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Ultimate Santorini Guide by Town

May 03, 2021
Santorini and its whitewashed towns define the idyllic beauty of the Mediterranean. When people think of going to this part of the world, they often picture the beloved Greek Island bathed in warm sunlight and surrounded by glittering waters. The white houses topped with blue domes also inspire a good sense of wanderlust, especially for those who want to escape their everyday lives and retreat to what looks like a more peaceful place. But are Santorini's towns all the same? Is there a difference between one and the other? Yes, there is. This town guide will tell you all about it.

Ultimate Santorini Guide by Town



What is The Best Area of Santorini to Stay?

It's unfair to say that one town in Santorini is better than the other. Each of them has their own charms that draw in tourists from around the world. With that said, however, there's no doubt that most people would be comfortable staying in either Fira or Oia. These are the biggest towns on the island, with Fira even serving as Santorini's capital. If you want to have a nice stay with many convenient facilities nearby, you'll want to go to any of these places. 


Akrotiri on Santorini

Beyond the luxury resorts and high-class hotels, let's not forget that Santorini is still a Greek Island. This is a place where an ancient civilization once thrived, so it's not far-fetched to consider it one big archeological site. Especially Akrotiri! Though it's a fairly small village on the island, Akrotiri is known as one of the best Minoan archeological sites in the country. The place is filled with relics and ruins from that specific period in Greek history, making it a go-to destination for archeologists, art historians, and history buffs alike. 


Is Akrotiri Worth Visiting?

Yes, it is. Even if you're not interested in ancient Minoan art and all that stuff, Akrotiri remains a dreamy coastal commune worth escaping to. The scenic coasts provide the perfect setting for a nice holiday with friends and family. The town is even known for having drawn countless celebrities to its whitewashed homes. 


Is Akrotiri a Good Place to Stay in Santorini?

Of course, it is. Again, whether you're a history buff or not, Akrotiri remains an idyllic town in Santorini. This is the kind of place where you'll want to spend time on your own. Not to mention a nice choice for a honeymoon destination as well! 

Ultimate Santorini Guide by Town

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Emporio in Santorini

Located in the middle of the island, Emporio isn't the typical coastal Greek Island town the rest of the world is used to. Though the nearest beach isn't all that far away, it's still pretty noteworthy how it's not a seaside commune. So what does Emporio have that can make up for its lack of sandy beaches? History and heritage. From its ruined Tower of Nimborio to the 15th-century Venetian castle that overlooks the town, you can get a good sense of what Santorini was like during that time. 


What to Do in Emporio, Santorini

Since you already know that you can't swim at the beach in Emporio, what is there left to do in this inland village? Eat, sleep, shop, and learn about history. While Emporio is far less busy than Fira and Oia, it doesn't mean that it's a boring place. Local life still flourishes in this part of the island, from the old-school tavernas that serve authentic Greek cuisine to the market vendors selling all sorts of trinkets. With its history and heritage still intact, Emporio is also a great place to learn more about Greece beyond its famous ancient civilization. 


Where to Eat in Emporio, Santorini

Emporio may be a small town but that doesn't mean its culinary scene is lacking in any way! Watch out for To Kafenedaki Tou Emporiou, for example, which is a fairly hidden hotspot near the town's famous Medieval castle. This place has a Mediterranean menu that will have you wanting more. Chocolat is pretty notable too. It's a Greek patisserie that serves both local and foreign desserts. And as its name suggests, you can bet that you'll have your fill of chocolate here as well!  

Ultimate Santorini Guide by Town

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Fira in Santorini

Fira is the capital of Santorini. It's right by the coast of the Greek Island and is usually the first stop you see when you take a ferry to Santorini. As the biggest town on the island, it has practically everything you'll want and need. There are a myriad of shops, various foodie hotspots, upscale resorts, high-class hotels, and even luxury homes you can rent! The beaches are nearby and there are many great sights all around. Though it's not exactly a big city, it's definitely the closest thing Santorini has to one. 


What's in Fira, Santorini?

Beyond the usual taverns, boutiques, resorts, and more, Fira has a lot to offer. There are the iconic Three Bells of Fira, for example, which are probably some of the most photographed bells in the world. The Folklore Museum of Santorini is also here, a fascinating gallery housed in a cave which, contrary to its name, is more about local life on the island than fairytales or fables. And at night, you really out to check out the town's nightlife scene. Fira has a whole slew of bars and pubs just waiting for you to have the time of your life! 


