Page 1

greece is experience culture, gastronomy & more

S A N T O R I N I e d ition



47 - 87

88 - 95

96 - 100




101 - 142 TA S T E

Τhe volcano, the wonders of prehistoric and ancient civilizations, the unique architecture set against one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the world.

The Sunset Oia fleet, the youngest and largest on the island, offers semi-private and tailor-made excursions for the discerning traveler who wants to explore Santorini & nearby islands.

From hiking to cycling, from tours to off-thebeaten-path points of interest... The best ways to connect to the soul of the island, still unspoilt by mass tourism.

Natural products grown in volcanic soil, wineries that keep a 4,000-year-old tradition alive producing world-famous wines. Plus, a selection of restaurants to suit all tastes.


Let Santorini show you the way


B y A n a s ta s i o s - N i k o l a o s Z o r z o s , M ay o r o f Sa n t o r i n i

How can we describe Santorini? Words, no matter how many, are simply not enough. The volcanic eruption is the root cause why people from all over the world come to see the island, a natural event that bestowed it with its incomparable beauty and the caldera. Beyond this beauty, however, there are other reasons why Santorini catches the eye. Alluring and untamed, whatever springs forth from this land is special, unique. Above the ash and the fire in its belly spring vines that constitute Europe’s oldest vineyards. The arid yet rich soil also yields other gifts of nature (cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, white and green eggplants, fava beans) all with a distinctive flavor and other properties that tease the senses. Its womb is life-giving; its terrain, stunning. For thousands of years the volcanic ash has preserved the civilization of the island’s earliest inhabitants. Poignant reminders of this and

later cultures are everywhere, covering a period that stretches from the Early Bronze Age (excavations on Thirasia) to the 17th century BC (settlement at Akrotiri) and reaches the present day in the form of the vernacular architecture that created masterpieces up to 1956, the year of the great earthquake. A center of enormous cultural, historical and geological interest, the island generously offers unique experiences to anyone wishing to explore it. One island with many different reasons to visit. We, the people who live here, want the contact between visitors and our beloved Santorini to be intimate. You can gain much from the island by simply letting it show you the way: Walk it, explore it, get to know it, live it. This is a destination waiting to be discovered at any time of year. Each season has its own things to see and do. The island is here, we are here, and our promise to meet your wants and expectations is unconditional...

This is a destination waiting to be discovered at any time of year. Each season has its own things to see and do.





G R E E C E - is . co m





G R E E C E - is . co m








CONTENTS Santorini Edition, Summer 2015 12 Editor’s Picks: Villages, walks, beaches, art and more 24 News: Local initiatives to improve daily life and protect the environment 26 Agenda: Selected preformances and cultural events 30 Clippings: Santorini on “world’s best” lists and magazine covers 32 Amazing Santorini: The island in pictures, like you’ve never seen it before 44 Timeline: Sixteen key moments in history e x p l ore 48 Born of Fire: The force of the volcano 56 Akrotiri: A walk through the prehistoric city 66 Ancient Thera: The return of the settlers 74 Earth and Light: Traditional architecture explained 80 Masterpiece Gallery: Poetry, art and paintings inspired by the island 88 Sailing: Unforgettable sea adventures with the fleet of Sunset Oia Sailing Cruises   96 Activities: Five ways to explore Santorini

ON THE C OVER St. Stylianos Catholic Chapel, Fira. Photo by Vangelis Zavos







102 124

CONTENTS ga s t ronomy 102 The Vineyards: History, tradition and the world-famous Assyrtiko 108 Comeback: The landmark Venetsanos Winery back in business 114 Winery Tours: Tasting the great wines of small producers 122 Beer: Local breweries using natural assets to their best advantage 124 Signature Products: Fava, cherry tomatoes, white aubergines, capers – and recipes 134 SantoWines: A collective effort to preserve the land’s treasures 136 Eating out: Navigate your way through Santorini’s restaurant scene 144 Facts and figures: The island in numbers

greece is santorini edition - summer 2015 Published by: Kathimerines Ekdoseis SA, Ethnarchou Makariou & 2 Falireos St, Athens, 18547, Greece, ISSN: 2459-2498

Manager of Magazine Publications: Socratis Tsichlias Editor-in-chief: Giorgos Tsiros ( Deputy editor: Natasha Blatsiou Creative consultant: Costas Coutayar • Creative director: Thodoris Lalangas / • Contributing art director: Ria Staveri Translations: Christine Sturmey, Stephen Stafford • Proof-reading: Christine Sturmey Photo Editor: Maria Konstantopoulou Photoshop: Christos Maritsas, Michalis Tzannetakis, Stelios Vazourakis Commercial Director: Natasha Bouterakou • Advertising Executive: Deppie Papazoglou ( Head of Public Relations: Lefki Vardikou Online content powered by: KATHIMERINI Newspaper (, Online marketing: Thanasis Sofianos, GREECE IS SANTORINI is published yearly and is distributed free of charge.

Contact us: It is illegal to reproduce any part of this publication without the written permission of the publisher.






Your trip to Greece STARTS HERE Experience Culture, Gastronomy & More With “Greece Is”



Your one-stop source for inside information on what Greece is all about. Explore our premium content and discover the heart and soul of an amazing country. From ancient treasures to modern design, from traditional eateries to the hippest nightlife spots, from authentic experiences to breathtaking activities, we help make your visit unforgettable. Join us and experience Greece to the fullest.





Soul-searching K E E P Y O U R E Y E S O P E N , B E C A U S E W on d er f u l re v e l at i ons awa i t




Forget about the bottlenecks in Fira, the multitudes of sunset seekers in Oia, the hunt for a table with a view, the signs that read “do not enter – private property,” the inevitable dissonance resulting from the arrival of 2 million visitors on an island that is disproportionately small relative to its global fame. Try to escape, if only for a bit, from the magnetic pull of the caldera. Put on your most comfortable walking shoes and chart your own course. An afternoon, for instance, can be spent in Vothonas, a settlement excavated into the banks of a ravine formed 12

by a torrent. The bed of the now-dry Potamos serves as the main street, with lovely gardens on either side, “for in this sheltered spot everything flourishes,” as the English explorer James Theodore Bent wrote when he visited the island in 1883. Have a wander around and take in the architecture, before finding the gravel path that leads to the Church of Panagia Trypa, or Panagia Sergena, hewn into the volcanic rock centuries ago and used as a refuge during the Turkish occupation. The church celebrates on February 2 each year with a big, open fete that is one of the major


1. Just married: One of the thousands of Chinese couples who exchange vows in Santorini, gets artistic. 2. The quiet side: Finikia settlement stands out for its architecture. 3. And then there was light: The “Faros” in Akrotiri, built in 1892 by the French Lighthouse Company and fully automated since 1988. 4. Natural sculpture: Constantina Sidiropoulou of K-Yellow Photo Tours (p. 100) has an eye for detail. 5. Excavated church: Panagia Τrypa, near the village of Vothonas.





events on the island’s calendar. Spend a day exploring the highest village (and former capital), Pyrgos, with its 15th-century Venetian castle. Enjoy a coffee at Voula’s Kantouni in the shaded square. Stop off for a tour of the “Santorini of the Past” exhibition ( housed in a 19th-century building next to the famed Selene restaurant, for a glimpse at the rural and traditional way of life long before the island became a worldclass travel destination. Afterwards, ascend through the narrow streets to the upper square, where the main gateway to the castle once stood. Invaders were greeted with boiling oil poured from a square bastion known as the Fonissa (“Murderess”). Higher up, at 567 m., the Monastery of Profitis Ilias affords a magnificent view and one of the most beautiful sunsets on the island. If you’re not put off by all these steep climbs, we have a few more to suggest. Emborio, the largest village on Santorini and its old commercial hub, boasts its own medieval castle, the best preserved of the five on the island, but also a number of churches and old windmills. Again, a labyrinth of narrow alleys awaits exploration. Another climb that is well worth the effort is at Mesa Vouno, up to Ancient Thera, where the wind, the view and the energy emanating from 14

the ruins can clear the mind of even the most persistent everyday worries. It’s a simple truth that to really get to know Santorini you have to walk it. The view from the Fira-Oia path (3 hours at a normal pace) is out of this world; the old path from Megalochori to Loutra Plakas soon brings you to a spot favored by geologists for studying the morphology of the caldera; the walk from Akrotiri to Faros (lighthouse) will reward you for your efforts as the sun goes down and also reveal the “Indian” rock, so called because of its likeness to the face of a Native American. Don’t be afraid to discover places off the beaten tourist path. And don’t forget to chat with the locals. The elderly in particular will share memories from the time before and right after the earthquake, when the island was poor and neglected, sending its children to seek their fortunes elsewhere. They will help you understand the turn to tourism and how, in the first few decades, it was out of control, as vineyards and vegetable gardens were turned into rooms-to-let and other facilities catering to tourists. The young people, most of them well educated and well traveled, dearly love the island, even if they do not hail from it; they will speak about the need for a change of direction, one that focuses not on visitor numbers but on


1. Catch your breath: An old barber shop in Emborio village, turned into a traditional kafenio. 2. Famous bells: Chapel of Saint Nicholas, above Plaka in Megalochori, right on the edge of the caldera. 3. Where time stood still: A typical corner in Emborio.

what those visitors gain and how they advertise Santorini when they are back home. Quality, authenticity, a human scale and an extension of the season into the winter months are the issues that matter to an island that is trying to reconnect with its soul. To end our walking tour, we stopped off at the Orthodox Cathedral in Fira, accompanied by Christophoros Asimis, the local artist who spent eight years painting every inch of its interior. Just a few steps from the constant coming-and-going of tourists from every corner of the world, we find silence. “How would you introduce Santorini to a foreign visitor?” I ask him. “An island of contrasts... The serene presence of a volcano, the bright nights and the long shadows of day. White houses suspended above the blue sea, bathed in the complex light of simplicity.”




Beyond the infinity pools S o m e o f o u r f a v o r i t e b e a c h e s at a g l a n c e

On account of the shape of its coastline, Santorini has fewer easily accessible beaches than other Cycladic islands but it still offers plenty of choice. Let’s say, for example, that you want to party at midday to thumping music, drinking cocktails or shots and uploading photos on social media in the spirit of a Myconos beach party. Well, you should probably go to Perivolos, where beach bars like Chilli and Wet Stories feature DJs from Greece and abroad, offering an experience very different to the island’s trademark “views and romance.”

If, on the other hand, you prefer to follow the locals to their favorite places for a swim, then head north in the direction of Oia, to Koloumbo with its warm waters, Pori for peace and quiet, or Baxedes for black sand, shallow waters and surfing (when the north wind is blowing). Then again, you may be more of an explorer-hermit who wants to feel that the sea is all yours. If so, the ideal solution would be to rent a yacht (Sunset Oia, which you can read about on p. 88, is your best bet).

Swim & Part y


If you do get as far as Red Beach, it is worth paying a visit to its neighbor, a small cove surrounded by high rocks that overlook the beach of black, gray and white sand with large pebbles. There are only a few loungers and umbrellas. You can reach it by caique from the beach to the right of the Akrotiri archaeological site (a short and pleasant boat ride) or on foot (on the road to Faros, follow the sign left to “Kambia” and from there take the footpath).

Mesa Pigadia (south-west)

Miniature version of the famous Vlychada, with small white pebbles and impressive rock formations, which the local fishermen have excavated into shelters for their boats, behind painted wooden doors. Accessible on foot or by boat. A good choice for a relaxing swim when the north winds are blowing.

Κamari (south-east)

Tourist hot spot with watersports, fine black sand and deep waters. Awarded a Blue Flag this year and others, busy, with all kinds of stores along the coastal road, which becomes pedestrian-only in summer.

Perissa (south-east)

One of the first seaside areas to feel the tourism boom, a magnet for the young crowd, offering plenty of facilities (accommodation, camping, beach umbrellas, restaurants, bars, watersports, diving center). Blue Flag recipient, with fine black sand.


Perivolos (south-east)

A continuation of Perissa, also with black sand, as well as inviting waters and plenty of options for sporting activities, food and fun. Cosmopolitan and trendy.

Red Beach (sοuth-west)

The volcanic star of Santorini, backed by steep, deep red cliffs. Can get quite crowded in high season. Boats leaving from Perissa and Kamari bring visitors here in 30 minutes but you can also reach the beach on foot from Akrotiri. Take care, there have been reports of rockfalls.


White Beach (south-west)


Koloumbo (north-east)

A remote sandy beach lapped by warm waters thanks to the nearby underwater volcanic crater at a depth of 512 m., which last erupted in 1650. Accessible only by vehicle. Bring your own water and supplies.

Pori (north-east)

A small, secluded beach with dark sand and, more recently, a small fishing harbor, located further along the coast to the south of Koloumbo. The locals love it because it’s quiet and undisturbed. There are also a couple of nice fish tavernas.

Vlychada (south)

Easy to reach, quite large and with a striking setting. One part is equipped with loungers and has an excellent beach bar, Theros, tel. (+30) 6977-222.666, but there is also plenty of space to spread your towel or strip off far from prying eyes.   

Baxedes (north)

A quiet beach with black volcanic sand and small pebbles. One of Oia’s most popular spots, particularly with families, thanks to its shallow waters. It is also preferred by surfers when the winds are northerly. Access by car or motorbike.


Monolithos (east)

A long stretch of sand with shallow waters, a playground and other sports facilities, plus a lifeguard, making it ideal for families. You will find a selection of restaurants and tavernas, along with changing facilities, showers and public restrooms.


Given a full facelift, the Santorini Arts Factory hosts concerts and plays, has a modern gift shop, while also inviting groups of local schoolchildren eager to learn about the arts.

Santorini Arts Factory It is touching to hear Kyr-Antonis, the former chief engineer of the Dimitris Nomikos tomato processing plant in Vlychada, tell stories of the old days, when 3,500 crates of delicious Santorini cherry tomatoes would make their way through its cogs and wheels every day. He was just 7 years old when he started getting in the way of the plant’s engineers, hoping to earn a small wage as their assistant. Seeing the young man’s potential, Giorgos Nomikos, Dimitris’ son, later paid for him to study in the port city of Piraeus and gave him a steady job at a responsible post. Kyr-Antonis raised three children thanks to the factory and has only adulation for his former boss. Today, he is responsible for maintaining the machinery and guarding the former plant, occasionally acting as guide.

Shut down since 1981, when poverty and an explosion in tourism began taking their toll on the island’s production, the factory was revamped by the next generation to bring out its industrial characteristics, reopening last year as an industrial museum and cultural center. Given a full facelift both inside and out, the Santorini Arts Factory hosts concerts and plays, has a modern gift shop selling elegant souvenirs and knick knacks, edibles and a few choice publications, while also hosting groups of local schoolchildren eager to learn about the arts. And even though Kyr-Antonis may wish, in his heart of hearts, that the machines could roar back into life and contribute to Santorini’s economy once more, he takes comfort in the fact that he is serving his island’s cultural life.

info Santorini Arts Factory • • Vlychada Beach • Tel. (+30) 22860-85.141, 210-685.8820 • Tickets for performances are on sale at the Fabrica shopping center in Fira as well as at the door.



Ghost factory turned art space

FIRA, SANTORINI T +30 22860 23260 WINTER T +30 22860 22266 • E-mail: • http://


Art is in their genes Α + Κ Α s i m i s K o l a i t o u A r t F o u n d at i o n

Santorini’s foremost family of artists, whose reputation has traveled across Greek borders, show their creations in an impressive space with Cycladic elegance on the road between Fira and Pyrgos, and in a gallery located beside the Orthodox Cathedral, while a third venue, on the main road in Oia, is opening soon. The father of the family is Christophoros Asimis. His paintings reflect the unique natural light of the island,

which is not just where his roots lie but also a constant source of inspiration. The sculptures and jewelry of his wife Eleni Kolaitou are impressive for the complexity of their conception and their esthetic allure. Their son, Katonas Asimis, who has shown his work at the Venice Biennale, among others, explores in his recent paintings the deeper morphological-synthetic elements of Santorini’s landscape, revealing its spiritual and metaphysical force.

info • tel. (+30) 22860-21.506, 22860-23.041 • Private tours are arranged by appointment • tel. (+30) 6983-096.771.

