Santorini: Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni

Santorini is the remnant of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, which is why it has all those dramatic solidified lava cliffs - the volcanic caldera. The Minoan eruption was so big that it reportedly caused global temperatures to increase, and you can actually go to Akrotiri on mainland Santorini to see the remains of an ancient Minoan settlement. (Don't worry, they think that the Minoans managed to escape in time.)

If you want to look a closer look at the cause of all this destruction, take a boat to visit Nea Kameni - the volcano island - and then take a dip in the hot springs by neighbouring Palea Kameni.

Tours run twice a day in high season, and they don't need to be booked that far in advance. We paid €18 each at an excursion office in Firostefani to take a trip across to the volcano island the next afternoon. (We also had to pay an additional €2 once on the island.) Wear comfortable shoes, grab a bottle of water and slap on some sunscreen and you'll be good to explore.

The volcano is very much still active so you will spy steam coming up from the crater when you're exploring though, of course, a strict eye is kept on volcanic activity. An eruption last occurred in 1950.

From Nea Kameni you are treated to beautiful views of mainland Santorini, as well as Thirasía, the other inhabited island in Santorini, and Palea Kameni. (Santorini is an archiplegao which consists of Santorini (or Thira as it's officially known), Thirasía, Nea Kameni, Palea Kameni, plus another uninhabited island: Aspronisi.

The white buildings on top of the volcanic caldera on the mainland could almost be mistaken for snow-covered mountains! Oia is to the left of the picture, whilst you can see the village of Imerovigli to the right.

We spent roughly 90 minutes exploring on the volcano island before the boat took us round to Palea Kameni, which is where you'll find the hot springs. We were told that the sea would be about 30-35°C - it certainly felt warmer than normal sea temperatures, but not *that* hot in the bit where we were swimming. Be warned, if you're wearing light swimwear, you will get sulphur stains on them.

Definitely do spend a morning or afternoon exploring the volcano island if you're visiting Santorini - it's a bit of a climb to get to the top, made more noticeable with the heat, but it's worth it for the views and to say you've climbed an active volcano! x

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