Sunday, November 19, 2017 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

5 Santorini Experiences to Awaken Your Inner Explorer

The most popular of the Greek islands, Santorini is famous for its romantic sunsets, iconic whitewashed villages, and stunning scenery. But this infamous island offers much more than screensaver-worthy views for tourists. In fact, despite its postcard-like appearance, Santorini’s opportunities for adventure are as plentiful as the tourists who flock there. So for all of the thrill-seekers looking for more excitement in paradise, Santorini delivers in spades.
 

Here’s five must-have experiences to stimulate your inner explorer in Santorini.

1    Hiking Skaros Rock

There’s no better way to kick off a beautiful Santorini morning than with a hike up Skaros Rock in Imerovigli. Inhabited during medieval times, Skaros Rock was considered the most important of five castle fortresses, and continues to impress tourists with its grandeur.

There are a number of routes you can take up this impressive rock depending on your ability and comfort level. Each route offers captivating views, so no path is a bad one. If you’re a more serious climber, consider bringing your climbing shoes along with you for some of the tighter sections. For newer hikers and enthusiasts, hiking shoes or sneakers will definitely suffice.
 
Hiking Skaros Rock
2    Cliff Diving Off Amoudi Bay

For those who crave the rush of adventure, cliff diving in Santorini will be just what the doctor ordered.

One of the most popular spots for this heart-pumping endeavor is off Amoudi Bay, the charming port located below Oia. Those who are bold enough to take the leap may also find adventure in navigating to the diving area, a journey of three-hundred steps from the top of Oia. Frankly, after experiencing nature’s StairMaster, some may choose to end their journey right there!

However, if you’re among the pioneering lot, you’ll hang a left past a strip of restaurants that line the bay. After reaching the final seafood restaurant, you’ll follow the marked path around a bend leading to the cliff diving rock.

Be sure to watch your step and take your time getting across the narrow foot bridge. After that, you’ll be all set to dive into the fun!
 
Cliff Diving Off Amoudi Bay
3    Donkey Riding Up the Caldera

Want to experience Santorini from a totally new perspective? How about atop a donkey? These wild rides are available in the thriving tourist towns of Oia and Fira. A once-in-a-lifetime experience, riding a donkey in Santorini is sure to put a smile on your face – and a spring in your step!

Be prepared for a bumpy ride that delivers surprises around every turn as your donkey navigates up the majestic caldera. If you’re feeling especially coordinated (or your donkey pauses to rest), use the opportunity to snap a photo. If possible, try riding with a friend or family member so that you can take turns capturing each other’s priceless expressions along the way!
 
Donkey Riding Up The Caldera
4    Catamaran Cruising Around the Island

A catamaran cruise is the perfect way to enjoy some leisure time while taking in the rich sites Santorini has to offer. There are a number of cruising options available for this must-do excursion, and most offer a 5-hour morning or sunset tour, food included. Sunset cruises are particularly special, as they give you the added bonus of watching the sunset right from the water.

Your captain will guide you through the island’s famous white, black, and red beaches, docking at various points throughout the journey. You’ll have the option of swimming at each of the docking points, including the chance to experience the island’s famous hot springs.

However, due to the high sulfur content in the hot springs, there will be a distinct odor of rotten eggs. For a considerably less smelly adventure, you may want to hang tight on the boat for this stop!
Catamaran Cruising Around The Island
5    Open Air Cinema Kamari

One of the best ways to experience a Santorini evening is by venturing out to the town of Kamari to catch a film at the Open Air Cinema. Located just a brief bus ride away from the bustling town of Fira, the cinema is renowned as one of the best open air cinemas worldwide.

From May through October, Open Air Cinema Kamari offers guests a unique way to experience movie night – right underneath Santorini’s twinkling night sky. Reminiscent of open-roofed theaters from ancient times, Open Air Cinema Kamari has been delighting guests since 1987.

With its beautiful garden atmosphere and illuminated full bar, you can enjoy access to the theater for the low entrance fee of 8€. Guests are welcome to purchase mixed drinks, the island’s famous Yellow Donkey beer, as well as popular movie snacks to accompany the film.

Open Air Cinema Kamari offers the perfect ending to an adventure-packed day on the island, so sit back, relax, and enjoy Santorini’s show!
 
