Due to its fascinating geography, more than 5,000 years of history, and its unique hospitality, all of our tours on Santorini include a professionally trained, licensed guide so you get an in-depth experience which you would not receive merely being driven around with a guide book. You will meet your guide on the pier of Fira after you tender ashore. They will escort you via cable car to the town of Fira where you will walk to your transportation.
Departing Fira, you will make your way to the charming village of Oia (E ah) located at the very north end of the caldera. You will arrive as the town is waking up and before the wave of tour buses arrive allowing you to actually see / experience the charm of the village. You will have approximately 60 minutes to stroll the multileveled sidewalks and pedestrian streets that weave their way through this hillside village. Stop for a Greek coffee in one of the numerous small cafes, window shop or watch the ever changing color, light and shadows as the splash across the blue water, white washed buildings and the dramatic cliffs this town clings to. As you are leaving Oia, you will get a glimpse of the mob that will descend upon this small village later in the day.
You will drive south through the famous vineyards to the archaeological site of Akrotiri. The site is a Minoan settlement that dates back to the second millennium BC. The name of the settlement is unknown, but the excavation is named Akrotiri due to its proximity to a modern village of that name. Evidence uncovered points to the settlement having once been an important commercial center in the Aegean sea. The settlement was buried under more than 30 feet of dirt, rock and mud during a cataclysmic eruption that resulted in a large crater (caldera) replacing more than half of the island. Under a protective cover you will visit the ancient city's squares, cobblestone streets and peer into some of the houses and shops, some two and three stories high. No human remains have been found indicating there was some warning before the eruption.
After the guided tour of the excavation site, you will drive to a nearby restaurant where you will enjoy a typical lunch of Greek favorites, local wine and a panoramic view of the island. After lunch you will drive through the adjacent village of Pyrgos, another one of the island's most popular due to its winding streets and whitewashed houses accented with vibrant Mediterranean colors and flowers.
Next, you will drive to Fira town where you will end your organized tour. Your guide will lead you to the town's major pedestrian street, and after answering any questions about additional sightseeing, shopping or eating, will set you free to explore the whitewashed maze of passageways for art, jewelry or maybe a coffee with a view of the caldera. When you are ready to return to your ship, use your included cable car ticket to return to the tender pier in Fira.
Please Note: The tour duration does not include the time required to tender ashore from your ship. Please allow ample time to get ashore. Groups of ten or more guests will be tendered from the pier at Fira to the pier at Athinios and begin their tour from there. All tours end in Fira and include a return cable car ticket to the tender pier in Fira to be used at your convenience. This tour offers customized departure times between 7:30 AM and 7:00 PM. If your preferred departure time is not listed, please contact us to place your request.
Guests booking an afternoon departure of this tour will have early supper in place of lunch. Guests on the afternoon departures should also expect crowds in Oia.