WHAT TO SEE IN FIRA, SANTORINI? IS FIRA WORTH VISITING? IS FIRA A GOOD PLACE TO STAY IN SANTORINI?
Are you visiting Santorini in Greece, and wondering about the best things to do in Fira?
Fira is one of the best things to visit in Santorini
Fira is the capital of Santorini. It is particularly famous for its fabulous panoramic views, but also for the lively atmosphere of its small cobbled streets, lined with white houses with blue doors.
Fira is actually one of the best things to see in Santorini.
Also called Thira or Thera, Fira is the largest city on the main island of the Santorini archipelago.
Fira is always lively with shops, restaurants, and many hotels, Situated at the top of the cliffs overlooking the caldera, not far from the romantic village of Imerovigli (our favorite one in Santorini), Fira is one of the must-sees during a trip to Santorini.
Here is a teaser about Fira:
WHAT TO SEE IN FIRA, SANTORINI?
1. Visit Fira and contemplate the caldera of Santorini
The caldera is a large bay formed by the crater of an underwater volcano, which separates the volcanic islands of the Santorini archipelago.
It was a terrible eruption, which occurred more than 3,500 years ago, which completely reshaped the landscape, to give shape to this bay which is today one of the most beautiful natural sites in the world.
If the village of Fira has developed to the point of becoming the capital of the island, it is undoubtedly because it is one of the places in Santorini which offers the most beautiful views of this bay.
From the alleys of this village perched on a cliff, and from most of the terraces of the bars and restaurants, you can enjoy magnificent views of the Aegean Sea and the entire region.
2. Stroll through the streets of Fira
Take your time to explore Fira’s pedestrian streets and alleys.
You can have a pleasant walk here. While the main streets are lined with numerous shops, very often aimed at tourists, there are many quieter corners by the cliff.
So take the time to get out of the main streets to walk around, without any real aim, without looking at a map or plan. The center is not very large and you won’t get lost! As you wander down an alley, you will certainly enjoy a superb panorama of the caldera or the rest of the city.
3. Hike from Fira to Oia
It is impossible to stay in Fira without going to Oia, the most picturesque village in Santorini.
There is a famous hike which brings you from Fira all the way to Oia! This is one of the most beautiful hike in the Cylcades and a must-do in Santorini.
In this hike you will walk along the cliff with a stunning view of the Caldera and Santorini.
The distance is 10 kilometers and the terrain is relatively flat. Depending on your walking speed, this could take between 3 and 5 hours.
If you are exhausted during the route, you can stop in Imerovigli, a village located on the way, which is absolutely beautiful and in fact one of the our favorite places to visit in Santorini.
>> READ: BEST THINGS TO DO IN IMEROVIGLI
4. Visit Fira and discover its religious buildings
For historians, the eruptions of the volcano and the numerous earthquakes that have struck the archipelago over the centuries have pushed the inhabitants of Santorini to become very religious.
This is one of the reasons why, on the island of Santorini, there are more than 250 churches! Some of them, located in Fira, are well worth visiting!
Santorini Cathedral, dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, is located in the Catholic district on the heights of Fira. Baroque in style, this large building dates from the time of the Venetian occupation of the island. Mainly beige and blue, it is the only Catholic church in Santorini. It is distinguished in particular by the elegance of its bell tower.
The Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral
The Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral was built in 1827 and rebuilt identically after the earthquake of 1956. In this very large immaculate white church, you can discover a superb bell tower, numerous frescoes which decorate the walls and ceilings and a pretty mosaic floor. Not to spoil anything, from the outside, the view of the caldera is superb.
Agios Theodori Church
Technically not in Fira, but in the village of Firostefani right next to Fira, you can take photos at the Agios Theodori Church. one of the most photographed places in Santorini thanks to its blue dome and it’s location facing the sea.
On the way, make sure to stop at Agios Theodori Church at Firostefani village (location), one of the most photographed places in Santorini!