1260 Ceramic Studio

The number signifies the temperature at which the kiln bakes the creations of Marina Taliadourou and Giannis Vlantonopoulos: objects d’art and utilitarian items, glazed with porcelain and olive wood ash. • Megalochori • • tel. (+30) 22860-82.423


Αkron Art Centre

Classically trained artists Dimitris Bellos and Aspasia Vovola specialize in originalsize reproductions of wall paintings and ceramics from Ancient Akrotiri and Ancient Thera, as well as archaic Greek art from farther afield. • Megalochori • • tel. (+ 30) 22860-82.002


Two adjoining traditional grocery stores were recently transformed into a charming antique shop, at the center of Pyrgos village. You will find rare maps, engravings and various collectibles from Santorini and different parts of the world. • Open daily 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. • tel. (+30) 22860-33.155


ALSO visit


Earth and Water

Spira Marble Art Gallery

Τhe artist Andreas Makaris has lived and worked in Santorini since 1985 and has won five awards at the Greek National Pottery Exhibition. He experiments with the replication of prehistoric Cycladic pottery and has refined the technique to produce exact, full-scale reproductions of ancient Theraic vessels. • Megalochori • tel. (+30) 22860-82.625

Grigoris Kouskouris is the fourth consecutive descendant from a family of marble sculptors from the island of Tinos. He gives marblesculpture lessons in his workshop in Messaria and exhibits his original creations in his small gallery. • Pyrgos • • tel. (+30) 22860-33.269

Τzamia+Krystalla Gallery Kyrkos Art Gallery

Inspired by the colors of the Aegean Sea, artist Vassilis Kyrkos has lived and worked in Santorini since 1982, creating beautiful oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings with a unique point of view. • Oia • • tel. (+30) 22860-71.325

Mati Art Gallery

Established in 1990, it is the main venue where visual artist Yorgos Kypris displays his work, inspired by fish, boats, seabirds, planets and more. • Fira, Orthodox Cathedral Square • • tel. (+30) 22860-23.814

Originally established in Hania, Crete, as a small factory working exclusively with glass and crystal, the gallery opened in Santorini in 2008 and hosts paintings, ceramics and ceramic sculptures, objets d’art, gifts, souvenirs and jewelry by selected Greek artists. • Fira, • • tel (+30) 22860-21.226


Books&Style A wide selection of international titles plus stylish gifts and more

FIRA SANTORINI 84700, GREECE Tel. (+30) 22860-24.510 • • email:




Atlantis Books Lit tle shop of wonders

La Ponta art of the bagpipe Kakissis, in 2011, is one of the most memorable experiences for any visitor. Located in a former ruin in the Venetian Tower of Akrotiri, with a lot of hard work and funding it out of their own pocket, they did an excellent job remodeling the space and welcome some 40,000 visitors a year, coming to see traditional Cycladic percussion instruments, to listen to the music and – why not – to learn to play. Every afternoon and evening, Yiannis marries music to stories taken from history and mythology in an interactive performance “that can turn your average person into a musician in 10 minutes flat,” he says. The inspiring story of La Ponta soon made the rounds and last year, the workshop was nominated for the National Geographic World Heritage Awards in the “Sense of Place” category.


“The tsabouna cries, labors, aches… It is the sound of the Earth,” says Yiannis Pantazis speaking of the traditional Greek wind instrument, much like a bagpipe, that enchanted him as a child and defined his adult life. Raised among musicians in a small town in northern Greece, he spent years traveling around the islands of the Cyclades following the trail of a dying tradition to learn the art of playing and constructing the ancient bagpipe from shepherds and musicians. “When I first started out I didn’t even know what it looked like but nothing is too hard when you love it,” he says, pointing to a tsabouna he made by hand, using a goat’s skin, shin bone and horn. A visit to La Ponta, a workshop and museum he created with his Greek-American wife, historian Argy

A small literary haven tucked into the basement of a traditional building in Oia overlooking the caldera, Atlantis Books was opened in 2004 by a company of young Americans who fell in love with Santorini and decided to pursue their crazy dream. Considered among the most beautiful bookstores in the world, it is a “must-see” during your stay in Santorini, not only if you are in need of reading material – their eclectic collection is a pure treasure – but also if you want to meet other bookworms. Especially if you’re on the island between September 11 and 13, you must drop by their Caldera Festival, a weekend of words, art, music and wine on the book store’s terrace overlooking the Aegean Sea. This year’s guests include best-selling author David Sedaris, acclaimed poet Billy Collins, globetrotting musician Ross Daly and his Labyrinth ensemble, and dreamy pianist Julian Gargiulo.

i n f o : La Ponta Greek Bagpipe Exhibition - Workshop • Venetian Tower, Akrotiri • • Tel. (+30) 22860-85.374 • Open daily: April 1 – November 7, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. & 5-8 p.m. • Historical tour and musical presentation, daily: noon to 12.45 p.m. & 6-6.45 p.m.


info • tel. (+30) 22860-72.346


SANTORINI NEWS Local initiatives to improve day-to-day life and protect the environment Edited by Giorgos Tsiros

No more cables!

Santorini’s pretty villages are gradually being rid of the eye-sore of electricity poles and cables, thanks to a project being run since November 2013 by the Municipality of Thera with funding from the Public Power Corporation (PPC). The undergrounding of the island’s power cables has already been completed in the caldera part of Fira and in Megalochori, as well as in parts of Imerovigli and Firostefani, with Pyrgos and Emborio slated to come next.

The water battle

The Municipality of Thera is addressing the island’s shortage of fresh water by launching a tender for the biggest desalination plant in Greece, with a capacity of 5,000 cubic meters per day, to supply the villages of Mesaria, Vothonas, Agia Paraskevi, Monolithos, Kamari, Mesa and Exo Gonia, Pyrgos and Megalochori. 24

Less Trash

In 2011, just 150 tons of packaging material was recycled in Santorini. This climbed to 1,000 tons in 2014 and the goal this year is to reach 1,500 tons, or 15% of total waste volume. With 350 special bins at strategic points around the island, as well as in wineries, bars and restaurants, and the local Collection Center for Recyclable Materials kicking up a gear, the island is learning to take better care of itself.

Santorini in winter?

There will be more flights, more shops and hotels staying open, and more activities and opportunities being offered for visitors who want to discover the winter charms of the “world’s most beautiful island” as of 2016 – and at better prices too. Stay tuned for more details of an ambitious program to extend the tourism season. All about quality

The first International Conference on Experiential Tourism will take place on Santorini from October 9-11, presenting new ideas on how the island can offer authentic experiences to seasoned high-end travelers and protect its position as an exclusive destination.

Energy from the earth

There are places in Santorini where water emerges from a depth of 150 meters at a temperature of 50-60 degrees Celsius, clearly indicating that there is great untapped geothermic potential here, which could be used for heating, in greenhouses and swimming pools, as well as for the development of spas. A study to that end has been conducted at the University of Thessaly by a team led by professors Michael Fytikas and Nikos Andritsos.

Don’t forget to visit… to watch five amazing videos for the island’s new promotional campaign – and, of course, to share them on social media!


ON STAGE Join the locals for evenings of live contemporary Greek, classical and jazz music, as well as dance and theater. Karagiozis shadow theater

Matoula Zamani

ki omos kineitai

Paspala and Vassilikos

Stella Zannou


Plural Band

AUGUST MONTH - LONG Get to know the music of the Cyclades with virtuoso musicians Kyriakos and Antonis Prekas, father and son, who perform accompanied by a young couple of traditional dancers. On the 11th you will find them in Kamari, on the 17th in Thirassia, on the 18th in the main Fira Square and on the 25th of August in Megalochori Square (Municipal Event)


A journey between 2 points. The concious and unconcious, past and present, wishing and wanting. Memories, wishes and hope blend 26

together and the 2 points are so much interconnected that become one. 2 points has to do with the inner forces one has to discover and develop and in order to find the strength to stand on his feet and make his voice be heard. Choreographed by acclaimed dancer Stella Zannou, who is accompanied on stage by Alexander Carrillo Ahamda, the duet premiered in Dock11 in Berlin in 2013 and was created with the help and support of the dancer Eldon Pulak. (SAF)


SANTOFEST A two-day party with everything from traditional food and costumes to jugglers

and magicians, along with Karagiozis shadow theater by Athos Danellis, plus a concert with folk-rock band Villagers of Ioannina City (VIC), contemporary Greek singer Matoula Zamani and rapper Eisvoleas.


Renowned Greek singer Elli Paspala and Vassilikos, frontman of the alternative pop-rock band Raining Pleasure and arranger of all-time classics of the Greek and international repertory, together on stage. (SAF)


Blues and jazz from the three-member Plural Band. (SAF)


God’s Particle: The creation of the universe, as interpreted in a music and dance performance by the acrobatic Ki omos kineitai ensemble. (SAF)

26 - 27

Songs of our Soul, a free concert to bring out your inner Greek through folk songs. Co-hosted with the Cretan Association of Santorini, on the 26th in Vourvoulos and on the 27th at Vothonas primary school. (To Arkadi)


“La Belle Helene” by J. Offenbach, the wonderfully funny and inspiring opera, which seduced both audience and critics, after 43 perfor-

AGENDA Maria Mazo

Philarmonic Orchestra of Heraklion

Miltos Logiadis

mances in Athens, is moving to Santorini. A team of four musicians, seven opera singers and two professional dancers, attempt a fresh and modern approach to this landmark work of a musical genius. (SAF)


For the past 37 years the International Music Festival

George Kontrafouris

of Santorini has been offering a diverse music experience. This year’s highlights include a concert by Santorini Festival String Orchestra conducted by Miltos Logiadis with soloists Milos Mlejnik (cellο) and Athena Capodistria (piano) performing works by Bach, Boccherini and Schoenberg (4.9), an evening filled with the melodies of Schubert, Bach, Dvorak, Piazzolla etc performed by

Info SAF - Santorini Arts Factory Vlychada Beach, Santorini • • Tel. (+30) 22860-85.141, 210-685.8820 • Advance ticket sales: Fabrika shopping center, Fira, Santorini Santofest 2015 Desalination Plant, Finikia, Oia • Amazing view of the caldera. Proceeds go to the special needs school of Fira and the Oia Medical Center • Admission: €10 Festival of THE Cretan Association of Santorini “To Arkadi” • Tel. (+30) 22860-28.605, 694-488.5731 • In the yard of Fira High School • The program also includes free shows • Admission: €10-15 37 th International Music Festival of Santorini Peter Nomikos Conference Center Fira • Τel. (+30) 22860-23.166, 22860-23.016-17 • • Admission: €20 Strogili Festival 2015 Tel. (+30) 22860-24.828 • • Admission: €10 (or €20 for all three days) Santorini Municipality Tel. (+30) 22863-60.183


Nikos Zoidakis

the Athens String Quartet (6.9), jazz improvisations by the Vougas-Kontrafouris Quartet (11.9), a piano recital by Maria Mazo from Germany, Winner of the International Piano Competition “Grand Prix – Maria Callas” 2015 (20.9) and more.


Two free concerts by the Philarmonic Orchestra of Heraklion municipality of

Crete at the Central Square of Fira. Starting at 21.30 (To Arkadi)


Cretan singer - lyra player Nikos Zoidakis provides the “kefi” element to this year’s Feast of Raki with his upbeat contemporary mantinades. An experience not for the faint-hearted. “Waves” Restaurant - Bar, Perissa, admission 25 euros.

ALL SUMMER LONG Cine Kamari Rated by The Guardian as one of the top 10 outdoor movie theaters in Europe, Cine Kamari is the coolest place to watch a film and just outside town. You can recline, almost horizontally, in a luxury deckchair, while sipping a cocktail or local beer and wine, snacking, and enjoying a film under the stars.

I n f o : • From May to mid-October • Admission: €8 • Doors open at 8.50 p.m.; movie starts at 9.30 p.m.


Lauded and applauded Santorini tops “best islands” lists and graces magazine covers


rom New York to New Delhi and Paris to Beijing, there’s hardly a holidaymaker who hasn’t got Santorini on their “todo” list. Voted by TripAdvisor users as the best island in Europe and the fourth in the world, and by Travel + Leisure magazine as the World’s Best Island in 2014, this “Shining arc in the Ae-

gean,” as New York Times travel writer Chris Hedges described it, is consistently lauded and applauded by international media. The island’s stunning views have featured on the covers of leading magazines, including the Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Conde Nast Traveller (twice) and National Geographic’s special edition on “Best of

Europe: 100 Must-See Destinations.” In recent years it has also gained a reputation as a place of romance, attracting hundreds of couples from China, Russia, the UK and India looking for the perfect sunset wedding photo, and honeymooners who want to spend their first days of marital bliss at a unique location that also offers

top-end luxury accommodation. Sweden’s Expressen newspaper recently did a spread on romantic holidays, describing the village of Imerovigli as “one of the Greek islands’ most sought-after destinations for honeymooners,” and British website 101 Honeymoons voted Santorini the second-best destination in the world for newlyweds.

From “Summer Lovers” (1982) to “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life“ (2003), Santorini’s beauty has not escaped the attention of the world’s biggest film industries. Last year several scenes of the Bollywood action romance “Bang Bang” were shot in “marvellous Santorini,” as well as the Chinese blockbuster “Beijing Love Story” (pictured).




Simple. Elegant. Grace Al fresco dining with heavenly views at Grace Santorini Restaurant. Sample the inspired creations of Chef Spyros Agious, blending contemporary Mediterranean flavours with the culinary traditions of Santorini and the Cyclades. Grace Santorini 84700 Imerovigli Santorini, Cyclades Islands +30 22860 21300 ΜΗ.Τ.Ε.: 1144Κ114Κ0797401 & 1144Κ014Α0315501


Amazing santorini




You may wander its cobbled alleys and enjoy its famous sunset but you will never see it quite like this, in all its splendor: The 2-kilometers stretch of Oia, clinging onto the northern rim of the caldera, at a height of 70-100 meters above sea level.




LIFT OFF: Cupolas, domes, excavated houses and rooftops all come together in a colorful caleidoscope, a game of sight and mind. You’ll be there in it, somewhere, getting lost in the beautiful chaos, falling in love with it all and promising yourself that one day you’ll return.





THE BURNT ONE: Formed just 300 years ago, Nea Kameni, or simply “the volcano” as it’s referred to by the locals, is the Eastern Mediterranean’s youngest volcanic landform. Today it is a protected natural monument and geological park, monitored closely by scientists and visited daily by dozens of tourists, with the most adventurous climbing the gravel path to the top of the 130-meter-high crater, where it is possible to complete a full circuit of the rim.





AN EYE FOR DETAIL: Freedom of expression, the foresight to use the volcanic material,

man’s need for security and the plethora of influences that swept over Santorini through the ages, have shaped an architectural style that is never short of surprises. Here, a detail from the 1805 Church of Agios Iakovos in Pyrgos, the former capital and one of the prettiest villages on the island.





LUNAR BEACH: Black sand, crystalline waters that get precipitously deeper after just a few steps and a majestic volcanic wall of stone sculpted through the centuries by ferocious winds, the brine and waves‌ this is Vlychada, one of the longest and most impressive beaches of Santorini, offering various degrees of isolation.






SHOTS OF HISTORY The devastation of the volcano did not stop pioneers, fortune hunters and conquerors from sailing for Santorini’s shores through the centuries, attracted by its rich earth and location on the crossroads of the Aegean.

4500 BC

18th century BC

1614-1613 BC

Detail of offering table, Museum of Prehistoric Thera

Akrotiri. Flotilla. Section of miniature frieze, National Archaelogical Museum




The family crest

Venetian tower known in Ottoman times as “goulas”

Detail of a copper engraving by Jacques Grasset de SaintSauveur

First inhabitants. Traces of their presence have been found at a number of locations, particularly the settlement of Akrotiri.

Archaeological Site of Akrotiri

The settlement of Akrotiri takes on the characteristics of a large town and assumes a key role in sea trade, maturing into a sophisticated civilization.

The Minoan eruption buries the prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri under thick layers of pumice and ash, leaving the island uninhabited for centuries.

8th century BC

King Theras and a few dozen Spartans establish a colony at the top of Mesa Vouno and name the island Thera in his own honor.

Theran Geometric amphora, Museum of Prehistoric Thera

4500 BC

Following the Sack of Constantinople in 1204, Marco I Sanudo establishes the Duchy of the Archipelago. Thera and Thirasia are given as fiefdoms to Jacob Berozzi.


Annexed by Venice, seven years after being given as part of a dowry by the Duke of Naxos, Giacomo III, to the Duke of Crete, Domenico Pisani.

After years of Ottoman raids, including by the notorious pirate Barbarossa, Santorini is finally forced to recognize the sovereignty of the Sultan.


Volcanic eruptions result in the formation of Nea Kameni, the tiny islet in the center of the caldera, which acquired its present form as recently as 1950.

In 1154 the Muslim geographer Al Idrisi is the first to call the island – formerly known as Kallisti, Strongyle and Thera – Santorini.

288 BC

4th century AD

8th century AD

Inscribed Roman-era steles from Ancient Thera

Church of Panagia Episkopi, the most important Byzantine monument on the island

Photo of Pyrgos

The island moves into the sphere of influence of the Ptolemies, who transform it into an important naval base.

During the Byzantine period, Santorini becomes part of the Province of the Islands.

Continuous Arab raids on the coast force the inhabitants to move further inland, establishing new settlements.


The Muslim geographer Al Idrisi is the first to call the island – formerly known as Kallisti, Strongyle and Thera – Santorini (Santa Irini).

Detail of a map drawn by the geographer


Santorini becomes home to one of the largest merchant fleets in the Aegean.

View of Emborio in a tinted copper engraving from 1782


Integration into the newly established Greek state. The island’s naval force participated in Greece’s liberation from Ottoman rule

Watercolor by Aristides Glykas, Naval Maritime Museum, Oia


The last recorded eruption results in the creation of the most recent volcanic rocks in Greece.

