Tag: Oia (page 2 of 5)

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.

Greek Islands featured on covers of major travel magazines

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GEO magazine June 2014 cover

GEO magazine profiled Greece in its June 2014 issue with a cover photo of Mandrakia village on Milos and an “Escape” feature on the “Secret islands and archipelagos of Greece.” They’re obviously not secret anymore!

 

Summer reads: When I’m not in Greece I enjoy reading about it — in books, magazines, online travel forums and websites. Thanks to feature cover stories about Greece published by three major European travel magazines recently, I’ve got plenty to read while relaxing on my balcony this summer.

Here’s a look at what the three magazine cover stories say about Greece:

  GEO magazine June 2014

I discovered GEO magazine from France purely by chance — I was looking for another magazine at a newsstand when a photo on GEO’s bold green cover caught my eye. It was the picturesque harbour at Mandrakia, a fishing hamlet on Milos, under the headline: “Secret islands and archipelagos of Greece.” I couldn’t resist and bought the magazine after taking only a cursory glance at the contents.

It turns out there are 28 full pages of text and beautiful photos about several Greek islands including Kythera, Kalymnos, Milos, Santorini, Chios, Aegina, Tinos, Skyros, Folegandros and Rhodes. The stories aren’t travel guides — they don’t recommend hotels to stay in, for instance, or suggest the hottest restaurants and coolest beaches to visit. Some of the pieces provide brief descriptions and overviews of the destinations, while others take an insightful look into how the Greek Islands have been affected by the country’s devastating economic crisis. The sale of island real estate to foreign billionaires is considered in part of one report, for example, while another piece profiles people who have started new business ventures selling local agricultural products.

 Island village photo foul-up

 GEO magazine photo of Astipalea

Mon Dieu! GEO magazine mistakenly published this eye-catching photo of Chora village on Astipalea to illustrate a short piece about Chora on Kythera — another island in a completely different area of Greece.

 

One of the GEO feature’s excellent photos — spread across pages 36 and 37  — really piqued my curiosity. It shows a white-domed church rising from the middle of a huge stone castle perched on a hilltop. The slopes below the castle are stacked with white cube houses that descend to a row of derelict windmills. I instantly recognized the location — Chora village on Astipalea, a butterfly-shaped island in the Dodecanese archipelago. I had shot photos from almost the identical vantage point when we visited Astipalea in 2009. However, the picture accompanied an article about Kythera, which is part of the Ionian island group, and the text said the town in the photo is that island’s capital, also called Chora. (Most main towns on Greek islands are called Chora).

I haven’t been to Kythera yet, but I was absolutely certain the photo was from Astipalea. So I poured through my photos to confirm I was right (there’s more than 300 pictures in my Astipalea collection on Flickr). Sure enough, details in my pictures of Astipalea’s Chora matched the same features visible in the GEO image, which was credited to Velissario Voutsas /IML – Hemis.fr, a French photo agency. Obviously someone on the magazine staff had made a big boo-boo by purchasing the wrong stock image to illustrate the article!

(You can learn more about Kythera, and see photos showing what its Chora looks like, on the comprehensive Visit Kythera website.)

Photo flop aside, the GEO stories are compelling reads, and are bound to encourage people in France to consider island hopping in Greece on an upcoming vacation. Moreover, photos and information about Leros, Kalymnos, Chios, Skyros and Tinos will encourage travellers to visit charming islands that often get overlooked because they aren’t instantly-recognizable mainstream tourist destinations like Santorini, Paros, Naxos and Mykonos.

 Please click on the 2 in the link below to continue reading this report.

 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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Promotional videos mark a travel milestone — a full century of organized tourism in Greece

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The English-narrated video Greek Tourism. An eternal journey features stunning views of some of the most beautiful and famous sights and attractions in Greece

 

 

Significant Century:  With its long and storied history, Greece has been associated with tourism for what seems like an eternity. Not surprisingly, tourism is the country’s oldest industry.

“The Greek passion for travelling, for both knowledge and adventure, began long ago with Odysseus, the paradigm of the eternal traveller; with Herodotus, the first tourist and most famous story teller; and with Pausaniuas, who wrote the first travel guide 2,000 years ago,” narrator Donald Morgan Nielson notes in the promotional video Greek Tourism: An eternal journey

The five and a half minute film features utterly splendid video photography of spectacular scenery from the Greek mainland and some of the Greek islands, and is accompanied by soaring, uplifting music by Dimitris Papadimitriou. With a script directed by Andonis Theocharis Kioukas, the video was produced by QKas Productions for the Greece National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), and has been posted on the GNTO’s Visit Greece YouTube page.

 

From 10,000 tourists in 1914 to over 17 million in 2014

The video celebrates the 100th anniversary of officially-organized tourism in Greece. Back in 1914, respected Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos founded the first national service to oversee Greek tourism. That same year, 10,000 tourists visited the country, and the numbers just kept on growing from theret. They reached record proportions last year, when more than 17 million people visited the country — an all-time high. And even though it’s still early in 2014 and the main summer tourist season hasn’t even begun, Greece appears on track for another banner year.

There was an 8.4% increases in the number of international arrivals at Greek airports in January, February and March compared to the same quarter last year, while travel officials report that summer bookings from major markets like Germany and the USA have risen substantially. And with more than 150 new airline routes operating to Athens this season, along with numerous new international direct flights to Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and other islands, Greece appears likely to top its target of 18 million visitors by the end of the year.

Frankly, I’m surprised the number of visitors isn’t considerably higher. But once more people get to view Greek Tourism: An eternal journey, I’m sure they’ll consider planning trips to see the amazing sights and attractions for themselves.

Below is a slightly shorter version of the video which will let you enjoy Dimitris Papadimitriou’s inspiring music without the narration. Turn up the volume, sit back, and enjoy the 4-minute journey to “Greece … a small piece of heaven on earth.”

 

 

 

Pic of the day: Santorini village views from Oia

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This view from Santorini's Oia village takes in Imerovigli, Skaros Rock and Fira

The scenic village of Oia on the northwest tip of Santorini island is one of the most popular places in Greece to watch a glorious sunset. But Oia offers some great views of Santorini itself, including Skaros Rock with its distinctive flat, square cap (center).  Imerovigli, the highest village on Santorini, extends along the top of the cliffs on both sides of Skaros, while the island’s capital, Fira, is visible off to the right. Click on the photo to view a full-size image.

 

Santorini’s superlative scenery, on film

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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

 

 

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