Therassia, the unknown “side” of Santorini

Therassia is Santorini’s unknown young sister. Contrary to the cosmopolitan island, Therassia lives away from the lights, excesses and luxury of its older sister. While you are still on the launch (small boat), travelling across, you feel like time has stopped somewhere around 1950-60! When you get there, you see a lot of abandoned houses, undeveloped fields, while you can count people on your fingers. Over here, stress and anxiety are words unknown, as life flows by in harmony.The island’s few inhabitants’ (under 250) primary concern is to cover their basic needs. They are mostly occupied with building restoration, livestock farming and tourism. And when we say tourism, we mean the cruises that reach the island’s harbors (Riva & Korfos) for two hours a day, since the island does not have the infrastructure to accommodate them (for now).

However, Therassia is worth something more than a walk around the five tourist cafés and little shops at the harbors! It is worth walking on its arid volcanic land, gazing at the view from the caldera, meeting the people and their “ascetic” way of life, taking a dive at the black beach of Ayia Eirini and many more. Of course here, just like in Santorini, churches and chapels abound.If someone told us to describe Therassia in a few words, then we would say that it is a place with lots of signs of abandonment and zero development, which, however, has wild natural beauty and is the ideal sanctuary. And all this while it is just 1.3 miles away from the cosmopolitan Santorini!

What to do in Therassia

1) Korfos HarborThe harbor of Korfos is the port of Manolas, the island’s capital. The picturesque seashore with the turquoise waters and traditional taverns, daily welcomes dozens of day-trippers from Santorini.

2) Manolas (capital)Manolas, Therassia’s capital, is the island’s largest and most organized community. Wandering its picturesque streets, you will find a great many abandoned houses, shops, and even a hotel. The view from a lot of spots of the capital is unparalleled.

3) Korfos-Manolas TrailThe climb up from the harbor of Korfos to Manolas is a feat, as the 270 cobbled steps will wear you out and exhaust you, especially on sunny days! But if you make a few stops and look at the view after every turn, you will feel better. You can also ride your way up on a donkey.

4) Holy Monastery of the Assumption of Mary The Monastery of the Assumption of Mary is located on the southernmost edge of the island and it is on its own a good reason to visit the island. The view from the Monastery is unparalleled, as it faces the caldera, Santorini, Aspronisi, Palea and Nea Kameni, as well as the endless blue of the Aegean.

Mini tip: The (dirt) road has a lot of rills and deep ditches. Access by motorcycle is very difficult, while the car must have pretty high ground clearance. The best option is to go on foot!

5) Potamos of Therassia The dale-nestled village of Potamos is the second largest in size and population village of the island. It is located on the center of Therassia and reminds a lot of some Aegean village of the 1960s. In Potamos, the main attractions are the churches of Ayios Demetrios, Ayios Spyridon and Panayia Yiatrissa.

6) Cycling TherassiaWhat would be better than getting to know the island’s wild beauty via e-mountain bikes? As a matter of fact, this is the only way to get to know every nook and cranny of the island, as the roads are rugged and the terrain is uneven and slippery.

7) Caldera of TherassiaWhat would you say about a walk at the caldera of Therassia? The height might not be as great as the one at Fira (Santorini), but it is equally impressive and made of the same mixture of volcanic elements. And the most important thing is that you will enjoy your walk without the over-crowdedness and flash lights of Santorini.

? Quick tip: The trail is about 2.4km long. ? Check it out HERE

8) Temple of the Presentation of Mary It is located in the village of Agrilia, about 400m away from Potamos. The (nearly) abandoned village can boast about hosting one of the most beautiful chapels in the Mediterranean! The white-blue in combination with the colorful shapes of its façade render it one-of-a-kind.

9) Ayia Eirini

The village of Ayia Eirini is located on the south side of the island and it is an emerging power, as it hosts the island’s second port (Riva), which in fact receives all the supplies that are meant for the island. On the hill there is also the homonymous church with a very nice view.

? Mini tip: The local bus heading to the island’s other villages, starts at the port of Riva.

10) Chapel of Prophet Elias Through an interesting, uphill, 1.6km-long route, you will reach Therassia’s highest peak, where the chapel of Prophet Elias is located. From up there, you will gaze at the caldera, the sea and Santorini.

11) The black beach of Ayia Eirini

The black beach of Ayia Eirini is one of the few spots on the island where you can swim. It stretches across about 400m and it is dressed with black pebbles and black sand.

