Running on water or flying over it, paddling inside a volcano, riding on the back of a horse, climbing “The Rock” and enjoying breath-taking views of one the world's most beautiful island locations: here are some fun, sporty and alternative ways to get your adrenaline pumping while getting to know Santorini.
Santorini Water Sports (www.santoriniwatersport.com, +30 6993675074) is located on Saint George beach and offers a wide variety of water related fun and sports. You can easily spend entire days there, checking you limits – not to mention your cardio-vascular excercise level – by taking their water toys out for a ride.
The towables, with the distinctive names Crazy UPO Scuab, Solo X, Shields, Rings and Banana are pure and unadulterated fun. The waterski and wakeboard options cover every level, while the supboard will test your balance. With a canoe you can enjoy the ride on your own time and difficulty level, while the VW Beetle look-alike waterbike (pedal boat) will take you back to simpler times...
If you love speed, then you should definitely invest on a jetski rental, or better yet go on a Jetski Safari. There are two options available, both exploring Santorini's inaccessible coastline. The first will take your from Saint George beach to Vlychada, the Red Beach, the White Beach, Mesa Pigadia, Mavro Vouno and then back to Saint George (1,5 hours).
The second also includes a ride through the volcano and a swim in the warm waters surrounding it and lasts 2,5 hours. Both rides are guided and they offer you neoprene suits, life-jackets, goglles, masks, waterproof pockets for you valuables and a go pro camera to record your adventure.
Finally, if you want to fly safely over the blue waters and enjoy a inhindered panoramic view of the island, choose to go parasailing: there is even a two-in-one option so you can fly with your bestie!
For those not afraid to work a bit for their daily tour, the Santorini Sea Kayak team (www.santoriniseakayak.com, +30 22860 85237, +30 6351801051) offers four tours, all operated by experienced guides on sea kayaks.
Take the SUP Tour, if you truly want to appreciate the art of 'stand up paddling'. After a short introduction to the relative technique, the tour will take you from Akrotiri to Vlychada, breaking for swiming and snack-sharing along the way.
The South Experience is an introductory tour for those new to the sport and offers an unforgettable experience off the south cost of the island, where you will paddle by spectacular rock formations, crystal waters and beautiful beaches. Along the way, you'll stop at Kambia beach for a bit of snorkeling and a light picnic lunch.
The Caldera Crossing is a mid-level tour, which will take you to the North West part of the island, round the magnificent Oia cliffs. You will enter the Caldera from the north passage, have a coffee break on Thirasia island and then head to Palia Kammeni to swim, snorkel and a light lunch. You'll then head south to Ballos bay, where you'll end your day with glorious sunset views over dinner.
Finally, for the more physically fit, the Round the Lighthouse tour will take experienced kayakers from Ballos to the Caldera, around the Akrotiri lighthouse and accross Santorini's beautiful beaches (Mesa Pigadia, White & Red Beach), offering a light pic nic on the way and dinner at the end of the route.
Santorini Horse Riding (www.santorinihr.com, +30 22860 30596) has been breeding horses and offering riding lessons and island tours since 1968. They are based in the village of Megalochori and invite their visitors to follow them on a ride through the village and to some of Santorini's most magnificent spots, while enjoying the proximity and relaxed feeling of some of our planet's most beautiful animals.
After a guide through the stables to get comfortable with basic instructions, all riders learn to saddle and guide their horse to the tour starting point. All three tours begin with a ride through the picturesque village of Megalochori, to admire the old mansions, traditional architecture, wineries, vineyards and churches that can be found there. Then, and depending on the riders' level and expertise, the tour may circle back to the stables, continue on to the beach, where you can actually walk or swim with your horse or to the Caldera side of the island, where you can enjoy a one of a kind view of the rock formations caused by the volcanic erruption and appreciate the calmness and wilderness of the location.
There is no wonder that Santorini is commonly referred to as “The Rock” within the climbing community. Its massive rock formations are a challenge for every climber and the views offered along the way are truly similar to none in the world. Unfortunately, there is no professional climber or climbing centre on the island, but there are more than 150 routes set up by world famous climbers, in Kamari and Perissa, their difficulty ranging from 4A to 8. If you decide to venture any of them, you should bring your own equipment and partner, as well as contact the president of the Volunteer Rescue Body of Thyra, Mr Giorgos Danezis (+30 6944126339) for tips and support. For the really experienced climbers, the island's most difficult route is aptly named “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”: it is a real tough one, but the view from the top does not disappoint. You may check it out at www.routes.gr, the free online climbing guide for Greek mountains.
You can always get a better view of things from above and that is certainly the case for an island so geo-morphologicaly challenging as Santorini. There are many companies on the island that offer safe, private helicopter tours (check www.viator.com, www.santorini- privatetour.com or www.awsantorinitours.com to name a few). There are mostly two tour packages on offer: the 20-minute-ride, which flies you over the Caldera, Nea Kammeni and some of the island's top beaches and the 30-minute-ride, which throws in a fly over Megalochori, Oia and Thirasia.
You may also arrange for a day trip to other islands (Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete, Folegandros) or Athens. Whatever the route and tour length, you'll surely be glad to ogle some dramatic aerial views, while soaring above Santorini.