About 5 km south of Fira, we HIGHLY recommend visiting Pyrgos, a small village located in the center of the island on a hill which also houses a number of religious buildings!
It’s probably the most traditional village on the island. There you will find there the Church of the Holy Trinity or the monastery of the Prophet Elias, the most famous in the archipelago!
Also note that Pyrgos, which means “fortress in Greek”, is the highest village on the island and is home to the Kasteli fortress, an emblematic site not to be missed during your trip to Santorini!
5. Visit Fira and explore its museums
During your visit in Fira, you can also check out several exciting museums, to discover more about the history of the archipelago:
The Archaeological Museum of Thera, located in the heart of the city, pays homage to the people who have lived on this island since ancient times. In particular, you will be able to see many objects of art and crafts dating from Roman times or ancient Greece, such as vases, statues and prints.
The Prehistoric Museum of Thera brings together a huge collection of objects that were discovered during archaeological excavations carried out in Akrotiri and on other Cyclades islands. There you can discover four exhibitions that talk about the region’s geology and the history of Santorini since the Neolithic era.
6. Go down to the Old Port of Fira
At the foot of the cliff is the port of Fira. If you are coming on a cruise, you will arrive at this post.
The old port is one of the best things to see in Fira. It is located at the foot of the cliffs. It can be accessed on foot (stairs) or by cable car. Taking the cable car is a great adventure in itself.
There are 600 steps to go down. The journey can be done on the back of a donkey which we don’t recommend for the well being of the animal…
If you don’t feel like going up/down that many steps, you can take the cable car. It allows you to make the journey in a few minutes, without any effort. The ticket can be purchased on-site: 6 euros one way!
6. Shopping in Fira
For several years now, as Santorini has become a more touristy place, shopping has also greatly developed. Today, Fira is the island’s favorite place for shopping.
In the pedestrian streets of the village center, you will find luxury boutiques, clothing and fashion accessories as well as small stalls selling craft products and souvenirs.
7. Explore Santorini’s nightlife in Fira
Finally, if you want to enjoy the nightlife in Santorini, Fira is also where it happens. The city offers the largest choice of restaurants, bars and night clubs on the entire island.
Although not as active as in Mykonos, Santorini still offers great nightlife!
The main nightclubs are found in Fira with music and cocktails to enjoy all night long.
Some of the best bars and clubs in Fira are Koo Club, Enigma Club, Two Brothers Bar, and Tropical Bar.
8. Enjoy a drink during sunset
Watching the sunset from Fira is a breathtaking experience. There are several bars and restaurants with great sunset views in Fira. Here are some popular options:
- Franco’s Bar: Located in the heart of Fira, Franco’s Bar offers panoramic views of the caldera and the sunset. It’s a popular spot, so be sure to arrive early to secure a good seat. (location)
- PK Cocktail Bar: This bar is perched on the cliffside, providing stunning views of the caldera and the sunset. They serve a variety of cocktails and have a relaxed atmosphere. (location)
- V Lounge Café & Cocktail Bar: Situated right on the edge of the caldera, V Lounge offers a cozy atmosphere and breathtaking sunset views. Their cocktail menu is extensive, and they have a variety of seating options. (location)
Remember that Fira can get quite crowded during the sunset hours, especially during the peak tourist season. It’s a good idea to arrive early to secure a good spot and enjoy the sunset in a more relaxed setting.
9. Enjoy a delicious dinner in Fira
Fira offers a wide range of dining options with delicious Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. Here are some highly recommended restaurants in Fira for a delicious dinner:
- Argo Restaurant: Argo Restaurant offers stunning views of the sunset along with a diverse menu of Mediterranean and Greek dishes. It’s a popular spot, so reservations are a good idea. (location)
- Volcano Blue Restaurant: With a beautiful terrace overlooking the caldera and the sea, Volcano Blue offers a romantic setting for dinner. They serve a mix of Mediterranean and Greek dishes. (location)
- Naoussa Restaurant: This restaurant is known for its fresh seafood and traditional Greek cuisine. The charming outdoor terrace provides a lovely setting for dinner. (location)
- Pelican Kipos: Situated in a lush garden setting, Pelican Kipos offers a relaxed atmosphere and a menu that includes Greek and Mediterranean dishes, as well as vegetarian options. (location)
10. Go on a Boat Trip
One of the best things to do in Santorini is to join a boat tour.
