Santorini, Greece: The Beautiful Island Escape in the Aegean Sea

by Isabelle on July 24, 2013

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I have been going to Greece for many years when I lived in Paris, France. Of all the Greek island, Santorini won my heart. I wanted to share a few of my “golden nuggets”secrets & discoveries.

Santorini is one of the most majestic places throughout Europe, being named the most beautiful island in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine and BBC. It offers the only arid desert climate, with its barren, rocky cliffs showcasing the turquoise beauty of the sea. A circular archipelago, it was formed from a massive volcanic eruption 5600 years ago, sparking the legend of the lost city of Atlantis.
Known for its idyllic sunsets, you’ll find one of a kind houses carved in the cliffs, black sand beaches, and Santorini’s unique volcanic crater. Popular activities include sunset sailing cruises to view the caldera bay, strolling through the town of Oia amongst the famous white washed walls and blue cupolas of the buildings, and wine tasting at many of the vineyards the island has to offer.

Sunset Viewing

The top attraction throughout Santorini is watching the sun disappear into the Sea. Every night, locals and tourists flock to the best locations to gawk at the incredible sights. Here are three can’t miss places for the best view:

  • Byzantine Castle Ruins: Bring a bottle of wine, glasses, and have your camera ready. Show up a few hours early so you can tour the ruin before staking your claim on some ground to watch the sunset. Stick around to catch a glimpse of the town of Oia once all the lights come on.
  • Sunset Oia Sailing Day Tour: The boat may be packed, but there’s plenty of room once you sprawl out on the nets. The traditional Greek dinner will leave you pleasantly surprised at how delicious it is, and it will help to warm you, as the air is cool in the evening on the Sea.
  • Lioyerma Lounge Café Pool Bar: While everyone fights for elbow room for the best vantage point, you can cool off after a hot day touring the island at this gorgeous pool lounge. If you prefer to stay dry, relax on one of the many balconies. The friendly staff provides a nice compliment to the view.

Where To Stay

The two best towns to stay to maximize your trip is Oia and the capital city of Fira. Both have town centers and many options to explore the island.

  • Pelagos Hotel, Oia: This is the best-kept secret in all of Santorini. Only stay here if you’re looking for an amazing experience during your stay. Only a short walk to the beach, vineyards, and the center of town, and the staff makes you feel as though you are a member of their family. www.pelagos-hotel-oia.com
  • Aethrio Hotel, Oia: The incredibly helpful and friendly desk staff will greet you with a smile and a glass of wine when you check in. The rooms are carved in the stone, providing exceptional views of the sea and surrounding caldera. www.aethrio.gr
  • Oia’s Sunset Suites, Oia: The location of this hotel can’t get much better. With easy access to shuttles to ports and the center of town for shopping and dining.  The owners act as your personal concierge, giving you the best locals’ tips that Santorini has to offer. www.oiasunset.com
  • Pelican Hotel, Fira: With rocket-fast wifi, you’ll be able to plan your tours quickly, giving you more time to experience the town of Fira. Restaurants and shops are steps from the hotel, and the friendly staff is more than willing to help with reservations and tips. www.pelicanhotel.gr

Yoga

There are few (if any) places on Earth that provide a more tranquil experience to practice yoga than Santorini.

  • Soleil Yoga Flow™ Summer Retreat for an authentic Yoga & Cultural immersion-  7-Day & 7-Night of Yoga, Breathing, Meditation, Sailing, Hot Springs,traditional Greek cuisine and Total Rejuvenation guided by acclaimed certified Yoga and Wellness Expert, Dr. Isabelle Du Soleil, Ph.D - Sunday, September 1 to Sunday, September 8, 2013. http://www.yogaretreatsantorini.com
  • Caveland Yoga Studio: Local Yogi Veronica Karac offers daily classes from her hostel. The terraces where she holds class provide a great view of the Aegean Sea. www.yoga-santorini.com
  • Osho Santorini: Specializing in Tantra Yoga and meditation, you’ll leave the studio refreshed and recharged, ready to conquer more of what Santorini has to offer. www.oshosantorini.com

Beach

  • Baxedes Beach: The walk down to the beach is inviting and exciting, but make sure you have some energy for the return uphill! This beautiful and remote black sand beach offers an escape within the island escape, but bring water and a sun hat because you won’t find any shops here.

Caldera Hike

  • This 3-hour trek is not for those that are weary of exercise. But the payoff is worth the sweat, as you walk along the caldera and struggle to keep your eyes from staring at the stunning beauty of the Aegean Sea. Along the way you’ll find some hidden churches and shops, so be sure to bring your camera.

Eat

  • Ellis Restaurant, Fira: You’ll find great value and delicious local cuisine here. Of course the views of the sunset are amazing, so ask your hotel to make the reservation for you in advance. www.ellis-restaurant.gr
  • Skala Restaurant, Oia: With the house red offered for the low price of $10 per liter, the mood is set fast for a delectable experience. And when you’re ready to call it a night, the staff is ready to fill your wine bottle for a nightcap at your hotel. www.facebook.com/Skala-Restaurant
  • Roka, Oia: The locals consider this to be the best restaurant in Oia, and that’s the best recommendation it could receive. This is the type of place that you’ll tell your friends about for years, as you recall your trip to Santorini. www.roka.gr

If you are dying to explore and experience Santorini like a local, join us  this summer September 1-8 , 2013- More information at http://www.yogaretreatsantorini.com

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