SUNSET SERIES: SANTORINI
SANTORINI IS A CRESCENT SHARPED VOLCANIC ISLAND IN THE CYCLADES GROUP OF THE GREEK ISLANDS. IT IS FAMOUS FOR DRAMATIC VIEWS, WHITE WASHED WALLS EMERGING OUT OF ROCK, THE BLACK PEBBLED BEACH OF KAMARI AND THE WORLD’S MOST BREATH-TAKING SUNSETS.
MANY GUIDES WILL POINT YOU TO FIRA AND OIA AS THE BEST SUNSET LOCATION AND THEY ARE GREAT LOCATIONS. WE SUGGEST CONSIDERING OTHER GEMS THAT ARE A BIT OFF THE BEATEN TRACK AND WILL GIVE YOU A UNIQUE SANTORINI EXPERIENCE.
Fira is the capital of Santorini. It clings to the rim of the caldera more than nine hundred feet above the sea port. Fira is a bustling town and an anchor port for many Mediterranean and Aegean Sea Cruises. If you are arriving with a cruise, we highly recommend that you take the cable lift up the cliff side to town. A donkey ride might seem like an adventure but the path is narrow and steep; we recommend that you invest that time enjoying town not clinging to a hairy beast. Fira does a good job of serving the cruising visitors. There are ample shops to pick up jewels, clothing, travel mementos and of course, souvlakia. Fira has many cafes with lovely terraces facing the caldera. These restaurants can be a bit expensive. Many of the culinary options are good but not exceptional and if you are a purist regarding your sunset do a bit of research. The vantage point from Fira is exceptional, however, if you wish to see the setting sun dip into the sea make sure that your venue of choice is not blocked by the island of Thirassia. From some Fira venues, the sun dips behind the island.
Firostefani is literally a 15 minute walk or very short taxi ride north of Fira. It is close but the experience is so far away from the throngs of tourists. There are a few shops along the main street but primarily Firostefani is a picturesque and peaceful village. There are several wonderful hotels and cafes to catch the sunset. In Firostefani, our favorite place to indulge in fabulously native cuisine and moussaka so delicious that everyone in your group has to order their own (you will not want to share!) is Aktaion Taverna. It is an intimate cozy space with only 20 seats and no “mass-market” dishes. Please note that although Aktaion has an outdoor terrace, it does not face the sunset. Find a lovely place to enjoy a cool drink and the breathtaking sunset. Make a reservation to satisfy your gastronomic yearnings for before or after the sun sets. Locals and visitors alike will be lined up. If for some reason you are unable to get into Aktaion, your trip to Firostefani is not lost. Remvi Restaurant is on the opposite side of Firostefani Square. Their menu is delicious, the family is friendly and they have tables with a sunset view.
Oia is another popular western town facing the caldera. You should know that in most places watching a sunset involves nothing more than finding a spot, sitting down and waiting for magic. In Oia, sunset watching is just short of a contact sport. We have two favorite locations for their unique charms. The first is Oia Castle, also known as Saint Nikolas Castle. It is an ancient Venetian castle that is renowned for its romantic sunsets. Be prepared to arrive early (at least an hour) and have patience. You are going to have to sit through numerous “OMG, let’s take a selfie.” Our other favorite sunset location is 300 steps below Oia in Amoudi Bay. You can reach the bay via steep steps and by car. The adventure is well worth it. You will be delighted by the fishing area with quaint tavernas serving the catch of the day. The sun sets and reflects off the red cliffs that rise out of the sea; this coupled with an amazingly prepared fresh catch is beyond wonderful. It is a unique experience.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and our favorite location of Imerovigli is truly an exceptional beauty. The town is just north of Firostefani and easily accessed by taxi. We believe that Imerovigli has the most beautiful, unobstructed sunsets, hands down. Our favorite location to enjoy the golden display is Heliotopos Wine Bar. It is within the Heliotopos Hotel, a boutique hotel located at the highest point of the crater top (the rim of the caldera). The vantage offers unique views of the surrounding inlet. The Wine Bar is in a cave of lava rock. They have a terrace that extends from the cave to provide the optimal balcony for a setting sun.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING ABOUT JOURNEYS TO SANTORINI?
There are so many different ways to visit the wonders of the Greek Isles and Santorini specifically. PA Travel can assist you by offering an array of tours, cruises and custom packages that spotlight the wonders of Greece and surrounding area. We specialize in finding the travel package that meets both your taste for adventure and your budget. You will quickly discover why we’re recognized as one of the top American Express Travel agencies for ten (10) straight years. Contact a PA Travel agent today.