Photo by Giorgos Ioakeimidis


The most powerful earthquake in Europe in the 20th century (7.8 on the Richter scale), its epicenter the nearby island of Amorgos, causes extensive damage.

A prayer after the earthquake. Photo by Walter Carone for Paris Match




18th-19th centuries


explore GREECE IS



The volcano, the prehistoric settlement, the ancient ruins, the traditional architecture and authentic experiences... All the stories you need to know to become better acquainted with one of the most fascinating islands in the world. Painting by Christophoros Asimis




Born of Fire One of the most awe-inspiring volcanic eruptions in the history of mankind, 3,500 years ago, created one of the most beautiful and dramatic island landscapes in the world.


BY n ata s h a b l at s i o u





The Minoan eruption was the largest volcanic event on Earth in the last 10,000 years. Santorini and nearby islands within a radius of 60 km were completely destroyed.



pring, 1613-1614 BC: The days were growing warmer and the cosmopolitan port of prehistoric Akrotiri should – under normal circumstances – have been buzzing with life. Potters should have been hard at work on clay jars, fishermen returning from sea with full nets and merchants loading their ships with amphorae of wine from the island’s rich vineyards. Yet the streets were deserted. The earth shook non-stop. Stairs were cut in two and walls bent out of shape. The residents had fled the city, helter-skelter. Where they went, nobody knows. To this day, not a shred of evidence of life has been dug up. It is possible they managed to leave the island; but it is also likely that they gathered in open

The last volcanic eruption in Santorini was in January 1950. Ash and fireballs were spewed to a height of 1,000 meters, followed by lava flows that created the youngest volcanic rock formations in Greece.

spaces or near the port in the hopes of getting away, as was the case with the residents of Pompeii when Vesuvius erupted in 79 BC. Did they know what was happening? Excavations have revealed that prehistoric Akrotiri was a sophisticated society with an advanced civil protection mechanism to respond to earthquakes and possibly volcanic


The threat of another explosion similar to that of the Minoan era is real, but essentially remote if one considers that such events occur only once every 15,000-20,000 years.


eruptions. What the residents probably did not know when they abandoned the city was that the colossal explosion that was building up would be unlike anything ever recorded in the history of mankind before. It is estimated that in just six days, more than 90 billion tons of molten rock was ejected into the air. The volcano was swallowed by the sea, forming the caldera we see today and creating a massive tsunami that swept across the Aegean to slam the northern and eastern coast of Crete. It is believed that the wave destroyed the Minoans’ commercial fleet and vast tracts of crops on Crete’s northern coast. The acid rain that fell on the island over the next few


years decimated its flora and fauna. The volcanic ash, after covering the entire island in a 10-meter-thick blanket, traveled across the world. Ash and droplets of sulfuric acid from the eruption are still being found by scientists today, even as far away as the glaciers of Greenland. The effect on the climate was felt across the globe. According to experts, the eruption caused a volcanic winter, plunging the world’s average temperature by 1-2 degrees Celsius. The devastation of Santorini was total. Signs of habitation did not reappear until after the 8th century BC, while the islands within a radius of 60 kilometres suffered a similar fate. Other than the unfathomable destruc-

tion of nature, the volcano may also have triggered the demise of the most advanced civilization of the time, the Minoans. The effects of the massive eruption challenged a socio-political establishment that already appeared to be under pressure. Why, for example, had the priests been unable to prophesize the catastrophe? The crisis created turmoil, transformed Minoan society and led to a decline that was followed by a period of spiritual retrenchment. Fortune hunters pursued the legend of lost Atlantis, described by the Greek philosopher Plato, while the biblical story of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt, as well as the seven plagues described in the Old Testament, all be-


2. A gravel path leads to the top of Nea Kameni (approx. 20’ walk), where it is possible to complete a full circuit of the crater rim. The fumaroles of the active volcano are clearly visible and the smell of sulfur is very strong. 3. Steps of a staircase destroyed by the sheer power of the earthquakes that hit the prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri shortly before the eruption.



1. The tiny harbor of Nea Kameni island, where the waters are green on account of the deposits carried by currents from the hot springs.


joy the legend of Atlantis, the secrets of the unique geological story that is the caldera’s formation and the dramatic beauty of Santorini’s colorful rocks.

came associated with the eruption. In the last 400,000 years, the volcano has erupted and been reborn from its ashes 12 times, causing dramatic changes to the archipelago’s morphology. Some 25,000 years ago, Santorini was twice the size it is today but 4,000 years later, the eruption of a volcano at Cape Riva sank a large part of the island and formed a caldera, near the present one. Around 17,000 years after that eruption, in 1613 BC, the last big explosion on Strongyle broke it into three parts: Thera, Thirasia and Aspronisi. Another 1,500-odd years passed before new land started to rise from the

• Special thanks to volcanologist Giorgos Vougioukalakis from the Institute of Geology & Mineral Exploration.

Fine grained tephra deposited by the pyroclastic flows of the fourth phase of the Minoan eruption, which devastated the region, at Monlolithos.

Schematic representation of the fourth phase of the Minoan eruption. Thick clouds from a jet of red-hot tephra pour onto the sides of the tuff ring created during the third phase and are deposited on flat areas or spill into the sea.

caldera. Eight more eruptions followed before the islets of Palia and Nea Kameni settled into their present form. The area has been calm since 1950, when the last lava outflow was recorded, with the hot springs bubbling up from the sea and the vapors around Nea Kameni being the only evidence of activity. Another explosion such as that of the Minoan era, which would not only wipe

out Santorini but also reshape the entire Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean, cannot be ruled out. But the threat is remote if one considers that such events occur only once every 15,000-20,000 years and it has been just 3,600 years since the last big eruption. Nothing can stop the volcano but we have managed to control its effect on human life. Volcanologists and other experts from around the world systematically study, record and observe seismic activity in the area, the level of the coastline, changes in temperature and the content of the vapors and hot springs, as part of a reliable monitoring system that allows them to predict when the next volcanic eruption will occur within a window of a few months to a year. Thanks to an increasing body of knowledge and the vigilance of scientists, we can rest easy and simply en-

The morphology of Thera prior to the Minoan eruption. The blue line shows the modern coastline. The arrow shows the site of the prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri.

Santorini’s volcano is the most active in Greece and one of the most powerful caldera volcanos in the world. During the past 400,000 years, it has produced 12 explosive eruptions.

Info Take a sea excursion to the volcano. Sail around the tiny islands of Palia Kameni and Nea Kameni, bathe in the hot sulfur springs on Palia Kameni and walk right up to the active, smoldering crater. R e a d : “Blue Volcanoes: Santorini” by George Vougioukalakis, Institute for the Study and Monitoring of the Santorini Volcano, new edition 2005. w at c h t h e d o c u m e n ta r y: “Doomsday Volcano” by National Geographic, in which explorer-in-residence Robert Ballard dives into the belly of Santorini’s caldera.



Gavalas Wines Four generations of winemakers Seven excellent varieties 14 international awards

“The only thing I can say against this wine is that it’s so good, I didn’t want food to interfere with the flavors.” - Washington Post on Gavalas Winery Katsano, 2011

Megalochori, Santorini • Tel. (+30) 22860-82.552 • Open: May - October, 10 a.m - 8 p.m. • Free tours - samplings from 0,80 € per glass



Excavations have brought to light a settlement with a sophisticated layout.


How does it feel to walk in a settlement that first came to life 6,000 years ago? Christos Doumas, emeritus professor of archaeology, takes us on a tour of one of the most spectacular prehistoric sites in Europe.







Detail of the Blue Monkeys fresco, 17th century BC. An exquisite piece showing monkeys scrambling up a rock to escape a dog, with a realism that suggests the artist had actually seen the animal even though it was not endemic to the island. (Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Fira)




One of the two Fisherman frescoes, found in excellent condition. Experts believe the two nude youths depicted in the paintings were making an offering as they are shown walking toward the spot where archaeologists found an offering table. (Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Fira)

Detail from the Boxers, one of the most famous wall paintings from Akrotiri. The boy seen here is wearing large amounts of jewelry, as opposed to his sparring partner, who has none. The scene depicts a playful display of strength rather than competitive sport. (National Archaeological Museum, Athens)






“We should be proud of Akrotiri”, says Doumas. “In the history of Aegean civilization, it is considered to have equal importance with the Acropolis. It is a momentous legacy.”


krotiri was a settlement with stone-paved streets and squares, a prudently designed zoning plan and an advanced sewage system. The houses were two- and three-story, built with stone and mud. The ground floors housed craftsmen’s workshops and storerooms, mainly for food. The rooms of the upper stories were bathed in natural light streaming in through large windows. Most walls were decorated with elaborate paintings depicting people, animals and plants. The furniture was wooden and the loom was an essential household item, used by the lady of the house to weave the family’s clothes.


The inhabitants were traders, artisans, mariners, farmers, stock breeders and craftsmen. They kept flocks of sheep and goats. They planted wheat and barley, which they harvested with stone or bronze sickles. They stored produce in large earthenware jars and cultivated olives, from which they made oil. Indeed, output was so high that they also exported. Wine production was another key economic activity. Locals further supplemented their income by supplying Crete with large quantities of obsidian (black volcanic rock) and metals. Their diet consisted of pulses, vegetables and all sorts of fish, caught in the surrounding waters

and sold in the harbor. But their favorite delicacy was snails, brought to the island from Crete. This is how Christos Doumas, emeritus professor of archaeology at the University of Athens, describes life in Akrotiri during the 2nd millennium BC. He also speaks about the wealth accumulated on Thera in that distant time from commerce: “The island had trade relations not only with Crete but also with mainland Greece, the Dodecanese, Cyprus, Syria and Egypt.” Thus, the prehistoric Therans, having satisfied their basic needs and thanks to the wealth they gradually acquired, were able to turn their attention to more


1. Visitors to the Museum of Prehistoric Thera never cease to be amazed by the masterpieces of prehistoric ceramic work. 2. Jug decorated with swallows, a favorite motif of Theran potters. (Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Fira)


3. Plaster cast of a carved wooden table, 17th century BC. (Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Fira)


Christos Doumas Professor Emeritus of Archaelogy, University of Athens, heart and soul of the Akrotiri Archaeological site for the past 40 years


“A civilization is determined by man’s response to the environment. Santorini, from the prehistoric era of Akrotiri and to the present day, does not exist without the volcano; it is its child. The volcano created the island, as well as the conditions under which the people live. All of its quirks, its landscapes, crops and wines, are the product of the volcano.”

pleasurable pursuits, for instance the art of good eating. Doumas focuses in particular on how art flourished as a means of projecting social status, and on the democratic structure of Theran society. “It is telling that men, women and children are equally depicted in wall paintings. For this reason, Akrotiri is also called the ‘prehistoric Venice of the Aegean’.”

THE DAY IT ALL CHANGED This then was the situation until the spring of 1613 BC, when the island’s volcano came out of its slumber. The eruption that followed, the most powerful 62

in the world of the past 10,000 years, completely destroyed Santorini (Thera) and the nearby islands. “If there had been no volcano, however, there would have been no Santorini as we know it today and, of course, there would have been no Akrotiri. Thanks to the volcanic ash, the remains of the prehistoric settlement have been preserved down the centuries,” explains the man who has made this place his life’s work. In 1975 Doumas took over the excavations begun by the eminent archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos. Since then, he has brought to light an incredible wealth of information about the “Pom-

peii of the Aegean.” And at the age of 82 he continues to work ceaselessly. “We should be proud of Akrotiri,” says Doumas. “It is part of archaeology courses at universities all over the world. In the history of Aegean civilization, it is considered to have equal importance with the Acropolis (for the Classical period) and Mount Athos (for the Byzantine period). It is a momentous legacy.” All this makes a visit to Akrotiri a unique experience. The archaeological site (covering an area of 12,000 m2) is protected by a bioclimatic shelter that is supported by 96 steel columns, de-



signed by the architect Nikos Fintikakis. Specially designed walkways take visitors around and through the settlement, while there are viewing platforms that provide excellent vantage points. And, of course, at the Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Fira, the experience is enhanced with important finds from the excavations: marble figurines, pottery, bronze implements, cooking utensils and impressive storage jars with designs indicative of their content. Pay close attention to the celebrated


Theran wall paintings (Blue Monkeys fresco, House of the Ladies fresco, etc), the work of outstanding artists, as well as artifacts (seals, lead weights, clay tablets inscribed with Linear A script) that provide evidence that the complex society of prehistoric Akrotiri devised and used systems of writing and measurement. That is, they applied methods for the management of goods, developing a type of bureaucracy. Finally, just before leaving the exhibition area, don’t forget to visit the most impressive

find: a gold ibex figurine, quite unique, which was found in December 1999 in excellent condition in its wooden case. Concluding our conversation with Professor Doumas, I ask him what Akrotiri means to him personally. “The scene of the... crime,” he replies laughing. “I will always return here, as long as I can still stand. And when you consider that only 3 percent of the prehistoric settlement has been investigated, we archaeologists still have many centuries of work beneath the shelter!”


1. One of the platforms that provide excellent views over the archaeological site. 2. Early Cycladic marble figurine. (Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Fira)


3. Over 50 different shapes can be distinguished among the thousands of vessels found during archaeological excavations. (Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Fira) 4. Gold ibex figurine, 17th century BC. Very few precious artifacts have been found at Akrotiri, since the inhabitants probably took their valuables with them when they left the island. (Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Fira)

I n f o : Akrotiri lies at the south-western tip of the island, 15 km from Fira • The archaeological site is open 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., daily (until the end of October). Winter: 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. except Mondays • Tel. (+30) 22860-81.939. M u s eum o f P r e h i s t o r i c T h e r a : Fira, tel. (+30) 22860-23.217. Open daily except Tuesdays (8 a.m. – 3 p.m.). D o n ’ t f o r g e t to buy original souvenirs and objects of art from the newly installed wooden kiosk of the non-profit Society for the Promotion of Studies on Prehistoric Thera, just outside the complex. All proceeds go toward the excavation and restoration work in Akrotiri.



Santorini’s Rebirth The great ancient civilization that brought Santorini back to life from abandonment has left its mark on the ridge of the 365-meter-high Mesa Vouno mountain. BY TA S S O U L A E P TA K I L I


The Royal Stoa was the center of public life in the Hellenistic period. It had a length of 46 m. and a width of 10 m.


Geometric-period vases are the earliest surviving works of art from Ancient Thera. (Archaeological Museum, Fira).




Clay figurine dating to the 7th century BC, with amazingly well preserved colors. From the position of the arms above the head, it is believed to depict a woman mourning. (Archaeological Museum, Fira).

Female head, perhaps of Aphrodite. Looking carefully, you can see traces of paint. The hair, for example, was blonde. (Archaeological Museum, Fira).






he view is stunning from the top of Mesa Vouno (365 meters), on the south-eastern tip of Santorini. Kamari (Ancient Oia) and Perissa (old Eleusis) stretch out before us as we gaze beyond, into the horizon of the Aegean Sea. The Dorians arrived at this rugged, wind-swept spot in the 8th century BC. They were led by the Spartan King Theras who, with a few dozen Lacedaemonians, landed on the Cycladic island, established a colony and named the island Thera in his own honor – until then it had been known as Strongyle (after its round shape) or Kallisti (meaning “most beautiful”). The Spartans knew what they were doing when they settled Mesa Vouno. “Its precipitous location is naturally fortified and has great strategic advantages, as one could easily control the entire south-eastern Aegean from this vantage point,” explains Maya Efstathiou, an archaeologist with the 21st

Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades. Other factors were also important to those people who left hearth and home to make a new start in a foreign land: the island’s only natural springs were here and, in addition, the limestone provide and abundance of building material. Thus Ancient Thera was born. Through the centuries and historical turmoil, it experienced periods of prosperity and poverty, as well as security and anguish. One thing, however, is certain: ever since that time, Santorini was conquered and settled by a succession of different nations. It was never again abandoned as it had been in prehistoric times after the terrible volcanic eruption that wiped away the brilliant civilization of Akrotiri. The city of Thera evolved into the island’s administrative, religious and commercial center, with public buildings, markets, baths, temples and

Serving dish, a representative example of Theran pottery in the Geometric and Archaic periods. (Archaeological Museum, Fira).


From the 9th century BC until the spread of Christianity, the ancient city atop Mesa Vouno was the only urban center on the island.







churches, neighborhoods of private residences, a theater, water reservoirs, a sewage system and an excellent road network. Its buildings were defined by their simple yet graceful lines. The quantity and provenance of the imported products discovered in excavations show that Thera had commercial ties and was linked as far back as the 8th century BC with all the major urban centers of the time, from Corinth and mainland Greece, to the islands of the Northern Aegean, the Cyclades and Crete, all the way to Cyprus and North Africa. It was, in fact, one of the first places to adopt the Phoenician alphabet as the basis of Greek writing. Its decline began in the late 3rd century AD as it became safer and more comfortable for residents to live near the island’s seaports of Oia and Ancient Eleusis. “In the late 7th and 8th centuries, Arab raids rendered life on the coast dangerous and makeshift settlements began to form in the hills once more. A short time later, however, Ancient Thera was abandoned for good,” notes Efstathiou. The city luckily did not dis-

appear into the annals of history, as numerous traces of its past remained always visible and the testimonies of travelers have kept its memory alive. German-led excavations in the 19th century and Greek ones after that have revealed a good part of the ancient city, and the archaeological site today gives visitors a feel of its pulse. The picture comes together with a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Fira, which contains some of the most significant finds from the site, such as statues and votive offerings, and decorative and utilitarian objects – souvenirs of lives whose true stories we may never know.

