The Volcanic Swim

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The Volcanic Swim

Come and experience Santorini, the most spectacular destination in the Mediterranean, a timeless Cycladic island, its rich ancient history still evident in its historical bronze age sites, with deep blue seas yet to be discovered by the discerning swimmer. Santorini is the gem in the Aegean Sea, human-scale traditional island architecture, world-renowned wine from small ash-rich vineyards, remarkable panoramic views of the Greek archipelago, magnificent sun-sets for the romantics amongst us, pre-historic sites frozen in time and wonderful artefacts from millennia ago;

Trip Dates

  • 23rd October - 30th October 2017
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Santorini Routes

Santorini Map

Swimming in the gem of the Aegean

Santorini is situated within the Cycladic group of islands in the Aegean Sea. It is a unique island as it combines, a rich eleven millennia history still evident on the island, world-famous wines due to its rich soil, an active as well as a lesser known submerged volcano that have shaped the island, spectacular views of the Aegean sea sunsets and undiscovered stretches of coastline offering incredible swimming in the deep blue Aegean Sea. This unique Swim The Volcano cultural swim trip is designed to give you a complete ‘taste’ of Santorini, from its Cycladic deep blue waters to the secrets of its ancient inhabitants and their artefacts. A swimming experience and more!

The 7-day programme starts on Monday and finishes the following Monday. We will greet you at the airport on arrival and take you to our luxurious, 4 star hotel El Greco to relax, rest or indulge yourself in one of the 4 swimming pools or spa. In the evening we will formally introduce you to the rest of the group over complimentary drinks and give you information on the week’s trip.

The swim trip will start the following morning with a filmed swimming analysis and coaching from our qualified guides.

Each morning we will board our traditional wooden boat and head to a different location around the caldera for a coastal swim with spectacular views of Santorini and its surrounding islands. For lunch we will visit a nearby harbour where local mouth-watering Greek food is freshly prepared.

What is included in the holiday

The trip starts on your arrival at the airport where you will be welcomed and taken in a mini bus to our hotel. In the evening you will have a chance to meet your fellow swimmers and be briefed on the week’s itinerary and safety issues over relaxing complimentary drinks.

On the first day of the trip our guides/coaches will video your swimming technique for an analysis session. We then view this with you and offer advice on achieving a more efficient, injury-free stroke. Individual advice can also be given during the swims.

A rich, buffet style breakfast is offered every morning at the hotel; we will then take you in a minibus to the cable car in Fira town which takes you down the dramatic, spectacular cliffs of Santorini to board our boat heading for our 1st swimming location.

After the swim we will visit one of the harbours for lunch where we stop and rest for about 1.5 - 2 hours.

We then board the boat and we continue our discovery of Santorini on land, visiting a different cultural location every day.

You will also be given a Santorini-themed T-shirt, a water bottle and a swimming hat.


  • On Arrival at the airport: Free transfer to the hotel and in the evening given a complimentary drink, T-shirt and water bottle
  • 1st Day: Individual underwater video, Individual stroke analysis, Swimming hat
  • Hotel accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • 2 motorised boats (One main and 1 auxiliary)
  • 2 qualified swim guides
  • Local Greek boat captain
  • Cold drinks along the swims
  • Variety of snacks at the end of each swim
  • All transfers to various venues
  • Free entrance and qualified guided tour to AKROTIRI Minoan site
  • Free entrance and qualified guided tour to ancient Thira site
  • Free entrance and guided tour to famous Santorini wineries incl. complimentary drinks and snacks
  • Visit to Oia town, north Santorini for the world-famous sunset
  • Free entrance to Santorini prehistoric Museum
  • Free entrance to Santorini archaeological Museum
  • Free entrance to Santorini Byzantine Museum
  • Free transfer back to the airport

Please note lunches and evening meals are not included. Snacks are included each day on the boat and during the winery tour.

Day 1

The start of an incredible journey on land and at sea! Arrival of all swimmers via free transfer to our luxurious, 4 star El Greco Hotel and Spa in Fira. Swimmers have the option of having some time to unwind by one of the four swimming pools, a drink at one of the pool’s bars, some fitness work in the gym or even have a relaxing spa!

