Caldera Santorini: Discover all there is to know about this mysterious gem
Caldera Santorini: Discover all there is to know about this mysterious gem

There is no place quite like the caldera of Santorini, a true marvel of nature that has captivated visitors for centuries. Formed by a massive volcanic eruption over thousands of years ago, the caldera is a vast crater stretching for miles along the island’s west coast. Today, it is a destination that attracts people from all over the world, drawn by its unique beauty and fascinating history. 

As you stand atop the Santorini caldera edge, looking out over the vast expanse of the sea and sky, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to another world. Its rugged cliffs, painted in red, orange, and gold hues, plunge dramatically into the azure waters below. Keep reading to learn all about this awe-inspiring gem.

What is the caldera of Santorini

Santorini is a volcanic island, so you might wonder, “What is a caldera actually?”. A caldera is a large crater that forms after an explosion or collapse of land during an eruption. 

It’s caused when magma rises through the earth and erupts through the surface, creating lava flows and ash deposits. Caldera is also the Spanish word for cauldron, meaning “deep pot!”

The Santorini caldera is the largest in Europe and one of the five largest in the world! It covers about 25 square kilometers (about 10 square miles), making it twice as big as Manhattan Island in New York City!


Panoramic view of the Santorini caldera


The geology of Santorini

Santorini, Greece, is an active volcanic island in the southern Aegean Sea and one of the world’s youngest islands. It was formed through a volcanic eruption that occurred approximately 3,600 years ago. 

The volcano is still active today and can be seen from most places on Santorini. The active crater of Nea Kameni island is about 2 km wide and has walls over 300 meters high at their highest points, and can be visited through boat tours. As volcanologists monitor its activity and warn, why miss the chance to see it?

How to explore the caldera

With our Santorini tours, of course! 

Experience live the Santorini caldera in an exclusive small group or private tour!

Check out our Santorini day tours to discover the best option for you and your company.

And also, check out various food & wine tours that give you the best taste of the island!

Private transfers: We suggest utilizing an online pre-booked transfer service that offers transfers by taxi, minibus, or private VIP vehicle, as well as arranging a pickup straight from your hotel. We are in a happy position to arrange that for you!

Vehicle rental: You may hire a car and deliver it to your hotel. The caldera, as well as many other areas of interest, may then be visited. We are also in a happy position to arrange that for you!

All settlements with caldera views may be reached by bus from Fira’s central station. Please keep in mind that timetables may vary depending on the season. Always check the official schedules.

A brief history of the Santorini caldera

The caldera Santorini results from a massive volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC. The island still has active volcano craters today, which you can see from your hotel room or from one of the many walking trails surrounding it. The caldera was formed in a single eruption that lasted for two weeks and is 4 km wide and 2 km deep!

Mythology, legends & facts about the caldera

The island of Santorini is steeped in mythology and legend. The most famous of these legends is that of the sirens, who lured sailors to their death with their beautiful songs.

Another tale tells of a lost city called Atlantis that was destroyed by earthquakes and tidal waves, leaving behind only its name and legend as evidence that it once existed. Several experts say that the best place to hunt for answers to the legendary tale of Atlantis is none other than Santorini. 

There are also stories about how the Minotaur was imprisoned in a labyrinth beneath Crete until he was slain by Theseus (who escaped from his labyrinth).

Regardless of how many disastrous eruptions have happened in the past, the residents have never given up. Santorini’s communities have been meticulously rebuilt after each big eruption or earthquake that destroyed the island’s old settlements!

Whitewashed housed perched on the caldera of Santorini

The impact on tourism

The caldera has been a popular tourist destination for years. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting hikers, bikers, and water lovers alike.

You can spend your whole vacation on the caldera, but if you have only a few days to explore this ancient place, here are some suggestions:

  • Hike up to visit the villages at the top of Santorini’s cliffs (Fira and Oia)

They offer stunning views over the volcano crater itself! You’ll feel like flying over an ocean of white houses that all look similar but different simultaneously.

