Santorini is a beautiful island in Greece known for the iconic blue roofs in the village of Oia. But on the other end of the island is another key attraction, the ancient Minoan ruins at Akrotiri. If you like ruins it a must see site. It is one of the oldest and best preserved sites in the world.
How to Get to the Akrotiri Ruins
The best way to get around Santorini is to take the Local Buses. All of the busses are based out of the central village of Fria. Fria is the town that we came to first because it is where you end up if you come by cruise ship. Fria is built on the cliffs above the port and you have to take a cable car to reach it or walk up the donkey trail steps. If you don’t come up by cable car you will still have to go through Fria to get the bus to Akrotiri.
The bus “station” is located in the middle of Fria. The local buses all look like old tour busses so don’t wait around looking for the public buses you are used to. The front of the busses say where they are going. On the side of the bus station is a map that shows all the routes on the island. You can’t buy tickets at the station. When you are on the bus someone will come along and take your money based on how far you are going. Make sure you have cash with you as they won’t be able to take a card.
Ride the bus towards the Red Beach. You will get off at the Akrotiri stop which is almost at the end of the line. From the stop the site is just across the street.
What You Will See at the Akrotiri Ruins
At first it is hard to tell what is going on at the Akrotiri ruins. This is because the entire archaeological site is inside a permanent structure. You will buy your ticket at a window that faces outside. The ticket is €12 for adults and free for anyone under 18. From there follow the signs to the actual entrance. It is a little bit of a walk around the side from where you buy your tickets.
You’ll enter the structure containing the ruins, and once your eyes adjust, be amazed. Stretching before you will be some of the best ruins ever uncovered, all under a single roof. Paths lead around the top of the ruins and down inside them.
Akrotiri is one of the oldest peopled settlements in the world. The most ancient of the ruins date back to the 5th millennium BC. This is pretty cool because you get walk in a place that people have been living for over seven thousand years. These ruins are of the Minoans, one of the most ancient known civilizations. The settlement that we get to look at today is remarkably well preserved because it was covered in a volcanic eruption. The island of Santorini is actually large volcanic caldera. This history is similar to Pompeii, except that in Akrotiri no dead people were found making it appear that they were forewarned about the eruption before it happened.
One of the great things about these ruins is that they are totally accessible because modern pathways run around the entire perimeter allowing even a wheel chair to see the whole thing. This is often not the case for ancient ruins.
The ancient Minoan ruins at Akrotiri are definitely worth seeing even if they aren’t your primary reason for being on Santorini. If you don’t like ancient ruins than these probably won’t make you love them, but because of the roof over the entire site they may be the most enjoyable ruin experience you will have.