Have you ever wondered what those beautiful traditional settlements in Santorini would be like without the streets teeming with tourists? Or a clear view of the Aegean, and surrounding islands from the volcanic cliffs, without being blocked by selfie sticks? If you want to get away from the crowds and experience what Santorini was like before it became insanely popular – take a short ten-minute boat ride over to Santorini’s best-kept secret – Thirassia.
Enjoy the pristine views from Santorini’s sister island!
Thirassia Island, at one time, was connected to Santorini before the catastrophic volcanic eruption that destroyed the Minoan Civilization blew the two apart. The island has largely remained unspoilt by tourism due to its obscurity compared to the world-renown popularity of its sister island. Many visit the island to get away from the crowded marble streets in Oia but few know the splendor of the private black stone beach near Riva, the stunning monasteries, and the incomparable hiking trails on the island.
The black volcanic private beach of Riva looking back at Oia, Santorini
If your first stop is Riva, you can choose to spend the day at the black stone pebble beach (I highly recommend water shoes, as it’s quite slippery getting in and out of the water). You won’t have crowds to contend with as the beach is largely unknown to tourists and there are only 200 full time residents that live on the island. There is no shade for the beach, so be sure to bring sunscreen, and enjoy the peace and quiet this lovely beach offers.
One of the 21 stunning churches to see on the island!
You can catch the island’s only “taxi” to one of the beautiful monasteries to spend the day marveling at days gone by. One of the most dazzling churches is located in the cave town of Akrilla. The Church of the Virgin Mary was built in 1887 and services are held here each year on November 21st in memory of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary.
The old port of Korfos boasts some of the best fresh fish tavernas on the island and if you take the earliest boat, you may have the whole port to yourself. Grab a frappe´ and a snack and enjoy the solitary beauty of Thirassia.
When you feel like exploring, hike the 270 steps up to Manolas, the capital of the island. The sweeping views from the cliff top, of the smaller islands, speckling the Aegean are something you won’t want to miss. There are also donkeys available if you don’t think your legs will carry you to the top.
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Enjoy the beauty of traditional Greek architecture!
Wander through the streets of Manolas and enjoy the elegance of traditional Greek architecture. Manolas is the largest settlement on the island but is untouched by tourism. Stroll along the cliffs, on the small walking streets, lined with hot pink bougainvillea framing the whitewashed cave houses. The views from the capital city will leave you breathless (as will the climb up from the port of Korfos).
Enjoy the peace and quiet of this beautiful island, which is only a short ride away!
During the summer months, the water taxi leaves from Ammoudi Bay, near Oia in Santorini, to Riva the main port in Thirassia, three times a day at 08:45, 12:45, and 17:20 EEST. The ride takes ten minutes to Riva and another five to the old port of Korfos.
There is no Internet on Thirassia – only adding to its tranquility - so leave your devices at home. Relax and enjoy the quiet contrast of this remarkable gem of the Aegean to Santorini’s bustling tourism.
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