If the Greek gods had a home on Earth, it would surely be Santorini.
Surrounded by the sapphire blue waters of the Aegean Sea, the island of Santorini consists of a labyrinth of white-washed buildings atop a steep precipice. With panoramic views visible from almost every inch of the island, the tale behind how modern Santorini came to be is equally as impressive.
The island is the remnants of one of the largest recorded volcanic events in history, when 3,600 years ago the volcanic island of ancient Thira erupted. Taking with it the Minoan civilisation, the eruption was so powerful it caused a tsunami over 96 kilometres away in Crete. What is left is a striking crescent shaped island. On the west part of the island lies a large caldera; a rectangular lagoon measuring 12-by-seven kilometres and enclosed by 300 metre cliffs on three sides.
Santorini is home to some of the most beautiful and unusual beaches in the world. Predominantly scattered across the island’s east and southeastern side, each beach has its own unique and distinct features. At times, it is hard to believe you are on the same island, or even the same planet. Going for a dip on the Red Beach, located on the south side of the island, for example, is probably the closest you’ll ever get to going for a swim on Mars. Here, you’ll find clear blue water, which laps at paprika-coloured sand, all of which is surrounded by large, bright red cliffs.
Not surprisingly, Santorini itself is filled with beautiful shops, cafes, and markets to explore after a day of sight seeing. There are unusual once-in-a-lifetime meals to try and dishes like pan-fried crusted feta cheese with honey will leave you salivating long after you leave the island. Or you can take a stroll through the street of gold in Fira, the island’s capital. In both Fira and the village of Oia, there is an abundance of artworks by local and foreign artists for sale. It is also worth taking some time out to admire the architecture of one of the 250 churches scattered around the island.
Santorini is home to a host of luxurious hotels and if Santorini is the home of the gods, then Katikies Hotel is their palace. Located in Oia, Katikies Hotel boasts uninterrupted caldera and sea views – the perfect location to relax in front of an idyllic Santorini sunset. Stepping out onto a balcony at Katikies is like stepping out onto the edge of the world.
Like many buildings on the island, the hotel’s exterior was designed with the classic Aegean Cycladic architecture style in mind. With villas dug deep into the Oia cliff face, painted in the signature shade of white, staying in Katikies, you almost literally, are up in the clouds. A maze of bright white staircases and arches, guests can choose from a range of six suites to suit their needs and budget. From the more basic yet still luxurious junior suites to the Katikies suite, which boasts a Jacuzzi and fireplace, each room offers superb views.
Standing at the edge of one of Katikies infinity pools, it’s hard to imagine a place of such beauty was once reduced to volcanic ash or that it could in fact, happen again. Whether or not it was an act of an angry god, one thing is for certain – Santorini is a place to appreciate and enjoy all the natural beauty this world has to offer.