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Friday, 08 June 2007

The Cyclades: Thira and Naxos - Page 2

Written by Amanda Lynch
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The Cyclades are ancient, breathtaking, and in large part gloriously untouched by the modern hustle of city life. I once assumed that they were also inaccessible to someone without lots of money to throw around (which was me, three weeks into a four-week journey across Italy and Greece, and about 99.9% into my budget). Luckily, my husband and I were there outside of “high season,” when prices and temperatures soar and the islands become overrun with tourists.

thiraThira is the quintessential Greek island – whitewashed houses with blue trim built into dazzling cliffs, clear sapphire water sparkling at every point, and scenery worthy of inspiring ancient Greek poets. The island is also the site of a massive underwater volcanic eruption 3500 years ago. Some believe that this eruption may have led to the fall of the Minoan civilization on Crete, and others believe that this makes Thira a strong possibility as the site of the mythical Atlantis.

 

This mythical connection is pretty convincing when you get to the top of the 300-foot cliffs that border the inner curve of the island. From there, you see that you are on a giant crescent, with a smaller island perfectly situated in the lagoon created by the curve. While it may not be Atlantis, there is no doubt that this was the site of a massive underwater volcanic eruption.

 

hotelOnce on the island, there is no lack of hotels and resorts to choose from. The two of us stayed in a beautiful Greek villa for about €35 per night (US$47). The room was satisfyingly simple, with ceramic tile floor, an ensuite bathroom, and within easy walking distance to a beach with a row of shops and restaurants. Most importantly, the room was clean, which is typical of the islands even at such low prices. A final plus on rooms: a wonderful, home-cooked breakfast is usually included (but double-check before you book if it’s important to you).

 

To book a room in advance (a good idea, even in low season, so that owners can be ready for you), we used www.greekhotel.com/cyclades/. This website will put you in direct contact with the hotel owner, and you can often bargain lower prices, especially if business is slow. Most hotels communicate by email, so you can contact them from an internet cafe as close as two or three days in advance to request a room. Just make sure you print your confirmation – nothing is less fun than showing up on an island arguing with a hotel owner who doesn’t believe you exist.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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