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Volcano Cruise

Volcano Cruise
Volcanic lava, hot springs and amazing sunset!

Volcano Cruise

Question: What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word "Santorini"?
Answer: Volcano.
Should you miss the chance of visiting the volcano, then? I don't think so!
One can choose among different boat trips the route they prefer: morning or afternoon, with or without a guide - there is even the option of a private one, where you rent a small boat with a captain. The main advantage of it - apart from being private - is that you can stop wherever and for as much time as you want. What we decided to do was the normal boat trip that includes the volcano, the hot springs, the port of Therasia and the sunset.

Note: Click on each small image on this page for larger view

Volcano Cruise
Thera - Palea and Nea Kameni - Therassia

Volcano Cruise route

General Information & Tips

Duration: From 3 to 6 hours, depending on the cruise
Must have: Camera plus spare batteries and film/memory card, extra water, a hat, sun cream.
Do not forget:
1. Wear running shoes, not flip-flops, or else you won't be able to walk the steep, slippery and hot paths.
2. Ask beforehand if you will be allowed to leave your stuff in the boat. If not, avoid extra weight.
3. If you have no specific knowledge of geology, it might be better to book a guided boat trip.
4. If you are planning on swimming in the hot springs, prefer dark colored swimming suit and towel, unless you do not mind permanent orange marks on them.

Also view Volcano Cruise route on map

It's early afternoon, we are already on board and waiting for the boat to leave the old port. It sails at last; under the bright sun, the blue sea is sparkling and contrasts with the dim walls of the caldera that contrast with the white sheet of houses that is spreading on top of them. After about 15 minutes, you will see a black, glassy mass approaching. Welcome to Nea Kameni! Its foothills are surrounded by a strip of translucent green, as a result of the concentration of sulphur in this area.

The first steps on the volcano are on the Daphne lava, but you quickly pass on the dome of Mikri Kameni, the oldest part of the island. You will climb the slopes, walking on volcanic sand and among lava fragments and volcanic bombs. The path towards the Fouque and Smith domes is steep and hard, but it will offer you a unique view of the frozen streams of lava. Those domes are filled with volcanic bombs. From the top, you have a panoramic view of their craters and of Palea Kameni. Then, return to the path; it will lead you to the two craters of Georgios lava. Puffs of steam, smelling intensely of sulphur, are emitted from the cracks.

The walk lasts about one hour. Admittedly, it is tiring and the heat of the ground and the sun are not very helpful, it is worthwhile though. You will not meet often the opportunity of visiting anything similar. On one hand, the scenery reminds of sci-fi movies and of astronauts walking on the moon, on the other hand the surrounding caldera and the blue sea offer images of extreme beauty. Tip: If you are not on a guided tour, you can hike the path but try not to walk away the rest of the visitors for not getting lost.

After the volcano, the boat heads to the hot springs. The concentration of brimstone results in a deep orange color and the bottom is covered by sea weed - do not let that discourage you! Be prepared, the water is cold at the beginning but it gets warm as you swim towards the shore. Now is also the time to check if the mud is as good for the skin as they say!

After half an hour, you are again on board and heading towards Therasia. It looks exactly like the rest of the Santorini villages but has not such a tourist development. Depending on the trip you have chosen, you might stop there for some hour or just admire it from the port and continue your way towards Oia.

Usually, at this point, you will be offered local wine and traditional delicacies. And if you chose the afternoon route, you will have the chance of admiring the famous sunset from the ship. It does not matter if you have already seen it; looking at the sun disappearing inside the sea while you are in it, is incomparable. It is pure magic.

On your way back, you might have the option of getting off at the old port. If so, use the cable cars to return to Fira. The view is absolutely magnificent as the lights start lighting one after the other and the sea stretches in all its glory. Four minutes later, you are at Fira, full of experiences and images that your eyes will continue seeing long after you will have left this enchanting island.