Ever since the city of Ancient Thera was born, the island of Santorini was never again abandoned as it had been after the volcanic eruption that wiped away the brilliant civilization of Akrotiri.

1. Small clay monkey, found in a child’s grave. As a subject it evidences the relations between Ancient Thera and the North Africa. (Archaeological Museum, Fira). 2. Detail from an Attic black figure kylix, 6th century BC. 3. Archaic kouros with face destroyed. Only very few marble statues have been found on Santorini, due to the scarcity of the material. (Archaeological Museum, Fira).

Info A R R I V E E A R LY to avoid the heat and take time to explore the site at a comfortable pace. At the time of our visit (early May) toilets were closed for repairs. The Archaeological Site of Ancient Thera and the Archaelogical Museum of Fira are open daily except Mondays (8 a.m. – 3 p.m.) • Archaelogical Museum of Fira, tel. (+30) 22860-22.217 •




EARTH AND LIGHT The island’s anonymous builders were the unwitting forefathers of the modernist movement and bioclimatic architecture. What was once a matter of expediency has today become a paradigm of esthetics.








elebrated Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier visited Santorini in the 1920s and his enthusiasm for the plasticity of the ekistic forms, the wisdom of anonymous vernacular architecture and the whitewashed homes is clearly reflected in the modernist movement of architecture. The scene that greeted Le Corbusier a century ago has remained virtually unchanged today: gazing down from Oia at the caldera and its lava-tinted walls, with the volcano in the center; scanning the landscape and the almost organic form of the settlement’s buildings; wandering through this vibrant, outdoor museum of architectural sculpture. The creators clearly had

centuries of experience behind them but also seemed to enjoy complete freedom of expression. Some excavated into the rock, others balancing right at the edge of the caldera, the buildings coexist so harmoniously that it is difficult to see where one property begins and the other ends. The very notion of private property acquired a different definition. The courtyard of one house is the terrace of another; below one field lies the home of a different owner. Private and public space are fluid concepts. Santorini’s key architectural feature is its “yposkafa” (excavated into the rock). These can be homes, a canava (where grapes are pressed), storage rooms, stables and even churches. They

are built along the caldera as well as on the sloping banks of dried-up rivers of settlements in the island’s interior, such as Finikia, Vothonas, Gonia, Karterados and Pyrgos. The materials used in their construction are red and black stone, and “Theran earth,” which when mixed with water and lime creates an incredibly strong mortar. The structures are dug into the soft earth, either entirely or with added extensions. These extensions are roofed with vaults or cross-vaults using a type of casting method. A typical excavated house has a narrow facade and goes deep into the rock. The living room is at the front and the bedroom at the back. The kitchen occupies a

Summer house, Oia (p. 1, 2, 3, 9, 10). The stone building was part of an old factory that manufactured socks in the early 19th century. Openings were made in the central vault to create a bright and pleasant interior space for the family’s main activities: living room, dining area, kitchen. To both sides, four bedrooms/guest rooms were created. (Architect: Voula Didoni).

Residence, Vothonas (p. 5, 6, 7, 8). A cave system on the left bank of the river begins low down and takes full advantage of the height, equivalent to that of a four-story house. The spaces nearest the ground (old storerooms and canavas), have been converted into guest rooms, while the main house – comprising two large excavated rooms – is high up.

Residence, Oia (p. 4). Typical excavated dwelling on the side of the caldera, which belonged to the village baker. The basic form has been preserved and the interior design is simple and uncluttered, while the built elements serve to highlight the plasticity of the space. It consists of one bedroom, a living room and a kitchen. (Interior designer: Laskarina Didoni).



Some dug into the rock, others balancing right at the edge of the caldera, the buildings coexist so harmoniously that it is difficult to see where one begins and the other ends.











small corner with a low ceiling, usually vaulted and connected to the living room. The bathroom is set apart, in the yard. Each dwelling has a cistern for collecting rainwater. The stairs, chimneys and other distinct elements have all been endowed with their own character. In modern-day terms, these buildings would be described as bioclimatic. The construction materials, their orientation and overall ekistic structure protect the environment and conserve natural resources. With the passage of time, the qual-


ities of Santorini’s vernacular architecture became widely accepted. In Oia, the captain’s houses expanded on this tradition with neoclassical and Venetian elements, making it distinct from other Greek settlements that flourished thanks to shipping. The excavated houses never lost their charm, even after Santorini entered a period of decline following a major wave of immigration in the aftermath of World War II and a major earthquake in 1956, while the subsequent tourism boom gave them a new lease of life.

A pilot program launched by the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) for the “Preservation and Development of Traditional Settlements,” implemented in Oia between 1975 and 1993, was awarded by Europa Nostra (1980) and at the Sofia Architecture Biennale (1986), contributing to a resurgence of interest in yposkafa. Today in Oia, as in other settlements on the island, these unique structures have been converted into beautiful houses, luxury hotels, wineries that are open to the public and entertainment and art venues.


• For her valuable contribution to this article, we would like to thank internationally awarded architect Voula Didoni, associate of the Greek National Tourism Organization’s department of traditional settlements (1976-1992) and member of the International Council on Monuments and Sites and of the Hellenic Society for the Environment & Cultural Heritage, who continues in a professional capacity to record, study, protect and promote Greece’s architectural heritage.



In modern-day terms, the excavated houses would be described as “bioclimatic.” The construction materials, orientation and overall ekistic structure protect the environment and conserve natural resources.



MASTERPIECE GALLERY Iconic works of art inspired by Santorini



“Goldfish Bowl,” Santorini, Greece, 1937

Herbert List (1903 - 1975)

Herbert List’s austere, classically-posed black-and-white compositions have been highly formative for modern photography. Forced to flee Germany in 1936, List photographed in Greece in 1937 and 1938, producing still-lifes influenced by Giorgio De Chirico’s metaphysical paintings. He wrote that the fish in its bowl was a metaphor for the human spirit, which, confined by flesh, is unable to merge with the magnificence of the world.





Gymnopaidia Santorini I (excerpt) Bend if you can to the dark sea forgetting the flute’s sound on naked feet that trod your sleep in the other, the sunken life.

into their sleep, into our sleep. Here we found ourselves naked, holding the scales that tipped toward injustice.

Write if you can on your last shell the day the place the name and fling it into the sea so that it sinks.

Instep of power, unshadowed will, considered love, projects that ripen in the midday sun, course of fate with a young hand slapping the shoulder; in the land that was scattered, that can’t resist, in the land that was once our land the islands, – rust and ash – are sinking.

We found ourselves naked on the pumice stone watching the rising islands watching the red islands sink

From the Collection “Poems” (Ikaros Publishing). Translation by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.

Giorgos Seferis (1900 - 1971)

A leading figure of 20th-century poetry, Giorgos Seferis was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963. Born in Smyrna, Asia Minor, he studied law at the University of Paris and became interested in literature, before embarking on a long and successful diplomatic career. His wide travels provide the backdrop and color for much of his writing, which centers on the themes of alienation, wandering and death.

Ode to Santorini (1939, excerpt) You were the first to leap forth into the world, Porphyrogenite, sea-begotten, You sent to the far horizons Blessings nurtured in the sea’s vigils To caress the hair of daylight’s waking hour. Queen of the heartbeats, and wings of the Aegean, With words that convert the infinite With fire, lava, smoke, You discovered the great lines of your destiny.

Now justice stands revealed before you Black mountains sail in the brightness Longings dig their craters In the heart’s tormented land And from hope’s struggle a new earth is made ready So that on a morning full of iridescence The race that vivifies dreams The race that sings in the sun’s embrace May stride forth with eagles and banners. From the collection “Orientations” (Ikaros Publishing). Translation by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.

Odysseus Elytis (1911-1996)

Acknowledged as one of the most important figures of 20th-century poetry, Odysseus Elytis, winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize for Literature, is also one of the leading representatives of surrealism. In his work, modernism and tradition are fused in harmony. His first collections (“Orientations,” 1939, and “Sun the First,” 1943) are a celebration of the Greek landscape as an ideal world of sensual enjoyment and moral purity. The influence of the sea and the sun is diffused in almost all his poems.



Santorini, 2011-2013, oil on canvas, 124 x 210 cm

The dark side of Santorini instantly commands awe. Yet this inky facade is pierced by the golden rays of the sun, an antidote of optimism.

Panayiotis Tetsis (1925 - )

Panayiotis Tetsis, one of the foremost contemporary Greek painters, is a genuine exponent of the post-impressionistic seascape tradition. Amazingly enough, he says he gets bored on long voyages at sea. “I don’t agree with Cavafy that headed for Ithaca we ought to hope that the voyage lasts as long as possible.” And he adds: “I paint a large number of my seas from memory. I don’t need to paint them from life. And even if I do, I change them later in my studio, even changing them totally.”






Santorini, 1981

Josef Koudelka (1938- )

“I would like to see everything, look at everything, I want to be the view itself.” Josef Koudelka started his professional life as an engineer in Czechoslovakia, switching to photography in his late 1920s. He photographed the Soviet invasion of his country in 1968 and published his seminal book, “Gypsies,” in 1975. He has been a member of Magnum Photos for more than 40 years.




Cyclades. Santorini Island, 1961

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004)

“We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on Earth can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory.” Cartier-Bresson is considered the father of photojournalism. During two trips to Greece, in 1953 and 1961, he captured daily life, important personalities and simple folk in moments of work and play. Images such as the above comprise a unique testament of a way of life that has vanished under the waves of tourism development.






Santorini, 1930

Nelly’s (1899-1998)

A native of Aydin in Asia Minor, Elli Souyioultzoglou-Seraidari – better known by her professional name Nelly’s – helped shape the visual image of Greece in the Western mind with her photographs of ancient temples set against sea and sky backgrounds. Her work in Santorini, from the time when photography replaced traveler’s engraving as a pictorial record, has recently been republished in a luxurious coffee-table book titled “Nelly’s Santorini 19251930,” by the Archives of Santorinian Studies – Dimitris Tsitouras Collection.




Oia, Santorini, 1950-1955

Voula Papaioannou (1898-1990)

Best known for her humanist approach to the savagery of the Nazi occupation of Greece, Voula Papaioannou immortalized the suffering of the civilian population with particular sensitivity. By the time life had returned to normal, she was widely acclaimed and her work had been showcased in exhibitions and printed media. She subsequently began traveling across the country photographing landscapes, fragments of the ancient world and the toil of rural life, capturing in that unique style of hers, the Greek light – in its most idealized version.





The 50 feet catamaran Sunset Oia pictured against one of the most spectacular natural sceneries in the world. Available for private sailing excursions around Santorini and the nearby islands.



Sunset Oia Sailing Cruises the perfect getaway Awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence three years in a row, the largest and newest fleet in Santorini offers amazing semi-private and tailor-made excursions to the caldera and nearby islands. All you need to do, is get on board!





Sunset Oia excursions are ideal for families, couples of every age and friends – you are sure to make some new ones on board.


Set your inner child free and dive into the clear blue waters. The expert crews of Sunset Oia Sailing Cruises will take you to the best spots for swimming and snorkeling – and it will feel like the sea is your own.

The hot mineral waters near the volcano and the world famous Red Beach, are among Sunset Oia’s regular stops. Take photos, enjoy the excursions – and be prepared for little suprises, like impromptu fishing.









1, 3. Breakfast on board the 69-foot Ferretti 680 Sunset Alexandros, which is available for day trips around Santorini or multi-day cruises to the nearby islands and can accommodate up to 8 people in four luxurious cabins with en-suite bathroom facilities. 2, 7-8. Barbeque meals are served on board, along with freshly cut salads, excellent Santorini wine, soft drinks and mouth-watering delicacies.


5. In terms of design, luxury and performance, the Sunset Alea motor yacht is the perfect choice for luxury yachting excursions and exploring, private tours and island-hopping. Both its lower and upper-level decks are fitted with high-end amenities to ensure you have a truly enjoyable yachting experience.

4-6. From the moment you step on board until the very end of your excursion, the expert crews of Sunset Oia will make you feel at home. Safety and comfort being their primary concerns, they go the extra mile in terms to offer you a truly unforgettable experience. 9-11. Sunset Oia luxury motor yachts and sailing yachts are available for excursions and ideal for relaxing and island-hopping.





“We had an absolutely wonderful day sailing Oia! Lovely people, amazing crew, yummy food, beautiful sights! Highly recommended!”








antorini is pretty amazing when toured on land but by sea it is simply spectacular – sheer volcanic cliffs plunging into the depths of the caldera, and the odd bubbling spring and sulfur vapors reminding you that beneath the tranquil surface of the sea lies a sleeping giant. And then there is the sunset: nature showing off not just its power but also its penchant for drama, casting the setting sun against a dazzling backdrop of orange, pink, red and yellow hues. The best seat in the house to enjoy nature’s display of brute force and incomparable beauty is the deck of a yacht, and Sunset Oia is the leading company on the island providing frontrow tickets to the show. Since 2009, the yacht and catamaran charter company has been conducting semi-private cruises and exclusive, tailor-made excursions from Oia on a wide variety of vessels, combining affordable packages with top-range luxury. “It is one of the must do’s in Santorini! Beautiful, peaceful and breathtaking sunset! A perfect getaway to relax with your loved ones or even alone to clear one’s mind,” writes one reviewer on TripAdvisor. Safety being the top priority, Sunset Oia’s vessels are manned by expert sailors and have professional captains with years of experience at their helm. “We had an absolutely wonderful day sailing Oia! Lovely people, amazing crew, yummy food, beautiful sights! Highly recommended!” writes Mallory K. The fleet of Sunset Oia is also the youngest of its type in Greece with topof-the line vessels, such as the brandnew Sunset Santorini Lagoon 400 S2

catamaran or the superb Sunset Ios Fountaine Pajot Tahiti 80. At an overall length of 80 feet/23.75 meters, the Sunset Ios is the biggest catamaran in Santorini, spacious and comfortable enough to accommodate wedding parties or other events. Vessels can also be chartered for private custom tours. The Sunset Alexandros, a Ferretti 680 motor yacht, for example, has elegantly designed interiors with a stylish sitting area, fully equipped bar and spacious dining area, as well as a lower- and upper-level deck. For your more private moments, the lower deck has four luxurious cabins, the master bedroom and VIP bedroom, fitted with king-size beds and en-suite facilities. Also available for private tours, the Sunset Emily, a Cumberland 46’ power catamaran, is the latest addition to the Sunset Oia fleet, with hulls that are specially designed to offer maximum stability. It is also ideal for beach and cave exploration as it has a shallow draft and can safely approach the hidden gems of the Aegean. The Sunset Emily can be chartered for private tours around Santorini and the nearby islands of Ios, Folegandros and Anafi, or for multi-day trips to Myconos, Paros, Naxos, Milos and other Cycladic islands. The semi-private tours – separated into morning and afternoon – last 4-5 hours and take you around the caldera and the island’s most emblematic beaches, stopping off for swimming and snorkeling (all equipment and towels are provided on board) at interesting spots along the way, or for a good soak in the healing springs of Palia and

The crew draws on its experience to provide interesting information about the island’s history and culture, and is also on hand to respond to all your needs and wants.


Nea Kameni. The meal break is an onboard barbeque, with the menu featuring local delicacies including meat, salads, fruit and drinks such as Santorini wine and refreshments. “My wife and I loved it very much!,” writes Nizar K. of his Sunset Oia experience. “To top it off, the food served is fresh and fantastic!” The crew draws on its experience to provide information about the island’s history and culture, and is also on hand to respond to all your needs and wants. “My wife and I took this tour during our recent visit to Santorini,” writes R.D., from New York City. “From the second we were picked up at our hotel to the second we got off the boat, the crew was happy to answer any and every question and were constantly on top of things, making sure we were comfortable and having a good time. Further, their knowledge of the island and its history were very impressive and allowed us to get a better idea of Santorini aside from just the beautiful towns along the caldera.” Customer satisfaction is at the core of Sunset Oia’s philosophy. “This is a very honest company,” writes one of these happy customers. “We booked at the full price and were later informed by the company that we were entitled to a seasonal discount, which they promptly paid back to the original card used.” With transportation provided from and to your hotel, luxury craft equipped with all the amenities, a helpful, friendly crew and an experienced hand at the wheel, all you have to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the show.



