7 places you need to go to in Santorini

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1. Oia

For centuries Oia was called Epano Meria, as it is built on the northernmost tip of the island. It is an impressive settlement, known all over the world for its unique sunset and at sunset dozens of people every day on balconies, on roofs, wherever they can, watch speechless one of the rarest spectacles on earth.

Oia is the second largest village on the island, after the capital, Fira, and is spread out on the rock of the Caldera with its central road leading from one end to the other and beautiful alleys stretching across the rocky terrain. It was once called the “city of captains” for its great maritime tradition, but the area suffered terrible destruction during the 1956 earthquake, causing many of its residents to migrate abroad or to other parts of Greece.

It never fully recovered, but it is a place of unparalleled beauty, quieter than Fira and with many options for accommodation, food, entertainment and shopping. The very picturesque central square of N. Nomiko is probably the best place to buy traditional items and souvenirs, and you will also see many street artists. The beautiful traditional houses, the alleys, the windmills, the picturesque churches, the unique sunset have made Oia considered by many to be one of the most beautiful places in the world.

2. Fira

It is the capital of the island and its name comes from a corruption of the name Thira. They are built on the edge of the Caldera cliff and is located at a height of about 500m from the sea level.

To go up you can choose the traditional donkeys or the modern cable car. The installation of the cable car was done at the expense of the Santorini shipowner Nomikos and greatly facilitated the tourist traffic of the island.

Fira is a relatively modern state, with buildings built mainly in the 19th century, when the former Venetian capital of Skaros was rendered uninhabitable by earthquakes. The architecture is a mixture of Venetian and Cycladic styles, with the differences often being very indiscernible.

The influence of tourism is everywhere evident, judging by the numerous accommodation, taverns, bars and shops. It is the largest town of Santorini with approximately 2000 permanent residents and many tourists prefer it because of its central location and the easy access it offers to the rest of the island.

3. Pyrgos

Medieval Santorini comes alive in this village. Built at the foot of Prophet Ilias, it is located 7.5 km. east of Fira. In 1995 it was declared a preserved settlement and the main attraction is Kastelli, while the narrow streets with traditional and neoclassical buildings and the Collection of ecclesiastical relics are worth your visit.

Many choose to go up to Kastelli to admire the sunset. The village, which until 1800 was the capital of the island, has many options for accommodation and food, while it is also famous for its view of the whole island. In its streets you will find 33 churches, as well as the well-known monastery of Prophet Ilias.

4. Firostefani

Near Fira is Firostefani, a narrow and elongated settlement, built on the edge of the Caldera. You can stroll through the very picturesque alleys, full of shops and taverns. It has a very picturesque square and the church of Agios Gerasimos, the only one on the island surrounded by cypress trees.

Between Firostefani and Imerovigli, the next settlement in the Caldera, is the monastery of Agios Nikolaos, whose original location was in Skaros. In 1651 the monastery housed an order of nuns, while it was moved to its current location in 1890. It was founded by the Gyzi family.

5. Karterados

Karterados is located 2 km. further south than Fira and is famous for its wonderful traditional architecture that impresses visitors. In the area there are many vineyards that add their own beauty to the picturesque landscape.

The village is built on two dried up rivers and is famous for its beautiful churches, as well as its rock-hewn houses. The nearby beach of Exo Gialos is very beautiful. The name of the village probably comes from the word “karteri” as it was a place where the locals set up a carter against invading pirates.

6. Megalochori

This beautiful village is located 9.5 km. from Fira, southwest of Pyrgos. The original settlement was made in the traditional way of houses dug into rock. There are many vineyards, making winemaking the main occupation of the inhabitants. The village has around 500 permanent residents, is very picturesque, with beautiful churches with their characteristic blue domes and has a choice of accommodation, cafes and taverns.

7. Mesaria

It is only 3.5 km away from Fira. Written sources prove the existence of the settlement from the 17th century and, as in other areas, the original settlement was formed in the traditional way of houses built into the rock. The village maintains its vitality throughout the year, as it is a crossroads for traffic to all parts of the island and, in addition to the tourist infrastructure, it has shops to serve the needs of the permanent residents.

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