Santorini – the Mysterious Greece

Danica Maricic, Design Editor & Communications Manager

December 3, 2013

Travel

“Great poets have sung its praises, a 4.000-year-old history. And the eternal rock continues to stand, strong and majestic, rising proudly from the sea and guarding well the secrets of Atlantis …”

Santorini, a pearl in the necklace of the Greek islands, was formed due to volcanic activity in prehistoric times. Also, a huge eruption in the Late Bronze Age struck this area and created the myth of Atlantis. The latest indications of volcanic creativity are the two nearby islands – Palea and Nea Kameni. Dark rocks, blue sea, and the dazzling white houses – create an extremely photogenic tourist destination.

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Warm sun rays illuminate this ancient island during most of the year, even during the so-called “rainy season”, from November to March. Warm and dry weather reigns from April to October, so this period is ideal for enjoying the picturesque scenery of Santorini. Typical autumn and winter temperatures of the region are from 12 to 20 degrees Celsius, while the spring and summer bring 17-27 degrees. Historians say that the first name of this attractive island was “Strongyle” (Round), and was later renamed to “Kalliste” (The Most Beautiful) – a name that evokes much of its natural charms. Its current name comes from the name of Saint Irene Chapel (Santa Irene).

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The rich history of Santorini is evident in two archaeological sites – Akrotiri, revealing the remains of the ancient Thera, and the ancient Greek city of Mesa Vouno. In the island’s main village of Thira (Fira) you can find the Museum of Thera, as well as the Archaeological Museum, Folklore Museum… On a tour of the many island villages, you will find more than 250 religious buildings, built in a very creative and eclectic way, as most of the architecture on this beautiful island.

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On the south and southeast side of the island, there are many popular beaches and each one is unique in its own way, and thanks to its volcanic origins there are interesting forms in the landscape, black, white and red sand and glittering black stones – which leave no one indifferent. Beaches in the northern part of the island offer more privacy, since they are harder to spot from the main roads, and they were only recently discovered by tourists, mostly couples and families.

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In the southeastern part are well-equipped beaches, such as Monolithos, Avis, and Kamari, with many additional facilities – shops, restaurants, hotels and the opportunity to enjoy water sports. A beautiful blend of blue sea and black sand is a brief description of Perissa and Perivolos, the most famous beaches on Santorini. At the very south of the island, you will see the Red and the White beach and Vlychada, which are a part of an unforgettable landscape made by many years of exposure to the wind. The offer of accommodation on this romantic island consists of a number of hotels and villas, where traditional island architecture is complemented by all the modern comforts.

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Santorini is becoming well known for its large number of weddings that are organized there since the fairytale sunsets are an ideal setting for saying “I do”. The main shopping center on the island is in Thira (Fira), however, interesting souvenirs, jewelry, clothing and original folk handicrafts can be found, for example, in shops near the beaches or in the galleries and boutiques located in the villages such as Oia. During the summer season, the shops are open until midnight. One of the traditional attractions of Santorini is riding a donkey up the steep stairs and narrow streets of the island’s villages. However be careful, these charming animals are moving much faster than it seems at first glance.

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If you are a “night owl”, the local bars are open until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning and nightclubs offer summer fun well into the early hours of the morning. Music, dancing, socializing, romantic walks… It is said that love comes through the stomach, and tourist destinations are well known for their exquisite delicacies – always high on the priority list, because who can resist a delicious culinary delight. The cuisine of Santorini is based on local ingredients. In more than three hundred restaurants you can sample local specialties such as croquettes of tomatoes, fresh goat cheese salad with capers, “fava” puree… There is also the acclaimed candy, made of cheese and honey – “melitinia“. For the complete experience, try the local white wine, “Tsikoudia” (grape brandy), dessert wine “Vinsanto and the popular Greek summer drink – ice coffee. “Καλωσόρισμα!” (Welcome!) i “Καλή όρεξη!” (Bon appetit!). 

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