Jewel of the Aegean
Santorini is one of those places that feature high on tourism bucket lists. Everyone has seen the images of blue-domed white-walled buildings poised high over the sparkling sea, or the sunset from Oia.
Santorini is a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, about 200 km south-east of Athens. It is essentially the rim of a volcano, which erupted 3 600 years ago, possibly causing the demise of the Minoan civilisation on Crete through an enormous tsunami. The iconic towns of Santorini are built on the rim of the now flooded caldera, and it is a popular destination for cruise ships.
I’m heading to Santorini next month and looking forward to the trip immensely. Let’s join a few travel bloggers and see what they have to say.
July 2017: The Traveling Philosopher
Steve Capone is the author of the eminently readable Traveling Philosopher blog, and here he offers some excellent general advice for Aegean travel in general and Santorini in particular.
“Best known for its theatric sunsets, this is a famous and tourist-laden island in the Kyklades island chain in the Aegean Sea (part of the Mediterranean). You can picture Santorini like this: it’s a volcano. So, I can help paint a picture for you. Imagine a volcano. Now, expand the size of the volcano to be about five miles across in diameter. Got it so far? Good. Next, imagine the centre – the caldera – is filled with water, tinged aqua blue but silvery clear. The north, east, and south rims of the volcano are the island of Santorini. The centre of the volcano has a bit of land poking up, and the western edge is its own island. The north-west and southern ends of the rim of the volcano are underwater. And yes, the tourists all clap and cheer following each sunset.”
Another post deals with the lauded Atlantis Books in Oia, a place I shall be sure to hunt up, given its focus on culture and philosophy.
June 2017: NOT ANOTHER SANTORINI POST: 15 SANTORINI GREECE REALITIES THAT NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT IN THE TRAVEL BROCHURES
Kelly Ann Duhigg is the Girl With The Passport. Her award-winning travel blog has been on my subscription list since I started travel writing, and I enjoy her practical, down-to-earth, cheerful, and engaging style. Here she debunks a lot of the guff about Santorini.
Some of her points are positive: THE FOOD IN THE US IS SLOP COMPARED TO WHAT THEY SERVE IN SANTORINI (#TEAMGREEKFETA. SORRY AMERICAN FETA, BUT GREEK FETA IS JUST BETTA)
And some negative: PREPARE TO SHARE YOUR “ROMANTIC” OIA SUNSET WITH ABOUT FORTY BUS LOADS OF PEOPLE (THAT IS NOT AN EXAGGERATION).
Her advice that the sunset is best viewed in privacy and comfort from her hotel balcony rather than on the packed streets or crowded bars is one I’ll bear in mind.
Her advice that the men on Santorini are hot hot hott leaves me cold. Perhaps my wife will have a different view.
Her advice not to go in August when the place is stacked high with tourists is something I’ll have to ignore. This may go some way to explaining the astronomical hotel charge. By jingo, that feta betta be good!
November 2013: Sunset smackdown – Oia or Fira?
Small town Ohio girl Amanda compares the classic sunsets from two great vantage points on Santorini. Tough job, but someone has to do it!
“Watching the sun dip into the Aegean is most popular from the cliff-top village of Oia — the one with all those windmills and blue-domed churches that you see on postcards. But I was curious as to whether this really was the best spot to watch the sun set on Santorini, or if it was simply the one everybody knew about and therefore flocked to.”
“It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to,” Amanda says, quoting JRR Tolkien. Her blog certainly shows that she’s been swept off to a host of places. A chatty style with lots of photographs. Set aside an hour or six, she’ll sweep you along!
She has a set of blog posts about Santorini and the Aegean. This one is full of great advice.
Great site on ferries to Santorini
Santorini Dave has a tonne of great information, with photos, maps, diagrams and stuff about the various ferry (and flight) options. He lists each of the lines, their ticketing methods, the accommodation choices, where the ferries leave and arrive, information on public transport choices in Athens, options to connect to the airport. This is an exhaustive research into every choice, complete with photographs of every stage.
The road goes ever on
More blogs and individual blog entries will be added as I go along. Feel free to nominate good blogs on this subject. Maybe your own. My aim is to build up a collection of fun and useful blog entries on a thousand places, and I can’t do it alone!
(Main image credit: Tom Mascardo)