A journey to Santorini

August is the month that we celebrate. We celebrate Yiannos’s birthday, we celebrate our wedding anniversary and of course we celebrate Summer! We usually spend August travelling to the Greek islands, home by the beach, on the mountains at our summer house or we combine all of the above (which is the perfect Summer vacation).

This year, after an intense trip to St Tropez, a week in Athens with a small interval of two days in Poros Island we thought of spending some time in Limassol, our home town, and on the mountains. But then, the “D days” were approaching. Yiannos’s Birthday and our, 30th Wedding Anniversary! So we decided we should celebrate and because we did not get much of Greece and the islands this year we decided to visit Santorini. A place that I had never been. (Yiannos went once a few years back).

Santorini is famous for the volcano, its archaeological sites, the sunset and of course, its gourmet cuisine and wines.

Combining sightseeing/culture, pleasure and good food it is the perfect holiday for me. So I am going to give you a few tips about all these and I hope they will be helpful to your next visit to Santorini.

If you are travelling to Santorini first of all you should know that hiring a car is a must. The island’s narrow streets may seem difficult to drive through but believe me it is not that difficult. GPS is NOT necessary as it can be confusing so if you are “lost” you just ask locals. Everybody is willing to help and give directions.

Almost everywhere you can see the sunset but the most famous spot is Oia because you can see the sun setting into the sea. (From other places it is just a beautiful sunset behind the volcano). There are bars all over the place on the cliffs where you can have your drink and enjoy the sunset, that is if you find a place to sit!!!! You have to go two hours in advance in order to find a) parking and b) place at a bar/cafe. You will not only enjoy the sunset but also the “selfie mania” in all its glory!!!!! After this romantic but stressful outing you can walk through the little streets of Oia and end up at 1800 restaurant. A restaurant housed in a restored typical Santorinian Captain’s house with a beautiful roof terrace where you can enjoy creative traditional Greek cuisine and excellent wine.

Akrotiri is the prehistoric settlement of 5000bc. The findings from the excavations are impressive. Yiannos says that the structure covering the archaeological site is as interesting as the site itself. One can combine this visit with a swim at the Red Beach and Lunch at Delfinia, a small family run tavern by the water.

The Prehistoric museum at Fira is a must-see as well. A lot of findings from Akrotiri are kept there but the most impressive are the frescos. A bit of shopping after the museum visit is essential so I suggest MATI Gallery www.matiartgallery.com .The Gallery of Yorgos Kypris, a Cypriot artist who lives in Greece, between Athens and Santorini. Apart from his work at MATI you can find an interesting selection of jewelry all hand made by Greek artists.

While searching for beaches we headed to Vlyhada. A small organized beach with black sand and small pebbles. The surprise there is that we discovered the Tomato Industrial Museum (Santorini is famous for its cherry tomatoes that grow without irrigation – delicious) and the Santorini Arts Factory known as SAF. We were lucky to see three very interesting art exhibitions of contemporary art. Once you are there you must not miss the Psaraki restaurant. Situated on the cliff, overlooking the little port, you will be overwhelmed by the simplicity yet sophistication of the place. Owned by two experienced chefs with many distinctions and awards, Thanasis and Aggeliki. They do simple and honest food using local and seasonal products. Among other dishes you must not miss their delicious sea urchin salad, marinated anchovies and ceviche.

Talking about gourmet food Koukoumavlos restaurant at Fira is a must. It is a place which is open only for dinner and needs reservation. A beautiful, colorful terrace overlooking the Caldera. We’ve tried the Chef’s suggestion – Menu de degustation – and it was excellent. We were very impressed with the food and the excellent service.

At Pyrgos, a beautiful village in the center of the island, there is a restaurant, a real gem. Selene is a unique gastronomic destination. Separated in two: Selene Restaurant & Selene Meze & Wine. At the restaurant one can enjoy a refined, creative Greek cuisine and a beautiful view. At Selene Meze & Wine they serve traditional dishes and exclusively Santorini wines from all over the Island.

Whoever said Santorini does not have beaches is wrong. We spent a beautiful day at PERIVOLOS which is a beautiful long organized beach with lots of bars and restaurants on the one side of the road. We had lunch at SEA SIDE a very nice beach restaurant. We tried their signature cocktail, a cocktail with Masticha Liqueur, lime, cucumber & mint. Very refreshing for a hot day. We fully enjoyed our lunch and the music there.

A lot of people enjoy a nice dip at Ammoudi beach. Well it is called “beach” but actually it is a place in Oia, at the bottom of the Caldera, with rocks where you can plunge into the water and enjoy a swim in the dark blue/green waters. After that you have two choices: KATINA tavern or DEMETRIS tavern. Two very nice fish tavernas by the water where they serve the catch of the day.

Our flight back home was late at night, so we had a last chance to enjoy the Santorini sunset. We went to FRANCO’S BAR, a bar at Fira, with nice cocktails, an idyllic view and classical music. We were lucky to find two “chaise longues” (front row). That was our epilogue of our five-day trip to Santorini. A place that we will definitely return to because there are many more things to do and enjoy.

Christiana Anastassiou

Christiana Anastassiou


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