Category: Top Santorini posts (page 1 of 6)

New Radisson Blu Zaffron luxury resort opens on Santorini

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Radisson Blu Zaffron Resort on Santorini swimming pool

The Radisson Blu Zaffron Resort is a luxury retreat that opened in August 2021 at Kamari beach on Santorini

 

Newly opened: We regularly receive emails from readers asking us to recommend accommodations at Santorini beach resort areas — requests we’re not well-positioned to respond to since we haven’t been to the island since 2006, and have only stayed at caldera-side hotels when there.

But when someone recently asked if we knew of any stylish luxury hotels near one of the island’s beaches, we actually could suggest a place for them to consider — we had just received a media release announcing that a brand-new 5-star hotel had opened its doors.

The Radisson Blu Zaffron Resort opened in August at Kamari, a seaside village popular for its lively bar- and cafe-lined beach promenade, and an open-air summer cinema. Designed and built in traditional Cycladic style, the Radisson Blu Zaffron is an exclusive luxury retreat situated a short stroll from the resort area’s bars and restaurants, and just 150 meters from the black volcanic sands of Kamari beach.

 

Photos of the Radisson Blu Zaffron Resort on Santorini

 

The resort complex is comprised of 103 guest rooms and suites, as well as stand-alone villas, appointed with what the hotel website describes as “minimally sumptuous interiors.”

The luxe accommodations are “are all about supreme comfort in a sophisticated ambiance, topped off with indulging amenities to make you feel pampered. Designed for discerning travelers who appreciate refined luxury, the rooms and suites follow a traditional Cycladic outline with arches, smooth lines and cotton-white walls embellished with an exotic boho-chic décor and high-end furnishings,” the website says.

 

Room, suite and villa categories available for booking through the website include:

♦ Superior room with either ground-floor terrace or upper-level balcony;

♦ Premium room with terrace and outdoor whirlpool;

♦ Premium room with terrace and private plunge pool;

♦ Junior suite with balcony;

♦ Junior suite with terrace and private plunge pool;

♦ 46-sq-meter Suite with separate living area, work desk and private balcony;

♦ a Presidential suite which can sleep 4 adults in 2 separate bedrooms, has a private balcony, and is equipped with either a whirlpool or a plunge pool on a private terrace;

♦ Villa with terrace; and

♦ Villa with terrace and private plunge pool:

 

Spa gym and pool at the Radisson Zaffron Blu Resort on Santorini

Radisson Blu Zaffron Resort on Santorini swimming pool

 

The Radisson Blu Zaffron’s recreation facilities and common amenities include two centrally-situated swimming pools furnished with 80 comfy sun loungers.  Guests can enjoy coffees, cocktails and other beverages at the pool bar, as well as ice cream, snacks, sandwiches, panini, burgers and more.

The Calliste Wellness centre offers a variety of relaxation and stress-reduction treatments including facial and body massages, along with nail salon treatments.

The resort also has a meeting room that can accommodate up to 80 people for corporate events and business meetings, as well as social gatherings and receptions.

 

Radisson Zaffron Blu Resort Santorini restaurant and cuisine

Resort guests can savour tastes of Italy in the Radisson Blu Zaffron’s two in-house restaurants, Zefferino Ristorante and Belloni Trattoria.

The menu at the fine dining Zefferino Ristorante spotlights “meticulously selected dishes with raw ingredients brought by local Italian producers, honoring the rich gastronomic heritage of the Emilia-Romagna and Liguria regions as well as the Zeffirino family, who have been awarded the title of ‘Ambassador of Italian Cuisine’ thanks to their Genoese Pesto brand.”

Belloni Trattoria boasts an open kitchen and relaxed, laid-back atmosphere where guests can enjoy a mix of Greek and Italian dishes for lunch, and classic, traditional Italian cuisine for dinner.

 

The Radisson Blu Zaffron is operated by the tourism and hospitality firm Fais Group, in partnership with the Radisson Hotel Group.

Full details of the hotel’s accommodations and facilities can be found on the resort website, while its social media pages include numerous photos of the property.

Facebook:  @RadissonBluZaffrontResortSantorini

Instagram: @radissonbluzaffronsantorini

Web: Radisson Blu Zaffron Santorini

We haven’t heard back from the reader to whom we suggested looking into the Radisson Blu Zaffron, and don’t know if they wound up booking there for their Santorini holiday. But so far, the resort has been racking up excellent customer reviews on TripAdvisor, booking.com and Google, among others.

