Cruise Diva Goes
Ashore in Europe:
to see & things to do
Mysterious and almost
foreboding when approached by sea, Santorini is the world's largest
caldera and some suggest it is also the Lost Continent of Atlantis. Waves
of visitors are drawn to this beautiful and arid island by the
legend, the scenery, the resorts and beaches, and most
significantly, to see the ancient Minoan city at Akrotiri. Curiously,
the jagged cliffs appear to be dusted with snow.
Nearing the island, the dusting of white became recognizable
as the whitewashed buildings so typically identified with Greek
ashore at the port of Skala, passengers are faced with three choices
to reach Fira, the town above—the cable car, a donkey ride, or on
foot. Walking means using the
same path as the donkeys and riding a donkey means some of the
beast’s fragrance may linger on clothing for the rest of the day. The
cable car offers a spectacular view along with the speedy ride.
is easily explored by walking and taxis are available to other areas
of the island. Santorini
is best discovered by rental transportation; mopeds are cheap but a
jeep or similar vehicle is safer. Visitors
pass barren volcanic landscape where pumice was once mined for
export. Santorinians quite
literally were selling their homeland. Currently
agriculture and tourism are the main commercial pursuits.
excavation began in 1967, archeologists have regarded Akrotiri as
one of the world's most significant sites and a walk through this
Pompeian-like city is a must-see. Destroyed in 1522 BC by volcanic
eruption, the city's two and three-story buildings were perfectly
preserved beneath the lava and ash. Protected
under a tin roof, only a small predetermined route through the site
is available to tourists.
Thira is the site of Hellenic, Roman, and Byzantine ruins and
affords incredible views of neighboring islands.
picturesque village of Oia, like much of the island, was devastated
by earthquake in 1956. Rebuilt, it perches on the cliffs above the
sea and gleams—buildings and tree trunks are painted white every
year. White serves to disinfect and the rounded roofs are designed
to collect water, scarce on Santorini. Stroll
through Oia and have your camera ready for picture postcard views of
the caldera. A visit to
the small Naval Museum is interesting; however, the real appeal of
Oia is the stunning scenery and utter tranquility.
in Fira, buildings cascade over the caldera’s rim and it's quite
breathtaking to stop for lunch at a taverna seemingly suspended in
touristy, Oia’s shops nonetheless contain some nice souvenirs,
including lovely watercolors and hand-painted shirts. Merchants
in Fira are anxious to show off their wares, particularly gold
jewelry crafted in ancient Greek designs. Be
sure to barter for the best price. Local
wines are available in abundant quantities and can be sampled at
some of the wineries.
Two popular beaches,
Kamari and Perissa are located on either side of the mesa where
ancient Thira is located.
Ports of Call