It is located HERE

info Θηρασίαa) At the port of Riva, there is the church of Ayia Eirini, thanks to who (according to the legend) Santorini got its name (Santa Irini)! b) Electricity reached the island in 1980, drinking water in 1999, while the first time a road was laid with asphalt was in 2008! c) Most houses are abandoned, as their transfer to next generations (from father to son) is not allowed! d) The island hosts one of the most impressive hotels in the Mediterranean, the Perivolas Hideaway, which has been awarded with a European award for architecture. It is accessible only via the sea or the air (it has a heliport), privacy is at the highest possible level, it has only four super-deluxe suites, while it has hosted figures such as Vladimir Putin, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt!

Μετακίνηση ΘηρασίαBoth access to and transportation in Therassia are a problem. The organized tours leave people on the island only for two hours, which is a very short timeframe for them to see a lot of things. Prefer to visit it privately.

Transportation starts at the port of Ammoudi (Oia) with three routes per day only for passengers, and once per day from the big port of Santorini, Athenios, with a passengers/cars Ro-Ro ferry. If you want to take your vehicle to the island, you will have to stay there one night and return the next day! On the island you can move by bike or on foot. The distance from one side to the other is just 6km and it takes about 1½ hour!Transportation Schedule:

a) Ammoudi-Therassia with launch boat —> 3 times a day 08:00-12:30-17:30 ONLY for passengers (it stops at the port of Riva for 10 minutes and ends its route at Korfos). Cost 1€. Note: It starts 30 minutes earlier from Therassia.

b) Athenios-Therassia with Ro-Ro boat —> Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday at 15:30, for passengers and vehicles. From Riva to Athenios: Every Monday and Friday at 08:15 and every Wednesday and Saturday at 13:45.

c) With the big ferry from Athenios to Therassia every Wednesday and Sunday at 08:55 & from Riva to Athenios: Every Saturday and Tuesday at 16:05!

Food Therassia In Therassia you will find only a handful of options for food, while it makes sense that all restaurants count on tourism to survive. Almost all taverns are located at the island’s two ports, where the ferries drop off tourists for a few hours. Prices are pretty high considering the quality of the dishes, while portions are pretty limited!

Check out our recommendations..

Agistri (Riva Port): It serves probably the best food in Therassia! It is located at the port of Riva and, apart from its wonderful dishes, it also offers great service.

Panorama (Manolas): It is located on the top of the uphill road from the port to Manolas and offers a magical view and worthwhile dishes in reasonable prices. It is worth the climb!

Kamara (Korfos): It serves good fish dishes right by the seashore, their servings are good in size and service is also pretty good.

Different Restaurant (Manolas): It is a decent fast-food shop with a wonderful view, average service and high prices.

Captain John (Korfos): A nice option for someone that does not have high expectations for some tsipouro and light food. Its location is very good and it has small servings.

Small Café (Korfos): It is a decent café, which serves waffles, crepes, ice-creams, cold sandwiches and some salads. Reasonable prices, wonderful view and good service are some of its characteristics!

Café Tonis (Korfos): A pretty good café where you can relax, right by the sea with a freddo cappuccino!

Accommodation Therassia Accommodation in Therassia is (for now) at zero point. Unfortunately, the island does not have what it takes to accommodate its visitors.

In Therassia you will only find the..

Thirassia Paradise Suites : decent accommodation, high prices.

 Zacharo Rooms : low prices, mediocre accommodation quality.

Perivolas Hideaway : unbelievably high prices and is only meant for a select few!

Tips Θηρασία

  •  The ideal stay on the island is 5-8 hours.
  •  Do not visit the island during the winter months, the winds sweep away everything in their path!
  •  The time you need to climb up from the port of Korfos to Manolas is 25 minutes.
  • On the island there is only one ATM and it is located in Manolas.
  •  It is reasonable for the service at the taverns to not be the best possible one, as the flow of customers is not smooth, but massive.
  •  On windy days wear a hat or a headscarf, as the volcanic ash will get in your hair and eyes.
  •  On the island you will find a medical office, a 7×7 football field, mini markets (in Manolas and Potamos), as well as an elementary school and high school/lyceum.
  •  At the port of Korfos you will find souvenirs cheaper than in Santorini.
  •  The most important events on the island are of course the traditional festivals with the biggest one being the one of the Assumption of Mary on August 15th.
  •  If you want to avoid large crowds, take the launch boat at 08:00 and return at 12:00. The next route (12:00-17:00) has the most people.
  •  The ground consists of soil and volcanic ash, so as a result it is slippery and stains the shoes. Wear dark-colored shoes and watch your step.
  •  On the island you will see a lot of wild rabbits running all around you!

Trip to Therassia, the complete guide to Santorini’s unknown destination
  1. Swat Valley says:

    Very informative. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Nikos says:

      You are most Welcome!

  2. Mat says:

    I luv my island the birth place of my father and his father from his history, ancestry,culture, and hard life they all endured. It is a gem of a spot and I can’t wait to go back.

    1. Nikos says:

      Very Glad to hear that!! Hope to come back soon

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