Firá is the picturesque capital of the island; perched high up on the edge of the Caldera, it looks like a marvellous painting. Being the heart of Santorini, the town is filled with restaurants, bars, cafes, shops and of course tourists trying to capture pictures from every possible angle. Firá, together with Oia, Imerovígli and Firostefáni located high above on a cliff, make up the so-called “Caldera’s eyebrow”, the balcony of Santorini, which offers an amazing view of the volcano. Other famous smaller villages are Akrotíri and Méssa Vounó, with their famous archaeological sites, Pýrgos, Karterádos, Emporió, Ammoúdi, Finikiá, Períssa, Perívolos, Megalohóri, Kamári, Messariá and Monólithos: some of the villages are cosmopolitan some more peaceful; they are surrounded by vast vineyards; whitewashed cliff-top towns with castles affording amazing views out over the Aegean. Soaking up the villages’ distinctive traditional atmosphere is a very rewarding experience.
Venture into Santorini’s seaside treasures and enjoy deep blue waters and beaches with white, red or black sand or volcanic pebbles, spectacular rock formations and impressive lunar landscapes. Some people like them, some don’t… But all of them admit: the beaches of Santorini are the strangest and the oddest they have ever seen! Santorini’s coastal treasures have been profoundly influenced by the volcanic nature of the island. Its unique lunar landscape and the exceptional clarity of the Aegean Sea are simply superb.
Ammoúdi, Arméni, Baxédes, Kolúmbo, Kátharοs, and Pori are the sun-drenched beaches around Oia in the northern part of the island. They have a wild untamed beauty and most of them cannot easily be spotted from the main road. The beaches Xiropígado, and Vourvoúlos on the eastern side of the island will prove irresistible to sun seekers looking for peace and seclusion since they are neither organized nor much frequented. However, on the same side rests the Éxo Gialós organized beach with a restaurant well known for its excellent cuisine! On the south-eastern side of Santorini, sun-loving tourists will encounter magnificent black sandy or pebbly beaches like Monólithos (mostly recommended for families), and the cosmopolitan beach of Kamári, one of the island’s most crowded and organized beaches! Amongst Santorini’s most sought after beaches, especially among young people, are Períssa, Perívolos and Áyios Geórgios, which actually stretch out one after another to create the longest black sandy beach on the island; bustling beach bars, diving and water sport centres (including jet ski, parasailing, wind surfing and canoe-kayak) and beautiful-people-watching! Could you ask for more? The lunar landscaped (semi-organized) Vlycháda beach on the south end of the island, along with the nearby beach of Almýra, sun worshippers can enjoy beautiful quiet settings with impressive sea-sculpted rocks in the background. Vlycháda also holds a large marina, home to the Sailing and Yacht Club of Santorini. Theros, another organized beach located in a beautiful and secluded spot, also has a restaurant serving well-presented dishes and colorful cocktails. Tan-seeking sunbathers will also discover some marvelous beaches in Akrotiri such as Remezzo, Mesa Pigadia and Cambia which are smaller quieter beaches with black sand and deep crystal clear waters. Owners of fresh sea food taverns are also awaiting there to serve you.
Close to the excavation site of Akrotíri you will find probably the most famous beach on the island, the Red Beach! The things that make the beach absolutely irresistible are its impressive red rock formations, which form a breathtaking unique volcanic landscape. Access involves a walk from the harbour of Akrotíri (around 10 minutes) or by boat from Kamári, Akrotíri and Períssa, but the all-red landscape is certainly worth the trek! The nearby White Beach is another stunning seascape that you simply must not miss! Black sand, big grey and white pebbles and gigantic white rocks form a bizarre setting like you’ve never seen before.
Note: Unless you are a professional climber getting there is only possible by boat (from Akrotíri)!
The Minoan city at Akrotiri
The Ancient Thira at Mesa Vouno
Museums of Prehistoric Thira in Fira
The Naval Museum in Ia
The monastery of the Prophet Elias in Pyrgos
One day cruise to the volcanic island, the new and old Kameni and to the island Thirasia