One of the things you simply have to do if you visit Santorini is spend an evening at the Open Air Cinema in Kamari – it’s an incredible way to experience sunset on the island and see the latest movies at the same time. When I was invited along to review the cinema I was so excited for the experience, it’s something a bit different to do of an evening and a great family activity. My family and I love going to the movies whether it’s the latest comedy, something a bit soppy or the old classics, and we couldn’t resist a visit. I actually had my first open air cinema experience when I was in Australia and couldn’t recommend it enough – it’s just such a wonderful way to experience your favourite movie and take advantage of the good weather. Our movie of choice was the newly-released Disney remake of Tarzan, a movie we’d all been keen to see as big Disney fans.
We caught two buses to get from Perissa to Fira, and then on to Kamari, arriving a bit early so we had time for dinner. Stopping at an amazing fish restaurant, Zorbas Taverna, in the village, we couldn’t resist the freshly caught sea bass, which was genuinely one of the tastiest fish I have eaten, it was served with saffron rice and a fresh Greek salad. The wine was delicious and the service was quick, we were very impressed by everything, especially when they presented us with a complimentary dessert as we left. For a pre-cinema dinner it’s lovely, just be sure to allow enough time to walk to the cinema with a full stomach, it’s about a 15 minute walk up and out of the village. Be sure to arrive in plenty of time to join the queue before doors open at 8.30pm, seats are first come first served so you want to be there on time to secure the centre rows. The cinema itself is absolutely beautiful, like a modern-day amphitheatre surrounded by trees and with high walls that do a good job to block noise from the road.When you arrive you queue to get in and purchase your ticket which costs 8 euros, then usher in your loved ones to find seats – whether you prefer deck chairs at the front or the slightly more upright at the back. If you’re chilly, blankets are provided and there is a very well-stocked bar at the back offering wines, beers, cocktails and all kinds of snacks. One thing I loved about the cinema was the atmosphere, everyone is chatting away before the movie starts, enjoying cocktails or wine to a background of 1920’s music. Then once the film starts up everyone falls silent, lost in the setting and the screen. The surround sound is incredible – trust me, when your dad is as deaf as mine, that’s important to make sure he enjoys the film as much as we do. Over the years, as technology advanced and theatres became less used, many across Greece were converted to make way for the cinematic era and now have become a big part of Greek life. This was clear from the sheer number of locals and travelling Greeks who were enjoying the show.
Tarzan was amazing, such a fantastic remake of a great film and we were all gripped from start to finish. They threw in a few breaks for those needing to pop to the loo or restock on drinks. But I think for all three of us, it was our second visit to the cinema that was the real highlight. Being there for two weeks, we couldn’t resist returning for another show as we had so much fun the first time. This time we headed to a screening of My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 – who could honestly resist while in Greece? It was one of the best film screenings I have ever been to. Not only were we watching the Greek antics on screen but we revelled in the amazing Greek families chuckling along at the movie and voicing their agreement with some of the funnier moments. The whole thing was hilarious and an absolute highlight of our final days on the island. Trust me, if you’re looking for something a bit different to fill an evening on Santorini, this is the perfect answer and an experience you don’t want to miss.
Have you been to an open-air cinema? When travelling, do you tend to look for evening activities or prefer to relax?