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Santorini, Greece (5/27/19)

Santorini has long been on our bucket list. It is what I think of when I think about a cruise to the "Greek Isles"; which is funny as Santorini is only one island out of thousands, but it holds a mystique for me. Maybe it is just the marketing and I'll end up being disappointed; at least I'll get the chance to find out. We refer to Santorini as one island, but actually it is an archipelago. It has an area of approximately 28 sq. miles and a population of 15,550 based on the 2011 census. The municipality of Santorini includes the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana with a total land area is 35 sq. miles. Santorini generally experiences two seasons. April to October is the warm and dry season and the cold and rainy season lasts from November to March. Total rainfall averages about 15 inches per year. A desalination plant provides non-potable water to help make up for the lack of rain.

This island group is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It was one island until about 1645 BC, when the volcano in the middle of the island erupted and the Caldera was created. The two volcanic islands, Nea Kameni and Palaia Kameni, appeared much later from various eruptions starting from 157 BC until the last one in the 20th century (1950.) Akrotiri, a Minoan Bronze Age settlement, was destroyed in the volcanic eruption and was buried in volcanic ash, which preserved the remains of fine Frescoes and many objects and artworks. Although the first excavations were conducted in 1867, extensive modern excavation didn't started until 1967. If you want to learn more about the either the volcano and the creation of Santorin, or Akrotiri, then check out Santorini Volcano and/or Archaeology/Akrotiri Digs on Santorini.com.

 I chose the picture below because it shows the remaining portion of the rim of the caldera as well as the iconic white houses with blue roofs that cover the island. This bay is also where our ship will anchor. Not sure what time of the day this picture was taken, it is either early or late in the day as it looks like the sun is ether rising or setting. Our ship doesn't leave until 10:00 PM, so we will have the opportunity to see one of the magical sights of Santorini - the sunset.

Santorini Pic

Santorini is a tender port. There are two spots where the tender boat can drop you within the caldera: Fira and Athinos. The more interesting drop off point is Skala Fira, the small port below the capital, Fira (also known as Thira). Thira dates from the 9th century and lies atop 1,000-foot cliffs at the edge of the caldera. You can reach it by funicular, bus or by going up the steep, winding steps the fun way -- by donkey! Some ships transfer their passengers direct to Athinos, the ferry port, from where there are bus transfers to the top.

EXPLORE THE PORT:

Santorini Cruise Port Page - Cruise Critic port page for Santorini

Santorini Attractions & Activities - Tripadvisor's Things to do in Santorini, with a ranked list of attractions and activities.

Frommer's Santorini - a well respected travel guide, has their take on Santorini, with lots of links to explore.

Lonely Planet's Santorini - Lonely Planet's list of things to do in Santorini.

Tours by Locals Santorini - Explore the stunning island nation of Santorini with a friendly local guide. Experience Santorini through the eyes of a local private guide! Browse our tour 'suggestions' - each can be customized just for you.

Viator's Santorini Tour Offerings - Viator is a consolidator, meaning that they source tour companies and resell them. What is nice is that you can pay in USD with your credit card before you leave home. I've used them in a few places and was very pleased. If you can find the company they are using to book directly, you can save a bit.

Santorini Port Guide - Tom Sheridan has created a series of Port Guides for ports around the world. They are in PDF format; thus, can be loaded on your tablet, or printed, to have handy. Tom's website is tomsportguides.com, where he gives travel tips and explains how to best use his guides

Santorini.com - Everything you wanted to know about Santorini can be found here, you just need to explore the links.

Greek Islands - An older Rick Steves' episode on the Greek Islands. It is a med-def (480P) video that starts with Santorini. It gives you a great introduction to Santorini and two other Greek Islands.

15 Things to do in Santorini - A ~5-min, hi-def video tour of Santorini. It has music and narration. A nicely produced and professional video.

Santorini Travel Guide - A 15-min, hi-def video guide to Santorini. A narrated guide to the island. It is very different from what Rick Steves does, but very informative. It is by David Hogg of santorinidave.com.

More to come...

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