Visiting Ancient Thera in Santorini – Greece

I was ready to explore on my own after driving an ATV to the beaches with the others. My first ATV drive alone would be visiting Ancient Thera. It didn’t take me long at all to get there from where I was staying, and to be honest I’m glad I took the ATV. I’d definitely suggest it. Hiking is another way to get to the ruins via designated paths starting from Perissa or Kamari. While I did see a couple of people doing that, I could tell from their faces they wished they’d taken a similar option!  

Ancient Thera – a brief overview

Nestled on Mountain Mesa Vouno, which divides Perissa from the village Kamari, Ancient Thera (also spelt Thira), is one of the most popular archaeological sites to visit on Santorini island. First thought to have been inhabited by the Dorians from the 9th century BC, the city of Ancient Thera was named after the mythical ruler of the island, Theras. The ancient city consists of a mix of Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine ruins.  

Around Ancient Thera

When you reach the top of the mountain, there’s no organised car park, just the road nearby, which has limited places to park. Another good thing about driving an ATV, is that it can fit into smaller spaces making parking less of an issue.  It’s not that far to the entrance of the ruins from the parking spot.  Before you enter the ruins, take a moment to see Perissa and Kamari villages from above.  It’s a spectacular view!

There’s a lot of ground to cover. As you walk through, you’ll pass what was once the centre of the city known as Agora. This was a public meeting place for those living there.

Kamari from Ancient Thera
Kamari from Ancient Thera

The city boasted a small theatre, private houses including the House of Tyche and Oikia – both typical of Hellenic times. You’ll get a glimpse of how the city used to be and can use your imagination to create your own picture of what life there was like.  

Ancient Thera ruins
Ancient Thera ruins

Trip tips

Free visit days – although it’s not expensive to get into the ancient site, there are days when you can visit for free – useful if you’re going with a large group. Take a look at the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism website for the dates and also pricing for students and children.

Hold on tight – being so high up you’ll feel the wind even more. Keep a tight hold of everything and be careful where you step. If you’re not firm on your feet, you may get side swept!

Footwear – whether you decide to walk to Ancient Thera (good on you!) or while you’re there, make sure you’ve got decent footwear on. It’s not just about making sure you don’t slip, but you want something with a good sole on it so you’re not feeling each rock with every step you take.

Sun cream and shade – there is no shade! Make sure you have enough sun protection on or at least with you to top up. If you can, wear something to cover your shoulders and a hat or scarf for your head as well.

Stay hydrated – make sure you take a bottle of water with you to keep you hydrated as you walk around. There’s a lot to see and no shop. I visited in low season, but with temperatures of 28-30 degrees in June, it was roasting!

While you’re there enjoy the view – make sure that you spend a little time taking in the views. It’s not just the ruins that are spectacular to see. Views out to the Aegean Sea as well as below to the villages is pretty cool and worth a photo!

Combine with a trip to Kamari – visit Kamari the same day as Ancient Thera. If you’re staying in Perissa it’s a good idea.  There are tour companies you can go with, but I drove to the resort after Ancient Thera.

Hope this helps with planning your time and gives you ideas for other things to do while in Meteroa.  I’d love to know if you’re planning a trip there soon – let me know and leave a comment below!

Take a look at my post 15 views to tempt you to Santorini.

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