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Hiking up and around the Caldera of Santorini

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Can we think to typical summer destination where sunbathers go to revel in the sandy beaches. In fact, what draws visitors to this volcanic island is its unique architecture of white-washed houses sitting atop of the caldera, accompanied by the most amazing sunsets Instagram is so full of. 

The only way to really appreciate the beauty of this island is to explore it on foot. There are several hiking trails on Santorini that will take you up and down the winding paths connecting the points of interest you shouldn’t miss. Grab some comfortable footwear and prepare to be stunned by the scenery along the way.

Hiking Trail of Ancient Thira

This trail can be done in two ways – either from Kamari Beach to Thira or from Perissa Beach to Thira and vice versa. Seeing as Santorini is one of Greece’s most spectacular islands, it goes without saying that it is abundant in historical monuments and the ancient Thira is one of the greatest representatives. For this reason, hiking to Thira is ideal for those with a knack for history and the love of nature.

This is an easy trail lasting around an hour and a half (around 3 kilometers). You can start at Kamari known for its unique black-sand beach. You should head uphill toward Zoodohoos Pigi chapel and Ancient Thira where you can spend some time exploring the archeological sites. After that, the descent toward Perissa starts and the beach will come into view shortly. Parissa beach is 4 kilometers long, well-organized with lots of beach bars and restaurants you can enjoy after a lovely hike.

Hiking Trail from Pyrgos to Kamari or Perissa

Pyrgos is a small inland village that often gets overlooked in the face of Fira, Oia, or Imerovigli but it’s actually rather charming and picturesque. This is why you can choose to hike through it and avoid the crowd usually encountered on the other more popular trails. 

Once you are in Pyrgos, it will take you around 6 kilometers to get to Kamari or Perissa. First, the path will lead you to Profitis Ilias Monastery which is also the highest point of the island so you can expect to catch some stunning views of the surroundings. Continue south and after 1 kilometer, you will come across yet another picturesque church – the Church of Christ. Similar to the previous trail, you will walk through the Ancient Thira where a signpost will await, telling you there is about an hour and a half until you reach Kamari or Perissa. From there on, you can choose your path depending on the beach you want to visit.

Hiking Trail from Fira to Oia

This is one of the most scenic and extensive walks along the Santorini’s caldera that will take you from Fira (the island’s capital) all the way to the northwestern tip of the island where Oia is located. The route is approximately 6.5 miles long which translates to 2 to 5 hours of walking, depending on your fitness level and the duration of breaks you make. 

Your route should start in Fira where you will head toward the north in the direction of Firostefani. The sea should be on your left the whole time and don’t rely on the signposts too much as they are scarce. After reaching Firostefani, your next stop should be Imerovigli, a village just 8 minutes from Fira perched on a cliff of the caldera. Once in Imerovigli, you can choose between several mazy paths if you want to take a detour around the village. If not, just follow the path you came across which will push you forward toward Oia. This uphill walk will take you across one short section of the road where cars pass but that’s just a 200-meter section after which you continue via a dirt path until you finally start descending toward Oia.

Hiking Trail in Thirassia

This hiking trail is not actually located on Santorini but on its neighboring Thirassia. Not only does it represent a stunning hiking experience but it also provides hikers with a unique opportunity to gaze at the caldera from an entirely different perspective. 

Ferries run regularly from Oia to Thirassia several times a day and the tickets are rather cheap so you can easily hop to Santorini’s sister island. You can start at the village of Manolas and continue uphill until you reach the chapel of Prophet Elias. From then on, you will push ahead toward the southernmost part of the island where the monastery of Panagia is located. All the while, the majestic caldera will be visible just like the Aegean sea stretching in all directions. This track is almost 3 kilometers long and moderately difficult, easily crossed in less than an hour and 15 minutes. 

Additional Tips for Santorini Hiking

  • Stack up on water and snacks as there will be few shops along the way, some of which may not even be open at the time of your hike.
  • Embark on the journey as early as possible in order not to get scorched by the summer sun which reaches zenith as early as 11 am.
  • Prepare your route thoroughly and talk to the passers-by you meet along the trail in case you are not sure about the directions.
  • There is little to no shade along any of the trails so make sure you wear a hat and sunscreen.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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Travel Tips

What to expect when your holiday is cancelled. A helpful guide

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We all know how exciting planning a holiday is. From the moment we book time off work, we’re already counting down until we’re stepping off the plane and enjoying the sunshine. The anticipation and excitement is all part of the fun! Unless you’re an expert at last minute holidays, it can take a few months to ensure everything is in order and ready to go. 

Being organised plays a huge factor in ensuring your holiday goes off without a hitch. Check out this website for a helpful infographic on what to do if your holiday is cancelled. From deciding what clothes to take, to remembering all your holiday essentials: your passport, boarding passes, getting all your travel money ready and arranging transfers to the airport, so you get there on time…going away on holiday isn’t as straightforward as we’d like it to be, is it?