In the evening we all meet at the hotel’s pool bar and formally welcome you to this amazing island. Complimentary welcome drinks give you a chance to get to know your fellow swimmers and this is followed by an introductory briefing to the trip by our Santorini based team.

Day 2

Today kicks off with an initial open water acclimatisation swim and optional swim analysis session. This is your chance to meet the breath-taking deep blue waters of the Aegean Sea and indulge yourself in the spectacular setting of Santorini. Our swimming introduction will take place against the backdrop of the imposing volcano.

Our qualified coaches and guides will split the week’s swimmers into 2 speed groups, we will then film each swimmer and later provide feedback on technique.

Swimmers then board the boat and take a north direction to the island of Thirasia, a chance to experience the traditional Greece on this untouched island and moor at Korfos harbour. From there the panoramic view opposite of the hanging cliffs of legendary Santorini with its Cycladic, iconic dwellings, are there in all their glory for you to take in. For even more spectacular views, ascend the steep steps to the traditional Greek village above and do not forget your camera.

The afternoon involves a short trip towards Santorini and a 2.5K swim in the peaceful Mouzaki Bay, a beach only accessible via boat between Oia and Fira.

Daily swim total: 3k approximately (swim route and acclimatisation swim)

Type of swim: Technique & coastal

Location: Volcano, Santorini Bay

Day 3

Today we will visit the ‘small’ volcanic island Palea Kameni with its hot springs, incredible rock formations and unique mineral water that is said to do wonders for your skin. We will circumnavigate the ‘black’ island which formed during an eruption in 200 BC and complete a 3K swim.

Whilst swimmers rest and replenish energy with various snacks on the boat we travel north to the island of Thirasia and the ‘forgotten’ harbour of Riva. We lunch here and rest for about 1.5-2 hours.

We then board the boat back to Santorini.

In the afternoon via mini bus swimmers travel to Akrotiri, the famous Minoan Bronze Age settlement that was frozen in time when the Santorini volcano erupted in approximately 1613 BC. Some say this is the elusive lost city of Atlantis, with its exquisite frescoes (Santorini & Athens Museums for the originals), preserved 3-stories houses, pottery and renowned Cycladic artefacts. We will have a qualified Greek guide who fluent in English who will put ‘flesh to the bones’ and give us an insight to this incredible era of world civilisation.

Daily swim total: 3K

Type of swim: Coastal

Location: Therasia

Visits: Akrotiri Minoan Site & Guided Tour

Day 4

Today we travel to Fira town and take the cable car, down to the small harbour where our boat awaits us. We take the 30 min boat ride to the Tripiti Cape (a popular scuba diving spot due to the water quality) on Thirasia island where our 3k swim starts.

Swimmers then go to Oia’s harbour Ammoudi for lunch where we rest for 1.5 – 2 hours, known as one of the most picturesque ports in the whole of Greece. It also has fantastic views of the caldera and the surrounding islands.

The afternoon’s inland visit involves the sensory pallet! We will visit 3 different wineries with a guided tour. Swimmers will learn about the processes, types of wine and secrets of the special Santorini wines; unique due to the volcanic ash-rich soil the vines were grown in from the lava deposits from all those millennia ago. Most Santorini wines are exported to the best gourmet restaurants around the world. A chance to sample some of them, overlooking the caldera, the volcano and the Aegean archipelago from the cliffs above – a truly exquisite experience.

Daily swim total: 3k

Type of swim: Coastal

Location: Tripiti Cape, Thirasia Island

Visits: Wineries guided tour and wine sampling

Day 5

Today unfolds with a short boat journey to the uninhabited private island of Aspronisi, the white island, which possesses fantastic views of the Caldera. The swim starts east of this small deserted island. You will have the chance once more to view the volcano, Thirasia and Santorini unfolding at a distance in a cascade of colours and dramatic shapes. We will circumnavigate the island to complete the 3K.

