No trip to Santorini is complete without a visit to Thirassia Island. A short distance from Santorini, Thirassia is an integral part of Santorini’s culture and boasts the same rich history and beautiful views of the Aegean Sea. Thirassia is a small island with a population of 270, providing a quiet escape from the crowds of Oia, Santorini or even Fira. Here you can explore the history or simply enjoy the peaceful shores and small villages that make up the island. Even if it’s a short boat ride away, your Santorini vacation won’t be complete without a day visit to Thirassia.
Thirassia and Santorini were once connected before the Minoan volcanic eruption of Thera between 1642–1540 BCE, that shaped the famous Santorini caldera. Now it rests a mile away from Oia by boat and it feels like a step into rich Greek history when you visit. On Thirassia, you can still see evidence of the volcanic eruptions that happened over the millennia, including volcanic veins from lava flows on the southern side of this 9km island.
It’s home to one of the most prominent archaeological sites on the Aegean Sea, the Archaeological Site of Akrotiri, which explores evidence of ancient settlements there dating back to the Bronze Age. The architecture, even more so than throughout most of Santorini, Greece, is preserved in classic, historical styles, full of whitewashed structures and churches dating back to the 19th century.
Thirassia may be quieter than the rest of Santorini, but it’s full of features for tourists to enjoy. Aside from the history, both geological and civilized, Thirassia houses the beautiful black beach of Korfos. The hike to the highest point of Thirassia is well worth the stunning photo opportunities you’ll find there. It’s one of the best places in Santorini, Greece to see the caldera. The churches, including the churches of Agios Konstantinos and Agios Dimitrios, the chapel of the prophet Elias, and the church of Agia Irini (after which the island of Santorini itself may have been named), are all excellent tourist destinations.
If you need to get away from the crowds found in Oia or Fira to watch the Santorini sunset, there are many locations in Thirassia that offer stunning views. You can also find coffee shops and fine Greek and seafood cuisine.
To get to Thirassia, you can travel by boat from either Athinios or Ammoudi Ports in Oia, Santorini to Korfos beach. There is a bus that runs through Thirassia, but if you want to see it all, bring a bike or your best hiking shoes. Most of the tourist activity is near Korfos beach, although Riva still offers plenty to see and do. Very few people on Thirassia speak anything but Greek, so if this is your first trip to Santorini island, you may want to brush up on your Greek before you make your day trip to Thirassia.
There are a few places to stay in Thirassia, but most tourists prefer to make their accommodations in Santorini and visit Thirassia as a day trip. You can find apartments in Santorini in Oia that provide beautiful views of the sea and easy access to Thirassia when you decide to visit. This is often preferable, because most of the tourist attractions will be on the main island, so with accommodations in Oia, you won’t miss out on anything. Whether you stay for a few hours or the better part of the day, Thirassia is a crucial part of your visit to Santorini, Greece that you simply don’t want to miss.