Santorini

A true natural wonder
The Archaeological Museum of Firá
Black stretches of volcanic sand

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Santorini

Overhanging an enchanted sea

You can’t say you have been to Greece on holiday without seeing the natural wonder of Santoríni. As our MSC cruise ship manoeuvres into the great caldera of Santoríni (Thíra), the land seems to rise up and clamp around it.
 
Gaunt, sheer cliffs loom hundreds of metres above the deep blue sea, nothing grows or grazes to soften the awesome view. The only colours are the reddish-brown, black and grey pumice layers on the cliff face of this, the largest island in the mini-archipelago.

A shore excursion on your MSC Mediterranean cruise can be the perfect chance to experience Firá (also known as Hóra) which clings precariously to the edge of the enormous caldera. Although Firá’s restaurants are primarily aimed at the tourist market, the food can be very good. Using a spectacular two-hour footpath along the lip of the caldera you reach the village of Imerovígli and further to the north Firostefáni, both of which have equally stunning views.

The only alternative location is Karterádhos, a small village about twenty minutes’ walk southeast of Firá. MSC Mediterranean cruises also offer excursions to Santoríni’s beaches, on the island’s east coast, which are long black stretches of volcanic sand that get blisteringly hot in the afternoon sun.

Evidence of the Minoan colony that once thrived here has been uncovered among the resorts at the ancient site of Minoan Thira at Akrotíri, on the south-western tip of the island; the site was inhabited from the Late Neolithic period through to the seventeenth century BC. The Archaeological Museum of Firá, near the cable car to the north of town, is well presented, and has a collection from the excavations of Ancient Thira.

Must see places in Santorini

  • Oia village

    Oia village

  • Nea Kameni and the caldera

    Nea Kameni and the caldera

  • Akrotiri

    Akrotiri

Discover our excursions

4 results found

  • JEEP ADVENTURE IN SANTORINI

    ACTIVE & ADVENTURE

    JTR08

    Join us on this excursion combining fun, adventure and Santorini’s wild landscapes enabling you to spend a few hours exploring this lovely island in a completely different way. A short tender ride from the ship will take you to Athinios port where we board a bus to the location where your 4x4 jeeps await you. Board the jeeps and start your adventure driving to Akrotiri, located on the southern end of the island, an amazing lunar landscape created by the last eruption of the volcano. You'll then drive to Vlihada beach, where you will have a short break to jump in the cool waters of the Aegean Sea or to simply enjoy the views. The natural beauty of this secluded beach, framed by pumice stone hills, will enchant you. Next destination is the traditional village of Pyrgos for an opportunity to taste typical Greek snack at a local restaurant. Continue to the mountain of Profitis Elias, the highest of the island (550 m) with an incredible panoramic view of Santorini; be certain to have your camera ready for your memory book. Then take an off-road drive passing by the villages of Exo Gonia, Kamari and Monolithos. Your final destination will be the capital of the island, Fira. Here you'll have free time to stroll through the city and admire the beautiful views of the caldera before taking the cable car down to the port of Fira to return by tender to the ship. Please note: as drivers are not included in the tour, guests must be 21 years old and will drive the jeep(s) themselves. An international driver’s license is compulsory. Each jeep can accommodate a maximum of 4 guests, incl. the driver. There may be long queues at the cable car station or to pick up the tender boat. This tour is not suitable for pregnant women, guests with walking difficulties or back/neck problems or using a wheelchair. Vehicles are manual transmission and self-driven. Driver must be experienced with manual transmission and be able to start the vehicle on an incline or off road situation. Guests must sign a waiver before taking part in the tour. There is no narration while driving; your leader/guide will give explanations at the different stops. No changing facilities or showers are available on the beach.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$125.00Price per person

