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“Jimmy's - Escape from the Crowds” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Zacharo Rooms

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Zacharo Rooms
Manolas, 84702, Greece   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Thirassia B&B and Inns
London
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Jimmy's - Escape from the Crowds”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 20, 2013

It's hard to believe that a place that's just 15 minutes by boat from one of the busiest Greek islands could possibly be one of the most idyllic island retreats. Thirasia is the small piece of Santorini that made a bid for freedom a few thousand years ago and hasn't looked back since.

Yes, tourists do come, but they usually only stay for a couple of hours and rarely venture much further than the port before getting back on their excursion boats to return to the hustle and bustle of 'mainland' Santorini. They're missing a great deal! The island largely unspoilt by the ravages of tourism and has beautiful walks, breathtaking views of the caldera and a panorama of Santorini that you don't get from any viewpoint. It's got beautiful churches and deserted villages with perfect examples of cave houses, all wrapped up in a blanket of peace and quiet. And the people are oh so friendly!

And as for Jimmy, well, he's almost the human embodiment of the island. Calm and laid-back, friendly, helpful and very likeable. His 9 rooms are the only place you can stay on the island but that's no imposition. They are bright and clean, not luxury, but everything you need for a few days to recover from the pressues of today's world.

Jimmy's has such wonderful views across the caldera to the villages sprinkled like icing sugar along the rim of the crater. At night, the icing sugar turns into a pin cushion of twinkling lights. While I was there, Jimmy was building a new terrace on the cliff edge for his guests to sit and enjoy the views; it should be ready by now. When you come, make sure you've got enough space on your memory card - you'll want to take lots of pictures.

When you visit Santorini, go to Thirasia and stay at Jimmy's for a night or so - you'll be glad you did. You can catch the ferry for €1 from Ammoudi port below Oia. The ferry goes to Riva on Thirasia where you can jump aboard the local minibus up to the main village of Manolas - it doesn't run on Sunday but Jimmy offered to come and pick me up - I told you he was helpful. The ferries run 3 times a day around 8:00, 12:00 and 17:00 and while I was there, an additional ferry was added for the summer running at 22:00. As always, check these times, they may change.

I'd read that the tavernas close when the tour boats leave in the late afternoon so I took some wine and some goodies for late night picnicking. It wasn't necessary though. Jimmy phoned the local Panorama taverna and asked them to open up just for me - they did, for both nights I stayed, and I spent two most enjoyable evenings chatting and eating Yianni's excellent food. See my review of the Panorama Taverna.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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12 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Los Angeles, California
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2013

Well, for about 15yrs I've considered spending a nite on the small island of Thirasia just 8 minutes by boat from Amoudi Harbor in Santorini. Finally, I was able to contact JIMMY at ZACHARO ROOMS zacharostudios@yahoo.com and cell: 697-839-5640 (as of May 2013).
As of my visit, this is the ONLY place to get rooms on Thirasia. There are rumors of plans for an upscale "spa" kinda place, but that remains to be seen.... Very few people visit Thiraisa. It's called a "Virgin Island" since it remains untouched by tourism.

Jimmy was supposed to pick me up at the port, but said he was having cement delivered for the building of his soon-to-be SPECTACULAR deck overlooking the major harbor on the island towards Santorini... If he can finish this, it will be a view like none other.
I was the only person there in mid May 2013. Room 9 of 14 rooms, very basic and a little musty. Small "kitchenette" in need of a few more items to make it really livable-but not necessary for me.

Some guy at the smaller port of RIVA (U can take a local boat there 3 times a day in high season from Amoudi) offered me a ride in the back of his covered truck. HOLY CRAP what a ride. Hung on for dear life as we bumped and bumped our way up to Jimmy's. Then he asked for 10 Euro (so, I gave him 2).
Once at Jimmy's he and his sweet wife were there. He's so proud of his rooms and the deck he's building. Zacharo rooms is above the main city Manolos on the way to a monastery (too much of a steep climb for me).

This is a bare bones NO FRILLS kinda place, but as long as rooms are clean and plumbing works, that's OK with me. I was there around May 12 & the room was 30 Euro, but I don't guarantee that U will get the same price.

There is a LOT of walking to do on Thriasia, and not much more to do. There is One Restaurant- THE PANORAMA- at the top of the long, zig-zag donkey path from the large port. It was closed for dinner since the locals (only around 150 of them) don't usually eat dinner out. It services the lunch/tour boat visitors during the day. The owner & his son were SO DAMN nice..They opened it up for me with a limited menu, and the food,the kindness and the view was SO memorable.

