Love in Imerovigli, Santorini’s Hidden Gem
Love in Imerovigli
By:Lavanya Sunkara & Scott Josephson
Santorini is a splash of delight with its pearly white architecture adorned with bougainvillea, blue domed churches, and picturesque windmills overlook a sparkling sea. Photos of this Greek paradise attract couples from around the globe; as newlyweds, we were no exception. We dreamed of sipping wine while watching the sunset from our private balcony; we craved isolation, comfortable accommodations, exceptional service, and fine dining. We discovered this and more at Pegasus Suites & Spa in Imerovigli.
Imerovigli is an unassuming, tranquil village located a mile outside the bustling capital of Fira. Its name is derived from the word vigla, which means lookout, and it couldn't be more accurate. This quaint hamlet offers unobstructed panoramas, and features charming chapels built on the rocks, stretching towards azure waters. While hotels and eateries are plentiful, you rarely spot tourists. Its central location provides easy access to essential points on the island. Pegasus, one of the upscale resorts carved amphitheatrically within the cliffs, is known for its cavern-shaped rooms, attentive staff, and exclusive, luxurious suites.
Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted by the energetic concierge. He sat us down in the lobby balcony, handed us champagne, and offered detailed recommendations. But it was the surreal view that mesmerized us. The mid-day sun transformed the sea into gleaming diamonds, as the majestic volcano lay dormant in the clear Aegean.
When the staff delivered our luggage to our Deluxe Plunge Pool and Indoor Jacuzzi Suite, we were instantly transported to a modern, opulent version of The Flintstones. A sizable domed living room awaited us, painted in the symbolic blue and white of Greece, with a daybed and our own wireless router, along with a fridge loaded with liquor and local treats. Every door and window opened up to the private pool and stellar view. The bedroom contained a plush, circular king bed rising from a stone platform, adjacent to a tasteful bathroom with his-and-hers sinks and a rainfall shower. Walls held remnants of the volcanic rock from which the suite was sculpted. In the rear rose a glass enclosure with our own hot tub.
The next morning, a clear blue sky, the cobalt sea, and the ancient caldera (volcanic cliffside) waited beyond our front door. An orange tabby lingered a few moments, traipsing along the patio, taking in the scenery. The refreshing pool was inviting, but so was the delectable breakfast delivered to us. Trays arrived on our balcony brimming with steaming coffee, refreshing fruit juices, plates of thinly-sliced smoked salmon, savory spinach pies, eggs over easy, and a basket of freshly baked bread. We devoured our meal in terrycloth bathrobes, caressed by the swaying breezes of our idyllic abode.
Although we could've lounged by the pool, we had calories to burn. We put on sunscreen and hats, and set out on the pedestrian path that hugged the edge of the caldera towards Fira. We walked safely along the mountainside, chatting with fellow honeymooners who shared tips about the island. Halfway through our journey, we took a respite from the sun in the shops of Firostefani. Browsing souvenirs, we perched on benches and strolled down cobblestone streets. At the open air Vanilia Bar and Restaurant, we feasted on peppers stuffed with rice and vegetables, a tangy tzatziki dip, and lightly breaded tomato balls served with galotiri cheese. This eatery boasts invigorating Mediterranean cuisine set before the vastness of the Cyclades.
The following day, we were picked up by Santorini Sail Cruises for a voyage around the outer islands of Thirasia and Aspronisi and a stop at the volcano. At the port of Ammoudi, we met our captain and boarded our 51.2-foot yacht. Over the next five hours, we saw a side of Santorini few experience. Making several stops to frolic in the refreshing waters, we sailed to a soundtrack of Greek favorites and smooth jazz, making friends with fellow couples and sharing our stories. The highlight was the exhilarating swim to the hot springs, where the cool waters of the Aegean melded with the therapeutic, warm waters. For lunch, we savored a succulent meal of lemon chicken, mouthwatering seafood linguini, and crisp Caesar and Greek salads prepared onboard by the crew. Our small group gratefully raised our wine at the foot of Palea Kameni, the ancient volcano, before returning to our resort.
Car and ATV rental agencies are plentiful on Santorini and we opted for a smart car for a day trip to hot spots on the island. While it slowly carried us over winding roads to fascinating destinations, including the working archaeological site of Akrotiri and the spectacular Red Beach, it was challenging ascending steep ridges and making sharp turns on the island's mountainous landscape. However, when we reached the lighthouse, one of the oldest in Greece, at the southern peninsula of Santorini, staring at the expansive view of the caldera and the white villages atop, our troubles were quickly forgotten.
Aside from exploring, we adopted the Greek tradition of eating and drinking to our heart's content. The evening meal is a big deal to Greeks who gather to dine, drink, and converse well into the wee hours. Thankfully, with several highly rated restaurants near Pegasus, we had plenty of choices. A short walk brought us to Avocado Restaurant; its cozy, romantic atmosphere was ideal for sharing zesty tomato fritters with spearmint oil and creamy Santorini tartar sauce and, of course, an avocado salad over candlelight. Their tasty fava bean falafel and freshly caught fish of the day were true pleasures. Just steps away from the resort, we stopped for something sweet at the Aegeon Restaurant, where the fig ice cream and Vinsanto (after dinner beverage) were the ideal palette cleansers. We returned the next evening at sunset for fluffy mushroom risotto, tantalizing sardines, and hearty moussaka paired with a magnificent local Assyrtiko wine.
Our legs sore from climbing the island's endless staircases, we booked massages at the spa, a softly lit sanctuary of peace and serenity. The caring masseuse performed her duties masterfully, ensuring our comfort with the level of pressure and areas of concentration. Floating back to the suite, we found ourselves napping on the balcony chairs, cherishing each other's company in precise harmony, infused by the magic of the natural surroundings, content for having begun our lifelong journey in this Mediterranean utopia.
For more information: pegasussuites.com