This is the capital and it is situated right on the edge of the Caldera. Cycladic domed churches, sun-bathed terraces, stepped alleys and in the background the deep blue sea and the threatening volcano comprise a unique picture. 600 steps will lead you down the caldera to the harbor of Phera. The way down is easy. For the way back, unless you enjoy hard training under the hot sun, you may choose either the "teleferic" or the traditional "donkeys".

    The night life begins here, unless you first visit Oia or Imerovigli to enjoy the sunset and continue at Phera. (By the way night life in Santorini never stops). Restaurants / bars / discos / tavernas, most of them with a view of the volcano will satisfy any need. At "Franco's Bar" you can enjoy classical music during the sunset (yes, the view of the sunset is fantastic also in Phera).

    During the earthquakes of 1956 a considerable part of the town was destroyed. Nevertheless many of the typical 18th century houses still survive. The town is typically Cycladic and resembles very much the old town of Acrotiri.

    This village stands right above Phira. Many of its houses have not yet been rebuilt and it gives a relief picture of the destructiveness of the last earthquakes. From here you can have a fantastic view of the sunset. It is a 10- minute walk to the night life of Phira. It is probably the best place to stay during your visit to Santorini. Here you can rent a traditional house with a view of the Volcano. (warning from the writer: The view and the unique feeling of the island may lead you to wrong conclusions. Don't propose to your girlfriend/boyfriend. It might be the ancient god "Eros" who rules you... Check your feelings a couple of weeks after you return home.)

  • OIA
    The northernmost village of Santorini is built high on the rim of the Caldera. It is obviously the most picturesque of Santorini's villages. Till recently it was also the commercial center of the island. The rich people of Santorini used to live here.

    Oia is famous all over the world for the view of the sunset. During the sunset you can hear hundreds of clicks. It is the Japanese tourists snapping the sunset with their Canon cameras. Never mind. Oia is an experience. The lucky ones will rent a house here. There is a set of steps leading down from Oia to Ammoudi (the beach of Oia, down the caldera).

    A nice place to visit. Within its environs the prehistoric city has been revealed with its wonderfully preserved houses and wall-paintings. Here you can walk through the ancient city. Enter the same door, somebody entered 3,500 years ago! The feeling is unique.

    In Acrotiri you can enjoy the food in splendid "tavernas" built inside the rock. A small traditional boat (kaiki) will take you to "Kokkini akti" and "Aspri akti"( actually meaning "Red beach" and "White beach"). The same boat can take you to the old volcano "Palea kammeni".

    There is a black sand beach here as at Kamari. The dark blue sea which deepens suddenly and the impressive and inaccessible rock of Mesa Vouno compose an enchanting landscape. A steep pathway leads from Perissa up to the ruins of Ancient Thera. Enjoy the easy night life of Perissa or choose to stay in one of the small hotels.

    Near the airport.
    Probably the only beach with white sand. A couple of tavernas will offer you local specialities.

    A nice beach with black sand. Together with Perissa the most popular beaches for sea bathing.
    Yes there is also night life here.
    You can also find hotels and rooms to let.

    Inland village. Rooms to let.

    An inland / farming village. The houses are built on the sides of the ravine. Apart from its picturesque houses, the village has the church of Agia Anna with its carved wooden templon which is a real masterpiece.

    The village of Pyrgos is a typical example of a fortified Cycladic village. The streets follow the contours of the hill and encircle the village like belts. The outer row of houses also constitutes the fortification of the settlement. Pyrgos is one of the largest villages on Santorini, and being built on a hill it offers an open view towards all points of the island.

    Typical farming villages with installations for the production and storage of wine. Near Mesa Gonia is the church of Episkopi. (see EPISKOPI AT GONIA, in the archaeological sites.)


    Emporion is the village used by the French dramatist Jean-Paul Sartre as the setting for his play Les Mouches. The philosopher visited the village together with Simone de Beauvoir just before World War II. The tower (goulas) which stands right outside the village was built as a miniature replica of the Monastery of Aghios Ioannis on Patmos. Here you can find the "Anavrytos" hot spring.

    There are four hot, metallic springs on the island. One in "Megalochori" known as "Thermi". Another one in "Plaka". The third one is located in "Kokkina Nera". Finally you can find the "Anavrytos" spring in "Emporio" village.

    Above Pyrgos, on the homonymous mountain stands the Monastery of Prophitis Ilias which was founded at the beginning of the 18th century. A small collection of ethnographic material is housed in the rooms of the monastery. The view from here is fantastic.

    by Thomas J. Pagonis
    Copyright: Hellenic Electronic Center
    Photos by Ian Swindale
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