What is Fira, Santorini Known For?

Fira is best known as the capital of Santorini and one of the two main towns on the island. As such, it’s the go-to spot for tourists visiting Santorini. It helps that it’s also the largest town on the island and home to a good portion of the population. 


What to Do Fira in Santorini, Greece

Anything and everything! There's so much to see and do in Santorini, many of which are in Fira. Beyond the usual strolling about town and swimming at the beach, you can also check out art galleries, go on a foodie tour, shop till you drop, visit local markets, ride a motorbike, and get to know the locals in Fira. With so much in store, you'll hardly need to go to any other part of the island! 

Ultimate Santorini Guide by Town

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Firostefani, Santorini Island

Located north of Fira, Firostefani is a coastal paradise just waiting to be explored. At a glance, it looks like a typical whitewashed town in Greece, run-of-the-mill and a dime a dozen. When you actually get to the town, however, you'll instantly realize its unique magic. For one thing, Firostefani is nearer to the island's volcano. As such, it's located higher compared to Fira and other neighboring towns. And of course, this means that the views up here are second to none! 

Ultimate Santorini Guide by Town

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Imerovigli Santorini, Greece

Imerovigli is an upscale town in Santorini where luxury is the way of life. It's not exactly the French Riviera here, but it's pretty close! This town is beloved for its fine-dining restaurants, boutique hotels, chic shops, and upscale resorts. When you think of Santorini as this luxurious destination, you're likely thinking of Imerovigli. This is also where a lot of the rich and famous retreat to when they travel to the island. It's not exactly far-fetched that you might bump into a celebrity here! 


What to Do in Imerovigli, Santorini

One word: luxuriate! Want to eat in the finest foodie hotspots in Santorini? Go to Imerovigli. Want to enjoy a spa day with your friends? Go to Imerovigli. Want to sip champagne as you watch the sunset on the Greek Island? Go to Imerovigli. This town has all the finer things in life. It's as if the island itself is pampering you to death! 

Ultimate Santorini Guide by Town

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Kamari in Santorini

On the east coast of Santorini, you'll find Kamari, another whitewashed town full of seaside charms. Weirdly enough, what makes this one of the more popular areas isn't the town itself. You can thank the stunning surroundings for that. From rugged volcanic landscapes to beautiful coasts with glimmering waters, the place belongs on a postcard. With such scenery to offer, it's no wonder many of the hotspots in town are outdoors. Think alfresco restaurants, cafes by the sea, and more.  


What to Do in Kamari, Santorini

When you're in Kamari, you'll want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. See the scenery, smell the salty sea air, and hear the waves crash against the golden shoreline. A lot of the best things to do in Santorini already entails going outside but Kamari takes it a step further. For example, This town has the CineKamari, the famous outdoor cinema set up every summer. What better way to end the day than to watch a movie under the stars? 


Is Kamari Safe?

Yes, it is. The crime rates in Santorini are already low overall, so it's no surprise that Kamari is also generally safe. With that said, you'd still do well to be more aware of your surroundings and careful with your stuff when you go out! 


Kamari Beach in Santorini, Greece

Perhaps the most famous part of Kamari is its eponymous shoreline. Kamari Beach is definitely one of the best beaches in Santorini. Its black sands are totally different from the other coasts on the island. Don't worry! Despite their color, the sands here are still as soft as ever. Some parts are notoriously pebbly though, so if you want to lay around on the beach, you're better off getting one of the available sun beds. And if you're in need of refreshment, you can just order from the multitude of restaurants, bars, taverns, and snack stalls that line Kamari Beach. 

Ultimate Santorini Guide by Town

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Oia in Santorini

In Santorini, there are two main towns that most tourists know about. The first is Fira, the island's capital. As the port of entry to Santorini, it's a place that practically everyone will go to at least once. The second is Oia, a coastal town at the northeastern edge of Santorini. It's arguably the quintessential whitewashed town on the island, perhaps even more so than Fira. It has the big blue domes, the windmills, the bright bougainvillea flowers, and more. When you think of Santorini, the picturesque town of Oia is the one that comes to mind! 