    • Children$102.00Price per person

  • BEST OF SANTORINI

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    JTR05

    Exciting, exclusive, edifying: three attributes that not only aptly describe this tour, but also the Greek island of Santorini itself, which was created when the crater left by a huge volcanic eruption collapsed, leaving only the rim, a so-called caldera. After a short boat ride to Athinios port, you will continue by coach to explore the island’s history, capital and dramatic landscape. First up is ancient Akrotiri, a town that flourished during the Minoan Bronze Age, but then fell victim to a major volcanic outbreak that covered it ash in the middle of the 2nd millennium B.C.. Since excavation work began in 1967, many extremely well preserved artefacts have been uncovered, including frescoes and even some three-storey buildings. You will have about 1.5 hours to enjoy this prehistoric site before you move on to Fira, Santorini’s capital, for more free time to spend as you please. The pretty lanes are fun to walk down, the cafés great for a pit-stop and the views of the Kamenis, twin volcanic islets in the bay, spectacular. Last up is Oia, a blue-and-white village in Cycladic style perched on the very edge of the caldera. After a guided walk through its pretty cobbled streets, a stop at a local winery will give you a chance to sample some local treats and take part in a wine-tasting session before a minivan takes you to Athionios port where a motorboat awaits to take you back to the ship. Please note: as this tour involves getting on and off a tender (boat) plus some walking on cobbled streets with steps, it is unsuitable for guests with mobility problems or using a wheelchair. Guests aboard MSC Sinfonia (2016 Summer campaign) will not stop in Fira; for this vessel, the tour will last approx. 5.5 hours. There may be some queues at the parking area to take the small vans to the port and to embark on the motorboat back to the ship.
    • Snack included

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      7:30 h

    • Adults$125.00Price per person

    • Children$89.00Price per person

  • OIA VILLAGE

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    JTR01

    A short tender ride from the ship will take you to Athinios port where we will board a bus to Oia, a typical Greek village characterized by narrow streets, traditional white churches with blue domes – a picture-postcard vision of the Mediterranean! This village is famous for its hill-top location which offers a breathtaking view over the Gulf of Santorini. Delights of a different kind are in store at a nearby winery; we will sample local delicacies and enjoy a fun wine tasting session. We will end our trip at the village of Fira, near the Metropolis Church, from where our tour guides will instruct passengers on how to take the cable car down the port. Please note: there may be long queues at the cable car station or to pick up the tender boat. This tour includes tender embarkation/disembarkation and walking on cobblestone streets with steps so is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
    • Snack included

    • Best seller

    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$89.00Price per person

    • Children$69.00Price per person

  • THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE OF AKROTIRI

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    JTR04

    Popular as a tourist destination due to its lovely beaches, relaxed atmosphere and wonderful weather, the beautiful Greek island of Santorini is also known for the ancient city of Akrotiri, which is situated at the southern end of the island and forms the destination of this half-day tour. A tender will first take you on the quick ride from the ship to Athinios port, from where you will continue on an approx. 20-minute coach ride to ancient Akrotiri. Once a thriving settlement during the Minoan Bronze Age, the town was buried by a tremendous volcanic eruption in the middle of the second millennium B.C.. The cloak of lava and ash that descended on the settlement served to preserve the site, which includes pristine frescoes, pottery, furniture, an advanced drainage system and even some three-storey buildings, all of which have been uncovered since excavation work began in 1967. The 1.5-hour stay at this Minoan settlement will give you plenty of time to have a good look around and soak up the special atmosphere of this prehistoric location. The visit will be followed by a little bit of free time to visit the nearby modern village of Akrotiri, after which you will head for the village of Fira where your guide will tell you how to take the cable car down the port to catch the tender back to your ship. Please note: there may be long queues at the cable car station or to pick up the tender boat. This tour includes tender embarkation/disembarkation and walking on cobblestone streets with steps so is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      3:30 h

    • Adults$85.00Price per person

    • Children$62.00Price per person

The excursions in the program above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this program is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.

 

Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

Greece

Under the protective wing of the gods
Under the protective wing of the gods

It would take a lifetime of island-hopping to fully appreciate the 227 inhabited Greek islands scattered across the Mediterranean Sea.
With sapphire water lapping at rocky coastlines sprinkled with secret coves and sandy beaches, they are the stuff of dreamy travel posters, the very definition of the eulogized Greek summer of sun, sea and sand.

For anyone with a cultural bone in their body a cruise to the Greek islands cannot fail to inspire. Every culture has left its mark, and almost every town or village has a link to the past, whether it’s a delicately crumbling temple to Aphrodite, a forbidding Venetian fort or a dusty Byzantine monastery decorated with exquisite frescoes.
But the call to cultural duty will never be too overwhelming on a Greek islands holiday. The hedonistic pleasures of languor and warmth – swimming in balmy seas at dusk, talking and drinking under the stars – are just as appealing.
Sprawling, globalized Athens is an obligatory, almost unavoidable introduction to Greece: aside from the show-stopping Acropolis it offers a truly metropolitan range of cultural diversions, from museums to concerts; well-stocked shops; gourmet restaurants and stimulating clubs.

 
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