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At the Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri

There are things about Santorini that make the heart full of glee. The sunsets tame the wildest of the spirits, and the landscapes inspire wanderlust. But then, there are also the things that make you think, the deeper connections with the roots of the people who now inhabit the island fully aware that Thira still stands at the mercy of the elements. Akrotiri is such a place.

They say Akrotiri is one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean, but when you step on the streets of the prehistoric towns you forget about the formal lines read in travel guides because the ruins tell a different story. Time took its toll on the walls of the once prosperous fortress but once you gaze upon the Antelopes of Sector B for example, tales of a glorious past when art was the lifeblood of the local culture come rushing in. This is also the area where you can admire two other famous frescoes: the Boxing Boys and the Fresco of the Monkeys.

Antelopes
Antelopes in Sector B.

They believe Xeste 3 was a site to perform rituals, a sacred area because the walls are richly decorated with magnificent paintings. And then, there’s the House of the Ladies with art so delicate to inspire a celebration of the eternal feminine. Beautiful frescoes can also be admired in the smaller
West House. Here you can see the two frescoes of the Fishermen, the fresco of the Young Priestess and the famous Flotilla miniature frieze. Another important part of the Akrotiri archeological site is the Complex Delta, which includes four houses, one decorated with the Spring fresco where you can truly grasp the importance of art in local culture. The mural portrays a Santorini rocky landscape with swallows flying around blossoming lilies.

Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri

The Prehistoric Town of Akrotiri is well worth the trip. The setting is spectacular, and even the modern village has enough to keep you busy. The Venetian Tower (Goulas) stands atop of a hill surrounded by modern homes, and watching the Santorini sunset from the lighthouse of Akrotiri is an experience you will cherish forever.

Horse Riding in Santorini: Experience Sunsets on Horseback

Imagine a stunning sunset over iconic Santorini’s cliffs. Now imagine one of the most unforgettable experiences in the world from horseback. It’s possible to make even the most memorable moments even more momentous with a horseback tour along the rim, winding down through narrow village streets, exploring the heart of Thira.

Booking a horse riding tour of Santorini is definitely a unique experience to be remembered. For travelers who thrive on journeys beyond the beaten path, the horseback adventures on Santorini are a real differentiator. Local companies offer custom tours on thoroughbreds through the meandering streets of the traditional village of Megalochori, in the cliffs and in the unique landscape of Vlychada. Although the most common horseback riding adventures on Santorini are along a beach (Vlychada), equestrians can choose to gallop along through awe-inspiring gorges or picturesque vineyards, and even to the archaeological site of Akrotiri, among other interesting destinations.

On horseback, visitors get a different viewpoint as they explore the spectacular villages, vineyards, hidden beaches, and as they ride along the caldera while watching the sunset. There are even combo-tours for riding and wine tasting, not to mention custom excursions for either new or experienced riders.

While some might think Santorini via horseback a novel or unrealistic excursion, it’s important to remember the horse in all Greek tradition. Remember Bucephalus, the legendary warhorse of Alexander the Great, as you ride the old dirt roads of Oia or explore the hidden ravines down toward the waiting volcanic beaches. You can also enjoy private horse rides with a romantic dinner along the way. You can even get married on horseback if you envision your Santorini visit as a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Ask our guest experience specialists when you stay at Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa to recommend you the riding tour that best decribes your preferenceces and organise it for your and your loved ones.

We urge you to avoid riding donkeys, as the animals are now under governmental protection.

Idyllic Privacy of Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa’s Luxury Villas

The Luxury Sunset Villas at Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa are the ultimate expression of the glowing minimalist indulgence designed to captivate our guests. Perched to look over the sparkling blues of the Aegean Sea, offer guests moments of tranquility and serenity by admiring the colors of the sky. When you think about your stay on timeless Santorini years from now, you will remember the unassuming décor, bright spaces, and mesmerizing vistas offered by these dreamy villas.

