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.
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.
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.
Santorini is a top choice for families on vacation in Greece, with good reason. Our last visit to Santorini was with my little traveler, 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.