Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Honeymoon to...Santorini, Greece

I have always been fascinated with Greece, and the architecture in Santorini has pique my interest for quite some time. This beautiful Greek island is not only a place of fascinating sights, it is also a top destination for weddings and honeymoons! Located in the Aegean Sea, Santorini is the southernmost island of the Cyclades.

Things to Do and Sights to See
The Catholic Quarter in Fira
One of the most beautiful sections in Fira. Not to be missed is the Old Quarter of Kato Fira, a silent maze of little streets bathed in light. Two domes rear up from this terraced cascade of houses: Agios Ioannis church and the Agios Minas.

The Village of Oia
This picturesque village is an amazing place to visit. Filled with dramatic sunsets and narrow passageways, this is a village not to be missed. Trendy boutiques and expensive jewellery shops as well as world class cuisine await you.

Boat Excursions around the island
The ships Bella Aurora & Thalassa offer full or half day boat rides around the island of Santorini. Start the day off with a trip to the volcanic island of Nea Kameni. Once there, you will be greeted by a small steam vent, jagged rocks, a hot springs, and an unparalleled view of Santorini. Be sure to bring your hiking shoes as the island is quite rocky. The real fun in these boat rides is the cruising. Enjoy wonderful food, a hospitable crew and a serenade by a lone saxophone player as you cruise to Oia to watch the sunset.

Ancient Thira
This 11th century BC Dorian settlement includes remains from Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Accessible by a steep, narrow road and a small hike, this location not only offers ancient ruins, but amazing views as well.

This ancient city was covered in a heap of volcanic ash in an eruption in 1866. Professor Spyridon Marinatos unearthed the complete city in 1967, but died in an accident at the same site in 1974. He is buried alongside his life's work.

Santorini Beaches
Most beached in Santorini are made up of volcanic sand, meaning they are black or red sand. There are so many different options for beach time, this article has some great advice as well as many pictures of all the beaches on Santorini.

Well for a start, you can image the typical greek salad comprised of amazing olives, feta cheese, tomatos, cucumber, red onion and seasoned with salt, black pepper, oregano, and basil and dressed with olive oil. Thats only the beginning. Beef dishes are not common as the Greek terrain has tended to favour the breeding of goats and sheep over cattle. A variety of cheeses are also used in Greek cusine including Feta, Kasseri, Kefalotyri, Graviera, Anthotyros, Manouri, Metsovone and Mizithra. For a complete list of common appetizers, soups and main dishes visit this site.

Where to Stay
Vedema Resort
The colors and decor of this hotel is reason enough to stay here. Built around a 400 year old winery, this resort has countless things to discover. Take a relaxing day at the Spa, savor Mediterranean cuisine in one of seven restraunts and bars, relax on the hotels private beach or one of the many pools, play tennis or take a mountain bike ride around the island. With so many things to do, I'm sure you won't hunger for activity.

Ikes Hotel
Traditional Greek appartments, all with private terraces. Other ammenities include swimming pool, fully-equipped kitchenettes, direct dial telephone, satellite TV.
A welcome drink and a basket of fruits are offered uppon arrival.

Enigma Apartments and Suites
Located in Fira, the capital of Santorini, this hotel is all about making your stay the very best it can be. A large terrace with chaise lounges, umbrellas and tables, where you can relax and enjoy a cool drink, while gazing at the magnificent Caldera, the volcano, and the Aegean Sea, a vista that is particularly beautiful during sunset, is just part of what you can expect from Enigma.

Quick Facts
Language: Greek is the official language in Santorini. English is spoken almost everywhere throughout the island. French, German and Spanish is limited to the major tourist centers.
Money: The national currency is the euro. Shopkeepers frequently accept American currency. For day-to-day touring and tipping, however, visitors should carry an adequate supply of euros. Hotels, banks and the airport have facilities for changing foreign currency but not always traveller’s cheques.
Weather: The climate in Santorini is deceptive. It's similar to the Bay Area in California, mildly hot during the day, cooler at night. The climate is mild and dry. Usually, the summer with bright and sunny weather lasts from from April to October and is bright and sunny, but a fresh breeze is often blowing in the evenings and brings cooler temperatures. The weather is generally pleasant with very rare rain falling from April until October and average temperatures of 80-90 degrees.
Get there: Fly into Athens. From there, there are several flights daily with Olympic Airways and Aegean Airlines from Athens to Santorini. The duration of the flight is approximately 25 minutes. There are also connecting flights to Mykonos, Rhodes and Heraklio. The airport of Santorini is 8km from Thera, but there is a bus service to get there.

Picture Credits:
Santorini Volcano, Ancient Thera, Catholic Quarter, Oia left and right, Akrotiri, Beaches.
All hotel pictures from each hotel's website.


Lemiga Events said...

I love the architecture of Greece. It's one place I've never been - but definitely on my list to visit! BTW, you have been selected. Check out our blog for more info.

{this is glamorous} said...

A fantastic idea for a blog series, and this first installment is breathtaking -- you've included beautiful photos and lots of great information. Looking forward to the next.


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