Fira, Greece: hotels, beaches and places of interest.

Fira, Greece: hotels, beaches and places of interest.

Fira (Greece) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main attractions of Fira with descriptions, beaches and map.

The city of Fira (Greece).

Fira is the capital and largest city of Santorini in Greece, located in the western part of the island of Thira on the top of a 260-meter cliff overlooking the blue waters of the Aegean Sea. In summer, it’s a bustling resort where cruise ships from all over the Mediterranean head. Fira is an ideal place for a romantic vacation, with stunning white-washed buildings with narrow winding staircases, unusual bars and cafes, and magnificent views of the amazing caldera.

What to do (Greece):

Treasures of the Archaeological Museum

€117 per tour.

Treasures of the Archaeological Museum

Learn about ancient Greek art with a professional guide

Welcome to Thessaloniki!

€78 per tour.

Welcome to Thessaloniki!

Discover the city’s ancient and modern atmosphere on a walk through its ancient and modern sites!

Geography and climate

Fira is located on the western shore of Santorini, practically in the center of the caldera. Opposite is the volcanic island of Nea Kameni. Its climate is the same as the rest of Santorini, with mild and rainy winters alternating with hot and dry summers.

The Aegean Sea in Thira

The Aegean Sea in Fira

Tourist information

  1. Language – Greek
  2. Currency – Euros
  3. Visa – Schengen
  4. Time – UTC +2
  5. Fira is the largest center of commerce and nightlife in Santorini. Here you can find a wide variety of boutiques, souvenir stores, jewelry shops, bars and restaurants.

Santorini is famous for its excellent wine. Grapes have been grown here since Roman times. However, there are almost no traditional vineyards in Santorini. Instead, the vines are grown in special pits dug in the black volcanic soil. This protects them from strong winds and heat. Most wineries are in the south of the island, but not far from Fira is the Santos winery.

Thera

Fira

The beaches of Fira

The capital of Santorini does not have its own beach. You can get to the bathing places by bus, rented car or on foot (if the 7 km walk one way doesn’t scare you). All the best beaches around Fira:

  • Vlihada is a quiet sandy and pebbly beach located 10 km south of Fira and surrounded by yellow cliffs. The beach is 2.5km long.
  • Monolithos is a quiet pebbly beach 6km east of Fira and is ideal for families.
  • Perivolos is one of the biggest sandy beaches of Santorini, surrounded by numerous hotels and taverns. It is located 18km southeast of Fira.
  • Perissa is a famous black sand beach, located 12km from Fira.
  • Kamari is a famous resort and beach on the south side of the island, near Perissa, located 10km southeast of Fira.
  • Red Beach is one of the most beautiful and famous beaches of Santorini, located 12km from Fira. It is covered with red volcanic pebbles, which create an interesting contrast to the blue sea.
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Best time to visit

The tourist season in Santorini lasts from May to October. This resort is one of the most popular and expensive in Europe, so during the high season (July to September) prices can “bite”. To explore the nature of the island and to save a little money we recommend to visit Santorini in the transitional months of April / May or October / November. This time is still warm, but no longer hot.

History

Fira was founded in the 18th century, when the Venetians left the castle at Imerovigli. The settlement became the capital of Santorini in the late 18th century and is a traditional Cycladic village.

View of caldera from Thera

View of the caldera from Fira

How to get there

Santorini’s main bus terminal is in Fira, so you can get to the capital from almost anywhere on the island. The international airport is north of the village of Kamari and has regular bus services to Fira.

Attractions

Thera

Fira

There are not many attractions in Fira. The main activity for tourists is to walk through the pretty narrow streets and contemplate the stunning views.

What we recommend to do in Fira:

  • Of course, watch a magnificent sunset or sunrise
  • Walk the hiking trail to Ia. It is a 10 km route through other picturesque villages of Firastefani and Imerovigli that will reward you with very beautiful views.
  • Take the cable car that connects Fira and the old port.
  • Book a boat trip around the caldera.
  • Visit the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, which has an extensive collection of prehistoric artifacts from the Neolithic to Cycladic times.
  • There is also an archaeological museum in Fira, with exhibitions on multiple eras, including the Roman and Hellenistic periods.

Fira’s most famous church is the Orthodox Cathedral, located in the main square. It was built in 1827 and reconstructed after a devastating earthquake in 1956. The interior is impressive with intricate arches, beautiful frescoes, and mosaic floors.

The Catholic Cathedral

Catholic Cathedral

The Catholic Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, with its elegant bell tower, was built in 1823 in Baroque style and was also rebuilt after the 1956 earthquake. The church has an interesting combination of pale blue, gray, and beige.

