It is bookable as a private guided tour on the island. In this case you get to decide the time you would like to start the tour with your private tour guide. We pick you up from a place of your choice and drop you off at the end.
If you are looking for a private shore excursion from your cruise ship, this tour is the perfect choice for you as well. After your ship docks in Santorini you will be tendered to the old port of the island, where you can find the cable car to get up to the village where we would meet you to start the best private shore excursion in Santorini.
An excursion in Santorini based to your needs!
Santorini does not only offer an amazing view to the caldera, the volcano and unique sunsets. There is so much more in Santorini: its beautiful old villages are full of stories you'll be delighted to hear. Its Venetian castles "carry" their history with them, while the beautiful, pure black-lava, sandy beaches around the island lead into the Aegean sea. Santorini's traditional taverns offer delicious local dishes, and its agriculture cannot find be found anywhere else. The island's churches and chapels are built into the Volcanic rocks. These are only some of the must sees in Santorini, and we are here to guide you to each sight and place, making sure your tour is interesting and fun.
As far as what you can do? You can help us by letting us know of your tastes, interests and special queries, so that we can adjust the must sees and dos of Santorini to your preferences! Choose from the variety of themes below and let us know how to make your experience unique!
Let us show you the traditional villages of Santorini like Megalochori, the "Big Village" close to the ferry port Athinios, which is the center of the wine industry, with a very unusual bell tower spanning over the main street.
Or we can wander through Emporio, the "Pirate Catch", which is one of the few non-touristic villages of Santorini, where the narrow labyrinthine paths used to lead the indruders into their captivity. Explore Kamari, the "youngest" village of Santorini, built on the black volcanic beach after the big earthquake of 1956, which nowadays offers its guests a well-organized, stone-paved promenade along the beach.
Or we can visit Mesa Gonia, where you can discover the old cave houses which were destroyed by the same earthquake and abandonned. Here, we even have the opportunity to taste some of the award winning wines of Santorini, a nice, private owned canava.
If we go further to the north, we come across Firostefani, the "Crown of Fira", where you can find the famous, most photographed, blue-domed church, and Imerovigli, which is the highest village at the Caldera and is renowned for its breathtaking view to the volcanic islands and the sunset.
Pyrgos, which is the Greek word for "tower", is the highest village of Santorini and known for its celebration of Good Friday during the Easter week. The whole village is lit up with burning fire torches, through which the locals carry a wooden image of Jesus "towards his grave". In the south east of the island, we can visit the longest, black, sandy beach at Perivolos – Perissa. This beach is organized, has sunbeds and umbrellas and is surrounded by many beach clubs.
And, of course, we will introduce you to Fira, the capital and cultural center of the island. In Fira, you can find the cable car that leads down to the old port, taverns and restaurants, jewellery and souvenir stores, as well as museums, the town hall, the tax office, the post office and banks. Fira is situated on the cliffs and has a nice path throughout it, from which you can look over the caldera and the volcanic islands at every point.
All the beaches in Santorini are black, yet they are very different. In the north of the island, you can find secluded beaches like the Baxedes and the Paradise Beach. Here, all the villages are on the cliffside, allowing you to enjoy some privacy even during the high season. Close to one of the two ports of Oia, we come across the Ammoudi Beach, which is quite rocky - perfect spot for diving off the stones. We can stroll along the black sandy beach of Perivolos in the south of the island, the longest black sandy beach, also famous as the "Party Beach" because of the countless beach bars around it. We can show you a hidden beach on the inside of the Caldera, which only the locals know. The Mesa Pigadia Beach is worth a visit because of its caves and its interesting rock formations. Don't forget about the Red Beach, a stunning scenery for amazing pictures which will always remind you of your visit in Santorini. We can, also, organize a boat-ride to the White Beach, which is named after the pebbles of white pumice stone that cover it all. On the beach of Kamari, which has been awarded with the "Blue Flag", you can find a well-organized promenade with shops and taverns. Or else, we can drive you through a fascinating landscape, which looks like the surface of the moon, in the south of the island to find Vlychada Beach, where we can also visit a small marina for catamarans and private yachts.
The religion in Greece is Greek Orthodox and is a very big part of the locals' life: that's why there are 628 churches and chapels on the island, most of them in the classic colors of the cycladic islands: white temple and blue domes. We can show you the oldest one of them, Panagia Episkopi, in Mesa Gonia, or the biggest one Panagia Ypapanti, in Fira, the orthodox cathedral of Mitropoli. In the south of the island, you can find an old cave house church, which is now privately owned, the Panagia O Palos or Saint Nektarius church on the terrace of the Monastery of Profitis Ilias.
