Go up the Caldera on a mule ride. One of the most authentic experiences is going up from the Old Harbour (or Ammoudi) on a mule. These friendly animals carry you through the 587-step winding path on the steep slope that designates the shortcut to Fira. The itinerary begins in a relaxing way with the orders given in the mule drivers’ language but soon enough, when the distance from the sea level becomes higher and higher and, the donkey gets closer and closer to the edge of the cliff, the adventure is on!
Dive into the sunset. The Caldera, generously embracing the Aegean, is the spot where the silence of the East meets the serenity of the West and creates a divine melody of colours. Colour nuances alternate so harmoniously as if overflown from the palette of the volcano. You needn’t run to Oia in the jam of people. Wherever you are in the Caldera, the sunset is magical!
Try Vinsanto chocolates. Needless to say that it is a “must” to try the local sweet wine of the island, Vinsanto. However, when I tried a brand new product of the Argyros Winery, chocolates filled with Vinsanto, I got infatuated! The sweetness of the wine blends with the chocolate and the outcome is something that, believe me, you surely do not want to miss!
Visit a winery. There is no doubt that the uniqueness of Santorini has to do with the volcano and the Caldera. However, if you stick only there, you will have done injustice to such a multi-dimensional island! The volcanic land gives special features to the wines. A visit to a winery, so as to get acquainted with the traditional vine-cultivation and wine-making, and trying some of the OPAP wines of the island is a unique experience you should not miss!
Go to Ammoudi for swimming and eating. Among my most favourite moments on the island: walking along the dust road to reach the small beach with the cliffs, diving into the deep waters and swimming below the Caldera - above the sea bottom chaos (here there are no sunbathing comforts etc). Then going to the taverna with the yellowish colours on the walls for fish and sea dishes and waiting for the sunset. The sun vanishes behind Thirasia and from this spot you have the sunset with the longest duration!
Buy packaged tomato paste. It is in great demand and you will realize why, only when you try it. A spoonful of the “Anydro” or “Santo” tomato paste makes the difference in the food in sweetness, aroma and taste. The “Santo” of the Cooperative was awarded this year as the best Greek standardized food product, while the “Anydro” of Petros Oikonomakis is a biological product and has received many distinctions at a worldwide level. You will also find “tomataki-glyko tou koutaliou” (small tomato-sweet of the spoon), canned “tomatakia” (small tomatoes) etc. Anydro, Megalohori, tel: 22860-81820 Santo Wines, Pyrgos, τηλ.: 22860-22596
“Maria Kallas” and Caldera. Close your eyes and imagine: Lying-chairs upon white terraces above the Caldera. The volcano before you and the serenity of the landscape overwhelming your inner self. And suddenly classical music notes caressing your ears and seagulls flying right before your eyes to the rhythm of a piano or the virtuosity of a violin! You are at Franco’s, the most famous bar of Santorini, playing only classical and opera music having the Caldera at the background. And what will you drink? A “Maria Kallas” cocktail, of course!
Vlyhada... as if in a moon landscape! I fell in love with it at first sight! At the volcanic white rocks of Vlyhada reminding of a moon landscape you lose the sense of place and time! Just a tiny bit above the sea level, there is a small beach bar named “Theros Wave Bar”, which mystically drives you far away! It is really impressive how beautifully harmonized it is with the environment, for it is entirely made of the same natural stone. Lying-chairs on the beach, cocktails at the bar, relaxing music in a landscape that is absolutely “extraterrestrial”! Tel: 6974-348417
Try the local cuisine with Santorini products. Looking at the volcano, escaping in the Caldera. So what? What is the importance of all this if you cannot feel it deeply inside yourself? And how is it possible to feel the power of this land, unless you sense its aromas through the products of its earth, cooked by a chef who really loves it? And , of course, by accompanying them with a bottle of “Santorini”, the Assyrtiko wine of our island with its metallic acidity and unique features.
Stay in a yposkafo. The architecture of Santorini is unique. The yposkafa, i.e. the plain dwellings the local islanders used to build within the rocks in order to protect themselves from the winds are one of a kind! Nowadays, in Santorini of today, they have been handed over to renowned architects who converted them into wonderful places to stay. It is worth experiencing even for one night the claustrophobic feeling of the yposkafo, the characteristic smell of the rock, the immediate closeness with the Caldera...