Sunrise, Sunset on Santorini
Santorini days are bookmarked by some of the most majestic sunrises and sunsets I have ever seen. During the ten marvelous days we spent on this legendary Greek island, our only task was just to decide how to spend the time in between. And so we filled our agenda with a cooking class, learning how to make Cold Tomato Soup with Cheese ‘Ice Cream’ and Santorini Fava. We swirled glasses of mineral-rich Assyrtiko and Athiri wine; and in hot springs, we washed off the volcanic soil we’d picked up on our feet during a promenade on a still-active volcano. We also whipped up Greek-inspired meals in our studio apartment, strolled lanes in quieter villages like Firostefani and Imerovigli, and soaked up the island’s fascinating history through visits to the Akrotiri archaeological site, and prehistoric museum which is studded with Akrotiri finds. (Akrotiri is known as the ‘Minoan Pompeii’ and predates Pompeii by more than 1,500 years.)
When we awoke on Santorini the first morning, the sight from our balcony was stunning – a shrimp-colored sun slowly rising over the lavender Aegean. In this gentle light, we spotted the jagged lines of neighboring islands, which would soon be washed out by the intense light. There was also a lone boatmen out on the water. His vessel looked like a fleck of pepper, dwarfed by the vast sea. All was still, cool, and then the sun dramatically burst into tangerine hues so brilliant that we could no longer make eye contact with her.
As our time on Santorini was nearing its end, we found one of the island’s most iconic structures, the Agios Theodori Church in Firostefani. Unlike the village Oia, where large droves of visitors flock to enjoy the sunset, Firostefani was subdued, making it the ideal locale to enjoy the delicate panorama before us.
After a bit of exploration, we found one of Santorini’s most iconic churches, the Agios Theodori Church in Firostefani. The still-active Nea Kameni volcano is off in the distance.
I will share more images and tales detailing all the wonderful in-betweens I described above soon, but for now I wanted to share with you Santorini at daybreak and at nightfall.
The view of Santorini vineyards, as seen from our apartment balcony in Imerovigli. They’re quite unusual in that grapevines are not trellised as they are in most parts of the world. Instead, the vines are wrapped into a nest-like shape, protecting them from the island’s harsh winds, and dry, hot climate.
What a gorgeous welcome for passengers as an airplane makes its descent to Santorini’s airport.
Morning rays reflect upon our apartment’s shutters. We enjoyed our meals on this lovely balcony.
Nea Kameni, the small volcanic island across the caldera from Santorini. We toured this volcano one afternoon, and went swimming in hot springs in the vicinity. Its last eruption was in 1950.
Diners enjoying the sunset in the village of Imerovigli. Imerovigli literally means ‘vigil of the day’ and once served as the island’s lookout spot for pirates, due to its strategic setting. One lovely spot in Imerovigli is Skaros Rock, on which there are remains of a thirteenth-century Venetian castle.
Sailboats take to the golden water at sunset.
By day, these white umbrellas provide shelter from the intense sunlight; at sunset, they create a lovely silhouette.
The villages of Firostefani, Fira, and hill-top Pyrgos.
Firostefani comes alive by night.
Twinkling lights start to appear in the village of Imerovigli.
Where in the World?
- If you’ve read anything about where to go for Santorini’s legendary sunsets, you’ve probably heard that Oia is the best vantage point. We intended to see the sun begin its slumber there, however, as the appointed hour drew closer, the village became unpleasantly crowded, and too noisy for relaxing sunset viewing. We found the villages of Imerovigli and Firostefani to be delightful sunset destination alternatives, and were pleasantly surprised to find that even Firostefani’s regularly-photographed Agios Theodori Church was a quiet spot to take in the beautiful view.
- Finally, if you’re looking for a cozy studio apartment in which to stay, do consider the Rhapsody Apartments in Imerovigli. Owner George was helpful and friendly, even going so far as to share with us delicious Santorini zucchini from his own garden. We loved the apartment’s quiet location, yet walkable distance to Fira, the island’s public transportation hub.
Photography & text © by Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.