Santorini’s reputation began 36 centuries ago with the eruption and implosion of an ancient volcano, creating a mega-tsunami massive enough to end the Minoan empire 120 km (75 miles) away. The Caldera (remember the myth of Atlantis?), ringed with smaller remnant islands boasts 1,000 ft. cliffs upon which perch the whitewashed main capital of Thira.
Towering seaside cliffs and charming whitewashed villages along the caldera coast make Santorini a favorite of cruise ships and tourists with unique cliffside restaurants, shops, hotels and churches. But arriving by cruise ship presents the problem of getting up the 1,000 ft. vertical cliff face. Your choices are to walk the almost 600 steps along the meandering pathway, ride a donkey up this same path or board a cable car for the quickest, most direct route to the top. How energetic do you feel?
Depending on your stay in Santorini, you’ll need to prioritize what you want to see.
1 day or part day (Cruise ship tour) – Set your sites on Santorini’s main city, Thira (sometimes referred to as Fira). The cruise ships dock here so it’s an easy choice. This is the island’s gem with the main shops, restaurants and caldera views all walkable from your ship – you must have lunch on the cliffs. Also consider booking a tour with Viator or Expedia to see some other locations close by like Nea Kameni’s volcanic crater and sulphur hot springs [our GG Recommendation], or a catamaran sailing cruise sightseeing the caldera.