Santorini is one of the most unique and exotic islands in Greece to travel to this summer
by: KRISTY OTT
The mystical allure of Santorini, also known as Thira, has captured the attention of many including novelist, Jules Verne. His novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island highlight the adventures of Captain Nemo and his crew as they witness the fictional island’s volcanic eruptions, with an-accuracy once witnessed by Verne himself, and other scientists on the actual island of Santorini from 1866-1870. This island exudes excitement and magic among all who encounter its’ legendary standing, from Plato to current scientists that speculate that the mythological existence of Atlantis was once connected to this pristine island paradise. From the white washed dome- shaped houses with blue rooftops to the breathtaking rocky-shaped caldera, nothing is more spectacular than the “brightness” of the villages that embody the island of Santorini. There are many things to see once you get here. Catch the dazzling sunsets overlooking the steeply- eroded cliffs, sail across the luminous Aegean Sea, explore the white and red sand beaches, or take a trip to an upscale winery. Nothing whispers “Σε αγαπώ” more to your loved one than by experiencing this spectacular city as a couple, at least once in your lifetime.
The picturesque and mysterious Island of Santorini is located off the southeast coast of the Cyclades Islands. This city is what remains of the massive, volcanic eruption that destroyed the single island 3,600 hundred years ago, creating a crescent-shaped Minoan caldera known as Santorini Island.
Time To Act
The island is a plush, cosmopolitan, and tantalizing place that combines unique architectural design with European- style luxury. The critics rave about the island because of its’ crystal clear water, white and red sand beaches, exotic plant life, and international wineries, making it a top destination spot for 2014.
A Home Away From Home
When budget is not an option, consider staying at a five-star resort with breathtaking views. With many to choose from, the highly recommended ones include Hotel Katikies or Hotel Aressana. There is absolutely no other place like them in the world. These island hotels cling to the side of cliffs as pristine water spills over infinity-drop edges.
This secluded resort has three exclusive restaurants for sumptuous and gourmet dining, three outdoor eternity pools, a library, and coffee shop. Guests receive a complimentary freshly-sautéed Mediterranean-style breakfast cooked to perfection each morning. Rooms are furnished with spacious patios offering breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. Guests can rest on pure, white egyptian-cotton sheets made from the finest fabric, accompanied by daily turn-down service, or place their do not disturb sign on the door for uninterrupted quiet time. For added convenience, complimentary robes and slippers are neatly placed in all villas.
For a taste of exotic local gastronomy, plan on dining at the Katikies restaurant which provides a memorable vista of volcanic hued sunsets on the rooftop veranda. This sexy restaurant offers a huge assortment of tasty wines and savory Mediterranean cuisine.
This plush getaway caters to its’ guests every need. Concierge will handle your shopping, dinner reservations, spa amenities, and tour/ticket assistance. Look no further! Katikies hotel oozes extreme elegance and offers privacy like no other hotel of its kind. Prepare to be utterly amazed! Check for discounted hotel rates throughout the season.
Another luxurious five- star hotel & boutique located in the village of Fira on the island of Santorini is the innovative and plush hotel Aressana. Its’ unique architectural design combines elements of stone from volcanic rocks providing a holistic and Zen-like experience. This hotel offers an assortment of amenities where guests will be greeted with a freshly-cut fruit basket and lightly scented flowers on their pillow. Kosher room-service is offered 24 hours a day, or if guests feel like getting a bite out, check out the hotel’s hot and trendy restaurant Infestioni, which features some of the most delicious, organic, and fresh, savory delicacies around and is available for patronage. The restaurant serves flavorful, vegetarian, and non- vegetarian organic dishes made from the freshest ingredients on the island. Sampling even one of their sumptuous dishes is like “tasting a little bit of heaven here on earth.”
Hotel Aressana has a fitness center, two bars, two infinity pools, a lounge terrace, and day beds for the sun loving guest. The hotel offers exceptional little extras for their guests that will leave them feeling completely pampered. Hotel guests can stimulate their tired muscles with a hot-stone massage or sunbathe on their own private balcony. Each room has its’ own well-stocked minibar, along with complimentary bathrobes, and slippers. A breakfast buffet which serves exquisite international-type cuisine is served pool-side each morning.
Hotel Aressana’s concierge services will take care of your every need. They arrange shopping, dining, bus transportation, and entertainment assistance.
Come experience “Hotel Aressana.” Voted One of the Best Small Luxury Hotels in the World and Winner of a Traveler’s Choice Award in 2012.
There are various types of Medi- cuisine to try while vacationing in Santorini. The choice in dining fare will depend on the pallet and on the type of ambience that would delight the senses. I recommend two places to try for their award winning wine lists and succulent dishes that even the most selective foodie would relish.
The first place is a Mediterranean spot called Roka, which comes highly recommended for its stylish, pastoral scenery and cozy, welcoming atmosphere.
The second place is Katikies restaurant, which is an all- inclusive, “one of a kind,” organic fine- dining eatery, serving up some of the most decadent cuisine on the entire island.
Both of these restaurants are rated as “The Best Places to Eat in all of Santorini (Thira).”
Roka restaurant is a cozy, dinner spot positioned on a cobbled, marble walkway overlooking the gorgeous Aegean Sea. The ambience here is utterly amazing! Guests may dine on the balcony, indoors at a comfy table, or choose to go outdoors on a small patio. This romantic eatery offers a taste of Mediterranean flavor mixed with a bit of island flair. At Roka, one may catch the mid-afternoon sunset or gaze at the bright blue sky under the stars. Watch sail boats cruise by as you sip on some of the tastiest choice wines on all of the island. Roka specializes in both Greek bottled and non- bottled variety wines.
