To the people of Santorini, as to all the Greeks, especially those living on the islands, the sea is what the snow is to the Eskimos: their natural environment. They are surrounded by it, swim in it, live out of it, recognize its every smell and color, have hundreds of songs about it, feel its every movement, its every wave. For the ancient Greeks, the sea was a sacred element, the kingdom of the mighty God Poseidon. The most glorious adventures of the Greek mythology and history took place in the sea, as Homer so vividly narrates in his famous Odyssey!
The Greeks love the sea. They respect it. It is the very essence of their tradition, their culture, their life, their legacy. And they yearn to share this experience with the thousands of guests visiting Santorini every year. But nowadays, more and more tourists ask for accommodations with swimming pools or Jacuzzi hot tubs. This is understandable, of course, since so many of them come from inland, continental places far away from the sea, or from places near the wild ocean, where the waters are rough, gray and freezing, even in the summer. So, they are accustomed to swimming pools. But why come to Santorini and ask for this artificial water enjoyment if they can find it in every part of the planet, in every town or city, even in the backyard of their own home?
Indeed, most of the travelers are not familiar with the unique qualities of the Aegean Sea and its islands’ beaches and soothing, crystal waters. So, they prefer to spend precious vacation time in the swimming pool or the Jacuzzi, instead of letting themselves be engulfed by the sparkling waters, feeling the beneficial, cool, salty water on their skin, letting their feet touch the soft, wet sand or the pebbles, or taking long walks on the black sand till they become one with nature, and then lying on the beach and basking in the euphoria of the sun drying their body. This is the reason why, here, on Santorini, observing the sea from afar, as if watching a documentary on TV, is out of the question!
And there are so many amazing beaches on this island, some bustling with people, other secluded, private paradises, nudists’ beaches, even wild ones, formed out of plain lava rock – take your pick! Beaches for all tastes. It’s a pity to come all the way to Santorini and miss its core essence, miss the unforgettable experience of swimming in its unique sea waters.
Demand brings multiplication. Due to the tourists’ high preference for swimming pools and Jacuzzis, more and more accommodation hosts are obliged to provide them for competition reasons. But these elements do not belong here. They do not blend with the essence of the island’s environment and its culture; quite the opposite: these elements deform the landscape and distort the traditional architecture. Since Santorini is a volcanic island, and many of its most famous villages are built on the steep Caldera, with houses hanging one above the other, these pools and Jacuzzis are built on a ground with a 25% – 35% slope!
One can find amazing, traditional, quaint little houses with awesome view, that are not preferred by the tourists because they do not provide Jacuzzi hot tubs or pools. So tourists tend to miss the one most vital, most beautiful gift Santorini so generously offers: the direct communication with the sea environment, the incredibly energizing experience of swimming in its crystal waters. Really, it is a ‘lose-lose’ situation.
So when you come to Santorini, do yourself the favor and let the deep blue sea and the coal black sand cast their magic on your body and your soul. And do not forget the year-long warm thermal bubbling waters of the volcano, where you can certainly swim!
This is the time and the place to live like the Greeks do, to become indigenous! One thing is certain: you will not regret it.