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Santorini

is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on earth. You will see photos and movies of Santorini, but they will never give you the idea of the place. The only way to understand how beautiful this place is, is to go there yourself, find a terrace with a view, sit back with a drink in one hand and try, just try, to take in everything you see. To see some videos Click Here or Click Here or (in Spanish) Click Here

The island has dual personalities. The beauty and views are relaxing, peaceful and calming. Yet this awesome beauty was created in prehistoric times by an equally awesome, devasting volcanic explosion. The volcano is still active, and quietly steaming; it will probably erupt again one day and is constantly being monitored. Another duality is in its name. The name Santorini stems from Italian conquerors who named it after Saint Irene. Greeks know it as Thera, though often call it Santorini as well. Also, the scenery is split.  Imagine the wall of the volcano, the side that previously faced the volcanic crater, known as the Caldera, is now a cliff and has the stunning views over the Aegean Sea. But the opposite side, which slopes gradually down the side of the mountain to the sea, is where the beaches are. The beaches are not the most beautiful beaches in Greece. Mostly they are black pebbles, due to the lava. In the summer, they are hot and almost impossible to walk on without shoes. But if you walk out into the water, you feel that you are walking on glass. And if you snorkel you will see the glass wall of the volcano, and little life. Neither plants nor fish seem to like it much here. To see a video of Perrisa, one of the most popular beaches Click Here

Santorini is a romantic island and is mostly visited by couples. If you are coming here to party with your friends, you are likely to feel out of place. There is nightlife to be sure, but it is much less active than most other islands. The experience of Santorini should be shared with your significant other.

If you want to experience the entire island, including the beaches, a rental car is recommended. However, most of what you have come for can be enjoyed without a car. Find a hotel with a pool, located IN the caldera with views of the sea. Some hotels unfortunately use deceptive advertising, so if you are not coming during peak season (July and August), you can also book for the first day or two and have a look around. The best locations are in or near the city of Santorini (also known as Fira), or in or near the next largest village Oia. To see a video of Oia Click Here

A possible excursion is to Akrotiri, the place where the ancient village is under excavations. Expecting to see ruins, etc, we are not terribly impressed as we saw only stones and foundations. However, for those with a good imagination, this might be enjoyable. To see a video Click Here

 

Santorini Hotels

Villa Renos

http://www.villarenos.gr/

Located in the very center of Fira with a beautiful view over caldera, Villa Renos comes highly recommended. The hotel is owned by a family and you can expect the best service. In fact one feels as if staying at a friend’s place as the owners are very warm, friendly and helpful in any way they can. But at the same time, they are very professional.

 

Villa Renos has some very nice things on offer. You can enjoy the beauty of the view from a small terrace with a small, but attractive, heated Jacuzzi. It has a small but quite nicely equipped gym. Plus, each room has a small balcony with caldera view, table, beach chairs and umbrella for sunbathing. Rooms have air conditioning, cable TV with a big choice of channels, mini bar, kettle, hair dryer.

 

You should try breakfast at least once (10 Euro per person) as it has a home cooked feel to it. It is served either on a terrace with the view (when the weather is good) or in a cozy breakfast/living room and includes some Greek specialties such as tomato balls and Spanakopita (Spinach pie) as well as Greek yoghurt with honey and a desert.

 

 

Two recommendations for Hotels located close to the city, both located in Firostefani, about 15 minutes walk from the city of Santorini (Fira) are listed below. Belvadere was previously known as Mina's Village, but has recently been purchased and is being renovated. Probably its prices will be renovated too. Both hotels are located near each other have incredible views and lovely swimming pools

Belvadere Hotel Click Here

Homeric Poems Hotel Click Here

Irinis Villas (Imerovigli)

www.santoriniapartments.com

 

This is a nice little hotel, with a beautiful caldera view but rather far away from everything. Located in Imerovigli, at least a 30 minutes walk to Fira, it is only for people with a rental car or those who really like to walk. It is nicely designed though the pool is unheated and tiny a bit larger than a bathtub. It does have a nice terrace were you can sunbathe in a beach chair or enjoy the beautiful sunset.

 

The rooms are simple but nice. They are built in the wall of caldera. As is typical of this design, the rooms have a dampish feel to them.  Our room was actually a suite, as it had both a bedroom and a living room – both very small and each of our two rooms had a balcony with a caldera view. The bathroom was extremely small. Our room was also equipped with a small kitchenette, some pots and pans and utensils were provided as well. Breakfast (quite simple) was served on the balcony, so we could enjoy a cup of coffee and the view at the same time.  We came off season and were offered an excellent price for a caldera view. But we left after only one day and moved to Villa Renos as it was more centrally located. If you are looking for peace and quiet a beautiful view and a good price, Irinis Villas could be the place for you.

 

Restaurants:

 

You will have a great choice of restaurants and mostly you will eat well in Santorini. Some restaurants are more touristy than others. However the traditional Greek food in Santorini is much tastier than in other tourist centers such as the Plaka area of Athens.

 

The City of Fira 

 

Roof Garden

One of the places that might not be your first choice because the interior is on a simple side and it doesn’t have the Caldera view. However give it a try – the food is very authentic, delicious and inexpensive. The menu has on offer hot/cold appetizers and grill samplers so that you can try various things on your first visit and make the decision what you like most.  Another Taverna that we would recommend is “Caesars”

 

Zaphora

This place is good for a simple meal or just drinks. There is a nice selection of breakfast foods as well as snacks. Since it offers one of the best views in the island, it is a bit more expensive in comparison to other restaurants.

 

 

The City of Oia

This charming restuarant is located in the village of Oia, and features a wonderful mix of great food and great views.

Ambrosia Restaurant: Click Here

 

 

 

Skala

Wonderful place to come to enjoy a dessert and the beautiful Santorini view. We recommend to come at sunset! You can choose from a nice selection of chocolate/cheese cakes and Greek deserts. They offer some meals as well but the selection is limited.

 

 

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