As the dismal weather continues to cloud our lives here in North America, people's imaginations are seeking out the sun. With so many requests for trips to the Greek Islands this year, I thought I'd highlight Santorini - trendy, touristy, utterly delightful. Beckoning with its dove white houses in the village, deep blue domed buildings, shocking pink bougainvillea, contrast of black and red in the scorched earth and miles of azure blue ocean., Santorini is arguably the most popular Greek island for romance.
Beautiful towns and villages, a lively nightlife, beach bars, and quaint restaurants, world class hotels, mouth watering Mediterranean fare and an extraordinary landscape. What's not to love?
The island has lots of beaches, famed for their clear water and the distinctive colour of the sand. Of course, it's worth reminding you that those promo videos show miles and miles of gorgeous sandy beaches and that's simply not the case in Santorini. However, there are beaches that still delight and the popular Perissa comes to mind, as well as Kamari Beach with its unique black sand. Monolithos Beach and Aspri Paralia (White Beach) are both good choices for those with little ones. My favourite - because I love collecting rocks and stones when I travel - is Koloumbos. There's something so enchanting about the variety of coloured rocks found on this beach.
The world-famous Red Beach bears a special mention. Considered to be one of the most unusual beaches in the world, Red Beach has officially been a "no go" area since April 2013 but if you know anything about the Greeks (and tourists I might add) they are not known for following the rules. The cause for concern - ignored by thousands each year - is the very real danger that sections of the cliffs could collapse at any time. And in spite of this Santorini tour operators continue to off boat trips to the beach and, exercising their don't-tell-me-what-to-do muscles, the most enterprising of the locals have set up a snack bar, umbrellas and rental chairs - blatantly breaking the rules. In a world where everything is regulated, I'm mulling over that very Greek characteristic of living for today. Thankfully, my trip to Red Beach was years before there were any concerns about landslides and resulted in a jar full of beautiful red pebbles, which now stand on my desk in my office. As unique and awe inspiring as it is, the threat is real and I no longer recommend that my clients go there.
Travel & Leisure have called Santorini the most romantic place on Earth - and for good reason. From breathtaking sunsets, endless, sweeping views of the Aegean Sea and beautiful hotels, infinity pools with endless view, this beautiful island has it all. Take a catamaran tour around the island, popping into alcoves en route for a dip in the ocean while the crew mix drinks and rustle up a Mediterranean feast for you. And if keeping your feet on the ground is more your style, get one of the local restaurants to put together a locally inspired basket of locally inspired food, with breads and cheeses and head off to the Castle in Oia. Take enough wine to see you through to the sunset - reported to be one of the best in the world.
If you can picture yourself on the beautiful island of Santorini, sitting on a slightly breezy rooftop overlooking the Aegean Sea, sipping a cocktail and listening to soothing Greek melodies, while the sun softly sets on the colorful horizon, then its time to plan your trip to the Greek Islands. Why wait?
Wishing you big dreams and magical adventures during 2019.
Your Jet Sail Explore Team xx