Kamari Beach Hotel

Thirasia: the island on the other side

Right across from Santorini lies the tiny island of Thirasia. Even though it is only minutes away, Thirasia conveys a totally different mood: it is the ideal place to see what Santorini was like before tourism took off. Manolas, the island’s main settlement, crowns a caldera as dramatic as that of Oia and Fira. Here, however, you will not have to worry about tourist crowds. Manolas is so quiet that its cats seem to outnumber people!

This sleepy village is so quiet that you can hear the wind blow and the fallen bougainvillea flowers crackle, as they swirl in the alleys. Manolas’ central alley leads to the colorful church of Saint John Prodromos. The blue, orange and yellow stripes decorating its dome and façade make it a delightful deviation from the typical white and blue Greek island church.

Because of its position, Thirasia is the perfect spot to enjoy the view of Santorini. Especially on a night of a full moon, it is said to be magical to watch the moon rise over Santorini’s caldera. Things on Thirasia might pick up when its first hotel, currently under development, opens its doors later this year. Until then, the liveliest spot on the island is Agkistri taverna at Riva beach. Mrs. Anna and Mr. Nikos will make you feel at home as you savor homemade, local dishes.

Thirasia is a place to take it slow and easy. If you feel like escaping Santorini’s crowds, take this peaceful journey back in time.