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Santorini

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Kitesurfing and Windsurfing in Santorini for Adrenaline Lovers

Santorini is one of the world’s most iconic travel destinations many reasons. Romantic sunsets are in the top of the list, of course, but not so many travelers consider the island’s aquatic sports offerings when they add the destination to their “bucket lists.” Take kitesurfing, for instance. After the glorious sun rises, and before it sets into the aquamarine sea, the warm winds blow kitesurfers across the crystal waters of the caldera.

Kitesurfing or windsurfing in the Caldera of Santorini ads an amazing seascape backdrop to an already exhilarating aquatic sport. The dark sandy beaches, the white and blue overhanging the amazing cliffs above, and unbelievable wind conditions year-round make Santorini a kind of kitesurfer’s haven. On any given day you’ll find enthusiasts of the sport of all experience levels gliding across the waves challenging themselves, or those learning for the first time.

Pros and first-timers end up creating a kind of kaleidoscope of weaving kites dotting the sky and the horizon on some days. Initiates take lessons from Santorini experts, old hands at the sport push the limits and search out the best conditions, and most often they are drawn to Monolithos Beach – where Santorini Kite offers classes and professional equipment rentals. To the south, Avis Beach is another excellent sport to practice the sport.

On the east side of the island, beginners and experienced kitesurfers gravitate to the beautiful black sandy beach and the constant north-east wind that sustains at 14 to 20 knots. Idyllic, this is the only way to describe such conditions. But Santorini has other secret spots that offer stellar conditions, glass smooth seas, and even boat excursions for downwind kitesurfing sessions. One expert tip is to take the boat ride to Paros or Naxos and spend a night there, to experience some genuinely pristine kiting time. Take care though, the Paros offshore winds can reach 40 knots, not exactly perfect for newcomers to the sport.
Local experts offer classes for beginners that range from 1 to 2-hour introductory lessons, all the way up to 10-hour packages that help beginners become independent riders capable of taking full advantage of the sport.

Cover photo credits: Santorini Kite (santorinikite.gr)

Ceramics and Pottery in Santorini

The roots of pottery tradition on Thira (alternative name of Santorini) can be traced long before the Minoan eruption of Santorini that occurred during the Late Bronze Age, which destroyed one of the most flourishing societies of the time. Excavations carried out at Akrotiri brought to light a settlement with multi-storey buildings and complex drainage systems, detailed furniture, striking frescoes, and ceramics that prove that the Minoan civilization at the time lived in peace and extraordinary prosperity. Most Santorinian potteries at the time were decorated with motifs, usually depicting cultivated plants, subjects from the marine life, and even terrestrial elements that echoed the Santorinian culture.The depiction of cultivated plants is a unique phenomenon in Aegean pottery and it first appeared on Thira during the Late Bronze Age. This is an aspect of art history, but also gives proof that the island occupied a significant position in the Cyclades. According to Marisa Marthari, the director of the excavations at Kastri-Chalandriani on Syros and Skarkos on Ios, Thira was “the producer of the richest pictorial pottery in the Aegean in the first period of the Late Bronze Age.” Vessels unearthed at Akrotiri support the theory that decorative painting was commonplace at the time. Popular motifs, like lilies and swallows found their way on vases, cookery pots, and frescoes quite often. Sometimes highly stylized, other times with a wealth of details, these symbols are still used by ceramists today and are characteristics of authentic Santorini ceramics. With such strong roots, no wonder that the pottery and ceramics of Santorini are among the most sought-after souvenirs from the island. Contemporary ceramists still produce vessels drawing on the rich past of this tradition. Here are some of the ceramic shops that will give you an idea of what to expect when you go pottery shopping on the island:

Akron Art Centre is owned by Dimitris Bellos and Aspasia Vovola. They are usually focused on replicas of ancient Santorini pottery art.  This is a great place to visit to learn about the history of ceramics on the island. Akron is the only workshop of its kind in Santorini and one of the largest in Greece. They exhibit and sell Minoan, Geometric, and Classical era pottery from Santorini and from all over Greece.

1260° ceramic studio, owned by Marina Taliadourou and Giannis Vlantonopoulos, displays tableware ceramic objects inspired by the life and nature of Santorini. In the artists’ words: “The black volcanic earth, the red terracotta, the blue of the sea, the white and the red-orange color of the sunset.” Each piece is a one-of-a-kind.  The name of the studio comes from a technique used to produce ceramics, firing them once at high temperatures.

