The CineKamari Open Air Cinema, Santorini

The years might be advancing upon me but as things stand, I am nowhere near prepared to consider myself old. My eyes still sparkle when I see ice cream cones covered in rainbow sprinkles, I still have an irrational affection for all things Hello Kitty and whilst my friends are busy talking potty training and kitchen renovations, all I find myself dreaming about is my next African safari, my maiden voyage to Machu Picchu and that magical day I might finally see the pandas in China.

best outdoor cinemas

I am Peter Pan and whatever my date of birth may be, I still feel young at heart (though I suspect there have been many episodes in my life where Pumpkin would have been tempted to replace the word, “young” with “immature”.)

must sees in Santorini

As much as I hate to use the phrase, “my generation,” it is indeed mine that has grown up during some of the most formative and pivotal digital changes in recent times. When I started school, I was writing essays. No, really writing them. By the time I finished, they were all typed. In those year eight IT lessons, I had never even heard of the internet but by my last day, I was proficient at using it. For my 15th birthday, I wanted a Discman to replace my Walkman but ten years later, no one was using either and don’t even get me started on what ever happened to Napster, Will and Grace or Blockbuster video rental.

Santorini movie theater

One thing that has remained, however, throughout all these changing landscapes, has been the dinner and movie phenomenon.

Santorini highlights

The screens may have widened over the decades, the graphics clearer and the popcorn menu extended to nachos but the fact remains that whether you are 18 or 48, whether you grew up in the 1960s or 1990s, this particular life pleasure is timeless. For as long as there are boys and girls to woo, there will be dinners and there will be movies.

Santorini open air cinema

But then comes Santorini, the world-renowned Greek island surrounded by the blue Aegean sea (and if you’re lucky, even bluer skies.) The island has captured the heart of millions of world wanderers but just in case you thought its blazing sunsets, blue and white churches and panoramic hilltop vistas weren’t romantic enough, along came the Cine Kamari Open Air Cinema to silence each cynic that would dare to frequent it.

outdoor cinema with bar Santorini

A short drive away from the ashy, black sand beaches of Kamari lies Santorini’s one and only outdoor cinema and, like so many hot tickets in town these days, this cinema rewards the patient ones (ie advanced bookings are not accepted and it has a first come first serve approach.)

romantic experiences Santorini

Yes, this is frustrating for those of you accustomed to completing every cell on your spreadsheet before the holiday but on the upside, it does mean you won’t lose a penny if you decide to camp indoors when the heavens open up.

Kamari Black Beach

Aside from tourists staying in Kamari itself, public transport options to and from the cinema are limited so it is worth investing in some wheels, which you may recall was one of my key travel tips for Santorini.

Santorini’s Most Romantic Cinema

Cinekamari Cinema Santorini

After a quick dinner along the sea front in Kamari, we hopped inside our hire car and arrived at the cinema around an hour earlier than the official start time (quite possibly the only time I have ever been early for anything in my life.)

best cinemas around the world

Arrival ahead of time is recommended and although it may sound like a waste of precious holiday hours, at the Kamari Open Air Cinema, the early bird easily catches the worm.

CineKamari Santorini movies

Firstly, it is the only way to attempt to grab the best seats in the house but more importantly, it lends you a glorious romantic hour in which to soak up an ambience that I can only describe as enchanting.

most romantic cinemas

As our GPS hinted that we were drawing close to the venue, a collection of shabby-chic style paraphernalia and clapper boards outside confirmed it. What truly lay inside, however, was a closely guarded secret, lurking behind a gated metal entrance. In that quintessentially British way, we took our places in the queue with only a handful of fellow cinema-goers ahead of us.

Santorini travel tips blog

The only reveal to be found was Tom Hanks’ face splashed across the posters outside but this came as no surprise since we already knew we were there to see Sully, which rather fortunately was on in Santorini even before its UK release date.

Tom Hanks Sully poster

The outdoor cinema in Santorini has one screen so there’s only ever one film on at a time and you can check titles on their website. Typically, these are English language films, screened with Greek subtitles and the audience, whilst predominantly comprised of tourists, had its fair share of Santorini locals too.

what to do in Santorini

Despite its deluge of rays by day, Santorini acquires a spiky chill when moonlight takes over so just as soon as we settled into our seats, marking our territory with handbags and scarves, I ventured over to the blanket box and helped myself to an extra toasty, chequered, woollen wrap, large enough for two but cosy enough for the masses.

cinemas with blankets

Suitably smug that we had arrived early enough to absorb the thoughtful touches at Cine Kamari, Pumpkin meandered towards the bar, brushing past the towering, feathery ferns that caressed the last seat in our row. His eyes scanned the menu, its extensive list of cocktails illuminated by the fairy lights woven into branches on trees and lanterns splayed strategically around the communal areas.

