caldera

Exploring the Akrotiri and Pyrgos in Santorini

This morning we woke up early to watch the sunrise.  We'll definitely miss this amazing view from our balcony.  It's where we spent most of our time.  After discussing our options on what to do today (as mentioned in a previous post, we didn't have an itinerary planned for our honeymoon), we decided to rent a scooter and tour the island of Santorini.  

oia santorini greece
The island of Santorini (from Oia to Akrotiri) is only about 16 miles.  There are plenty of scenic points along the way, so make sure to bring your camera.

The island of Santorini (from Oia to Akrotiri) is only about 16 miles.  There are plenty of scenic points along the way, so make sure to bring your camera.

After a short ride, we made it to Akrotiri (the other end of the island).  This church is located at the beginning of the trail that leads to the Red Beach in Akrotiri.

After a short ride, we made it to Akrotiri (the other end of the island).  This church is located at the beginning of the trail that leads to the Red Beach in Akrotiri.

A viewpoint along the trail leading to the Red Beach.

A viewpoint along the trail leading to the Red Beach.

Red Beach near the ancient site of Akrotiri (red and black volcanic rocks line the cliff)

Red Beach near the ancient site of Akrotiri (red and black volcanic rocks line the cliff)

The outside of the archeological site of ancient Akrotiri.  The entrance fee is 12 euros, and you can pay an additional amount for a guided tour.

The outside of the archeological site of ancient Akrotiri.  The entrance fee is 12 euros, and you can pay an additional amount for a guided tour.

Similar to Pompeii, Akrotiri was buried in volcanic ash around 1627 BC, which preserved the remains of this Minoan Bronze Age settlement.   Akrotiri started as a small farming and fishing village, and later expanded into a center for processing copper.

Similar to Pompeii, Akrotiri was buried in volcanic ash around 1627 BC, which preserved the remains of this Minoan Bronze Age settlement.  Akrotiri started as a small farming and fishing village, and later expanded into a center for processing copper.

Akrotiri was a sophisticated village with paved streets, extensive drainage system, and high-quality crafts.

Akrotiri was a sophisticated village with paved streets, extensive drainage system, and high-quality crafts.

akrotiri santorini greece
After touring Akrotiri, we rode up the hill to the town of Pyrgos.  Since P yrgos is perched high on top of a hill, there are panoramic views of the entire island of Santorini.

After touring Akrotiri, we rode up the hill to the town of Pyrgos.  Since Pyrgos is perched high on top of a hill, there are panoramic views of the entire island of Santorini.

Since Pyrgos is very small and further away from the larger towns, there were no tourists to be found.

Since Pyrgos is very small and further away from the larger towns, there were no tourists to be found.

Church in Pyrgos

Church in Pyrgos

pyrgos santorini greece
View from the top of Pyrgos

View from the top of Pyrgos

Pyrgos has the typical shops and boutiques of Santorini.  However, you'll feel like you have the entire town to yourself.

Pyrgos has the typical shops and boutiques of Santorini.  However, you'll feel like you have the entire town to yourself.

pyrgos santorini greece
Kantouni Traditional Cafe; we stumbled upon this place at the bottom of the hill in Pyrgos.  Their menu was like a newspaper and their food was local and very fresh.  A good choice if you're in Pyrgos.

Kantouni Traditional Cafe; we stumbled upon this place at the bottom of the hill in Pyrgos.  Their menu was like a newspaper and their food was local and very fresh.  A good choice if you're in Pyrgos.

pyrgos santorini greece
Santorinian fava scented with orange zest, served with roasted almonds and local sausage; pita on the side

Santorinian fava scented with orange zest, served with roasted almonds and local sausage; pita on the side

Fried calamari in a crunchy crust with semolina and corn flour, served with sun dried tomato cocktail sauce

Fried calamari in a crunchy crust with semolina and corn flour, served with sun dried tomato cocktail sauce

Although we had rented the scooter for 24 hours, we decided to return it early since we knew we would be leaving Santorini tomorrow.  We ate dinner back in Oia and this was our view!