Roka serves up a variety of savory, fresh appetizers. Begin with the mussels, snails, or a fried cheese platter served with crumbles of feta cheese, fresh tomato, and mouth -watering chickpea sauces. Munch on a Greek salad made with real olives and feta cheese. For a main course, try their home-made onion and hummus platters, risotto plates, or thinly-sliced eggplant with feta cheese and tomato based sauces.
If you want to experience the freshest, most delicious Mediterranean food in all of Greece, Roka’s is definitely the place to be!
There is no other restaurant like it in the world. Katikies pays attention to every little detail to ensure that you have the “dining experience of a lifetime.” The gourmet dishes along with the impeccable service will have anyone mesmerized! This restaurant radiates elegance from start to finish, igniting an ambience of pure elegance.
Katikies’ is a secluded rooftop restaurant that overlooks the volcanic caldera waters. The table clothes are meticulously draped in white linen. Authentic silver and crystal place settings are placed neatly on the table. Enjoy your meal by candle light as exotic flower aromas fill the air.
Guests will dine on the most exclusive, Mediterranean, and organic dishes handpicked from the freshest local ingredients on the island. The restaurant serves traditional Greek favorites including salads, fava capers, cucumbers, tomato kuftedes, and freshly grilled seafood. Indulge in a glass of red or white wine. Katikies’ serves the most select choice wines on the entire island. Menus change daily and are inspired by the guest’s participation along with the chef’s culinary touch. You must call ahead for exclusive reservations. Seating is limited.
Places to See and Things To Do
Vourvoulos Beach is located 7 km off Fira, Santorini (Thira) Islands northeast coast. This beach is rarely crowded and is known for its’ remote privacy. The water is clear with a turquoise rock bottom. It’s great for swimming and tranquil sunbathing. A grey sand pebbled beach line the water’s edges. You can rent chairs and umbrellas for a small price. There is also a small fishing harbor offering sailing boat tours. A restaurant on the beach will gladly cook up your savory fish right after “catching.” Vourvoulos beach is best known for its architectural grandeur, making it a “must see beach for 2014.”
Take a popular day trip excursion to the famous and mysterious city of Akrotiri located in Thira, Santorini. This Minoan settlement was destroyed in the year 1500 B.C. when a volcano erupted, burying the city under a layer of thick, molten ash.
Well-preserved by an earthquake, which destroyed the rest of the island, Akrotiri depicts a mysterious and eerie place. Storytellers have described this historical archeological site as being haunted. Although no human bones have ever been found, legend has it that the volcanic eruption wiped out most of its residents, burying them under rubles of ash. Some inhabitants have been known to roam the winding, pebbled streets at night.
Surprisingly, many historical artifacts remain intact. The magnificent objects and fine artwork on display range from pottery and furniture to advanced, drainage systems, and three-story house buildings. Choose to go on a guided tour of the archeological museum or stroll the cobbled streets admiring the historically, ghostly town.
BLUE LAGOON BOAT TOUR
Looking to relax and for a bit of adventure? Why not charter a luxurious catamaran yacht? The blue lagoon boat tour allows you to arrange the entire journey. Crews are highly skilled and knowledgeable sailors who provide a fun-filled, yet safe atmosphere. “Rather than you fit into a predetermined itinerary, they let you set the pace and arrange the adventure together.”
The appetizing menu is also planned with you in advance. Feast on fresh seafood, prime meats, pastas, fresh fruit, and vegetables, along with imbibing the most exquisite wines available.
While sailing, plan to visit Nea Kameni Island, which takes only 30 minutes to climb up once you get to the water’s edge. These surroundings are absolutely breathtaking! Kameni Island is an active volcanic site with stunning backdrop views of the glistening water and rich, green plant life. After wading out to sea, hike, snorkel, fish, or take a dip into the warm sulfur springs.
From the spectacular, gorgeous scenery to the experienced, accommodating crew, this surreal and extravagant tour is worth divulging in at least once in your lifetime.
Water To Wine
Santorini (Thira), Greece is famously acknowledged for its selection of plush wine vineyards. Critics claim that the island may just be “the best wine growing country in the world,” based upon the fact that it is an all-natural organic caldera, producing the highest-quality, richest black soil of all the Greek islands.
Estate Argyros was originally established in 1903 by Georgios Argyros. It began as a small five-acre vineyard off the coast of Thiras, Santorini. By 1950, Argyros’ son Matthew expanded the estate to include ten more flourishing acres. The vines are conventionally grown and the soil is rich in volcanic minerals. They combine family tradition with modern technology; thus, ensuring the highest quality vintages. Estate Argyros was named “Top 100 Wineries in the World in 2005 and 2006.” Come experience Estate Argyros. They specialize in the most savory and driest white wines on the entire Island.
The Santos Winery Estate was established in 1992, off the outskirts of Pygros Village. This unique vineyard was built on five different levels, capitalizing on the use of the enriched soil and flourishing, green plant life. The thought behind structuring on five various levels was to ensure that gravity would minimize the use of their pumps, while maximizing the effectiveness of the natural rainwater. This technique protects and promotes the quality of their wines.
Santos Winery cultivates over 4,000 acres of vineyard each year, specializing in the highest quality white wines.
Sample 6 choice wines and feast on a variety of mouthwatering cheeses, tomato dips, and freshly-baked bread.
The Santos Winery welcomes over 400,000 visitors every year.
The island of Santorini (Thira) captivates the hardest of hearts with its rich history, alluring mystery, and captivating intensity. Verne and Plato captured the essence of this island’s mystique for the world to discover in future generations. This summer experience, what a philosopher and a novelist discovered years ago, a destination worth writing about.