S/Y SUNSET SUNRISE Lagoon 560 Catamaran SLG

S/Y SUNSET OIA Lagoon 500 Catamaran SLG

Premium Semi Private Built: 2014 Cruising / Sailing Overall length: 56 ft/17.07 meters Passengers: 24 max

Premium Semi Private Built: 2009 Cruising / Sailing Overall length: 50 ft/15.24 meters Passengers: 16 max

Available for 5-hour long day and sunset tours, starting from Ammoudi Bay and Vlychada port respectively, including stops at the hot springs, the White Beach and the Red Beach, for swimming (towels and snorkeling equipment included). Onboard barbeque with local delicacies, salads, fruit, Santorini wine and soft drinks. Transport from/to your hotel is included.

S/Y SUNSET IOS Fountaine Pajot Tahiti 80 Catamaran SLG Semi Private Built: 2015 Cruising / Sailing Overall length: 80 ft/23.75 meters Passengers: 80 max The latest addition to Sunset Oia fleet, this is the biggest catamaran in Santorini. Available daily for 5-hour day and sunset tours around the caldera and the beaches of southern Santorini. With a comfortable layout and a large space for dancing, the Sunset Ios is also available for wedding parties or other events.

M/Y SUNSET EMILY Fountaine Pajot Cumberland 46’ Power Catamaran

Private Built: 2015 Cruising / Sailing Overall length: 40 ft/11.97 meters

Private Built: 2007 (refurbishment 2015) Cruising Overall length: 46 ft/13.95 meters

S/Y SUNSET AMMOUDI Ocean Voyager 74 Catamaran SLG

Departs from Ammoudi at 10.15 a.m. and from Vlychada port early in the afternoon for 5-hour day and sunset tours, including stops at the hot springs, the White Beach and the Red Beach, for swimming (towels and snorkeling equipment included). Onboard barbeque with local delicacies, salads, fruit, Santorini wine and soft drinks. Transport from/to your hotel is included.

Available for private sailing excursions around Santorini and the nearby islands. A 5-hour tour offers a unique sailing experience, taking in the caldera, the White and Red beaches and the hot springs. With a full-day tour you have the option of sailing to the crystal-clear waters of Ios island. Full barbeque meal, drinks, towels, snorkeling equipment and many more amenities are provided.

Two powerful 310 hp engines allow this vessel to cruise at a maximum speed of 20 knots while the hulls are specially designed to offer maximum stability. Available for private tours around Santorini and the nearby islands and also for multi-day charters. This amazing catamaran has four luxurious cabins.

Departs twice daily from Ammoudi, for 5-hour day and sunset tours, including stops for swimming, snorkeling and enjoying a soak in the mineral waters of the hot spring. Delicious barbeque meals served on board, including local wine and soft drinks.

M/Y SUNSET ALEA Alfamarine 74 Motor Yacht

M/Y SUNSET ALEXANDROS Ferretti 680 Motor Yacht

M/Y SUNSET IGUANA Speedboat 35

Private Luxury Yacht Engines: 2 x 1500 hp MTU Overall length: 73 ft/22.30 meters With a maximum speed of 40 knots, the Alea smoothly connects Santorini with Myconos or the remote islands of the Small Cyclades and is available for day trips or multi-day cruises. It features spacious indoor and outdoor areas for leisure and enjoyment, four luxurious cabins with en-suite bathroom facilities, first-class services, gourmet meals, beverages and surprise amenities on board.

S/Y SUNSET SANTORINI Lagoon 400 S2 Catamaran SLG

Private Luxury Yacht Engines: 2 X 1200 hp MAN Overall length: 69 ft / 21.03 meters Unsurpassed in design, luxury and performance, this is the perfect choice for yachting excursions, private tours and island-hopping. Elegantly designed interiors, four luxurious cabins, lower and an upper-level decks, both fitted with high-end amenities. Crewed by an experienced captain, a sailor and a stewardess-chef, the Alexandros is also available for 4-hour cruises around the caldera in the morning or at sunset.

Semi Private Βuilt: 2011 Cruising / Sailing Overall length 74 ft/22.25 meters Passengers 48 max

Private Engines: 2 X 350 hp Overall length: 35 ft / 10.06 meters Embark on an exciting sea adventure and experience the wonders of Santorini and the nearby islands from a different perspective. The boat’s exterior spaces can be transformed into lounging areas with a few quick and easy adjustments to the smart seats. If it is too warm, escape the sun in the relaxing interior sitting area.

G R E E C E IS Tel. (+30) 22860-72.200, Mob. (+30) 6980-268.881 tic k et offices : Oia, Ammoudi




SAME ISLAND, DIFFERENT WORLDS A new generation of passionate professionals provide both semi-private and custom-made tours by land and sea to discerning travelers who want to explore the real Santorini. BY n ata s h a b l at s i o u , g i o r g o s T s i r o s


© Kreuzberger Sebastian/SLK Photography

Diving INSIDE THE HEART OF THE VOLCANO It’s been 40 years since the legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau sailed the legendary Calypso to Santorini in the hopes of discovering the Lost City of Atlantis. The results of his 1975 expedition were disappointing, as extensive underwater research failed to reveal any concrete evidence of its existence. Despite this setback, however, Cousteau made another important discovery that he shared with the world: the wealth of Santorini’s marine environment. It is this treasure that continues to attract divers from around the globe. The biggest underwater caldera in the world offers a plethora of images: endless cliffs, solid walls, reefs and lush meadows of sea grass. The most popular dive sites are located off the coast between Fira and Akrotiri. Particular interest is shown in the savage environment off Palia and Nea Kameni, where

vast lava formations illustrate how the small islets emerged from the bowels of the Earth. The conditions are ideal, with visibility reaching 20 meters and the water temperature climbing to 2327 degrees Celsius in the summer. The Cousteau family’s special bond with Santorini was not severed after Jacques failed to find Atlantis, as his younger son, Pierre-Yves, visited the island in 2009. Charmed by its natural beauty, its people and, of course, the volcano – “a monument that reminds us of the fragility of human existence” – he decided that from all the places where he could have qualified as a diving instructor, he would do it in Santorini. What he saw was a magnificent backdrop devoid of life. “Santorini has volcanic formations, underwater caves and ravines – a magnificent stage. But where are the actors?

Τhe Lost City of Atlantis may be an elusive dream but the underwater exploration of the caldera has many more wonders to reveal to divers from all over the world.




Where are the fish? They were gone…” he said. It was this observation that compelled him to take action against the blight of over-fishing, with the establishment of a Marine Protected Area (MPA), which, according to the study, could result in an increase of 21% in diversity, 28% in the size of organisms, 166% in density and 446% in biomass, relative to unprotected areas nearby. Together with the “Thiraiki

Thalassa” Society for the Marine Protected Area of Santorini and with the island’s fishermen and locals joining the battle, experts hope to establish a management body within the next year that will delineate the borders of the marine park and impose strict controls. The objective is to turn Santorini into one of the premiere diving destinations in the Mediterranean.

Info The island’s dive centers are certified, provide all the necessary gear and have a rich menu of scuba programs, ranging from the Bubblemaker for children up to the age of 8 and reaching instructor-level training. Atlantis Oia, tel. (+30) 22860-71.158 • A e g ean D ivers Agia Irini, Pyrgos, tel. (+30) 22860-33.201 • S antorini divecenter , Perissa, tel. (+30) 22860-83.190, • M editerranean D ive C l u b Perissa Beach tel. (+30) 22860-83.080 • N av y ’ s W aterworld Kamari Beach, tel. (+30) 22860-28.190 • V olcano D ivin g C enter Kamari, tel. (+30) 22860-33.177 •

Sea Kayak P addle and discover They understand the tides, can read the winds and know every inch of the coastline. More importantly, the people of Sea Kayak, ranked by TripAdvisor critics as one of the “must” experiences in Santorini, are there to show you a great time as you explore hidden coves, small untouched beaches and the beautiful volcanic rock formations sculpted by nature through the millennia. Based on the beach of Akrotiri, the company arranges pick-ups and drop-offs at your hotel. The tours on offer are the following: South Discovery (7 miles, 5 hours including snorkeling at Kambia and a light picnic; 75 euros per person), Caldera Crossing (12 miles, 8½ hours, including a coffee break, light picnic and dinner; 150 euros per person) or the fascinating Round The Lighthouse Full-Day Τour, which is directed to more advanced paddlers. All tours are for group of four to 16 people, aged 14 or above. Info S antorini S ea K ayak • Mob: (+30) 6951-801.051


Walking Tours O n the ( not so ) wild side Walking tourism has been gaining ground around the world in the past few years and Santorini is particularly well suited to this form of touring thanks to its morphology and stunning views. Fans of the island argue that unless you walk its streets, alleys and fields, you will never truly know it. The first step in developing this form of tourism was taken last year with the sign-posting of eight routes, which the Municipality of Thera intends to expand to a network of 19. The Anavasi publishing company (, meanwhile, has published maps of the routes in both print and digital form. However, if you are wary of taking on the harder routes, such as the climb to Profitis Ilias or Ancient Thera, for example, then Nikos Boutsinis is your man. With a degree in tourism studies from the UK and an inherent love for

nature, as well as the people and traditions of Santorini, he spent an entire winter designing walking tours that include stops at artists’ studios, farms and wineries, spots of geological or architectural interest, abandoned villages and more. The routes are 6-9 kilometers long and the walk lasts between 4-4.5 hours, with prices starting at 65 euros per person. The names he has given the routes are the best indicator of what they offer: Τhe Caldera Hike, Santorini Wanderlust, Southern Exposure, Ancient Thera Trails... Also available are guided private tours so that you can set your own pace and enjoy a unique experience put together exclusively for you. If you want to go it alone and need any advice or further information on the condition of the trail, the team is always happy to help.

Info S antorini W alkin g T o u rs Mob: (+30) 6971-603.600 Tel. (+30) 22860-36.496






Photo Tours M ore than point & shoot

eBike Tours

The fact that Santorini is one of the most-photographed islands in the world does not mean that taking a great picture is easy. Sure, it is very tempting to snap run-of-the-mill shots from the top of the caldera but there are few who have explored the secret spots or studied the harsh island light and know at which time of day a simple photograph can look like it came from a professional. Constantina Sidiropoulou is one such person. An oenologist by training who succumbed to her passion for photography, she spent months exploring the island’s nooks and crannies, recording its prettiest spots and creating the perfect frames. A graduate of the Leica Academy of Athens, she offers tailor-made private tours, along themes such as landscapes, architecture, the caldera, etc. She has also designed more general tours aimed at beginners and advanced photographers, lasting from 2 to 6 hours, for two to 12 people, with prices starting at 70 euros per person and including transportation.

N o sweat Vassilis and Katarina are avid cross-country bicyclists who have traveled thousands of miles around the world. But you don’t need to be as advanced as them to follow them on their tours of Santorini, revealing lesser-known aspects of this multifaceted island. Even though Santorini is, at first sight, not bicycle conducive with its steep inclines and busy roads (particularly in the summer), the team’s mountain bikes are equipped with the most advanced mechanisms to boost your physical efforts by 20 to as much as 300% and help you explore all the

routes without having to break into a sweat. On the 40K Cross-Island and 20K Sea Side routes, moreover, they take you along old rural tracts, donkey trails and smooth paths – meaning less bumps along the road, more charming surprises and unique scenery. Putting safety first, the team sets a limit on group sizes – six people maximum per tour with two guides – and requires that all participants take a quick warm-up session so they can become acquainted with the bicycles. The experience has received 5 stars from TripAdvisor, based on 28 reviews.

Info S antorini A dvent u res Tel. (+30) 22860-36.175 • Mob: (+30) 6980-289.453 • email:


Info Κ -Y e l l o w Mob: (+30) 6984-229.712

gastronomy GREECE IS



The long tradition of winemaking, wineries that are open to the public, local products and easy recipes, as well as a comprehensive list of restaurants for all tastes. Painting by Antonios Santorinios: The vendema (grape harvest) fete, courtesy of Canava Petros M. Nomikos


Self-rooted, alive and productive over the centuries, the ancient vineyards of Santorini continue to yield grapes every year despite the little rain, strong winds and intense heat.



Refining an ancient craft Though Santorini’s vineyards are 600 times smaller than France’s, at 1,400 hectares, they boast a rare terroir that produces grapes and wines with unique characteristics. BY N ata s h a b l at s i o u , ta s s o u l a e p ta k i l i






ild, windswept and arid, it is not easy for vines to flourish on Santorini. They must contend with scorching daytime temperatures, high humidity at night in spring and summer, an almost total lack of rainfall and, above all, fierce winds. And these aren’t the only difficulties facing the island’s viniculturalists. The vineyards themselves are relatively small and yields are poor. Only 1,400 hectares are still being cultivated and the average production per hectare is low (2,500-3,500 kg) in comparison to the rest of Greece (10,000 kg). Only hard work can improve the odds. Santorini’s vintners still harvest the grapes by hand and weave the nests in which the fruit of the vine hatches, sticking to the age-old pruning technique of the “kouloura,” by which vines are trained into continuous circles to form a basket offering protection from the strong winds and harsh summer sun. Pruning takes them four times longer than with a common trellis system and infinitely longer to handpick the grapes at harvest time – yet they persist. Why? Quite simply because they have a rare terroir. The seemingly adverse conditions and the volcanic soil create an environment in which the island’s celebrated native varieties – Assyrtiko, Santorini’s flagship grape that occupies about

“These wines promise adventure. The payoff is not merely the pleasure of discovery, but the affirmation that even jaded palates can find something new,” writes Eric Asimov, chief wine critic for the New York Times.

70% of the vineyards, but also Athiri, Aidani, Mandilaria and Mavrotragano – can unveil their unique character. Santorini quite possibly has the oldest vineyards in the world under continuous cultivation. The vines were planted 3,500 years ago and have never been uprooted. The island is immune to phylloxera, the 19th-century epidemic that ravaged vineyards and erased countless grape varieties in continental Europe, and thus boasts vines that are centuries-old. It was not long before the intriguing story of these almost supernatural vineyards was embraced by contemporary som-


The technique of pruning the Santorini vines is age-old and is known in Greek as “kouloura.”



meliers, wine critics and wine merchants who were looking for something different. In the early 1990s, the island’s winemakers one after the other started to abandon the bulk approach and invest in what was to be a fascinating combination of respect for tradition and commitment to quality wine-making. “These wines promise adventure. The payoff is not merely the pleasure of discovery, but the affirmation that even jaded palates can find something new,” wrote Eric Asimov in 2012. The chief wine critic for the New York Times, who can strike fear into even the biggest wine producers on the planet, had chosen to taste – along with an impressive wine panel – 20 Greek reds, among them the 2008 Atlantis from Argyros on Santorini. Assyrtiko from Santorini has racked up countless international awards including Wine Spectator scores in the 90s, a recent gold medal from Decanter (Britain’s equivalent of the Wine Spectator), and another gold medal from Bordeaux’s International Challenge of Wine. This year, the Santorini vintners who participated in this year’s TexSom International Wine Awards, the most important wine competition in the USA, did very well indeed.

1 Scene with baskets full of grapes during the vedema, which is the period of the grape harvest and winemaking. It begins in August and ends around October. 2 This native red variety – mavrotragano (meaning black and crispy) – participated only in sweet Santorini reds and came near exctinction. It has since seen a revival and has become one of Greece’s most sought-after varieties, revelaing great potential in the production of excellent red wines with standout traits.

Assyrtiko labels from the SantoWines, Gaia Wines and Domaine Sigalas wineries received gold and silver medals. A few months ago, Asimov was back, this time without hesitating to draw a highly favorable comparison between Assyrtiko and one of the world’s most popular Italian varieties. “I have nothing against Pinot Grigio,” he wrote, “but why should anybody who cares about what they eat and drink settle for familiar and icy rather than something full of character?” Asimov encouraged his readers to try Assyrtiko, likening its flavor to “the concentrated essence of millions of tiny seashells”!

i n f o : The varieties in the vinicultural zone with the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) SANTORINI are three whites (Assyrtiko, Atheri and Aidani). There are three PDO wines: Santorini and Nykteri (dry whites produced with a minimum of 75% Assyrtiko with the remaining 25% made up of Athiri and/or Aidani) and Vinsanto (produced with at least 51% Assyrtiko blended with Aidani, Athiri or other local varieties).




“As a dessert wine, none can compare to the white Vinsanto. It is made of grapes left in the sun for a fortnight on the rooftops of houses, before going to the press. One year later, they become an excellent sweet wine,” writes French 19th-century traveler Louis Lacroix (“Les îles de la Grèce,” 1853). Vinsanto may stem from the ancient Greek raisin wine served at symposiums or Hesiod’s vinicultural traditions, while there are conflicting theories as to the name’s provenance: “vino santo” or “holy wine,” as some believe, or “vino di Santorini” or “wine of Santorini.” Whichever is right, it does not change its international appeal. Only the white Vinsanto can claim a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). It is made mainly of mature Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri grapes, and occasionally with small quantities of rarer endemic varieties such as Katsano, Gaidouria or Platani. When young, Vinsanto has a soft orange color with golden highlights, turning amber-red as it ages. It has complex layers, with a full body and lingering aftertaste.