1260º Ceramic studio

Galatea’s Pottery and Art in Megalohori is a studio offering pottery designed by artist Galatea Papageorgiou. She has developed an individual style based on Santorini traditional art and you will notice a variety of motifs on her ceramics: caper leaf – inspired by a ceramic mug in the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, olive motif, Santorini motif – inspired by the traditional cave houses on the island, sea motif – inspired by Thalassa, the artist’s sister, wildflowers – an original theme, designed by the artist, as well as some stylized motifs, like meandros, leaves, dinner table, bamboo, and more.

EARTH and WATER, another pottery studio in Megalochori, is the studio of Athens-born ceramist Andreas Makaris, who lives and works in Santorini since 1985. As the artist testifies, his work is “inspired by the profuse light and the hidden mysteries of Santorini’s ancient past.” He shares the workshop with his wife, Kristi Kapetanaki, and their designs are in high demand on the island. They also offer pottery-making classes.

There are many other pottery stores on the island. Also, as you explore Oia, you will see ceramics in souvenir shops too. Don’t leave Santorini without visiting a ceramic store, buying a souvenir or joining a workshop that will always bring you in mind memories from Santorini!

The Volcanic Birth of Santorini

The birth of Santorini as you see it today reminds a lot of the legend of the mythical phoenix, the bird that comes back to life rising from its ashes after dying consumed by flames.
Santorini is a story of new life rising from its ashes too. The phoenix of the Greek islands has changed its shape numerous times throughout history, always because of volcanic activity in the Aegean Sea. The Minoan eruption – although scientists cannot pinpoint the date accurately – was the largest in history. It changed the geomorphology of the island and buried all settlements under ash and pumice, putting an end to the Minoan civilization.

After the Minoan eruption (1627 – 1600 BCE), Santorini remained deserted for many years. The outburst was so violent that it ejected 60km³ of ash, rocks, and pumice into the air. Its impact was global. It was followed by two weeks of darkness (night) and two-year long winter and it left the soil on Santorini bare, destroying all flora and fauna, and covering the entire island in a thick layer of ash – according to experts, 60 m high.

It’s a wonder that life flourished again on Santorini after this cataclysm. The myths that tell of the birth of Santorini relate of miracles too. In Apollonius of Rhodes’s Argonautica, we learn of Jason and the Argonauts landing on Anaphe. Here, Euphemus dreamt of making love to a nymph, daughter of Triton, messenger god of the sea. In the dream, the nymph told him she got pregnant and she needed a place to hide from the fury of her father, who would have undoubtedly reacted fiercely to the news. She advised Euphemus to throw a clod of earth from Anaphe into the sea to make her a safe hideout. When Euphemus woke, he followed up on his dream and threw the clod of earth into the waves. Just as the nymph predicted, an island emerged, and he named it Strogyli for its circular shape.

Another myth associates Santorini with the legendary Atlantis. According to some, Santorini may have been the inspiration for Plato’s prosperous and peaceful Atlantis – yet its location was never confirmed. Researchers went as far as the marshlands of Spain to find Atlantis. Besides Plato’s description of Atlantis, there are no other documents to attest its existence. In Plato’s Critias dialogue we learn that:
“Now, on the island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire, which had rule over the whole island and several others, as well as over parts of the continent; and, besides these, they subjected the parts of Libya within the Columns of Heracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia. […] But afterward there occurred violent earthquakes and floods, and in a single day and night of rain all your warlike men in a body sunk into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared, and was sunk beneath the sea.”

No matter how many similarities one finds between Plato’s Atlantis and Santorini, there’s no certitude that the two are the same. Moreover, archeological digs at Akrotiri on Santorini did not unearth the remains of the “warlike men” described by the Greek philosopher.

Whether or not Santorini was the location of Atlantis is less relevant than the miraculous rebirth of the island from volcanic ash after the Minoan eruption. Today, the island flourishes again and counts as the most visited of the Greek islands. Its iconic beauty is a symbol for Greece all over the world and its fiery sunsets inspire all kinds of legends still.

That Santorini is born of fire, there’s no doubt, and the volcano is still active. Its threat is real, but eruptions such as the Minoan one are likely to occur every 15,000-20,000 years according to scientists. The last volcanic eruption on Santorini was 1950 and it lasted 22 days.

