Travel Spotlight

Insider Santorini

Yes, it has world-famous sunsets, oft-photographed whitewashed buildings perched majestically on cliffs and numerous vantage points affording spectacular panoramas, but Santorini offers more than beautiful vistas. The island has a robust if little-known artist and artisan culture and a thriving culinary scene, in addition to a picturesque landscape to explore. Indagare contributor Shivani Vora shares four ways to experience the Santorini most tourists miss.Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized trip to Santorini and booking these unique experiences.Cooking Lesson with a Celebrity Greek Chef Nurtured by more than 300 days of sunshine, a bounty of herbs and spices like saffron, sage and thyme as well as such vegetables as tomatoes and asparagus grows in Santorini’s volcanic soil. Foodie travelers can take a cooking class at the renowned Selene restaurant given by its chef, Yiorgos Hatziyannakis, who is known for his refined Greek dishes. The five-hour experience begins with sampling local wines and small bites, followed by instruction in making a Greek meal using Santorinian produce. The day culminates with a dinner of the dishes cooked by the students along with ones from the restaurant’s menu.

A Walking Tour with Imbibing In-Between

You won’t get to know the real Santorini by spending every day by a pool. For an authentic sense of place, you need to get out into the countryside and visit the island’s villages. On this half-day walking tour, a private guide will take you to some of Santorini’s most picturesque towns, where you’ll stroll quaint streets, some lined with 18th- and 19th-century mansions and others virtually deserted since the earthquake in 1956. In between exploring the villages, you’ll hike the hilly countryside, with its mix of pumice-stone ravines, jutting volcanic rocks and olive and pistachio groves, dotted everywhere with wild daisies and herbs.You’ll also meet with locals and learn about age-old professions like basket weaving and wine-barrel making. Quench the thirst worked up by all the walking at one the oldest vineyards in Europe, where you’ll taste wines produced from indigenous grape varieties, and, later, at a local microbrewery, sample beer that, according to local lore, has been brewed on Santorini since ancient times.

A Catamaran Trip Around the Island

The best way to appreciate Santorini’s magnificent topography is to sail around the island on a private, staffed catamaran. The daylong excursion will take you to the tip of the island, where you’ll see a cliff-side lighthouse built by the Venetians who once ruled it, as well as to other sites, like the famed white- and red-sand beaches hot springs and remote coves. You can stop anywhere along the way to swim, snorkel or scuba dive. Lunch will consist of a seafood barbeque, expertly prepared by the onboard chef.Artist and Artisan Tour Santorini has long been home to artists and artisans, and on this half-day excursion, you’ll visit some of the most prominent, including a fourth-generation marble sculptor. You’ll also tour a studio shared by two prolific potters where you can get behind the wheel to create your own ceramic souvenir, a jewelry atelier and the gallery of a local painter who is famous for his spot-on depictions of the island. The jaunt ends at a restored 13th-century castle where a local musician will entertain you with melodies using a variety of centuries-old indigenous instruments, all handmade.

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