The dreaded dilemma – Santorini vs Mykonos.
Let me just start off with pointing out that you will have a great time on both of these Greek islands, no doubt! And now let’s get ready to rumble!
In the right corner of the ring – Mykonos:
- This is considered the best party island in Greece. If you want to dance till sunrise with your buddies, this is definitely the place for you!
- They have clubs with such awesome names as Paradise and Super Paradise which are filled with super high quality thumping club music. These attract famous DJs whose sets usually run into the next day.
- Sandy aches with clear water to rejuvenate you after the parties.
- Not too family friendly, it will be harder to find things to do for the little ones.
And in the left corner of the ring – Santorini:
- Mostly known as the best destination for loving couples, many even arrive to the island from abroad to get married in its scenic destinations.
- More cafes and restaurants with a quiet and chilled vibe.
- Swimming pools with STUNNING views, like infinity pools that end on the edge of cliffs overlooking the Volcanic Lagoon.
- All types of interesting and different beaches, like black beaches formed from volcanic sand.
- More family friendly, you can for example go on horse rides and go to a waterpark. If you take kids, double check that with your hotel – some hotels are on a Cliffside and they do not allow children for safety reasons.
The winner: Well, nothing in life is easy. You decide it’s subjective and depends on your needs. But this should help clear up your mind, at least. Whatever you do, make sure to come to Santorini someday. See you there.
Santorini photographer Anna Sulte
MAGNIFICENT town OF FIRA – THE CAPITAL OF SANTORINI
Fira is, of course, the gem of the island of Santorini. If the time of your stay here on the island is limited for some reason, you can just visit it and really take in the various opportunities and sights it has to offer. It lies on the caldera opposite the volcano, so you can be sure that the views will be no less than awesome. However, it does not end there – Fira has much more!
The town has loads of museums, galleries and hosts many cultural events. Moreover, it also has the biggest shopping centre and a large choice of places to dine and entertain – this is the place where nightlife is bustling on the island of Santorini.
The town has one of the largest varieties of architecture and variuous cultural landmarks that have preserved from the times when the island was ruled by Turks as well one of the oldest, largest and most scenic ports in Santorini.
If you’re looking for the perfect village for all sorts of activities and want to enjoy a big selection of various restaurants, hotels and places for entertainment, Fira is probably the perfect place for you!
Santorini photography by Anna Sulte, Thera based photographer.
PROS AND CONS OF RENTING SUNSET CRUISE IN SANTORINI
Sunsets are a big deal on the small and romantic Greek island of Santorini. It is so much so that people here have figured out various ways how to enjoy this spectacle of nature in various ways. One of them is a sunset cruise.
A sunset cruise is a special boat ride organized right at the time of the sunset. It allows you to get a different viewpoint to enjoy the final minutes of daylight, usually accompanied by dinner on board. This is definitely a good way of taking a look at Santorini from a different angle – not only you’ll be looking at the sun as it slowly dives into the sea, you will also have the chance to see the beautiful villages of Santorini as you’ve never experienced before. Warm evenings with city lights turning on.
As it is with all good things in life, there are some drawbacks. In the case of sunset cruises, it is very often the price or having to deal with the company of others on board. Of course you would like to be alone with your loved one as this magical spectacle unveils, but unfortunately, if you’re not up for paying a fortune, there will be other tourists there.
Regardless, this is a magical experience that should be enjoyed if you visit Santorini.
More tips for Santorini explores here – Santorini tips for travelers.
Santorini holiday photography. Anna Sulte.
SOME CELEBRITIES YOU MIGHT MEET AROUND SANTORINI
The island of Santorini in Greece has magnificent looks and a perfect atmosphere. No wonder that it is enjoyed by celebrities as well. I’ll give you a couple of hints on who you might meet on a casual walk around the cobblestone streets surrounded by tiny houses.
Of course, I must say that I am by no means a celebrity expert or paparazzi, this is only some of the knowledge that is based on things I’ve heard from locals and on some internet research. Angelina Jolie has to be one of the most popular celebrities that is said to regularly visit the island together with her children. The island must have become dear to her during the shooting of Tomb Raider (some scenes in of the Cradle of Life were shot here). It has been said that there’s a couple who were amazed by the beauty of this small island and have been hooked since – it’s Shakira and her husband footballer Gerard Piqué. If you’re super lucky, you might run into Johnny Depp – that is, if you can recognise one of his many, many looks. Although some sources say that he always takes good care of secrecy when travelling to avoid being disturbed.
So keep your eyes open, you might notice some familiar faces among the other tourists enjoying the views and perfect weather of this small and scenic Greek island.
THE MEANING BEHIND THE POPULAR GREEK SOUVENIR – THE BLUE EYE
If you have ever been to a Greek souvenir shop or plan to go to one, you will most definitely run into the kind of blue eye that is made in glass. It’s a very popular symbol and it almost always is from Greece when you ask some person wearing it in a necklace, key chain, earrings or a million of other ways. It is popular all right, but few know that it has more than the iconic and classic looks – this souvenir has a very distinct meaning as well.
They call this το μάτι (to máti) in Greek, and it is actually an “evil eye” – an amulet that is supposed to protect you from a curse that is said to be cast by envious people. Whether you believe such things or not is up to you, but if you decide to buy it now you’ll at least know that this is not just an ordinary piece of pretty Greek glass.
YOU MIGHT HAVE ALREADY GOT A
SNEEK PEEK AT SANTORINI – SOME FAMOUS FILMS THAT
SHOW OFF THE BEAUTY OF THE ISLAND
Have I already told you that Santorini is a fantastic place? Many film directors seem to think the same – that is why this small Greek island has already shown off some of its looks in a couple of films. Maybe you have already seen a part of this island and just have not noticed it? Or maybe you’re looking for the perfect film to get you into the sunny Greek mood before your trip? Take a look at this list!