Today, volcanic activity on Nea Kameni is monitored by the Institute for the Study and Monitoring of the Santorini Volcano (ISMOSAV) and life goes on safely on the island. Civilization continues to flourish, tourists come and go, and no one worries about another cataclysm.
“If there was another eruption from Santorini/Thera in the near future, the most likely event would be another small, dome-building eruption around Nea Kameni inside the Minoan caldera,” reports Erik Klemetti in an editorial for Discover Magazine. “Most of these eruptions have been VEI 2 eruptions that had phreatic explosions and the extrusion of lava domes/flows. It is very unlikely that we’d seen around Minoan-scale eruption, although Santorini/Thera has seen a number of caldera-forming eruptions (at 180,000, 21,000 and 3,600 years before present).”
With ISMOSAV and the Hellenic Seismic Network constantly monitoring the island, residents and visitors alike can enjoy Santorini worry-free.

Indigenous Grapes of Santorini

Santorini is often called “the vineyard,” because wine-making is one of the main agricultural practices on the island – and the history of vinification here is as deeply-rooted in legend and tradition. Some say the Minoans had vineyards on Thira as far back as the 5th millennium BC.

The volcanic soil layers upon limestone under the scorching sun, exposed to dry winds and essentially deprived of water, as rainfall is scarce and there are no sources of underground water either. Farmers found a distinctive way to overcome these challenges. They cultivate grapes according to the kouloura method, training the vines to coil in a wreath on the ground to protect the fruit from the heat and against the dry winds. Kouloura is the most widespread system on the island, although wineries like Domaine Sigalas use more modern techniques too – growing Assyrtiko on a vertical structure.

Due to these extraordinary natural conditions, the indigenous grapes of Santorini have unique characteristics too.

Assyrtiko

Winemakers appreciate the indigenous grapes of Santorini, especially the Assyrtiko (pronounced ah-SEER-tee-koh) – the noblest of the whites – which makes up about 75% of the overall grape production on the island.
Assyrtiko is a spectacular fruit, known around the world as the Greek grape by excellence. Master Sommelier Yoon Ha described its potency in vibrant epithets:
“Young Assyrtiko is relentless. It is a predator, and your palate is the prey. It puts you on your back and you throw your hands up. You have to submit!”
Indeed, Assyrtiko deserves its place among the grapes of renown. It’s also one of the world’s oldest varieties grape vines, traced to Thira as early as the 16th century BC. The volcanic eruption back then created the unique characteristics of the soil that make the wines produced in Santorini truly exceptional.
Assyrtiko has the potential to develop high levels of alcohol when harvested at the right time – usually mid-August and early September. The grape produces wine with a pH of 2.90 or lower and high acidity. It is mainly used for dry white wines with citrus nuances, which go well with fish and seafood, but also with grilled meats and Greek spreads like fava.

Athiri

Athiri is an ancient grape too. Its name derives from Thira, the official name of Santorini, but it is more widely cultivated in Rhodes. On Santorini, Athiri is used as a blending grape with Assyrtiko and Aidani to produce white wines. It has a fruity, lemony aroma and is usually paired with Greek mezze due to its easy-drinking, accessible character.

Aidani

Aidani is a dry varietal blended with Athiri and Assyrtiko to make vinsanto, Santorini’s famous amber-colored wine, which is produced according to the local passito tradition, using grapes dried in the sun for up to 14 days. The result is a sweet wine, golden-orange to dark amber, with a complex bouquet. Santorini is the exclusive producer of original Vinsanto. Aidani is a Muscat relative according to experts.

Mavrotragano

Mavrotragano is a tannic red varietal with small berries that produce exceptional dry wines. It is a protected grape as it was once on the brink of extinction. Winegrowers began making Mavrotragano reds in the 1990s. This wine is served at room temperature and pairs well with red meat or stews and mild cheeses.

Mandilaria

The island’s second most popular red grape, Mandilaria is tart and tannic, producing dry wines of deep color with aromas of red fruit. It is often blended with other varieties to make sweet wines.

There are several other grape varieties on the island, but these five are more popular and widespread.
Our Guest Experience Team is by your side in order to organize for you a visit and a wine tasting experience to the best local wineries and get acquainted with the winemaking history of the island and the unique characteristics of the Santorini terroir.

Photo Tours: An Alternative Way to Explore Santorini

Is there a better way to discover this amazing crescent-shaped isle than to explore it looking through the camera’s lens? Santorini, or Thíra since ancient times, is actually a small group of islands including Thíra, Thirassiá, Asproníssi, and Palea and Nea Kaméni. Dazzling for their sunset vistas and traditional Cycladic white houses, blue-domed churches, and hilltop windmills, the island group is one of the most photographed places on Earth.

