village in Santorini, Greece

Akrotiri (Greek: Ακρωτήρι) is a town on Thira, the largest island of the Santorini archipelago. It is on the southwestern side of Santorini and though it offers great view of the caldera and volcano, it is not as overrun by tourists like Fira and Oia. It has become famous by the discovery of an ancient Minoan settlement just outside the modern town.

Ruins of the Minoan settlement
Not to be confused with the Akrotiri region of Cyprus.

UnderstandEdit

Akrotiri is about 15 km south of Fira, on the south-western tip of Thira, the largest island of the Santorini archipelago. Built on the slopes of a hill, it is a popular travel destination because it offers spectacular views of the caldera. The top of the hill also features ruins of a 13th century Venetian castle, constructed as a defensive fortification to protect Thira from raiders. Most of the modern town is built around the castle ruins.

What Akrotiri is perhaps the most famous for is the Minoan Bronze Age settlement that was discovered 2 km to the south-east of the current town. When the Santorini volcano obliterated the former island and created the present day archipelago in ca. 1600 BCE, the Minoan settlement was buried in volcanic pumice and ashes. As a result, it was exceptionally well preserved, unlike other Minoan settlements in the Cyclades, and the Akrotiri archaeological site is considered the most valuable Minoan era scientific evidence because it was covered at the height of the Minoan civilisation. The comparison with Pompeii is often made, and rightfully so. Many artefacts were unearthed in the ruins of the Minoan town but no bodies were discovered, which suggests the Minoans had evacuated prior to the eruption.

Get inEdit

See also: Santorini#Get_in.

There are direct bus services from the Fira central bus station, which stop in the town centre (get off at 1 Akrotiri) and also directly to the 2 archaeological site where services terminate.

Get aroundEdit

Akrotori is small enough to get around by foot, even the lighthouse at cape Akrotiri can be reached within an hour walking. From the town centre, the Minoan settlement archaeological site is 2 km to the south.

SeeEdit

 
Excavations at Akrotiri
  • 1 Ancient Akrotiri (Ακρωτήρι), +302286081939, . daily 08:30-15:30; closed on Tuesdays. It was back in the end 19th century, that the volcanic Theran earth was excavated to provide first material for the construction of the Suez Canal. There have been traces of a prehistoric settlement, but it wasn’t until 1967 when the excavations at the so-called ancient Akrotiri started. The most important excavations, which brought to light multi-level buildings and masterpiece-wall paintings, were conducted by the archaeologist Spryridon Marinatos, a professor at the University of Athens. This is one of the best preserved sites all over Greece, and we owe that to the same factor that caused its destruction. After the eruption of the volcano in the 17 century BC, the whole island, and Akrotiri as well, has been covered with volcanic material. This material has, however, played a major role in the protection of the ancient settlement and especially its wall paintings. The Bronze Age remains are the most popular archaeological site on the Santorini archipelago. The entire site is covered with a giant canopy, which collapsed in 2005 and killed a tourist. The damage has since been repaired, and the site is open to visitors again since 2012. €12 regular, €6 reduced price.    
  • 2 Faros lighthouse. 24/7. An 19th century lighthouse at the far south-western tip of Thira, built by the French in 1892 making it one of the oldest in Greece. Its operation was suspended during the Second World War but recommissioned by the Greek Navy in 1945. It's a popular viewpoint for Santorini's famed sunsets. The lighthouse itself is not open to visitors because it is still in active operation by the Greek Navy. Free.    
  • 3 La Ponta Castle. 24/7. Ruins of a Venetian castle in the centre of Akrotiri. Constructed in the 13th century by the Republic of Venice, which occupied Thira in 1207, and used to fortify the island along with several other fortifications and watchtowers at key locations on the island. At the location of the castle used to be a Byzantine watchtower, and due to its excellent location, the castle became the best defensible position on Thira. The Ottomans failed to conquer the castle during the Ottoman-Venetian wars and it remained in good condition, but was reduced to rubble by the 1956 earthquake. Free.    
  • 4 Red Beach (Κόκκινη Παραλία). 24/7. Beach south of Akrotiri, with sand composed of pulverised black and red volcanic rock. The colours make it a popular bathing spot. The unstable volcanic rock is prone to landslides however, and parts of the beach are occasionally inaccessible due to landslide risks. The beach can be reached from Ancient Akrotiri by a hiking trail, approx. 800 m. The beach is extremely popular, mostly with locals, although there are no facilities such as showers available. Free.    
  • 5 White Beach. 24/7. To the east of the famous Red Beach is a black sand and pebble beach lined with white rocks, quite similar to the cliffs of Dover except for their origin which are volcanic on Thira instead of marine. The White Beach can be reached only by boat. Free.
  • 6 Caldera Beach. 24/7. A small beach with relatively deep clear waters, which makes it an excellent spot for diving and snorkeling. There is a diving school that rents out equipment. You feel like swimming in an aquarium if you go underwater here! Free.
  • 7 Old mill. 24/7. Ruins of an old wind mill. Free.
  • 8 Saint Efstathios Church (Άγιος Ευστάθιος). 24/7. Greek Orthodox church with three bell tower. Free.
  • 9 Menhir. 24/7. A lone menhir on the route to the White Beach. Free.
  • 10 Beach cave. 24/7. A natural cave. Caution: the volcanic rock is very unstable, it is not recommended to enter without a guide. Free.
  • 11 Kampia Beach. 24/7. Small pebble beach with a restaurant. Free.
  • 12 Agios Nikolaos church. 24/7. Greek Orthodox church built against the cliffs, with characteristic bell tower with 3 bells, at the start of the hiking trail to the Red Beach. Free.

