Tag: volcano island

The history behind Santorini’s spectacular caldera cliffs

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Click on the arrow to view Santorini volcano history, a fascinating 6-minute video by Santorini resident Nikos Korakakis

 

Captivating cliffs: Like most people who have visited Santorini, I know that the island’s distinctive crescent shape was created by hundreds of thousands of years of volcanic activity. I’ve read about it in travel guides, and I have seen illustrations of the island’s various different shapes over the centuries in some of the souvenir books I’ve collected on our travels.

But a video that I recently discovered does the best job, in my opinion, of showing precisely how the volcanoes and the course of time have shaped the Santorini of today.

Produced by Nikos Korakakis, an art director who lives and works in Santorini, the nearly 6-minute-long film is based on research by scientists, institutes and universities. It features narration (in Greek) by Anastasia Platanioti and music by Ross Bugden.

Although the narration is completely in Greek, you don’t have to understand the language to follow the video — the film includes explanatory English text superimposed on the animated illustrations.

Click the arrow at the bottom left corner of the video screen (top) to watch how centuries of volcanic activity created the spectacular island scenery that will enthrall more than a million visitors from around the world this year.

Below are just a few of the photos we have shot of the magnificent caldera cliffs that have taken our breath away on three visits to Santorini. You can full-size versions of those images, along with dozens of additional photos, in The Cliffs, an album on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.

 

Imerovigli village

The homes and hotels in Imerovigli village are precariously perched atop cliffs that climb hundreds of meters above the sea

 

Oia village

Oia village at the northern tip of Santorini is seen in this distance photo shot from Skaros Rock at Imerovigli

 

Oia Santorini

Resorts cling to the steep upper slopes of the caldera cliffs at Oia

 

Santorini caldera cliffs

A view toward Imerovigli (center) and Skaros Rock (to the left of Imerovigli) from the Athinios ferry port on Santorini

 

Skaros Rock and Oia

A view of Skaros Rock and, in the distance, Oia village

 

Fira Santorini

Fira is the biggest town and the main commercial center on Santorini

 

cruise ships at Fira

Cruise ships anchored near the caldera cliffs below Fira

 

Firostefani village

The village of Firostefani is a short but very scenic walk from Fira

 

Firostefani village

The caldera cliffs below Firostefani

 

Santorini caldera cliffs

The rugged cliffs plunge hundreds of feet to the turquoise sea in the caldera

 

Imerovigli village

We shot this photo of Imerovigli from a terrace at our hotel in Firostefani

 

Armeni Village resort at Oia

A view of the Armeni Villas resort in Oia, with Imerovigli and Skaros Rock providing a backdrop across the caldera

 

Oia village on Santorini

Oia, seen from the top deck of a Blue Star ferry as we arrived at Santorini

 

Santorini caldera cliffs

We captured this view of the caldera cliffs during a walk from Fira to Oia along the island’s world-famous clifftop footpath

 

 Click here to view 125 photos of the caldera cliffs on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.

Things I love about Greece: Waking up to gorgeous views at hotels in the Greek Islands (Part 1)

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Platis Gialos bay beach and resort area on Mykonos

On our very first morning in the Greek Islands back in 2004, we were awestruck by this view from our balcony at the Myconian Ambassador Hotel on Mykonos

 

Va-va-va-view: On our first-ever trip to Greece, we arrived at Mykonos after nightfall and didn’t have a clue what kind of view we would get from our balcony at the Myconian Ambassador Hotel. The hotel employee who showed us to our room opened the balcony doors and assured us we would have beautiful sightlines of the sea and Platis Gialos beach, but most of the area was pitch black  and we couldn’t see much more than lights from nearby hotels and houses. It also was surprisingly quiet, though whenever the light breeze blew in our direction, we could faintly hear Greek music being played in the tavernas lining the beach a few hundred meters below us.

When we woke up the next morning and pulled open the balcony doors, our jaws dropped as we got our first glimpse of Platis Gialos in daylight. The view was absolutely gorgeous! Spread out below were dozens of the island’s signature white cube buildings, the golden-brown sandy beach, and the vivid deep blues and tempting turquoise waters of the legendary Aegean Sea.

On all of our Greek Island holidays since then, we’ve always tried to get a hotel room with a good sea view. If the room itself doesn’t offer one, we’re content if there is at least a decent sea view from a public area somewhere else on the hotel property — be it a breakfast room, swimming pool terrace, or other place where we can sit, relax and gaze at the scenery. At home, all we see from our windows and balcony are highrise glass, steel and concrete towers. When we travel on holidays, we cherish views of the sea. It’s even better if we can see some islands and mountains, too. Bonus points if we can watch a spectacular sunset. But a Greek holiday just wouldn’t feel the same if we couldn’t see the Aegean.

