Santorini Island, Greece, spring 2019: Balos hike

Balos is a small bay and beach on the caldera side near Akrotiri. It can be accessed from a trail leading down from the caldera rim above or following the coast, starting at the caldera beach with its access road. Both can be combined to a highly interesting short round trip of about 1-2 hours.
It is one of Santorini's least crowded and best places to swim inside the caldera. Until today, it is also used as a small harbor and boat shelter, as well as a famous place to collect capers. Most likely, the Balos Bay was already used as harbor in Minoan times. Remnants of Minoan building had been found on the cliff above during the 19 and 20th centuries (but unfortunately construction and erosion have by now destroyed most of it).
Geologically, it is also of particular interest: along the coast, the cliffs expose an old basaltic-andesitic cinder cone in cross section where a transition from water-magma interaction (phreatomagmatic activity) to purely strombolian-type eruptions (magmatic activity) is brilliantly recorded.
The Balos bay on the southern rim of the caldera (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The Balos bay on the southern rim of the caldera (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The solidified plug of an old cinder cone (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The solidified plug of an old cinder cone (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Agios Nikolas chapel at Balos beach (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Agios Nikolas chapel at Balos beach (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The Balos bay seen from near the chapel (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The Balos bay seen from near the chapel (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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We continue along the coast towards the west, where the massive Lower Pumice 1 eruption deposit dominates the cliff. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
We continue along the coast towards the west, where the massive Lower Pumice 1 eruption deposit domi... [info]
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An old landing pier (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
An old landing pier (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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View of the rarely visited beach (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
View of the rarely visited beach (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Caldera cliff (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Caldera cliff (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Broken blocks of red volcanic tuffs which had fallen from the caldera cliff. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Broken blocks of red volcanic tuffs which had fallen from the caldera cliff. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Old boat shelters (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Old boat shelters (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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The beach next to Balos (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
The beach next to Balos (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Gray layered tuffs which formed when the Balos cinder cone formed at sea level, generating violent steam explosions (surtseyan activity). (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Gray layered tuffs which formed when the Balos cinder cone formed at sea level, generating violent s... [info]
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Red pebble (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Red pebble (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Hydrothermal alteration of old volcanic tuffs gave a greenish tint to the rocks due to the presence of the clay mineral montmorrilonite. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Hydrothermal alteration of old volcanic tuffs gave a greenish tint to the rocks due to the presence ... [info]
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Tamarisk trees growing along the beaches. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Tamarisk trees growing along the beaches. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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View back down to Balos bay (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
View back down to Balos bay (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Passing the Lower Pumice deposit (approx 180,000 years old). (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Passing the Lower Pumice deposit (approx 180,000 years old). (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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On top of the red cinder cone at Balos (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
On top of the red cinder cone at Balos (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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Back on the caldera rim (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
Back on the caldera rim (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer) [info]
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View towards the "caldera beach" area east of Akrotiri village where the excursion had started. (Photo: Tom Pfeiffer)
View towards the "caldera beach" area east of Akrotiri village where the excursion had started. (Pho... [info]
(42 Hits)
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