The Greek island of Santorini is a picturesque archipelago in the Aegean Sea with white houses and spectacular sunsets
Santorini is one of the most popular resorts in Greece. Tourists also know it under another (official) name — Tira. Compared to the rest of the Greek archipelagos, Santorini stands out for its neat white houses with blue roofs. Every year millions of tourists from Russia and other countries come here to admire the local beauty and watch the sunset at the end of the day, which is considered almost a sacred duty for every visitor.
Geographically, Santorini is one of the Cretan islands. White houses are especially popular with tourists — there are no more of them to be found in any other city in Greece. The picturesque archipelago is also known for its unique attractions. Many of them have a long history, once again reminding us that Greece is rightfully considered the cradle of modern civilization. This amazing country was once inhabited by developed societies that left behind a rich architectural heritage.
Since the island is located in the Mediterranean Sea, it has a warm Mediterranean climate, moderately arid, with rare rainfall. Strong winds are observed in summer, mainly in the month of August. The tourist season in the archipelago lasts all year round, but its special peak comes from late spring to mid-autumn.
The mild Mediterranean climate is conducive to a pleasant beach holiday. Particularly notable on the island is the volcanic black pebble beach. This is the most popular and spacious place for swimming: there are bars and restaurants with picturesque views. The beach area is called Kamari. It has been honored with the prestigious international Blue Flag award for the best beaches in the world. Near Kamari is Mount Mesa, from the peaks of which you can watch the most beautiful sunsets.
Another popular swimming spot in Santorini is the Red Beach. Its territory is always crowded. Here, unlike Kamari, the pebbles are red. The beach itself is equipped with sun loungers and has a picturesque view of the bay and red rocks.
Oia city (Oia)
The most popular and famous city in Santorini with a large concentration of white houses. Its population is just over 600 people. Nevertheless, at the height of the tourist season, several thousand more are added to them — these are tourists arriving in Oia from all over the world. At their service in the town are the best establishments, where you can not only eat delicious food, but also appreciate the picturesque views of the sunset.
The Greek authorities are strict about the observance of the rules and regulations regarding architecture in Oia. All new objects here should be erected in white and blue tones and must have rounded shapes. In addition, the country’s authorities closely control how the distances to neighboring objects are observed. These parameters are measured down to millimeters so that the town meets the standards of ancient architecture, which is characterized by narrow streets paved with stone and stairs carved into the rocks.
In addition to building restrictions, Oia has street advertising bans. The color scheme and size of the signs are strictly controlled by the relevant authorities. Any wires and lines must be laid underground so as not to disrupt the integrity of the street. Due to the current bans on road transport inside the village, you can easily and safely move on foot. Due to the observance of all the above norms and rules, the town has a beautiful appearance and is in high demand among tourists.
On the territory of the village, located in the north of the Santorini archipelago, there is always somewhere to go and something to see. The following attractions are especially worth highlighting:
- The Castle of St. Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos). A popular attraction: a castle with defensive objects. During the era of Venetian rule, this structure was erected and used as an observation post over the sea;
- A museum dedicated to naval history. In it you can find an abundance of specimens on the maritime theme in the form of ships, as well as various tools and equipment used by sailors;
- The old windmill. The real pride of Oia, depicted on most souvenirs. There are souvenir shops near the mill where you can buy many products popular among tourists;
- The City Gallery, displaying various works of art;
- Many churches in the center of the village. Each of them is a true masterpiece of architecture.
Fira is the capital of the Santorini archipelago. It is located on a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea, at an altitude of over 300 meters. The town is home to about 1600 people. Due to its unusual location and the complete absence of tall trees, Fira is one of the hottest places in Greece in summer. For this reason, tourists should be especially careful during the summer to avoid sunstroke.
As in Oia, car traffic is completely prohibited. Residents and tourists are allowed to travel only on foot or by bike. In terms of architecture, Fira is diverse. Most of the streets are decorated in the old style with the same buildings and narrow stone-paved aisles.
What to see in Fira
The capital of the Santorini archipelago is considered a favorite shopping destination for foreign tourists. People come here to visit fashion boutiques and shops of popular world brands where they can buy various things and souvenirs.
Some of Fira’s other attractions deserve attention:
- The embankment located by the Caldera River. A large number of cafes, bars and restaurants can be found here;
- The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist;
- The ancient port of Mesa Yialos, where you can rent a catamaran. It makes excursions to the local volcano and other interesting places.
- For tourists wishing to travel around the island by bus, there is a bus station in the city center. The local clinic is also located here.
Other cities in Santorini
Almost all the settlements on the Greek island are worth visiting because of their natural beauty. First of all, you need to pay attention to the following settlements:
- Kamari. A small town known for inexpensive housing and low hotel prices. This circumstance, as well as the presence of several beaches, made Kamari a popular holiday destination for young people and families with children. The only thing that can be consider a drawback is the central airport being located close to the settlement, so the noise emitted by airplanes is regularly heard;
- Emborio. A distinctive town, ideal for getting to know the culture and traditions of local residents;
- Mesaria. This village is located in the center of Santorini. It is a major junction at which the main roads and highways of the Greek island intersect. More suitable for a short break while traveling through the archipelago;
- Pyrgos. This medieval town can be a real discovery for all lovers of antiquity. A large number of cathedrals and churches are concentrated in Pyrgos, there is a French school and several mansions that belonged to the local nobility when the village was still the capital.
The main local attraction is the Mount of the Prophet Elijah (the highest point of the settlement and the island) and the monastery erected on its top. These unique landmarks are recommended as a must visit for tourists.