I posted additional photos of the views from the Myconian Ambassador Hotel in my June 3 2011 post. Below are photos showing the various different views we have had from some of the other hotels we stayed at during Greek Island holidays since. Some of the views are terrific, and others considerably less so, but with only one or two exceptions, we always got to see the sea without having to leave our hotels.

 

Rodos Palladium sea view

The view from our balcony at the Rodos Palladium at Kallithea beach on Rhodes

 

Rodos Palladium sea and pool views

Evening view from our balcony at the Rodos Palladium in 2004

 

full moon above Kallithea beach Rhodes in 2004

Our Rodos Palladium balcony view of a full moon above Kallithea Bay in 2004

 

Candia Maris Resort & Spa Crete hotel room view

The balcony to our room at the Candia Maris Resort & Spa in Amoudara, Crete gave us this view of sea and mountains in 2004…

 

Candia Maris Resort & Spa Crete

… as well as this view of the resort’s indoor swimming pool…

 

a row of balconies at the Candia Maris Resort & Spa Crete

… plus this view of other balconies on our side of this particular hotel building

 

Santorini Palace Fira Santorini

That’s me on our sea-view terrace at the Santorini Palace Hotel on Santorini in 2004. This isn’t the breathtaking caldera view for which Santorini is renowned (this is the less scenic east side of the island), but it looked great to us. And if we did want to see the spectacular caldera view, all we had to do was exit the hotel’s main entrance and walk 100 meters up a short slope — and there it was.

 

Imerovigli village on Santorini at sunset

We couldn’t see a famous Santorini sunset from our terrace at the Santorini Palace Hotel, but we could see the sunset glowing on clouds above Imerovigli village

 

Myconian Imperial Hotel view of Elia Bay

A view of Elia Bay on Mykonos from the Myconian Imperial Resort & Villas in 2005

 

Myconian Imperial Resort & Villas hotel room view of Elia Bay

Part of the sea view from our balcony at the Myconian Imperial Resort & Villas

 

Myconian Imperial Resort balcony view

More of the sea view from our balcony at the Myconian Imperial Resort & Villas

 

Myconian Imperial Resort & Villas balcony view

Houses and rental accommodation on the steep hillside rising to the left of our balcony at the Myconian Imperial Resort & Villas

 

Myconian Imperial Resort & Villas Mykonos

Our bathroom window gave us a view of more hotel rooms higher up the hillside

 

Naxos Beach Hotel II view of Naxos Town

In 2005, we enjoyed views of Naxos Town and Agios Georgios Bay from the Naxos Beach II hotel in the Stelida district of Naxos

 

Naxos Beach II hotel views of Naxos

Another view toward Naxos Town from the Naxos Beach II hotel

 

Naxos Beach II hotel room view

Our bedroom at Naxos Beach II had doors that opened onto a stone-paved terrace offering this view toward Naxos Town

 

Naxos Beach II view of Naxos Town

Another view from the terrace outside our bedroom at the Naxos Beach II

 

Yria Hotel room terrace

At the Yria Hotel on Paros in 2005, our room had a large ground-level terrace


Yria Hotel Paros hotel room view

This was the view if we looked to the left while sitting on the terrace…

 

Yria Hotel Paros hotel room view

…while, unfortunately, this was the view to the right — overlooking an unattractive overflow parking area

 

Yria Hotel Paros views

We could catch a slight glimpse of the sea from the Yria’s swimming pool terrace…

 

Yria Hotel sea view

…and also see a small section of Paraspora beach, which was just a five-minute walk down the road…

 

Yria Hotel Paros swimming pool

… but the Yria Hotel’s main attraction was its enormous swimming pool. It looked fantastic, but the chilly water was murky from suntan oil

 

Phenix apartments and cliff houses on Santorini

In 2005, we loved this marvellous caldera view from our private terrace at the Phenix Hotel in the cliffside village of Imerovigli on Santorini

 

Phenix Hotel Santorini

We didn’t even have to leave our hotel room to enjoy the amazing view…

 

Phenix Hotel on Santorini

…but we preferred to savour the stunning scenery from our sun-bathed terrace

 

Phenix Hotel view of nearby hotels in Imerovigli

Looking to the left, we had this view of other hotels perched perilously on the steep cliffside high above the sea in Imerovigli

 

Phenix Hotel Santorini views

Looking down, we could see the caldera and cruise ships below the town of Fira

 

Phenix Hotel Santorini views

And from an upper level of the hotel, we enjoyed this view of the volcano island (Nea Kameni) and the gorgeous swimming pool at the Honeymoon Petra Villas, a beautiful multi-level hotel clinging to the cliffside next door to the Phenix