Thira (Santorini), Greece
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Approximately 4½ Hours
The village of Oia -- perhaps the most beautiful village on the island -- is among the most photographed sites in all of Greece. If you've ever seen a postcard from Greece of whitewashed houses and tiny churches clinging to an impossible hillside, it's likely that you've seen Oia. Today, you'll experience it for yourself.
Oia was almost completely destroyed in the 1956 earthquake, but has been slowly restored. Its ancient tradition is one of dwellings excavated from the cliff face, with the cave-like houses carved out of the slope of volcanic rock. The most picturesque of the two main village streets is paved with marble and lined with tiny shops, cafés and restaurants, all waiting to be explored by you and your guide. If you prefer, you can set out on your own and lose yourself in the maze of tiny streets. There's no shortage of strange and interesting houses, superb chapels and abandoned mansions to see.
The views from the cliff are quite amazing -- perhaps the best photo opportunity on this endlessly fascinating island.
Next, you will visit Domaine Sigalas -- an off-the-beaten-track discovery in Oia. This family-owned winery -- featured in Food & Wine Magazine -- is a favorite of the magazine's Executive Wine Editor, Ray Isle. This is your chance to try out the flavors of the region and see one of your favorite magazines brought to life. An added bonus is discovering why Santorini's fragrant wines have an almost cult following. The wines are the product of a wonderful terroir that incorporates the area's Mediterranean climate, mineral-rich volcanic soils and windswept vineyards. Your guided tour of Domaine Sigalas includes tastings of many of the winery's signature bottles. The wines are perfectly paired with a tasting of local products, including white eggplant, pickled capers and various Cycladic cheeses.
Your tour ends at Fira Town, with a ten-minute walk down to the cable car station. Guests who wish to stay in town to shop or explore independently are welcome to do so, but must make their own way back to the ship.
Wear comfortable walking shoes. Expect crowds and long lines at the cable car station. Corkage policy: Wine purchased on this tour is exempt from the on-board corkage fee (offer limited to one bottle of wine per person).