Tag: Fira (page 2 of 3)

Santorini’s superlative scenery, on film


A screen capture of the title page for the Santorini Freedom film by Aegean Films

A screen capture from Freedom, a fabulous 5-minute film by Vasili Pasioudis


Simply breathtaking: It has been available for online viewing on Vimeo for the past two years, but today was the first time I saw Freedom, a superb film showing Santorini’s spectacular scenery, and I just have to pass along the link so others can see it, too.

Produced by Aegean Films, the five-minute film by Vasili Pasioudis tries “to show that despite all the modern day craziness in this world, there are still corners of this globe one can run to, to forget about ‘things’.”

Watching the film certainly made me forget about everything else for five minutes — and then made me wish we were going back to Santorini during our upcoming Greek holiday this month.

Below, I have posted three more screen captures of scenes from Vasili’s film, just to tease you with a few examples of the simply breathtaking, gorgeous scenes you’ll see in the film. (Don’t forget to turn up your speakers … the film’s soundtrack features music by Darren Hayes & Daniel Jones of Savage Garden.)



Santorini Freedom film view of early morning sunshine on the village of Oia

Early morning sunshine on the incredibly picturesque village of Oia



Santorini Freedom film view of Skaros Rock and Imerovigli village

Skaros Rock and Imerovigli village



One of Santorini's fabled sunsets is captured in spectacular glory on the Santorini Freedom film

One of Santorini’s fabled sunsets, viewed from a clifftop café in Fira



Don’t ride the donkeys! Why tourists should avoid taking the mule ‘taxis’ on Santorini


 Fira on Santorini

Cruise ships that visit Santorini drop anchor in the sea below the capital town of Fira and tender passengers to shore. From there, visitors reach Fira either by walking approximately 600 steps up the path (left) that zig-zags up the face of the 800-foot cliff  …


Santorini cable car

… by paying several Euros for the 3-minute ride up the cable car lift


donkey in Santorini

… or by riding a donkey like this one, which we encountered in Firostefani village during one of our three visits to Santorini. The donkey rides, which cost around €5, are a transport option that local mule owners provided for years before the cable car was installed. But animal welfare groups and even some cruise lines strongly urge travellers not to take the donkey “taxis” because the animals toil in poor working conditions and have been subjected to abuse and mistreatment by their handlers.


Ass transit:   Now that it’s spring, tens of thousands of people around the world are finalizing their plans for holidays in Greece this summer. Many will be travelling on cruise ships that will visit several Greek Islands, including what is probably the most popular port stop of all — Santorini.  Hundreds of those people may be hoping to make their arrival at Santorini even more memorable and “romantic” by taking what they believe will be a “traditional” donkey ride up the long path that links the cruise ship dock with the town of Fira, the island’s capital, which is perched atop the caldera cliffs hundreds of feet above the sea. Here’s a simple word of advice if you’re thinking about doing the same thing: don’t.

Though the donkeys might look “cute,” and the rides might appear to be a harmless and fun tourist attraction, travellers who use the mules as transportation actually contribute to animal abuse, according to animal welfare organizations and frequent visitors to the island who have personally witnessed handlers mistreating their donkeys.


The abuse takes several forms. The roughly 360 donkeys and mules that work as tourist “taxis” on the island are forced to climb up and back down a pathway with around 600 steep steps, making as many as seven trips a day between 9 o’clock in the morning and sunset. Often, the animals are required to carry tourists who, putting it bluntly, are obese and may weigh considerably more than the donkeys themselves.  And the mules must do this exhausting, gruelling work in blazing sunshine and searing summer heat, often with unsatisfactory food, water and rest periods, plus few if any breaks in the shade. To add insult to injury, they may be wearing ill-fitting harnesses that inflict cuts and sores on their bodies, while their owners or handlers may frequently strike them with sticks to make them move or hurry up. In short, they toil under cruel and deplorable working conditions.


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Greece holiday pic of the day


Sunset dining in Fira Santorini

Sunset dining at a clifftop restaurant in Fira, Santorini


Greece holiday pic of the day


Santorini clifftop footpath near Fira

Tourists enjoy tremendous views of Fira as they approach the main town on Santorini from the island’s incredibly scenic clifftop footpath



Greece holiday pic of the day


Blue Star ferry below Fira on Santorini

Passengers watch from the top deck as a Blue Star ferry sails past the clifftop town of Fira on its way to Athinios port on Santorini



Greece holiday pic of the day


mini Greek village souvenir

A Greek village souvenir display at a shop in Fira on Santorini


Chill out! Truly cool Greek Island pools


Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool

The gorgeous swimming pool at the Honeymoon Petra Villas in Imerovigli is positioned on the Santorini caldera cliffside hundreds of feet above the Aegean Sea …


Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool

… with spectacular views of Nea Kameni, the volcano island


Deep freeze: There are two great ways to beat the extreme summer heat in the Greek Islands: go for a swim in the sea, or take a plunge in a really cool hotel pool. But depending on the time of season you travel, there’s a good chance the pool could be cooler, if not downright frigid. There’s also a chance the water in both the sea and the pools could be too cold for swimming altogether. At least, that’s been our experience.

