A Boat Tour in Santorini
I’d booked a boat tour in Santorini before arriving on the island. The boat tour would take the group around the Caldera, which was created following a number of volcanic eruptions. Consisting of Santorini, the largest of the formed islands, the Caldera was also made up of Nea Kameni – home to the active volcano; Palia Kemeni – the island of the hot springs; and Thiraisia – an inhabited island. The tour would involve visiting all three on the day long trip, with Oia being the final stop to see the sunset.
I met the coach not far from Stelios Place. The drive to Athinios Port was approximately 25 minutes but will differ dependant on traffic and where you’re staying. A long winding road takes you to the port which is situated at the bottom of a cliff. During the drive down, you’ll get the chance to see the fantastic view towards the Aegean Sea.
The port is in a village known as Athinos. There you’ll find a couple of travel agencies for booking or picking up tickets you’ve reserved. There are several restaurants and coffee shops scattered around. If you need to get to the port there’s public transport, such as shuttle buses and of course taxis. The buses and the shuttles are cheaper, and you can also book in advance. A good place to start researching the options is the Santorini Port website.
Our sailing boat was late and after a time some passengers became restless. I ended up speaking to two Spanish girls when they asked me about the boat. It was their first time in Greece, so we chatted for a while as we waited. Shortly after our boat arrived and we set sail.
Less than 30-minute away from Athinos Port is uninhabited Nea Kameni – home to the volcanic crater. The journey to the centre of the dormant, yet active volcano is an uphill hike along a gravel pathway. It was a clear sunny day with barely a cloud in the sky. Although this made the views out to the Caldera all the more spectacular, it also meant the sun beat down on us. Without any shade, the hike up was even hotter and more tiring.
The walk up was surreal as though I was in a rocky dessert as we passed all the lava formations. It seemed as though there was no way out. The further inland we walked along the designated paths, neighbouring Palia Kameni and the villages Oia and Fira on Santorini came into view. An amazing 360-degrees across the Aegean Sea. The crisp white buildings although far away, looked beautiful and picturesque against the red-brown-black cliffs. From a distance, it reminded me of a cake – the buildings creating what would be the icing.
We were given time to wander around and everyone was taking pictures. We could see another tour group in the distance making their way up toward the crater. It was interesting to see the unusual shapes and hard to believe I was walking on an active volcano. This wasn’t something on my wish list but would definitely take its place among the really cool things I’d already done and wanted to do.
Palia Kameni – Hot Springs
Next stop was neighbouring island Palia Kameni where the famous hot springs were located. Here we’d get a bit of free time to take a swim. We were informed by the boat crew that the hot springs had temperatures of up to 35 degrees. Even though the springs constantly mixed with the cooler seawater, it would still be very warm. They also said the waters were known to have properties beneficial for your skin and even helps ailments like arthritis and rheumatism. The healing and softening properties are down to the water containing sulphur.
The real warmth of the springs is felt further out, but as swimming isn’t something I particularly enjoy, I decided to take a little dip not venturing any further than the side of the boat.
We didn’t stay long at the hot springs. Soon we were back on the boat ready for the next leg of the tour.