Serving temperature: chill to 10-12 C. Pairs with blue or yellow cheeses, or tarts. A younger Vinsanto stands well beside rich savory foods.

SERVE & PAIR Serving temperature: 9-10 C (fresh), 10-12 C (aged). Extremely food-friendly in all its versions, Assyrtiko pairs with seafood and fresh oysters to meat dishes.


ΑSSYRTIKO THE flagship VARIETY The unique indigenous grape variety has the unusual quality of maintaining high levels of alcohol and acidity at the same time with long aging potential. If one adds the fine aromas (citrus, peach, apricot, pineapple, green apple, pear), characteristic mineral or metallic hints, depth and complexity of flavor, it becomes clear why Assyrtiko is considered the finest white in Greece and one of the leading wines in the world. Assyrtiko is ideal for those who love wines with an unconventional, vibrant style and attach importance to structure and density. It is extremely food-friendly, one might say a passe-partout wine, in all its versions (fresh or barrel-aged). It pairs admirably with fish and seafood, chicken, pork, lamb and grilled meats, cheese, cured meats, smoked fish (especially salmon), salads, oil-rich vegetable casseroles, risotto, pasta with white sauces, cheese pies, spinach pies, most small dishes of Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, and of course sushi. Indeed, this latter pairing has become a must in many sushi bars around Europe, quickly gaining a fanatic following.


vinsanto THE HOLY WINE


Venetsanos WINERY Back to Life

Α jewel in terms of conception, location and architecture, the island’s first facility to embrace modernity, 70 years ago, is back in business. BY Giorgos Tsiros






The impressive main hall of the winery, arranged to host tastings and other events. Vat hatches can be seen on either side.


ne careful step at a time, I gingerly make my way down the steep stone staircase that descends into the bowels of Venetsanos winery. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for the heavily laden workers 65 years ago, when Santorini’s first industrial winery had just opened, an ultra-modern facility at a time when electricity was virtually unknown on the islands. I follow the winery’s director, oenologist Ioanna Vamvakouri, on a journey back in time: the old chemical lab, glass cabinets with black-and-white photographs and old manuscripts, the destemming machine, the continuous wine press, the cool cellars with the barrels... I repeatedly find myself trying to calculate the height (or depth) of this – invisible from the road – fortress at Megalochori, an architectural wonder of the past and present, literally perched above the port of Athinios with an enchanting view of the caldera. Eighteen-and-a-half meters is the answer. And how was it built? Somewhat unconventionally, beginning at the top and progressing to the foundations. The materials were brought up on donkeys and the volcanic ground was dug by hand. Most intriguingly, the ingenious architectural design used gravity to facilitate the movement of goods from the higher to the lower levels, conserving time, effort and energy.  The once-celebrated winery that fell into disuse for years has reopened thanks to the efforts of Anastasios-Nikolaos Zorzos and his brother Vaggelis, the present owners and heirs of its creator, George Venetsanos (their mother’s uncle). On the top level there is a charming café serving delicious snacks and refreshments, including wonderfully fragrant homemade lemonade; below, an attractive shop, while the imposing vaulted hall with its 9-meter high ceiling is used for events

1. One of the two areas where the grapes were brought after being picked, on the roof of the winery. 2. The renovated museum, where the story of Venetsanos unfolds through the exhibits.


and tastings. New equipment has been purchased and the wine is again flowing. The Venetsanos family was wealthy when it left Santorini for Cairo in the late 19th century and returned even wealthier thanks to business ventures ranging from a furniture factory to wine exports to Russia. The family first built a mansion, then a small traditional winery, which George, born in 1907 and one of the first graduates of the Athens University Department of Chemistry (majoring in oenology) dreamed about expanding and modernizing. A broadly educated man, he had a keen interest in architecture and the mind of an inventor. He drew the complex plans on rice paper with such accuracy and attention to detail that, according to topographical surveys conducted in 2015, they were inch-perfect. Construction began in 1947 and was completed two years later. Donkeys carried up the grapes and the red varieties – mainly Mandilaria – were poured into the small vat while the island’s three acclaimed white grapes, Assyrtiko, Aidani and Athiri, were placed in the large one. Gravity “pushed” the raw material to the lower levels, for processing. After destemming, the must entered underground tanks and fermented at a constant, low temperature. Three months later, the wine – again with the assistance of gravity – flowed through a pipe down to the port of Athinios and was loaded onto ships. In 1967, George Venetsanos – once again ahead of his time – began to bottle white, rosé and red wine. Vinification continued at the winery until 1979 and during all that time “Kyr Venetsanos,” as he was respectfully and affectionately called by the locals, kept a detailed account of every harvest, precisely recording quantities, production

3. The staircase leading to the second floor, where wine-tasting events are hosted. 4. The area where the wine is matured and oxidized in barrels.

5. The lower steep staircase was designed so that the laden workers would not lose their balance. 6. The stoa in the winery’s lower level, with steady temperatures all year round, will be used for the reductive aging of bottled wines.












Venetsanos drew the complex plans with such accuracy and attention to detail that, according to topographical surveys conducted in 2015, they were inch-perfect.


methods, recipes and lessons learned from his mistakes. This treasure is now being sorted and classified by Vamvakouri. Young and enthusiastic, she has been passionate about wine since childhood, when her parents would send her to buy wine from the barrel at the local store in Kato Patissia, Athens. Ioanna studied oenology in Toulouse and has already amassed experience from 14 harvests while working in France and Santorini, for SantoWines and Boutari. Her major challenge is continuing the great Venetsanos family tradition and the first fruits of her efforts – Santorini, Nykteri, Mandilaria, as well as Vinsanto, discovered in abandoned barrels after eight years of ageing– are exceptional.

The Venetsanos Winery is supplied exclusively from its own vineyards covering almost 10 hectares and the wine is made in small steel tanks in order to preserve the distinctive characteristics of each terroir. For the moment, its four labels are available at the winery itself and in carefully selected restaurants on the island, including Assyrtico, Selene, The Bone and 1800. High quality and small scale are the principles underlying the winery’s resumed operation. “We are interested in people who want to learn about the wine and our distinctive terroir,” Vamvakouri says. “We invite them to spend some time with us and have an experience that they will want to talk about when they return home.”

1. A reproduction of Venetsanos’ laboratory and study, where he would record every detail of every harvest and experiment with different recipes of winemaking. 2. A family celebration at the Venetsanos mansion, with George in the middle playing the mandolin.


Info Megalochori, tel. (+30) 22860-21.100 • • Open daily: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.


TA S T E Santorini Venetsanos 2014 Perfect match with seafood, grilled vegetables, fish, pasta and fresh or salty cheeses. Nykteri Venetsanos 2014 Ideal with oily fish, pasta with creamy sauces, ripe yellow cheese and smoked eggplant dip.  Mandilaria Venetsanos 2014 Pairs with pork cooked with prunes, fatty or spicy cheeses and prosciutto. A good match with lobster pasta and fish in red wine sauce.



SMALL harvestS, great wines

Hatzidakis Winery


For Santorini’s producers, making wine is not just business. It’s a passion and a responsibility to carry on a long tradition. Get to know them. BY TA S S O U L A E P TA K I L I e d i t o r : n atas h a b latsiou


S A N TO R I N I 2 0 1 5






Boutari Santorini

Paris Sigalas, a mathematician by training, was taking a risk when he decided to return to the island of his forefathers and dedicate his life to viniculture. He wanted to see Santorini’s vineyards preserved as a monument of world heritage and also believed the island’s wines deserved a spot among the world’s leaders. The risk was worth it. Today, Domaine Sigalas labels are earning kudos at major wine competitions. Most of the wines are made of traditional Santorini white varieties like Assyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani. Sigalas is also experimenting with Mavrotragano, a rare native variety that produces pedigree wines.

This is among Greece’s most technologically advanced wineries, situated at one of the most privileged spots on the caldera with magical view from the Sunset Terrace, where different labels are served along with delicious nibbles. The Assyrtiko variety is without doubt the cooperative’s strongest card, though interest has also been shown in lesser-known varieties, such as the Mandilaria for its soft tannins, and Voudomato for its powerful aroma. Wine Advocate, an electronic magazine created by Robert Parker, in 2011 gave the Assyrtiko of SantoWines 90 points, a score rarely given to fresh wines. The next challenge is to restructure Santorini’s vineyards with native varieties.

It was 1879, a time when the Greek wine market was in its very early stages, when the great-grandfather of Konstantinos Boutaris started the family business in Naoussa, northern Greece. The Santorini winery was launched in 1990 with Kallisti, a variation on the local dry white, which is aged in oak barrels and which set the foundations for a new style of wine that is still considered unrivalled. The same period saw the inauguration of a new, state-of-the-art facility that stands out for its architectural elegance, in harmony with the natural landscape. The varieties grown are Assyrtiko, Aidani, Athiri and Mavrotragano.

I n f o : Baxes, Oia, tel. (+30) 22860-71.644 • Open all year round.

I n f o : Pyrgos, tel. (+30) 22860-22.233, 28.058 •

I n f o : Megalochori, tel. (+30) 22860-81.011 •

Devoted to Santorini’s vineyards

W h y v isit: • For the sunset over the vineyard. • For the delicious local dishes that are served.


Award-winning Assyrtiko

W h y v isit: • For the store selling wines and select products from the island and other parts of Greece. • For the sunset over the caldera

Greece’s first open winery

W h y v isit: • For the impressive 3D audiovisual presentation on the history of the island and its wine from antiquity to the present, held in an impressive amphitheater


HaTzidakis Winery


estate Argyros

Keeping it organic

Wine tasting by the sea

Four generations of winemakers

Haridimos Hatzidakis came to Santorini in the 1990s to work as an oenologist but when he later met his wife and saw her family’s abandoned vineyard, just outside Pyrgos, he found a new calling. With no capital and after having acquired some basic second-hand equipment – but with a lot of hard work and passion – he planted new vines and set up a canava in a small man-made cave once used to keep livestock. A man who keeps a low profile but has incredible energy and a deep knowledge of wine, Hatzidakis’s philosophy is about quality, not quantity. He cultivates Assyrtiko, Aidani, Mavrotragano, Voudomato and Mandilaria, and insists on keeping it all organic.

It‘s been almost 25 years since winemaker and Oenology Professor Yiannis Paraskevopoulos and agronomist Leon Karatsalos bought an old tomato factory and breathed new life into the stone building by turning it into a modern winery that produces one of the island’s most emblematic wines: Thalassitis. Gaia Wines buys grapes from locals and produces four labels of wine as well as excellent vinegar that is aged in French oak barrels for at least five years. The winemakers’ most exciting recent endeavor was to sink three harvests of Thalassitis into the sea in 2009 to examine how wine ages in an environment deprived of oxygen.

For Yannis Argyros – who literally grew up in the family canava – becoming a winemaker was a genetic imperative. He inherited the family’s century-old traditions from his grandfather and passed on to his son, Matthew, his love of Assyrtiko. Today, Matthew runs Santorini’s biggest vineyard: 25 hectares of Assyrtiko, Athiri, Aidani and Mavrotragano grown on vines that are 180 years old at least and cultivated with the traditional weaving technique. The wines have been distinguished in Greece and abroad, with the most important of these occasions being its ranking among the Top 100 vineyards in the world by Wine & Spirits magazine in 2005 and 2006.

I n f o : Pyrgos, Kallisti, tel. (+30) 2286032.466 •

I n f o : Exo Gonia, tel. (+30) 22860-34.186 •

I n f o : Episkopi, Gonia, tel. (+30) 22860-31.489 • W h y v isit: • For a comprehensive wine-tasting experience in a traditional setting (open all year round)

• The winery is not open to the public but if it is operating during your visit you can certainly look around.

W h y v isit: • For a wonderful wine-tasting experience right on the Black Beach


S A N TO R I N I 2 0 1 5







Guided by tradition

A bent for experiments

The history of Santorini wine

Yiannis Roussos, along with his daughter Agapi (she bottled her first wine at the age of 12) and son Spyros have selected indigenous varieties (Assyrtiko, Athiri, Aidani, Mandilaria and Mavrathiro) to produce quality, aromatic wines in line with traditions that date back to 1836. The winery’s production is not the same every year. “If the time is not ripe for a particular wine we will not bottle it just to ensure there isn’t a gap in demand from the market,” explains Agapi Roussos. “The vineyards have taught me patience and wine has taught me the continual evolution of things as well as enjoying the moment.”

Artemis Karamolegos inherited his love for winemaking from his grandfather, after whom he is named, and evolved it. He renewed part of the old vineyards, planted new, indigenous varieties (Mavrotragano, Aidani, Mandilaria, Voudomato) and set up his own winery in Exo Gonia in 2004, with state-of-the-art equipment. He was the first on the island to bottle a blend of white Assyrtiko and red Mandilaria to produce an exotic rosé with rich, red forest fruit aromas. He also produces and excellent Vinsanto with select sun-dried grapes, which are aged for 60 months in a barrel. Most importantly, he is always trying new things.

George Koutsoyannopoulos’ forefathers were merchants who arrived in Santorini around 1870 when their ship was forced to anchor as they were sailing to Syros. There, they not only discovered a demand for their oil and potatoes but also saw the potential of Santorini wines as a foreign export. So they settled on the island and began to make their own vintages. George took over the family business at the age of 21, modernizing the equipment and adding new labels. He also created the Wine Museum, a one-of-a-kind institution that presents the story of wine and Santorini’s winemakers from 1660 to 1970, through displays of tools, utensils and machines – all authentic, rare pieces. In the cellar, he also has the oldest Vinsanto on the island, bottled in 1959.

I n f o : Mesa Gonia, Episkopi, tel. (+30) 22860-31.349 •

I n f o : Exo Gonia, tel. (+30) 22860-33.395 •

I n f o : Vothonas, tel. (+30) 22860-31.322 •

W h y v isit: • For the excellent local cuisine served in the pretty courtyard

W h y v isit: • For the tour of the historical and priceless artifacts, available in 14 languages

W h y v isit: • For the friendly family atmosphere




Art Space


A fourth-generation vintner (with the fifth still in the training stages), Giorgos Gavalas began bottling his wine in 1998. His Vinsanto, though bottled, is still made the old-fashioned way: sun-dried and pressed by foot. Every summer hundreds of Greek and foreign visitors line up for the opportunity to get stuck in. While he believes that Assyrtiko is the star of Santorini’s grapes and wines, he also identifies other noteworthy varieties on the island, such as Katsano, a rare native species he uses in a blend with Gaidouria. His Katsano, in fact, was named by the Washington Post as one of the six most interesting in the Mediterranean. “The only thing I can say against this wine is that it’s so good, I didn’t want food to interfere with the flavors,” wrote the reviewer.

The 19th-century cave-like cellar has been transformed into an impressive underground gallery showing works by Greek and foreign contemporary artists. Former book seller and gallery owner Antonis N. Argyros, hailing from a local family with a great tradition in viniculture, decided in 1999 to revive the old canava, constructed in 1861, by transforming it to an art space that would harmoniously blend with the already existing infrastructure. Exhibitions are held in the “rakidio” – the spirit-making section – and the large underground cellar of the old winery. Art Space Winery is small (producing 10,000 bottles annually), targeting quality, not quantity. Argyros also planted new vineyards, where he applies organic cultivation methods.

The doors of this brand-new winery are expected to open on July 1. Although the young owner, Yiannis Valambous, has not studied oenology and is not from Santorini, his passion for the island’s wines led him to give up his banking career and make his own contribution to the development of its unique wine and vine landscape, with a vineyard covering 3.5 hectares at Vourvoulos. The first wine was produced last year and this year, together with oenologists Ilias Roussakis and Yiannis Papaeconomou, preparations are being made for the first production at the new installations. Valambous’ aim is to see Santorini identified not only with stunning sunsets and the caldera, but also with its outstanding, world-class wine.

I n f o : Megalochori, tel. (+30) 2286082.552 •

I n f o : Gonia, tel. (+30) 22860-32.774, 6932-899.509 •

I n f o : Agia Irini, Vourvoulos, tel. (+30) 22860-22.216

W h y v isit: • To taste rare varieties in the yposkafo (dug into the cave wall) winery

W h y v isit: • For tasting fine wines in a fascinating cellar surrounded by contemporary art

Not just about Assyrtiko

Canava gallery

New arrival


S A N TO R I N I 2 0 1 5





Whether a wine dummy or an experienced connoisseur, a wine tour is a must in Santorini, voted by Wine Enthusiast magazine as one of the best destinations in 2014. Choose from a selection of exciting options to learn the history, taste the varieties and relish the unique terroir.








10 9





8 6


7 kamari

5 4







emBorio perissa


Santorini Wine Trails

Santorini Wine Adventure

Santorini Wine Tour

Emborio, tel. (+30) 22860-83.103, 6979-000.568 •

Messaria, tel. (+30) 22860-34.123, 6932-960.062 •

Messaria, tel. (+30) 22860-28.358, 6937-084.958 •

Wine devotee and oenologist Iliana Sidiropoulou organizes two comprehensive tours and tastings per day. From €80 to €130 per person in groups of six. Individual packages available. Languages: English, French.

