New) Kameni. The 1866 eruption lasted for two years with a new island appearing and then sinking again. In 1925-26 another eruption joined Small and Nea Kameni into one island. The last activity was in 1956, a massive earthquake that destroyed the towns of Fira, the capital, Oia or Pano Meria, and Finikia.

According to the Mythology, Thíra was formed from a lump of earth presented to Jason by Triton which after he dropped in the Aegean became an island originally called Kalliste (the most beautiful) and Strongyle (rounded). The regular eruptions of the volcano created a rich fertile soil which attracted early inhabitants from Karia. The Karian were chased away by the Minoans. They built the town of Akrotiri which was destroyed by the eruption of 1550 BC. In 8th century BC the island was populated by Dorians who gave it its present name of Thíra. They built their capital in Mesa Vouno and they founded the city Cyrene in Libya. During the Peloponnesian War, Thíra sided with Sparta against Athens. The Macedonians Ptolemys of Egypt established here a naval base. The Byzantines built many castles on the island but in 1204 AD they lost it to the Venetians under the Crispi family. The Venetians made their capital at Skaros near Imerovigli (NE). Their patron's name was Santa Irene from which the name Santorini is derived. In 1537 the Ottomans conquered the island and held it until it became part of Greece after the 1821 War of Independence.

Places to Visit

Santorini Akrotiri2.jpg
From the Excavation at Akrotiri
Santorin Ak.jpg
From the Excavation at Akrotiri
Santorin Rest.jpg
Fira
Santorin Thira1.jpg
Inscription in Ancient Thíra
Santorin Thira2.jpg
View from Ancient Thíra
Santorin Crt2.jpg
Sulfuric fumes emanate in
Nea Kameni
Santorin Cr1.jpg
One of the Craters in Nea Kameni
Minoan Akrotiri

Akrotiri is one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean. It is open every day except on Mondays from 8:30-15:00. The firs habitation at the site dates from the Late Neolithic times (at least the 4th millennium B.C.). During the Early Bronze Age (3rd millennium B.C.), a sizeable settlement was founded and in the Middle and early Late Bronze Age (ca. 20th-17th centuries B.C.) It was extended and gradually developed into one of the main urban centers and ports of the Aegean. The large extent of the settlement (ca. 20 hectares), the elaborate drainage system, the sophisticated multi-storeyed buildings with the magnificent wall-paintings, furniture and vessels, show its great development and prosperity. The various imported objects found in the buildings indicate the wide network of its external relations. Akrotiri was in contact with Crete but also communicated with the Greek Mainland, the Dodecanese, Cyprus, Syria and Egypt. The town's life came to an abrupt end in the last quarter of the 17th century B.C. when the inhabitants were obliged to abandon it as a result of severe earthquakes. The eruption followed. The volcanic materials covered the entire island and the town itself. These materials, however, have protected up to date the buildings and their contents, just like in Pompeii.

The first clues that something important may be buried here came in the 1860's during the excavation of pumice for the rebuilding of Port Said during the construction of the Suez Canal: cut stone blocks belonging to ancient walls kept getting in the way. A French geologist, Fouqué, who came to Thíra to study the 1866 volcano eruption, started digging and unearthed carbonized food, vases, frescoes, and a pure copper saw. In 1967 the Greek archeologist, Spyros Marinatos, following his theory that the palaces in Crete were destroyed by the tsunami caused by the cataclysmic 17th century B.C. Eruption of Thíra, started a serious excavation at this site. Originally, his trenches yielded disappointing results until the digging reached below the volcanic ash. Suddenly they exposed rooms full of huge storage vases, 3500 year old three story houses with sophisticated drainage systems, imprints of elaborate wooden furniture, and the most stunning of all: rooms decorated my vivid magnificent frescoes. Some of these can be seen at the site, for the rest one must visit National Archaeological Museum of Athens (they are now slowly brought back in a the new Museum of Prehistoric Thera).

The town of Thíra

Thíra or Fira is the capital of the island. It is zoo! Totally overrun by tourists. Nevertheless the view of the crater from the town is out of this world. The town was almost completely destroyed by the 1956 earthquake. The rebuilt concrete houses are not the original, yet, they have maintained their Cycladic architecture with their white washed curves and blue domed churches.

In town there is the Archaeological Museum of Thíra (open daily except Mondays from 8:30-15:00) has some nice Early Cycladic figurines but the most significant finds from Akrotiri are either in Museum of Prehistoric Thera or in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. The Megaron Gyzi Museum (open daily from 10:30-13:30 and 17:00-20:00) is a beautiful 17th century mansion and house a collection manuscripts, old maps, costumes, and photographs that illustrate the island's history. Finally, there is the Folklore Museum (open daily from 6:00-8:00) is in a 1861 cave-house and shows the owner's family her looms.

Ancient Thíra

Ancient Thíra, the Classical city of the island is located on Mesa Vouno, 396 m. above sea level. It was founded in the 9th century B.C. by Dorian colonists whose leader was Theras, and continued to be inhabited until the early Byzantine period. It was excavated in the 19th century. Many of the excavated houses still have their mosaics and graffiti dated from 800 BC. Also here are some Cyclopean walls.

Nea Kameni

Here is the still active Metaxá crater. It last erupted in 1950 and it still spews some steam. It is not as imposing, however, as the craters in Niseros.

Ayios Nicolaos

Ayios Nicolaos Marmarites at Emporeio Grave monument in the shape of a small, square temple (4.18 x 3.59 m.) built entirely of grey marble. It is preserve intact, up to the roof, which is made of marble slabs and is supported by three monolithic marble posts inside the building. The entrance is located on the south side. A small niche inside the tomb, flanked by small Ionic columns supporting a Doric architrave, sheltered the statue of the goddess. The structure is dated to the 3rd century B.C. According to the inscription carved below the niche, the temple was dedicated to the goddess Basileia and was used as a family tomb. The monument has now been converted into a Christian church, dedicated to St. Nicholas and has been called "Marmarites" (of the marble) after the building material of Emporeio.

Eleusis

The ruins of ancient Eleusis, near Cape Exomitis,are submerged and one can see them by snorkeling. Nearby, at the cape, is the best-preserved Byzantine fortress.

Friends

Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

Forums

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

Links

References

See Greece.

Comments

We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

  • April 2014 we managed to tie up at the marina and then hired a car from the restaurant at the top of the cliff for 35 euro. Had a delightful day touring the whole island but, I have to say, it is over-rated. The towns certainly are cute, but we found Mykonos to be more charming. The views are spectacular. The Ancient Thyra was interesting, but nothing special compared with the many historic sites one other islands - eg Rhinia#Delos, next to Mykonos. There are, or course, the enchanting white churches with blue roofs - but there are also a huge number of building skeletons - houses and apartments whose construction was started, but never completed, presumably because of the building bubble. Many of the road signs are defaced and obscured by stickers. The so-called 'red' and 'white' beaches are just tiny rock-strewn coastlines. We had hoped to be here for the Easter celebrations, but the winds detained us in Astypalea where we had a much better and more authentically Greek time! In short, though we had a delightful day, don't be too disappointed if you cannot visit because of the significant challenges of finding either a place to anchor or to tie up. Alternatively, visit Ios and take a ferry across for the day. --LifePart2 Canada Icon.png

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