A boat trip to Thirasia, the Santorini of 50 years ago
Imagine being able to travel to Santorini as it was before the cosmopolitan vibe. To when the landscape was all about raw volcanic beauty rather than whitewashed glitz and glamour. Well, on a boat trip to Thirasia - one of the islands you can see from Santorini as you look across the caldera – you don’t have to imagine.
Thirasia was originally part of the large island of Strongili, which collapsed during the Minoan eruption to form a cluster of islands (that includes Santorini and Palea and Nea Kameni) and the iconic caldera that unites them. As such, it shares the same volcanic geology as Santorini, and was similarly inhabited in the past, but it experienced none of its explosive growth as a tourist destination.
So visiting gives you a rare glimpse of what Santorini was like with just over 300 inhabitants and a to slow-paced, unchanging way of life that will, most likely, still be the same 50 years from now.
A Santorini boat trip to Thirasia
Agia Eirini (Riva harbour)
The main port of Thirasia is likely to be the first stop if you arrive by ferry. You can enjoy a seafood meal here in a traditional tavernas and have a dip at a beach with striking black pebbles.
The main town of Thirasia is built just above Korfos, at the island’s highest point. It’s got the same dramatic clifftop feel as Santorini, but with views from the other side of the caldera. You’ll find traditional Cycladic houses, narrow streets and small village shops. It’s worth carrying on the path south of Manolas. You’ll get to the church of Prophet Elias, probably the best viewpoint.
Built in a ravine, from where it got its name (River), Potamos is about 1km inland from Manolas. It has beautiful houses with courtyards and two churches in the centre, Agios Dimitrios and the colourful Panagia Yatrissa.
The second of Thirasia’s two ports, Korfos is the ideal place to enjoy a seafood meal in a traditional taverna and swim with views of Santorini. The landscape is characteristically volcanic.
Thirasia’s oldest settlement is no longer inhabited, which makes it especially interesting to explore, especially the remains of the houses built right into the rock. To get here, you’ll most likely need to complete a 2km walk from Manolas. You’ll be rewarded with a raw volcanic landscape along the way.
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Where do Thirasia boat trips leave from?
- Boats for Riva and Korfos leave from the port of Ammoudi (Oia) at various times of the day (starting from 08:00) all year round. In the summer, there is an evening departure.
- Ferries depart for Riva leave from Athinio, in Santorini, on most days of the week.
- There is a possibility that the nearest return time from Riva will be the following morning. You can stay overnight on Thirasia or return on boat to Ammoudi. There is a bus that connects the port of Riva with Manolas.
- You can also catch a ferry or smaller boat from Santorini or hire a boat and set your own itinerary.
- You can reach Ammoudi and Athinio by car or taxi from your hotel. Alternatively, there is a good network of public buses on Santorini, including stops in Fira and Oia. More Info
All crossings are dependent on weather conditions. So it is best to confirm daily departure and return times of all crossings with the Santorini Port Authorities (+30 2286 022239).
What is the best time of year to visit Thirasia?
- You can visit Thirasia all year round, but swimming and sunbathing are best from May to October.
- Organised boat excursions operate in the summer months.
- All boat journeys are dependent on weather conditions.
May-June and September-October are the best and quietest periods to enjoy Santorini.
How long do Santorini boat trips last?
- There are half and full-day boat excursions to Thirasia, and others that include stops at Nea and Palea Kameni.
- Organised boat trips last around 5-8 hours.
- The crossing takes 10-15 minutes from Ammoudi and 45 minutes from Athinio.
How much do Thirasia boat trips cost?
- Ferries from Ammoudi start from €1-€2
- Organised boat trips to Thirasia (and possibly other locations) start from €31 (half day) and €40 (full day) per person.
What do you need to take on a boat trip from Santorini?
- There are facilities and services on the island (tavernas, cafeterias, a few shops and an ATM).
- The beach at Riva has umbrellas and sunbeds.
Make sure you have everything you need for a day in the sun: