It’s National Cruise Month, so we’re taking you on a 14-day virtual cruise to our top destinations, giving you the lowdown on everything you can do. Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer, a history buff or a cocktail-enthusiast, we’ve got it covered. Today’s port of call is Santorini…
Made famous by its gleaming white cities carved into the painted cliffs of a spectacular geological formation, Santorini is a treat for all the senses. Formed from a collapsed volcano that created a deep crater filled with cerulean seawater, Santorini’s unusual caldera feature offers a striking setting for experiencing the charismatic hospitality of the Greek isles at their best. These four adventures make a glorious day a #ShoreThing in Santorini.
From the Athinios ferry port, take a winding road snaking up the sheer cliffs of the caldera. As the bus rounds the switchbacks, keep your eyes peeled for caves embedded in the rock walls – once the homes of the island’s first residents many moons ago. At the top of the cliff, you’ll be treated to the splendid sight of the gleaming white Oia Village flowing like a soft chalk sculpture overlooking the sea. Bursts of blue decorate the whitewashed village, and a tangle of cobbled streets beckon with artisanal crafts, jewellery, galleries and other fantastic finds. The other side of the village affords the most incredible views of the island, perfect for sun-saturated selfies. On the way back, find unique refreshment in a local wine shop before taking a thrilling ride in a cable car back to the port.
Immerse yourself in the charms of Santorini’s iconic architecture with a trip to the gorgeous villages of Megalochori and Pyrgos. From the white walls of Megalochori carved into the hillside, carry on upward to Santorini’s highest spot, the peak of Profitis Ilias. From this rocky perch in the sky, revel in unsurpassed views of the island and the swimming-pool blue Aegean. Peek into attractive churches throwing smooth, blindingly white lines against the azure sky, and the stunning stone castle watching over all. Refuel with a tasty stop for some traditional Santorini wine and local specialities. After a bit of a wander in Thira, head back to the terminal via a cable car.
Take a boat to see two of Santorini’s top spots in one tour. Head to the heart of the caldera to visit the volcanic island of Nea Kameni. Step out onto the surreal landscape of the Daphni lava flow as you climb to the top, carefully navigating shards of solidified lava. After ascending all the way, bask in the brilliant sunshine and superb views of Santorini’s unique caldera formation. After making your way back to the boat, sail across to soak in Palea Kameni’s thermal springs. The sulphurous waters flow in extraordinary colours, ranging from a bright ochre hue to a delicate jade. Once you’ve had your fill of floating in the balmy, mineral-rich bay, you’ll be ferried back to Thira, where you can stroll around the old port town at your leisure.
Discover why Santorini is consistently rated as one of the top travel destinations in the world by taking to two wheels and cycling around on your own steam. Not for the faint of heart, a bike tour is prefaced by a steep climb from the ferry port up to Thira. However, your heart-thumping efforts will be rewarded with incredible panoramas at every turn. Stop for breathing breaks and fantastic photo-ops, and the ship will soon look almost a like a toy bobbing on the sea far below your feet. Rest at a delightful rooftop café in the classic Cyclades village of Oia, nibbling on a sweet serving of almond koufeto as you admire the blue domes of churches punctuating the white expanse of the village.
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Author: Thomson Holidays
Published: September 23, 2015
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