Ready to see Santorini from a different angle? How about from the water! We were waffling on whether or not to take a boat tour while on Santorini. We only had a few days, there was so much to do, did we want to spend the money, etc. But once we got there and saw the inky-blue water of the caldera for ourselves, we were convinced it was the right thing to do! Here’s the scoop so you can decide for yourself on your own trip to Santorini.
Know Before You Go
There are several tours to choose from with Caldera Yachting Company. They have options for half-day, full-day, private, semi-private, traditional, or modern yacht cruises. We chose the Traditional Half-day cruise, which was €90 per person and lasted five hours. You can book online here, but if you’re like us, you can also book when you arrive. You will have to provide passport information and a credit card at the time of booking to hold the reservation.
Our tour was scheduled from 10:30am-3:30pm, but we needed to be at the pick-up point in Oia by 9:00am, so make sure you plan for an extra hour and a half. The reason the pick-up time is so much earlier is that your driver may also pick up other passengers along the way. Also, the cruise starting point is at Vylhada Marina, on the southeast side of the island.
More here: The Best Things to Do on Santorini
What to Bring
Snorkeling gear, food, and beverages are provided, but you will have to bring your own towel, sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses. Don’t forget to keep it all in a dry bag, just in case!
Keep reading: What to Pack for a Week in Greece (Athens + Santorini)
Red and White Sand Beaches
The water was a little rough starting out the day of our tour, so we were unable to stop at Santorini’s famous red or white sand beaches. I’m thankful safety was a priority! We did get to see them from a distance. What a dramatic coastline!
Another fun thing to do on Santorini: How to Hike from Oia to Fira
Swimming at the Cliffs
Thankfully, the water at the next set of cliffs and “Black Mountain” was much calmer, due to its location in a bay. The water was chilly in May, but my husband was brave and jumped in anyway! The water is such an unbelievable, dark, inky blue, and yet it’s also clear. Perfect for snorkeling or swimming.
Where to stay: What It’s Like Staying at Oia Mare Villas on Santorini
Old and New Volcanoes
Did you know that Santorini itself is part of an active volcano? It’s true! And in fact, there are two volcanoes inside its caldera. The “old” volcano is called Palea Kameni and is 4,000 years old. The “new” volcano is called Nea Kameni and is only 600 years old. The two volcanoes are very close to each other. We sailed between them!
Related: What to Know Before You Visit Greece
Swimming at the (Sometimes) Hot Springs
Nea Kameni has hot springs, but as you may have already read in your research, it’s not always so hot! We stopped to give ourselves time to swim. The “hot spots” moved around, so that some areas in the water were warm, and others were not. Fair warning: You’ll need to be hosed off before getting back on the boat. The volcanic waters are sulfuric!
Read next: What to Know Before you Visit Santorini
Therasia (spellings vary)
This was definitely my favorite stop of the day! Santorini’s neighboring island of Therasia is quite stunning from the water, and still very much “old world” in appearances. We saw some cave “houses” from the water, which are really not houses at all. Fishermen used to keep their boats in them! You can take a day trip from Santorini to Therasia, which I plan to do if we ever make it back to Santorini in the future!
Also helpful: Mistakes People Make When Planning a Trip to Greece (and how to avoid them)
While I think it would have been charming to get out and have lunch at one of the seaside restaurants on Therasia, our crew did a great job of preparing lunch for all of us! We ate family style with all the passengers, and as we’d come to expect in Greece, the food was delicious.
Keep eating: Where to Eat in Oia, Santorini
Santorini Views from the Caldera
After lunch, we sailed closer to Santorini and took in some views of Oia from the water. The best part, though, was seeing a tiny, hidden church inside a seaside cave! It’s only accessible by boat, and if no one told you about it, you’d never know it was there!
Essential reading: Tips for Staying in Oia, Santorini
Need more? Check out all my posts about Santorini and Greece on my dedicated Greece Page!
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