Although we had rented the scooter for 24 hours, we decided to return it early since we knew we would be leaving Santorini tomorrow.  We ate dinner back in Oia and this was our view!

Black olives, sundried tomatoes, and capers with freshly-baked bread

Black olives, sundried tomatoes, and capers with freshly-baked bread

A delicious hand-tossed pizza (because we didn't get enough in Italy!)

A delicious hand-tossed pizza (because we didn't get enough in Italy!)

Church of Panagia Platsani

Church of Panagia Platsani

The main street of Oia in the evening

The main street of Oia in the evening

So romantical!

So romantical!

Tomorrow will not only be our last day in Santorini, but also the last day of our honeymoon.  It has certainly been the best honeymoon we could have ever hoped for. 

Tomorrow will not only be our last day in Santorini, but also the last day of our honeymoon.  It has certainly been the best honeymoon we could have ever hoped for. 

The Hike From Fira to Oia in Santorini

This morning, we woke up early and ate breakfast on our balcony.  We knew our day would be filled with a lot of walking, so we wore our tennis shoes this time.  We would be taking the bus to Fira, and then hiking from Fira to Oia, which is about 6 miles.  It's not a long hike, but the hills can be steep and the terrain is rugged (mostly dirt and loose rocks).

Eating breakfast on our balcony before our trip to Fira.

Eating breakfast on our balcony before our trip to Fira.

Our first view of Fira (the bus ride from Oia to Fira was only 30 minutes and 1.60 euros/person.)

Our first view of Fira (the bus ride from Oia to Fira was only 30 minutes and 1.60 euros/person.)

Fira is the capital of Santorini and it is much larger than Oia, which means more room for tour groups and cruise ships.

Fira is the capital of Santorini and it is much larger than Oia, which means more room for tour groups and cruise ships.

You'll find plenty of musicians playing music on the sidewalk.

You'll find plenty of musicians playing music on the sidewalk.

Just like Oia, the restaurants in Fira have incredible views.

Just like Oia, the restaurants in Fira have incredible views.

Our hike hasn't even started yet and we are amazed by the scenic views and deep blue waters.  Fira is closer to the center of Santorini (as opposed to Oia), which gives it a different vantage point.

Our hike hasn't even started yet and we are amazed by the scenic views and deep blue waters.  Fira is closer to the center of Santorini (as opposed to Oia), which gives it a different vantage point.

Plenty of small boutiques to browse through.  This shop (to the left) sells genuine leather handbags and purses.

Plenty of small boutiques to browse through.  This shop (to the left) sells genuine leather handbags and purses.

fira santorini greece
fira santorini greece
Lucky's is small, but they are fast and you don't have to wait long at all.  This place had the best souvlaki wrap that we had in Santorini (pictured below.)

Lucky's is small, but they are fast and you don't have to wait long at all.  This place had the best souvlaki wrap that we had in Santorini (pictured below.)

Souvlaki wrap at Lucky's in Fira...delicious!

Souvlaki wrap at Lucky's in Fira...delicious!

We also stopped at the Santorini Brewing Company for some beers and snacks before we ventured on our hike.

We also stopped at the Santorini Brewing Company for some beers and snacks before we ventured on our hike.

Authentic Greek fava dip (yellow split peas) with capers; very simple and light, good flavor

Authentic Greek fava dip (yellow split peas) with capers; very simple and light, good flavor

Fried cheese...so good!

Fried cheese...so good!

It was a little difficult to find the trail that started the hike.  After asking a few of the locals, we finally made our way out of Fira.  Make sure to stock up on several bottles of water before you leave Fira (it was very hot when we were there).  It's also a good idea to have a hat and plenty of sunscreen.  Also, make sure to use the restroom, since there are no public restrooms along way.  Plan for the hike to take about 1.5-4 hours (it took us 3 hours; I stopped quite a bit to take pictures).

