Odysseys’ Hidden Gems: Santorini’s Atlantis Books Posted May 26, 2016
This is the first in a series of blog posts where we’ll explore some hidden gems of the cities we visit. Everyone wants to see the major attractions, but it’s often the smaller, city-specific experiences which become some of our most treasured travel memories. Go off the beaten path with Odysseys’ Hidden Gems.
When someone tells you they’re going to Greece, what do you picture? Perhaps the crumbling yet awe-inspiring ruins of the Acropolis, set high above Athens. Maybe you think of Mount Olympus, one of the highest peaks in Europe and the legendary home of the 12 deities of Greek mythology. Or your mind might skip right to the wonderful food of the region – fresh olive oil, gyros wrapped in warm pita bread, creamy yogurt, and all manner of sweet, sticky treats.
It’s a nation full of wonders, from its mountainous northern region to its many southern islands. But when it comes to Greece’s most recognizable and beautiful symbol, nothing tops the whitewashed, cliffside buildings of Santorini. On our Ancient Greece tour, we have the opportunity to take a walking tour in Oia, home of the world-famous bookstore, Atlantis Books.
Located along a twisting, sloping side street in the town of Oia, on Santorini’s northern coast, Atlantis Books has been in operation since 2004. The shop was started by a collection of friends who fell in love with the island of Santorini and noticed its lack of a bookstore. In the intervening years, Atlantis has gained acclaim as one of the world’s most charming bookstores. National Geographic has named it the top bookstore in the world and Canadian writer Jeremy Mercer has listed it as his favorite book seller, ahead of famous shops such as Paris’ Shakespeare and Co. and San Fracisco’s City Lights.
The shop fits seamlessly into the cliffside town, with several small, round rooms and a rooftop terrace with views over the lagoon. The white walls of the shop are crammed floor to ceiling with books of every language, genre, and condition, and the cozy atmosphere is perfect for browsing, reading, and making new friends. Atlantis holds readings, festivals, and get-togethers, including the much-loved Caldera Festival in September, whose main attraction in 2015 was the world-famous author David Sedaris.
The wonders of Greece’s islands are nearly endless, and a day spent exploring any of them is one you’ll likely remember forever. But if you find yourself with some free time on the island of Santorini, we suggest you travel to the island’s northern tip and lose yourself for a few moments in Atlantis Books.
Storefront image via Flickr
Interior photos via Flickr: 1 and 2