From picturesque Fira, the capital of Santorini, to the stunning volcanic beaches at the base of the island, this place is a photographer’s dream come true. Take Fira, along with Oia perched high up on the rim of the famous volcanic caldera. The uniqueness of the geography where mountain and sea meet is simply breathtaking. Professionals and amateurs flock to Imerovígli and Firostefáni, also located high above on the cliffs that make up the so-called “Caldera’s eyebrow,” which is, in fact, the balcony of Santorini.
Some companies offering photo tours of Santorini are creative enough to combine two or three activities to make the experience truly remarkable. For instance, wine tasting and photography tours – the two make sense because the vineyards of the island have unique character considering the history and background, the architecture, the way grapes are cultivated etc.

The seaside is another treasure of the island. The deep blue waters, the red, and black volcanic sand beaches, the amazing rock formations, and the moonscapes are other-worldly. You can book a photo-tour to volcanic Milos, to capture the sun playing off the arches around the central caldera or the surrealistic rock formations that islet is known for. Or perhaps, a digital magazine of photos of picturesque villages is what you seek? Milos, Santorini, and the other islands are a perfect choice for this, and for its geology, hot springs, and wild goats even.

Photo tours of Santorini also help visitors experiencing this beautiful island. Surveying the landscapes, getting to know the customs and the environment, being part of the cultural fabric of the place, these and more aspect are good reasons to integrate photo tours into your agenda. Santorini is a creative paradise and a cultural and learning one as well.

You can take part in every conceivable photography tour here on Santorini. There are boat tours, underwater photographic tours, night sky photo escapades, romantic sunset photo sessions, walking photo tours, and tours where you get your own personal, professional photographer.

Santorini is so beautiful that even amateur images captured with a smartphone camera can look like something out of a magazine.

Cover photo: by Kyler Boone on Unsplash

A Santorini Guide for First-Time Visitors

Santorini is one of the world’s iconic destinations, a stunning postcard recognized by anyone who ever dreamt of travel. From her multicolored cliffs that rise ominously from the aquamarine depths of the Aegean to the whitewashed buildings huddled on the rim of the cliffs, this is a place of and for daydreams. Dazzling panoramas, legendary sunsets, and unbelievable volcanic-sand beaches lay waiting to dazzle visitors young and old.

Of all the places people put on their “bucket lists,” Santorini leaves upwards of 1.5 million tourists a year stunned by her sheer beauty and allure. This most volatile and enigmatic Cyclades isle is officially called Thera, after the son of Euphemus, who was one of Jason’s Argonauts. Out of the myths of prehistory, garnished by tales from Plato of Atlantis and other epic legends, Santorini does not have any “little history.” Here you’ll find the stuff dreams are made of growing out of the black sands of time.

As legend has it, Thera was a major naval base of the Minoan Empire utterly destroyed when the volcano erupted about 1450 BC. The violent explosion of magma beneath this mystic island emptied the gigantic basin below the island, and caused the collapse of the volcano. The billions of cubic meters of seawater emptied into this blazing abyss unleashed what some believe, was the largest explosion in human history, a blast that delivered 60 meter-high tsunami waves to nearby Crete and Egypt further beyond. What remains of the island many believe was fabled Atlantis, is a caldera (or crater) with towering cliffs along the east side, which is now Santorini’s trademark landscape dotted with settlements along its edge.

First-time visitors to the island will at first be amazed by the dizzying heights and views of the caldera that provoke many to gasp in awe. From the busy capital of Fira, visitors find the 15-minute walk to nearby Firostefani an uplifting experience, and then a further quarter hour’s trek leads to the highest point of Santorini, where Imerovigli village offers unimaginable photo-taking opportunities. It is these three settlements that get most of the attention, along with the iconic Oia – the most photographed village of Thera – to the north.
Farther east, volcanic sand beaches beckon sunbathers, snorkelers, and swimmers where the land levels out onto the sea. The resorts of Kamari and Perissa offer a more traditional appeal, along with water sports, bars, and beautiful promenades. Then there’s Santorini’s spectacular vineyard-lined inland, where travelers can catch a glimpse into the past of the island. At Pyrgos and other villages, the cuisine of Santorini takes on a new life, and the charm of ancient Greece comes to life. Wine tastings at more than a dozen local wineries compliment any hike into the island’s inner sanctum, and any number of wine or archeological tours come highly recommended. A few of Santorini’s highlights for first-time visitors include:

