Greece’s 5 Sleeping Giants
Visiting the volcanos that shaped the Aegean archipelago
Greece was a land that was shifted and shaped by its many volcanoes raising islands in the sea and carving off cliffs into the mainland. It’s been a while since any of the volcanoes in Greece were last active, but if you want to visit somewhere to experience the dramatic remnants of such explosive forces, then these destinations are perfect for you.
Any list of Greece’s volcanic island would naturally have to be topped by Santorini. This island is gifted with a natural beauty and a wild scenery created by the eruptions that happened between 1613-1614 BC. The force of such discharge resulted in the collapse of the mouth of the volcano, resulting in the formation of the iconic caldera we know and love today.
In the last 400,000 years, the volcano has erupted and been reborn from its ashes 12 times, causing dramatic changes to the archipelago’s morphology.
The area has been calm since 1950, when the last lava outflow was recorded, with the hot springs bubbling up from the sea and the vapors around Nea Kameni being the only evidence of activity. Visitors can take ferry rides out to the caldera to experience the dormant volcano’s hot springs and hissing sulphur vents. The legacy of Santorini’s creative force has been the volcanic soil which lends a particularly sharp and strong flavor to anything that grows on the island, as well as the gorgeous, multicolored volcanic beaches which hug its shores.
Nisyros, the remote beauty of the Dodecanese, has always been shrouded with mystique because of its volcano which has not erupted since 1888, but remains quietly active. The entire island is in fact a volcano, with a 4 km caldera at its center and five smaller craters, the most imposing of which is the 3,000 to 4,000-year-old Stefanos.
With a depth of 27m and a 330m diameter, it is considered the largest and most well preserved hydrothermal crater in the world. Like a sleeping beast, it’s still puffing sulphuric fumes from its many fumaroles, making it hard for some people to visit the area.
Last summer, Stefanos hosted an enchanting concert right inside the crater that played improvised classical music for over 10 hours under the August moon.
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