Three different tour packages that combine wine, gastronomy and culture, from experienced wine specialists. From €75 to €125 per person in groups of up to eight. Individual packages available. Language: English.

The first provider of wine tourism services on Santorini offers four different packages – wine tasting, gastronomy and sightseeing – led by wine and food specialists. From €75 to €110 per person in groups of up to 10. Individual tours also available. Language: English.

I n f o : If you would like to visit on your own, note that 13 wineries on Santorini are open to the public from April through October for tastings and tours. Before visiting, it is advisable to contact them and check the schedule.




FRESH AND COLD Two small breweries are making their own mark by investing in quality and diversifying their product. Volkan

Santorini Brewing Company

Volcano in a bottle

The one with the donkey logo

Heir to one of Santorini’s oldest shipping families, grandson to Markos Nomikos, a former deputy for the Cycladic Islands, a venture capitalist by trade and director of the Thera Foundation, Peter Nomikos was born in London and studied at Princeton University in the USA. In the winter of 2011, during a trip to Santorini, he decided to produce a beer that blends two select Cycladic products: Theran honey, which is added toward the end of the brewing process, and citron (Citrus medica), which is used in the form of essential oils. The idea grew into the Volkan brand. Its greatest innovation, beyond its composition, lies in the filtration system for the water used in the brewing process – the Lava Rock Filter using basalt from the Santorini volcano.

This is the brainchild of a Serbian brewer, Boban Krunic, an English wine seller and home-brewing aficionado, Steve Daniel, a multi-talented American academic, Majda Anderson, and a Greek oenologist and vintner, Yiannis Paraskevopoulos. This small brewery is located in the traditional village of Mesa Gonia and produces three different labels of beer that combine the water found on the island with select malts from Germany and Austria, and rare varieties of hops from New Zealand and the USA. The brewing process uses cutting-edge technology from Austria (Flecks Brauhaus 300) and from Holland. The most precise definition for these beers is probably “lagered ales,” a cross between thirst-quenching lager and stout, aromatic Celtic ales.



Santorini Blonde Pilsner • Santorini Black Wheat Lager • Volkan Santorini White • Volkan Santorini Grey

Yellow Donkey • Red Donkey • Crazy Donkey

Info V O L K A N : S A N T O R I N I B R E W I N G C O M P A N Y: Mesa Gonia, tel. (+30) 22860-30.268 •



GROWN IN VOLCANIC SOIL From the mouth-watering cherry tomatoes and the fava beans that have been cultivated on Santorini for the past four millennia, to the rare white aubergines and tangy wild capers that grow among the dry-stone walls, here are four products that are as unique as their land of origin.

BY ta s s o u l a e p ta k i l i






Barley rusk

with fresh cheese, Santorini tomatoes and cucumber Preparation time: 20’ Ingredients (per person) 160 gr Santorini cherry tomatoes cut in half • 2 tbsp fresh basil or 1 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped (or ½ tbsp any dried herb of preference) • salt, freshly ground pepper • 50 ml olive oil • 1 tbsp wine vinegar (preferably red-wine) • 1 tsp sweet wine (preferably Vinsanto) • 100 gr fresh white cheese from Santorini (mostly made of goat’s milk and by small dairies) or soft xinomyzithra • 1 medium-sized cucumber (the local variety is known as “katsouni”) sliced • 1 tbsp capers, washed of brine


Directions Place the tomatoes in a food processor and lightly pulsate once or twice until cut into largish chunks. Place in a bowl; add salt and pepper, 3 tbsp of olive oil, the vinegar, the sweet wine and the herb of preference. Mix well with a spoon. Sprinkle some water on the dried rusk to soften it just a little bit and place on a plate. Spread the tomato salsa on top. Next, layer on the cheese and the capers, and drizzle with olive oil. Serve with the sliced cucumber and add a pinch of salt.


Cherry Tomato L O W - M A I N T E N A N C E B EAU T Y

The scientific name for this unique tomato is Lycopersicon esculentum, of the Solenaceae family. It is a landrace, meaning that it is grown only on Santorini. It may be small in size – the average weight being at just 20 grams – but it is miraculous. It has a deep red color, a thick skin with clear vertical lines, compact flesh that does not contain a lot of water and many seeds. The flavor is very sweet with strong acidity. It is also rich in inverted sugars (glucose-fructose) and aromatic oils. Its Protected Designation of Origin means that it can only be grown on Santorini, Thirasia, Palia and Nea Kameni, As-

pronisi, Christiana and Askania – that is the islets off the main island’s coast. The seeds first made it to Santorini through the Suez Canal in the mid-19th century. It is said that when the ships of Santorini docked there for supplies, the sailors would eat Egypt’s famed cherry tomatoes and bring seeds back. As a plant, it adapted well to Santorini’s particular climate of little rainfall, strong northerly winds and an abundance of sunshine (estimated at an average of more than 200 days a year). And it is the volcanic soil, with all its “difficulties” that ultimately imbued it with its special characteristics and sweetness.

N u t r i t i o n a l va l u e The Santorini cherry tomato has the highest lycopene content among other tomato varieties, a phytochemical substance with major antioxidant properties, which, according to the latest studies from the University of Cambridge, lowers the chances of heart disease and helps prevent cancer. In f o Off Santorini, the trademark cherry tomatoes can be found, in various forms, in jars. They are processed by Santo and sold at selected supermarkets, grocery stores and delis.





Fava Anci e nt d e l ic a c y


ways produced its own fava. The unique make-up of the island’s soil, the climatic conditions and, as odd as it sounds, the aridity have helped shape this product, with its velvety texture and sweet flavor. Theran fava is also very rich in protein (with a content of around 20%) and carbohydrates, while it is smaller in size than other varieties. It was recently awarded Protected Designation of Origin, meaning that it needs to be grown in a particular way on certified farms and only on Santorini, and also needs to be ground by certified mills.

N u t r i t i o n a l va l u e A good source of vitamin B1 (thiamine), iron, copper, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium, rich in folic acid and manganese, it helps lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and maintain proper blood sugar levels, boosts the heart and digestive system, and protects the large intestine from cancer. The fact that it does not contain sodium makes it ideal for people with high blood pressure. In f o There are about 200 hectares of farmland dedicated to fava on Santorini today, with 300 farmers producing 100,000 kilos a year. It is sold packaged only by SantoWines or can be purchased at selected supermarkets, grocery stores and delis.


Santorini’s fava (split-peas) comes with references that date back to antiquity. According to prehistoric remains of stored crops and seeds from excavations at Akrotiri, the local variety of Lathyrus clymenum has been cultivated exclusively on the island for more than 3,500 years, long before the eruption of the volcano. In fact, Pedanius Dioscorides, a renowned 1st-century physician and botanist, separated the species of plant from which Santorini’s fava is made from other Papilionoideae species that produce this bean in other parts of the world. Every family in Santorini has al-

classic fava

Preparation time: 10’ Cooking time: approximately 1 hour Ingredients (serves 4) 300 gr fava • 100 ml olive oil • 100 ml lemon juice (or to taste) • 2 tsp fresh chopped oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano • salt, freshly ground pepper For serving: 1 medium-sized onion Directions Wash the fava thoroughly and place in a medium-sized saucepan with 900 ml of cold water over strong heat, for about 3-4 minutes until it comes to the boil. Lower the temperature and skim the scum off the top with a slotted spoon repeatedly until it stops appearing. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for approximately 1 hour until the fava thickens and absorbs the water. Do not stir because the fava will release its starch and stick to the bottom of the pan. If it hasn’t softened in an hour, add half a cup of water and keep cooking. Set the fava aside and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. While it’s still warm, add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well using a wooden spoon until you have a dip resembling lumpy mashed potato. If you prefer a smooth consistency, pass it through the blender. Place the fava in a deep bowl, garnishing with the oregano, chop up the onion and serve on the side.

This delicious pulse is served as a paste, with a drizzle of fresh lemon juice, olive oil and finely diced onions. It is a lovely side dish with fish and shellfish. It can also be served as a soup or used to enrich salads and risottos.

Thanks to Agapi Roussou for her valuable assistance.





Caper relish can be spread on toast or rusks, with a thin slice of mozzarella and anchovies. Delicious accompaniment for cold salads with pasta or pulses, fish and grilled meat. Add a teaspoon to vegetable soups, tomato soups and red sauces.

Capers The caper bush is a low-maintenance plant that does not like to grow in fields, near cities or in good soil. With something of the briny taste of the sea, it grows on the rocky slopes of the Santorini caldera and near the dry-stone walls built by farmers to contain soil erosion. The buds and leaves are collected from late June through end-August, stored in jars with brine and used in salads or tangy sauces. In Santorini’s traditional cuisine, they are also used in fava dip, giving it a nice tart flavor, and are served along with crunchy, fried fava balls. 130

N u t r i t i o n a l va l u e Capers are a rich source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium and zinc, as well as flavonoids. They have been considered to have healing powers since antiquity. Also a mild diuretic, they are used to combat water retention and, possibly because of their anti-inflammatory properties, as a painkiller. The plant is also attributed with antioxidant qualities. In f o Capers are sold in small glass jars by SantoWines (buds and leaves). They can also be found at selected grocery stores and delis outside Santorini.


wi l d & ta n g y

Caper relish

(with olives and sun-dried tomatoes) Preparation time: 5’ Ingredients (for approx. 300 gr) ½ cup capers • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes preserved in oil, well drained • ½ cup “Throuba” (or Kalamon) olives, pitted • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 30 ml brandy or ouzo (if you don’t want to use alcohol, add extra oil to achieve the right result) • freshly ground pepper • 70 ml olive oil • 2 tbsp. fresh mint or fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped (or 1 tbsp. dry leaves, finely chopped)

Procedure In a blender, mix the capers, tomatoes, olives and garlic in a soft purée. Add the alcohol (if using), the pepper and blend for a few more seconds. Gradually pour in the olive oil while continuing to blend, until the mix has an almost smooth consistency. Add your herb of choice, mix in with a spoon and leave the relish in a jar for 10 days. If you are not going to use it immediately, you can initially omit the herb and add it shortly before serving.

Thanks to chef Nena Ismyrnoglou




Aubergine dip (melitzanosalata) Preparation time: 15’ Cooking time: Approximately 20’

Ingredients 2 aubergines (preferably the white Santorini variety) • 1 onion, grated • 1 clove garlic (optional), crushed • 1 tbsp vinegar (preferably white-wine) • 40 ml olive oil • salt, pepper Directions Roast the aubergines on a charcoal grill or under the oven grill, turning them over until soft and the skin is slightly charred. Cut in half and use a spoon to gently scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Mash the aubergine with a fork, and add the onion and garlic (optional), mixing well. Next, add the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve with barley rusks and olives.



White aubergine Sw e e t & r a r e

Santorini’s trademark aubergine (Solanum avigerum) has white skin and belongs to the broader Solanaceae family, but to a specific variety that is grown only on the island. Its seed is believed to have come from Egypt in the mid-20th century and to have adapted very well to the island’s soil and microclimate. It is round, with firm flesh, and does not have the bitterness of regular purple eggplant or too many seeds. It is also very juicy and sweet, while locals say that it does not absorb a lot of oil when it is fried.

N u t r i t i o n a l va l u e It is rich in vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus. Thanks to the powerful antioxidant action of nasunin, it protects brain cells, boosts the immune system and helps lower cholesterol. In f o Santorini’s white aubergine is grown in small quantities and unfortunately can only be found on the island. You may find “Santorini-type” eggplants all over Greece, but their flavor is a far cry from the real thing.

p r o d u c e r d e ta i l s SantoWines: Pyrgos, Santorini, tel. (+30) 22860-22.596, • Athens outlet: 11 Sophocles Venizelos, Peristeri, tel. (+30) 210-515.3163







Eat, drink, love The SantoWines Oenotourism Center is a must stop-off for the fine local wines and authentic food products of the Union of Santorini Cooperatives, which has been supporting and promoting the island’s production for the past 60 years.

BY giorgos tsiros


The success story of the Union of Santorini Cooperatives becomes immediately apparent on your first visit to the SantoWines Oenotourism Center, right on the edge of the caldera. Over 400,000 travelers from all over the world visit the center each year to learn the secrets of winemaking at the island’s biggest winery, to try exceptional Assyrtiko, Nykteri and Vinsanto, to buy celebrated local products with the Santo label of quality – including fava, tomatoes, capers, the traditional spoon sweet of white almonds simmered in local honey – and to discover the essence of local wine and food culture. With its amazing view, the Sunset Terrace is ideal for relaxing with a coffee or a glass of wine accompanied by cold dishes, as attested by five-star reviews on TripAdvisor, while the shop serves as a showcase for years of efforts in branding and standardization, with the aim of ensuring that the island’s products retain their authenticity. Established in 1947, the Union is


a great asset for the local community. With 3,000 members, over 1,000 of whom are active, it managed to keep agricultural production alive at a time when tourism fever was turning vineyards and farmland into hotels. “Without the Union, the people who worked the land would have moved to the cities and Santorini’s famous products would have been confined to a very small scale,” says Markos Kafouros, the Union’s president and head of the National Interprofessional Organization of Vine and Wine, which, under the name “New Wines of Greece,” is promoting Greek wine all over the world. Today, SantoWines is the driving force behind development based on sustainability and quality. It gives incentives and good prices to growers, safeguards the Protected Designation of Origin status of products, promotes the cultivation of native varieties, encourages exports and invests in the island; initially with its ultra-modern winery, completed in 1992, then with

the store in 2000 and now with the complete renovation of the tomato processing plant at Monolithos. The Union’s activities directly or indirectly benefit one-third of the island’s inhabitants. Innovation remains its top priority, a good example being the introduction of a new department, which utilizes the waste from winemaking to produce cosmetics and food supplements. Its list of products is continuously growing. After last year’s innovative Sparkling Assyrtiko, a world-first, this year saw the addition of a sublime organic Assyrtiko, as well as organically grown fava beans. SantoWines, offers various tour and tasting programs: from the regular tour that briefly explains the winemaking stages and concludes with the tasting of three wines (€9 per person) to the memorable experience of a full tour of the installations, ending with a tasting of 18 (!) wines accompanied by cheeses and other local delicacies (€35 per person).


SantoWines Pyrgos, Santorini, tel. (+30) 2286022.596 (Winery - Head Office), (+30) 22860-28.058 (Oenotourism Center) • Open daily, from 10 a.m. to sundown I n f o r m at i o n a n d b o o k i N S : There is also an e-shop, for minimum orders of €35 (in Greece) and €65 (outside Greece).





THE HUNGER GAMES Santorini’s ever-changing restaurant scene can be a little overwhelming for the first-time visitor. So here is a broad selection of eateries, ranging from the luxurious to the more humble and authentic, to make your life easier – and your food memories from the island longer lasting.

Exo Gialos Aegialos Beach Tel. (+30) 22860-25.816 • Modern taverna and beach barlounge on the sea at Exo Gialos, just 2.5 km from Fira. Traditional local cuisine, fresh fish and mezedes. Wine list with 30 choices, most from local vineyards.

Exo Gonia Metaxy Mas

Fira Assyrtico Wine Restaurant Tel. (+30) 22860-22.463, 34.255 • In partnership with celebrated chef Nikos Pouliasis of the emblematic Koukoumavlos restaurant, who is also responsible for the menu here, Assyrtico offers imaginative Mediterranean and Greek cuisine on a lovely veranda with a view of the caldera (and in a modern interior space), just a few steps from the Orthodox Cathedral of Fira. The wine list features 50 labels, all Greek. Part of the same establishment, the Aigli café-bar in the shaded yard just below will be operating as a wine bar this year.

Akrotiri The Cave of Nicholas Tel. (+30) 22860-82.303 • Right next to the sea, with fish freshly caught from the boat that supplies the taverna. Tasty mezedes (small dishes) with local


ingredients from the owner’s vegetable garden, a choice of four good house wines and plenty of the bottled variety.

+ l Kapetan Dimitris tel. (+30) 22860-82.210, Giorgaros tel. (+30) 22860-83.035 and Delfinia tel. (+30) 22860-81.151 are a few

Metaxy Mas Tel. (+30) 22860-31.323 • The first answer you’ll get from locals when you ask where you can eat well. Cave-like interior in winter, veranda with view of Anafi and a courtyard in summer. Traditional cuisine of Crete and Santorini, accompanied by raki to keep spirits high. Hearty Cretan salad, oven-cooked white eggplant, beef fillet with Vinsanto sauce. You will need to make a reservation and... get directions to find it.

