Santorini – Greece (23.05.13)
Whatever the news of political upheaval or civil unrest on the streets of mainland Greece, the image of her islands will forever remain sunny, warm and welcoming. The magical draw of the Aegean Sea has for hundreds of years bowled over visitors with its stunning island scenery, charming culture, meze cuisine and chilled lifestyle.
It has always been one of our favourite short-haul coastal holiday spots. Along with many other Europeans, Nomadic Thoughts have always regarded an escape to the Greek islands as an opportunity to embrace a touch of classic paradise. Even during the modern-day Euro crisis their welcome remains as unflinchingly warm as their legendary weather.
Caroline Findlay de Concha (my colleague at Nomadic Thoughts) has just returned to our office fresh from a recce through some of her oldest and most treasured Greek island destinations. I was interested to see whether she felt the mood there had changed, and whether her enthusiasm for the Aegean was as keen as ever.
I need not have worried. The moment she stepped back through the door you could tell she had that healthy Greek glow so many Greek island visitors hanker for during the mid-winter months. And although, as a seasoned traveller, she first explored the majority of Aegean islands thirty years ago the look on her face and spring in her step immediately confirmed the success of her trip.
In addition to visiting our favourite hotels, we always enjoy catching up with new developments and changing styles. Over the decades Nomadic Thoughts have enjoyed sending a steady stream of visitors to the region and continue to encourage a gentle mix of island destinations for clients wishing to incorporate not only their stunning scenery, but also their culture.
Santorini, which has always been very special, remains one of our flagship Mediterranean destinations. The unique cliff-top location, surrounding islands and jaw-dropping views continue to impress the most experienced of travellers.
The arc-shaped and water-filled caldera with their 300m high cliffs – created by an enormous volcanic explosion – are now famously crowned with sprawling traditional white town settlements. These photos encapsulate the beauty of such a setting, with shots taken from high above the sea alongside those of classic Greek chapels and sundrenched bell towers. Whether enjoying a world-renowned Santorini sunset with a cool glass of vinsanto, or exploring the whitewashed houses among the cobbled alleyways and streets, the feeling of paradise on earth is never far away, and I would encourage anyone looking for ‘that escape’ to go.
The black sand beaches and glass-clear Mediterranean waters, whilst automatically inviting you to drop your shoulders and gaze at the horizon, also appear to have a whisper of history about them. Echos of volcanic eruptions, ancient tsunamis and the 3,600 year old Minoan civilization give more than a hint of the legend of Atlantis.