The Greek island of Santorini sprang from a volcanic explosion and is built on the top of seafaring cliffs. It is most definitely one of the most picturesque islands in all of Greece.
Though there is no natural harbor, the explosion left a gigantic caldera with waters no less than 600 feet deep. Visitors from cruise ships are taxied to the bottom of the mountain by boat; but only when the water is not too rough for the taxis to make their way to the ships (which happens a lot more often than you would think.)
From the bottom of the mountain, you can ride in a cable car up the side of the cliff to the town or for those who are more adventurous, you can climb the winding marble staircase or ride a mule to the top for five euro.
The mules are real asses (so much pun intended right there). Seriously, if you can survive the mule race to the top without scratching yourself along stonewalls or passing out from the odor of manure, you’ll finally come to see the wonder and awe of Santorini. All of the exterior walls are bleach white and the walkways are made of stone.
However, this island also has a 360 degree view of the sea from every bar and restaurant along the cliff side.
One bar, Palia Kameni, is a three-floor bar that was carved into the cliff side with balconies facing the water. The mint leaves they use in their mojitos are picked fresh from a mint tree that sits on the second floor iron balcony next to the bar.
Their raspberry martinis are made with freshly squeezed raspberry juice and decorated with with ripe fruit that tastes like it came straight off of the vine. Even the vodka used in the martini tastes light, not the usual well-vodka they serve at Paulie’s or in White Plains that smells like nail polish remover and makes you want to hold your nose to swallow a gulp of your drink.
The server also brings free snacks like popcorn and fresh olives. Combine all of this with the incredibly kind and attentive servers and a view to die for, and you’ll be convinced as to why many celebrities and jet setters find Santorini worth the smelly, bumpy mule ride up those never-ending stairs.