In a word, Santorini is magical. In more words, it's a destination straight out of a coffee table book or romance novel. I can just picture it now: man and woman dine on a cliffside eatery. Man grabs woman's hands, gets down on one knee, whispers beautiful sweet nothings in her ear, and says those four words she been waiting her whole adult life for:
Let's move to Santorini.
Swoon. Maybe they're already married. Maybe they aren't. Maybe they're travel bloggers and can hop around the isles of Greece, as free as the advice I'm about to give you.
Besides Thailand, the Grecian islands might be my favorite destination for a honeymoon. It appeals to everyone: luxury lovers, adventure enthusiasts, foodie fanatics, history buffs, beach bitties and even those on a budget. Between the mainland and the many different islands, diversity isn't far away. Romance is off the charts and couples can choose to be completely off the grid if they so please. I caught the couple below taking wedding photos, and my camera and I couldn't help but to snap away...
Think of Santorini as the supermodel of the Greek islands. Gisele is Santorini and the other islands are her fierce entourage. Arguably more recognizable than any other island, Santorini has a unique history. What you see now are the remains of a devastating volcanic eruption dating back to the 16th century BC. Greece is not without its tragedies, both historical and mordern-day, and I was able to experience their current calamity as I was personally affected while visiting Santorini.
It's no secret. Greece is in a major economic crisis due to their crippling debt and bad decisions. This of course affects its people and its relationships with various countries that have lent them millions. Greece isn't exactly popular with the EU at the moment, and with more and more loans to pay off and controversial reforms implemented, tensions are running high. SO high that during my final days in the country, Greek air traffic controllers protested against EU reforms/foreign creditors which would change the structure of the civil aviation department. That protest grounded flights for FOUR days and a mass exodus ensued from Santorini. People were buying one-way tickets to France, Germany, London, or whatever plane ticket they could get ahold of. Some people even jumped on 15-hour ferry rides to Italy just so they'd have a way out of Greece. By the time I got ahold of an airline agent, everything was sold out for the next week. I was stuck in Athens after leaving beautiful Santorini a day early (sigh) due to the hysteria. I was seriously considering booking a ticket that took me from Greece to Iran to Dubai to the USA. Can we say 'desperate?' In the 11th hour, the strike was called off and flights resumed as (somewhat) scheduled. I made it out of Greece only a few hours later than originally scheduled, but I still think about those people who boarded 15-hour ferries to Italy, totally ditching their original Greek plane ticket home. It's a damn shame, but lucky for Greece, tourism doesn't look like it's slowing down which should contribute significantly to their economy.
Back to the volcanic eruption. So in short, it formed the current caldera, drawing many people into its magical landscape and whitewashed houses. Some of those people include founders Rena and Takis Adamidis of Kapari Natural Resort who set out 40 years ago to reimagine the 300-year-old cliff-side cave dwellings.
The last time I visited Santorini, I was on a massive cruise ship and was hardly able to explore the island properly with my allotted 8 hours. Santorini in 8 hours!? Give me a freaking break. This was more or less when cruises and I broke up. A much better base can be found at Kapari Natural Resort in Imerovigli just north of Fira, a picturesque property built on the highest point of rocks. SO picturesque that I couldn't put the camera down. SO SO picturesque that I filled up three memory cards with anything and everything Santorini. That's well over 1,000 photos.
With just 14 rooms, you could definitely say that Kapari is a boutique property. Guests can spend the day at the pool taking in the unbeatable views of the caldera below or walking to Skaros Rock towards the Aegean Sea. Originally a castle, Skaros functioned as an observatory at the time of the Venetians and was ultimately destroyed during the earthquake. Now it functions as a captivating spot on the island. You can make out the walking path up the rock in the photo below.
My spa suite had everything I could dream of: courtyard, balcony, view, outdoor jacuzzi, indoor jacuzzi, living area, bedroom, walk-in closet, oversized bathroom, exotic fruits and Santorini wine. Even its added bonuses such as the pillow menu and touch panels made for a more comfortable stay than your average lodging option. Since establishing residency here was out of the question and my time was limited, I was in that same dilemma that so often creeps up on me during my travels: how to split my time between basking in hotel amenities and properly exploring the island. What's a girl to do when everything looks this good?
Sure, Kapari Natural Resort has everything a traveler could want, but there's one accolade attached to its name that doesn't often accompany most luxury properties. Kapari has been placed in the National Geographic Lodges of the World collection, a true testament to its sustainable tourism, authenticity, and excellence in service. To even be considered for such an award, every property must be thoroughly vetted by Nat Geo, and Kapari passed with flying colors. The property prides itself in a staff made up of 85% Greeks, food sourced from a local farm on Santorini (don't worry a Greek cuisine blog is on its way), and interactions with the community such as sponsoring an annual music festival and a local volleyball team. The property also incorporates traditional architecture, the old cave style of Santorini.
More of Santorini
- Rent an ATV
- Hike from Imerovigli to Oia
- Sail the Aegean Sea with Sunset Sail Oia
- Walk the narrow paths of Oia
- Hang out at Seaside by Notos on Perivolos Beach
- Visit the black, red and white beaches
- Wake up with the sun and don't miss a sunset
- Visit Santorini wineries
- Explore the fishing village of Ammoudi Bay
More National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World visited by The Road Les Traveled