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Coming Up in a Few Days: “Santorini Experience”, the Ultimate Sports Event in the island

October 5 to 7, Santorini will host one of the most celebrated sports events of the year, the Santorini Experience event for swimmers and runners. The event is organized by the Santorini Municipality, the Municipal Sports Cultural & Environmental Organization in Santorini (DAPPOS) and the Active Media Group under the auspices of the Greek National Tourism Organization and the Hellenic Swimming Federation (KOE). Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa has the ultimate joy to be one of the main official sponsors of the event for the second consecutive year.
Sports enthusiasts and athletes will compete in open water swimming and running races. Olympic and open water world champion Nikos Gemelos selected the swimming route this year. The race starts at the harbor of the volcano and ends at the pier of the old port of Fira. Swimmers will arrive at the starting line by boat and compete on water 2.4 kilometers. This year, the competition has joined the Global Swim Series, which encourages participation in open water swimming all over the world. This year’s event will feature many big names of the Greek National Open Water Swimming Team such as world champions Kelly Araouzou and Antonis Fokaidis, European champion George Arniakos, and Greek champions Dimitris Negris, Stellina Aplanti, Dejan Jovanovic, and Dimitris Manios.


Nikos Polias, former marathon runner, holder of national best performance on the classical route, running coach, manager of All About Running, and technical director of the running section of the event, selected the paths for the joggers. There are three routes: 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers, and 15 kilometers, all with different levels of difficulty, and all following the caldera in the south part of the island, on the usual hike path from Oia to Fira with amazing views.
Competitors will receive their racing kits at the Alafouzos Sports store in Fira. All running races start at the desalination plant in Oia, in Perivolas, next to the Saint Vasileios Church. The location offers beautiful views of the village of Oia – it will make an excellent starting point for the three running races that take place on Saturday, October 6, 2018. There will also be a separate, 1-kilometer children’s race.
The winners will be celebrated in the evening with an artistic program featuring the International Dancing Group of Santorini “Stamatina Xiarchou” & Association of Pontians Eptamyloi Serres “Akrites.” A public concert performed by C: Real in the surrounding area of the Indoor Hall DAPPOS will take place the same evening at eight.
The Santorini Experience is an international, public event that puts world-class athletes alongside amateurs competing in a friendly contest that demonstrates stamina and skill, but also builds community and friendships with like-minded people from around the world.
Registration is open to all, free of charge. You can join Santorini Experience to compete, you can race for fun, or you can attend as a spectator. Anything goes. The purpose of the competition is to encourage fitness while its participants enjoy the beauty of Santorini.

Ifestia Festival 2018 Brings Fireworks and Magic on Santorini

Coming up every third Saturday in September the unique Ifestia Festival celebrates the gigantic volcanic eruption that altered the fates of the entire world in the second millennium BCE. Ifestia Festival 2018 will be a day-long celebration of life and light culminating in a reenactment of the eruption of Minoan Thera in 1600 BC.

What began as fireworks show back in 1991 has grown into one of Santorini’s most popular and spectacular events. This year, as in the past, Ifestia will hold the audience spellbound with a  magical Thera reminiscent spectacle, accompanied by great music and parties.

The fireworks extravaganza turns night into day as explosions reach 90 miles into the night sky over the caldera of Santorini. Organizers expect 2018 to be a repeat of last year when thousands of visitors from around the world planned visits to coincide with the show.

For those who have never witnessed it, Ifestia is not just an ordinary fireworks display, but a light and sound effects extravaganza that is a recreation of the lava flows and explosion that accompanied one of the most significant volcanic events in recorded history.

Amazingly, the locals of Santorini now embrace the power of this legendary volcano rather than fearing its might. This year’s festival will include folkloric events, dances, speeches, and exhibitions that shed light to the island’s distant past, culminating with the Thera explosion reenactment.

Many of the island visitors choose to see the Ifestia Festival from the water, booking boat tours. If that’s your case and you stay at  Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa during the event, we encourage you to get in touch with our Guest Experience Specialists to help you book a tour or assist you in finding the best spot to see the spectacle on land.

Social Responsibility in Action by Santo Maris Oia and Agoni Grammi Gonimi

Innovative environmental program with the participation of the High Schools of Santorini

Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa in cooperation with the Greek Non-Profit Organization “Agoni Grammi Gonimi” and in the context of its Social Responsibility program, inaugurates the environmental awareness program “We Are The Environment” with the creation of the eco-friendly “WaterBags”. This innovative program, which is based on the pillars of education and social provision, and consists of two phases, aims to raise awareness regarding the conversation of the natural environment and to bring together the private sector for a common cause.

In the first phase of the program, the students of the three High Schools of Santorini were informed about important environmental issues, with emphasis on the pollution resulting from the excessive use of plastic. The interactive educational workshops took place under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs and with the participation of the environmental organizations “Archipelagos – Institute of Marine Conversation”, “Hellenic Oceanographers Association”, “Aegean Rebreath”, “iSea” and “Greenest”.

The completion of the workshops was followed by the production of the “WaterBags”, the cloth eco-bags, which were inspired by the need to prevent our seas’ plastic pollution, and they will be distributed till the beginning of October at specific selling points and supporters of the program. The WaterBags’ sales revenue will fund the three schools that participated in the educational workshops.

