Visit the unique volcano of Santorini

Find at Emporio 847 03, call us on 694 457 7918 and book Santorini tours. There is no other island in the world like Santorini and its uniqueness is mainly due to the volcano.

It is one of the most important volcanoes in the world and attracts the interest of dozens of scientists who visit the island along with other tourists to see it up close and observe it thoroughly. After all, this volcano was born from the sea and significantly influenced the geological form of the entire Eastern Mediterranean – of course, also human life and activity in the area.

The Santorini volcano is active and was formed millions of years ago. It belongs to the volcanic arc of the Aegean (along with the volcanoes of Methana, Milos and Nisyros) and was formed as the African tectonic plate sinks under the Eurasian one. The great eruption that occurred during the Prehistoric Era and is known as the Minoan Eruption is considered the largest in world history, along with the 1815 eruption of the Tambora volcano in Indonesia.

Since then the Santorini volcano has erupted many times over the centuries, constantly changing the image of the island, creating and destroying various small islands around its perimeter.

When the locals say volcano today, they mean the small island of Nea Kameni, almost in the center of the circular perimeter formed by Santorini, Thirasia and Aspronisi. In Nea Kameni, after all, one can see vapors coming out of the bowels of the earth, while only about 60 years ago its most recent lands were formed, during the eruption of 1950. Right next to it, Palaia Kameni is the island that was formed before from about 2,000 years ago, during the eruption of 47 AD.

Both islets of the volcano can be visited and one can even walk on them and reach the steams of Nea Kameni or swim in the warm waters of Palaia, where sulfur is released, coloring them yellowish.

Scientists of all specialties closely monitor the activity of the volcano, as it is naturally active but also because it is considered that the Santorini Complex, which includes the two oceanic volcanoes of Palaia and Nea Kameni and an underwater volcano, Kouloumbo, is the most active part of the volcanic arc of the Aegean.

The Minoan explosion

During prehistoric times, the Santorini volcano was rocked by a terrifying eruption. At that time the island had a roughly round shape – it was the island called Strogyli and which today we estimate had approximately the area “formed” by Santorini, Thirasia and Aspronisi.

The eruption submerged and dissolved most of it, creating the Santorini caldera as we know it today. It is considered one of the largest volcanic eruptions in human history and scientists compare it only to the one in Indonesia in 1815. It was called “Minoan” because for many years scientists had adopted the theory of archaeologist Spyros Marinatos, that the Santorini volcano and the huge tsunami that was caused immediately after was the cause of the destruction of the Minoan Civilization in Crete.

However, according to modern radio dating methods, the eruption of the Santorini volcano occurred at the end of the 17th century BC, and more specifically in 1613 BC. In contrast, the Minoan Civilization survived, albeit in decline, for at least another century.

The eruptions of the volcano during the historical years

Although the historical sources have not all survived, we do know that the Santorini volcano erupted several times over the centuries – none of these eruptions, however, came close to the Minoan Eruption.

The account of the eruption by the Jesuit traveler Father Tarillon is a great opportunity to understand, for those who have not seen the volcano erupt in life, what a volcanic eruption means.

Visit the volcano

Today, visitors to Santorini have the opportunity not only to look down on the volcano from the cliff of the caldera or to see it by sea from closer, but also to walk it, to reach the places where even today steam still comes out, or to swim in the warm waters around both Palaia and Nea Kameni.

Boats to the volcano depart both from Gialos, the old port of Santorini below Fira, Athinio, the modern port of the island, but also from Amoudi, the port of Oia. The first stop is Nea Kameni, where visitors can disembark and walk the crater – as long as they are prepared for both the uphill climb and the very high temperatures, with a hat, sneakers, sunscreen and water to be considered necessary.

The island, like Palaia Kameni, has been included in the natura program. Afterwards, the boats usually depart for Palaia Kameni, where visitors can dive into the warm waters with a yellowish color due to the sulfur. These tours usually end with a stop in Thirasia, before returning to Santorini.

A unique life experience is visiting the volcano of Santorini, which, although active, can be visited.

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Thai gilr living in New York and work as a part time editor on news magazines.