Akrotiri came to an abrupt end in approximately 1613 BC with a catastrophic volcanic eruption that buried the Bronze Age settlement in a carpet of ash. Beginning in 1967, excavations of the Minoan town revealed buildings, drainage systems, and pottery, but no human remains or gold valuables, indicating locals had time to flee before disaster hit.
The historic highlight of Santorini, Ancient Akrotiri is often visited on islandwide sightseeing tours by bus, minivan, or private vehicle. While the settlement can be explored independently, it’s more rewarding to go with a guide who can provide some context to the ruins.
Some Santorini tours combine a guided visit to Akrotiri with trips to picturesque Greek towns and villages such as Oia, Pyrgos, Megalochori, and Emporio; free time for swimming and sunbathing at stretches such as Perissa Beach or Red Beach; and wine tastings.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Nicknamed the Pompeii of the Aegean, Akrotiri is a must for ancient history buffs.
- The excavations are covered by a protective ceiling structure, which provides shelter from the hot Santorini sun.
- With level, wooden boardwalks overlooking the excavated site, Akrotiri is accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Ancient Akrotiri is situated on the southern tip of Santorini, about 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) south of Fira. During the summer, local KTEL buses run several times daily from Fira to Akrotiri Beach.
When to Get There
Ancient Akrotiri is busiest during the summer months (June through August). Get here early in the day to experience it at its quietest. Between November and March, take advantage of free entry to the site on the first Sunday of every month.
Delve into Ancient Santorini
Visitors with an interest in the ancient history of the island will want to prioritize Ancient Thera, which showcases ruins dating from the Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Several museums, including the Museum of Prehistoric Thera and the Archaeological Museum (both in Fira), display objects unearthed from Akrotiri and beyond, while the Santozeum Museum (also in Fira) features frescos from the Bronze Age site.