Interesting tours

The Acropolis: A visit to the goddess Athena

€93 per excursion

Acropolis: A visit to the goddess Athena

Visit the city’s calling card and decipher ancient monuments with a professional guide

Athens for Kids: A Journey with a Time Machine

€117 per tour.

Athens for Kids: Journey by Time Machine

An introduction to ancient culture and symbols of the ancient city in a playful way.

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Thera, the capital of Santorini: what to see and how to get there

Fira is the main touristic center of Santorini and one of the most recognized cities in the world. And this despite the fact that the city itself is permanently inhabited by only about a thousand and a half people. Fira is in season all year round and in addition to the usual travelers it attracts honeymooners from all over the world.

In 1956, Fira suffered an earthquake that almost completely destroyed the city.

It was rebuilt as a tourist attraction – the cliff area is mostly hotels, cafes, restaurants and stores while the locals live mostly on the opposite, flatter side of the island.

Because of its popularity, Fira is an expensive and very lively resort, and its hotels regularly top the famous top lists of the most romantic hotels in the world.

Evening Thera

Fira is one of the most recognizable cities in the world

In many ways this is a credit to the place, because Santorini is primarily famous for its picture-perfect view from a four-hundred-meter cliff over the volcano and the endless expanse of water. Fira is located right in the center of this view.

It should be said that this location of the city, in addition to the huge pluses, has an equally big minus. Fans of sunbathing and swimming should know that Fira itself has no beach.

But who has ever stopped it: on every corner in any season you can rent a bike or bicycle and go to the beach on the other side of the island. And there is only one such view in the world.

How to get to Fira

Santorini, despite its modest size (an area of only 76 square kilometers), has its own international airport.

In the summer season charter flights fly to Santorini from various cities in Greece and Europe (including Moscow). At other times, you can always get to Santorini by plane through Athens.

Santorini Airport

Santorini has its own international airport

Another way to get to Fira from Athens, Crete or Rhodes is by water. Cruise ships arrive at the old port of Mesa Ialos, right at the foot of the rock, where the city spreads out. The ferries arrive at the port of Afinios, 10 km from the capital.

Grekoblog has already detailed how to reach Santorini from Athens and Crete. Now we will look at ways to get from the airport or port to the city itself.

The airport of Santorini is located on the east side of the island, 6 km from Thera and is connected to the city by a regular bus service.

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The bus will take you to the city in 15 minutes, the fare ranges from 1.60 to 2.30 euros. There are also regular buses to Fira from the port of Athenios, which run every half hour.

However, you should take into account that it is forbidden to ride standing and if all seats are occupied, you will have to wait for the next bus.

Cab fare from Santorini Airport

Cab fares from Santorini airport (2020)

Cabs and car rentals are also available. Please note that cabs are limited at Santorini Airport and it is not uncommon that all cars have already left by the time you leave the terminal.

To avoid this happening to you, it is better to book a car in advance – at the time of arrival. Then the driver will come especially for you and will not be tempted by other travelers.

To calculate the actual cost of a cab and order a car online you can on this page.

As for renting a car, this service is also wildly popular on Santorini. Although the island is small, there are plenty of places to go. Fira, Iya, beaches with black and red sand, yes there are many.

The only thing – the prices of cars on the island, too, “bite”. To save money, it is better to pick up a car through an international online price comparison service car rentals. The most popular in Europe can be found at this link.

Hotels and lodging

Fira is rich in colorful hotels, built in Cycladic style in white and blue colors, with breathtaking views of the sea and the volcano. For the most part, these are family-run businesses, and so the service is also homely.

Aqua Luxury Suites Santorini

Outdoor pools overlooking the sea – a fashionable trend of local hotels

One of the fashion trends of island hotels – outdoor pools overlooking the sea – has perhaps found its best embodiment at Lilium Santorini Villa. Just follow this link and admire these breathtaking photos.

The hotel is a 5-minute drive from the city and a free shuttle to Fira is available for guests. As a memento of your time on the island, each guest is given a book with photos of Santorini.

The Hotel Porto Fira Suites (page here) boasts an unusual room with cave vaults, as well as several rooms with their own outdoor whirlpool tub, so you can enjoy a dip in the pool overlooking the sunset here literally “from home”.

Santorini Princess SPA Hotel

There are plenty of hotels with stunning views in Fira

There are a lot of hotels with stunning views in Fira. Owners try to outdo each other in design and service, and therefore even the choice of accommodation is already a kind of attraction.

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Especially since there are more than 1,000 hotels on the island for 14,000 inhabitants. There is a lot to choose from.

