Around the gem of the Cyclades, fresh “best European island” for opinions from the spectacular caldera to the history of Akrotiri, all the souls of a pint-sized island
Santorini. A volcano bellezzaQuando lands in the microscopic airport Thira see the whole. It is small, Only 80 square kilometers, half an hour or so to travel it by car from north to south, and not think that everything that can be reserved instead, in a long weekend, you can find out. Santorini is in fact a mix of emotions. Each location, elegant Oia on the northern tip, the fascinating archaeological ruins of Akrotiri, in the south, offers a different experience. Shades held together by dramatic landscape, that of a volcanic caldera that is perceived distinctly lost circular. With much of the most recent volcano – the youngest in the Mediterranean and in addition active – fumeggiante the middle of the lagoon. Testimony of a geological movement evolving.
It is no coincidence that St. Irene – hence, the name attributed to corruption by the Venetians which was sold in 1200, comes Santorini – has this year won the Travelers’ Choice Awards Islands assigned by TripAdvisor, the giant of the travel and a review of how best European island. And just on the Greek island, jewel of the Cyclades that does not seem to be affected much of the dramatic crisis in Greece, are concentrated some of the best facilities nationwide. The idea was therefore to check first hand what it means to spend a few days in the most beloved of Europe – or so they consider the many travelers who disembark from May to October, including many Italians, and leave their impressions platform founded by Stephen Kaufer – moving in the forest of reviews and ratings. Also to see if you can really trust.
The answer, say it now, is positive. From hotels to restaurants through the cultural attractions and beaches, the story that the portal is often targeted but densely populated island is essentially consistent and reliable. Excluding, of course, judgments exalted and those who instead reported with surgical precision experience gone wrong. Both take off from the deck to form an opinion correct. This is the case, the housing, the enchanting Astra Suites, luxury hotel with stunning views of the archipelago from Imerovigli, the balcony of the Aegean, the structure of the last winner Travelers’ Choice Awards Greeks for the best service. If it is a piece of heaven on earth, close enough. Moreover, as hotels and suites surrounding, it shares the most scenic location of the island, almost 400 meters above the sea, facing the Rock of Skaros, the very first settlement administration. The price range is not exactly for everyone (from 200 to 1,500 euro per night) but with a little ‘luck, moving in time and in low season, you may be able to make a study (the room base) in a Affordable. It is the sort of place where you do not need to ask why someone has already thought of everything. The maximum score on TripAdvisor, five points, did not mind.
The strong side of Santorini, this is undeniable, it is obviously the west coast, the climbing of the caldera, the superb center of Oia (full of art galleries, craft shops and taverns hidden as Roka, which deserves its 4.5 rating points) to the historic caoticissima Fira, the capital of the island from which to enjoy a sunset incomparable. Even here, in spite of Santorini is one of the most expensive Greek islands, you can eat in the remaining 20 to 25 euro per person. There is to try, just steps from the sparkling Orthodox cathedral rebuilt after the terrible earthquake of 1956 (although the most important Byzantine church is that of Panagia Episkopi at Mesa Gonia), Naoussa, a family run restaurant that not surprisingly door home a good judgment (4.5 with over 1,500 judgments) also on the portal reviews. An oasis among the many (too many) and standardized structures blatantly tourist city. Eye to baklava, however: the dimensions are elephantine.
Further south – rent a nice car will cost around 40 euro a day, even the highly popular quad – among the expanses of dwarf vines cultivated in low tops shaped baskets to protect the unpredictable Meltemi that yield dry whites and fruity as Assyrtiko and Nykteri, the choice is threefold. You can first choose the east coast from the parts of Kamari, not far from the airport, extremely crowded and less organized but also more economical in every sense (the only stage worthy is that the tavern To Pinakio, dish, just before the waterfront ). Secondly, point further south – do not worry, they are transfers from 15-20 minutes – towards the long beach that spread to eight kilometers from the center of Perissa to Perivolos. It is perhaps in this second location that should stop for a few hours at sea: almost everywhere sunbeds and umbrellas are free of charge in front of a drink. The board, occurred from TripAdvisor, it is to rely on Sol n sea for drink and the plant Earth black for lunch (five points overall), with a menu rich in a cobbled square.
Third choice is devote, before reaching Kokkini Paralia, the famous and somewhat rowdy Red Beach – which together with the nearby White beach and the black beach of Perissa is the trio chromatic language sandy island – the ruins of the archaeological site of Akrotiri . In fact excavations, (covered, entrance 5 euro), are in fact still in progress and only a fraction has been brought to light since the 60s, this place became one of the challenges of the archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos. But what has been discovered which says that perhaps, already the Bronze Age, may have been the first European city. A little ‘as Pompeii – but 1700 years before – was destroyed and buried by the eruption of 1628 a. C., one of the most devastating in the history of the planet, which involved the collapse of the volcano and the creation of the archipelago almost like we see today. In addition to the belief that, along with the entire Minoan civilization, this event may have fed the Platonic myth of Atlantis. Volcanic ash have however allowed a remarkable state of preservation (4.5 judgment of TripAdvisor, sin guided tour too expensive, 60 euro for an hour, but crucial to uncover the secrets of a densely populated settlement dating back at least to 3200. C.). Overall, and the events of recent years between closures and reopenings confirm, remains the feeling of a site from the extraordinary potential but substantially blocked.
Chapter but essential to really feel in the mouth of the mighty volcano is that of the boat trips. There is something for every budget and every type of boat but the boat sailing signed Thalassa is the best, not only for the highest scores remedied on the platform but also because – firsthand – is the most complete. It takes less than 60 euro, is part of the old harbor of Santorini (many other sail from the new port of Athinios), a narrow terrace between the cliffs and the sea which can be reached on foot along the 600 steps, by mule or the cable car (5 Euros each way), on sailboats or Thalassa Bella Aurora. First stop at the Volcano (Nea Kameni) and guided tour of an hour and a half until the main crater, the second leg with a swim in the warm waters between the two islands of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni, an aperitif on board between local tomatoes (which is a curious museum dedicated to Vlychada), eggplant sauce, meatballs and tzatziki, step off of Therasia, the neighbor across Santorini home to just 300 people, and sunset lulled by the notes of a saxophone shade of Oia and the nearby marina Ammoudi.
After, there will remain – to honor of completeness – that enjoy a tour in the North-West, the less attractive but more authentic, even down to the airport, between windmills, chapels and vineyards for a break on the beaches of Monolithos , good for families, and a lunch to Mario No 1 (TripAdvisor rating, 4.5 points), where indulging in memories already very strong with a typical salad Santorini, that instead of feta cheese provides a local, the chloro . Or close the long weekend Cycladic with a stop at the village of Megalochori or the port of the aforementioned Vlychada, the slow pace and with a hidden beach, ideal even in busy periods. In that case, goodbye to Santorini can only get by To Psaraki, The little fish, a lovely seaside tavern rewarded by the Travelers’ Choice Awards of 2014. For just over 50 euro you can order a plate for two consisting of fish fresh for about a pound and contours. Delicacies apart, starting from the ancient Phoenician and Kallisti Thera spartan but you can not help but think of the extraordinary concentration of culture in just 30 kilometers long and six wide maximum.