There are some other restaurants way down at the large port (maybe 3) that service the tour visitors-and it's killing the business of the PANORAMA at the top- so, we'll see how that plays out.
Be prepared for steep hills, steep village paths, and commanding views toward Santorini and surrounding islands that FEW people experience. It was great to hear the sounds of village life bouncing off the walls of the port.

If you are looking for solitude, this is the place for you. A small mini mart and bakery--VERY small... and really, nothing else. It may be best to bring some extra waters with you... Roosters crow in the morning, donkeys graze and tons of wayward cats look for something to eat.
It is village life like Greece had 40yrs ago. I just HAD to experience it once overnite to see sunrises & sunsets... And coffee with Jimmy and Rula (I think) was really special. Sitting with them in their place, just talking after sunset was probably the best experience I had. I went to wander, and take pictures.

Is it for everyone?? Maybe not. But those looking for quiet days and majestic views will find an island that few have seen.
Thanks to Jimmy & his wife for their kindness... and I hope that MANY visitors choose to see the island, and your deck with it's truely AMAZING view...

Room Tip: I was in room 9, just at the end of all the rooms closest to the new deck being built.
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Turin, Italy
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2011

We stayed at Zacharo Rooms in August 2011, Jimmy and his wife are two lovely peaple, always willing to help you for everything you need (luggage lost, information, etc..).
The view is amazing and it's a place full of tranquillity and peace. It's a very traditional island, where you won't find a lot of tourists, but the inhabitans are very kind and everybody spekes English perfectly!
Unfortunatly, the island has only three connection a day to Santorini (the last one at 5 p.m.) so if you are looking for peace and tranquillity that's perfect! We are a young couple and we found that a bit binding.
In conclusion: amazing place and peaple but if you're looking for fun, that's not the right place for you!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2011

We first happened upon Jimmy's Rooms in the 1990.
After the madness of Santorini it was a stunning escape.
The Cavo Mare and the Resturant with 'free range piggles' were the only places even in high season.
Things have changed a bit since then but if you can get there for an island Easter it will stay with you for life.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Watford, England
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2010

I am writing and doing photography for a book about Thirassia and I needed to stay on the island overnight. The only hotel on the island was Zacharo rooms, better known as Jimmy's. To say that I was pleasently suprised is an understatement. Jimmy and his wife Roula are some of the nicest people that I have ever met. They make you feel right at home. The rooms are simple, but offer everything that you could need, from air conditioning, a small kitchen to the quietest most relaxing atmosphere that you can imagine. I can not remember the last time that I slept so deeply and soundly. The atmosphere on the island is just relaxation. It is the quietest place I have found in years. After the hectic of Santorini it is a pleasure to step back in time and see what Greece was like 40 years ago. I also recommend that you drop in to the Panorama restaurant in Manolas. The best traditional Greek food that I have had in in the last 20 years.
To get to Thirassia is not easy because the tourist offices on Santorini tell you that you can't go there except on a tour. Not true. There is a small ferry leaving the port of Amoudi (Oia) every day at 8:00 and 12:00 with the last one returning at 5:00. It costs 1€ each way. There is a municipal bus to take you up to Manolas from the port of Riva, or there is also Nikos's "taxi", actually a pickup with benches in the back. 3 times a week there is a ferry running from the Athinas port (Santorini) to Riva where you can also take your car with you.
If you are in the area, try it, you will love it.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2010

I must first admit that this review is of the island of Thirassia as much as it is of Jimmy's but, given that his rooms are the only means by which one can base themselves on the island, any glowing recommendation of Thirassia naturally lends itself to recommending Jimmy's as the place to stay.

I was very fortunate to have a fellow TripAdvisor member stay at Jimmy's a fortnight before I was due to arrive. I had encountered difficulties contacting Jimmy (very possibly owing to my ineptitude when dialling international numbers) but the TA member told Jimmy to expect me and sure enough, on the day before I was set to arrive there, I spoke to him from my hotel and he was ready for me.

Do read the review below by Kennydon as it provides you with the details you need for both Thirassia and Zacharo Rooms. This island is truly an undiscovered haven and it helps to have the details of ferries, buses and accommodation provided to you as it can be very difficult to find out about it yourself. I will add my two cents about how I found the experience of Jimmy's and Thirassia.

We arrived on the island on the midday ferry from Amoudi to Riva (costs €1 per person) and were immediately ushered into the back of a pickup truck with a roof over the bed. This driver took us up to Manolas (costs €2 per person) and, whilst he drops you off somewhere so quiet you almost want to ask him where you are, the cessation of the journey is in the 'capital' of Thirassia. Jimmy told us roughly 300 people live on the island with Manolas accounting for almost two-thirds of that number. You quickly begin to realise that, by any comparator, Thirassia is deserted.

