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Santorini

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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.

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.

Santorini: A Prehistoric Land

Seven thousand years ago the Santorini as travelers know it today was a vastly different human habitat. What must have begun as a collection of Stone Age fishing and farming villages, soon became a trading center between Minoan Crete and Cyprus sometime after 3000 BC.

Scholars think that ancient Santorini became significant because of its strategic location first, and later because of critical trading with goods like copper. For these and other reasons, Santorini and its most famous ancient settlement of Akrotiri must have been a shining example of culture and civilization. Today visitors can still see remnants of paved streets, a cutting edge (for the time) drainage system, multistoried buildings, and artifacts of indescribable beauty and innovation. As part of the Minoan Civilization, Akrotiri and ancient Santorini flourished for more than 500 years, until the catastrophic eruption of Thera sometime between 1642–1540 BC.

Archaeologists estimate the first settlements on the island date back to the Post Neolithic Period. Akrotiri today is a kind of time capsule, not so different from the Roman city of Pompei, where the volcanic matter that covered the city and the whole island ended up protecting and preserving the buildings. Some historians contend that Santorini was the inspiration for Plato’s story of Atlantis, as mentioned in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias.

When visiting the island, travelers should be aware there are actually two settlement sites from ancient antiquity. Akrotiri is the oldest known settlement, but Ancient Thera (Αρχαία Θήρα) on top of Messavouno dates to the time of the Spartan settlers who came to the island during the 8th century BC. It is from this high dwelling place that Santorini tourists will capture the most stunning views anywhere on the island.

We also recommend visiting Fira, where you will find several museums that are worth seeing. First, the Prehistoric Museum holds many exhibits from Akrotiri and other archaeological sites on Santorini. There’s also the Archaeological Museum, that presents findings and artifacts from Ancient Thera. Also, a must-see is the Gyzi Megaron and the Museum of Local History, situated in the Kontochori Quarter.

Finally, there is indeed something magical about Santorini, and something more than the visual of a vanishing sun in the West. Certainly, the dramatic landscape of jagged hills plunging into the blue Aegean is stunning, and the picturesque whitewashed houses with blue roofs create a living postcard for visitors. Great people and remarkable cuisine make the island special too. However, one cannot help but sense there is something more here. Something magnetic that compelled those adventurous settlers to make the journey into what would become the new world.

Maybe an ancient Greek myth serves to explain the island’s distinctive character. According to old Greek stories, Santorini was formed out of a miracle connected to the famous Argonaut expedition. According to the legend, Jason and his shipmates were on their way home, when they landed on Anaphe, a small island of the Aegean Sea.

It was here that Euphemus had a vision of making love to a nymph, a siren who was the daughter of the messenger of sea god Triton. After their union, the woman told him she had become pregnant with his child and chided him over how her father would be angered. She begged for a place to hide so that she might escape the wrath of the god, to which Euphemus responded by throwing a clod of dirt into the sea. This speck miraculously re-emerged from the vacant sea and turned into an island. Euphemus named it Calliste, which means the most beautiful, but the name “Thera” is from his son of the same name, who was born there. And so, it seems clear that Santorini has been beloved by the gods from the dawn of times.

8 Must-See Museums in Santorini (With Pictures)

Santorini is the iconic Greek destination with the most fascinating sunsets and postcard-pretty cliff houses carved on the slopes of the caldera, coated in sparkling white, which contrast with the light cobalt blue of the church domes and with the vivid magenta of the bougainvillea in bloom. It’s an island with a rich past, albeit checkered at times, a brilliant example of human endurance in challenging conditions.  So, we’ve rounded up eight of the must-see museums in Santorini that show some of the historical trials that make the island great.