Mediterranean blue

On a cruise of the Greek isles, Asif Jiffry succumbs to the magic of Santorini

Santorini is an island that emerged from the bowel of the ocean; it’s imposing, impressive, majestic, and gorgeous with a rather eerie beauty created by a cosmogony of the volcano that rests amidst the ocean.

You feel the uniqueness of Santorini from the very first moment you set foot on the island. You cannot help but fall in love with this Aegean island with its steep slopes, white washed houses and the amazing blue domed buildings and churches.

Santorini is one of the most surprising spectacles in Europe and it is different from the rest of islands because it is situated in an old volcano. The island is a huge wall with a shape resembling a half moon, the cliffs are colourful and they fall from 300 m high sharply to the sea. In fact, the silhouette of the island resembles the crater of a volcano inundated with water. If you add to its singular and imposing nature, the small white houses with mild edges and roofs with a ‘u’ shape or the typical churches with blue domes you understand that this is one of the most special places in the globe.

Houses, hotels and churches in Santorini feature the two most characteristic colours of Greece: white and blue. Santorini is amazing and bright, but it’s not the only colour celebrated on this island. The sun blends its colours with the volcanic soil creating a unique optical phenomenon.

Indeed in Santorini every new house has to be built following the same style as the old houses, and hotels. Pay attention to the amount of hotels and swimming pools on the edge of the cliffs. The landscape of Santorini from this cornice is once more indescribable. We had refreshments on a terrace with views over the volcanoes at the same time that the dusk had begun. This is such an incredible sight.

Make sure to save some time to lounge on one of Santorini’s gorgeous beaches. Because Santorini is volcanic, there is a wide variation in the colour of the sand found on the beaches. You can enjoy basking in the sun on white sand, grey sand, black sand, and even red sand, the latter the most famous on the island, with stunning red cliffs.

There are countless picturesque villages on this planet… but not many are blessed with the physical beauty of Santorini . To be sure there are villages with grander architecture, richer and more colourful history (although as you will discover Santorini has its own unique history), ancient landmark buildings and traditions that sometimes date back centuries.

Santorini may not offer the very best of what other famous villages have to offer…but then none of them has what Santorini has. Many artists have fallen in love with the area and settled here. For that reason, at every turn you take you will spot an art gallery.

The following are a few hot spots if you do visit the island:-

Ancient Thera-One of the most important archaeological sites in all Greece, the ruins of Thera are one of the island’s biggest attractions. Still not fully excavated (it is still a working archaeological dig), the parts that are visible are enthralling, ranging from the prehistoric to the late Roman period. Visitors are free to wander around (except for a few restricted areas).

Akrotiri-Another major archaeological site in Santorini, this Minoan town is amazing in many ways, in particular how it vividly brings home how advanced the Minoan civilization was at the time of its destruction. Akrotiri is a working site and one of the main attractions of visiting here is not only seeing the artifacts that are brought up, but also watching the work taking place around you.

Byzantine Museum-Generally considered to have the finest collection of Byzantine art in Greece, this museum’s superb exhibits include priceless icons, jewellery, manuscripts and other similar artifacts - well worth a visit if you’re at all interested in the Byzantine Empire and its culture.

Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni-Located in the middle of the Bay, these two islands erupted from the sea over two thousand years ago, and are worth a visit just to see the strange lava landscapes.

View Asif’s work at http: //

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