20 tantalizing reasons to visit Santorini island

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If Santorini is already on your list of places to visit, you’ve probably got a few main reasons for your choice — including the island’s world-famous sunsets and its breathtaking caldera scenery. But there are many additional features and attractions that make Santorini an appealing holiday destination, and local photographer, filmmaker and graphic designer Nikos Korakakis reveals them in his newly-released video 20 reasons to visit Santorini in 2020! 

Produced in collaboration with the Santorini Archive Project, the 3-minute film spotlights the island’s fascinating historic sites, incomparable geological features and extensive range of activities for visitors.  If you haven’t been considering Santorini for your next trip to Greece, the impressive images in Korakakis’s video might well inspire you to give the island a closer look.

 

April landslide prompts renewed warning of 5-year-old ban on visits to Santorini’s Red Beach

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Red Beach Santorini

With its breathtaking backdrop of soaring crimson cliffs, many tourists regard Santorini’s Red Beach as one of the top “must-see” attractions on the island. This image appeared on the Travel to Santorini page on Facebook.

 

Red Beach Santorini

Red Beach has officially been closed to the public since 2013 because of rockfall risks, but thousands of tourists ignore warning signs and visit regardless.  This photo, posted to Facebook by Hui Lin, shows a newlywed couple walking in the water at Red Beach on February 25 2018.

 

Red Beach Santorini

 Luckily, no-one was injured when a landslide struck Red Beach on April 13 2018. This photo by Costas Konstantinidis shows the huge pile of sand and rock debris that slid onto the southern end of the beach.  The photo appeared in Greek news stories reporting on the latest rockfall.

 

Beautiful but dangerous:  “Attention! Danger of landslides. No entry.”

That’s the warning on signs posted along the access path to Santorini’s world-famous Red Beach, but each year thousands of tourists have ventured down to the beach regardless, to sunbathe, swim and shoot those all-important “I was here” selfies.

Scores of people will probably visit Red Beach again this year, even though a landslide in mid-April confirmed there’s an ever-present danger that sections of the tall crimson cliffs that tower above the beach could collapse on them at any time.

Widely considered to be one of the most beautiful and unusual beaches in the world, Red Beach resulted from the natural erosion of the cone of a small volcano. Comprised of loose layers of slag (volcanic cinder), the cone’s steep southern slope developed large cracks and fissures during seismic and volcanic activity; eventually, sections of the slope crumbled and slid seaward, creating the dramatic cliffs that rise above the stone and pebble shore today.

The cliffs have been studied extensively by geologists and volcanologists from Greek universities and the Institute for the Study and Monitoring of the Santorini volcano, who concluded that further erosion cannot be stopped or prevented.  Since landslides are unpredictable and instantaneous, they urged island authorities to take steps to keep people from visiting Red Beach and potentially putting themselves in harm’s way.

 

Red Beach Santorini

This aerial image shows how the slopes of a former volcano cone have caved in and crumbled onto Red Beach over time. The photograph has appeared on many social media sites, including the Akrotiri and Knossos community page on Facebook, but I haven’t been able to find the original source to give proper credit for the image.

 

The island municipality did close Red Beach to the public after a major landslide occurred in August of 2013, but most tourists have simply walked past the “no entry” signs that were put up. It’s possible many of the travellers weren’t aware there have in fact been major rockfalls, or perhaps they have thought the risk of one occurring during their visit was so infinitesimal it wasn’t worth worrying about. After all, if it was so dangerous, why would local and national travel and tourism businesses continue to recommend that people go there?

Valid point indeed, since some Santorini tour agencies offer boat trips to the beach, while a variety of island hotels and travel businesses regularly encourage visits to Red Beach in photos and comments posted on their social media accounts. Enterprising local residents also have set up rental lounge chairs and umbrellas on the beach, along with a snack canteen — apparently in blatant violation of local regulations. And Aegean Airlines recently raised some eyebrows when it featured Red Beach on the cover of its in-flight magazine for March & April 2018, and in several photographs accompanying its feature story “The hidden treasures of Santorini” (one of the pics showed a female fashion model posing in front of a debris pile from a small landslide).

 

Will anything change as a result of the most recent rockfall, which occurred on April 13?

According to reports posted on the Greek news and information websites Atlantea and LIFO,  among others, the latest landslide prompted island authorities to issue a press release reminding people that “access to the Red Beach is forbidden” — as it has been since 2013 — so the beach remains off-limits for sunbathing, swimming, walking and other activities.

“The area has been marked with warning signs, and it is urged by all those involved with tourism to respect these prohibitions in order to avoid accidents,” the municipal press release is quoted as saying.

