There are many ways to explore Santorini when visiting the island situated in the southern Aegean Sea. For me, it was all about destination immersion, which was delivered via an exclusive tour offered by Azamara Club Cruises. Guests who opted to get a sneak peak of the boutique cruise line’s new Cruise Global, Taste Local series, which will officially launch in 2015, headed off to the nearby town of Pyrgos Village.
The Cruise Global, Taste Local tour in Santorini was perfect for cruise foodies; there were five of us and we had an amazing time. Heading off by tender, our small group was met by our local guide. On our way up the narrow cliffside road outside of Fira, we learned about the history, geography, and highlights of the island.
Before lunch we had a chance to learn about Pyrgos Village, which was once the island’s capital. The traditional Greek village offers cruise visitors a chance to experience an authentic local. Not as touristy as Fira or Oia, this tour was perfect those craving destination immersion.
Upon arrival in Pyrgos, we had time for a walking tour. I was happy that I listened to the recommendation from the ship to wear comfortable walking shoes because our stroll (perhaps hike is a better word) led us to the top of a street near the remains of a Venetian castle.
The Cruise Global, Connect LocalSM shore excursions description promised that we would eat at a typical place that locals frequented: and they were good on their word. Kallisti Tavern is a traditional tavern with delicious Greek local food. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch that lasted for over two hours.
Photo: The chef prepares Mousaka for guests.
The menu included:
- Kallisti Salad (a modified version of a Greek salad consisting of tomato, goat cheese, capers, olives)
- Fava (similar to hummus but made with fava beans)
- Tomato Fritters
- Stuffed Tomatoes
- Grilled White Eggplant
- Lamb Stew or Mousaka as a main dish
As an added bonus, we had a wine tasting and learned about the local wine industry while sipping white and red wines from a local vineyard. Lucky for us, we met a local wine maker who happened to stop by the restaurant.
I liked that the Cruise Global, Taste Local tour allowed me a chance to hang out like a local for a few hours. We received great hospitality at the tavern, and our group from the ship was well suited. Because we all shared a passion for cuisine and travel we had a lot to talk about. Since we also had a tour escort from the ship, we had everything organized for us so that we could just kick back and enjoy without worrying about the bill and how we were going to get home. After lunch, we were dropped off in Fira where our group went their separate ways before heading back to the ship.
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