Santorini villages
Santorini villages

As the sun kisses Santorini’s cliffs, a mosaic of beautiful villages unfolds. Beyond the postcard-perfect panoramas, they are the beating heart of Santorini, each contributing to the island’s narrative.

Weaving history, culture and breathtaking landscapes, Santorini villages invite you to a truly immersive local experience. So, keep reading to discover their unique characteristics and the best things to do when visiting.


Santorini villages: Unearth the ones you should not skip! 


Oia: A timeless caldera marvel

Location: 11.6 km from Fira


Side view of the Santorini caldera in Oia


Among the island’s gems, Oia stands as the ultimate jewel, captivating visitors with its unrivaled beauty. 

Whitewashed buildings cling to the cliffside, framing Santorini blue domes against the Aegean Sea. Narrow alleys wind through the village, unveiling hidden boutiques, quaint cafes, and stunning viewpoints. 

Oia’s sunset, a spectacle celebrated worldwide, transforms the sky into a canvas of warm hues, casting a romantic glow over the caldera. As the sun dips below the horizon, the atmosphere becomes magical, making it a sight to behold. 


Things to do in Oia

  • Visit art galleries, boutiques and local wine shops
  • Savor local delicacies at cliffside restaurants
  • Visit the castle of Oia and the famous blue-domed churches to marvel at the sunset
  • Explore the iconic Maritime Museum

Learn more about Oia village in Santorini, Greece, and the best things to do on our dedicated guide!


Fira: Santorini’s vibrant core

Location: The capital


Whitewashed housed perched on the caldera in Fira, Santorini


Perched on volcanic cliffs, Fira emerges as the capital of Santorini, a bustling hub that seamlessly blends modern energy with traditional charm. 

Watch the panoramic views of the caldera unravel as you navigate the lively streets adorned with shops, tavernas, and blooming bougainvillea.

Whether strolling at your own pace or savoring a leisurely meal with a view, Fira captures the essence of Santorini’s vivacity and cultural richness.


Things to do in Fira

  • Visit exciting museums like the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Prehistoric Thera
  • Indulge in diverse dining experiences, from traditional Greek cuisine to international delights
  • Take a caldera walking tour from Fira to Oia to enjoy breathtaking views of the endless horizon


Pyrgos: A lesser-known retreat

Location: 5.1 km from Fira


A 2-bell blue-domed church in Pyrgos, Santorini


Venture off the beaten path to discover Pyrgos, Santorini’s best-kept secret. Tucked away from the crowds, this medieval village showcases a serene ambiance and a rich history.

Boasting panoramic vistas from its hilltop, it offers a quiet escape into traditional Cycladic architecture and labyrinthine alleys. 

What makes Pyrgos truly unique is that time seems to slow down, inviting you to immerse in the present moment and savor the genuine essence of Santorini.


Things to do in Pyrgos

  • Explore the iconic Castle of Pyrgos, which allows you to cherish the island’s beauty from a panoramic point of view
  • Visit historical churches that stand as a testament to Santorini’s rich spiritual heritage, such as Agia Theodosia, Agios Nikolaos and Moni Profiti Ilia
  • Take a Santorini wine tasting tour to enjoy the famous Santorinian wine varieties like Vinsanto and Assyrtiko


Imerovigli: The balcony of the Aegean

Location: 3.1 km from Fira


Whitewashed housed perched on the caldera in Imerovigli, Santorini


Perched on the highest point of the caldera rim, Imerovigli earns its title as the “Balcony of the Aegean.” Upon visiting it, you immediately feel like you’ve won a front-row seat to the captivating magic of Santorini. 

Known for its tranquility, Imerovigli invites you to relish moments of relaxation while embracing the sheer beauty of the Aegean.

Wander through its charming pathways, leading to open-air cafes, and be astonished by the caldera unfolding below.


Things to do in Imerovigli

  • Hike to Skaros Rock to witness the remnants of a historic fortified settlement and be mesmerized by the endless Aegean horizon
  • Dine at one of the cliffside tavernas or upscale restaurants, offering a perfect mix of delectable Greek cuisine and unparalleled vistas
  • Discover photo opportunities as you ramble its picturesque streets adorned with cascading bougainvillea


Akrotiri: The archaeological gem

Location: 12 km from Fira


An old building in a green hill in Akrotiri, Santorini


Nestled on the southern part of Santorini, Akrotiri is a peaceful village combining authentic charm, rich history and a slower pace of life.