  • Go diving into the deep blue waters of South Coast beach, or check out one of many great restaurants nearby

Where locals hang out during their free time between work shifts in nearby hotels or restaurants owned by family members, including ours!

  • Visit Imerovigli, Firostefani and Oia

They offer panoramic sea views. The charming towns are located on the caldera’s highest point and are claimed to have the greatest views in Santorini.

In truth, Imerovigli was formerly an observation point, and a Venetian stronghold was built there.

Currently, Imerovigli has a few cafés and restaurants where you may eat or drink while admiring the wonderful surroundings.

Caldera of Santorini is a great destination for those who love an active vacation

If you’re looking for a more active vacation, Caldera is the place to go. 

With its stunning views and unique history, this island is perfect for those who want to explore it and learn about its past. 

It’s also less crowded in spring and autumn than in other places, so you won’t have trouble finding things to do with your time.

If you’re looking for something more relaxing, the cliffside at the caldera is the perfect spot for set back and relaxing vacation. Book a room with a Santorini caldera view and sit on your balcony to enjoy all day!

Conclusion for the Santorini caldera

Santorini is a magical place, and one of the best ways to experience its beauty is by visiting the Caldera. 

While there are many ways to do this, we recommend choosing Santorini private tours or renting a car to explore at your own pace. 

There are also plenty of things to do in Santorini – activities available in nearby villages such as Oia (where sunset photos have become famous) or Akrotiri, which offers more archaeology than most other places in Santorini!


FAQs about caldera Santorini

What does caldera mean in Greek?

In Greek, “caldera” refers to a volcanic crater or the cauldron-like depression that forms after a volcanic eruption. In the context of Santorini, the term “caldera” is used to describe the large, water-filled volcanic crater created by a massive explosion in ancient times. It’s a defining geological feature of the island and is surrounded by the steep cliffs and picturesque villages that Santorini is famous for.

How deep is the Santorini caldera?

The depth of the Santorini caldera varies across its different parts. The central, submerged portion of the caldera is quite deep, while the surrounding cliffs and islands have varying depths. More specifically:

  1. Central caldera: The submerged part of the Santorini caldera can reach depths of over 1,200 feet (about 360 meters) or more in some places. This deep central area is where the massive volcanic explosion that formed it occurred.
  2. Cliff depths: The cliffs surrounding the caldera, particularly on the western side of the island, can rise several hundred feet above sea level. However, these cliffs also extend below sea level to varying depths, depending on their location.
  3. Islands: Within the caldera, there are several small islands, the largest of which is Therasia (also known as Thirassia). The waters around these islands can be quite deep as well.

Keep in mind that the exact depth of the Santorini caldera varies depending on the location and the specific geological features. It’s a complex and dynamic underwater landscape, and depths can change over time due to geological activity and erosion.

Where is the caldera in Santorini?

The caldera is located in the western part of Santorini. The towns of Fira (the capital), Oia, Imerovigli, and others are situated along the cliffs overlooking the caldera, offering breathtaking views of the submerged crater and the deep blue waters below. So, make sure you book your accommodation in one of those villages if you want to relish this majestic landscape.

How to get to Santorini caldera?

Once you are on the island of Santorini, you can easily explore the caldera by visiting the towns and villages perched on the cliffs overlooking it, such as Fira, Oia, and Imerovigli. Some popular ways to reach these tourist destinations are taxis, buses, rental cars and guided Santorini day tours.

You can also take sailing tours, including a Santorini catamaran sunset cruise, that offer a closer view of the caldera and the islands within it, such as Nea Kameni, where you can hike to volcanic craters.

Which is the most popular spot in caldera?

The most popular spot in the Santorini caldera is the village of Oia. Oia is renowned for its breathtaking caldera vistas, sunset views, picturesque architecture and vibrant life. Due to all the above, it is no wonder why it is one of the most iconic and photographed locations in Greece, remaining the top choice for many travelers seeking the quintessential Santorini experience.

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