Volcano Festival. Santorini.

Volcano Festival. Santorini.

Every year there’s one day in the late August – early September when thousands of locals and tourists are gathering on the cliff side of Santorini to watch the culmination of the Ifestia Festival – the reenactment of the volcanic eruption that took place around 1600 BC and devastated the Minoan civilization. It is done using the fireworks on the volcanic island of Nea Kameni and it’s a show to remember and not to be missed if you happen to visit Santorini at this time of the year. Best spots to watch the fireworks are all along the Western coast of the main island, Thira, the most notable being the SantoWines winery, the Mexican restaurant Senor Zorba or any other place with caldera view in Fira and Firostefani. If you’re of the adventurous type you can join many of the offered boat trips that will take you so close to the action. The fireworks are usually followed by performances by local and international artists in many of the island’s concert venues.

Volcano Festival (August)

Photos by Santorini photographer Anna Sulte

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THE SECRET OF HOW TO VISIT THE MOST ICONIC SPOTS OF SANTORINI IN JUST ONE DAY

THE SECRET OF HOW TO VISIT THE MOST ICONIC SPOTS OF SANTORINI IN JUST ONE DAY

For such a small place, Santorini has a lot to see. However, if you’re smart and efficient, you can see all the major sights and landmarks in one day – it just requires some efficiency planning!

If you’re on a cruise, you can easily see the island in a relaxed way for yourselves – no need for a guided tour! Just rent a car or an ATV down by the port and you’re good to go on your own mini adventure. Be sure to start with Oia, which is not that crowded in the mornings. After you have enjoyed the beauty of this village, go ahead and go to the beach to have a dip in the warm water. It will take you about 1 hour to drive from Oia to either the beach of Perissa or Kamari. Along the way there will be the traditional settlement of Megalochori or Pyrgos, which are great places to stop and have dinner as well as soak in the different vibe of this ancient villages.

Enjoy your swim at the beach and have some cocktails while you’re there to prepare for heading inland and enjoying the Caldera views, for example, to Fira town which has loads of small shops or head to Firostefani, if you prefer a more relaxed vibe. Sunsets are amazing from both of these villages.

         Most importantly, Fira is a great village from which to reach the airport, Fira port for boats or Athinos port for ferries. You must have gotten dizzy from all these place names, so here’s a Google Map for your trip!

     Seeing all the things the island has to offer is definitely possible in a day, but if you really want to soak it in, you have to stay a bit longer.

Santorini based photographer Anna Sulte

SOME CELEBRITIES YOU MIGHT MEET AROUND SANTORINI

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.

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SANTORINI PICNIC GUIDE

THE ULTIMATE SANTORINI PICNIC GUIDE –
THE BASIC THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW TO SURVIVE A PICNIC IN THE MEDITERRENEAN

During all the years I have been here on the wonderful island of Santorini I have accumulated a certain number of questions I get asked quite a lot and some of them definitely are related to being out in the sun and organizing various events and parties outside. Popular idea seems to be to go on a cool Mediterranean picnic with your travel buddies or your special someone. I must say that exploring the beautiful nature of this island is definitely a great idea, but you must do certain planning and take certain precautions to have the best time! I thought today I might round up the essentials here in this blog post.

                First of all, you must know that the Santorini sun is really intense. That is one of the reasons why I would strongly suggest to plan the picnic in the evening. Even the locals are most active after sunset, do not overestimate your capabilities! During the day it is quite hard to find shade and a cool breeze.

                As for the place, I think the seaside is the best choice, just make sure you stick to more quiet places, to avoid hordes of tourists walking past you all the time. Some of the places you could go are the further side of Perivolos beach or somewhere near the cliff side of the island at the village of Megalochori or Akrotiri with most rocks and a great caldera view although it might get a bit windy. If you choose a beach for your picnic, be sure to bring your swimsuit – there’s always the added bonus of taking a quick swim whenever you want to cool down. :)

                When preparing food, make sure you choose products that can handle the Santorini temperatures. Alternatively, you should think about ways to cool them down. You could buy an ice box and/or and fill it with ice to keep your drinks cool. This method should last you for a couple of hours.

                There you go – the rest is up to you.  :)

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Santorini sunset. Photo by Santorini vacation photographer Anna Sulte.

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THINGS YOU MUST EXPERIENCE IN GREECE IN YOUR LIFETIME

THINGS YOU MUST EXPERIENCE IN GREECE IN YOUR LIFETIME

            Many of us make these bucket lists of the things to do in our lifetime, and I thought I could give you a few ideas of some awesome things and places to experience in Greece and the island of Santorini. This country has a lot of surprises you might not have known before so read on and who knows – you might add some of these to your list! Of course, Greece has lots to offer, but here’s a few to get you started.

Once in a lifetime experience in the cradle of modern Western culture and democracy – Athens

Athens has been continuously voted as the best travel destination in Europe, and not without ground. This was the home of some of the most influential and well-known European thinkers, playwrights and historians. Apart from knowing all the grand history of the place, you really get a sense of heritage and grandeur when walking the streets of modern Athens.

Visit the unique Greek islands

The island of Santorini is great of course, but it is not the only Greek island with unique character. In fact Greece has around 1600 of them – although a big part is uninhabited, there are still lots to visit and discover! You could include the island of Symi and the island of Syros and the island of Skopelos – they each have a lot to offer and their diversity is amazing!