Is Oia, Santorini Expensive

Yes, it is. The living costs in Santorini are generally high, even more so in the bigger town in Oia. Though there are plenty of mid-range hotspots here, it also has just as, if not even more upscale establishments. And even if you stick to the affordable places, there's a lot to pay for here that totals up to quite a high figure overall. 


Is Oia Safe?

Like the rest of the island, Oia is a safe place overall. Again, the crime rates in Santorini are mostly low, and at the same time, its safety rates are high. It's one of the very few European destinations that have a high safety rate at night (75.00%). 


What to Do Oia, Santorini

An easier question to answer is what isn't there to do in Oia? In this big town, you can eat, shop, swim, sunbathe, drink, party, and so much more. In fact, even if you move to Santorini, there's still a lot to discover in Oia in your first few months alone! What more when you're just here for a couple of weeks or days for your vacation? 


What to See in Oia, Santorini

Oia is as much a treasure trove of amazing sights as any of the other towns in Santorini. The commune has the Church of Panagia Platsani, the Castle of Oia, the Oia Blue Dome Viewpoint, and a whole host of art galleries. You'll definitely need to charge up your phone or bring a power bank because you'll be taking a lot of photos as you explore the town. 


What to Eat in Oia, Santorini

Among the many local Greek delicacies available in Oia, “chlorotyri” is an absolute must-try! It's a type of goat's milk cheese that's slightly sour but oh so creamy! You'll find that many of the great foodie hotspots in Santorini have this cheese, whether they serve it with crackers and wine or put some bits of it in their salads. And yes, a lot of these restaurants are in Oia! 

Ultimate Santorini Guide by Town

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Perissa, Santorini

You'd think that the beautiful coasts in Santorini would all be white sandy beaches or golden shorelines. And sure, there are a lot of them on the island. They're just as paradisiacal as you'd expect in the Mediterranean. At the same time, however, Santorini also has black sand beaches resulting from volcanic parts of the island. One such is the coast near Perissa, another idyllic coastal town in Santorini. Though the town itself is beautiful, its black sand beach is what truly makes it stand out 


Is Perissa, Santorini Expensive?

Surprisingly, it's not that expensive to stay in Perissa. Though it's fairly pricey to live in Santorini as a whole, Perissa is one of the more affordable towns on the island. 


What to Do Perissa, Santorini

Truth be told, the best thing to do in Perissa is to go to the beach. This isn't to say that the town itself isn't worthwhile, it's just that the black sand beach is so extraordinary, you'll almost forget everything else. Nevertheless, you'll still enjoy exploring the town itself, eating in its taverns, and having a good time with the locals. 

Ultimate Santorini Guide by Town

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Pyrgos, Santorini

Sitting on the foot of Mount Profitis Ilias, Pyrgos is a small town where Mother Nature reigns supreme. While the commune still has its fair share of whitewashed homes, the surrounding mountains and scenic coasts are what make this place truly magical. With how close to nature it is, it's almost hard to imagine that Pyrgos was once Santorini's capital. It used to be the central town back in the 13th century when Venetians were still on the island. 


What to Do in Pyrgos, Santorini

Pyrgos is one of those coastal towns where you just want to stare at the sea and forget everything else. Though the town itself has a lot to offer—there are small art galleries, taverns with delicious Greek dishes, and more—it's really the island views that are worth your while here. So when you get to Pyrgos, make sure to look at that view as many times as you can. You won't find anything quite like it anywhere else in the world. 


What to See in Pyrgos, Santorini

Apart from the beguiling coasts, don't miss out on seeing Pyrgos Castle, an architectural marvel that has stood the test of time. The same goes for the Monastery of Profitis Elias, an 18th-century structure perched on the nearby mountain. As you stroll along the charming streets, you'll also spot some small art galleries, trinket shops, pottery studios, and more. Don't overlook these town gems because they show off the true beauty, creativity, and heritage of Pyrgos! 

Ultimate Santorini Guide by Town

Source: Wikimedia Commons 


Get to know more about the different towns in Santorini with the help of this neighborhood guide. You'll soon realize that this beloved Greek Island is a lot more fascinating with its fairly diverse towns and unique areas.


#neighborhoods   #neighborhood-guide   



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