Thira (Santorini), Greece
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Approximately 7¼ Hours
Begin your journey amid the steep, multi-colored volcanic cliffs surrounding Athinios port and along the winding roads offering breathtaking views on the route to Akrotiri. Over the years, the island has transformed due to the massive volcanic eruption that created the island of Santorini in 1646 BC. The residents have found new ways to prosper amid the volcanic soil that, along with the sea salt and damp night air, created a unique microclimate. As they soon found out, this proved especially favorable to ground-hugging vines, including tomatoes, round courgettes, white eggplants, and golden-blond fava beans.
Upon your arrival, the Arvanites family welcomes you with famous Greek hospitality as they invite you into their home. While there, visit the chapel dedicated to Panagia Kalamiotisa; then, hear the story of the church and the cross found by Xristos, a local fisherman, and his wife, Loukia. Continue your tour to the Panigriospito, a kitchen used for feasting during the chapel's annual celebration. Loukia will serve delicious homemade delicacies as she tells stories of daily island life, the wine fields, and local traditions.
The tour continues to the home of the Darzendas family, where you will step into their family vineyard to see the vines. Their other agricultural products, for which Santorini is known, include fava beans, special cherry tomatoes grown only on the island, and kapari -- a pea-sized vegetable that is a key ingredient in Greek salads. You'll learn about chloro, a cheese made from goat milk, and discover how the Darzendas cultivate their crops, their fears, and concerns, and when they pray and why.
Santo Winery is the next stop. Wine is the primary produce from Santorini and Santo Wines cooperative, to which both host families contribute, is one of the most important wineries on the island and one of the most technologically advanced wineries in all of Greece. Operating since 1922 in the village of Pyrgos, its wonderful location overlooks Santorini's vast caldera. The building's groundbreaking architecture is designed and constructed in full harmony with the surrounding natural landscape. Learn all about the winemaking process and enjoy a wine tasting.
The return to the ship will be via the cable car in Thira Town to the port and then by tender. To reach the cable car, participants must walk across Thira's upper town, along narrow cobble-stoned streets with inclines and steps. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Please realistically assess your physical fitness and ability prior to booking. Expect lines at the cable car; the wait can be more than 60 minutes if multiple ships are in port.