The “Santorini volcano” may refer to two different peaks: the first, Thira, exploded around 1600 BC and ended the thriving Minoan civilization and may have spawned the legend of Atlantis. Millennia of eruptions formed the second “Santorini volcano”—the island of Nea Kameni, drawing visitors eager to hike to the rim of its active crater.
Most visitors reach the active volcano on Nea Kameni, whose crater continues to rumble and puff out steam, by way of a boat tour departing from the town of Oia, the Old Port of Fira, or the Athinios port on Santorini’s main island. Once on the island, you can hike up to the crater’s rim and take in the views across lava fields to Greece’s Aegean Sea. Volcano tours may also stop on Thirasia, the second-largest island in the archipelago, and at the hot springs on Palea Kameni, where boats moor at Erinia and you can swim to the springs beneath the tiny church of Agios Nikolaos. Boat trips can get crowded in high season, so opt for a small-group guided tour or catamaran tour if you would prefer a more personal experience.
Things to Know Before You Go
- If you plan to walk to the crater’s rim, be sure to wear hiking-appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes.
- Don't forget a hat, sunblock, and plenty of water to guard against 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.
- Visiting the volcano requires about 30 minutes of uphill hiking, so may not be suitable for young children or those who are not strong walkers.
How to Get There
You can reach the volcano on Nea Kameni by boat on a private tour or a larger group cruise departing from Santorini.
When to Get There
Santorini volcano tours are most crowded in summer, when it can also be uncomfortably hot during the peak hours of the day. Opt for an early morning or late afternoon departure, or plan your visit for the spring or fall.
Santorini boasts gorgeous sunsets, and the archipelago has the Thira volcano to thank. Its cataclysmic eruption scooped out the once-circular island’s center and west coast, creating the sea-filled caldera ringed by the sheer cliffs of the Santorini archipelago’s main island. Today the caldera provides a low-lying, obstruction-free observation point along Santorini’s west coast, perfect for watching the sun sink into the sea. Consider booking a romantic sunset tour by boat in the late afternoon to savor this famous sunset.