If you think that Santorini is just for sunsets, honeymoons, high-end tourism, you are very far from the truth!
You can still find the authentic spirit of the island in many villages, like my beloved Akrotiri.
Akrotiri is a small town in the very south of Santorini, almost at the end of the island.
This is where I stayed on my first visit in 2005 and this is where I live today, after twelve years!
At the time I was looking for a place to stay which was quiet and relaxing, far from the hype of the tourism, as I wanted to discover a different island, besides the hot popular spots.
And I was not wrong!
This is where I met my second, Greek, mother and family. This is where I fell in love with the island.
When I arrived here, it was love at first sight. There was basically nothing, just a couple of restaurants and a mini market, some small hotels and residents’ houses.
It still is like this, partially. Now there is a pharmacy and a cafe, too!
But the beauty of this place hides in its silence and in its inhabitants.
To me Akrotiri has three ‘floors’:
- First Floor: the main road at the bottom, where you can find the above mentioned services
- Second Floor: the part of the village which goes up from the main road to the Castle
- Third Floor: from the Castle up to the end of the village
Usually I wander around the first and second floor. This is where all the services and friends are and where my first job was.
It’s a blast every time I decide to go further up and visit the third floor.
You need to be ready to climb a lot of steps but your walk will be rewarded by a stunning view from the top, where you could see the Caldera and, if you are lucky, Crete, too.
Someone could argue with me saying that Akrotiri has got nothing, but this is actually the main attraction to me.
There is nothing touristic, at least in the village, yes. But I love to dream with my eyes and imagine stories which hide inside all those empty and lonely houses (and lots of them actually are).
I also love the fact that there is Castle, which was partly destroyed during the last earthquake in 1956, which reminds me the little village where my father was born in South Italy.
My life here is what I wanted to gain from my moving: joyful time surrounded by real people. I feel a real local and the fact the I speak greek helped me a lot to be accepted by the community. I spend my days talking to my new neighbours, I enjoy going to the mini market and teach some italian there while shopping. Having a tea in the cafe is a must everyday, just to say hi and see what’s going on in the village: in the summer mornings you can meet there all the people who are working around the village and you can chat and have fun with them, counting down how many days to the end of the season. The Pharmacy is also a meeting point where I think I have met 50% of the people I know here.
Residents are mainly lovely farmers, and I am always surprised when I received some tomatoes or veggies as a gift.
This is a place where you go around and say Kalimera, and you mean it, to everyone, even if you don’t know them.
This village life and the life of this village is very fascinating to me. I usually go to all the celebrations, wether they are in the children’ school or in the church, because it’s a way to get to know better where I live and, to me, it’s also a sign of my respect to all these people who welcome me everyday.
I think everyone knows that I am italian, someone thinks I am spanish, some one else a Greek who lived abroad for years.
I strongly believe that Akrotiri is also a perfect place where to stay for a holiday. You are far from the masses, live in a pure place, you can speak with locals and have one of the best food of the island. You can go walking to the Archeological Site and The Red Beach.
If you are staying in a village like this, you will enjoy also going to visit the most popular places, you will know that at the end of the day you will go back to a quiet place, and I am pretty sure this will become your second home as well.
AKROTIRI – ΑΚΡΩΤΗΡΙ
From Fira (15km) buses to the Red Beach-Akrotiri (15min)
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