Ever since I saw the first photos of the white cliff homes posed dramatically in brilliant sunshine against the rich blues of the roof paint and the Aegean Sea, I was always attracted to this island. Then I started drinking Santorini’s crisp white wines made with Asyrtiko grapes — perhaps it was eight or ten years ago — and it was very clear this was a place I must visit.
When the siege of the hard Winter and heavy snows, followed by this Spring’s ailments finally lifted for me in late May, I took off for nearly a week’s respite to Santorini. It was a long trip: three successive direct flights (to London, then to Athens, and finally to Thira), taking 20 hours, but it was worth it. Here is where the island is located:
History and Geology
As described in Wikipedia, “the island is the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, which occurred some 3600 years ago, and it left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of meters deep. The eruption may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through a gigantic tsunami. Another popular theory holds that the Thera eruption is the source of the legend of Atlantis.”
I was not prepared for the fascinating aspects of history and geology that I began learning when I arrived (after all, food, wine and scenery is most of what I look for). I decided to rent an apartment on the northern tip of the island. That was a very fortunate choice (photos just below). The woman who owns the apartment had arranged for a car and driver to pick me up at the airport, on my arrival early in the morning. The driver (Thanassi) was very knowledgeable and engaging, and two days later I booked a tour of the island with him. His interest in and mastery of the history and geology were a marvelous educational resource.
I had such a good time that I want to share with you some of the sources and services I found, in case you plan to go there yourself.
- Travel & Leisure article (2011) – World’s Best Trip to Santorini, Greece
- the website SantoriniDave.com
- Ammoudi Bay apartments of Nicoletta on airbnb.com — excellent value, very comfortable
- Aegean Wave Tours — for travel on the island — owner Thomas Pagonis, safe, reliable transportation and information
- the clifftop village of Oia is a very attractive and charming place to walk, eat, and/or stay
- Ammoudi Bay harbor is close to Oia, but is right on the water, below the cliff
The scenery is awesome. I’ll let some photos show you.
One of the worthwhile places to visit on the island is the ruins of Akrotiri, on the southern end of the island. This may truly be the lost city of Atlantis.
Tomorrow: Food and Wine of Santorini