Not many farm products grow on Santorini due to its ground. Only some do with the help of the mediteranean climate and the quality of the volcanic soil. We will be excited to introduce you the unique Santorini tomatoes, which are small like cherry tomatoes, but with thick skin: their taste is amazing and they are used to produce the famous Santorini tomato paste and the worldwide known sun dried tomatoes. The Fava Beans are considered the most traditional product of Santorini: they are yellow peas which ccan be found and grown exclusively in the island, counting more than 3.500 years of presence. Fava is usually served with sea food by the locals. Santorini also boasts the production of its own cucumbers. The locals call it "katsounia" and they are essentially very sweet, white eggplants and round zucchinis. Moreover, n the island you can find wild fig trees, as well as and capers. Capers are an ingredient of the famous Santorini salad. Santorini might not be famous for its olive oil because of its climate, but it is known for its pistachio groves.
Until about 4000 years ago Santorini was a round island called "Strogili", which means round. A city with a very important port developed close to todays Akrotiri around 3000 B.C., was completely destroyed by an earthquake in the 17th century B.C. and then built up again. Approximately around 1600 B.C. a huge volcano erruption destroyed the whole island and burried everything. This catastrophe formed the caldera and the three remaining islands around it, spots of unique beauty and true geological treasures. In the 9th century B.C., Dorians from Sparta reinhabited the island in a settlement on the mountain Mesa Vouno, named after their leader "Thera", which is also the official name of the island today. The name "Santorini" was given to the island by the Venetians after the Crusades in the 13th century, named after 'Santa Irini', the Italian name for the church of Saint Irene. During the Venetian reign, until the 16th century, Santorini suffered continuous pirate intrusions, and, during the Turkish reign, it developed commercial activity, followed by economic and cultural growth. In 1912 Santorini was integrated in the Greek State and enjoyed a thriving shipping trade until the Second World War. A devastating earthquake in 1956 constituted the economical and social catastrophe for Santorini, and led to the desertation of the island until the end of the 70s, when tourism developed and made Santorini one of the most popular holiday destinations all over the world.
During the time of Venetocracy, from the 13th to the 16th century, there was a lot of piracy in the Aegean Sea: that's why the citizens had to move their settlements further inside the island. The Latin colonists started to build Castellis, where people would find shelter and protection. Every castelli had his 'Gulas', the highest tower that was used to observe and defend, and at the entrance of every castelli, there was a church dedicated to Saint Theodosia, who was considered the protector of castles. Santorini once had 5 castellis, the oldest of which was built on the Skaros Rock at the beginning of the 13th century. After its destruction by an earthquake, it was abandoned, and today it is hard to imagine that there once was an entire castle city. The Akrotiri castle was built in the beginning of the 14th century and was called 'La Ponta', meaning 'the peak'. Today you can find a museum of Traditional Musical Instruments. The castelli of Emporio and the castle of Saint Nikolaos in Oia were both built in the middle of the 15th century. Since the market of the island was located in Emporio, the castelli was the most commercial one. In the ruins of the castle of Oia, you can find the most visited spot of today's Santorini, at the time of the sunset. In Pyrgos, you can find the "youngest castelli" of the island, built around 1580. After the desertation of the Skaros Castle, Pyrgos became the capital of Santorini. The castle had only one entrance, called 'La Porta', through which the locals were able to pour burning oil upon the intruders.
Except for traditional Greek dishes like Pastitsio, Mousaka and Stifado, you can taste delicious local recipes in Santorini, made of the local farm products. Tantalize your taste buds with Santorinian Salad (a salad with cherry tomatoes, chloro cheese, the santorini cucumber 'Katsouni' and capers), Tomato balls (made of Santorini tomatoes, onions, dill and flour) and Fava Cream (a dip made of dried Santorini Fava beans). A famous Easter sweet are the Meletinia (Sweet cream cheese pies), which is traditionally baked by the locals at the beginning of the Holy Week of Easter. If you get the chance to attend a local wedding, try the Koufeto (Sugarplum): white almonds are simmered in wild honey, ingredients that symbolize the happy life of the newlyweds.
Hiking tourism becomes all more popular in Santorini. Recently 58 wooden poles with directional signs and local maps were placed at key points of the island. Within the next year, 11 more will be installed, and there'll be 380 signs on stone. All these are part of a new series of trails in Thira and Thirasia to be delivered to the public in 2015, allowing hikers to navigate comfortably.
Let us show you the most popular trails, like the one from Fira to Oia, which offers amazing view from every point of the way. Or else, walk with us from Kamari to Perissa, passing the Mesa Vouno mountain and the ruins of Ancient Thira. We can take you on a hike to the Agios Ioannis church at Skaros Rock, where you will feel like you're in the middle of the caldera, while enjoying the view over the whole island. We can also walk along the stone path from Pyrgos up to the monastery of Profitis Ilias, the highest point of the island with a breathtaking view over the Aegean Sea.
If you prefer spots off the beaten paths, we can show you hidden churches, breathtaking landscapes, secret beaches or fascinating villages... We will take you to places you could not have found yourself, away from the crowds, and explain everything there is to know about the history, agriculture and religion of the Santorinians.