The Caldera of Santorini


White church with blue hemispherical dome topped by white cross.
A blue dome overlooks the caldera in Oia, Santorini, Greece.

This past April I took my first ever trip to Greece, a week-long photography tour with Light & Land ( This was not only my first trip to Greece, but anywhere close to Greece; the closest I had ever been to Greece was London. Anyone who has paid attention to social media knows exactly where I went based on the image above: Santorini.

I didn’t really know what to expect from Santorini other than churches with blue domes. However, the geologic feature that strikes the first-time visitor is the massive caldera in the center of the group of islands.

A map of Santorini showing various towns on the island.
The islands of the Santorini Archipelago surround a massive caldera formed by a volcanic eruption about 3,600 years ago.

The entire perimeter of the caldera is ringed with massive cliffs. Countless white buildings cling to the rim and pour down the slopes. The views are truly spectacular from virtually everywhere along the rim.

Predominantly white buildings cling to the upper portion of steep slopes that descend down to the sea.
The southern view from Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece, shows the Saint Nikolaos Holy Convent sitting above the caldera rim.

There’s a lot more to Santorini than this one overwhelming geologic feature, however. Next time we’ll get more into the architecture. Here’s an image that serves as a good transition to next week’s post:

The sea sits behind two white belltowers with crosses on their tops.
An Oía belltower above the Santorini caldera is illuminated by the morning sun, Greece.

Technical notes. All three photographs in this post were taken with a Nikon Z7 using a Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S lens. All were processed from RAW in Adobe Lightroom Classic; the top photograph received additional processing using Affinity Photo.

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