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Fira in Santorini


About Fira

Fira is a small but fully-packed and lively town in Santorini, especially during the summer season, which, in Greece, starts early and ends late. Fira is the capital of Santorini island today.

Fira is located on the north-west of the island of Santorini, along the crest that overlooks the caldera, 12km away from Athinios port.

Fira, unlike the other, quiet villages of Santorini, does attract a bigger number of visitors from various national, cultural and financial backgrounds. And that’s so special about Fira; it offers many different facilities and sights to indulge all this mixture of tastes and interests. The glamorous and luxurious hotels, restaurants and cafes in Fira are placed only next to traditional, popular, simple taverns, rented rooms, camps, bars, pubs, kafeneia (coffee shops). Just in the same way that people from different life-styles and age-groups enjoy the magical sunset atop of the stark cliffs of Fira, overlooking the great vastness of the colored sky and the Aegean Sea.

fira in santorini

Fira history

Since the early 19th century Fira has become the capital of the notorious volcanic island of Santorini. Till 1800, Pyrgos Kallistis, a medieval village was the capital, hidden as it was in the inner part of the island because of the fear of the pirates. After the occupation of Santorini by the Turks it felt safer to transfer the capital to a more visible spot of the island.

Fira architecture

Fira town is typically Cycladic in style. The stamp of a long Venetian domination is clearly apparent in the architecture when, again, next to the local tradition of the narrow pebble streets, the white houses and churches with their small blue windows, their arches and vaults, one can admire the Catholic Cathedral, the women’s Dominican Monastery, the Lazariston Monastery and enjoy walks among neoclassical villas of “Frangomahala” area, built by rich Venetians (“Francs”), merchants and captains of the prosperous past, when Fira’s port was one of the main two of the isle of Santorini.

minoan frescos from Akrotiri at the santorini archaeological museumFira Museums & Historical Buildings

  • Fira Archaeological Museum houses a great collection of geometric pottery vases of the 5th century BC, inscriptions as well as an amount of Minoan, Egyptian, Hanaic ware that betrays communication of Santorini with other important civilizations of the Mediterranean.
  • Fira Museum of Prehistoric Thera (the ancient and official name for Santorini; the latter was given to the island by the Venetians as an honor to Santa Irene) exhibits information about the geology and the history of Santorini.
  • Fira Folklore Museum, a traditional house of 1681, takes you to a trip back in time in its rooms with authentic traditional objects of Santorini.
  • Fira Cultural Centre "Megaro Gyzi" was founded in 1980 with the initiative and financial funding of the Catholic Diocese of Santorini. The "Megaro Gyzi" annual Festival usually takes place in August. It is a Festival of various cultural events including music concerts, painting exhibitions etc. with free entrance.
  • At the central square of Fira, the Bellonio Cultural Foundation is situated, founded by the brothers Loukas & Evangelos Bellonias in 1994. Including an event's hall and a 35.000 books library Bellonio Cultural Foundation has as mission the contribution to the cultural and educational development of Santorini.

santorini view to the seaWhy visit Fira?

Apart from the museums, though, and for those who find pleasure in just wandering about, Fira can be a wonderland at all times of the day and night. The narrow, labyrinth-like streets lead you to secluded neighborhoods they allow you to lose yourself, only to find it again in the openness of the view over Fira’s rock, after you have squeezed your way through the extremely packed street along the rock over the caldera.

Fira in the day-time is showered by the powerful sunlight, that bright, clear and sharp light of the Cyclades that feeds Fira’s habitants with all that energy to offer their hospitality, and to create and cultivate all the beautiful, delicious and , above all, simple things, always ready to offer them to a stranger with open heart and hands.

Fira is a place where, although tourist development leads to fast expansion- whatever that means- one may still experience elements of authenticity and intimacy and relaxation in people’s relations. Especially if it happens to find yourself at one of Fira’s local feasts, known as “panigiria”, you might be happily overwhelmed. There the folk sounds, the spirit of the people of Santorini, the night “meltemi”(the summer wind of the Aegean), the abundance of good food and wine can be enchanting and seducing, resulting to a dance with steps you never imagined of.


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