The American couple who had caught the bus with us soon asked to be taken back down to the harbour for the ferry back to Riva after we informed them that they weren't any beaches. I think they had come with some mistaken pre-conceptions. This island is not even close to catering to the tourists as much as it's easterly neighbour. In fact, it almost seems to shun the limelight in a way that Thira (the main island of Santorini) simply doesn't.

We walked into Manolas and through desolate streets with not a person in sight. A few cats and dogs strayed across our paths but, all in all, we felt alone in this village. The walk up to Zacharo Rooms takes only 5 minutes from where the bus drops you but it is mostly uphill. When you are dropped off, head right through the village and follow the one road. Jimmy's trademark curved roof comes into sight on the left side of the road, nestled into the hillside below a church.

Jimmy and Roula met us with a smile - they were outside enjoying a cup of coffee and the fine weather when we arrived. He showed us to rooms 1 and 3 (a twin and a double respectively) and offered us the choice, of which we chose the latter. The room was basic indeed. It housed a bed, a wardrobe, table and chair, refrigerator, hotplate and small CRT TV (though ours only found a couple of channels, and these were fuzzy and intermittent) on top of a cupboard containing cutlery and crockery. The bathroom was well-aged and had a shower, toilet (neighboured by the obligatory bin) and sink.

No sooner had we set our stuff down at Jimmy's than we headed out on a walk to the south of the island. After passing by two men walking their donkeys just a few yards from Jimmy's, we seemed to have the island to ourselves. The only other sign of life was an abandoned car on the route down to Kera. We stopped off at several churches and the monastery at the south of the island - these Greek Orthodox buildings are all absolute gems and wonderfully appointed.

Thirassia is incredible. I do hope it remains as serene and tranquil as it is now - the views are at least equal to, and in my eyes superior to, those you will get on the other side of the caldera and, even more importantly, you can enjoy them alone. Between Manolas and Kera is a vast vista encompassing almost the entirety of Thira from Oia in the north to Pyrgos towards the south. That this scene can be enjoyed with barely a whisper of noise enhances the magic of the place. The wind rushing through bush provides the soundtrack to looking out over the caldera.

After our walk, we headed back into Manolas and, after a walk around the town, we located the market. It's a small store which we were only alerted to when we saw the owner and a friend sitting outside the front enjoying the sunshine. This, like so much that happened on Thirassia, was the beauty of the island - it was like stepping back in time to an easier, more relaxed way of life. This is how I imagined Greece could be.

We then returned up to Jimmy's to see that Roula had left us a small loaf of crispbread along with various preserves. This was our snack whilst we mustered up the energy (and courage) to tackle the steep steps down to Korfos Harbour for dinner. Those steps - oh my. It must have taken 25 minutes to get down from Manolas to the clutch of restaurants along the waterfront and, when we arrived, Korfos was empty. All of the restaurants seem to close up once the volcano tours have returned to Athinios on the other island.

Jimmy's itself has some of the most incredible views we experienced on the island. Looking out from the end of the porch, you almost drop directly down onto the caldera and then look across to Fira. We caught some sensational moons from here and, just a two minute walk to the opposite side of the island gets you some of the most incredible views of the sunset. The location just cannot be beaten and I remarked that such a location on the other island would cost in excess of ten times the €25 that Jimmy charges you for a night in his rooms.

In front of the porch is a veritable feast of botany. Jimmy and his wife grow grapevines, figs, mulberries and roses abundantly in their gardens and, as Jimmy offered me a try of one of the mulberries, staight from the tree, I can testify that the fruit reaped here is absolutely beautiful. The mulberry was the only fruit in season and it was wonderfully juicy and perfectly ripe.

In the morning, I caught him and Roula sitting out on my way up to one of the churches and, after a quick discussion about where I had been the previous evening, he offered me a coffee. Not being a coffee drinker, I declined. Nonetheless, he invited me into the kitchen of his home and we discussed the island and his 'hotel'. They are such an incredibly friendly and humbling couple. Being here really makes you yearn for the simple life - and there is no better place to enjoy such an existence.

The negatives about this place can be summed up in a single paragraph, such was the weighting in favour of staying at Jimmy's. The bed did creak when moved upon and this made for a very disturbed night's sleep. Of course, I only know that this applies to one of the rooms. The TV did not work properly though why one would come here to watch TV is beyond me. Also, the rooms are not well sound-proofed and we could hear the neighbour's moving, watching TV and even showering. If these things cause distress, look out of the window and all frustration subsides.