Explore its narrow alleys boasting traditional Cycladic architecture, white-washed facades and cute little shops. 

Mainly known for the nearby archaeological site, often called the “Minoan Pompeii,” Akrotiri is a great starting point for discovering the remnants of the prehistoric city once buried under volcanic ash.


Things to do in Akrotiri

  • Explore the well-preserved frescoes, intricate drainage systems, and multi-story buildings of ancient Akrotiri that provide a glimpse into daily life over 3,500 years ago 
  • Swim in the crystal-clear waters of the volcanic Red Beach, which is unlike anything you have ever seen
  • Visit the charming Akrotiri lighthouse that is only around 5 km away from the town that stands as a tribute to the island’s rich maritime history


Megalochori: A tranquil haven

Location: 5.8 km from Fira


Whitewashed buildings in Megalochori - one of the most beautiful Santorini villages


Renowned for preserving the traditional character of Santorini, Megalochori is a living museum with historic mansions, wine cellars, and cobblestone streets.

The central square, adorned with colorful flowers, cafes and tavernas, serves as the village’s heart, where locals gather and stories unfold.

Surrounded by some of the most beautiful vineyards on the island, Megalochori is a treat to the senses, offering a unique ambiance amidst picturesque sceneries!


Things to do in Megalochori, Santorini

  • Take in the beauty of the six-bell tower that is part of the Virgin Mary church – one of the most iconic locations in Santorini
  • Explore the traditional underground cave houses dating back to the 17th century, which are now thoughtfully restored 
  • Find the famous heart of Santorini that is close to the church of Agios Nikolaos, where you will be rewarded with stunning views 

Don’t forget to book your First Impressions Santorini day tour where you’ll have the chance to unearth its treasures along some other famous and hidden spots.


Emporio: A taste of authenticity

Location: 9.8 km from Fira


An alley in Emporio, Santorini


Emporio village is proof of the island’s rich history and genuine allure. Its narrow alleyways, reminiscent of a labyrinth, echo the whispers of Cycladic architecture and medieval charm. 

At the heart of Emporio, the iconic Kasteli watches over the village as a silent witness of a former era.

As you meander through its timeless corners, discover hidden courtyards and encounter local artisans, all adding to its beauty.


Things to do in Emporio

  • Explore the fortified settlement of Kasteli, where well-preserved towers and arches provide glimpses into Santorini’s medieval heritage
  • See the impressive windmills that stand tall at Gavrilos Hill, constructed in the 19th century
  • Immerse yourself in the village’s authentic atmosphere with a countryside private tour in Santorini, relishing moments of serenity with the help of your expert guide


Kamari: A lively retreat

Location: 7.7 km from Fira


Kamari beach in Santorini


Along the southeastern coast, Kamari emerges as a vibrant Santorini town, effortlessly blending natural beauty with modern amenities, beachfront allure and Greek hospitality. 

The iconic Kamari Beach, adorned with black volcanic sand, invites you to indulge in its azure waters that were awarded the Blue Flag. 

Fronted by the majestic Mesa Vouno mountain, Kamari offers a captivating backdrop to enchanting evenings at the lively promenade, lined with seaside tavernas, cafes and shops.


Things to do in Kamari

  • Spend a relaxing day on Kamari beach while unwinding under the warm Greek sun
  • Engage in watersports adventures, from jet-skiing to paddleboarding, for an exhilarating coastal experience
  • Visit Ancient Thera to witness the archaeological site filled with findings that reveal a sophisticated and advanced ancient civilization.


Santorini villages: Why they are among the best things to do in Santorini

Each one of the villages in Santorini holds a unique story and distinctive charm that adds to the island’s allure. From the panoramic vistas of Imerovigli to the tranquility of Megalochori and the beachfront bliss of Kamari, they boast a tapestry of diverse experiences. 

As you traverse the narrow alleys, indulge in authentic flavors, and relish the timeless ambiance, these villages promise a journey into the heart of Santorini’s soul. 

Pro tip: Make the most of your visit and create unforgettable memories with the help of experienced guides. Design a tailor-made Santorini private tour to include the villages you prefer and get ready for your explorations!

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