Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera in Santorini

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Updated: June 17, 2021
By Santorini Dave

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Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera

The Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera is located on Mesa Vouno in between Perissa and Kamari villages in the southeast corner of the island.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera

The Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera is the second most important archaeological site in Santorini after Ancient Akrotiri. It was uncovered during large-scale excavations between 1896 and 1902 by German archeologist Friedrich Hiller von Gaertringen. The ruins on the NE and NW slopes were excavated by N. Zapheiropoulos between 1961-1982.

It is located on the peak of Mesa Vouno (“Inside Mountain”), on the southwest side of the island in a small area called Episkopi Gonia, close to Kamari town and about 3km up a winding, narrow road or walking trail. Mesa Vouno (369m) and neighboring Mount Profitis (567m) in Pyrgos are the highest peaks on the island and offer beautiful panoramic views. There are trails from Kamari, Perissa, and Pyrgos to Mount Profitis and to Mesa Vouno and Ancient Thera, the longest one being 5km long. There is also a 2km trail connecting the two mountains. All trails lead to a snack bar just below a little cement road leading to the entrance of the site. Directions for trails are found in all three towns.

Ancient Thera was discovered in the 9th century BC by Dorian colonists, one of the four major ethnic groups in Ancient Greece. Thera (modern day Santorini) was named after the Dorian’s leader, Theras, and was inhabited up to the Byzantine period. The city was in a strategic location at the peak of the mountain, between the coasts of Kamari to the north and Perissa to the south. The Dorians built two roads, one to Perissa beach and the second to Kamari beach, where they built their ports which enabled them to control the southeastern Aegean Sea.

The archaeological site is well organized with a defined route across it. Open-air sanctuaries, temples, an agora, public buildings, private residences, neighborhoods, and a well-developed road network with drainage system make up the ancient city. The preserved ruins belong mainly to the Hellenistic and Roman periods of the city. Well-written descriptions in Greek and English are available throughout.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera Hours and Information

  • Season: Open through the year except on Tuesdays.
  • Hours: Open daily 8:30am to 3:30pm. Last admission at 3pm.
  • Website: odysseus.culture.gr
  • Location: Kamari, Santorini 847 00
  • Telephone: +30 228 608 1939
  • Admission Fee: €6. €3 for EU senior citizens (65+) and those under 25 from non-EU countries. Combined ticket at €15 per person includes single admission to the archaeological site of Akrotiri, archaeological site of Ancient Thera, and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Fira. Valid for 3 days.
  • Free Entry: 6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri) • 18 April (International Monuments Day) • 18 May (International Museums Day) • The last weekend of September (European Heritage Days) • National Holidays • 28 October • Every first Sunday from November 1 to March 31
  • Parking: There is a parking lot at Sellada (2km). There is also parking on the road just outside the site entrance, but its limited.
  • Bus: The closest bus stop is in Kamari (3.5 km). The site can be reached by driving, taking a cab, or hiking up the mountain from the bus stop.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Road

The road up the hill from Kamari is winding and steep, with many switchbacks.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Entrance

The entrance to the site.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Tickets

Ticket prices and site timings are displayed near the entrance.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Snack Bar

There is a small snack bar at the roundabout near the entrance.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Sanctuary of Aphrodite

Sanctuary of Aphrodite with the village and beach of Perissa down below.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Church of Agios Stefanos

The buildings and areas have excellent descriptions, diagrams, and pictures in Greek and English.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Church of Agios Stefanos

The Church of Agios Stefanos.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Temenos of Artemidoros

The Temenos of Artemidoros has a great story mentioned on the sign in front of it.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Ruins

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Garrison Post

Ptolemaic Garrison Post.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Gymnasium

Gymnasium of Ptolemain Garrison Post.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - City Center

The city center of Ancient Thera.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - City Center

A well-laid road ran through the middle of the city center.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Sanctuary of Egyptian Gods

Sanctuary of Egyptian Gods.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Apollo Pythios Sanctuary

Apollo Pythios Sanctuary

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Roman Baths

Roman Baths – Public Building

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Bailike Stoa

Basilike Stoa – Administrative and civic center.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Kamari

Looking down at the village and beach of Kamari with the airport to the north.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Walking trails

The hiking trails up the mountains are well-marked.

Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera - Trail Map

All hiking trails are displayed on maps in Kamari, Perissa, and Pyrgos.

About Santorini Dave

Santorini Dave Author Bio. Santorini Dave was started in 2011 by a guy who loved Greece, travel, and great hotels. We're now a small team of writers and researchers on a mission to deliver the most helpful travel content on the internet. We specialize in Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Greece and recommend the best hotels, best neighborhoods, and best family hotels in top destinations around the world. We also make hotel maps and travel videos. I can be contacted at dave@santorinidave.com.