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Geography and Landscape


Santorini, formerly a circular volcanic island, is a small circular archipelago of volcanic islands located in the southern Aegean Sea, some 200 km south-east of the Greek mainland. Santorini belongs to the Southern Cyclades and is the southernmost island of them all.

Santorini Satellite PhotoSantorini Satellite PhotoPhoto: Public domain

The largest island is called Thira and has an area of approx. 73 km2. Together with the inhabited island of Therasia, which was severed from the mainland by a volcanic eruption in 236 BC, and the uninhabited islands of Néa Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi and Christiani, the entire Santorini archipelago covers an area of just over 90 km2. Santorini is located approximately 150 km north of Crete. Palea Kameni was formed after an eruption in 57 AD, and Néa Kameni was formed in 1573; these two islands are also known as the 'burnt islands'.


Santorini is a volcanic island with very steep rock formations in all kinds of colours. Santorini is shaped like a crescent moon, as the island was probably broken up by a volcanic eruption around 1450 B.C. The eruption was so gigantic that the central part of the volcano plunged into the sea, creating a crater, a so-called caldera, measuring several tens of km2 and up to 400 metres deep. Santorini is, apart from Melos, the only Greek island that lies on an extinct volcano.

The west coast is dominated by steep rocks and cliffs; the east side of the island is much flatter and the best beaches can be found there. Santorini does not have golden beaches, but beaches with black sand or pebbles.

No golden or white beaches on SantoriniNo golden or white beaches on SantoriniPhoto: Klearchos Kapoutsis CC 2.0 Generic no changes made



Sheehan, S. / Santorini
Thomas Cook

Oswin, T. / A-Z guide to Santorini

CIA - World Factbook

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Last updated June 2024
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