Akrotiri Excavations: Archaeological Site In Santorini

Akrotiri Excavations have uncovered one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean. The first habitation at the site dates back to the Late Neolithic times (at least the 4th millennium BC). Akrotiri is often characterised as the prehistoric Pompeii of the Aegean.


The excavations in Akrotiri started in 1967 led  by Professor Spyridon Marinatos. He aimed to prove that the destruction of the Minoan Civilization was caused by the eruption of the volcano in Santorini.

The excavations revealed that there was an entire city buried under lava. The large extent of the settlement (20 hectares), the elaborate drainage system, the sophisticated multi-storey buildings with the beautiful wall paintings, furniture and vessels show its great development and prosperity. Here are some of the most famous wall paintings: 

Spring Fresco, Akrotiri, Thira   By Marsyas (2007), CC BY 2.5

Spring Fresco, Akrotiri, Thira

By Marsyas (2007), CC BY 2.5

Ship Fresco, Akrotiri, Santorini   By pano by smial - Own work, Public Domain

Ship Fresco, Akrotiri, Santorini

By pano by smial - Own work, Public Domain

Fisherman Fresco, Akrotiri, Santorini

Fisherman Fresco, Akrotiri, Santorini

Boxers Fresco, Akrotiri, Santorini

Boxers Fresco, Akrotiri, Santorini

The various imported objects found in the buildings indicate the wide network of the external relations Akrotiri had. Not only with Crete but with the Greek Mainland, Cyprus, Syria and Egypt.

The finds of the excavations also lead to the following conclusions:

  • Habitats evacuated the city before the volcano erupted, probably due to powerful earthquakes. There were never any human remains found on site.

  • There was a very advanced and well organized society there at the time.

  • Nature and fertility were worshipped in Akrotiri during ancient times.

  • Every house had a separate worship space for the residents. On the contrary there were no temples in the city.

The Archeological Site & Useful Information

Akrotiri Excavations Layout- By Maximilian Dörrbecker

Visitors tour the archaeological site along ancient Akrotiri's main street, lined with stores and warehouses of the ancient commercial city. You will find descriptive plaques with all the information along the way and you will also be given a leaflet with a map when you buy your tickets. 

The site is indoors so you do not have to worry about the heat. There are different routes you can follow depending on how much you want to see. There is also a short route that only takes about half an hour to complete.

The area is wheelchair-accessible and a medical office is available as well.

The entrance costs 12€. There are also licensed tour guides available outside, but you might have to wait a while. You can also book a tour online in advance.

Here are two private guided tours in Akrotiri Prehistoric city I would suggest (one that includes the transfers and one that doesn’t):

Original artifacts are exhibited at the Prehistoric museum in Fira. Some of them have been transported to Athens and can be found at the National Archaeological Museum.

Photo Tour

Last summer one of the friends I made during a tour in Santorini said to me he couldn't reach Ancient Akrotiri due to his age and physical condition. And asked me to write about it instead.

So John, this is for you. 


Instead of an afterword, I would like to say this:

Now I am not a big fan of museums (or archaeological sites for that matter). But there is something about the excavations in Akrotiri that just gets to you. Standing there imagining that there was a vivid (and well advanced) civilisation there million years ago is just mind blowing. 

If Plato's story of Atlantis is true, then maybe this is it. You are looking at the Lost Atlantis. Think about it. 

See you all soon,


You can find Akrotiri Excavations in Santorini here:


Full: €12, Reduced: €6

Akrotiri Excavations Opening Times

(1 November - 31 March 2018) 
08.00 - 15.00 Tuesday - Sunday

(01April - 31 October 2017) 
08.00 - 20.00
Thursday 8.00 - 15.00

Monday closed