1. The nearby staggeringly beautiful beaches
Greece is irrevocably tied to the most azure seas and Santorini has heaps of it. In the vicinity of the village of Karterados, on Monolithos beach, couples and families alike make their best summer memories. Shallow waters, black powder sand and a multitude of facilities (i.e. children playground, basketball and beach volley courts) make the beach brimming with charm. However, if you want to bask in the sun on a beach that lies under the radar, opt for Karterados beach (Exo Gialos beach). Come here for the lurid sunsets and the dark pebbles that contrast with the volcanic rocks adorned with surprisingly diverse patterns shaped by the erosion induced by sea and wind.
2. The proximity to the eventful town of Fira
Right in the middle of the caldera, Fira is the capital of the island and a stone’s throw away from the White Cave Suites (an eight-minute walk). Start your exploration from the city center. Home to an array of municipal services, commercial shops of all sorts, tourist businesses, bars, and cafes, Fira is the center of island life. Walk around in Upper Fira in the neighborhood of Fragomahalas and have a break in the shade of the old imposing mansions belonging to Frankish families: The St. John the Baptist Catholic Cathedral, the Petros Nomikos Conference Centre, the Cultural Center Megaro Gyzi, dated back to the 17th century, the monastery of the Dominican Nuns, the Lazarist monastery, and the monastery of the Sisters of Mercy. The grandeur of these pompous buildings alternates with the cuteness of an alley that seems like a fairy tale: the alley that is overlooking the caldera, the shimmering sapphire blue Aegean Sea and the volcano, Palea, and Nea Kameni. Contiguous to the alley is Ypapanti Street that is brimming with jewelry stores. From then on, take the funicular down to Gialos, the old port of the island, or ride a donkey, the most stoic inhabitant of Santorini. Head back to your intimate suite in Karterados and enjoy the privacy and serenity of the Greek village. A respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, so close yet so far.
3. The enchanting spell of a Greek village
Stay off the beaten path and visit Santorini’s sleepy villages. In Karterados you will feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Locals beaming with goodness, palatable crispy wines, colorful arrays of clothing drying under the scorching Aegean sun and dancing in the gentle salty breeze, houses with pastel-colored facades, an endless vineyards-dotted landscape that reflects the golden sunset every evening, and mansions of another era, as a reminder of time that goes by, are only a few of the things with which you will fall in love. Peep behind the small half-open doors of small cave houses that are nearly swallowed by the rock and the beauty and stroll around the meandering cobbled alleyways. However, what steals the show in the village are the three imposing churches: the Church of the Ascension of the Saviour in the heart of the village square, boasting an iconic bell tower, the so quintessentially Greek church of Saint Nicholas and the red-dome church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary. Karterados, which has been named after the Greek word “karteri” (meaning concealed position) because the villagers used to ambush the pirates here, is a revelation in every nook and corner and the ultimate definition for slow travel.