What better way to discover the island of Santorini than a cruise to the volcanic caldera islands? If you want to admire the majestic volcanoes, discover the traditional villages of Thirassia and Oia and bathe in volcanic hot springs, we really recommend this guided cruise.
If you want something more chill, like a sunset cruise with cocktails and dinner on the boat, or a day swimming and snorkeling in the hidden beaches of Santorini, then you can check out multiple options here.
>> READ: 6 BEST BOAT TOURS IN SANTORINI
IS FIRA A GOOD PLACE TO STAY IN SANTORINI? AND WHERE TO STAY IN SANTORINI?
Fira is one of the best places to stay in Santorini. Here will you have a wide choice of accommodation and you will be centrally located. We do have a slight preference for Imerovigli as it’s a bit quieter, but if you want to be in the middle of the action, check out these recommendations in Fira:
Asteras villas Fira
Asteras Villas is an ideal accommodation, located in the heart of Fira. Perched above the cliffs, this establishment offers an exceptional view of the caldera, the famous volcano, the island of Thirassia and the magnificent village of Oia.
Asteras Villas offers modern and comfortable suites, and you will have access to the outdoor jacuzzi to relax and observe the view. Breakfast is included.
Doukas Caldera Suites
Doukas Caldera Suites is located a few steps from the Archaeological Museum of Thira and sites of interest such as the Metropolitan Orthodox Cathedral and the Prehistoric Museum of Thira.
The property offers spacious, modern accommodation equipped with a private bathroom, air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. You will also have access to an indoor swimming pool and a private swimming pool, with terrace access and a view of the sea.
>> CHECK IT OUT
>> READ: 6 BEST PLACES TO STAY IN SANTORINI
WHAT ELSE TO SEE NEAR FIRA?
After visiting the coastline of Santorini, we suggest going more inland, with a visit to Pyrgos, a traditional village perched on a hill.
Far from the chic and modern side of Fira, Pyros is much more on the traditional side. That’s why we love this place!
Here you can enjoy a quiet stroll thanks to the numerous cobbled streets which allow you to admire the architecture specific to Santorini. Let yourself go to the rhythm of the local markets and terraces to enjoy a good coffee.
From Fira, you can easily walk to the charming village of Imerovigli… Actually, for us, it’s one of our favorite places in Santorini… The island is very crowded during peak seasons, but for some reason, there are often fewer people in Imerovigli. Although the view and the village are as amazing as Fira and Oia.
In Imerovigli, you can also visit Skaros Rock. From this rock, the view of the caldera is so beautiful! Once you arrive at the ruins on the rock, continue the descent to a pretty hidden church.
Imerovigli is the perfect place to take plenty of great photos and have lunch/dinner. There are many restaurants directly facing the sea. This is also one of the best places to stay during a stay in Santorini. More on that later in this post!
Visit a vineyard
Not far from Pyrgos and Fira you can visit the beautiful Vineyard of Santo Wines.
Greece is full of excellent wines. And Santorini produces its own wines too. There are many vineyards around the island. One of the most famous and most beautiful places to taste Santorini Wines is at Santo Wines.
Enjoy scenic winery walking tours, tastings & nibbles, plus a fantastic terrace with caldera views.
FINAL THOUGHTS – IS FIRA WORTH VISITING IN SANTORINI?
Ultimately, Fira is worth visiting if you appreciate stunning views, romantic settings, cultural experiences, and a lively atmosphere.
However, if you prefer a quieter and more budget-friendly destination, you might want to explore other parts of Santorini or different Greek islands.
We hope that this post was useful for your trip to Santorini. You can check all our articles related to Greece here.