Santorini consists of a semicircular archipelago of volcanic islands. It is located on the southern Aegean Sea, between the islands of Ios and Anafi, and is a part of the Cycladic group of islands. In Greek, Santorini is also named Thira or Thera. Its land area is 96 sq km, whereas its coastline stretches to almost 69 km. The capital of Santorini is Fira, while the main port is Athinios, which gets extremely busy in summer. Even though thousands of travelers visit the island every year, its permanent residents are around 13,500. Santorini has been prone to volcanic eruptions from ancient times. The view of the giant caldera, along with the impressive geology, reveals the dreadful volcanic activity that had taken place in the past.
The best example of Santorini's geography is the world-famous caldera, which is strongly related to the island's history. Circular in shape, it is entirely filled with water. In fact, it is the only sunken caldera in the world and resembles a lagoon, as the water depth is approximately 400 meters. This cauldron-shaped volcanic depression is surrounded by gigantic cliffs, on top of which beautiful villages have been constructed. According to geologists, the first known eruption occurred in the year 1,645 BC and was responsible for the tsunami waves that hit the northern coasts of Crete and destroyed the Minoan civilization.
There is also a theory claiming that the seismic activity of the Santorini volcano could explain the Exodus of Moses and the Israelites from Egypt. For almost 1300 years after the eruption, the volcano was completely inactive. Later, though, minor eruptions created the islands of Palea Kameni, Mikra Kameni, Macronisi, Aspronisi, and Nea Kameni. The last severe eruption occurred in 1957 when the earthquake caused the destruction of many houses and public buildings on the island. Since then, the volcano of Santorini has alerted scientists and geologists with startling proof of seismic activity over the years.
Extreme volcanic activity has formed the culture and architecture of the island. The villages of Santorini are perched on the edge of the caldera and offer breathtaking views of the sea. You can try hiking from Fira to Oia and enjoy the marvelous scenery of the island.
Discover the Map of Santorini
View the map of Santorini with the main villages, beaches, and sightseeing. Also, the location of the port and the airport. View: Map of Santorini