During our trip to Santorini, we took a boat excursion to Nea Kameni, the most active volcano on the island. The volcano is also known as Caldera and during this three hour visit, we have the chance to walk up the active crater, take photographs and enjoy the surrounding views. I haven't seen an active volcano up close before, so it was a cool experience.
The weather that day was nice for a day out with clear blue skies and not too hot, with cool sea breeze blowing through.
As the boat approaches the volcano, you can see piles of black lava stones almost everywhere. There we get off the boat where we've to walk on an uneven, rocky surface to approach the crater of the still active Volcano.
Obviously, you need comfortable hiking shoes for this trip. I'd recommend not going if you're not in good physical condition as the hike up to the volcano is considered steep, challenging and strenuous.
From a distance, you can see Thira and Oia on top of the huge cliffs. I was told that the volcano is over 400 years old. It last erupted in 1950 but is set to erupt at any time. It might sound scary but we took our chances and headed to the summit anyway.
The active crater is actually quite big and there are lots of area to explore and lots of details to observe. There are little wisps of steam emitted from a number of spots though they are not very evident in this picture. In some spots, you'll find that the ground is literally too hot to step on.
As you walk further up, you can spot the different colour tones of the volcano, as a result of several eruptions.
I finally reached the highest point after a strenuous 40 minutes hike. Yup, so this is what it’s like to be on a live volcano. What a feeling!
After getting baked in Nea Kameni, our next stop was Palea Kameni which is the oldest volcano on the island and is known for its stunning hot springs. The boat docked some distance away and a small group of enthusiasts swam towards the hot springs and bathe in the beautifying volcanic mud. It is believed that the hot springs are good for the body and on the bottom of the springs is mud laced with sulphur which is a great skin tonic. Too bad I can't swim but sometimes, it's enough to just watch.
After a thirty minute halt, the boat brought us back to Fira, its departure point. It was a fabulous way to spend the day and see the other interesting sights of Santorini. This is a pretty challenging journey that we'll treasure for a lifetime.
First Commenter - Mei Teng