Santorini is an Aegean island incredibly famous for being one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Volcanic beaches, mesmerizing sunsets, blue domes, and great food and wine are just some things you will experience there. A great way to explore this heaven is to learn some facts about Santorini, Greece, that will help you navigate this beauty.
Historical Facts About Santorini, Greece
Santorini might have a small population in the modern world, but archaeologists believe that it was once a bustling city. However, a deadly volcanic eruption completely wiped out the region. Here are some interesting facts about Santorini and its history.
No Electricity Before 1960
One of the most surprising facts about Santorini is that before 1960, there was no electricity. The locals lived a simple life, many working as fishermen. The main medium of transportation was donkeys.
Electricity came as more people started inhabiting the island, and tourism became common.
The Former Prime Minister Of Greece Was From Here
Sypros Markezinis (the former Prime Minister of Greece) belonged to a family that had its roots in Santorini. There are also many other business moguls and celebrities that are from this island. Some of them include Mariza Koch, Giannis Alafouzos, and more.
Inhabited By Different Civilizations
Minoans, ancient Greeks, and many others inhabited the island in ancient times. However, most of these civilizations didn’t last here because of volcanic eruptions and other reasons. Now, you will mostly find tourists on the island, especially during peak times.
It Has Had Different Names Over The Years
Stronghold (which means round shape) was the name of Santorini during the Neolithic era. Then, the island was known as Kalliste (which means the most beautiful one). Now, Thira is the island’s official name, but it is popularly known as Santorini.
Cultural Facts About Santorini
Santorini is the only inhabited caldera in the world, so it is bound to have a unique culture. Here are some cultural facts about the beautiful island of Santorini.
Some People Believe It To Be Atlantis
Many theories revolve around the lost Atlantis, and people think that Santorini is one of the possible locations for it. The eruption that led to the downfall of the Minoan settlement here matches Plato’s story of Atlantis, which triggered the speculations.
And of course, water activities are the most popular things to do in Santorini today. One of the absolute highlights is to chill on a Catamaran cruise with BBQ and drinks, surrounded by beautiful turquoise waters.
You Have To Try The Tomato Fritters
Tomatokeftedes is one of the tasty Greek street foods you need to try while you visit. You can enjoy them as appetizers or on a mezze dish. These fritters are a combination of feta cheese, red onion, herbs, and tomato that will melt in your mouth as soon as you take a bite.
Hollywood Loves Santorini
An incredible number of Hollywood movies have been shot in Santorini. These include The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, Tomb Raider, Summer Lovers, and more. Santorini is prized by filmmakers for the lighting conditions and breathtaking views.
You Will Find Fortifications And Castles Of Venetian People
Venetians ruled the island for various centuries, which is why you will find a few fortresses and castles made by them. Their reign ended when the Ottoman Turks took over the island. Santorini gained independence from the Venetians during the 19th century.
Simple Facts About Santorini For Kids
Santorini is famous for being a couple or honeymoon destination, but it is a great place for families as well. Here are some interesting facts about Santorini for kids.
Many Buildings In Santorini Are White
In 1938, there was a cholera outbreak on the island, which led to the people painting their homes white. The paint helped sanitize their homes and reduce the spread of the disease.
Interestingly, the white buildings have become what Santorini is known for. Blue and white are also colors that symbolize Greece.
Visit these incredible sites and sights on a Santorini Panorama Tour that takes you to all the highlight destinations including Oia and the colored beaches.
Fava Beans Puree Originated In Santorini
Another iconic Greek food is fava. It is made using mashed yellow split peas in a combination of spices and oil. Fava is a great dip that you can enjoy with a bread of your choice.
Many people find the taste different here, but that is because fava beans are grown in the region. The freshness enhances the flavor, making Santorini the best place to try this delicious starter.
If you are up for some hands-on activity, one of the cultural things you can do is take up a local cooking experience in a traditional cave house.
It Gets Little To No Rain Each Year
Santorini has an arid landscape, which is why you will barely find any rain during the spring and summer seasons.
One funny fact about Santorini is that there is so little rain on the island that people say wine is more abundant than water here. That is after all one of the most popular Greek drinks.
Anyway, the island is packed with tourists in the season because of the Mediterranean climate. If you also want to escape to a sunshine haven, Santorini is the place to be; but be sure to plan early!
A Well-Established City With A Sophisticated Trading System
The discovery of artifacts on the island showed that the city was a trading hub during ancient times. The city was clearly well-established, with indoor washrooms, multi-story buildings, working sewage systems, and more.
Some artifacts link back to Cyprus, Syria, and Egypt, affirming that trade was booming. In modern times, Santorini is less of a trading hub and more of a tourist hub for visitors across the world.
Useful Santorini Facts for Travelers
Santorini is a heaven for travelers, especially for couples who are looking for a romantic getaway. Here are some helpful Santorini facts for people looking to travel to the island.
Skaros Rock Is A Great Place For Tourists
Skaros Rock used to be a fortress in medieval times. It was used to protect the village from pirates.
Behind this rock and towards the cliff edge, you will find the Chapel of Panagia Theoskepasti. Make your way there and explore this hidden gem to learn more information about Santorini.
Santorini Produces Great Wine
Volcanic soil on Santorini means that wine with high acidic content can easily be made there. The island has a wine museum where you can learn interesting facts about Santorini wine and the extensive process of winemaking.
Best of all, go on a wine adventure! Hop around wineries and taste some delicious wines while you are there.