We will lunch once more in Korfos harbour and at the top of the hill we will visit Manolas, a traditional Cycladic village, with its square white washed houses and narrow cobbled streets. Manolas possesses beautiful views of the caldera due to its position.

The afternoon is free and you are advised to visit Fira town, the capital of Santorini and take in the vibrant ambience and astounding dramatic views over the cliffs towards the volcano opposite. We also recommend that you visit the archaeological and pre-historic museums both in the town and we will give you free passes for entrance to both. An option is also to visit the Byzantine museum at Pyrgos a few minutes’ journey in the mini bus and again free passes are available from us.

Daily swim total: 3K

Type of swim: Circumnavigation

Location: Aspronisi

Visits: Fira Town & Museums

Day 6

The day starts with some sight-seeing. We board the mini bus for a short journey southeast to the location of Ancient Thira, named after the mythical ruler of Santorini, Theras. The location is high above on the Messavouno mountain overseeing the ‘black’ beaches of Perissa to the south and Kamari to the north. You will have birds eye views of the archipelago and the island of Anafi, whilst on a good, clear day some can even see as far as Crete, some 70 miles away to the south. We will have a guided tour of the ancient site (inhabited from 9th Century BC) and have all the secrets of this wonderful civilisation revealed.

We will lunch at Kamari in a selected taverna.

Swimmers board the boat in the afternoon to complete the day’s swim and we will head towards the black mass of the active volcano, which erupted some 3,600 years ago. This eruption contributed to the demise of the Minoan civilisation in Crete and shaped the future of eastern Mediterranean cultures.

This once in a lifetime swim involves swimming the 3K around the volcano. When we complete the swim, we moor our boat at a designated bay and visit its crater on foot. After this extraordinary experience we board the boat to head home and are taken via minibus to the hotel.

Daily swim total: 3K

Type of swim: Volcano swim

Location: Santorini Volcano (Nea Kameni)

Visits: Site of Ancient Thira

Day 7

Today a short journey will take us northwest to Thirasia. The 3K coastal swim will be just north of Korfos harbour, overlooking the rather special traditional bleached-white Oia village clinging to the cliffs.

We will lunch once more at Ammouthi harbour, by the foothills of Oia village.

The afternoon’s sightseeing programme will take us in a mini bus to Oia, where you will be free to peruse around its winding cobbled roads, quaint Cycladic architecture, small shops, not to mention a chance to see the famous sunset, rumoured to be the most spectacular in the world.

Daily swim total: 3K

Type of swim: Coastal

Location: Thirasia Island

Visits: Oia Village

Day 8

This exceptional week of swimming and sights has gone too fast and it is our final goodbye, “sto epanithin” (until we meet again). This is the last morning in the accommodation and swimmers are asked to vacate rooms at El Greco Hotel & Spa for 12 noon. If you need to stay for a little longer please ask your guides Michael or Noa. We will need to know the times of your flight back so that we can organise the free transfer from the hotel to the airport.

If guests are staying longer in Santorini we can suggest accommodation options and places to visit in and around the area.


You can fly to Santorini island from a variety of different European and non-European cities as this is a world renowned destination. As we will be running the swim trip later in October, flights might be a little harder to find but EasyJet service this destination quite well. Also try via Athens which is only 20 mins away. On the way back, going via Athens International Airport and catching a connecting flight back, is the only option.

Other usual operators would be Thomas Cook and Thomson from various UK locations.

You can also get to Santorini via sea from Athens (Pireus Harbour), but the journey is usually a long one.

Getting to us from the airport

Free transfer from the airport to the hotel and back is part of the service.


From extensive research we have found one of the best hotels in Santorini for our Big Blue Swimmers. El Greco Resort is a luxurious 4 star hotel with stunning views of the volcano and the caldera. It offers facilities including lush American-style buffet breakfast, 4 swimming pools, open-air Jacuzzis, restaurants with specially sourced chefs, a fully equipped gym, spa with a variety of treatments, free wi-fi and much more.

The traditional Cycladic architecture compliments the recently renovated beautiful interior design of each of the rooms.

Please refer to their site for more information.

Big Blue Swim Accommodation

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