City Spotlight: Santorini

by Tiffany Paul


Of all the Greek Islands, and there are thousands, Santorini is likely the one most people have heard of. Located southeast of mainland Greece in the southern Aegean Sea, this beautiful island has made the bucket list for many because it is Greece’s “postcard island.” The breathtaking cliffs and renowned sunsets draw visitors to the gorgeous scenery. Santorini is a caldera, a large volcanic crater, created by one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history which happened there over 3,000 years ago.  Because of its volcanic past, you will find white, red and my favorite, black sand beaches. These colors are also represented in the cliffs you’ll see throughout the island.

 

Santorini is by far the most beautiful island I have laid eyes on. Here, you’ll find awe-inspiring views from nearly every spot. It can be tempting to find a terrace with a view and never leave. You could sip wine, eat sweet cherry tomatoes, and watch the sun set into the Aegean each evening, but if you DO want to get out and do something, Santorini will not disappoint!

 

I suggest exploring the island by ATV. It’s a quick and easy way to see both the north and south side of the island and everything in between. Head south to visit the famous black sand beaches for the day and north to Oia (pronounced “ee-ya”) to catch one of Santorini’s famous sunsets without any obstruction. The sunsets here are a huge event with everyone scurrying around trying to find the perfect place to watch. They are certainly not to be missed.

Enjoy the sunset in Oia, the northern point of the island of Santorini

Enjoy the sunset in Oia, the northern point of the island of Santorini

Here are my “Must Do” and “Must Eat” if you get the opportunity to visit Santorini:

"Must Do"

 1) Visit the black sand beaches - Perissa Beach might be the most fantastic beach you lay eyes on. You have never seen such a beautiful contrast in nature as this beach’s fine black sand spilling into perfect crystal-clear blue water. It’s an organized beach with sun beds and umbrellas and an array of restaurants and taverns nearby. The sand and water are perfection!! Remember, black absorbs heat, so that gorgeous black sand gets hot in the sun!

Rent a chair and umbrella and enjoy the black sand beaches.

Rent a chair and umbrella and enjoy the black sand beaches.

2) Wine tasting – The island of Santorini is most famously known for its indigenous white grape varieties Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri. Vines are unique in the fact that they are circular and low to the ground, evolving overtime to protect itself from high winds. If you get the chance, the Koutsoyannopoulos Winery and Wine Museum is a one-of-a-kind experience! The labyrinth-like museum is located in a natural cave and displays the history of wine in Santorini dating back to the 1600’s.  You’ll have the opportunity to taste their mouthwatering Assyrtiko as well as other wine offerings as you absorb the rich history of wine from this region. 

The vineyard soil is unique, comprised of volcanic ash and rocks. The vines are circular and low to the ground.

The vineyard soil is unique, comprised of volcanic ash and rocks. The vines are circular and low to the ground.

 3) Visit the capital, Fira if you’re looking for souvenirs, jewelry, clothing or artwork. Ypapantis Street, commonly known as “gold street” is located in Fira. Here, you’ll find exquisite gold and handmade silver jewelry from both Greek and foreign designers with modern and ancient designs available.

 "Must Eat"

 1) Kapari Wine Restaurant – The roof terrace offers a breath-taking view, while the ingredients and freshness of the food paired with the outstanding wine selection are sure to leave your taste buds dancing! My favorite is the lobster spaghetti but I also suggest the daily fish creation. You haven’t tasted Santorini until you have experienced the food, wine and view of this local treasure.

The view from Kapari restaurant.

The view from Kapari restaurant.

 2) Seaside by Notos – Kick back with full service beachside; comfy sun beds, fluffy towels, and delicious fresh fruit juice cocktails convince you of paradise on Earth.  Take a walk down to the restaurant and have a seat on a comfy sofa and listen to the relaxing music while beautiful scenery and good food surround you. Live it up! Dine in a table-boat and lose yourself in the local music and culture. You will never forget an evening at Seaside.

Enjoy the Seaside Notos by experience beachside or inside their restaurant.

Enjoy the Seaside Notos by experience beachside or inside their restaurant.

3) Terra Nera Grill and Coffee House – Come here in your bathing suit, or use their complimentary changing rooms when you arrive! This casual beach spot has gorgeous views and delicious food served up by friendly owners. You can enjoy a kebab plate or some coffee but don’t leave without trying the frozen yogurt!

Enjoy coffee and dessert at Terra Nera.

Enjoy coffee and dessert at Terra Nera.