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If you fancy exploring the smaller islands in the caldera, go to the ports of Fira or Athinios, where you can start your adventure aboard a boat or yacht.
A typical tour lasts about three hours and includes a visit to the stunning Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni (the new and old burnt islands). These two tiny islands have formed over more than 2000 years as a result of successive volcanic eruptions, the last of which took place in 1950. The first island features a volcanic crater, which still emits hot air and sulphurous vapour. On the second island, enjoy a leisurely swim in the thermal waters that surround it.
First you'll explore Nea Kameni.
Located on the active volcanic centre of Santorini, Nea Kameni is a small uninhabited island with little vegetation. Just two kilometres in diameter, it is home to the National Geological Park of Nea Kameni Island.
Currently, the volcano lies dormant just a few kilometres under the island, and the only thing that testifies to its existence are the plumes of hot gases that can be seen on the summit of the island. If you want to observe these, walk to the top for around 20 to 30 minutes.
After visiting the volcano of Nea Kameni, it's time to explore Palea Kameni.
Although boats don't dock on the island, they anchor offshore next to the red hot springs that flow from underground. From this point, the visual spectacle is fascinating: the black volcanic stones contrast
with the grey sand, the red of the hot sulphurous waters and the crystal white of the small chapel that rests on some rocks.
If you dare, you can swim a little and get closer to the island to enjoy the hot springs, an activity that most tourists take part in. These sulphurous waters are rich in minerals, such as iron, and are warm but pleasant, especially in winter. The water is said to be beneficial for certain skin diseases, rheumatism and the nervous system. But what we can guarantee is that they will relax you completely and that you'll return a shade of ochre.
The truth is that, although it is one of the most common Santorini excursions, the experience is well worth it.