The dramatic island of Santorini is truly unique in the world. Walking through the streets of its whitewashed villages, perched high on cliffs above the sea, is an almost other-worldly experience!
These Santorini t-shirts are a fun souvenir of the unique island that inspired them. Click on any design to see a choice of colors and styles on high quality apparel for both men and women.
Shop for beautifully designed Santorini gifts and merchandise such as these mugs and beach totes.
Santorini Framed Prints
An exciting collection of photographic framed prints, perfect for introducing a bit of international flair to your home or office. All prints are custom manufactured using archival inks and acid-free paper. Framed prints are matted and framed in a stylish black frame that includes complete backing. Frame size: 19" x 15". Select for more details.
Large Framed Print
Large Framed Print
Santorini is...living on the edge
Villages perched on volcanic cliffs high above the sea will make you feel like you're suspended between heaven and Earth!"
Blue domes and white buildings perched on the edge of a sea cliff...this is the typical picture of Santorini that has graced the walls of tourist offices around the world for decades. It's partly because santorini is the epitome of what many people imagine a greek island to be: charming villages of whitewashed buildings under a cobalt sky, with the blue sea all around.
Yet Santorini goes a few steps further when it comes to visual drama, because the entire little grouping of islands are the remnants of an enormous exploded volcano. What used to be a single, round volcanic island had the center blasted out. The sea rushed in, creating a huge central lagoon which is rimmed by steep cliffs that face the center. The whole cataclysm resulted in one of the largest volcanic calederas on Earth. Today, the island's villages have been built along the rim of the cliffs, with stunning views of the lagoon from 300 meters above the sea! Much of your time in Santorini will be spent gazing at one of the most impressive spectacles in the world.
The gathering of people to watch the sunset over the caldera has become something of a nightly ritual, and the villages of Santorini have plenty of restaurant terraces where you can sip cocktails or have a meal while the sun puts on its show.
When the eruption occurred around 1600 B.C., it destroyed the sophisticated ancient society that lived there, and many people believe pre-explosion Santorini is the root of Plato's writings about Atlantis.
The Boxers, part of a mural discoverd at Akrotiri
These theories are supported by the discovery of an ancient city, Akrotiri, which had been buried in the volcanic ash from the explosion. You can visit the site to see what has been uncovered from the ash, which includes enough streets, buildings, and artifacts to be called the "Pompeii of the Aegean". This was a thriving civilization from roughly 3000 to 1600BC, and the people living here were so advanced that they had a plumbing system bringing fresh water to each house. Pipes running in twin systems carried both hot and cold running water, and lavatories on upper floors of the buildings had a drainage system that took waste away from the home.
Archeologists have also found colorful wall murals and decorations at Akrotiri. These include depictions of religious ceremonies, exotic animals, flowers, fishermen, boats, and more. Looking at them gives the impression of a peaceful, sophisticated, nature-loving people that lived here. It isn't hard to imagine that their island was indeed the Atlantis of legend.
For tourist season 2009 to 2010, the archeological site at Akrotiri is closed, as repairs are made on a collapsed roof that was sheltering the site. In the meantime, if you're interested in seeing outstanding artifacts from the dig, visit the Archeological Museum of Thira, or the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
Modern day fairy tale
Looking West from an Oia terrace
The architecture of Santorini gives the impression of being in another world. You navigate among hotels, houses, and restaurants that are built into the edges of the cliffs with balconies and terraces that cascade downward for several hundred feet toward the sea.
Paths and stairs curve along the contours of the cliff, leading from one level to the next. Most everything is whitewashed or given various colors made from local volcanic ashes. Rooms with smooth curving walls are dug right into the cliffs, overlooking the giant volcanic lagoon.
This sensuous, almost fairy-tale architecture seems suspended in the sky, and the whole ambience has made Santorini a world famous destination. People come here and find it easy to escape from the every day world.
Village of Oia
The main town of Fira is full of shops, restaurants, services, and nightclubs. If you're interested in partying all night and want to be in the middle of all the action, Thira is the place to stay. Boutiques sell everything from hand made pottery to clothing and jewelry, so you won't have any problem finding a unique souvenir of the island. Each day, passengers from the cruise ships that dock below the town arrive in large numbers, and each night the bars and discotheques are swinging until late at night.
In contrast, Oia is a smaller, more laid back town on the northwestern tip of Santorini. Many people consider it even prettier than Fira, and it's location has made it a favorite spot for watching the sunset. Upscale accommodations and a quieter atmosphere have made this a favorite town for honeymooners or couples desiring a romantic getaway.
Santorini has several beaches to choose from. the most famous is Red Beach, near Akrotiri, which is composed of red and black volcanic pebbles that give it a striking and unusual appearance. Kamari and Perissa beach are long, black sand beaches with plenty of nearby accommodation for those more interested in staying at the beach than in one of the cliff villages. One of my personal favorites is Vlychada Beach, because the full length of the beach is backed by unusually shaped volcanic rock formations.
There is a small but flourishing wine industry on Santorini, so another popular thing to do is to visit a winery, where you can observe how wine has been produced on this island for centuries. The way they grow the grapes here is very unusual. The vines are trained to grow in spirals which form low lying basket shapes, with the fruit hanging inside where it's protected from the winds."Nea Kameni", The New Furnace
if you're the adventurous type, take an excursion to the island of Nea Kameni in middle of the lagoon. This is the lava dome at the center of current volcanic activity. It's like taking a trip to the surface of another planet. You ascend through a smoldering, barren and rocky landscape to the volcanic crater, where wisps of steam and sulfur rise from the earth.
Before the boat brings you back to the main island you have the chance to swim in a shallow area where natural hot springs release minerals into the sea. They give the water an unusual yellow-green color. In any case, the swim is refreshing after having climbed through the hellish landscape to the top of the crater.
The truth is that this is still an active volcano. The twentieth century saw three eruptions, the last being in 1950. Right now it's just releasing steam and sulphur, but it will almost certainly erupt again in the future. I'm hoping the next violent eruption doesn't happen any time soon, so visitors can continue to enjoy this incredibly beautiful place.
Santorini in Video and Film
Movies filmed in Santorini, with links to Amazon.com (DVD orders are fulfilled separately by Amazon):
Summer Lovers (Full Screen Edition) was filmed in Santorini in 1982, with some additional scenes shot in Mykonos and Crete. It's about a young couple spending the summer in Santorini, and the French girl whom they befriend...a situation which leads into a love triangle as rocky as the Santorini landscape.
This is a fun movie that might be described as a guilty pleasure...not that deep by any means, but irresistable for the attractive characters (including a young Darryl Hannah and Peter Gallagher), stunning scenery of Santorini, and bouncy 80's soundtrack.
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 1 & 2 is the story of four girls and how they spend their summer vacation, named after a pair of jeans that mysteriously fit all of them and which they mail between them as the plot develops.
This link goes to the double feature DVD that includes both parts 1 and 2. It's included here because of the storyline of one of the girls which is filmed in Santorini. She's sent to stay with Greek relatives but ends up falling in love with a guy whose family has been involved in a generational feud with her own. The situation provides plenty of laughs and the Santorini scenery is beautifully shot.
Village of OIa
OIa transportation system