Santorini was the inspiration for our entire trip to Greece; it was the destination that I needed to see, the one I had dreamed about. Transportation was significantly less painful than our Athens to Mykonos experience and thankfully I was able to keep my luggage with me. We always adore Starwood Resorts and had the great fortune to stay at the Vedema for three wonderful nights. The only thing better than the resort itself was the fantastic staff that made us feel at home 5,272 miles from Arlington.
The Vedema is not only just a luxurious hotel with out of this world customer service and accommodations but like everything in Santorini it has incredible history. Before being reborn as a luxury resort the buildings and grounds housed one of Santorini’s largest wineries growing and fermenting the Assyrtiko grape for over 400 years. Given that history our fist order of business had to be wine tasting in the original barrel cave hosted by Vedema’s resident Sommelier, followed by a pretty glorious nap.
One of our favorite spots on this island was the black sand beaches of Perivolos. The Vedema offers access to the private beach and resort amenities at the fantastic Black Rose beach club, where we spent much of our beach and pool time. Word to the wise, black sand is really freaking cool looking but in the heat of summer it is really freaking HOT! Make sure you wear your sandals all the way to the water because otherwise you will be sprinting and diving head first on your lounge chair to stop your feet from burning, I found out the hard way. Nevertheless the Agean Sea is extremely refreshing and has a very high salt content so we thoroughly enjoyed our cool downs by floating around carelessly.
We took the ride to Fira one night on our trusty rented ATV to catch the sunset, do some exploring and have a romantic dinner by the water. This town reminded me of everything that I had seen in pictures of Santorini before we booked our trip and it is way better in person. If you are brave enough you can take a donkey ride all the way down the giant cliff to the bottom and back up again but the view from the top can’t be beat.
Santorni wines are as distinctive as the way they grew their grapes. In the picture above I am in a vineyard getting a first hand view of the process. Because of the scorching sun, desert climate and reliance on humidity for moisture Santorini growers actually grow-weave their vines into a basket shape instead of the more traditional trellises. This allows the canopy of leaves protect the grapes from the intense sunlight and the proximity to the ground helps the grapes gain and retain moisture. The soil is obviously volcanic and departs some very intriguing mineral flavors into their white wines especially, I suggest you check them out for yourselves.
People travel from all over the world to see the sunsets in Santorini. This picture does not begin to do it justice. Unsurprisingly, we spent most of our time enjoying the view rather than snapping pictures of it because the setting is indeed magical. The town of Oia is known to be the best point to see the famous sunsets but the trek there is substantial from the southern part of the island so leave ample time for travel.
Even in foreign countries I can’t stop reppin ‘merica, especially since our world cup team was still alive (#sadness). One of my favorite new swimwear companies, Tavik Swimwear, makes this patriotic suit that I rocked at the interestingly volcanic Red Sand beach of Santorini.
The second coolest beach we discovered was the red sand beach, also known as Akrotiri. Visiting Red Beach requires a short hike and unlike the more developed beaches there weren’t day beds lined up on the sand and cocktail waitresses handing out refreshing drinks but we found tranquility in the less populated beach and enjoyed the carefree nature of it with our fellow sun worshippers. The red sand was beautiful and unlike I had ever seen at any other beach; but another tip, wear water shoes or some kind of foot protection because the sand and pebbles are a bit larger and more jagged here and will hurt your feet.
Santorini, it’s a long way from home, it’s volcano ended two civilizations and probably sunk the lost city of Atlantis, some of it’s wine smells like sulfur and we nearly got run over by a bus but I already want to go back.