Fancy a wine tasting with spectacular view?

It might sound simple, but wine tastings in Santo Wines take it to another level. You will have the chance to taste more than 18 vines with great cheese and view to top it off. Wine tastings do not get better than this.

Never stop searching for your next adventure and be sure to add more and more to your list. As Hellen Keller put it, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Don’t stop wondering and I’ll see you soon.

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5 (kind of) worst things about Santorini

5 (kind of) worst things about Santorini

            Every places has its pros and cons, including Santorini. However, sometimes the things that may seem bad at first glance are actually kind of a part of the local culture and way of living, and I think this may be true for some of the things on my list as well. So here are the 5 worst things about Santorini, Greece:

Greek time

For a person not coming from Greece, everything seems to be late all the time. Even some stores and cafes keep a very free schedule – they might open an hour or half an hour later, you never know. This is the same if you arrange a meeting with someone. This is a point which depends greatly on your attitude – you can save yourself loads of stress, if you adopt the Greek laid back attitude, and just go for a walk till the café opens or have a relaxed cup of coffee before your meeting.

Public transportation

As Santorini is a tourist hot spot, it really gets crowded during the season. This is actually a rather small Greek island and it is very apparent if you take the public transportation – it seems that it can hardly cope with the masses of people visiting this place. Your transport might be very late and might arrive packed with people. Once again, just breathe deeply and the solution will come to you.

Some bars are not totally honest

Sorry to say this, but it’s true. As in many places with many light-minded tourists, there are possibilities for fraud, and some bars take advantage of this. Just be careful and really think through what you’re doing.

August wind

It gets REALLY windy in August and since Santorini is an island the wind really blows in your face from the sea. All you can do is to change up your routine a bit and dress up appropriate. Flouty skirts will not work :)

Midday heat

Don’ get me wrong, I really enjoy the warm weather Santorini has to offer but during the year there are periods when the midday heat is just too much. When this happens more or less the only thing you should do is either go for swim or to sit inside in a conditioned room and read a book, surf the web for great things to do on Santorini etc. and wait till the evening coolness sets down.

That being said, I kind of think that most of the things on my list make Santorini a bit unique (well, except for scammers!). If you also have some problems like these, all I can really suggest is to take it easy and adopt a positive attitude – it helps for me at least :)

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Santorini based photographer Anna Sulte

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SOME COOL THINGS TO BRING BACK FROM YOUR TRIP TO SANTORINI

SOME COOL THINGS TO BRING BACK FROM YOUR TRIP TO SANTORINI

            Even nowadays, when we can share loads of photographs online from our trips, a small physical gift that you give to family and friends is still a very special thing. Somehow even though we can buy almost everything at our local stores, we still enjoy a good souvenir. And what’s there not to love? Everyone enjoys a gift time to time, right? Today I thought I might give you some pointers for what to look out for when shopping for family and friends in Santorini.

  1. Souvenir shops. Even though this might seem counter intuitive to buy magnets, postcards etc., there are few more options like little churches or Santorini music boxes with the local landmarks.
  1. Authentic clothes or jewelry are a good choice. Try some shops with local Greek clothing and jewelry you may find something unique for your beloved family.  As for Santorini, a light scarf is a really essential women’s accessory here and there is plenty of variety. Or some volcanic lava earrings/bracelet.
  1. Traditional Greek food. Bear in mind that it is really hot here and the food you plan to bring home must survive all the way. Other than that, you’re good – everyone loves sweets or a good drink, guaranteed. If I may make some recommendations, I would go for some good Santorini vine – the conditions on this volcanic island make it one of the most unique places to grow grapes in the whole world. Other options are Santorini dried tomatoes, local olive oil or maybe even halloumi cheese.

So, there you have it – I think if you follow these basic steps, your Santorini gift bag should be really full and really good.  Have fun shopping!

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Tips for your Santorini visit from Anna Sulte, local photographer.

IS THERE ANY NIGHTLIFE IN SANTORINI?

IS THERE ANY NIGHTLIFE IN SANTORINI?

I get asked this question from time to time. And I really get it – even though there are these amazing views, you have all sorts of travelling destinations etc. sometimes you just want to let yourself go and enjoy an exotic night out. Plus, some of you might be looking for the right places to visit on your hen night/stag party. Let me tell you – in contrast to what most people think, the nightlife situation in Santorini is not so bad! Let me give you a couple of hints on some of the places to get your night going. :)  Let me start off with Firá in this post and later we’ll move on to different locations.

Tango Bar in Firá, Santorini – it is one of the coolest places to enjoy a cocktail and dance in Santorini. Although it might be a bit pricey, it’s still a very great bar on the cliffside (caldera), which means that you’ll be watching over the great view of the sea while having a chat in the stylish interior or having a good time on the dance floor. Try out some of their cocktails made from fresh fruit!

Tropical Bar in Firá, Santorini – This is a more laid back experience, and it is a really nice place to have a drink and have some fun when the weather is good, they have cool outdoor balcony.

Town Club in Firá, Santorini – This is one of the oldest and well known clubs in Santorini. The main feature of this club is the DJ, who really is in tune with the mood of the visitors and keeps them dancing until the brake of dawn in their special events and parties. There are discounts if you are a group of at least 12 people.

P.S. Stay tuned for a club/ bar list in other places of Santorini, Greece.

Have a great night!

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Santorini Portrait Photographer Anna Sulte