The distributing points and supporters who embraced the program are: the Ammos Stores, the Brusco Restaurant, the Domaine Sigalas, the Estate Argyros, the Mediterranean Dive Club, the Oia Vineyart restaurant, the Poniros Jewellery, the Santorini Arts Factory and the Tomato Industrial Museum “D. Nomikos”, the Santorini Nautical Club, the Santo Wines – Union of Santorini Cooperatives, and the hotels of the Metaxas Group of Companies – Santo Maris Oia in Santorini, Candia Maris and Creta Maris in Crete. The program is also supported by selling points across Greece, such as the Benaki Museum, the Gallerie Marneri in Athens, and the Idea Café and Emporium in Skopelos. Official transport supporter is the Blue Star Ferries.

If you wish to learn more information and support the “We Are The Environment” program and the “WaterBags”, you can visit the website waterbags.gr, follow the WaterBags on Instagram @Water_Bags or just send us an email to info@waterbags.gr

Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa Supports Santorini Experience 2018

Beginning October 5th, 2018, Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa will be among the sponsors of the three-day Santorini Experience, a significant sports tourism event coming to our magnificent island for the fourth consecutive year. The event organizers and sponsors aim to build on past successes and to promote world-class sports tourism on one of the world’s great island destinations.

Co-organized by the Municipality of Santorini, Municipal Sports Cultural Environmental Organization of Santorini (DAPPOS), and Active Media Group, this year’s event is also supported by the Greek National Tourism Organization.

The Santorini Experience 2018 will include a variety of running, swimming, and other activities including 5, 10, and 15-kilometer races, concerts, and open water swimming to name a few. This unique event puts avid sports enthusiasts right alongside world-class athletes competing in one of the most unbelievable settings imaginable. Spectators and competitors get to experience one of the most beautiful places on Earth while taking part in an incredible sports spectacle.

This year, the Santorini Experience has joined the World’s Marathons world running community, a marketing group that promotes and takes part in more than four thousand races worldwide. Running routes have been tailormade by former marathon runner and Greek classic route record holder Nikos Polias, who is also a running coach and director of All About Running.

Swimmers will confront a 1.5-mile test designed by the Federal Technical coach of Swimming, with Olympic and World medals in open water swimming Nikos Gemelos. Some of the big-name swimmers who’ve taken part in previous Santorini Experience events include Hungarian swimmer Attila Manyoki; Olympic and World Champion in open water swimming, Spyros Gianniotis; and World Champion in open water swimming, Kelly Araouzou.

If you want to see the Santorini Experience 2018 races as a spectator or participate yourself, book your stay at Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa in time, for early-bird discounts and other perks that are only available when you book directly with us.

A Tour of the Volcano in Santorini

The active (but dormant) Nea Kameni volcano of the Santorini caldera is one of the most fascinating attractions in the world. There’s something exciting about touring a potentially hazardous place, although the site is safe, according to volcanologists and geologists from the Institute for the Study and Monitoring of the Santorini Volcano (ISMOSAV) who monitor the island.

Now, touring the volcano is safe and it is a favorite pastime for many island visitors. Nea Kameni itself is small and uninhabited. Vegetation is scarce if you don’t consider the red grassy succulents that give its rolling slopes a unique, surreal aspect reminiscent of Mars.

Nea Kameni in the spring.
Nea Kameni in the spring.

The Nea Kameni National Geological Park is a popular attraction. Boat trips to the island leave Santorini every day, carrying curious tourists to the small harbor of the island, where they will begin the ascent to the top of the volcano to hike around the crater. For those who want to admire the Caldera view and the volcano without taking part in the hiking experience, there is an alternative. Sailing cruises on the Caldera are organized every day and people have the opportunity to see the impressive view and sail near the volcano.

The main points of interest at Nea Kameni are:

  • Point A – the “Mikri Kameni” (in English “small burnt island”) dome, which was formed in 1570-1573 due to Surtseyan activity, ash-fall, and block fall-out;
  • Point B – the South Rim of the Daphne crater;
  • Point C – the twin craters, which are active and have fumaroles – so watch your step;
  • Point D – the Georgios dome peak, which formed in 1866;
  • Point E – and the Liatsika Lava, from the last eruption in 1950.

The visit to the Nea Kameni National Geological Park is not free of charge. The symbolic entrance fee charged (2 €) is intended for the upkeep of the area. Because this is a protected natural reserve, visitors are not allowed to take away any “souvenirs.” The warning reads in scarlet letters: “DO NOT MOVE BREAK OFF OR REMOVE ROCKS.” You will notice many cairns along your path, but these man-made stacks are intended to mark the route and to serve as landmarks to guide travelers.

The hike is demanding but the views from the top are rewarding enough to make the effort worth it.  Wear proper hiking shoes and bring a bottle of water with you for making the experience more comfortable: the sun and heat are strong in this part of the world. Plus, Nea Kameni has a typical sulfur odor emanated by the active fumaroles.

The INGV-type station temporarily installed on the summit crater tests the levels of CO2 coming from the soil every ten minutes, reporting whether the air is safe to breathe or not.  Scientific reports found that Nea Kameni is generally safe.