Hotels

Oia

Imerovigli

Fira

Firostefani

Villages

Fira - the capital of Santorini

It is quite an impressive sight to take in as you approach it by boat. From a distance, what almost seems like snow-caps turns ot to be a myriad of white-washed stonehouses jumbled together in an apparently random fashion.

The capital is tourist intense. Virtually every visitor to the island will pass through here at some point. Nevertheless, Fira handles its 'identity struggle' between being a cosmopolitan resort and a traditional Greek village remarkably well.

On one hand the village has a very high concentration of commercial outlets: shops, restaurants and hotels, but, on the other hand the establishments are nicely integrated into the old narrow streets and the traditional architecture.

History

Fira is a fairly young village by European standards. Its foundation is dated to the end of the 18th century when inhabitants further north came down to find more flat land and easier access to the sea.

Earliest signs of settlements include the monasteries of the Dominicans and the Lazarists, as well as the Catholic Metropolis of St John the Baptist, all dated to the end of the 18th century.

In the 19th century, Fira was the home to many wealthy Greeks, who lived in luxuriously decorated mansions and entertained their guests with Vengeres, musical evenings.

Highlights

There is no doubt that Fira has a lot to offer visitors looking for vacation fun. The Santorini capital is a terrific place for sightseeing, museumsshoppingdiningnightlife, and more.

The village is a unique blend of cosmopolitan flair, traditional Greek architecture and, of course, its jaw-droppingly beautiful location on the edge of the largest water-filled volcano in the world.

The heart of the village is its main square, Theotokopoulos Square, This is where you will find the banks, bus stops, taxi ranks, newsagents, and more.

Along the spectacular brim of the caldera you will find numerous cafes, bars and restaurants, each claiming to offer the best views of the volcano.

For a more quiet stroll visit the neighborhood of Frangika, or Catholika as it is also known, one of Fira's most beautiful. There are no shops here, only beautiful mansions, churches and monasteries.

Frangika is also where you find the large Catholic cathedral, or Domo as the locals have named it.

Museums

The most important of the Santorini museums located in Fira are:

Access

Fira is the major infrastructure hub of the island and is easily accessible. Most Santorini villages, as well as the airport, are connected with Fira by local Santorini transportation.

If you arrive by ferry or speedboat then you will arrive at the port of Athinios situated some 10 km south of Fira.

You can also access Fira from Gialos, the old port, which you most certainly will if you cruise to Santorini. This entry point is situated exactly 586 steps below the village. Don't worry, if you don't want to walk it there's a cable railway that takes you all the way up, or perhaps you prefer riding on a donkey's back!

On your way up you are accompanied by some of the most amazing views you can imagine. A great way to kick-start your Santorini experience!

Accommodation

Nowhere on the island are there more accommodation options than in Fira. From the modern Santorini camping ground to a wide range of Santorini hotels.

One great advantage of staying in Fira is that you are connected to most other villages of the island by Santorini buses, which in summer season run on a frequent schedule.

Some tourists who are looking for something more quiet, but still want to be close to 'the action', choose to stay in one of the nearby villages, such as Firostefani or Imerovigli. These are really more like a northly extension of Fira and within comfortable walking distance.

Another popular accommodation option near the capital is Karterados, just 2 km (1.2 mi) down the road. This is a good place to find cheap hotels and rooms to rent.