Ahhh. The Greek Islands. There are 1400 of them sprinkled across the blue waters of the Aegean Sea between the Greek mainland and Turkey. Everything about them is captivating the laid-back lifestyle, whitewashed buildings, tavernas, fresh seafood and fruit, water for all sorts of activities, beaches and the best sunsets. No wonder it's one of the five most desirable destinations for honeymooners.
Jason Dundas was lucky enough to go to Santorini, one of the world's most romantic islands. It's a four and a half hour ferry ride or 45 minute flight from Athens. Regular ferry services run between Piraeus, Thessaloniki, Crete and almost all of the Cycladic islands. Speed boats operate in summer months.
Santorini is the southernmost island in the volcanic archipelago making up the Cyclades group. It was formed by a volcanic eruption 3600 years ago which destroyed the early settlements on what was a single island. It's been left with a 12km by 7km central lagoon surrounded by 300m-high steep cliffs on three sides. The lagoon is separated from the sea on the fourth side by Therasia, a smaller island.
Canaves Oia Hotel
In Oia, a modest little town on the north-west tip of the caldera, is the luxurious Canaves Oia Hotel. As with most accommodation on the island it is on the side of a cliff and has amazing Aegean and caldera views.
Seventeenth-century cave homes known as canaves carved into rock have been transformed and modified into elegant accommodation, decorated with antique furniture and objet d'art.
The five-star hotel has a pool with a bar, massage treatments and Alexandros, a private motorised 19.5m-long yacht, is available to hire for island cruising. Iguana is a luxury speedboat which carries up to six passengers. It allows you to see the volcano up close and swim in its warm waters. Your captain is sure to take you to a beach on a nearby island a little bit of paradise.
While a lift may not sound too exciting, Canaves Oia is one of the hotels which has one it saves a lot of time and energy tramping up and down the cliff.
The precipice surrounding the caldera is one of twisted and colourful rocks and steep cliffs. The mild and dry climate produces delicious wines and small tomatoes.
Greek and Mediterranean cuisine is served at the pool bar and the gourmet restaurant overlooking the sea is the place for romantic, candlelit dinners. The cellar has a wide collection of Greek and international wines.
Oia is the best spot to see the sun set. People arrive early for good positions on walkways and rooftops. Many stay on to enjoy dinner at one of the town's restaurants.
Santorini, one of Greece's Cyclades Islands.
Greece & Mediterranean Travel Centre has three-night stays at Canaves Oia Hotel starting at $699 per person twin share in a superior room. Breakfast and return airport transfers are included. The hotel is open between April 1 and November 30 each year.
Emirates has flights to Athens from:
- Perth $1738
- Melbourne and Adelaide $1741
- Sydney $1760
- Brisbane $1763
These fares are available only online to the first 100 people to book. Sales and validity dates and other conditions apply.
Connections to Santorini are available.
Prices correct at August 12, 2010.
For further information
Ph: 1300 303 777
Greece and Mediterranean Travel Centre
Suite 2, 644 Botany Road
Ph: (02) 9313 4633 or 1300 661 666
Fax: (02) 9313 4475
Canaves Oia Hotel
Ph: +30 22860 71453
Fax: +30 22860 71195
Visas: Australian passport holders do not require a visa to enter Greece.
Electricity: 220V at 50Hz. Two- and three-point plugs are used.
Time zone: GMT +3.
Currency: The euro.
International dialling code: +30.
Travellers should be "in date" for the standard Australia and New Zealand immunisation schedules. Depending on the time of year of travel and exact destination, other health precautions and preventions may be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au