black beach | akrotiri excavations | red beach | faros | profet elias monastry | pyrgos village | megalochori village | oia village
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On the southeast coastline of Santorini there are two successive beaches, Perissa Beach and Perivolos Beach, which basically form one lengthy beach that is famous for the black volcanic sand. The past volcanic eruptions have formed the island and have given it its distinctive characteristics that made it a special, gifted place. The volcanic nature of Santorini is obvious on its beaches and the Black Sand Beach, as the two aforementioned beaches are used to be called, is the main representative. The refreshing, crystal-clear waters along with the impressive landscape make it one of the best and most popular beaches in Santorini.
The prehistoric city of Akrotiri was the center of a brilliant civilization that reached its heyday between 1550-1500 BC. It was inhabited from the Neolithic Age to 1500 BC, when a devastating eruption destroyed everything. The wealth and the quality of houses bear testament to the city’s prosperity and a flourishing way of life. The sophisticated houses were spacious, multistoried, made of stones and mud and they were accordant to the Cycladic architecture. The upper stories had large windows and imposing murals, whereas the basements were used as storerooms and workshops. Along the city, there were narrow, stone-paved streets, squares and an elaborate drainage system.
Red Beach is without a doubt worth a visit considering that it is a rare sight, probably unique in the whole world, where red is the dominant color. It is enclosed by steep red hills that create a captivating, wild scenery. If you stand on the top you will set eyes on enormous volcanic rocks situated in the sea, small pebbles and sand of various colors, mainly red, all along the beach and appealing dark blue waters. This wonderful palette of contrasting colors will mesmerize you. Another natural marvel the volcano created.
Faros is the beacon of Santorini island and it is located at the area of Akrotiri village. The tower of the flashlight is 10 meters tall and its light reaches 100 meters. The local people claim that the sunrise at the Faros location is unique. The beacon of Akrotiri was constructed in 1892 by a French flashlight construction company. At the beginning, the flashlight needed crude oil as fuel. During the Second World War the beacon was closed and it reopened in 1945 when the forces of the Greek Navy started the reorganization of the flashlight network of Greece.
The Monastery of Profitis Ilias stands on the highest peak of the island at an altitude of 567 meters above the sea level. It is located three kilometers away from the village Pyrgos in Kalliste, in the southeastern part of Santorini. The mountain of Prophet Elias is the highest peak of the island. It stands 567 meters above the sea level and, together with Mesa Vounos, the hill of Gavrilos (Emporeios), and the Monolithos rock, forms the pre-volcanic segment of Santorini. At its top, the Monastery of Profitis Ilias (or Prophet Elias), counts among the island’s oldest and most important Orthodox landmarks.
Just seven and half kilometers south of Fira, a different side of Santorini emerges, an aspect that harkens back to the picturesque Greek villages of yesteryear. Here, the pace of life is more relaxed; cats stroll in the alleys, families dress up in their Sunday best to go to church, and piano lessons can be heard through the open windows of the cultural society. The main square, with its tall pine trees and quaint little coffee shops, is the focal point for socializing and entertainment. Regardless of the season, its busiest time is noon, when people gather for ouzo or Santorinian beer accompanied by excellent local meze.
Megalochori is one of the most picturesque villages on the island. Its existence is recorded back to the 17th century. Home to historical mansions, old traditional houses, pirate hideaways and wine canavas, it has a history of merchants and wealthy land barons exporting Vinsanto wine that the island still produces. A prominent feature of the historical homes and mansions are the high walls, inner courtyards and solid wooden door entrances, built for privacy and for safety against marauding pirates. A great effort is been made by local residents and businessmen to preserve the characteristics and beauty of this traditional settlement, and many of the original houses that had fallen into disrepair, have been restored to their former glory.
Oia is the most beautiful village of Santorini that recently started looking like a glamorous town, every day gathering thousands of people longing for seeing the famous Oia sunsets. Oia is located 11 km away from Fira and is a pedestrian town. Most of the visitors come here to admire its unique architecture, captains’ houses, Blue Domes, cave houses and the sunset. You can see crowds of people here any time of the day, for it’s a must to see if you are in Santorini. Otherwise you’ll have to come back! Oia is famous for its chic and expensive restaurants and a great shopping, too. The truth is that in this town you can find all the beautiful, quality, expensive and exclusive goods. Santorini is being visited by all the famous and important personalities of the whole world regularly, therefore every expensive world famous brand is presented here.