The island of Santorini, Greece (or Thira – the original name) is a magical place built mostly on cliffs overlooking a hidden bubbling volcanic caldron. The island is small and a person can walk from one end to the other in approximately four hours.
369 steps lead down to the harbour from Fira at one end of the island. If you don’t want to walk back up, you can always rent a donkey. If you choose to make the trek by foot though, be prepared to be shoved aside by the occasional “ass.”
From Oia, at the other end of the island, an ancient walkway meanders down the cliffs to a quaint fishing village. A short distance away there is a quiet area to go swimming in the sea. It’s refreshing before taking the walk back up. It’s worth climbing the 1355 steps back to the townsite to enjoy the beautiful sunset experienced at many different points on the island.
I have to mention the food on the island too. I will never look at Greek salad or a pita quite the same way again. There is something special about sitting on a stone curb, watching the tourists make their way through the crooked little alleys while enjoying the local fare seasoned with saffron or Greek olives. And don’t forget to wash it down with Santorini’s own wine. The only problem is yesterday’s vintage may be better, or worse, than today’s. Maybe it has to do with the plastic containers the wine is bottled and sold in? But that’s okay. You can only enjoy it (or not) on Santorini.
There are 3 distinct beaches on the island and it is worth making a trip to each. There is the red sand, the white sand, and the black sand. Bus service from Fira makes it easy to visit the different sites and the water is relaxing and warm most of the year. If you are a little more adventuresome you can rent a quad for the time you are there.
And if you happen to get bored after a couple of days of exploring the island, you can always spend your time shopping. Every colour of gold imaginable catches the sunlight of Santorini. The Greek jewellry designers definitely captured the beauty of ancient Greece.