Santorini’s hot springs are on the tiny, uninhabited islet of Palea Kameni. Continuous volcanic activity underground maintains the springs’ temperature between 86ºF and 95ºF (30°C and 35°C). The sulfuric, orange-tinged spring waters that bubble up into a shallow cove off the islet’s coast are said to be curative for the skin and joints.
Most visitors reach the hot springs by way of a boat tour departing from the town of Oia or the Old Port—which sits beneath the town of Fira—on the main Greek island of Santorini. Tours may also stop on neighboring Nea Kameni, where you can hike up to the active volcano for panoramic views across lava fields to the Aegean Sea, and on Thirasia, the second-largest island in the archipelago. Boat trips to the springs moor in the rocky inlet at Erinia, and from there it is a short swim to the shallow, orange-streaked water overlooked by the tiny whitewashed church of Agios Nikolaos and bordered by vast lava boulders. For a more private experience, you can opt for a small-group catamaran tour or a romantic sunset cruise.
Things to Know Before You Go
The distinctive sulfuric odor of the hot springs can persist for some time after a swim, and the rust-colored water may stain light-colored swimwear.
Don’t forget a hat, sunblock, and plenty of water to stave off the Mediterranean heat.
Boat tour passengers must be agile enough to board and disembark boats, so travelers with limited mobility should confirm accessibility before booking.
The hot springs are accessible only by taking a short swim, so are not recommended for young children or those who are not confident in the water.
How to Get There
You can reach the hot springs on Palea Kameni (also called Palia Kameni), just off the coast of the larger volcanic island of Nea Kameni, by boat on a private tour or a larger group cruise departing from Santorini.
When to Get There
The Santorini hot springs are most crowded in summer, but some days in late spring and early fall are warm enough to take a soak in the hot springs without having to share them with the summer crowds.
The Santorini Volcano
The massive explosion of what is now known as the Santorini volcano around the 16th or 17th century BC formed the enormous, water-filled caldera around which the dramatic Santorini archipelago is grouped. Repeated volcanic eruptions of ash and lava over the millennia have formed the Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni islands, now popular destinations for tour boats ferrying visitors to the active crater for a volcano tour and to the nearby hot springs.