Santorini is an unforgettable memory no matter what, but Oia’s magnificent sunset, observed from the privacy of your own personal pool helps create an epic story. These chic villas offer style perfection, luxurious privileges like your own private veranda with heated Jacuzzi, dinner al fresco or even your own in-room spa therapist at your beacon call.

Each Luxury Sunset Villas has two spacious bedrooms with king-size beds, individual showers adjoining separate bathrooms, kitchenette, beautiful living areas, personal sauna, and a veranda with sun loungers for blissful sunbathing and relaxation at the resort. Accommodating up to four guests, they flaunt all the luxury amenities you’d expect from free Wi-Fi, luxe toiletries, plush bathrobes and slippers for a plus of comfort, and even separate sitting room with modern entertainment, like ultra large flat-screen HDTVs with international channels. There’s also a room for a butler, all complete with a functional kitchen. Everything about these villas is conceived to make you feel like a VIP – from the bottle of wine and sweets we prepare in your room to welcome you at Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa, to the smallest memorable details that will make your stay a unique experience.

From your arrival on Santorini, the unexpected of this majestic island surrounds you like you thought it will when you saw those images of epic sunsets of Oia. The glorious Greek architecture that’s graced magazine covers for decades, ancient Akrotiri, the cliffs, those unmistakable churches, and black sand beaches will still catch you unaware. There are only two things that can make your experience more memorable. The significant other you share it with, and the warm hospitality experience in the scenic Luxury Sunset Villas of Santo Maris.

The Luxury Sunset Villas were designed with epic personal stories in mind.

The Wine Tours of Santorini

Santorini is a living vineyard as you will soon discover when you visit our beautiful island. From the many pastimes enjoyed by tourists, wine tours count among the noblest and fascinating.

We have already introduced you to the best boutique wineries of Santorini and you can always ask your Guest Experience team at Santo Maris Oia Resort & Spa to arrange a wine tour of the island you will never forget. We also offer wine tastings at the resort if you don’t have enough time to explore our favorite vineyards during your stay.

When you stay in Oia, the closest boutique wineries to your locations are Domaine Sigalas – which is also one of the most famous Santorini winemakers, not only for their wines, but also for their beautiful setting, and fantastic sunset views – and Vassaltis Vineyards, a new winery, which opened in 2016. Most other wineries are clustered in the south of the island in Megalochori, Pyrgos, and Episkopi.

There are different types of tours available for travelers who appreciate wine, the world’s second most popular alcoholic beverage after beer.

The standard tours usually will take you to three family estates where you can appreciate a selection of artisanal wines paired with local cured meat and cheeses or other bites. A sommelier or the winemaker will explain the wine-making process and introduce you to the particularities of each wine you will consume during the tour.

Connoisseur tours are more in-depth and usually more expensive. They can be either designed to impress or customized to meet the demands of the oenophile who ordered the tour. These may not be limited to visits to local boutique wineries and may include tastings of other Greek and Cycladic wines.

Sunset wine tours are in high demand as they end it a winery with spellbinding views of the celebrated Santorini sunsets. They may include visits to up to three traditional wineries ending in a relaxed sun gazing evening with wine and local food.

Private tours are exclusive and can be customized to the needs of the guests. They can last as long as you want them and can take you up to five wineries. Private winery tours, with tastings, and snacks. A few stops at other attractions in the countryside may be included.

History wine tours are interesting because they combine a wine tour with a stop to a historic site – usually Akrotiri. Due to their complexity, they may last as long as half a day, so be prepared to spend time on the road and to enjoy a truly unique experience.

Wine and food tours are designed to satisfy both the oenophiles and the foodies.

Finally, for island lovers who just cannot find the time for a wine tour, or simply don’t enjoy organized tours so much but still want to learn about the winemaking traditions and winemaking history in Santorini, a visit to the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum can be a rewarding experience. The museum tour ends with wine tasting.

If you visited Santorini and took a wine tour, we would love to hear from you. Use the comments form to send us your thoughts or join the conversation on Facebook where our guests share their most exciting Santorini moments, learn about our new offers, and all the fun you will have when you stay at Santo Maris Oia Resort & Spa.

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.