I love the geological drama of Santorini, which may sound nerdy, but imagine a volcano eruption so massive it sunk half an island! Breathtaking Santorini, often high on the lists of most beautiful places in the world, was oval-shaped before the big eruption around 3,000 years ago. Now it’s a crescent, with whitewashed villages perched atop sheered cliffs. Getting to the top means taking a slightly harrowing bus or taxi ride up the narrow, winding, roads. Once there, prepare to be awed at the mind-blowing splendor of the island, and views that will leave you speechless. It was enough to cause Brad and Angelina to buy a cliff top house overlooking the sea in lovely Oia, the village from which many of those dramatic blue and white photos are taken (like mine, at left.) Oia is a photographer’s dream, but then again, from my perspective it would be anyone’s dream. The view of the sea and outlying islands is surreal enough to make the most pragmatic mind imagine mermaids lounging on the rocks. Meanwhile, the whitewashed houses, built into the cliff sides, certainly made me guilty of coveting.
Things to do in Santorini: Eat. Seriously. Some foods here cannot be found anywhere else, as Santorini’s unique climate and volcanic soil produces distinctive fruits and vegetables. If you like baklava - the crispy, sweet, nutty pastry that is paradise on a plate – order a piece at an open-air café, look out over the Aegean, and experience bliss. Try some wine, if you’re so inclined, as Santorini proclaims it makes the best in Greece.
Activities: Make sure you experience the sunset, best seen from Oia, or better yet, take a sunset cruise. Adventurous? Try the five-hour catamaran cruise, which includes hiking the volcano, swimming in the hot springs, exploring the shops and beaches of Thirassia (small island near Santorini) and swim, snorkel and eat lunch or dinner on board. Or try a half hour helicopter cruise.
Another option: just hang out and relax amidst all the wonder that is Santorini.