WHERE TO NEXT?
I have some exciting news to share today!
But first I want to touch on two other things…
Our world and the travel industry are once again going through some challenge times – significant ones like the war in Israel and other ones like many more last minute cancelled flights, lost bags, continued high demand and prices and a mixed bag of service levels. I think it’s worth talking about the impact of these to help you understand what you and I have control over and what we don’t. I will save this topic most likely for next week and hope it gives you some insights to help manage expectations as you plan your adventures.
For now, I’m going to share more about my trip to Greece so you know some of the amazing experiences you can have in this beautiful country!
While traveling last week I had some technical issues. The newsletter did not save properly so the text of the details for the Highlight – Tsachpinis in Paros was not included. It’s now fixed and you can read about it here.
The country of Greece is FULL of special moments, places and people. Today I will focus on Santorini and a bit on Athens.
Did you know that Santorini has 330+ days of sunshine a year?!
My trip dates (October 12-21) are considered at the very end of the season, as some hotels and restaurants on the islands had already closed. However we had spectacular 70-75 degree sunny days every single day! Combine that with fewer people and I can not think of a more perfect time to be in Greece. Of course weather is different every year, so there are no guarantees, but this trip solidified in my mind the benefit of traveling in the shoulder season vs peak dates.
One of the favorite things to do in Santorini is watch the sunset. And there are many places to do this. One of my personal favorites is from Ammoudi Bay – on my last two trips to Santorini we went there. And you can see why below.
After dark at Ammoudi…
Many of my clients, especially with teenagers and college kids, love meeting local artisans and having hands on experiences. In Santorini we went to a local pottery studio to learn about the methods they use to make beautiful pieces and try out making some on our own. I chose to make a chubby pitcher that I plan to use for cream or maple syrup.
Most of you consider yourselves foodies, so having culinary experiences is also a priority. Those include visiting local markets and off the beaten path restaurants, cooking classes, back of the house kitchen tours, tasting tours, wine tasting and Michelin star meals.
Santorini is known world-wide for their delicious wine. During our trip we had a cooking class – you can see me making tomato fritters below (delish!) and did wine tasting.
Another favorite for all of you – being active.
DING DING DING DING!!!
The blaring radar alarm from my iPhone woke me from a solid slumber at 6:15a. It was pitch black outside and my idea from yesterday to wake early and hike from Thira to Oia as the sun rose felt unfortunate in this moment. However in addition to our guide, four of my colleagues and partners agreed to join me. I wasn’t going to be a no-show. It was time to get out of bed.
We were squeezing in this hike before everyone else was awake and we were under time pressure to make it back to shower before our 8:45a departure for our full day.
Arsenio, our guide, was happy we were all on time. He was also pleased to be able to accommodate our last minute request that he squeezed in before another client’s hike at the more respectable hour of 10a. He has a great job!
From the windows of our van, I observed the deep black sky, while the sparkle of a few stars still remained from the night. As we reached our starting point the sun’s glow was just peaking above the horizon. I knew we were in for a treat.
The trail was rocky, but nothing that required more than decent gym shoes. It’s an old donkey trail that was used heavily when donkeys were the main form of transportation until the 1960s.
The harsh weather conditions, with relentless sun, little rain and strong winds at certain times of year, pummel the vegetation and it shows. What survives are prickly pear cactus, scrubby bushes and fragrant wild thyme, oregano and sage. Arsenio told me that in spring the sides of the trail are blanketed in thyme and its purple flowers.
Photos don’t do this hike justice. When you come to Santorini (you must!) absolutely put this hike on your itinerary. Especially during sunrise or sunset.
Tip: at sunrise you have it to yourself!
There is another must-do when you are on Santorini – getting out in a boat on the water. See more details below in this week’s Where to Next.
And now for some exciting news to share… you may know that you can find every issue of the newsletter going back 2 1/2 years on the Turvay Travel website here. Starting August 8, instead of a simple link to the nesletter on another platform, we have recreated the content of the newsletter on the webpage.
Why is that important?
Because we’ve also added a search bar!
Now you can search on a specific place that you may recall reading about but don’t remember the name, or you can search on a destination you are dreaming about visiting to see what I’ve written about it or look up any of the articles I’ve posted. Prior to August 8, the only searchable words are those in the subject line of the email. But starting August 8, the search results will display anything that was included in the email.
This week’s inspiring articles include 7 secret hotels, luxury trips to Peru, adventuring to other countries to see Taylor Swift live on tour, the best destinations around the world for a girls’ getaway and the 6 most adventurous hotels in the world (I stayed at #1 last year and it was over the top!).
The informational articles include the what the US State Department’s worldwide travel advisory really means and why it’s so important for kids to travel.
- This week’s highlight – Temple of Poseidon
- Where to Next? Canaves Oia Suites in Santorini
- Articles to Inspire+Inform
TEMPLE OF POSEIDON
There are SO many places from Greece that I want to share with you as a Highlight! Expect more in the future.
Today, let’s talk about one of the main reasons to go to Greece. Yes, there are glorious sunsets, breathtaking islands, delicious Mediterranean food, luxury yachts and catamarans, local artisans, island hopping, wineries, beach clubs and so much more.
There are also incredible ruins and history. The Parthenon tops the list, but there are so many others! Simply walking into the Acropolis museum through the glass floor you see the ruins that were found while excavating the museum. Everywhere they dig there are ruins.
I want to share a very special place, the Temple of Poseidon. This was my first visit to this temple and it is dramatic! Perched high on a mountain top on a peninsula that juts out into the sea, it doesn’t take much to imagine why the ancient Greeks chose this spot for a temple.
