Kamari Beach Hotel

The medieval village of Pyrgos

The medieval village of Pyrgos

Oia ‘s white houses, perched on the black caldera that plunges into the blue waters of the Aegean Sea might be the picture that you had in mind when booking your Santorini vacation, but there is a lot more to see on the island. Especially during the summer months, you will at times feel in the mood to discover places equally peaceful but less crowded. In our off-the-beaten-path series, we will share some of our favorite, lesser-known spots on Santorini with you. 

Among them, Pyrgos is a fortress settlement that used to be the island’s capital until the 19th century and continues to be its main grape-growing regions. What makes it unique is the panoramic view that you can enjoy from the top part of the village, which used to be a castle, and the elegant cafes built around it. This is the perfect spot to capture all of Santorini in one shot: from the vineyards stretching around Pyrgos, all the way to Fira and the caldera. A drive up the narrow road leading to Prophet Elias monastery rewards with views of Santorini from its highest peak, as well as spectacular sunsets.

Inside Pyrgos, the uphill walk to what is called the Castle might be a bit tiring in the summer heat, but there are special surprises to be found along the way. The entrance to the Castle is the favorite spot of musician Thanasis Kleopas. If he happens to be there when you visit, the harmonious sound of his lyre, the cool breeze and the magical acoustics of the arched passage will make you linger around, captivated by an experience that is equally moving and powerful.

Other gems to look for in Pyrgos include Crossroad Antiques, a treasure chest of old engravings, maps and art objects from all around the world and Selene restaurant. Considered to be one of the best restaurants in Greece, Selene promotes local products and cuisine and also offers cooking classes.

Given that Pyrgos is a surrounded by vineyards, it is only natural that our next stop on this  off-the-beaten-path journey is one of Santorini’s most special wineries.

Stay tuned!