Therasia Ia Thira
Therasia is a small, almost uninhabited island (only 300 residents more or less live here) that sticks with tradition and authenticity. It is awash with nothing but serenity and natural beauty and the hospitality of its inhabitants is always there to welcome you. It lies on the west of Santorini, opposite of the village of Oia, just one nautical mile away. There are boat routes that depart from Ammoudi Bay to Riva, the port of Therasia, a distance that takes less than 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can take the ferryboat from Athinios port to Riva or the old port of Therasia, Korfos. But the best choice is to take a guided boat tour where you will spend your day exploring and learning about the history of the volcano and Therasia. Many excursions of that kind are organized daily and it is the most suitable way to have an ultimate experience in Therasia and the volcanic islands.
Along with Santorini, Aspronisi and the two residual volcanic islands Palaia Kammeni and Nea Kammeni, they form a group of islands that used to be one big island in the past. It was a bigger round island, called Strogili (which means circular), that was destroyed by a destructive volcanic eruption that occurred in the distant past and the aforementioned individual islands were created. Consequently, Therasia shares many similarities with Santorini, such as the distinct terrain morphology, the architectural design of houses and churches, the spectacular views and the people share, of course, the same customs and traditions. The agriculture and vegetation is alike as well and both islands produce the same traditional products, like wine, small tomatoes, fava beans and wild capers that are totally worth tasting.
Nonetheless, Therasia is quite different as it has nothing to do with the cosmopolitan and lively atmosphere of Santorini that hums with activity. Therasia is not developed or popular among tourists and it profusely offers images of the past. It is a quiet, traditional island with an aura of another era. The nightlife is non-existent and the amenities are scant but whether you take a day trip or you stay more days you will feel relaxed and renewed.
The capital of Therasia, Manolas, is built on the highest point of the caldera and apart from the magnificent views it offers accommodation (a restricted number of rooms to let), restaurants and the most facilities. In the middle of the island is the settlement of Potamos that is built in a gorge where you will meet beautiful whitewashed houses with colorful gardens and yards. Agrilia and Kera are two deserted settlements where you will see traditional cave houses and from Kera you have the opportunity to cherish a panoramic view to the volcanic islands from a different angle. To reach the quaint old port of Korfos you have to descend 270 paved steps on foot or on a mule’s back. In this tiny, charming port you can taste fresh fish and delicious local dishes in one of the fish restaurants by the sea. The same goes for the fish taverns you will find in Riva port where you can savor the traditional products of Therasia.
As for the beaches, they all are unspoiled and own crystal-clear waters and volcanic pebbles and sand. You can find many wonderful beaches on the west side of the island but you need to have your own vehicle to access them. The most popular ones are the black beach of Agia Irini in Riva port, a long beach with black sand and pebbles and deep waters and the small beach next to Korfos port that lies under the impressive red and black caldera cliffs.
Therasia holds 21 lovely churches and chapels of various colors. In addition, it is an ideal place for trekking as there are plenty natural paths with rich vegetation and idyllic images in pacific surroundings. You can wander in picturesque cobbled streets and admire houses of Cycladic architecture, windmills and staggering geological formations. Therasia is a haven of rest that offers striking views of Santorini and the Aegean Sea.