We typically travel to Greece in May, and have always encountered hot weather — including brief but brutal heat waves on Naxos and Santorini that sent afternoon temperatures soaring to nearly 40 Celsius. But regardless of how hot the air temperature got, the Aegean Sea has always been too cold for us to swim. In fact, there have been times I couldn’t even wade in the water during visits to Mykonos, Naxos, Paros and Santorini because it felt like my feet started to freeze only seconds after stepping in. Even just dipping my toes in the water at Super Paradise beach on Mykonos one May was too painful because the water was so bitterly cold.

Surprisingly, our hotel swimming pools haven’t been much warmer. And sometimes they’ve actually been colder! I could count on one hand the number of times we were able to spend more than five minutes in a pool, and on just one finger the number where we lasted longer than 10 minutes.

Even when we travelled to the islands during the second half of September one year, we got to swim only twice — once in the sea (which was blissfully warm) and once in a pool (which was shockingly cold) — even though Greece had experienced blistering heat waves throughout the summer.

Are we disappointed that we haven’t been able to do more swimming in Greece? Maybe just a bit. We’ve had good times at plenty of island beaches, and we’ve enjoyed spectacular views from most of our hotel swimming pool terraces. Cooling off with an ice cold bottle of Mythos instead of a swim hasn’t been so bad!

I’ll tell you more about our pool and sea swimming experiences in upcoming “Chill Out!” posts. For today, however, here are pics of some of the cool swimming pools we’ve seen during our visits to Santorini.


Dana Villas in Firostefani Santorini

The cliffside swimming pool and whirlpool at Dana Villas in Firostefani


Dana Villas swimming pool

Another view of the Dana Villas swimming pool and terrace


Pegasus Suites Hotel Imerovigli Santorini

The cliffside swimming pool at Pegasus Suites hotel in Imerovigli …


Pegasus Suites Santorini swimming pool terrace

… has a terrace that juts over the island’s rugged volcanic cliffs


swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

Swimmers can watch ferry and cruise ships come and go from this sea view swimming pool atop the caldera in Firostefani


swimming pool at Firostefani on Santorini

 Another clifftop hotel swimming pool in Firostefani


swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

Yet another Firostefani pool terrace with views of cruise ships


a swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

A closer look at the Firostefani pool pictured above


a swimming pool in Fira on Santorini

A small caldera-view swimming pool on the cliffside in Fira


swimming pool in Imerovigli on Santorini

An air mattress floats in a cliffside swimming pool in Imerovigli …


Santorini swimming pool terrace

… while lounge chairs on the adjacent terrace overlook Skaros Rock


Kafieris Blue Apartments swimming pool in Santorini

The caldera-view swimming pool at the Kafieris Apartments in Firostefani


Kafieris Blue Apartments Firostefani Santorini

Another view of the pool at the Kafieris Apartments


Kafieris Apartments Firostefani swimming pool

The Kafieris Apartments swimming pool at night


swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

I’ve always loved the look of this pool and terrace at what appears to be a private villa on the cliffside in Firostefani …


swimming pool in Firostefani Santorini

… from above, the pool’s shape reminds me of an apple …


private swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

… there’s comfy cushions for lounging in the sun beside the pool …


Swimming pool terrace in Firostefani Santorini

… as well as lounge chairs and a shady nook nearby


private swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

The big palm tree next to the pool draws some attention away from the villa’s unique Cycladic architecture


private swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

Here’s another view of the palm tree and the pool …


private swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

… which has an infinity edge offering great views of the sea far below


Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool

The uniquely shaped and situated pool at the Honeymoon Petra Villas in Imerovigli offers some of the most stunning views in all of Santorini


Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool on Santorini

The swimming pool and terrace offer incredible views in several directions


Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool on Santorini

The pool is built into the cliffside hundreds of feet above the sea …


Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool on Santorini

… and has a shallow wading pool on the hotel level below


Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool on Santorini

A side view of the Honeymoon Petra Villas pool …


Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool on Santorini

… and some of the apartments built of volcanic rock from the island


Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool on Santorini

One final view of the Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool, this time from the clifftop footpath that leads to Oia in one direction, and to Fira in the other


Greece holiday pic of the day


cruise ships at Santorini

Crowded caldera: 7 cruise ships at anchor below Fira on Santorini



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