Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: What's on your must-do list for Santorini?
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Monday 29 April 2013
Q. I'm jetting off to Santorini next week. What's on your must-do list?
Jamie Lewis, London
A. Perfect timing. The Cyclades of Greece are at their absolute best in May. While the Med has yet to heat up, the breezes should be fresh yet warm.
Santorini is unique. It wasn't the Atlantis of myth, but it was a thriving community until the abrasive plate tectonics of the eastern Mediterranean caused an eruption that tore the core from an island the size of the Isle of Wight.
The main town, Fira, comprises a mix of delicate white cottages on the crest of the caldera, laced with narrow lanes that resonate with church bells. However, Santorini is a favourite cruise destination, with 1,000-plus visitors brought ashore on most days between about 9am and 5pm. Avoid Fira during these times and explore the rest of the island instead.
The highlight is Akrotiri - a town on Santorini where up to 5,000 people lived until an eruption around 3,500 years ago. It suffered a similar volcanic smothering to Pompeii, but was twice as old. Two- and three-storey buildings bear witness to advanced engineering, and vibrant wall paintings and elaborate pottery depict a sophisticated society. Visit as soon as you comfortably can during your stay, because last summer opening days/hours were a little erratic.
If you have not yet booked a place to stay, consider the Porto Fira Suites (portofira.gr), a traditional property on the brink of the crater. It provides an excellent platform for watching the sun set. The place has been luxuriously upgraded, yet in the past few years rates have fallen - a double room currently costs €195 including breakfast, down by about one-third.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 Japanese plant experts produce 10,000 lettuce heads a day in LED-lit indoor farm
- 3 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...
Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...
£33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...
£30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...