Bougainvillea – A sexy South American in Santorini

It’s an amazing world we live in… how often have you thought about that lately?  Not often? Perhaps you should.

Lately I have found myself running around a bit too much and realised that its been a while since I took Rex for a long walk through the village. Today I rectified that and although its very hot here… it was an uplifting experience. Its the middle of summer (almost), the light is very bright and the village looks a picture. It struck me as I walked through the narrow paths that there are so many beautiful images all around, quite apart from the views of Oia. It also struck me that you can’t help but gaze towards a particular plant at this time of year…wherever it may be growing.



Its bougainvillea… and in Oia, its everywhere. This sexy little climber from the South American tropics has certainly found its way to the Greek islands and in this small village it is almost symbolic. There is good reason for that of course… the colour contrast between the various varieties of bougainvillea and the mostly white-washed walls in Oia is spectacular. The effect of bougainvillea on a landscape can be stunning.


Whether it’s someone’s garden…



Or a small hotel like this. The contrast against white and blue seems completely natural and “right”.


It is used to add colour to our narrow lanes…



and even our clock tower.


Shops use bougainvillea….



so do our restaurants. Some of these are old, very well established plants, adding lots of colour and atmosphere.



Others use them in a very subtle, understated way to achieve sublime results !


There are no prerequisites to having a bougainvillea. You don’t need a spectacular villa or a great restaurant. You can just as easily have the good taste to grow one in front of your small island home.


It certainly makes plain white & blue look like dreamland…. don’t you think?


And so it was…walking around my little village, that I realised what an amazing world we live in, if only we take the time to look around us. A gorgeous South American now living and thriving in Greece, adding infinite beauty to the landscape every year.  

Go for a long walk…clear your mind and look around you. I bet you’ll find plenty of beautiful things you haven’t noticed for a while ;-)


14 responses to “Bougainvillea – A sexy South American in Santorini

  1. Thank you for that lovely stroll. Your village is a paradise… your portraits superb! Certainly the South American transplant suits you all. Does the hotel have a name by any chance? I am ready to book!

  2. So true. I am looking out my windows now, not at beautiful bougainvillea, at lavender. You and I are so lucky to live with nature as we do. Marvelous shots – I feel as I have had a little seaside vacation….if only, xv

  3. Gorgeous and stunning photos as usual! And what a difference it makes to stop and look, really look, at the things around us. Would love to know sometime what you do to beat the incredible heat over there! Do you swim in the morning and sleep in the afternoon like so many I know?
    Happy Weekend!

    • seldom take a siesta Kirsten… too many things to do and/or enjoy. Would much rather be swimming than sleeping in the afternoon….
      but at times ;-)

  4. You ever put your home up for rent? ;-)

    Love the sparse branches on that house overlooking the sea!

    I shall never forget the giant bougainvillea that towers over the steps leading up from the funicular near the Piazzetta in Capri, a vision of hot pink flowers, azzurro skies, apricot coloured walls and terracotta tiles.

  5. The brilliant combination of the bright white and bright blues NEED that pink bougainvillea!

    I once had a giant bougainvillea which cascaded over an indoor swimming pool … . as the flowers dropped to the water, it was pure magic.


  6. Caro Michael,

    Your photo and wording always speak wisdom. A wonderful world – weather on Capri, Santorini or inland. And all it asks is a little time. Bacione, Ingrid in Umbria

  7. hi, we were in oia in july and i must agree it is amazing. we loved the flowers everywhere, it certainly gives a very romantic, warm and lovely atmosphere. the contrasts are great. we will be coming back there every year i think, we are already making plans for next year and are even seriously considering staying longer or even buying something over there. we are sold!

  8. We stopped at Oia for a few nights some five years ago on a 10 island ferry hopping tour in Sept./Oct
    Tell me, how do they grow red and pure white bougainvillea flowers over there on the same bush.
    I’ve tried to grow them here in Australia but it must be a Greek secret you keep closely guarded!

  9. Hi, I just live this post. Your photos are beautiful! I am planning my first trip to Santorini next year & seeing the bougainvillea in bloom is what I really want to see. Can you please tell me when is the best month for this? Thank you so much :) Harper

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