Friday, July 28, 2017

Six really neat things to do in Santorini, Greece

The island of Santorini is one of the most popular destinations in Greece  (

Imerovigli, Santorini  Nearly every traveler who visits Santorini in the Greek Isles has an epiphany. It happens when the island's white snow-capped peaks lining the crest of the mountain morph into white, sugar-cubed dwellings.

Most people arrive at Santorini from the sea, sailing into a backwards "C" shaped volcanic caldera. The eruption, one of the largest volcanic events in recorded history, is dated to the middle of the second millennium BCE, created the largest and southernmost of the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea.
Rooms with a view
Some believe it was this eruption that gave rise to many of the legends in Greek mythology, including the Lost City of Atlantis.

Today, a combination of breathtaking scenery and idyllic accommodations blend with world class shopping and historical exploration to make Santorini one of the most beguiling destinations in Greece. Santorini has, indeed,  become a "land for all seasons."

If you happen  to be among the thousands of visitors who discover the charms of Santorini either now or in the future, here are some suggestions that to enhance your adventure.
A quad ATV is one of the best ways to see the island
Rent a Quad Bike:    A quad bike is an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) with four wheels that operates on low pressure tires with a seat that is straddled by the driver. As the name implies, it is designed for a variety of surfaces which makes it ideal for sightseeing on Santorini's sloping geography.

The gas powered motor allows you to maneuver the steepest hill while the compact size provides access to places that otherwise could only be viewed on foot. Best of all, rates begin at about $35 per day which makes for plenty of independent exploration without breaking the bank.
Akitori is an active dig
Visit a Working 
Archaeological Dig:
Remember those old movies about archaeological digs in Egypt where a scientific team unearths some ancient relic that plays havoc with the contemporary world?

Perhaps it was the black and white format or the scratchy soundtrack that made those pictures come alive with  ominous sensations of ancient history that modern films, for all their technology, cannot duplicate.

Whatever it was, if you have ever been intrigued by the idea of watching or participating in a real archaeological dig, you can do it on Santorini at ancient Akritori. Here you can observe scientists unearthing shard by shard and cobblestone by cobblestone among the ruins of a city that existed in the 17th century -- BC that is.

Shhh. Mummy's the word.

Greek mythology abounds
on Santorini (wikipedia)
Marvel at Ancient Treasures: One of the difficult things to adjust to when visiting Greece is remembering that time marches backwards from BC to AD. Therefore 1500 BC is earlier than 1000 BC, which sometimes makes it difficult to adjust mentally to the chronology because we are so accustomed to thinking the other way.

The Museum of Prehistoric Thera (the more formal name for Santorini) goes back thousands of years in time with collections of golden statuettes, sculptures and archaic Roman inscriptions. Even museum haters love this venue.
Assyrtiko is the distinctive local wine ( 
Sip an Assyrtiko: There are wine tastings and then there are vino tastings and Santorini's distinctive Assyrtiko wine puts this adventure into the second category.

Guests can do a 4-hour vineyard tour complete with a sommelier (and driver) where you sample a glass or two of Santorini's unique native wine.

Or if you prefer, when you've competed a day at the dig or a morning at the museum or just want to take a break from your quad bike excursion you can do that as well at a local taverna.

Either way, be sure to savor the most popular wine on the island before you depart.
Famous Red Beach really is red (wikipedia)
Cool off on Red Beach:  Cancun has its powdery talcum powered white sand beaches. In Bermuda some beaches are pink. There are even black beaches in other parts of the world where volcanoes have erupted in the past. But Santorini has the distinction of having a red beach thanks to the metallic acidity from the eruption.

Red Beach on Santorini is among the most famous of its kind, but the reality is that it's probably a better location for laying out in the sun, a quiet picnic or just taking in the gorgeous scenery than it is for swimming.
Pass the time cruising on a catamaran in the caldera
Cruise the Caldera:  Sailing into Santorini's caldera is one thing, but to experience it aboard a 74-foot catamaran is a different experience entirely. If you take this adventure, play a little game with yourself and see if you can figure out when the white houses begin to look like snow.
Sunrise on Santorini as seen from Iconic Santorini
The concierges at Icnonic Santorini, an extraordinary 19-room boutique hotel that is literally carved into the island's white vaulted caves, can arrange for any or all of these marvelous adventures. And, as the description implies, Iconic Santorini adds yet another dimension to this unique travel experience all by itself.

Oh, and there is one other treasure not to be missed during your stay:

Pistachios: They're the best in the world. 'Nuff said.