Fira 1500 BC Tel. (+30) 22860-21.331 •

Lauded for its service and the view from upper terrace, this minimalist seafood restaurant elevates humble local ingredients by giving them a gastro twist. Try the fresh fish baked in a salt crust or lobster tail and fillet with a Café de Paris sauce. A honey and lavender panna cotta tops it all off nicely. Archipelagos Tel. (+30) 22860-24.509, 23.673 • A classic restaurant on Ypapandi Street, with a magnificent view of the caldera and a wide selection of local, Cretan and international dishes. Argo Tel. (+30) 22860-22.594 • With very good reviews on TripAdvisor, a huge selection of dishes (local, international with exotic touches, freshly prepared fare, creative gourmet-style offerings) and of course... the breathtaking view. Character Tel. (+30) 22860-21.816 • All day cafe, restaurant and bar, located in a centuries-old mansion with terrace overlooking the caldera, near the cable car station. Renowned chef’s Chrysostomos Prasatzis’ menu is a modern and creative take on Greek cuisine. Koukoumavlos Tel. (+30) 22860-23.807 • For the past 26 years, Koukoumavlos has been one of the island’s culinary flagships, whose chef-proprietor, Nikos Pouliasis, has gained international fame thanks to dishes that impress and surprise, such as kataifi of fine Greek white cheese wrapped in angel hair pasta flavored with rose petals in watermelon sauce, with mint and cucumber jelly, or crayfish in white chocolate sauce, with ginger, lime, anchovy caviar and green apple carpaccio. On the side


more unpretentious, traditional family tavernas in the area, serving fresh fish and authentic mezedes, all three of which are popular among locals.


Pelikan Kipos Pelican Kipos Tel. (+30) 22860-23.433 • For breakfast, coffee, lunch, dinner or simply a drink, Fira’s most famous garden remains a very popular haunt. Around 200 wine labels in the cellar, plus a choice of 40 fine beers.


+ l Little Italies

Yearning for authentic Italian? Cacio e Pepe, tel. (+30) 2286024.971, has neither a view nor impressive decor, but its pizzas are famous. A new arrival, with an Italian team, is Convivium, tel. (+30) 22860-28.111, which has received glowing reviews for its dishes (pizzas, pasta, meat, etc) and service in a smart, modern space.

Sphinx Tel. (+30) 22860-23.823 • The restaurant of chef and owner George Psychas has been a firm favorite in Fira for the past 25 years on account of the view and excellent cuisine. Many of the vegetables and herbs are grown in his organic garden at Oia, while the wine list is huge.

Anogi Τel. (+30) 22860-21.285 • Popular (on account of prices and cuisine) “neo-taverna” with courtyard. Diverse menu from pasta dishes to freshly prepared grilled fare, along with traditional, home-style favorites.

Heliotopos Wine Bar

The Bone Tel. (+30) 22860-25.407 • A different proposal on Santorini from Vassilis Zacharakis, the local chef who caused a sensation at Nichteri. Exceptional design, a modern approach (orders by iPad) and perfectly cooked, quality meat cuts straight from the grill: premium steaks, succulent burgers, fresh fries, along with fine cheeses and cured meats from the Cyclades and Crete. Open all year round, in the evening also as a bar with finger food, draft beers and cocktails.

+ l De gustibus...

If you prefer traditional local cuisine, the Rousos family’s Aktaion goes back 90 years, tel. (+30) 22860-22.336. For pizza, try the small Italian Il Cantuccio, tel. (+30) 22860-22.082, while for sushi and cocktails, Ginger Sushi Lounge, tel. (+30) 22860-21.336 •


For something different...

The ouzeri Tsipouradiko, instead of a view and snappy decor offers classic Greek dishes at reasonable prices. Highly recommended by locals, especially the younger crowd, tel. (+30) 22860-21.847.

Vassilikos Tel. (+30) 22860-34.203 Nice setting and dishes of mediterranean and local cuisine, right on the popular beach of Kamari. You can also order coffee, juices or food from your sunbed. Elia


Avocado Tel. (+30) 22860-36.183 • Mediterranean cuisine with a nice balance of meat and seafood dishes featuring subtle creative touches. White Cycladic environment and a charming courtyard.


from the sea, Almira has a friendly traditional atmosphere. The menu offers numerous choices, from fresh mixed salads to fish, pasta and some delectable desserts.

Heliotopos Wine Bar Tel. (+30) 22860-23.670 Either in the atmospheric cave-like interior or on the terrace with the spectacular view, the hotel’s wine bar is the ideal place to discover the treasures of Santorini’s vineyards. Open all year round, but call first to make sure it’s not booked for a private event. La Maison Tel. (+30) 22860-25.649 Contemporary, creative cuisine and very good value for money in a comfortable space with minimalist decor and... a great view.

Kamari Almira Tel. (+30) 6996-712.920 • On the beach but set back slightly

Εlia Tel. (+30) 22860-31.138 Contemporary cuisine in harmony with the ambience of the luxury suites at Belonias Villas, just a few steps from the sea. Mediterranean dishes with local ingredients, prepared in a modern style, such as fava with fried onion balls and lemon syrup, pork tenderloin in kumquat sauce, lamb fillet with eggplant in a ginger and honey syrup. Sabbia Nera Tel. (+30) 6932-442.121 • Italian trattoria with wooddominated decor in tones of black and white on the black sand beach of Kamari. Lounge music, laidback atmosphere and wonderful cocktails either before or after dining. International, Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, along with traditional local dishes.

MEGALOCHORI Alati Tel. (+30) 22860-81.796-7 • Modern, creative seafood dishes from executive chef Melina Chomata in two different but equally attractive areas of the Vedema Hotel: inside a 400-yearold canava and on the terrace with a view of vineyards and the village. Feggera Tel. (+30) 22860-82.930 • Sophisticated Greek cuisine from renowned chef Andreas Sourdas, in a traditional mansion with a veranda. Also operates as a café.


street that leads from the Othodox Cathedral to Lower (Kato) Fira, it has a balcony overlooking the caldera.


Since the time it opened and began receiving awards, as Santorini’s first gourmet restaurant in a captian’s mansion, which was built in 1845, competition has increased. Nevertheless, the mark left by 1800 on the island’s gastronomic scene remains indelible. Modern Greek and Mediterranean cuisine with bold creative touches, an impressive wine list and an enchanting roof garden with a view for those cool summer nights. Extended list of premium Santorini wines and other quality Greek labels. Ambrosia Tel. (+30) 22860-71.413 • Taking into account its location, decor and view, perhaps one of the most romantic restaurants in Europe. One thing is for sure, in Oia it is a must. Locally sourced ingredients are showcased impeccably in creative dishes of Mediterranean and international cuisine, while the informed wine list offers 35 fine labels from Santorini and other parts of Greece.

Ammoudi Fish Tavern Tel. (+30) 22860-72.298 • The first restaurant you encounter when heading down to Oia’s picturesque harbor offers fresh fish and seafood, supplied by local fishermen, which are worthy of the impressive, multi-level venue that looks like a sailing boat ready to unfurl its sails: orzo with lobster, charcoal-grilled sun-dried octopus, shrimps in ouzo-orange sauce and green salad are just some of the outstanding dishes. Together, of course, with perfectly cooked fish, for which the owners, with 40 years’ experience in the restaurant business, admit to having a passion.

+ l Nobody has left Ammoudi feeling hungry

Just in case though, it would be wise to make a reservation during the island’s high season). Kyra Katina, tel. (+30) 22860-71.280 is something of an institution on Santorini, famous for its mezedes that have been savored by famous

and ordinary people alike. At Dimitris, tel. (+30) 22860-71.606 you will enjoy fresh fish, properly cooked, with the sea at your feet, just like at Sunset Ammoudi by Paraskevas, tel. (+30) 2286071.614, celebrated for its lobster spaghetti, the recipe for which is a closely guarded secret.

Mousiko Kouti


Irene’s Tavern Tel. (+30) 22860-72.200 A new arrival this summer, at Armeni, not that easy to get to (on foot or best by boat), with tranquility guaranteed. A traditional fresh fish restaurant, right next to the sea, in its most authentic, unadulterated version. Feredini Tel. (+30) 22860-71.825 • An incredibly beautiful veranda, with a menu that pays tribute to the island’s traditional cuisine blended with Mediterranean flavors and a name inspired by a small grape harvesting knife used for years on Santorini. Katharos Lounge Tel. (+30) 6970-966.754  On the beach of the same name, just a few minutes’ walk from Oia, for great cocktails, delicious tapas and a wide selection of vegetarian dishes in a relaxing summer atmosphere. Krinaki

Mousiko kouti Tel. (+30) 22860-85.282 With chef Chrysostomos Prasatzis taking the helm in the kitchen this year, this authentic Greek meze eatery has been warmly received by Greek and foreign visitors alike for its prices, service and cuisine.


Skaramangas Tel. (+30) 22860-31.750 On Monolithos beach, a classic fish taverna with traditional dishes, reasonable prices and good service. Ask if the “kakavia” fish soup is on the menu.

Oia 1800 Tel. (+30) 22860-71.485 •

Melitini Tel. (+30) 22860-72.343 • Modern version of the traditional coffee shop, with an atmosphere that attracts a young crowd and cuisine that flirts with authentic family recipes like grandma used to make. Cheese and cold cut platters, pan-cooked, oven-baked and grilled treats, excellent desserts and drinks for any hour of day. Kyprida Τel. (+30) 22860-71.979 • Cypriot cuisine on Santorini... why not? Seftalies, halloumi cheese, lountza, afelia and other flavors of the eastern Mediterranean, in one of the quietest corners of Oia. Favorable reviews from Cypriot visitors on TripAdvisor – this must mean something. Potamos Tel. (+30) 22860-72.045 If you walk down from Finikia, following the arrows, you will reach the charming courtyard of this traditional café-eatery that comes to life at night with live music. Red Bicycle Tel. (+30) 22860-71.918 • Hailed by professional foodies as one of the best on the island, located in a 19th-century mansion on the cliff edge in Oia with amazing view from the terrace. Serves traditional Mediterranean dishes with a creative twist. Roka Τel. (+30) 22860-71.896 • A small taverna with soul and good cuisine (as described by those in the know) with a lovely patio that affords a beautiful sea view. Traditional and tweaked mezedes, meat and seafood dishes. “Keep local, keep fresh” is their motto and most of their dishes are made with local ingredients. Skala

Krinaki Tel. (+30) 22860-71.993 • Classic Greek taverna in an old canava (cave-like structure where grapes were pressed and wine


ammoudi bay

stored) with a lovely courtyard in picturesque Finikia. Highlights include pot-roast lamb, charcoalgrilled rib-eye steak and traditional dishes cooked fresh each day with local seasonal ingredients.


Skala Tel. (+30) 22860-71.362 Wherever you travel, there will be some restaurants that always have guests, no matter what time of day, and this is obviously a criterion for entering. Greek cuisine featuring traditional dishes, both previously prepared and cooked to order, in a friendly family environment.

+ l Views and more...

Melenio tel. (+30) 22860-71.149, is famous for its pastries, Terpsi en Oia, tel. (+30) 22860-71.919 is an all-day multi-level venue for coffee, wine and food, while the 218o, tel. (+30) 22860-71.801 serves freshly made sandwiches, tasty snacks and hot dishes all day long.

Perissa Noma Kuzina Mediterra Tel. (+30) 22860-85.254 • On the beach at Perissa, modern design, lounge music or beat depending on the time of day, tables on a wooden deck. Delicious pizza with thin, crispy crust, generous salads, juicy burgers and the necessary beer or cocktail after a refreshing swim.

Perivolos Opera di Costa Tel. (+30) 22860-83.439 • Tasteful open-air bistro-restaurant with Mediterranean cuisine at Agios Georgios. An olive tree in the center of the dining room, red and

white striped awnings, metal and wooden decorative details, tables in front of the sea, a good wine list and wonderful cocktails. Seaside by Notos Tel. (+30) 22860-82.801 • Lounge bar-restaurant extending almost to the water’s edge, considered a must by locals and visitors. From morning until late at night, Mediterranean fusion, along with sushi, a wine list featuring 110 labels, and spirits or cocktails flowing from the bar as the sun goes down and the tempo rises. Ta dichtia Tel. (+30) 22860-82.818 • On Perivolos Beach, this is one of the island’s best tavernas for fish, in a traditional setting beneath white awnings. Classic Greek cuisine, fresh fish and seafood, grilled, pan or oven-cooked.

Pyrgos Pyrgos Tavern Tel. (+30) 22860-31.346 • In terms of facilities, one of the biggest and best restaurants on the island, which manages to keep the quality bar high, receiving glowing reviews from foreign visitors. Franco’s Cafe Tel. (+30) 22860-33.957 The lounge bar that changed everything in Fira, with a view of the caldera, patio loungers and classical music, has relocated to the highest point of Pyrgos, where it offers its secret trademark Maria Callas

Pyrgos Selene Tel. (+30) 22860-22.249 • Yiorgos Hatziyannakis’ “Selene” this year celebrates its 30th anniversary and together with its younger “sister”, “Selene Meze & Wine”, located just below, are among the must gastronomic stop-offs on Santorini. In an attractive restaurant with a view over many of the island’s vineyards, you will savor exceptional Mediterranean cuisine that makes optimum use of local ingredients and flirts with molecular gastronomy. An outstanding wine list and cooking courses for inquiring minds.

cocktail, sublime meat balls and other culinary delights. A visit to one of the best bars on the island is well worth the ascent.

has a small playground). Expect to see plenty of locals, who appreciate its authentic cuisine.


Vlychada To psaraki Tel. (+30) 22860-82.783 • Traditional taverna for fresh fish on a balcony with an amazing view, ideal for a quiet family lunch (also

Kyra Roza Tel. (+30) 22860-24.378 An enchanting atmosphere in the flower-filled courtyard, with Mrs. Roza skillfully preparing the produce of her vegetable garden, locally sourced meat cuts and her own poultry.

Your reference point for Greek news & comment in English News







Survival Guide


Metaxy Mas* Santorini’s most delicious secret Authentic local cuisine with a Cretan twist The raki flows, the tasty food comes out in huge portions, the environment is friendly... You will lose track of time and look forward to visiting our two shady yards again and again.

* “Between us” Exo Gonia, Santorini • Tel. (+30) 22860-31.323 • email:


Canava Roussos Founded 1836

The oldest winery (canava) in Santorini produces excellent quality wines uniquely expressing the characters of the numerous varieties of Theran grapes. Decades of experience have passed from generation to generation so that, with consistency, continuity and absolute respect, expression is given to the island’s art of winemaking. Today, Canava Roussos, faithfully adhering to the island’s traditions, values modern technology and aims at creating wines with individual tastes and bouquets, selecting fruit of the highest quality from the island’s select varieties: Asyrtiko, Athiri, Aidani, Mandilaria, Mavrathiro. Take a tour of our traditional canava, enjoy our samplings and special “Santorini Evenings” and taste exquisite local dishes in our traditional taverna. Main Road – Mesa Gonia / Episkopi, Santorini • Tel. : (+30) 22860-31.278 •


SANTORINI IN NUMBERS 12 The number of different names

given to Santorini through the ages.

191Santorini’s ranking among Greece’s 325 municipalities in terms of population size (15,550)

76 square kilometers is the island’s area

5 degrees Celsius: the difference

in temperature between the sea and the hot springs of Palia Kameni.

600 churches and chapels; 50 of them are dedicated to the Virgin Mary

and 69 kilometers the length of its coastline.

150% is the rate at which the area of land

2,000,000 Approximate

dedicated to the cultivation of fava grew from 2008 to 2013 (96 hectares - 250 hectares)

number of tourist arrivals in 2014.

512 The number of cruise ships that docked at Santorini in 2014, carrying 742,553 passengers.

70,000 Τotal number of beds in hotels

and rooms-to-let.

310,433 Arrivals by airplane

in 2014

3 minutes: Duration of cable-car ride from Fira to the port of Athinios (220 m).

1,066,106 Cable-car tickets

sold last year.

40 years is how long it took to restore the beautiful fresco of the Crocus Gatherers.

350% is the rate at which the

number of tomato producers rose in the same period (57-200)

1.4 hectares is the area of the excavated site of Akrotiri that is protected by the bioclimatic shelter.

40 meters is the maximum depth of Santorini’s soil, on its plateaus.

70% of the island is covered

in layers of pumice.

84.5 square kilometers is the area

of the caldera.

400 meters: The depth of the sea in the north-eastern section of the caldera, formed after the Minoan-era eruption.

3 hours is the time you’ll need

77 windmills used to operate

on the island.

to hike the 9.5 kilometers from Fira to Imerovigli.

75 kilometers of walking trails on the island.

22860.22-555 is the telephone number


of the taxi stand to arrange your return.

greece is experience culture, gastronomy & more

S A N T O R I N I e d ition



47 - 87

88 - 95

96 - 100




101 - 142 TA S T E

Τhe volcano, the wonders of prehistoric and ancient civilizations, the unique architecture set against one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in the world.

The Sunset Oia fleet, the youngest and largest on the island, offers semi-private and tailor-made excursions for the discerning traveler who wants to explore Santorini & nearby islands.

From hiking to cycling, from tours to off-thebeaten-path points of interest... The best ways to connect to the soul of the island, still unspoilt by mass tourism.

Natural products grown in volcanic soil, wineries that keep a 4,000-year-old tradition alive producing world-famous wines. Plus, a selection of restaurants to suit all tastes.

Profile for GREECE IS



Profile for greece-is