“When the path reveals itself, follow it. ” Cheryl Strayed Brave Enough
“Where you is, is where you at.” New Orleans saying
Why This Mountain?
Tami did not pick this mountain, it found her. 52 Peaks had planned to stay in Athens before and after Mt. Olympus, but a number of friends contacted us and said we simply had to go to Santorini. So we did. Tami had planned to sightsee only and rented an ATV to go around the island. Her turns while driving kept seeming to bring her closer and closer to the trailhead for Profitas Ilias – the highest point in Santorini. Finally, she gave in to the universe and set out to hike Peak #8. No regrets – Santorini is a special place. Santorini (along with Crete) is also believed to be the site of the ancient civilization of Atlantis before it was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. How could anyone resist hiking a peak on this island with that kind of legacy?
Mountain & Route Facts
Profitas Ilias is not a big mountain, but it is the highest peak on Santorini. The trail itself is short only about a mile each way from the trailhead at the Ancient Thira site. Even with the short distance, it’s still a good hike. There is over a thousand feet of gain in that mile, so it’s pretty steep and the trail is rocky with exposed edges. There is also a good deal of wind. The views from the top are fantastic as you can see out over Santorini and over the Mediterranean Sea. There is also a monastery at the top of the peak.
Historical and Cultural Information
Santorini is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km (120 mi) southeast of Greece’s mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands. The capital is Fira. Oia is a beautiful town to stay and has fantastic sunsets.
Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. The island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred some 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep and may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through a gigantic tsunami. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis. Speculation is that the inspiration for Plato’s Atlantis is the island of Crete and Santorini.