My favorite travel adventures were those that included water. When I was in Santorini three years ago, I went on a caldera excursion in the Aegean Sea. It was and still is one of my favorite memories from that trip. My friend and I had decided to go on a group excursion to cruise the beautiful Santorini caldera. A caldera is a large volcanic crater that was formed by either a volcanic eruption or an empty magma chamber.
There were many vendors and tour agencies all over the island so it was not hard to book an excursion. We specifically booked ours in Kamari since we frequented the beach and restaurants in the area.
Cruising the caldera began in Athinios, the island’s new port. From there, we embarked on a traditional wooden boat and sailed to our first stop, Nea Kameni – a small uninhabited active volcanic island. We were able to walk the gravel path up to volcano’s crater and explore. The island has many active sulfur vents and the surface can get really hot. We spent quite a period of time at the crater, we had to wait for our group and the guide from time to time as our our tour guide provided facts and information about the volcano.
I must say, I never thought I would find myself climbing a volcano crater in a hundred years! This was a major bucket list moment. Another stop is the Palea Kameni hot springs where everybody gets the chance to swim and enjoy it for about fifty minutes. I decided not to jump in for a couple of reasons: the swim from the boat to the sulphur springs is pretty far and I didn’t want to deal with wet clothes afterwards.
The last destination was my favorite. We got to spend two hours in the beautiful little island named Thirasia. Or as I called it, Paradise. There were a lot of seaside restaurants which offered some of the most amazing views while dining.
After having fresh seafood for lunch, we walked around the small island and checked out some of the gift shops. Some people went up to the traditional village of Manolas but I stayed close to the shore and made the most of my time relaxing and enjoying the beautiful scenery before me. When it was time to go back to Athinios, we experienced some turbulent waves. The boat was not able to dock at Athinios because of this and we were rerouted to sail to the Old Port of Fira instead. The waves were not as bad and we were able to get off the boat. But the story didn’t end there…
There were only two ways to leave the Old Port: One was by the cable car and two was by climbing up the poop covered giant stone steps. All 600 of them. Actually, there was a third way. The donkeys. At first, we decided to take the cable car because it was faster. But of course, the cars were malfunctioning! Typical. That was actually a good thing because I really wanted to experience riding the donkey. And what an experience it was!
All in all, it was an adventure-filled day. I highly recommend cruising the Santorini caldera when in Greece. It is like not other.