DoEdit

From Akrotiri, you can walk to the Red Beach or get a boat to it, which also makes stops at the White Beach and the Black Beach. It is €5 return but you don't receive any ticket or receipt (nor do they have the means to give you one). However, there is only one boat so they trust if you come back by it, you must have come so you aren't asked to pay again, only when you leave Akrotiri. The only stop with a pier is Akrotiri so if you intend to get off, tell them explicitly or they won't know to stop (though they often ask) and be prepared to get off directly into the sea and walk through the water to get to the beach. They always stop in waters shallow enough to walk in for adults (highest it comes to is the waist) so it is possible to bring bags, but make sure you can lift them above your head.

BuyEdit

EatEdit

  • 1 The Good Heart, +306981314338. 11:00 - 23:00 daily. Traditional Santorinian cuisine.
  • 2 Panorama, +302286081183. 11:00 - 22:00 daily. Greek cuisine with, as the name suggests, a nice view over the caldera.
  • 3 The Cave of Stolidas, +302286082193. 09:00 - 23:00 daily. Greek sea food restaurant at the waterfront.
  • 4 Caldera Romantica, +302286081481. 09:00 - 23:00 daily. Mediterranean and Greek restaurant.
  • 5 Alali, Epar. Dromos Akrotiriou Kaldera, +30 2286 083388, . 13:00 - 22:30 daily. A culinary experience with a great view over the caldera. Expensive restaurant, but good choice for romantic dates.
  • 6 Glaros, +302286081168. 11:30 - 23:30 daily. Mediterranean cuisine and sea food.
  • 7 Melina's Tavern, +302286082764, . 10:00 - midnight daily. Mediterranean cuisine and sea food.

DrinkEdit

SleepEdit

  • 1 Apanemo Hotel, Akrotiri, +30 22860 82831, . Offers bed and breakfast accommodation. This is an amazing hotel. The rooms are immaculate and nicely decorated with stunning views. There is a 3-level infinity pool that looks out over the caldera view toward Fira.
  • 2 Avant Garde Suites, +30 2286028866, . Design all suite hotel with private heated jacuzzi offering magnificent views over the Caldera and the Volcano.
  • 3 Hotel Village Mathios, +302286081152. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. Hotel in a quiet location with 55 rooms and suites, 2 pools, taverna, pool-bar, and a travel agency. €65.50.
  • 4 Kalimera Hotel, +302286081855. 21 stylish and cosy hotel rooms, suites and maisonettes.
  • 5 Maison Des Lys Hotel, +302286081877. Offers romantic luxury and honeymoon suites with sea view, rooms overlooking the Caldera.
  • 6 Kokkinos Villas, +302286081941. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 11:00. Private accommodation with caldera view. €135.
  • 7 Kalestesia Suites, +302286085097. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 11:00. Private rooms around a swimming pool at the highest point of the Akrotiri hill, offering an incredible view over the caldera and Nea Kameni. The rooms have a private hot tub, incredibly romantic for stargazing at night! €110.

Go nextEdit

Take the bus back to Fira and get off at Megalochori, or walk directly to Emporio or Exomytis.

This city travel guide to Akrotiri is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.