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Volcano Sunset Cruise

Volcano Sunset Cruise
A "must do" tour around Santorini

Volcano Sunset Cruise

Set an appointment with your friends in the traditional small port of Vlihada at 16:30. There you will find a cozy wooden boat named Panormitis. Panormitis is waiting for your landlubber feet to step on its sea water cleaned wooden deck and feel the sea's soft swing, almost like a lullaby. Then you will realize that you should have taken this tour from the first moment you came to the island.

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

Volcano Sunset Cruise route

General Information & Tips

Cruise Departure from: Vlihada Port
Departure Time: 16:30
Arrival Time & Place: 21:30 at Vlihada Port
Duration: 5 hours
Briefly: You get to see all the South beaches of the island (Vlihada Katavati, Chanades, Almira, Akrotiri, Kokkini, Aspri). Swim at Mesa Pigadia. Meet Palea and Nea Kameni (volcano). Stop at the hot springs. Then sail along Imerovigli and Fira and watch the sunset outside Akrotiri.
Supplies: Be organized and bring bathing suite, towels, sun cream, sun glasses, something warmer to wear during the sunset and a hat. You can also bring water and some food of your choice, even though food and drinks are served on board.
Must have: Camera plus spare batteries and film/memory card.

Also view Volcano Sunset Cruise route on map
Panormitis Boat

The crew, John and Panagiotis, will make sure your stay on the boat is fun, comfortable and relaxing. All you have to do is lay under the sun and enjoy Santorini's beauty as you see it from the sea.

The boat sails at 16:45 when everybody is on board. At the beginning you really do not want to leave because the harbor seems so nice and hospitable. But then again, the "smell" of the open sea puts your feelings aside and replaces them with your wide open pupil.

The cruise goes along the beach of Vlihada. What a great opportunity to admire the "alien" figures that the volcanic rocks create as they play with the sun light! A few minutes later, you meet a beautiful and distinctive beach bar called Theros. You also notice some cave houses built inside the volcanic rocks.

You pass across Katavati, Chanades, Almira and Akrotiri beach. Akrotiri beach stands below the Prehistoric City of Akrotiri. And then you meet the impressive Kokkini (red) beach. No wonder why it is called red! The rocks produce these colors and formations due to the Scoria cones, also known as cinder cones, introducing the most common type of volcano. Scoria cones are generated by the so-called Strombolian eruptions. Strombolian eruptions are discrete explosions of relatively fluid lava from a single vent.

As you pass along Kabia beach the scenery changes colour from lava red to ash white. The tall rocks are really impressive and your camera should start picturing. Then you meet the small Aspri (white) beach. A small beach that gets crowded during high season (July and August).

John reminds you that you are getting closer to your first stop. It is time for a swim into the crystal waters of Mesa Pigadia. The water is very cold but if you chose to make the dive, you will be rewarded. The sound of the splashing waters is followed by a cry of surprise when you instantly realize that the water is much colder than you expected. Few minutes later, your body breaks in the temperature and you start to realize the rejuvenating effect of these waters. After you dry, do not lose the opportunity to take pictures of the wonderful sedimentary rocks that frame the beautiful scenery.

Later on, you get to meet the left cheek of the so called "Indian" rock; a funny figure that looks like a character drawn by Morris, the artist who created Lucky Luke. As you pass along the "Indian", you meet the southwest edge of the island, Akrotiri; a huge rock with a beautiful lighthouse sitting on top of it, just like a crown on a king's head.

Panormitis then draws away from the land to meet your next stop, the volcano. You pass a bit far from Aspronisi, a lonely uninhabited island, a remnant of the Minoan volcanic eruption. Aspronisi (White Island) is covered by the volcanic ash and despite its small altitude - 60 meters - it is very difficult to walk on it. Then you meet Palea Kameni! The volcanic island was created long after the Minoan volcanic eruption probably after 197 BC, when the volcanic activity started again. The boat slows down at the oldest part of Palea Kameni, a curt tall rock (103 meters high) called by geologists "Schmidt's cut". For a moment the sun is hidden by the tall rock and you sail under the ancient shadow.

Then we sail between Palea and Nea Kameni to stop at the hot springs. Nea Kameni is the youngest volcanic island of the caldera. It was created at 1707 AD by the fusion of the materials emerged from the volcanic eruption. On the highest part of the island lies the distinctive volcano's crater. The hot springs exist deep into the sea between Palea and Nea Kameni. When the sea is calm you can distinguish them by their yellow-green color and the high temperature of the water.

The bay is rather crowded since many groups of visitors want to swim into the therapeutic full of minerals waters, but a great place to take photos and have some wine and snacks. John serves you white wine and food. The tomatoes and olives are natural, local and tasteful dishes. You can skip the rest and enjoy the wine.

Behind the black lava rocks of Nea Kameni rises your final destination, Fira. Sailing towards Fira you will probably meet the huge cruise ships that dock between the foot of Fira and Nea Kameni. You reach cape Tourlos and the famous area of Skaros which stands some hundred meters above your head. On top of the rock lays Theoskepasti church. It is time for your camera to make its money worth. The view is amazing! Whole villages like Imerovigli, Firostefani and Fira stand high over the volcanic rocks that look like a pile of pancakes filled with cherry and white chocolate. A gigantic cake with the cities playing the role of cream, a sight that you can never have enough!

As you sail along the cliffs you pass Fira and find Athinios Bay, Santorini's old port. The cable cars look so small and insignificant like a child's toy. The docks and the houses built inside the rocks create a magnificent scenery.

So far, time has passed so quickly that it seems almost impossible that the sun is starting to faint into the sea. Panormitis starts its return course with a final stop in the middle, maybe the most important stop of the cruise, to gaze at the sunset. John and Panagiotis sails you towards the right cheek of the "Indian". Even though you have passed from the same spots a few hours ago, the scenery seams different. The colors have changed and the formations of the rocks look different, lights and shadows play a new game.

After you have taken pictures of the magnificent rocks the trip pauses outside Akrotiri. John puts classical and new age music on the boat's speakers and your senses take off. Take a moment to embed the scenery and when the sun vanishes you can turn around to see the moon emerging from the sea. A rather difficult moment to capture with your camera but give it a try - you might be lucky!

Feeling full from the overdose of natural beauty, you return to the starting point. Vlihada's harbor is dressed up with its night garment. The small port looks clean, shiny and ready to celebrate. The lights give color to the dark waters and the festive scenery is the final material for your exhausted camera and your satisfied eyes and soul.