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Excursions in Santorini: the Caldera tour

Itinerario Firà-Oia

Part of this intinerary will be made on a kayak. Get information about departure time schedule and buy tickets in one of the agencies of the island. Generally there are two departures a day. One in the morning (it's the longest tour) and one in the afternoon.
Important: take care to put on sock and comfortable shoes as you are going to walk on the "hot Volcano", where the ground is warm. Do not forget to bring with you water and food, expecially if the tour you're going to make is the morning one.

Firà-Mesa Ghialòs: this is the pictoresque and historic street descending down the steep slopes to the Old Harbour of Santorini (you can get there also by cable car). It's also amazing going down or up the slope on the back of donkeys. These ready and willing animals will descend 587 large steps, along the Ghialoòs street, towards the port where your kayak is ready to depart.

This small harbor and its bay offer the possibility to take a quick swim (if the sea and the wind are calm). Looking northwards, the bay displays its characteristic yellowish rocks and caves which structure is due to the sea erosion.

Once departed, notice the amazing face of the Caldera behind you and its white hat, Firà, that dominates you; notice the sides of the island with its spectacular cave of and its arms that seem to hug you. After just 5 minutes sailing the sea has already reached a depth of 985 ft (it will be even deeper)

The Volcano - Nea Kameni: Once reached almost the centre of the Caldera, your kayak will pass to the right of the first big rock formed by lava: Nea Kameni. Its aspect is almost primordial, a raven-black material ... magma coming out of the Volcano and suddenly cooled off and solidified.
Once you reach the little harbor you will realize the the water is dull green because of the presence of sulphur in it.
You'll get off the boat and walk for about a hour towards the opening of the Vulcano. The road passes through a hellish landscape made of black rocks, while the closer you get to the crater the stronger the smell of sulphur is. Once you reach the area with the view of the crater, silence will take over the place and the landscape will change again. The area looks like a huge basin of "pozzolana" (that is a volcanic sand), sulphur crystals, steam and sulphur, hot ground and air... once visited the opening and before getting on board again your must is enjoying "hot springs".

From Vlcano, your next stop is Thirasia, the detached island of Caldera. During the journey you can easily notice the two different islands (Palea e Nea Kameni) forming the Volcano. Once visited Thirasia you'll cross the strait between Thirasia and Apano Merià with a stop in one of the two bays: Ammoudi or Armeni.
Going back to Firà, the kayak will sail all along the coast, from north to south, letting you admire the natural beauties of Santorini. Arrived at Mesa Ghialòs we can go back up the slope by cable car or on donkeys.

Those who choose the "Big Boat Trip", besides the Volcano, will also enjoy a walking tour of the pictoresque island of Thirasia and the enchanting sunset in Oia.

Thirasia: Thirasia is the second largest island of the Caldera, less developed and with only 245 inhabitants, mostly fishermen and farmers. The main town is indeed Thirasia and you need to climb 145 steps to reach it.
The second and most densely populated village is Potamos (93 inhabitants) located in a narrow and deep valley, with numerous "hyposkafa" houses (carved into the volcanic rock face).
Riva, the harbor of Thirasia, located in the north area, is famous for its beautiful sandy beach, its small traditional seaside taverns and the pictoresque church of Santa Irini. Curiosity: Many islanders states that the island of Santorini takes its name from the church in Riva, nevertheless, other people claim that it was one in Perissa to give the name to the island.
On the coastal road stop at Agrilià, a small village famous for the treasures of the church "Madonna from Lagkadiù".
Going southwards you will discover many churches carved into the ground and, if you head towards the southern edge of Thirasia, you'll find many other treasures: The Monastery of the “Dormition of the Holy Virgin” and an amazing view of the Caldera.
From this point, looking at the main island of Santorini, you can admire a breathtaking view of the Caldera and you will agree with who originally called this island "Stronghylì", that is "Round". A complete circle, from Oia to Akrotiri with water inside the circle, in the middle The Volcano and on the right end Aspronisi ... it looks like a ferry entering the port!

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