As a team of Unforgettable travel experts, we continuously search for those people in the travel industry that have passion for what they do. The people who are happy to share their love for a place, an experience, a tradition, a local hidden gem.
Kalliopi Papathanasi is one of those people. From Santorini, where she lives and works, the island of her heart, she is sharing with us her favourite list of what to do and see in Santorini away from the crowds.
If you really want to discover the unspoiled beauty and charm of Santorini, keep these travel tips given by Kalliopi and let us design an Unforgettable tailor made trip to Santorini and the Greek islands.
Kalliopi is the type of person you like before you even meet. You can understand you are in good hands from the moment you contact her, from the first email, for instance. She is always willing to give you the right advice, to share with you the knowledge and information she has, and you can feel that you can trust her expertise.
Being a professional sea kayak athlete and an experienced guide she knows how to offer unique tours full of action, adventure and amazing sea views that one can only enjoy on the magnificent volcanic landscape of Santorini, a truly unique island of the Cyclades and in the world. When you meet Kalliopi in person, her smile and dynamic temperament, her humour and natural communication skills can keep you enjoying talking to her or hearing her stories without realising how times flies.
And the same happens when you are on the sea kayak tour she leads, because you will see that you just don’t want it to end!
We met in Santorini at one of our trips to fill our portfolio with the right local guides who offer unique experiences on the island. Sea Kayak is definitely one of our top things to do in Santorini as the landscape, the unique volcanic rock formation and the stunning caldera make it more than ideal for a unique travel experience in Greece.
She told us why she in love with Santorini, what she enjoys the most, why she loves sharing with travellers from around the world her love for sea kayak, the sea, Greece and Santorini. Kalliopi is certainly one of those people who absolutely love what they do and we knew we had to have her on our Unforgettable team of partners without a second thought.
When we were looking for things to suggest about Santorini away from the crowds and other tips and ideas to travel to Santorini, like when is the best time to visit and how Santorini is off season, here is what we got from Kalliopi.
Why did you choose Santorini to live and work?
When the economic crisis hit my island, I lost my job and was forced to move to Santorini where tourism continued to thrive. I am an expert kayaker, I have been rowing for the past twenty years, ten of which I trained as a professional athlete. Besides competing in championships, I also taught kayaking to youngsters and people with special needs. My expertise and training includes studies in environmental science.
How do you escape the crowds in Santorini during the summer months?
This is the beauτy of my job and I feel blessed & privileged to be able to experience the undiscovered, less touristic face of Santorini. The purpose of this tour is to offer our travelers a unique experience discovering hidden locations, where access is only possible by kayak and to enjoy their privacy on secluded beaches.
What are your best 5 things to see and do in Santorini?
- The sea kayak tour is my favorite activity in Santorini, the best way to discover the south coast of the island, the different coloured rocks, formations and varying materials that keep changing every 10 meters, the blue crystal waters, the sea caves and the secluded beaches all of which compose a magical landscape.
2. Santorini is famous for its Sunset and not unjustly, but the view of the sunrise has got to be just as breathtaking, if not more. Especially if you combine it with the scenic hike from Fira – Oia.
3. Sipping an iced coffee on a summer morning in Oia, one of the most beautiful villages in Europe.
4. A visit to the volcano is a unique feeling.
5. Eat fresh fish in the village of Armeni, the only sea port village located within the caldera. Sit right by the sea away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds as time freezes and ambrosial food and wine is served abundantly.
What do you think that the next day of travel will bring after Greece lock down? Would you use this pause to change something in the travel industry if you could?
I’m very curious as to what awaits us in this next phase, for sure it will be something new for everybody, but I believe we are going to adjust to the new reality because the human need to travel, discover and make new experiences never stops.
What are yourΤop 5 (or more ) most Unforgettable Places in Greece for you?
- Zagorochoria & Vicos canyon
- Chania in Crete island
- Lichadonisia the northest part of Evia
- Mesologhi with & the great lagoon
What do travellers who join you tell you about their kayak experience with you in Santorini?
We receive great feedback with 5 star reviews. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every visitor who has chosen our tour from the bottom of my heart. One of the most common phrases used in the reviews is: “Your Kayak experience is a MUST DO”. This is the real reward for all the hard work we put in.
You haven’t met the real Santorini, if you haven’t… – continue the sentence by adding what are the best ways to see and experience the most authentic part of Santorini
You haven’t met the real Santorini, if you haven’t visited during the off-peak season, March-April or October-November when the weather is still warm boasting beautiful sunny days without the crowds. All you need is a car or scooter to discover the most amazing hidden spots and the natural beauty of the island offering surprises at every corner, making a stop for lunch or dinner to taste authentic local food from the seafood fish taverns – Greek hospitality at its finest!
What is your idea of perfect holidays?
I can describe the perfect vacation with this picture…
Κalliopi Papathanasi has been rowing for the past 20 years, 10 of which she trained as a professional athlete. Alongside competing in championships she also taught kayak to youngsters & people with special needs. Having completed her studies in environmental science, she worked as a guide in outdoor activities such as sea kayak, hiking and sailing. For her, the experiences she offers in Santorini is a combination of her personality. It is a ‘marriage’, so to speak, between her 20-year experience in this sport and the love she has for the island of Santorini, as for her it’s unique volcanic landscape, the true life & Greek mentality. She is the owner of a travel company who is specialised in sea kayak private and small group tours in Santorini and we are more than happy to have her on our Unforgettable team of partners in Greece.
Contact us to arrange your special tailor made activity with Kalliopi in Santorini and see you on board!