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The Singular Edges of Santorini, Greece

There are few edges in the world as breathtakingly dramatic as Santorini’s caldera rim.

Created when huge parts of a volcano collapsed and disappeared beneath the sea during the Minoan Eruption of 1613 BC, there’s simply nowhere else in the world quite like it.

I’ve been lucky enough to gaze awestruck at this rare natural wonder 3 separate times, with every visit seeming to correspond with very different stages of my life.

greece

The first was when I was 25. I had just quit my job as a news editor. One that depressed me at every turn and found me overweight, unhappy and unsure of what the future held. That trip to Greece was the first international trip I had taken in quite some time, and it awakened my soul in a way that only travel can.

Young, single and traveling with a girlfriend, we divided our time between the islands of Zakynthos and Ios, mostly in clubs, and on beaches. We boarded the boat to Santorini one day, because we heard we “should.” We were so bored, we turned around and headed back to the party in Ios just as fast as we could. Believe it or not.

I wish I had pics of that trip to show you, but you'll have to settle for this instead.

I wish I had pics of that trip to show you, but you’ll have to settle for this instead.

The second time I visited was as a newly married couple, during our RTW in 2012. This time, I was stunned speechless by the expansive blue of the Aegean Sea, and the whitewashed houses stacked precariously on the remnants of that truly remarkable crescent-shaped caldera rim. Agri and I wandered though the narrow streets of Oia, Firostefani and Imerovigli, night and day, staring out at a view so impossibly spectacular, it didn’t seem real.

The last time was on a day trip from Naxos with Naia and her Nonna just a few weeks ago. We had a mediocre meal at one of the restaurants that line the caldera rim, attempted to take family selfies (failed), and wandered the narrow streets once again.

Sadly though, despite the inescapable beauty of our surroundings, all I could think about was how incredibly touristy it was. All I could see was shop after shop after shop filled with the same tourist trash – fridge magnets, hats to ward off the sun, local honey and Santorini white wine – all tended to by jaded staff, half with English accents.

And the realization that we can become hardened to a place as singular as Santorini made me more than a little melancholy.

Have you ever visited somewhere more than once? Did your impression change with every visit? Do you think it’s possible to visit a place too much? Tell us all about us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

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19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Santorini is a place I really think I would love to visit but so many of my friends are not fond of it after being there once or twice due to all the touristy things.
    I think you can never visit a place often enough in case you really love it. For example Xi’an is a place I still love after so many visits even though I don’t think that it is too special or magical I just like it there 🙂

    September 14, 2016
    • I think Santorini is somewhere everyone should visit at least once. The caldera rim is really stunningly beautiful, just as long as you ignore all the millions of tourists. Hahaha. But I agree that when you love someplace, you can visit over and over again and never get tired of it. We’ve been to Thailand 7 or 8 times now, and still can’t wait to go back again. 🙂

      September 16, 2016
  2. I can totally see the turn-off in Santorini although I find Mykonos much worse! In touristy places like that I always just try to “be” and not really do anything typical there. On my last Santorini visit, we walked up and down from the boat, ambled aimlessly through the streets, and bought nothing! It is a beautiful place behind all the magnets and junk. When I start to feel hardened to a place, I remind myself to travel “small” – forget the big monuments or sights and just absorb the little details. It helps … especially on return visits, which I am known for as I never get enough the first time.

    September 14, 2016
    • We have never visited Mykonos, and thought about stopping in there for one night on our recent trip to Naxos, but when I saw the prices for accommodation, it was vetoed immediately. It was even more expensive than Santorini!! 😮 Traveling small is perhaps why I enjoyed our second trip to Santorini so much…we had a scooter and were able to visit the untouristed parts of the island more. In fact, we spent most of our time in Imerovigli – still on the caldera rim, but without all the tourists.

      September 16, 2016
  3. I’ve only been there once, about 20 years ago.I enjoyed my day there but am not sure I’d go back again. There are so many other places I need to visit. Nice photos, Shelley.

    September 15, 2016
    • Strangely enough, I’ve ended up there 3x almost by accident, as I’ve never actually planned a trip to Santorini itself. It was always a side trip from some other place in Greece that I was actually visiting. But I think I’m definitely done with it now. Like you said, too many other nice places to see! 🙂

      September 16, 2016
      • We stopped off there on a Greek cruise. I had quite a hairy ride up the steep hill on a donkey. 😯

        September 16, 2016
        • I did that my first time to Santorini too, and hairy is right. Lol. That reputation for stubbornness sure ain’t a lie. I think my donkey spent half the ride up just standing in front of a wall, no matter what I did to get it going. It took forevvvver. :p

          September 17, 2016
  4. Amazing! I have been dreaming to visit it. Still on my list to visit.

    September 15, 2016
    • Definitely somewhere to visit at least once. The natural environment truly is one of a kind! 🙂

      September 16, 2016
  5. Lovely post and the photos too. Haven’t been to Santaroni but visited Naxos and Amorgos a while back and have written about my experience in my blog. Loved both the places and I’m sure Santaroni has a similar vibe to it

    September 21, 2016
    • Naxos is one of my favourite places on earth! and we actually headed to Santorini just for the day, so that my mother-in-law could see it. It’s very different than Naxos – incredibly touristy and expensive, without the amazing beaches. Def worth checking out at least once because the natural landscape is one of a kind. I’ve heard great things about Amorgos…did you love it? 🙂

      September 22, 2016
      • Yes! Think Naxos, but even less touristy. I was told that Amorgos is where the Greeks go for vacation. If you have seen the film The Big Blue, it was filed there. Beautiful small beaches, amazing sights, and Greek hospitality at its best.

        I plan on visiting Santaroni, but like you did might just do a day trip.

        Cheers

        September 22, 2016
  6. So many cool pics! 🙂

    September 23, 2016
  7. all the amazing places in the world are becoming more and more touristy. but they are still pretty amazing!

    January 19, 2017
    • It’s true, and so much of it is from day-trippers. Probably the solution is to stay overnight and enjoy the places late at night or early in the morning!

      February 1, 2017

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