When I’m on holiday, there is only so long I can lie idle by the pool before I start to get restless. A couple of days lolling about under the sun’s heat reading my Kindle and sipping chilled Pellegrino is all I need to clear my head and feel relaxed – then I’m ready to explore!
We set off early for a day traversing the island by jeep from end to end. Our first stop was the Holy Orthodox Monastery of Profitis Ilias (atop a mountain named after the Prophet Elijah). This working monastery has been home to Greek Orthodox monks since 1712, where they care for a valuable collection of religious texts, icons and devotional objects. It’s the highest point in Santorini, where you can see whole other islands in the distance!
Next stop was the ancient archaeological site of Akrotiri – a prehistoric settlement preserved under ash following the volcanic eruption of Thera more than 3,000 years ago. This is like hallowed ground for art historians – how fascinating to see archaic pottery preserved untouched for so many thousands of years! I also couldn’t help but marvel at the airy wood-paneled structure built over the site for protection against the elements.
Just minutes down a dusty dirt road from Akrotiri is one of Santorini’s most famous hidden beauty spots, Red Beach. It’s a perilous dash down the rocky path to the rust-colored sand, and the waves wash up quite a lot of straw-like ocean debris, but it’s a refreshing – and visually majestic – spot to escape the midday heat.
After knocking the pebbles from our shoes, we got back on the road, driving further down the island in search of an exceptional Santorinian lunch spot. After a couple of u-turns, and one stop for directions, we eventually tracked it down. It sits right on Perivolos Beach near Perissa. It’s called, quite simply, Sea Side. It’s incredible.
But the piece de la resistance was by far and away the house specialty Seafood Pouch – gorgeous linguine noodles bubbling in a seafood sauce, delicately wrapped in parchment paper.
It’s so good, I got the recipe just so you can try it.Ingredients: 500 grams pasta (linguine) 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes 1 tablespoon tomato paste 1/2 onion, minced handful of fresh basil leaves 1 chilli pepper, diced 2 cloves garlic, pressed olive oil white wine 6 shrimps 6 fresh mussels 4 clams and/or cockles 4 large scallops 1 can of tomato juice Directions:
- Sauté the onion and garlic in a casserole dish with the olive oil until golden brown, and then add the already cleaned seafood.
- Once the seafood steams, pour over a glug of white wine.
- Add the chilli, sun-dried tomato, tomato paste, and tomato juice.
- As soon as the sauce starts boiling, add the linguine and boil for about 7 minutes until the sauce is absorbed by the pasta.
- Throw in the basil leaves, season with salt & pepper, twist up in parchment paper, plate, and serve!
Greece is so full of history and rich in cultural traditions. I was impressed by the variety I found on just one little island. In one day, I was able walk amongst the ruins of a once-thriving prehistoric settlement, offer a silent prayer from a monastery in the sky, sample the local Mediterranean flavors, and end up on a beach with my toes in the volcanic sand. All that – and the day’s not even over yet!
- Santorini “The Old Way”: The Hilltop Village of Pyrgos (godsavethescene.me)