For the location and the man himself, you get €250's worth of brilliance for a tenth of the price. It is the most wonderful place we visited during our stay in Greece and any future Santorini holiday will include several days at Jimmy's, regardless of where else we spend our time. He is such a pleasant man and, surprisingly given the island's disconnection from the world, speaks English almost fluently.

The photos accompanying this review should give you some indication of the setting of the rooms. This place was magical. It is difficult to portray the rooms as anything other than basic but you really do not need luxury here - it is a back to basics place and that is the beauty of the place, the attraction of the island. The other side of the caldera provides all the pomp and ceremony you could ever desire - here is strictly for relaxing, appreciating nature at its very best and having more moments of pure escapism than you could ever wish for.

P.S. Feel free to contact me for more on Thirassia, including any of the hundreds of photographs I took of this stunning place.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2010

Jimmy: Tel: +30 22860 29102; Cell: +30 697 839 5640. Currently, no website - all very relaxed, just like Thirassia itself. Just ring and speak to Jimmy, tell him the date(s) you're after and what time you'll be there. Just remember the timezones!

Want the beauty of Santorini but without the crowds or the expense - treat yourself to a slower pace of life on Thirassia and stay at Zacharo's (or 'Jimmy's' as its also known - after its owner, Jimmy and his wife, Roula). Cost: Euro 25 per night ! A great base for walking the island, or just relaxing.

Zacharo is located just outside of Manolas village on Thirassia. Very easy to find if you haven't asked Jimmy to collect you from the boat/bus. The boat departs Ammoudi three times a day (8.00, noon and 17.00). Bus meets the boat at Riva and drives you to Manolas, via Potamos. Cost: Boat - one euro; bus - Euro 1.40. Its less than a ten minute walk from where the bus stops at the back of the main church. Get to the caldera side and walk upwards (towards the southern edge of the island, towards Akrotiri, if you were on Santorini). There are currently nine rooms with two more triples due to be completed in the next few months. Some are let long-stay as Jimmy boards some of the local school teachers year round.

The rooms are basic but very clean and well-cared for. I was in a roomy twin room - two single beds, desk and chair, wardrobe, bathroom, a small kitchenette with sink, cupboards, crockery and cutlery, fridge and hotplate. Roula delivered crispbread for breakfast, along with honey, preserves, butter and some water. I declined the offer of coffee, since I don't drink it. She also described how to find the bakery, mini-market and fruit store. The only restaurants are either part-way down the stairs to Korfos Harbor (Panorama) or at Korfos itself. Since these restaurants finish serving mid- to late-afternoon when the volcano tours depart, you can't really eat there in the evening. I either had food from the fruit store (they had a good selection: local cucumbers, Santo tomatoes, white aubergines, cherries, strawberries, watermelon and more - along with packaged goods) or ate in the afternoon down at the harbor and snacked in the evening. All the restaurant owners know Jimmy, so if you're there later in the afternoon, don't be surprised if you get asked "staying at Jimmy's". They know its the only place on the island for guests to stay overnight. If you had a car, you could drive to Riva and eat at one of their tavernas that is open later.

Jimmy's has amazing views - from one side, its caldera all the way - overlooking Fira and down to Korfos Harbor. From the porch that stretches the length of all the rooms, you don't have to leave it to view the sunset - unless you want a different angle for yet 'one more photo'. Forget the Oia-like sunset 'scrum'. Directly below is all of Manolas and Potamos. It can be a little exposed to the wind when it blows, but bring an extra layer and its not a problem.

Jimmy and Roula are also wonderful gardeners - there are trees and flowers in bloom in their large garden and their roses have a heady scent I have never smelt in a store-bought rose. Jimmy cut two rosebuds when I departed and they fragranced my next hotel room in Perissa for the next few days - I was very sorry to have to get rid of them when I moved on.

Jimmy and Roula were always so helpful and friendly in providing local information as to what times the shops were open, when and where to get the bus to take you to Riva and boat to Oia, as well as my requests of 'how do I walk to . . . .' In six days I walked south to the monastery at Komisi, up to Kera overlooking the caldera to Fira, from Manolas to Potamos and onto deserted Agrilia, Christos Church, from Manolas to Riva (don't try it the other way - its uphill coming back!), and of course, down to Korfos Harbor. I still don't feel I've seen it all - and its only 9km long - and after experiencing the relaxing atmosphere, I can't wait to return and continue exploring.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Zacharo Rooms

Address: Manolas, 84702, Greece
Location: Greece > Cyclades > Thirassia
Amenities:
Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Thirassia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 11
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