On The Edge Of The Caldera

We couldn’t see theย Caldera from the main road. The manager of our hotel was waiting for us with her dishy looking assistant, who hoisted our (very) heavy bags casually over his shoulders and sprinted across the narrow path to their gate. We followed him past the gate to the top of the stairs, and gasped! There it was! We had never seen anything as spectacular! Brilliant white houses clinging to the sooty cliff face and embracing that ‘cauldron’ of incredible blue!! Breathtaking doesn’t come close.

Known variously as Kallisti (the most beautiful) and Thera (after a king of Sparta who retired here), its present name is derived from its patron Saint Eirene, also refered to as St. Irini. The official name though is still Thira!

Part of the Cyclades, this incredible archipelago is a remnant of some of the worlds largest volcanic eruptions that fragmented what used to be a single island (called Stroggyli meaning ’round’). The eruptions, some 3500 years ago, collapsed the centre of the island and the sea rushed into the resulting hollow creating the gigantic lagoon called the ‘Caldera’.

The massive eruption also destroyed the Minoan civilization, leading to speculation about this being the site of the legendary Atlantis! The archeological site of Akrotiri – where one can get a glimpse into the life of the Minoans – was unfortunately closed during our visit.

The volcano is still active, last eruptiing in 1950, causing an earthquake that destroyed many surrounding villages. We went up close to one of the deceptively benign looking craters on Nea Kameni, an island in the middle of the Caldera! You get to it by boat from Fira, the beautiful but very crowded town on top of the cliff.

Oia was much less crowded, the cave houses delightful and the food surprisingly good! The wine too! We gorged on amazing seafood and delicious green tomato keftades!

Truckloads of tourists converge on Oia in the evenings to witness what is considered one of the the most spectacular sunsets! But the sun did play truant on this day and they all trooped off disappointed, returning us to the peace and remarkable stillness on the edge of the only inhabited Caldera in the world.

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on instagram.com/theurgetowander

65 thoughts on “On The Edge Of The Caldera

  1. Wow. Talk about great minds think alike. One of my recent posts included my trip to Santorini. Sailing into the harbour across the caldera was a special moment for me.

      1. Allright allright. Then the place is breathawaytaking. But thanks for taking me there Madhu. I have reduced my travel expenses significantly since I met you ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Yea you! I am giving you the Kreativ Blogger Award! Follow this link to learn the ‘rules’ & to capture the badge to display on your great blog:)

  3. Shame there was no “wine dark sea” for you, but I think you had something equally Homeric with the little boat sailing away into that golden caldera – very evocative. What a place it is:).

      1. Yes, isn’t it? One of those sparkling places. But don’t worry about your pics – maybe not quite what you wanted – but they resonated with my memory, which is still quite vivid, after an absence of about 20 odd years (you can imagine what my pictures look like now!) Shame the Minoan digs/museum was closed, I’d have enjoyed hearing you talk about it. It was very rudimentary back then:)

  4. I hate this post. Hehe. I see this location in calendars.

    Your pictures are very pristine, Madhu. I especially like the sailboat a lot. And thanks for a little info, I didn’t catch that “cauldron” before I read it.

    ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I was supposed to get stationed in Greece, but it got jack and was changed to California. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Oh well, California ain’t bad. But Greece, oh Greece, you are darn lucky to be able to get there.

    Great Wall of China, then this. Great places, Madhu.

    And ow, I think you gonna get along with apetcher.wordpress.com . He was just in Greece.

    1. I know the feeling…I hate skinny, slinky women ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thank you Rommel for your kind comments! Andrew is an expert on all things Greece and especially the islands! I look forward to reading his posts with interest!

  5. P.S: The picture captioned “The not so spectacular sunset” is open to discussion ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think it IS spectacular ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Simply beautiful! Wow! Yes, I’d love to get to Greece, one day ๐Ÿ™‚ & that sunset looks pretty speccy to me – you playing it for irony there? ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Were told it wasnโ€™t as spectacular as usual! Wanted you to be the judge ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for your feedback!

  7. I don’t get it…this is the kind of posts that should be featured on Freshly Pressed. Fantastic…esp loved traditional houses & the schooner shot !

    I hope you make it to FP & remember me when you do! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Santorini I will see you someday….until then I will make do with Madhu’s updates ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Simply stunning. A friend of mine cruised the Greece Isles several years ago, and Santorini was her favorite. It is on my list of places to visit. Seeing your pics is making me move it up on the priority list. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Well I know where I’ll be headed this summer. Great post! I just hope the Minoan exhibition’s open. Great post, great pix. Thanks!

  10. Great pictures! I feel like I’m there. The sounds of NJ traffic through my window become waves of the ocean. Looking forward to our next vacation together, lol!

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