  • See the impressive Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Fira, which reveals the puzzle pieces of the island’s distant past via the archeology of legendary Akrotiri.
  • Sunsets: Prime sunset-seeing is accomplished best in Oia, where tens of thousands come to admire the sundown on the island.
  • Hike from Fira to Oia: While the walk is challenging under the scorching sun, this is one of those experiences you take home and tell about forever.
  • Swim in the hot springs: Take a boat tour to the base of the caldera and dive into the hot springs in the midst of the sea – this is a fantastic experience.
  • Swimming, as suggested, can best be enjoyed at the black sand beaches in the east.
  • Tours: Any number of companies lead guided archeological, wine and culinary, and sunset photography tours.
  • Akrotiri: The fascinating site of Akrotiri displaying a Minoan city destroyed by the volcanic eruption during the Bronze Age is a must-see.

No matter what else you do while on Santorini, be sure and book at least one tour. They’re simply fun, informative, and the best way to get to know more about the island. Whether you pick a spellbinding helicopter flight over the caldera, or a luxury wine tour, there’s no better way to pack a wealth of information and fun into a first-time visit. For the visitor who likes venturing off-the-beaten-path, the boat trip to uninhabited Thirassia on the western side is a memorable adventure. Oh, and be sure to take a walk to Skaros Rock for an unbelievable view. Finally, no Santorini suggestion guide could be complete without recommending a swim in Ammoudi Bay and a dive off the cliff at Agios Nikolaos.

The best times to visit Santorini are spring and fall – from April to May and September to October. Temperatures during these months are not as elevated as they are from June to the end of August. Offseason, in the winter months – from November until March – most of the hotels, restaurants, and shops, are closed, but the experience is unique and ideally suited for those who are looking to experience the island like a local.
First-time visitors to Santorini may also want to consult this list of frequently asked questions before traveling.

Santorini Through Nelly’s Lens

Nelly Sougioultzoglou-Seraidari (1899-1998), was an amazing Greek photographic talent better known as Nelly’s. Her unique attempts to capture the distinctive light of the Cyclades and other Greek locations are legendary. Her extraordinary work is reflected in the “Nelly’s Santorini, 1925-1930” album, which was published in 1987 and republished in 2001 by the Archive of Santorinian Studies. Famous for having traversed every goat’s path and cliff precipice on Santorini to capture this special harsh light, the view from Nelly’s lens still captivates people from every walk of life even today.
The volume published by the Archive of Santorinian Studies includes comments from the photographer about her perceptions at the time. Back in those days, travel to the island was exclusively by boat from the mainland or from Crete, and in Nelly’s recollections, this travel log of her journey’s plays a major role in the compositions of the photographs. One paragraph from the book reproduced by Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini puts things into perspective:

“I could hardly wait to set off with my equipment. In those days, one travelled by sea. The boat to Santorini arrived at dawn. It was, I recall, summertime. At 5.30 a.m. I was on deck. I wanted to enjoy my first view of the island from a distance, before entering the harbor, and to take a few photographs from there. I shall never forget that magical spectacle upon beholding the island. It seemed as if I were looking at an enormous chocolate cake, topped with whipped cream. And when the sun rose and shed its golden rays upon it, I gazed as if I would never get my fill. Never before had I seen such a vista, and I tried to make the most of those unforgettable moments, to immortalize them in the few photographs I took.”

The adventurous photographer took special note of the way the island looked from the sea as her boat approached, and the first photos of the island are from before entering the harbor. During her adventure on the island, Nelly managed to capture stunning imagery from Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli, Pyrgos, Kamari, Exo Gonia and Perissa, with famous Oia proving too difficult to navigate for more than a few images.
Nelly’s work on Santorini brought the island to life in images for the first time, making the nature the focal point, adorned with unbelievably lifelike people, stunning village-scapes, and conveying the unmatched beauty of Santorini.
Even 90 years after Nelly processed these images, the vibrant captures of volcanic Santorini have left an indelible mark. Pictures from Nelly’s trip to the island in the mid-1920s now grace the collection of the Benakis’ Museum.

Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa is crowned as the “Best Resort Spa” in Greece and Europe

Santorini’s newly-built all-suite hotel, Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa was honored in the esteemed “World Spa Awards” institution, by being awarded for a second consecutive year as the “Greece’s Best Resort Spa” and also receiving the “Europe’s Best Resort Spa” award.

Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa in its only third year of operation responds to the demanding standards of a world-class award institution, which stands as a flagship for the wellness tourism, continuing this way to be acknowledged among the leading hotels and resorts in Greece and Europe. Having at the core of its philosophy a combination of high-quality services and personalized hospitality, the special designed facilities of the Santo Maris Oia Luxury SPA, focus on the balance of human body, mind and soul offering an experience of holistic relaxation and rejuvenation. Moreover, its well-rounded wellness programs are inspired by Greek elements and products.

The 4th Annual World Spa Awards Ceremony took place on a glamorous celebration on Friday, October 26th in the Maldives, at the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort.

The CEO and Group General Manager of Metaxas Group of Companies, Mr. Andreas Metaxas, stated after the reception of the awards:

“This double-winning makes us feel both proud and honored. I wish to heartfeltly thank our guests. The trust and preference they have shown on us during our three-year presence on the magnificent island of Santorini, motivate us to constantly enhance the quality of the services we offer. The excellence of the Santo Maris Oia Luxury SPA constitutes the best promotion for the wellness tourism in Santorini and Greece.”

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.

Traditions and Customs of Santorini

Tradition has it that mothers on Thira would lull their little ones to sleep each night with sweet verses from eons of time past. Today, the tradition lives on when Santorini ladies put their kids to bed for the night.

“Sleep star, sleep dawn, sleep new moon
your cradle was brought by a pearl
To set to sleep sugar, to awake honey
to give you water that angels drink”

Such is the way for every town or region in Greece. Local traditions are uniform in their richness and unique according to the history and nature of each individual place. From the foundations of towns and villages to wedding rituals and religious holidays, Santorini maintains the fabric of its cultural heritage. Here are some of the most interesting and time-honored ones.

The Name Day

Since anybody can remember, a child’s birthday has only been celebrated once. When a child reached one-year of age, relatives were (and still are) invited to celebrate his or her birth. On this day, according to tradition, parents put the child in front of a big sifter in which a variety of objects were placed. For boys, the objects might be a trowel, a carpenter’s tool, a paper boat, and so forth. For girls, the objects might include more feminine objects. In the ritual, if the boy selected the paper boat from the objects, then the superstition had it he would become a sailor, and so on. In this way, it is believed, the profession of a child could be predicted. Such traditions are considered meaningful in order to set young people on the right past very early on. After this “birthday” ritual, children and adults only celebrate their “name day,” or the day associated with the saint the person is named after.

Santorini Weddings

Weddings in Santorini take place on Sundays. By tradition, girls of the village gather in front of the bride’s house on the Thursday before, in order to break almonds and to make sugar plums. Then, on Friday, they make the bride’s bed and throw rice on it so that the wedding is solid, like the rice, and sweet, like the sugar plums.
Another part of the Santorini wedding tradition involves the father of the groom climbing on a roof at noon on the day of the wedding to shout the beginning of the ceremony to the village and the world. After this, violinists accompany the bride door to door to invite people to her ceremony saying “come to the wedding.” The total ceremony is complex and replete with many ancient traditions. At the end of the ceremony, the newlyweds put the wedding garlands they wore on their heads into a box near the religious icons they prayed before. By ancient tradition, the garlands are kept until the last survivor of the pair finally dies, and the garlands are placed in this person’s grave.

This New House

When workers first dig the trenches for the foundation of a new house on Santorini, a priest is called to slaughter a rooster on the street. After this, the parents of the owner give a blessing to the house at every corner of the structure by throwing coins into the foundation. This tradition is carried out even today, including installing a cross at every corner of the foundation. To this day, the lady of the house prepares a plate of sesame honey and raki to treat the workers and the guests.

Traditional Wear of Thira

According to ancient custom, Thirean women wear scarfs inside and outside of their homes. By the custom, the scarves are worn in a particular fashion, tightly bound and slightly upwards to reveal the forehead. Also, by custom, the married woman may welcome her visitors not wearing a scarf if her hair was done “just so” either washed or unwashed and set into a design of thick braids, and so forth. Until only recently, women of Santorini wore a hairstyle that was relative to their age and social class.
This same tradition carried through to the Thirean woman’s dress, and especially the ornate festive ones worn in past decades. Many square meters of fabric were used in the making of petticoats in previous times, and fancy corsets and bodices were also the style and tradition before the mid-20th-century.
These time-honored traditions keep the spirit of the island intact. Like all Greeks, the residents of Santorini have great respect for their ancestors and the values passed down from generation to generation.