But since the “no entry” signs have been ignored for several years already, the municipality ultimately may have to consider installing physical barriers to ensure that people keep off the beach. As of this writing (on April 30 2018), tourists were still live-posting photos and reviews of Red Beach on their various social media pages, with some commenting that they noticed the hazard signs but went onto the beach anyway because they saw other people there.

If you’re planning to visit Santorini but don’t wish to risk a visit to Red Beach, you can instead view dozens of photos of it in my May 2016 blog post The bewitching but dangerous beauty of Santorini’s Red Beach.

 

Aegean Airlines Blue Magazine

The cover photo for the March/April 2018 Aegean Airlines in-flight magazine shows a fashion model posing near rocks  at one end of Red Beach.  There are more shots of models on the beach in the magazine’s photo feature on Santorini’s natural “hidden miracles.”

Greek Island icons & landmarks: The blue-domed church high above the sea on Santorini

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Agios Theodori Church

Photos of Agios Theodori Church have inspired countless people to visit Santorini and other places in Greece — or to dream of going there

   

Greek Islands Icons & Landmarks is a series of occasional posts about curious, unusual and extraordinary sights and places we have seen on our travels in the Greek Islands

 

Celebrity dome: It’s a quintessential image of Greece:  a cute white chapel with a shiny blue dome, accompanied by a white belfry with three bells, sitting high above the sea on Santorini.   

It’s called Agios Theodori, but like thousands of other churches in Greece, few people outside the country know its name. Nevertheless, it’s a familiar sight to millions around the world, since photos of the church have appeared for decades on travel posters, tour materials and in guidebooks, newspapers and magazines. Along with the Acropolis in Athens, that little whitewashed, blue-domed church is one of the main images people associate with Greece.

I recall seeing pictures of Agios Theodori in the early 1980s, first at restaurants in Windsor, Ontario and Detroit’s Greektown, and then at travel agencies and restaurants along Danforth Avenue in Toronto’s Greektown, which was just a few blocks from where I was living at the time. That was long before I ever considered going to Greece, but the pictures of that blue-domed church stuck in my mind.

 

Agios Theodori church

 

Agios Theodori church

 

 Over 20 years later we finally made it to Greece,  and Santorini was the last stop on our island-hopping holiday. Although I hoped we would see the famous blue-domed church, I didn’t know where to look for it. I figured that if we came across it while exploring the island, that would be great, but if we didn’t get to see it on this trip, perhaps we would some other time. 

Imagine my surprise and delight when, only minutes after checking in to the Santorini Palace Hotel in Firostefani, we walked to the tip of the caldera cliff nearby to check out the views — and saw Agios Theodori church just a few meters directly below us. I was slightly stunned at first; it felt like the familiar image I had seen in print so many times had suddenly come to life before my eyes. 

So was it as breathtaking and impressive as I had anticipated, after seeing it in photos all those years? You bet! There was absolutely no disappointment here —  the live view was spectacular. And to think the church was only a few dozen meters from the front door of our hotel! Now what were the odds of that happening? 

 

Agios Theodori Church

 

Agios Theodori church

 

Agios Theodori Church

 

We saw Agios Theodori church again, on each of our subsequent visits to Santorini, and it was still impressive to see. If we ever go back to the island I’m sure we’ll pass through Firostefani so we can take another look.

 

Below are several photos I found online, showing the church from perspectives we didn’t manage to photograph ourselves. There’s also a map indicating where Agios Theodori is located, should you want to see it in person yourself.

 

Agios Theodori church

The Agios Theodori belfry is seen in an image from the Petr Svarc Images page on Facebook

 

Agios Theodori Church Firostefani

The front of Agios Theodori church as seen from “street” level — actually, from the footpath that winds along the top of the caldera between Firostefani and Fira. Ting Lin shared this photo on Google Images.

 

Agios Theodori Church

 Also from Google Images is this photo by Charles Cheng, capturing Agios Theodori at sunset

 

Agios Theodori church location

Agios Theodori church is marked as “Three Bells of Fira” on Google maps, but it isn’t in the town of Fira — it’s a 10- to 15-minute walk away if you follow the clifftop footpath from the cable car station and walk north toward Firostefani (keeping the sea on your left side).  To see it from the “travel poster and guidebook perspective,” make your way to the Santorini Palace Hotel. From the hotel entrance, walk up the short slope toward the sea, and head for the low wall at  the edge of the parking area. Look down to your left, and enjoy the view!

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