Wine goes perfectly with some Greek desserts, so don’t forget to sample the local cuisine while you sip!
A Lot Of Churches, Including The Monastery Of Profitis Ilias
The majority of the population follows Greek Orthodox Christianity. This is why you can find so many churches in the caldera, but most of these churches are small and private, which means they are not accessible to everyone.
If you get a chance to visit Pyrgos, follow the uphill route from the village’s main square to access the Monastery of Profitis Ilias. This is also called the Monastery of the Prophet Elias, and it is one of many beautiful landmarks in Greece.
Great Place For Hot Springs
Nea Kameni is the place to be if you want to benefit from healing waters. These include manganese and iron, which will help protect you from illnesses and diseases.
It’s one of the fascinating Santorini facts that many subscribe to. Older people like to come here to benefit from the healing powers of these hot springs.
Even young couples visit these hot springs to soak in the romantic waters. You can enjoy some of the most relaxing activities in Santorini.
It Is Visited By More People Than Its Actual Population
The population of the island is around 15,500. However, more than two million tourists visit Santorini each year. This is perhaps no longer a surprising fact about Santorini, seeing how popular and well-known the place has become.
In addition, most of the residents work in the hospitality and tourist industry and come from surrounding regions.
You Can Reach Santorini By Ferry From Athens
Anyone wondering how to get to Santorini can easily catch a ferry from Athens. A high-speed ferry will help you reach Santorini in five hours. You will arrive at Athinios Port and scale the famous 600 steps traditional road that will lead you to the town of Fira where you can begin your exploration.
Common Facts About Santorini
Jazz Lovers Used To Come For The Santorini Jazz Festival
Two jazz enthusiasts decided it was time for them to bring their love to Santorini, and created a festival to celebrate it. Soon, it became one of the top cultural events in the region. Jazz fans flocked to Kamari to enjoy this festival every year.
Unfortunately, this festival doesn’t take place any more. But you can still come for many other cultural events that take place on the island every year.
The Island’s Biggest Export Was Pumice Stone
One of the less surprising facts about Santorini is that the island’s biggest export used to be pumice stone. For a long time, around two million pumice stones used to be exported for the production of cement. The Suez Canal was built using these exports. However, the pumice quarries were closed down in 1986 to protect the caldera.
Beaches Have Colored Sand Here
Santorini may not be the best place to visit in Greece if you are looking for a serene beach holiday, but it has some very unique beaches. That is one of the reasons it attracts plenty of tourists.
Santorini rests on a volcanic rock, and the creation of the island is a result of thousands of volcanic eruptions. Because of this, there are many multi-colored beaches throughout the island. You will find beaches with white sand, black sand, red sand, and more.
You Can Easily Rent A Bike
There are so many things to do in Santorini, you don’t want to be stuck trying to get around. A fantastic way to explore this beautiful island is by renting a bike. It will enable you to make your way through the narrow streets.
It will also help you avoid any rush that happens because of too many people cramping the streets. You can even access the mountain terrains easily with bikes, making your experience even more wonderful.
The Blue Dome And Bell Tower Of Pyrgos Are Iconic
Pyrgos is a fantastic village to check out when going around Santorini. The iconic blue dome and the bell tower are important sites to visit. The blue dome in the midst of the white buildings is a view you can’t miss. The village is also located on the highest point in Santorini so you will find some great scenery here.
Other Interesting Facts About Santorini
You Will Find A Lot Of Donkeys Here
Back in the day, fishermen used to get around the island by mules and donkeys. Even now, you will see many donkeys on the streets, but they aren’t allowed to climb the steps anymore. The government made laws to reduce the usage and limit of weight the donkeys carry up the steps to help preserve the beautiful old steps.
It Is Known For Its Narrow Streets
Narrow streets may be charming, but one of the least appealing facts about Santorini is there are often human traffic jams around the streets during sunsets in Oia. There are a lot of tourists that want to get the best views, which causes these jams.
The best way to roam Santorini is by foot or by getting a bike to access these narrow streets.
A Great Place For A Destination Wedding
Santorini is nothing short of breathtaking, making it the ideal location for your destination wedding. It is affordable, the food is delicious, the ocean views are something you will never forget, and there is incredible architecture everywhere.
If you are planning a wedding overseas, Santorini probably comes up as a popular location. On average, around 1000 to 4000 weddings happen in Santorini every year.
This has become such a thing in Santorini that there’s even a Greek Wedding Show you can participate in with traditional dances, music, food, and traditions like breaking plates!
The Only Inhabited Caldera In The World
One of the coolest fun facts about Santorini is that it is the only caldera in the world inhabited by humans, where architecture and cave houses are preserved over volcanic soil. You will get to experience its beauty when you visit the island yourself.
There is no other caldera worldwide currently settled by humans. Though dormant, the volcano in Santorini that made the caldera is still active. It last erupted in 1950.
The volcano shows no signs of erupting again soon. Scientists are unable to accurately predict when the next eruption will be, but Greece’s General Secretariat for Civil Protection assures visitors and locals alike that they have a plan for if such a disaster occurs.
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Discovering More Fun Facts About Santorini, Greece
With its rich history and extraordinary geological features, Santorini is more than just an island; it is an immersive experience waiting to be embraced and cherished firsthand.
From its multicolored beaches to its iconic blue domes, every aspect of Santorini tells a unique tale. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, a culinary aficionado, or simply a wanderer in search of beauty, you are sure to uncover more intriguing facts about Greece on your journey of discovery.