Just off the mainland of Greece, are over 6,000 islands. However, only 227 of them are inhabited. Many of the Greek Islands were formed by sleeping giants – volcanoes. These have shaped the landscape over millions of years and created the islands that we see today, including Santorini, Methana, Milos and Nisyros. They are easily reached with a short ferry ride, and perfect for a whistlestop tour. Whilst you are there, you can also experience some of the most unspoilt beaches in Europe, sample the delicious local seafood and enjoy some fascinating walking tours. You can even swim in the hot springs, created by the volcanic geothermal activity.
The Biggest Volcano Crater In The World
Start your tour with Santorini, the most famous of the volcanoes – it has the biggest crater in the world, at a staggering 11km in diameter. The height of the volcano is over 300m. You can get a tour from the port of Fira to the volcano, which is an island in its own right, called Nea Kameni. It formed Santorini in the 16th Century.
The volcano itself is still active, and the last time it erupted was actually in 1950, although its activity wasn’t big enough to cause irreparable damage. The crater is one of the most amazing sights in Europe – it is completely sunken and full of seawater. Whilst there, you can hike the volcano, stopping to take some incredible photos, and even bathe in the nearby hot springs.
The Volcano Of Milos
In comparison to the active volcano of Santorini, the volcano that makes the island of Milos is dormant. You can get to Milos on a short ferry ride from the mainland, or from one of the other inhabited islands. The volcano is the reason that the land is so rich in mineral deposits and has such unusual colorful rock formations.
The last time that the volcano erupted was 90,000 BC. Whilst on Milos, you can take part in a very interesting walking tour of the volcano and thermal springs. The island also has some incredibly beautiful beaches, surrounded by the turquoise blue Aegean. On your whistlestop tour, you can stay in one of the boutique hotels on the island and enjoy some local seafood in one of the many tavernas.
The Youngest Greek Island Volcano
The Volcano of Nisyros is the most recently formed volcano in the Greek Islands. It is only about 160,000 years old. In 1872 a new eruption occurred and formed a crater that is almost 7 meters in diameter. Another new crater was formed in 1888 following another eruption. Smoke was last seen erupting from schisms on the island in 1956, and the volcano is still considered to be active.
The island has numerous hot springs caused by the geothermal activity, and you can swim in many of them. The waters are considered to have healing properties, doing wonders for musculoskeletal problems. One of the most Instagrammed places on Nisyros is the town of Nikia, which is nestled on the side of the volcano. There are some welcoming and homely guesthouses there, where you can stay in comfort.
If you have an interest in history and geology, then doing a whistlestop tour of the Greek Island volcanoes is completely fascinating. You can do a hiking tour, enjoy the beaches and swim in some of the bluest seas in the world, all while learning about the area’s rich history.