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Things to Do in Cyclades Islands - page 2

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Ancient Thera
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8 Tours and Activities

The archaeological site at Akrotiri may be closed, but fortunately you can get your fill of excavations at the site of Ancient Thira. There’s a mix of ruins to explore, including Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine remnants, excavated in the 1890s. Take a tour to identify the different structures – temples, houses, the market (agora), theater and gymnasium.

At its height, this was a thriving center, with dramatic sanctuaries hewn into rock, temples, an impressive theater and porticoed administrative buildings. The central area is the Agora, the old commercial hub, encircled by temple sanctuaries ringing the city. There are also ancient cemeteries here, unearthed since the 1960s. Don’t miss the views over the coast while you’re here.

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Paradise Beach
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After a day relaxing on the sand or jet-skiing through the water, Paradise Beach is where holiday makers come to party when the sun goes down. During the day, you can rent an umbrella and beach lounge, and make the most of the beach’s bar service. At night, there are a couple of restaurants in town, but it’s the pumping music played by beach club DJs that draws the mostly young crowds. Paradise Beach is fine for the family during the day, but the scene turns loud and sexy after dark. Don’t come here to sleep! As well as the beach dance floor, there’s the famous Paradise Club all-night party megaclub, that’s been a favorite rave scene since 1993.

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Fira
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Santorini’s main town perches on the cliff top overlooking the caldera, with better daytime views than Oia and twinkling night-time vistas.

Fira swarms with holidaymakers and cruise visitors, so find some quiet time in the town’s museums and churches. One museum focuses on Ancient Thira, with relics and figurines unearthed from Ancient Akrotiri. For local history and before-and-after displays on the devastating 1956 earthquake, visit the Megaron Gyzi Museum. Pop into the cathedral next door while you’re here. To find out about local traditions, visit the folklore museum housed in a cave.

There are some lovely jewelry shops to browse in Fira, running along the edge of the caldera, and a paved walkway runs beneath the edge of the lagoon, heading north to meet the cliff-top path to Oia, 8km (5 miles) away. Tours run from Fira over to the volcanic island of Nea Kameni, or you can take a dusk cruise to catch a legendary Oia sunset from the water.

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Port of Santorini (Athinios Port)
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One of the most memorable places in Greece, the volcanic island of Santorini - located in the Cyclades group - is a spectacular Mediterranean paradise known for its dazzling views, fine beaches and unforgettable sunsets. Without much need for modern amenities, the place is lined with historic sights, and more than enough natural and ancient wonderment to go around. It's no wonder why so many people love Santorini.

There are a few ways to get into Santorini, either by land or sea, depending on your budget and how much time you have to explore. By air, there is Santorini National Airport, which during the summer months flies directly to several destinations in Europe. If the water highway is your transportation method of choice, you can either grab a ferry from domestic locations in Naxos, Paros, or more commonly Piraeus. Big cruises will reach Santorini through the old port in Fira (take note: not the newer one located just 2 miles away in Pyrgos).

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Pyrgos (Pyrgos Kallistis)
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Pyrgos is a picturesque hillside village set on a volcanic crater at the highest point of the Greece’s Santorini, offering panoramic views of the rest of the island. At the top of the village sit the ruins of Kasteli Castle, remnants of the former capitol of the island before it was moved to Fira (where it remains today.)

Pyrgos is as beautiful as the rest of the island, but also has a special historic charm — with traditional white houses, Byzantine churches, Cycladic architecture, and small winding cobblestone lanes and paths. Some of the churches has beautiful old frescoes visible on the walls. The area sees far fewer tourists than the rest of the island, so it keeps a peaceful atmosphere. Though the town has merely 700 inhabitants, there are tavernas and local restaurants. Visiting the village is a way to experience the traditionally preserved culture of the Greek islands.

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