The first thing many tourists inquire about is whether the famous Santorini volcano is still active. The short answer is: yes it is! However, it is in a dormant state which means that it’s been sleeping for long decades. Therefore, it should not hold you back from visiting the fascinating site of this marvelous Greek island.
Santorini is considered probably the most popular volcanic island and many tourists come to see its unique natural phenomenon. Interestingly enough, the volcano is actually responsible for the current shape and morphology of this gorgeous holiday destination. Santorini used to be a large circular island whose form was completely disrupted by the 1600 BC earthquake which was followed by the first volcanic eruption. In ancient times, the mythical island even bore a different name, Strogili (circular) which also referred to its formerly round shape.
As a result of the destructive volcanic activity, the land had been cut off into 5 smaller pieces and that’s how Therasia, Aspronisi, Palaia Kammeni, Nea Kammeni, and Santorini were created. Even though out of these 5 tiny islets only Santorini is open for visitors, the rest of them still serve as stunning backdrops when you admire the caldera.
The Minoan eruption was in fact so powerful that even the inhabitants of the neighboring Crete island felt its effect. Scholars speculate that the volcano could have directly influenced the decline of the Minoan civilization. The social unrest that was caused by the natural disaster may have led to the end of the Bronze Age Aegean civilization.
There is also another widespread theory that says that the volcanic eruption was the force that pushed the lost city of Atlantis onto the bottom of the sea. There are many matching details and references in the well-known Greek philosopher Plato’s work that supports the case. The geographical location of Atlantis, its advanced and flourishing civilization, and the fact that its inhabitants once got defeated by the Athenians all seem to correspond with Santorini.
The Santorini volcano has awakened one more time fairly recently, on 10 January 1950. The series of eruptions lasted for 5 days alternating in magnitude of explosivity. However, it was still significantly smaller than the prehistoric incident. Today, the danger is gone as experts estimate that such events happen only once 15,000 – 20,000 years and it has been only 3,600 since the major eruption.
You can safely visit the sleeping giant by booking a sailing or yacht cruise that departs at Ammoudi Bay. It is very convenient as the drivers of Santorini Yachting Club can pick you up at your hotel upon request and will take you down to the charming fishing point. If you feel adventurous enough, you can go on a hike along the rim of the volcano’s vast craters. You can feel the earth’s ancient energy while admiring the otherworldly moonscape-like scenery. At the end of the day, gather with your loved ones on a panoramic terrace to enjoy some volcanic Santorini wine and marvel at the magnificent crescent-shaped caldera. As you see, volcanic eruptions are not only destructive natural forces but can also create unique beauty and delicious wine.