Tag Archives: greek islands in winter

Oia Santorini… winter images of a village in hibernation

Thousands of daily visitors, hundreds of tour buses, sunset watchers, cruise ships… it’s non-stop cabaret for Oia during the long hot Greek island summer.

But then… comes winter. The village exhales. Serenity replaces chaos. Total and complete quiet takes over and the village rests. It slides into a familiar hibernation from which it will awake in late February. It’s a time to think, to contemplate, to walk alone and to listen to the voices inside you.

It’s a beutiful time…. in the world’s most beautiful village. Enjoy ; )




Naxos – magic on a cold winter’s day

On a very cold, wet and very windy morning I find myself in Naxos… a beautiful island very near mine. The sky is grey, the wind is bitterly cold and there are no tourists anywhere to be seen…. come to think of it there aren’t many locals walking around either. Bliss…

So let’s pretend that I’ve waited for you at the port… to take you for a guided tour. The island has many stunning beaches and picturesque small villages… but we’re not here for that. Today we will look at the old part of the main town, a town that has seen many conquerors and experienced many cultures… and it shows. The Venetians were here for several centuries and the old part of town has retained much of the enchanting charm they introduced all those years ago. As we walk through you will get a sense of what it would be like in the middle of summer… lots of tanned, relaxed, mesmerised people around enjoying a dream holiday on a Greek island. People fall in love with Naxos… and each other, walking through these gorgeous narrow lanes. Let me show you why…

the gates of the temple of Apollo in the background…

the seas are angry and the wind is cold…

but once inside the old town we’re sheltered… admiring the old venetian fort

Naxos is one of the biggest producers of marble in Greece…
it’s stunning

and it’s used everywhere

the tiny little lanes hide many treasures as we walk through…

each corner leading us to another lane… another beautiful doorway

we wonder who lives in these places…

how many armies…soldiers and summer lovers have walked through
these pathways

the door must be hundreds of years old… the doorway
even older

we admire the attention to detail… the craftsmanship of the islanders

the church facade is completely covered in Naxos marble…

we stop to admire a Greek island scene worthy of a painting…

someone’s secret hideaway…

we wonder what it would be like to sit under these arches during
a hot summer night… sipping cold wine

and visiting the people that live here for dinner

or maybe having dinner here…

or here…

or perhaps have one of the Captain’s cocktails on a balmy
August night…

so many images here to make us think how lucky we are
to be in this magical place…

Chora (pronounced “ho-ra”… literally meaning “town”) is one of countless picturesque village towns on the Greek islands… but this has a very special charm. Maybe… during summer, we’ll walk through this magical place again to experience it under the summer night sky…

Hope you enjoyed our winter walk on Naxos ;-)

Christmas in Oia Santorini…

I know that Santorini was the last thing on your minds on Christmas morning…especially if you have young kids that start circling the presents under the tree like vultures over the savannah. But in case you were wondering… below is what our special Xmas sunrise looked like!

and below is what my neighbourhood looked like an hour later…

you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that “none”
of these houses have any people in them right now.

I guess my little part of the world is a bit different to where most of you live. Christmas is normally a time of frantic shopping, dinners & drinks with friends, traffic jams and lots of street noise. In Oia… well, in Oia things are a little different at Christmas time. Oia goes into complete lock-down around mid-December. Even the so-called locals pack their bags/cars and leave. Quite a few of you wrote to me asking what the place actually looks like during this period…what do I see when I walk around. Well… you asked for it, so here is what I saw today during a brief walk around my tiny village:

All images are copyright http://www.oiasantorini.com

this is Meteor cafe…less ornaments, less people, less tables .

So as you can see I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that the village is in complete lock-down. Behind each of these gorgeous doors there are shops, bars, boutiques and galleries… and there will be again around March when they will open for Easter. But for now… each doorway presents you with a heavy lock, which is shop-owner’s code for “you had your holiday during the summer months…now it’s my turn”. Can’t blame them for that !

It will be a new year the next time we meet here my friends… and in the immortal words of John Lennon “let’s hope it’s a good one”. Second thoughts… John was a bit of a whimp. Let’s MAKE it a good one… hope doesn’t come into it!

Stay safe and have a silent toast to Oia Santorini at midnight…I’ll hear you ;-)

PS: the next time I post something the blog will look quite different. It’s taken a while to plan and it’s far from finished, but the new interface is long overdue and will make it a lot easier to navigate & hopefully enjoy the blog, for everyone that visits. I could’ve given this to someone to do, but interface design has been a pet hobby for many years so I decided to do it myself. I want to see how far I can stretch the capabilities of the wordpress.com platform (as opposed to dot org which is more suitable for customisation) without any real coding changes. It will be interesting to get your feedback when it’s all done.

Enjoy your NYE wherever you are !

Greek islands in winter…

One of my favourite questions when meeting new people is whether they would visit Venice in winter or summer. The answer speaks volumes about people. Venice is a zoo in summer, a wonderland in winter. The Greek islands… whilst nowhere near as bad as Venice, are not dissimilar to that. There are the countless obvious pleasures to be experienced in summer… that’s a certainty. But there is a certain charm in winter, a stillness, a tranquility, a serenity which you can’t feel in summer. It’s not for everyone… but if you’re like me you would love to cruise,visit, photograph and just simply walk slowly through the jewels of the Aegean in the crispness of winter.

the first stop was the small island of Folegandros… it’s tiny, it’s still
largely undiscovered & it’s gorgeous !

in summer this jetty looks quite different… a lot more people waiting to
board and even more waiting on the boat to walk out onto this beautiful island!

watching these captains make their approach to these small
ports is like watching a very well rehearsed ballet.
The ferries are not small, but these guys
make it look like a slow tango… precise and graceful.

the visit is over in under ten minutes in winter… and
the skies  cleared long enough for a couple of photos
of the “absolutely crystal clear” waters with the island background

one of the most recognisable flags in the world… looking
at this picture it’s not hard to understand where
the inspiration for the colours came from…

next up was Sifnos… the weather had already turned, the ominous skies
bathed the small island in a luminous grey…

this island is another hidden treasure of the Aegean… enjoyed by the few
that “know” of it’s rugged beauty

another quick stop… the few locals and ever fewer visitors boarding
the boat for which they have waited all week
– it’s not easy living on a small island in winter

even under the darkened winter skies the colour of the Aegean
remains stunning…there is nothing like it elsewhere
in Europe & these small islands are surely the
jewels in the Aegean crown

last stop was Serifos… an island that was always on my shortlist
when considering life on the Greek islands.

after last week’s post many of you emailed saying you would’ve flown
instead of taking the boat in rough weather…
looking at these images I think mine was a better decision ;-)

as the sun set over the Aegean horizon I sat back and reflected on where I was,
the number of years I had dreamed of being here and the numerous people who
have written to me with their dreams of sailing the Aegean and experiencing
the magic of the Greek islands.

Watching that winter sunset… I thought that there was no other place
in the world I would rather be !


I’m considering visiting some more small islands in winter… would you like to see them?