Santorini, Greece

Sep 22, 2017 - Sea Cloud


The sun rose over Santorini and we eagerly embarked by 8:00 on a local tender to explore the volcanic island. Buses awaited us at Athinios port and we drove up the switchback road to the rim of the caldera. Low-growing grapevines and unbelievable scenery appeared on the other side of the island. At Oia we explored the charming town and its vistas--thankful that digital cameras have come to exist. The village offers endless photo opportunities and great shopping!

Later in the capital town of Fira, we visited the Museum of Prehistoric Thera. We marveled at the pottery and frescos that decorated the town of Akrotiri which was destroyed when the massive volcano eruption took place in the 17th century B.C.E. That event changed the shape of the island and covered the town under layers of ash.

Lunch on the island was in typical Greek-style. Cherry tomatoes stuffed with rice, fava bean purée, Santorini eggplant and many more mezedes (small plates similar to tapas) satisfied every palate. After lunch, we faced the difficult decision--a visit to Akrotiri or shopping in Thira.

Those who chose to visit the Bronze Age town were rewarded by seeing not only the standing walls of the townhouses but also ashlar block, doorways, and window frames. The grid of the town felt like any chora on the Cycladic Islands of today.

We returned to Athinios port with memories of unbelievable archeology and marvelous views. We even stopped at an old windmill overlooking the caldera.

Later in the evening we were stunned with the loveliest sunset below the town of Oia as we sailed toward Delos. Another great day had come to an end. 

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About the Author

Sophia Theona

Cultural Specialist

Sophia Theona was born in Canada but has lived most of her life in Greece. She studied at the University of Athens and the National School for guides. For more than two decades she has guided specialized tours around Greece. Guests often call her “the eternal traveler” because her enthusiasm about every aspect of history, archaeology and life in Greece inspires the people she is traveling with.

About the Photographer

Erika Skogg

National Geographic Photographer

Erika Skogg is a photographer, educator, and National Geographic Explorer with experience documenting cultural stories from the United States to Morocco, Greenland, Iceland, Colombia, and beyond. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Erika’s photographic research and storytelling ideas are driven by the desire to immerse, understand, and visually preserve the region’s local Nordic culture, and in 2018, Erika received a National Geographic Early Career Grant for her project “Scandinavian American.” Erika travels to Scandinavia regularly in search of the cultural connections to our emigrant history and promote an interest in one’s own genealogy to foster a respect for the continued immigration of today.

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