Sailing the Cyclades is a life changing experience and once you’ve cruised these crystal clear waters for the first time, there’s a very good chance you’ll want to revisit the many island treasures again and again. Santorini is exceptionally beautiful with its caldera, fabulous coastline, bays and coves. Sailing along the island’s coast, you get to see its magnificence in all its glory. After spending a few days afloat in the crystal azure waters that surround Thera, there is nothing nicer than to explore the island’s interior and to taste the many flavours and delights that Santorini has to offer.
Santorini has been written about and admired by visiting travellers for centuries. Today, just as in times long past all sorts of boats, yachts and luxury cruisers sail the waters around the island throughout the year and more especially during the hotter summer months of the year because there’s so much to do and see both on land and at sea. Whether you’re a keen scuba diver or looking forward to bathing in the azure waters or to snorkelling in the shallows before relaxing on a beautiful secluded beach, Santorini is one of the most popular sailing destinations in the Med.
The Wonders of Fira
With this said, the island has a tremendous amount to offer an intrepid sailor once they step ashore. This includes hiking in areas of outstanding beauty where rock formations are literally out of this world. One walk takes you along the trail up to the volcanic crater of Nea Kameni and once at the top, the view of the caldera below is outstanding. It’s easy from this vantage point to see why some people believe that Santorini is in fact, the site of Atlantis, the ancient city that vanished below the waves some 9,500 years ago.
But before venturing further inland, just exploring Santorini’s medieval capital is a superb experience not to be missed being 330m above sea level and offering superb panoramic views of the caldera and surrounding areas. The Venetian Castle is worth exploring just to soak up the magnificence of this ancient site. Another superb walk takes you from Fira to Firostefani and Imerovigli, but for those who like a bit of a challenge, there’s a trail to Oia which takes you past Prophet Elijah’s Church, the gorgeous Chapel of the Cross and the majestic Black Mountain where sunsets are not to be missed.
Discovering Santorini’s Dramatic History
Santorini is steeped in ancient history and mythology which are just two of the reasons why so many sailors point their compasses towards this idyllic island destination making it a much favoured landfall. Akrotiri in particular, is well worth a visit. This Minoan settlement was buried after the cataclysmic eruption that took place in 1600 BC. It is one of the most well-preserved ancient sites in the Med. Other ancient wonders found in Fira include the museum of Prehistoric Thera with its now ultra-famous frescoes of The Monkeys, The Africa and Spring.
Exploring the Old Wineries of Finikia
A visit to the old wineries in the delightful hamlet of Finikia is a must. The houses are all painted the most wonderful colours offering a superb contrast to the backdrop of the azure Aegean Sea. Cobblestone streets take you through this charming hamlet and it’s where you’ll get to savour the local flavours and delicacies of Thera in traditional tavernas. There’s a beautiful large palm tree in the courtyard of St Matrona which is an ideal place to sit for a while, it’s where you get to take in the beauty of the location.
Santorini’s Gastronomical Delights
Santorini’s tavernas serve local produce that boasts a flavour all of its own thanks to the nutrient-rich volcanic soils found on the island. The cherry tomatoes grown on Thera are exceptionally tasty and known the world over for their flavour. Other specialities include dishes made from local delights like white eggplant, fava beans and capers which when combined with the marvellous seafood sourced in the waters around the island, makes Santorini one of the top gastronomical destinations in the Aegean.
Santorini also boasts some very good wines thanks to the nutrient-rich soils with one in particular called Vinsanto being extremely well known and it’s a wine that’s produced in vineyards that boast being over 3,000 years old.
Back on Board
After having spent time ashore visiting some of the many wonders the island of Thera has to offer, climbing back on board your yacht to relax on deck and watch a breathtaking sunset has to be the best ways to finish off a wonderful day in a superb way. That’s the beauty of a Greek island sailing holiday, your holiday home is there waiting for you whether you decide to drop anchor in a pleasant bay, moor up in a traditional fishing harbour or marina.