Where Your Journey Begins........
Santorini or Thira as it is otherwise named, is one of the most beautiful and unique in beauty islands of Greece and throughout the world. It is the most southern island of the Cyclades in the south of the Aegean sea.
Intriguing history, awesome volcanic landscape, cosmopolitan atmosphere, breathtaking sunsets, deep blue sea, the volcano, are just some of the reasons that make Santorini the most popular holiday destination in Greece!! Santorini has a metaphysical energy that becomes you as you sail into the Caldera rim and gaze up the steep cliffs.
Fira, Oia, Imerovigli are just some of the villages that are built into the cliffs with magnificent view of the Aegean sea, the volcano and the nearby islands of Ios, Folegandros and Sikinos.
Santorini is the most extraordinary island in the Aegean. You sail into a strange, enclosed sea, shut off by the Burnt Islands. The volcanic cliffs of Santorini are red, brown or greenish, surmounted by a string of white villages. It is rather like a model of a monster's jaw made by some infernal dentist; a sinister and alarming place, like nowhere else.
Jetting out from the deep blue sea its volcanic sheer cliffs topped with gleaming white village homes and churches, resemble snowcapped mountains. The thunderous fury of nature left its mark on the island, the home of Greece's last active volcano which still smolders today. Layer upon layer of red volcanic rock interspersed with white buildings and specks of greenery form a visual demonstration found nowhere else.
The entire center of the circular island sank into the sea during the tremendous volcanic explosion of 3.500 years ago. The eruption caused tidal waves which virtually wiped out the advanced Minoan civilization of Crete 70 miles to the south. Some scholars believe that the island is part of the legendary lost continent of Atlantis which supposedly slipped underwater during the disaster.
What remains today of Santorini is a large crescent-shaped island enclosing a vast bay, the largest caldera on earth (7X14 miles). There are also four much smaller islands around the main large one which are called Thirassia, Nea Kameni, Palia Kameni and Aspronisi
From the sheer cliff-top, where the villages are built, you look down on the gentle, green outer slopes of the mountain: the sea has filled the crater of the volcano. The contrast between these two faces of Santorini is dramatic and extraordinary.
The beauty of Santorini must depend on light and line; there is hardly any vegetation apart from vines, and the volcanic earth has no charm of color, unlike the earth and rock of the limestone islands. Yet it has a strange and uncanny fascination of its own.
It has rightly been called the black pearl of the Aegean.The sunsets of Santorini, with the Burnt Islands in the foreground, the islet of Thirassia behind, Sikinos and Folegandros farther off, and the great rock of Christiana, are among the most exciting aesthetic experiences that the Aegean can provide.
The official name of the island is Thira, but foreigners refer to it by the name given in honor of the island's patron saint, St. Irene of Thessaloniki, who died here while in exile in 304 A.D. Santorini, which covers 73 square kilometers and is located 127 nautical miles from the port of Piraeus, has an important wine trade. In September visitors may tread the grapes and taste the wines.
The rich volcanic soil also produces popular small sweet tomatoes. The island also exports pumice stone, china clay and pistacchio nuts. Two million tons of volcanic soil is exported every year for use in the cement industry. A member of the Cyclades group of Aegean islands, Santorini has a permanent population of approxiimately 10.500 but during the tourist season this number swells dramatically.
Santorini has 13 villages. Fira, also known as Thira or Hora, is the island's capital. It is situated 27,5 m. above the sea and may be reached from the port of Skala climbing the steep, 566 broad steps. This should only be attempted by the untiring while the traditional way up the zigzag path is by renting pack mules or donkeys.
For those who prefer modern conveniences, a funicular lift is available. The cable car lifts 800 persons per hour. The duration is only two minutes and offers unforgettable views of the volcanic island.
Santorini- what a wonder to visit.......
Whilst considering Santorini as a possible destination, I was advised that there was not a lot to do and if you hired a car you would see everything within three days!
Well on reviewing and staying on the wonderful island of Santorini I definitely disagree!
