At a glance:
All the important landmarks in one tour!
Lighthouse, Akrotiri excavation site, Red beach, Black Beach, Megalochori settlement, Pyrgos Village
Duration 4,5 h.
Min pax. 2 Max. Pax 6
Includes: Hotel Pick up and drop off
All admission fees and entries
Price: 70pp semi-private, 250 private for 2p
After that you will be taken to the archeological site where you will feast your eyes to the “open museum” of Ancient Akrotiri depicting urban life in the Minoan period.
Third stop is at Red Beach. A unique beach located at the southern peak of the island.
Then a change of colors and you will be looking at a large black sanded beach stretching over 7km and situated at the eastern side of Santorini.
Megalochori your next stop is a traditional settlement with vaulted houses and stone-cobbled streets, a village that hosts the most vineyards of the island.
Another traditional Village built on the sloaps of Mt. Profitis Ilias, one of the most impressive villages with Byzantine churches, Medieval Manors, and Venetian Castles is Pyrgos your last Stop.
Akrotiri Lighthouse is a 19th-century lighthouse on the Greek island of Santorini. The lighthouse was built by a French company in 1892, making the lighthouse one of the oldest in Greece. The lighthouse ceased operating during World War II. The Greek Navy recommissioned the lighthouse in 1945.
Akrotiri Excavation site
It is one of the most important prehistoric settlements of the Aegean. The first habitation at the site dates from the Late Neolithic times, a sizeable settlement was founded and in the Middle and early Late Bronze Age (ca. 20th-17th centuries B.C.) it was extended and gradually developed into one of the main urban centers and ports of the Aegean. The large extent of the settlement (ca. 20 hectares), the elaborate drainage system, the sophisticated multistoried buildings with the magnificent wall-paintings, furniture and vessels, show its great development and prosperity. The various imported objects found in the buildings indicate the wide network of its external relations. The town’s life came to an abrupt end in the last quarter of the 17th century B.C. when the inhabitants were obliged to abandon it as a result of severe earthquakes. The eruption followed. The volcanic materials covered the entire island for two decades and the town itself. These materials, however, have protected up to date the buildings and their contents, just like in Pompeii.
Its name is a tell-tale sign of what the visitors will encounter when approaching it – if of course they can believe that it “tells” the truth… And yet, this beach is actually red: red, impressive rocks that form steep cliffs, red sand and a sea of deep blue, reflecting also the bright red of the landscape. A landscape truly ‘alien’ that scientists have only perhaps encountered on … Mars, the “Red Planet” – without of course the beautiful sea! Red sand typically indicates that there is a significant quantity of iron nearby, either in the earth or deposited over years of volcanic activity.
The catastrophic volcanic explosion that occurred 3,600 years ago, which broke the island of Thira into 3 pieces, also expanded the east coast outward approximately 2 kilometers, giving Santorini it’s many black sand beaches.
Megalochori is a picturesque, full of life village with friendly, lively residents. The central square is the heart of the village where locals gather in traditional cafes to unwind and have fun, creating a warm atmosphere. It is definitely worth spending an evening here in order to be part of this sentiment and taste local dishes under the natural shade the trees provide. You can find traditional taverns, cafes and shops in other corners of the village as well.
If you meander around the cobbled paths you will admire distinct buildings, such as neoclassical houses, stately homes and old cave houses with solid wooden doors and high fences, which were used as a protection from the pirates. Many of these have been restored and hence give you the chance to see images that date back to the 17th century. Another landmark of Megalochori is the elaborate steeples of the impressive churches, two of which stand at the center of the village. There are more adorable churches and chapels to explore throughout the village. The chapel of Agios Nikolaos, for example, is built on a fantastic location on the caldera cliffs, from where you can cherish a striking sunset and a stunning view in dazzling, peaceful surroundings.
The location of the village offers sublime views on the breathtaking caldera on the west and on a vast valley on the east, full of vineyards that Megalochori is renowned for. It also holds three of the most important and exceptional wineries, Boutaris, Gavalas and Antoniou, where you can tour and learn about the production and history of wine-making and, of course, savor unique volcanic wine varieties.
Megalochori is located on the southwest part of Santorini, about 9 kilometers from the capital Fira, and provides easy access to the extraordinary beaches that lie to the south, like Vlychada and Eros. From Megalochori, on the caldera side, you can visit two dissimilar, arresting beaches; Thermi and Plaka. They are remote with hot springs and therapeutic waters and are accessible only on foot or by boat. The view of the volcano and Therasia is totally rewarding and the volcanic promontory that surrounds them is staggering. There are two notable chapels, one above each beach. As far as accommodation is concerned, there are elegant hotels, luxury suites, villas and apartments that overlook the caldera or the plain; an outstanding view either way.
This is Pyrgos, the largest preserved village on Santorini and the island’s former capital. Strategically built in the heart of the pre-volcanic hinterland and at the foot of Mt Profitis Ilias, Pyrgos affords panoramic views. Yet, located that bit further from the famous caldera, it has been spared the terraces, balconies, infinity pools and master suites that adorn the glossy covers of tourist magazines the world over. Pyrgos is not swamped by sunset spotters, nor is it the first choice among the hordes of cruise-ship passengers. Its charm is different: more subdued, less picture-perfect, little advertised.
The historic Church of the Presentation of the Virgin Mary (1660), one of Santorini’s largest and most important places of worship, was welcoming the faithful for the first time after a lengthy restoration: its masterful pulpit and intricate woodcarved altarpiece have been fully restored after centuries of wear and tear.
If you feel inclined to visit Pyrgos, get your climbing shoes on. This is the only way to explore the Pyrgos Kasteli, the best preserved of the five Venetian castles that once adorned the island. Don’t worry about getting lost; just head uphill from the main square and you’ll find it, a fortress hamlet that started life as a monastery and grew in size after the arrival of the Venetians at the beginning of the 13th century. It initially consisted of two- and three- story houses, wisely built into a dense, labyrinthine compound, with the outer walls forming a perimetric shield against pirate invasions. The one and only gate led to the interior, and a guard bolted the wooden-and-metal door shut at sunset. Over the door, there was a fonissa or murder-hole, through which hot water could be poured onto the heads of intruders.
When, with time, the risk of invasions diminished, the dwellings of the fortified perimeter dropped their guard, opening up windows, doors and liatika (sheltered balconies), and the original citadel began to expand beyond the walls of the castle, forming the Kseporto (literally, “outside the gate”).