Winter on Santorini
Geologic walking tour on Santorini, Greece

Dates / Price:

ca. 1400-2500 EUR
(4-10 part.)



Difficulty: adjustable (easy to medium-challenging)
level: high

Geology - Volcanism - Archaeology - History - Culture

Santorini island in winter:

During the winter season from approx. Nov.-March, Santorini can be a rough and wild place, but it is then when it best reveals its breathtaking beauty. The weather conditions are variable,- everything from cold, wet and stormy to sunny warm crystal-clear days can be expected (swimming or sunbathing is often possible). Since the weather changes quickly, we we are likely to experience some variety of it.


Despite, or better perhaps because of the unusual season to travel to Santorini, and because of the almost complete lack of tourists, Santorini in winter is relaxing and truly breathtaking,- often with spectacular clear views over the Aegean Sea. With adequate clothing (temperatures rarely go below 10 degrees C) including wind and rain protection, it is actually also a perfect place for geology and walking tours.


The winter tour involves hikes similar to the ones in summer, as long as the weather permits. Should it be too rainy or windy, the program will be adapted to do sightseeing, shorter hikes using busses, taxi or rental cars.

Cliffs and tuff layers of Santorini Santorini´s capital, Fira
40,000 year-old plant fossiles in volcanic ash tuffs

"Hi Tom, Thanks again for the super week on Santorini! It really was the experience I expected and I would heartily recommend your trip to anyone interested in combining a holiday on the Greek islands with geologically fascinating day walks. Well done!"
(Bob Davenport, Bremen)

If you are interested, please contact Tom via Email:


1. Day (Sun)
Arrival by regional airline from Athens and transfer to the hotel, welcome dinner and short introduction to Santorini's volcanic history.

2. Day (Mon)
Drive to an abandoned pumice quarry on the spectacular caldera rim, where interesting sequences of Santorini's volcanic tuff layers are exposed and remnants of prehistoric settlements can be visited. Observation of the impressive deposit of the Minoan eruption around 1645 BC. Easy walk (ca. 2-3 hrs total) and descend into a secluded bay, crossing the complete series of volcanic rocks of 500,000 years of history. If the weather is goo, lunch break at the sea, observation of the metomorphic folded shists of the non-volcanic basement, oopportunity to collect ore minerals. Walk and bus transfer back to the hotel in the afternoon. 

3. Day (Tue)
Drive by bus to the village of Akrotiri and visit of the famous excavations of the Minoan city buried beneath the ash layer of the Minoan eruption. Short walk (ca. 30 mins) to a beautifully exposed scoria cone cut in half by erosion. Around noon bus back to Fira and visit of the new archeological museum. Lunch break at free disposal. Short walk (ca. 1 hrs) along the steep caldera cliffs of the northern caldera to the Skaros rock, an impressive promontory where once a Venetian castle and a whole town was located. Explanation of the development and structure of the caldera, fossile stromatoliths as evidence of a pre-Minoan caldera. Easy walk (ca. 2 hrs., facultative: bus transfer) to the scenic town of Oia, sunset and dinner in a local tavern.

4. Day (Wed)
Day-trip with private or public transport. In the morning, we drive to the -in the winter- lonely beach resort Perissa, from where we walk around 350m uphill to the ancient Greek town of Thera (ca. 1-2 hrs.). Numerous interesting geologic features can be observed during the way (karst caves, faults etc.) and beautiful views wait for us on the mountain. Descend (ca. 1 hr) to the black-sand beach of Kamari and lunch break in a tavern.

In the afternoon bus transfer to the Medieval village of Pirgos with its Venetian castle. Short walk (ca. 1 hr) along old mule tracks to the beautiful village of Megalochori and a good viewpoint on the rim of the caldera. Bus transfer back to Fira or dinner in Megalochori.

5. Day (Thu)
Whole-day walk (weather-dependant: 2-5 hrs) or excursion on the scenic southern peninsula. Observation of the oldest exposed volcanic rocks, a typical cross-section of a small volcano (cinder cone, crater with dike and lava-lake), marine fossils. Lunch in a small tavern on the way.

6. Day (Fri)
Whole-day boat trip (private small boat from the beach below the hotel) to visit the historic volcanic islands of Palea and Nea Kameni (craters, lava flows and domes, fumaroles, bath in warm, iron-bearing springs, sulfur crystals). Short hike to the summit craters of the volcano. Lunch and swimming break in a warm-water spring. In the afternoon, we sail slowly back following Santorini's spectacular inner caldera cliffs and return to our hotel in the late afternoon.

7. Day (Sat)
At free disposal or additional, facultative walking program.

8. Day  (Sun)
Departure by plane to Athens (also on different dates if requested) or extension program.

Note: the order of days and the exact program might change slightly.

break during a hike

terrace at our hotel

Swimming in warm iron springs...

A volcanic pumice bomb from Nea Kameni

walk onto Profitis Ilias mountain in spring

Fumaroles on the active crater of Nea Kameni

Sulphur crystals in the active Georgios crater on Nea Kameni


Price: ca. 1400-2500 EUR* (depending on nr of participants)

The price includes:

- 7 nights in double room with caldera view and bath, incl. breakfast (Greek breakfast buffet). Single room supplement*: 300 Euro.
- Dinners on first and last evening of the tour
- All necessary transfers on Santorini (incl. pick-up from and to airport/ ferry)
- Whole-day boat-trip (depending on weather conditions)
- Domestic flight from/to Athens
- Accompanying material
- The English-German-Greek speaking geologic guide

The price does not include:

- travel to Athens
- extra meals and drinks


Individual arrangements:

For complete groups (tourist groups, school classes, hobby geologist groups, etc...) and individuals with specific interests (e.g. geological excursions, filming etc.), any tailor-made geologic program can be arranged at custum dates. If you are interested, please contact Tom directly at: tpfeiffer@decadevolcano.net.


Additional information:

Arrival to Santorini:
In order to let everyone plan his trip individually, arrival to Santorini is private, but we can help with information for flight and ferry schedules.

During winter, only a handful of hotels are still open on Santorini. For the purpose of maximum comfort and convenience (to go out to one of the few open places at night etc.), we will stay in the capital Fira in a beautiful and luxuriously refurnished traditional building, the Loucas Hotel. Besides all necessary services, it has comfortable, spacious and - most important - heated rooms and serves good breakfast.

Preceding/ additional days:
Santorini as well as nearby islands have a lot to offer for a much longer stay. This tour is an excellent departing point to explore more of it. If space available, previous or following nights at the same hotel can be booked without problems. Also, recommendations for other places to stay/ activities can be given.

Recommended reading: Fire in the Sea
Previous participants have suggested to mention Walter Friedrich's popular bestseller at this place . Fire in the Sea is not only by far the best and pleasantly written book about Santorini's natural history available, but it can be used as the perfect introduction to this excursion. Since I have worked with Walter on Santorini (and a little bit on the book), they are closely connected.

Walking boots or similar, sun and wind protection, a day-backpack, light dressing, a pullover or jacket for the evenings.

Walking boots or similar, sun and wind protection, a day-backpack, light dressing, a pullover or jacket for the evenings.



Booking / Contact information:

If you are interested in any of these programs or want to make a booking, please contact me directly (preferred via email):

Tom Pfeiffer, volcanologist - your field guide

Tom Pfeiffer, volcanologist, Ph.D.
VolcanoDiscovery Tours
Email: tpfeiffer@decadevolcano.net