We decided to look for accommodation around the caldera (the west of the island) as this is renowned for its beautiful sunsets and quirky little towns.
Thomson have a number of beautiful properties on the island and provide the complete holiday package.......
We however decided to book our hotel and flight independently and secured a great deal. We made a reservation for 7 nights bed and breakfast at 'The hotel Suites of the Gods in Megalohori', through Hotels.com and booked the flight with Thomson. We found Hotels.com to be very helpful and their prices very competitive. This combination is also available with Thomson as a package deal. Thomas Cook also fly to Santorini.
Our flights with Thomson were great, easy check in, friendly staff, no delays and smooth .
Santorini airport is a very small airport a little behind the times, coping with large numbers of people, but they were really quite speedy with the baggage handling.
We were transported with free pick up by our hotel to our smart hotel reception, (Reservations can be made by contacting the resort prior to arrival, using the contact information on the booking confirmation) where we were made to feel most welcome. We were shown to our suite, which had a four poster bed, a small table with a couple of chairs and a Jacuzzi bath in one area. They also provided us with wonderful cosy white dressing gowns for our stay.
Our first morning was pure relaxation, just what we all needed, a lazy relax by the pool after our delightful buffet style breakfast all fresh and inviting, with a variety of foods from bacon and scrambled eggs to fresh croissants, fruit and wonderfully fresh Greek yoghurt.
A member of staff came to chat to us and showed us around the hotel and spa, at this point we were told we had a free 1/2 hour treatment inclusive with our stay. The spa was in the caves adjoining to the hotel. On entering there was a delightful aroma of wonderful essences burning.
In the peaceful spa there were treatment rooms, a Jacuzzi, sauna and indoor heated small pool. Outside there was another small pool (infinity pool) with loungers to relax after your treatments.
The hotel staff gave us a map of the island asked if we wanted to hire a car? At this point they were quite shocked when we said no! We told them we intended to use the buses. The member of staff showed us on a map places they would recommend to eat all over the island we were given different restaurants in towns to the north, south, and east of the hotel.
The bus stop was right outside the hotel. The buses were an experience very packed, however great fun, the bus driver recognised us after a few days and everyone was so happy and friendly.
Each day or evening we visited a different town with a restaurant which was recommended to us, we ad hocked a couple as well. We were advised to book the restaurants in advance, essential! as they were so busy.
We visited Fira during the day, which was probably a mistake, three cruise ships were in port and this is where the majority of passengers visit. This made the town so very busy and the intense heat made it impossible to enjoy. We decided to return later when all the passengers would be back on board.
On our return we ate at the 'Argo Restaurant' the view of the famous sunset was amazing, the food was good and the prices were average. I think this
recommendation was made on account of the view and beautiful sunset.
Just like any town or city there are tourist areas of Fira but if you explore the town there is a whole delight of wonderful cobbled streets with unusually shops and of course the token tourist shops, but you must explore down all the little alley ways not just the Main Street and historical spots.
Our journey to Oia took longer than we anticipated as the island is relatively small and accessible. Oia is one of the most famous places in Santorini and hotels etc are expensive in this area. The sunset from Oia was amazing and not to be missed it was like watching a movie the wonderful colours and the actual speed of its final descent was amazing.
The streets of Oia are cobbled and quaint with art galleries, historical areas and the regular tourist shops. Unfortunately we didn't get time to explore here, due to our reservation at the famous Sunset Taverna fish restaurant, (in the base of the Caldera by the water). The access is a little difficult, a steep descent and not recommended if you have mobility issues. Taxis can take you part of the way but they are very hard to find. This restaurant was very busy, the décor was basic with photos of celebrities who had eaten there . We were told to ask for the owner who was very friendly and sent over welcome drinks. The prices were quite expensive but the food was fresh and excellent.
Another evening we dined at the Metaxa Mas Restaurant located on the east of the Island. As this restaurant wasn't on the bus route we took a taxi, he dropped us by the church and pointed down an alleyway, we walked down and saw the back of the church with its beautiful steps.