We heard the history of Poseidons’ Temple from my guide, Xenia, on our drive there. I’ll do my best to summarize, but consider the source – I majored in business not history. If you want more accurate information check out these two links – here and here.
Our drive from the Four Seasons took about 50 minutes, and along the way Xenia pointed out many interesting spots that I quickly captured in my notes (for my and your next visits). From luxury resorts to nighttime swimming spots to the location where wealthy Athenians have their summer homes to THE trendiest beach club that my partner went to as a teenager. Her mom often wondered out loud “how she graduated uni after spending so much time there.”
She told us the first story where she learned about Girl Power – and that was the story of how the city of Athens got its name.
Both Zeus’ daughter, Athena, who was the Goddess of Wisdom, and Zeus’ brother Poseidon, God of the Sea, wanted to have the city under their patronage so that the people would honor them through building temples and offering sacrifices. When two gods wanted the same city it made things complicated.
They each presented their gifts to the residents – Athena presented olive trees and Poseidon smashed a rock with trident to expose water (unfortunately it was undrinkable sea water). The people chose Athena and her olive trees.
Poseidon was angry. To keep him from being unhappy, on top of a rock on this peninsula they constructed Poseidon’s Temple. This was built ~2500 years ago in 5th century BC. Your guide will do a much better job than me in bringing the story to life! A fun way to learn for both kids and adults.
When should you visit the Temple of Poseidon? For a magical view, come at sunset. But if you can’t come at sunset, you still must come.
🌟 Last week, I was on Santorini where we had clients visit just the week before. We both stayed at Canaves properties (there are currently four with more in the works). Canaves Oia Suites is one of the most picturesque hotels in the world and the absolute top hotel in Santorini. If you are headed to Greece and want the best, this is the hotel I will want you to stay in.
Why is Canaves Oia Suites so special?
I will give you some reasons below, but before I do, I want to highlight the overarching characteristic that sets this 5* hotel apart from so many others.
100% the people.
Canaves is a family owned and run hotel, now led by Markos Chaidemenos, the son of the original owners, Yiannis and Anna Chaidemenos. In 1985 Yiannis and Anna transformed 17th-century caves, once used to store wine, into designer-chic luxury hotel rooms. They started with just two rooms and now have four stunning properties with more on the way.
Markos and his wife, Melanie, truly care about their staff. I had the pleasure of spending quite a bit of time with both of them during our stay and loved hearing the story of how Canaves was created.
With deep Santorini roots (Markos’ uncle was the mayor of Oia) that go back generations, an education in hotel management in Switzerland and a true desire to lead a committed, caring, truly incredible staff – you feel it when you first arrive and for your entire stay.
With that introduction, a few other reasons why Canaves Oia Suites is so special…
- Every room is a suite, complete with stunning of views of the caldera and Aegean Sea from balconies with your own plunge or swimming pool.
- It is home to Petra Restaurant & Bar, located on the caldera cliff, that serves the finest Greek cuisine with a creative twist. Our dinner was so incredible that we applauded Michelin star Chef Kataras when he came out to check on us.
- If you would like a romantic setting for two, reserve the Panorama Balcony, an intimate gourmet dining experience, surrounded by the blue sky and the deep blue sea.
Do as much or as little as you like:
- Canaves Oia Spa is both indoors and outdoors, with treatments available overlooking the sea. It will be one of the most memorable massages you ever have. They offer luxury treatments to escape the world for an hour, an afternoon or a full day.
- Explore the Aegean by boat and dine, fish, swim and dive. There are trips for everyone – private, semi-private, romantic, family-oriented and near or far. We spent a half day on a luxury catamaran visiting a few of the little islands in the caldera, the hot springs to swim in, tiny churches only accessible by boat, storage rooms where fisherman keep their wares and many secret spots where my partners spent their childhoods.
‼️ Don’t miss…… chartering the hotel’s fully-crewed private yacht and creating a customized itinerary. Experience a gourmet meal, wine tasting, water toys or scuba diving, all while cruising the islands. For an adventurous twist, spend the night out in the middle of the sea. See photos from our day on the water below.
Chef George Kataras…
📷 Canaves Oia Suites
Two of my favorite Greek partners who between them know everything about Santorini and Greece…
We jumped off the boat and swam over to this island with a little church. After contemplating jumping off the wall, we assessed the depths of the rocks below and opted not to.
If you are looking for the sexiest boat for your charter, this is it. No surprise it’s Italian.
Me at one of the other stunning Canaves properties. They all have incredible views!
Reach out to plan your trip to
The 6 Most Adventurous Hotels in the World, Outside
(I’ve stayed at #1. How about you?)
Peruvian tourism steps up from trekking to luxury experiences, Financial Times
Far off the tourist track, Molise offers the best parts of Italy, Washington Post
Raise a glass to the world’s best bar (and 49 more), Lonely Planet
The Best Destinations Around The World For Your Next Girls’ Getaway, Luxury Travel Magazine
How to Experience Cinque Terre Like a Local, Condé Nast
The coolest ski hotels in Europe for 2023-2024, Condé Nast
US State Department issues worldwide caution, Travel.State.Gov
Why It’s so Important for Kids to Travel, According to Experts, T&L (throwback link)
5 ways to be a good visitor on Maui as tourism reopens, Washington Post
(If you aren’t able to access an NYT or Washington Post article, send me a note and I’ll send it to you in a PDF.)