But sometimes, no matter how organised you are things can go wrong. And when your holiday is cancelled out of the blue, not only has all that planning gone to waste, but now you’re burdened with stress, anxiety and frustration. Your first step is to ensure that you get your money back, so here you’ll find a helpful infographic of what to do if your holiday is cancelled. 

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Travel Tips

Best Travel Destinations for 2020

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Lonely Planet has this week released its list of best counties to travel in for next year. According to the company, these destinations represent not only amazing slices of cultural, historical and natural interest; they’re also interested in how sustainable the region’s tourist trade is, and what impact it has on the natural environment.

Let’s take a look at some of the high-ranking countries featuring on the list.

Bhutan

This landlocked nation in South Asia is among the world’s smallest, with a population of less than a million. It holds the distinction of being the world’s only carbon-negative economy, and is on course to become fully organic next year. One of the most notable government measures on this front concerns the tourist industry: those travelling to Bhutan must contribute a daily fee toward conservation efforts. Consequently, those that do manage to gain entry are allowed to wander through the Buddhist temples and pine forests in near isolation. It’s an unforgettable experience – for those who can afford it. To get the most from your visit to Bhutan, it’s worth going with an experienced tour operator like Jules Verne, who’ll ensure that you don’t miss a thing!

England

It might surprise many natives of the UK that England should reach second place. After all, we’re so familiar with the charms this country has to offer, that we often fail to be suitably impressed by them. The Lonely Planet roundup identifies Britain’s coastline as a major draw, with the opening of the compete England Coast Path in 2020 sure to be of interest to hikers from around the world. Once complete, it’ll be the world’s longest managed coastal path – so if you’re looking to take in the seaside, it’s probably the best way to do it.

North Macedonia

Claiming third place in the list is a country which has undergone considerable change over the past few years. A dispute with neighbouring Greece was finally resolved in 2018, and Macedonia became known as ‘North Macedonia’. 

What hasn’t changed is the tourist-friendly attractions and gastronomy on offer. In 2020, new routes to the tiny St. Paul the Apostle Airport on the shores of Lake Ohrid opened up, making it easier than ever to pay a visit to this tiny, beautiful slice of the Balkans. Experienced hikers will want to make this country just one stop on a longer trip across Europe. The High Scardus Trail was established more than two thousand years ago by Roman pioneers, and it offers stunning views across neighbouring Kosovo, Albania and Macedonia. The Slavic term ‘shara’, meaning colourful, is derived from ‘scardus’. The changing colour of the grasslands makes it obvious why this is the case!

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Travel Tips

Top 5 Things to See in Edinburgh over the Christmas Period

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Edinburgh is among the most attractive and tourist-friendly cities in the UK. It offers an atmosphere that’s quite distinct from the rest of the country, with its combination of historic buildings, quality restaurants and gorgeous parks. The city is easily reachable from Glasgow and the rest of the UK, with trains travelling to Edinburgh on a regular basis.

 If you’re paying a visit over the Christmas period, then you’ll also find a wealth of seasonal attractions competing for your attention. Let’s look at five of the best of them!

German Market

Traditional German markets have become a regular fixture in dozens of major cities across the UK. And there are few better than the one in Edinburgh, which has been running for more than two decades. You’ll find everything on sale, from delicious bratwurst to warming mulled wine. And there’s even a sixty-metre-tall ‘Star Flyer’ and an enormous ferris wheel, which afford you an incredible view over the city’s iconic skyline, including the nearby castle.

Ice Skating

For the past few years, Christmas revellers have been able to indulge in outdoor ice skating over at St. Andrew Square. But this year, Essential Edinburgh (the body in charge of managing the city centre) have deemed the attraction too damaging. But you can still indulge in ice-skating in Edinburgh at Christmas time, thanks to the Murrayfield Ice rink, over on Riversdale Crescent.

Nativity Scene

What will be at St. Andrew Square, however, is the city’s annual nativity display. Since 2003, the same scene has been depicted. Tim Chalk’s iconic sculpture breaks a little bit from tradition, featuring just a handful of statures, and excluding many of the extended cast of angels, shepherds and wise men that typically dominate the nativity scene. If you’re in the area, you’ll definitely want to make a point of visiting!

Christmas Shopping

If you need to finish your Christmas shopping before the big day itself rolls around, then Edinburgh is a fantastic place to do it. You’ll find plenty of suitable gifts at the aforementioned Christmas market. But if you’re after luxury brands and designer clothing, then it’s worth a trip to Multrees walk, where Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors have their stores.

University Carol Service

Every year, Edinburgh university puts on a carol service including a range of performers. The crowning jewel of the event is invariably the carol singers themselves, who’ll be running through a range of classics. The venue for the event is typically announced in early December, so be sure to keep an eye on the University for updates. The event is usually not ticketed, so if you want a seat, you’ll need to get there in good time.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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