We can only add that rooms with a view of the sea and the sunset are, as a rule, more expensive. To save money, you can find a room in Imerovigli, the neighboring city of Fira. The view here is also impressive, and the accommodation is slightly cheaper.

Climate and weather

The Mediterranean climate of Santorini is characterized by very hot summers and mild winters. During the summer months, the air heats up to 35-40 ° C and the water temperature is about 25 ° C.

In November, the rainy season begins, which is repeated in February. In winter the weather is overcast, the temperature usually does not fall below 7 ° C.

A sunny day in Fira

Spring and autumn are the most comfortable months to visit the island

The most comfortable time to visit is considered the spring and autumn (May, September-October), when the heat is bearable and the sea is warm enough.

What to see and do in Fira

The small size of the island is good for travelers, because you can see in 1-2 days not only the capital of Santorini, but also many interesting places in the surrounding area.

Entrance to the Museum of Prehistory

Entrance to the Museum of Prehistoric History

Guests are introduced to the ancient history of the city by the Museum of Prehistoric Fira and the Archaeological Museum.

The Museum of Prehistoric Fira houses a 17th-century B.C. fresco, as well as another valuable find, a statue of a golden ibex.

The Archaeological Museum boasts an ancient clay idol of a woman, painted vases, and preserved inscriptions on tablets.

Statue of the Golden Capricorn

Golden Capricorn Statue

Fira also has an Ethnographic Museum, which tells about the life of the islanders and demonstrates the tools, utensils, national costumes and products of local craftsmen.

You can take a cab or bus to Ancient Fira, the excavated site of a city founded in the 9th century B.C. and mentioned in many ancient writings. Today it is a museum complex that is open to the public daily in the morning, except Mondays.

Ruins of ancient Thira

Ancient Thera was founded in the 9th century B.C.

It is noteworthy that Ancient Fira is not the earliest settlement on the island. The ruins of another ancient city, Akrotiri, are near the village of the same name and are much older.

The settlement existed during the Minoan civilization and was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in the XVII century BC.

One of the oldest surviving buildings in the city, the seventeenth-century Ghizi Palace, has a collection of ancient engravings, paintings, photographs and manuscripts.

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Today it is home to an arts center that hosts exhibitions, workshops, and festivals. Cultural events are also held at the Petros Nomikos Exhibition Center.

Ancient Akrotiri

The ancient city of Akrotiri was destroyed in a volcanic eruption in the 17th century BC

It is impossible not to mention the many churches scattered all over the island: there are about 300 of them all over Santorini. The symbol of the island, which is so often seen on postcards from Fira, is the 17th century church of Ayiou Mina, high on a rock with a recognizable blue roof.

Among the Catholic churches, the Catholic Cathedral stands out, completely destroyed by the 1956 earthquake just over a century after it was built and rebuilt by 1970.

The bell tower is decorated by a Baroque clock and the interior walls are decorated with frescoes by local artist Christopher Assimis.

The famous church of Santorini

There are about 300 hundred churches on the island.

Finally, Fira is famous for its sunsets, for which many people come to Santorini. Visitors to the island are also encouraged to take a trip to the crater of an extinct volcano on the nearby island of Nea Kameni.

The island of Palia Kameni, you can swim in the healing sulfur springs, but you should bring a dark swimsuit, because the water can stain light-colored fabrics. Numerous boats and ships depart from Fira to the islands every day.

Grekoblog has dedicated a separate review to the main attractions of the island. Well, for those who want to take the most from the island, we recommend a proven guide from our article Russian guide in Santorini: excursions, weddings and photo shoots or a selection of popular excursions under this article.

Beaches in Fira, Santorini

There are no beach activities in the town itself, so you’ll have to travel a bit in search of places to swim.

The closest beach to Fira is Exo Gialos, 4 km from the town in a bay surrounded by rocks. The small beach with black sand is equipped with umbrellas and deckchairs and there is a small tavern.

The beach is accessed by a coastal road with shuttle buses.

Black sand beach of Santorini

Exo Gialos beach with black sand and umbrellas and sun loungers

The beach Vourvoulos is a little further away, 6km from Fira, but you have to drive to get there.

For seclusion seekers can also take a boat trip to the beach of Musakia cove, between Fira and Iaia. In addition to the crystal clear waters, this beach boasts caves that are open to the public.

Photos by: Karen Robbins, enhmaek.gr, fedguides.com, holidaypirates.com, Me Marcho a Santorini, Secret Escapes, guidedtoursantorini.com, Nadia Prigoda, HolidayPirates , Booking.com.

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