It was a little difficult to find the trail that started the hike.  After asking a few of the locals, we finally made our way out of Fira.  Make sure to stock up on several bottles of water before you leave Fira (it was very hot when we were there).  It's also a good idea to have a hat and plenty of sunscreen.  Also, make sure to use the restroom, since there are no public restrooms along way.  Plan for the hike to take about 1.5-4 hours (it took us 3 hours; I stopped quite a bit to take pictures).

santorini greece
The panoramic views are spectacular!  If you look closely, you can see Oia at the very end of the caldera.

The panoramic views are spectacular!  If you look closely, you can see Oia at the very end of the caldera.

You'll pass by many smaller towns along the way.  Each of them has their own unique set of hotels and shops.

You'll pass by many smaller towns along the way.  Each of them has their own unique set of hotels and shops.

These churches have some of the best views in the world.

These churches have some of the best views in the world.

santorini greece
santorini greece
santorini greece
santorini greece
The blue domes of the church match the deep blue sky and sea below.

The blue domes of the church match the deep blue sky and sea below.

santorini greece
Stay on the trail, it's a steep slope down to the sea.

Stay on the trail, it's a steep slope down to the sea.

This church was at the very top of a hill with no easy access by car.   There was a man was waiting outside of this empty church.  He didn't speak any English, but motioned to us if we'd like to look inside.  We agreed, and looked around the small, one room chapel.  We thanked him and he politely shook our hands as we left.  

This church was at the very top of a hill with no easy access by car.  There was a man was waiting outside of this empty church.  He didn't speak any English, but motioned to us if we'd like to look inside.  We agreed, and looked around the small, one room chapel.  We thanked him and he politely shook our hands as we left.  

A little less than halfway back to Oia.  As you can see, Oia's still in the distance at the very end of the caldera.

A little less than halfway back to Oia.  As you can see, Oia's still in the distance at the very end of the caldera.

A private hotel.  Once we make it down this hill, we follow the road a little before we ascend the next large hill.

A private hotel.  Once we make it down this hill, we follow the road a little before we ascend the next large hill.

santorini greece
These views made the hike a little easier.

These views made the hike a little easier.

This trail leads up to a church, which has the best view of Oia from above.

This trail leads up to a church, which has the best view of Oia from above.

At this point, we still had about a mile to go, but we didn't mind.  We were so happy that we didn't have any more hills to climb!

At this point, we still had about a mile to go, but we didn't mind.  We were so happy that we didn't have any more hills to climb!

After we got back to our hotel, we swam and lounged around the pool for a while before we headed out to dinner.  This is our view from dinner.

After we got back to our hotel, we swam and lounged around the pool for a while before we headed out to dinner.  This is our view from dinner.

Santorini Salad

Santorini Salad

Moussaka; an eggplant and potato-based dish with minced meat, cheese, and a bechamel sauce that is layered like a casserole; very good

Moussaka; an eggplant and potato-based dish with minced meat, cheese, and a bechamel sauce that is layered like a casserole; very good

Cheese croquettes

Cheese croquettes

Santorini has some of the best sunsets in the world.  There is a specific point where people "camp out" waiting several hours for the sunset.  But, I found that if you explore the alleys, you'll find an even better view that's not nearly as crowded.

Santorini has some of the best sunsets in the world.  There is a specific point where people "camp out" waiting several hours for the sunset.  But, I found that if you explore the alleys, you'll find an even better view that's not nearly as crowded.

oia santorini greece
oia santorini greece
oia santorini greece
oia santorini greece
We stopped by the Kissing Fish on our walk back to our hotel to have our feet tickled.

We stopped by the Kissing Fish on our walk back to our hotel to have our feet tickled.

It was quite the experience!  We couldn't tell if our feet were different afterwards, but this is something you won't be able to experience in the U.S. 

It was quite the experience!  We couldn't tell if our feet were different afterwards, but this is something you won't be able to experience in the U.S. 

 The hike was definitely well-worth the views.   Another perfect ending to a perfect day.   Tomorrow, we're traveling to another part of the island (but not by foot or by bus).  Stay tuned to see where we're headed!

 The hike was definitely well-worth the views.  Another perfect ending to a perfect day.  Tomorrow, we're traveling to another part of the island (but not by foot or by bus).  Stay tuned to see where we're headed!