best of Santorini

“Don’t worry, there are mocktails and teas,” he proclaimed before I said a word, beckoning me towards the bar. His one single sentence determined both how well he can read me and that the venue were catering for their teetotal guests. I broke no boundaries with my Virgin Mojito but surely the only acceptable drink to be ordering at this charming open-air movie night is the Cinema Paradiso?

best experiences Santorini

Whilst browsing the beverages, I couldn’t help but notice the fresh sushi on offer and cursed myself for eating dinner before arrival. Chancing my luck, I threw Pumpkin the “shall we just order a teeny bit more” eyes before ultimately shutting the menu, as a most uncharacteristic wave of self-discipline engulfed me.

CineKamari food drinks menu

A canopy of hot pink bougainvillea drooped above me, weighed down by its own beauty, its intense tones unmarred by the absence of sunlight. In that moment, enveloped with the glow of golden light, hydrated by fruity cocktails and nestled under a duvet with the man who inspired me to explore the world, I couldn’t care less about the internet or Instagram or any of the other technological advances that have ebbed their way into my life since my childhood.

Santorini travel blog

All I could recall was the way in which, seven years earlier, we had been doing much the same – but instead of a woollen throw, it was an Ikea fleece, instead of the Cine Kamari outdoor cinema, it was the sofa in his home (which I am grateful to now be able to call our home) and instead of Tom Hanks landing planes in rivers, it was an all-star cast in He’s just not that into you. Yes, you read right – I was legitimately mad enough to propose this for one of our very first film nights in the early days. Subtle much?!

unique experiences Greece Santorini

As for the film, Sully, it is in part due to actors like Tom Hanks that the industry has excelled for so long. I am not pretending for one second to have any qualifications in film critique or film blogging but I personally found his portrayal of Captain Sully utterly compelling, the pilot with nerves of steel who made international headlines in 2009 when he ceremoniously landed an aircraft in the Hudson river, New York, when sensing danger. An incredible story, all the more gripping for being non fictional but perhaps one to avoid if you’re a nervous flyer!

best open air cinemas

Have you ever been to an outdoor cinema?

36 thoughts on “The CineKamari Open Air Cinema, Santorini

  1. Greek Island open-air cinema? What a treat! Sounds like great fun..

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 8:56 am

      It was such a charming & chilled out way to spend an evening Aaron! Good thing it stayed dry though!😀

  2. Wow what a unique experience! Here in Lodz, Poland where I live, during summers each week we have outdoor cinema showing throughout the parks in the city. Sometimes they show English language movies which is a great plus for foreigners like me. The atmosphere is very casual though, as you just sit on the grass on your blanket and bring your own food and drinks.
    Loved reading this blog post. It sounds such an awesome way of spending a romantic evening together. I love bougainvillea in southern Europe. And you’re so gorgeous!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 8:59 am

      Oh Pooja, you are MUCH too generous with your compliments but thank you so much for your kind words – so kind of you & you totally made my day ☺ I really like the idea of informal ones with a blanket on the grass & a screen. London always has lots of quirky cinema things too but they usually always get booked up miles in advance like everything here (or the weather doesn’t play ball!😁)

  3. Shikha, what a wonderful experience, so romantic too! My dream has always been to watch a movie in an old-school drive-in cinema 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 9:00 am

      Oh my gosh, me too Nano!! Ever since my childhood days watching Saved by the bell, I always wanted to do that too. Very few like that in England. Do they still have a lot of those in the US?

  4. You look incredibly young! Anyway I like the sound of this open air cinema, Santorini has the perfect climate for it

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 9:01 am

      Aww thanks Suze – maybe it was the dark of night hiding my wrinkles well eh?!😉

  5. Open air cinema is so fun! At least when the weather cooperates..hahaha…I imagine it’s quite a unique experience still to try this while on holiday…it’s something different, for sure! But then…no popcorns?! Hahaha 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 9:03 am

      Haha! I have a feeling they did have popcorn Sha but can’t quite remember as I was so full from dinner when we arrived 😁 You’re right about the weather though – would have been an entirely different experience if we were sitting under drizzle all night I imagine!

      1. Hahaha, a good thing the weather was cooperating when you were there then…:)

  6. Miriam @londonkitchendiaries October 19, 2017 — 9:24 am

    What a lovely thing to do in Santorini – would love to visit one day. Haven’t seen Sully yet but only heard good things about the movie and how amazing to watch it in an open air cinema!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 9:05 am

      It was such a gem of a find Miriam & a little slice of chilled out, peaceful bliss away from some of the busier spots & viewpoints on the island.