The Restaurant was to our left overlooking the east side of Santorini and the runway!
(which was in the distance, as in the picture above) It was furnished simply and offered a basic menu.
We decided to have the specials of the day, with never ending course after course. The wine was on tap and everything was superb. We ate so much we could hardly move but felt it would be rude to refuse any of the courses they brought. The food was divine and some of the courses were complimentary. All in all a gem of a find with, very basic surroundings but wonderfully fresh amazing food.
The following day we decided to head South to the beach of Perissa. The hotel staff advised that they had a private beach there and they would take us. The Demilmar beach bar, was furnished with sofas, tables and chairs facing the sea. The staff member spoke to the bar attendants and we were welcomed and treated like VIPs. The food here was very good.
We had a wonderful day by the sea with comfortable sun beds and waiter service. We were even offered a shower and towels at the end of the day to freshen up, amazing!
In the evening we took a taxi for the short ride from Perissa to try the Seaside restaurant by Notos, another recommendation In the cosmopolitan beach of Perivolos. This restaurant has great reviews, it was beautifully decorated and very nicely laid out. We were advised to ask the chef to make a special dish for us. This was a disappointment, we were served a bed of tomato rice topped with a small amount of lobster, ludicrously expensive. This was followed by small tapas meals which were very good but again terribly expensive. From our experience I would not eat here again. However on another evening things may be different!!!
Well our week was over in Santorini and we were taken by the hotel to the airport and had a safe flight home with Thomson.
Would we return to Santorini? Absolutely there are so many other places on the island we would love to see. Santorini is a most welcoming island with lovely people. The buses are a little crazy but a great inexpensive way around the whole island. Wonderful.
We visited another hotel in Imerovigli and we were welcomed so warmly here. We didn't see a lot of this hotel to comment but it was in a very nice setting, with great views of the Caldera, Our meal here was excellent , this hotel was called Heliotopos, you can book here with Hotels.com, Booking.com or Expedia
But again we cannot recommend these ourselves as we have only eaten and seen the outer parts of the hotel. However it may be another option for you.
If you are looking for a livelier holiday I would suggest you stay in Kamari Beach, which in the South Eastern part of the Island. You can book a holiday here with Thomson or a hotel with Hotels.com flights are available with Thomson or Thomas Cook. More...
The following buttons are for holidays to Santorini not the hotel Suites of the Gods........ We have found the links for you to make your bookings easier.........
Suites of the Gods is located at the village of Megalohori, 350,00 meters above Athinios Seaport, overlooking the caldera, the legendary volcano and the islands glorious sunset. It is situated 6kms away from the international airport of Santorini and 4kms from the capital of the island, Fira.
The Aurora Restaurant is located in the perfect position within the hotel, it provides mesmerizing views of the deep blue waters, breathtaking sunsets and of course it overlooks the Caldera and its enchanting Volcano. By fusing together the traditional Cycladic style with modern day design, the low lighting and soft music create a setting of ultimate relaxation and romance.
SPA OF THE GODS
The Spa was designed to be a feast for the mind and body it is located in an exclusive 100-year-old winery. With wine stained walls and minimalist Cycladic-style, it encourages complete relaxation. With steam caves, an indoor heated pool, treatment alcoves, and waterfalls, the Spa of the Gods is far more than a place for just treatments it is the perfect escape from the ordinary.
- Maisonette - Junior Suite - Superior Suite - Master Suite - Presidential Suite - VIP Suite
"Aurora" Restaurant - 2 Swimming pools - 24-Hour Reception / Front Desk - Bar - Conference Center - Fax & Photocopy Service - Gym - Indoor Jacuzzi - Indoor Swimming Pool - Internet Corner - Laundry & Ironing Service - Private Dining - Private Parking - Room Service (24-Hour) - Sauna - Travel Desk - Treatment Rooms - Turkish Bath - Valet & Bell-Boy Service - Wedding Area - Wine Cellar
You can book with any of the following companies just click on the buttons.....