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)
This is probably the most popular films in which you can see the classic Caldera and small Greek houses that are enjoyed by tourists and lovers alike. Have to say that the scene is rather brief, but memorable – it’s right at the beginning of the film, when a Greek wedding is interrupted by an earthquake (quite fitting, since the whole island was created by a massive volcano eruption and seismic activity thousands of years ago).
Summer Lovers (1982)
A bit old and unknown, but this shows off all the Greek island beauty. It’s a film about an American couple who meet a French woman on their tour to Greek islands and they develop a kind of love triangle relationship. For people who are looking for something romantic and hot for their holiday start.
The sisterhood of travelling pants (2005) and the sisterhood of Travelling Pants 2
A light and cheerful film about four best friends who each head out to different places on the globe and have a rather amusing plan of how to stay connected – sharing that perfect pair of yeans that fit each of them ideally. Choose this if you’re not looking for something too serious, maybe with a glass of Greek wine.
This should get you ready for your trip. Athough no film can capture the beauty of the place you see in person, but they’re a good start to get into the right travel mood.
Vacation photographer Anna Sulte 2016
VILLAGES OF SANTORINI – Megalochori
As part of my Santorini village blog series, it is time to explore the unique Megalochori village. This is one of the oldest villages on the island – the first records mentioning the island date back to the 17th century. It lies less than 10 km away from Fira, but it has its own characteristics and vibe.
Not only is it old, it is super scenic as well. It is all you could dream of when coming to a small Greek village – narrow streets that lead up hills littered with small little white houses with small enclosed gardens, and some magnificent classic Greek churches in between it all. You can really get lost in the labyrinth of the small streets here, very often you might end up in some place serving the local wine which is of top quality. The famous Boutari winery is widely known in all of Greece – the local volcanic soil really makes Santorini one of the most unique vine grape growing regions on the planet, and Megalochori is a great place to explore the wine culture of the small island of Santorini.
When your small street labyrinth walk leads you to the main square, it is definitely time to enjoy a tasty meal in one of the local taverns found there. The locals here are really active and this is a vibrant place even after the tourism season ends. So, if you ever want to feel a taste of the Greek lifestyle, you can go there in autumn as well. If you’re looking for an authentic winery experience, it is worth taking a look around on various volunteering websites – the local wine grape growers sometimes post job postings during the grape harvest. Who knows – maybe you were meant to be a wine grower on this Greek island!?
BEAUTIFUL EMPORIO VILLAGE OF SANTORINI
Emporio is the largest village of Santorini, but it has more to it than just its size. It is located around 12 km away from Fira town and yet it has its own vibe and feel to it.
It is one of the five traditional medieval fortified settlements of Santorini, so it has its own face that can tell a lot about that particular time period on the Greek islands. The look of the village has been very influenced by the tradition to build houses side by side to protect themselves and neighbours from pirate attacks, which were fairly common around these parts of Greece. The placement of the marvellous church of Agios Nikolaos Marmaritis of Emporio is also very traditional – it sits right before the entrance of the village.
The Santorini village of Emporio can really spoil its inhabitants and tourists with spectacular views, above it lies a mountain ridge of Gavrilos, which hides some mysterious and recently discovered ruins that date back to the Byzantine period. Another rather popular site are the windmills that can be seen when you drive to this village from Fira.
Emporio is worth a visit for anyone who wants to experience a breeze from the medieval times and how it combines with the modern day island of Santorini. Truly an interesting place with lots of unique views backgrounds for photo sessions!
6 SANTORINI HOTELS WITH HEATED SWIMMING POOLS
Alright, I know what you’re thinking – why would the Greek island of Santorini have heated swimming pools!? It’s like around +30 degrees there in the summer, right? Well, it’s kind of right, but the tourism season extends well beyond the hottest periods, and there are times when the nights get rather cold… but everyone enjoys a good dip in the water, don’t they? That is why you should take care and find out if your desired hotel has a heated swimming pool (you know, just in case :) ). I have done some research and prepared a small list to get you started.
If you are looking for the Caldera view:
This hotel is perched on one of the most beautiful volcanic cliffs of Santorini and it really offers a great view for your swim in the pleasantly heated pool. It is located in the Imerovigli village.
This is another great way to live in extremely luxurious rooms. They have several suites with great cave-like luxury interiors and an unforgettable interior and exterior heated pools and Jacuzzi. The exterior infinity pool offers a unique experience of swimming on the edge of the Caldera cliff.
This is the real hotel for someone who is looking for privacy. The views are amazing and there is all luxury you can think of, including an amazing heated pool.
Without the Caldera view
Aria Suites is one of the best hotels in Fira and they have an amazing and big heated swimming pool. They have the Caldera view, but the pool is offset a bit from the cliff.
The Timedrops Santorini hotel is located in Emporio. As it is an inland location, you won’t find any caldera views here, but the hotel is still great and they have wonderful pools.
This is more of a budget option in Emporio but it still offers great value for your money and that does not mean you will not have a good time :)
Santorini based portrait photographer Anna Sulte
Up to this day it has been a beautiful summer, sun, sea and peaceful evening sessions. We are photographing all over the island, but one village is cut of the everybody’s attention- Megalochori, the oldest traditional village on the Santorini island. So I’m keen to do session there.
I’m adding few shots from this summer adventure. :)
Photography by Anna Shulte Santorini based photographer.
Friendly people, narrow roads, flowers in bloom… Santorini..
It is time to go to the beach in the evening, barefoot go along the beach enjoying the warm sea water and small rocky sand. It is time to open swimming seasons, and let kids run trough the water and laugh.
Breathe in Santorini. :)
Santorini captured by Anna Shulte