Open Air Cinema Kamari
This stunning island, the result of an ancient volcano eruption, beckons adventurous visitors from all over the globe. Whether you come for the bluest of waters, lava pebble beaches, amazing views, whitewashed Cycladic architecture or romantic sunsets, you won’t be disappointed on your dream Greek holiday.
 

13 Comments

  1. October 28, 2017 - 1:41 am

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful article. I’m going to Greece in November and was searching for places to visit in Greece when I found this article. I’m definitely going to check out Open Air Cinema Kamari. Tripadvisor has amazing reviews of this page. Let’s see how my tour goes 🙂

    Reply
  2. October 28, 2017 - 6:12 pm

    Hi Gregory, I’m so glad you enjoyed the article! If you’re interested in reading more about my Greek adventures, I encourage you to visit http://www.carryonchronicles.com. I hope you have a fantastic tour!

    Reply
  3. Cait
    October 29, 2017 - 7:53 pm

    I have always wanted to visit Greece! One of the best things about islands is there are always beautiful sights to see every time you turn around! I’d love to go hiking up to the top of the mountain. The idea of an open air cinema sounds absolutely lovely, no matter what movie is on. The idea of sailing about and discovering the beautiful sights is wonderful, as well. I’ll definitely be adding these to my mental checklist of places to go if I ever managed to get over there. ;P

    Reply
    • November 1, 2017 - 2:24 pm

      Hi Cait, so glad you are considering a trip to Greece! It truly is a magical place, particularly the islands. In regards to the Open Air Cinema, you are absolutely right. I saw King Arthur when I went, which was great, but the best part about going there was definitely the experience of being outside under the stars.

      I actually have a bunch more articles on Santorini and Mykonos on my website, if you’re interested. You can check them out here: http://www.carryonchronicles.com. If you like…

      Reply
  4. Richard G.
    October 30, 2017 - 6:53 am

    Oh wow, that clifftop trail looks stunning, I can imagine the great sense of achievement you’d feel once getting to the end – that view must be fantastic. I love trails that pass through towns, it’s always good to be able to stop and shop for a little bit in the middle of a hike!! Also, early morning hikes are actually the best kind

    Reply
    • November 1, 2017 - 2:30 pm

      Hi Richard, thanks for your comments! Yes, Skaros rock was beautiful and one of my favorite parts of my trip to Santorini. I actually did a hike into Fira after the trip, and there were some great shops along the way (in between Skaros Rock and Fira there is a town called Firostefani). If you’re interested in reading more about my Greek adventures, I would encourage you to visit http://www.carryonchronicles.com and consider signing up for the newsletter to get more great tips delivered right…

      Reply
  5. Rachel
    October 30, 2017 - 11:17 am

    Amoudi Bay would be my favorite choice; I just love the picture of the serene environment. The diving cliff rock would also be a great spot for pictures.

    Reply
    • November 1, 2017 - 2:33 pm

      Hi Rachel, Amoudi Bay was absolutely beautiful – well worth the long walk down to the bottom! We definitely got our share of pictures there and even managed to capture someone mid-dive!

      Reply
  6. Rachael Mills
    November 1, 2017 - 2:42 am

    I hope to go for vacation in Greece someday. The donkey ride is what I would love to experience. I have never even been on a horse.

    Reply
    • November 1, 2017 - 2:37 pm

      Hi Rachael, I guarantee you will NOT regret your trip to Greece! So far, Santorini was my favorite place I’ve ever been. Yes, donkey riding was such an awesome experience! I would definitely suggest going up the caldera (as opposed to down) if you’re at all nervous about it (that way you never feel like you’re falling off)! If you’re interested in reading more about my Greek adventures, I’d encourage you to check out my blog: http://www.carryonchronicles.com and subscribe to the…

      Reply
  7. Mara
    November 11, 2017 - 10:35 pm

    Wow so great to see your work here Elena! Great descriptions and everywhere sounds so inviting!

    Reply
    • November 13, 2017 - 11:11 am

      Thanks, Mara! If you and Dave ever decide to make the trip, give me a shout! I’d love to give you more recommendations 🙂

      Reply
  8. November 13, 2017 - 11:11 am

    Thanks, Mara! If you and Dave ever decide to make the trip, give me a shout! I’d love to give you more recommendations 🙂

    Reply

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