Santorini is a world-famous destination for experiencing romantic sunsets, unique beaches, and luxurious accommodations overlooking the world’s most photographed caldera.
But travelers with a keen sense of adventure arrive to face a challenging dilemma: what to do first. The island offers many opportunities for hikes and mountain biking, for 4×4 tours, sailing and fishing, swimming and windsurfing, and yes, diving and kayaking.
When it comes to diving and sea kayaking, visitors can choose from a variety of fantastic experiences. For those unfamiliar with Santorini’s dive and kayaking offerings, here’s a primer.
Since Santorini was formed by an ancient volcano that exploded in antiquity’s most significant volcanic event, the island’s dive sites are mostly positioned in the lagoon where 400-meter cliffs drop off into the deep blue. Diving here is all about sound buoyancy control for those bent on exploring the submerged cliffs. While there are dozens of pristine dive spots to temp freedivers or SCUBA aficionados, here is a selection of the top dive sites Santorini has to offer.
Located inside the rim of the caldera, near the volcano, Adiavatous is one of the most beautiful reefs in the Mediterranean. Legend has it that this spot is the central location for the lost city of Atlantis. The reef is home to a fantastic variety of sea life including; crustaceans and invertebrates, as well as wrasse, anthias, groupers, and barracuda.
This dive spot features a maximum depth of only 10 meters, but the volcanic origins of the Caves make the site magnificent nonetheless. Here enormous boulders and swim-throughs, as well as spectacular underwater canyons and caverns make for a picturesque and eye-opening experience. Situated on the south coast of the island, this site is a favorite with locals and visitors alike. While the geologic features are the main attraction, the diverse marine life is a bonus. You’ll find moray eels, octopus, and lots of shimmering little glassfish, just to mention a few species.
This shallow dive attraction is famous for being home to nudibranchs and lots of other invertebrates, as well as hermit crabs and other crustaceans. The reef is a bit like a living picture show of sleek barracuda, for instance, swimming against the backdrop of hundreds of schools of other colorful fish species. Here local dive operators protect the site from fishermen, making the dive site a favorite sea life underwater photo op. Whether you visit during daylight hours or come after the sun goes down, you’ll find yourself spellbound.
Oia and Thirassia
These sites feature exceptionally clear waters and the stunning walls of the ancient volcano. Boasting a beautiful pinnacle and stunning walls, Oia and Τherasia are sites where the inner reefs are teeming with life, even the larger pelagics. Snapper and grouper are also prevalent, as well as barracudas which hunt the area.
A spectacular site, this area is noted for its stunning volcanic rock formations, and for the wreck of a tour boat that lies at an easily accessible depth of only 18 meters. Here a living treasure trove of marine life set the tone for a unique dive experience of coral, sponges, swimming wrasse and anthias, and even big groupers.
The small uninhabited island on the western edge of the caldera has some outstanding wall dive experiences. White Island is where volcanic rocks are covered in colorful sponge and coral growths, where armies of crabs, shrimp, and nudibranchs, and lively reef fish seem eager to entertain and amaze divers.
Whether you are a first-timer or experienced kayaker, the best way to view many parts of Santorini is from the sea. Here on Santorini, you’ll find some of the ablest tour companies for both training new enthusiasts and introducing experienced kayakers to the island’s unique sites and characteristics.
Kayak enthusiasts can choose any number of exciting and informative tours including; discovering the South coast, crossing the Caldera, family sea kayaking excursions, and even stand-up paddling adventures. Most kayaking experiences feature activities like snorkeling and touristic stopovers too.
Your Guest Experience Specialists at Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa can help organize the right tour experience for guests wanting to explore the Southern coast of Santorini coast or to get private instruction before exploring the magic beaches and seaside attractions of the island. All you’ll need to bring is your bathing suit, sunblock, and bottled water in most cases.