When you think of Santorini, you immediately picture big blue domes and white washed buildings from the popular caldera villages. But there are so many more enchanting villages on the island of Santorini outside of Oia and Fira, that will leave you speechless. Here are the best villages and towns to visit when in Santorini.
Emporio is the biggest village in Santorini, located in the middle of the island. Emporio sits at the foot of Profitis Ilias Mountain which provides a spectacular backdrop. Emporio is compact with idyllic alleys, picturesque houses and traditional churches. Emporio is a medieval village and feels so untouched compared to the prominent caldera villages. The streets are quiet yet striking,. Within Emporio there is a monestary, multiple churches and a castle to visit while exploring the area.
Pyrgos is the former capital of Santorini before Fira, and is the highest village on the entire island, offering spectacular views. Pyrgos is a must visit village in Santorini, sprawling with narrow alleys and unpaved paths leading up to Pyrgos Kasteli, a former Venetian castle. While Pyrgos is not a hidden gem, it is still underrated and often overlooked by tourists that visit Santorini. I recommend heading there in the afternoon to go to Francos Cafe for coffee with a view,. For a sunset or evening experience head to Penelope’s Ouzeri for dinner. Add in an hour to walk around and get lost in the maze of alleys, and be sure to pet the cats.
The tranquil village of Finikia is located on the crater rim, a short 15 minutes walk from Oia, yet feels miles away. The village overlooks vineyards and is filled with beautiful architecture. Finikia is quiet and there isn't much to do, but I highly recommend visiting the centre of this peaceful village for half a day, and enjoy one of the many local tavernas. My favorite meal while in Santorini was eaten here (blog post to follow!). Finikia is also a great village to stay in if you want to be close to Oia but don't want to pay the higher prices.
Imerovigli village is an upscale cliffside town in Santorini brimming with spectacular boutique hotels and fine dining restaurants. Imerovigli is known for its golden sunsets and often referred to as “the balcony to the Aegean”. It is home to the famous Skaros rock which was once an observation port providing security from the pirates, and now a popular spot amongst hikers. Imerovigli is the perfect village to stay in Santorini if you are looking for a romantic escape away from the busy caldera towns of Oia and Fira, otherwise a beautiful village to visit during your stay in Santorini.
Possibly my favorite village outside of Oia is Megalochori. Megalochori is a traditional village with a local feel. The central square is where all the action takes places with locals gathering at tavernas and cafes sitting beneath the shade of the bougainvilleas, sipping on Greek coffee and playing tradtional games. Megalochori is set in wine country so there are plenty of vineyards to visit. Megalochori is also known for its cave houses and there is one you can visit for free that's sign-posted within the village.
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