  7. Wow! This must be a unique kind of an experience, Shikha! Open air cinema seems like an awesome thing. Is this cinema open all year long?

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 9:07 am

      Ah good question Agness, I’m not sure if it goes ahead in winter months – I think there might be info on their website that I’ve linked to & they were pretty prompt with replying to emails when I got in contact with them before I went to ask about whether they take advanced bookings.

  8. HAHA I can’t believe you suggested “He Is Just Not That Into You” on an early date! Very subtle indeed. This place looks so cute and I haven’t heard about it at all, thanks for sharing!

    Ash | http://www.liakadatravel.com

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 9:09 am

      Omg I know, honestly WHAT was I thinking Ash?! Even my own girl mates were saying they couldn’t believe he stuck it out after some of the strange things I did & said in the beginning!😁😁 Definitely worth sparing a night to do this if you’re heading to Santorini anytime soon.

  9. I loved this post, Shikha and what a great tip of things to do in Santorini! And I super can relate to that para about “my generation”. Bring back Will and Grace, pen & paper, and the good ol’ days of Napster.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 9:12 am

      Thanks so much Honey 😚 I know right?! I remember thinking Napster was the most amazing thing ever at the time & none of the sitcoms I used to watch are even screened on reheat anymore like Will & Grace & SATC!

  10. what a perfect place on a warm night to watch a film! Superb! now… any mosquitoes?

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 9:14 am

      You know, weirdly, I didn’t get bitten there Andy & I’m usually always the first to get bitten anywhere I go! Glad the weather was so lovely – not sure I’d have been raving this much or taking so many photos had it been raining!

  11. I love open in cinemas, we’ve been a few times here in NZ but this one in Santorini sounds like such a beautiful experience Shikha, it all looks so pretty! And Sully is such a great movie too!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 9:15 am

      Such a gripping film isn’t it Priti?! Possibly not the best one to watch just a few days before a flight though 😂

  12. Ah Shikha this made me chuckle – I remember being so excited about getting a CD player for my 15th birthday – remember the stackable stereos? Yup, I was that cool!

    I love outdoor cinemas, they’ve just got this special vibe right? This place looks adorable – yet another reason for me to visit Santorini! x

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 9:25 am

      I do remember those Keri! Aah the good old days when those things were a huge exciting big deal as a teenager rather than a run of the mill expectation eh?!😁 I’m a huge sucker for outdoor cinema or theatre too – just wish the weather was a bit more predictable on home turf as that’s often what stops me booking!

  13. This sounds like such a cute place to watch a film! I love an outdoor cinema, it’s just a shame the British weather often doesn’t play ball! My favourite one I’ve been to was on a rooftop in Cape Town, where we were also staying in an airstream trailer. It was so much fun!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 9:27 am

      Oh Emily, that one in Cape Town sounds incredible! Do they have that all the time there? If so, I’ll have to remember it for when I finally make it to South Africa!

  14. Planes & Champagne October 26, 2017 — 9:55 pm

    I totally feel like I’m still 21 Shikha 😉 ….I absolutely love this open air cinema! Ian and I have committed to finally making it over to Santorini in the new year and aside from the sunset, this is going straight to the top of my Santorini bucket list! xx

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) October 29, 2017 — 9:29 am

      Yay, I’m glad there are some fellow Peter Pan & Wendys out there also refusing to stop being young despite the calendar years Maggie ☺ I’m sure you will love Santorini – so many people went on about crowds & blah blah but honestly, I found it so magical!💙

  15. I haven’t been to an outdoor cinema but after reading this it seems it’s time I did. Santorini is also somewhere I need to visit too. Might have to check flights 😉

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) November 8, 2017 — 11:43 pm

      Check away Suzanne! Such a gorgeous island that I’m sure you won’t be disappointed! And if you’re heading there in the warmer months, this cinema is such a charming way to spend an evening ☺

  16. Hey! Just read your blog, loving it so far! I’m a qualified makeup artist and want to share all my tricks and tips Iv learnt along the way in my career! Alongside a bit of lifestyle and travel as I go up and down the country with my talented other half ⚽️! My link is allthingsbeautywithalice.com , hope to see you all there 😍😘 I visited Santorini and went to the open air cinema as-well! If anyone’s interested in a great place to stay and what to do in Santorini give my ‘an island everyone should visit’ blog a read! Such a beautiful memorable holiday 🇬🇷 xxxx

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) November 8, 2017 — 11:46 pm

      Thanks for reading. Loved the open air cinema!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) November 20, 2017 — 9:19 am

      Thank you!

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