With others built on the steep cliffs of the caldera and others inland, surrounded by the vineyards of the island, the villages of Santorini
are beautiful and worth to get acquainted with. Together with the villages of Thirasia
, the other island of the volcano
complex that is inhabited, they constitute the Municipality of Thira, with about 15 550 inhabitants, according to the 2011 census. The total number of the settlements is about 40, other smaller and others larger, and they cover a large part of the surface of the island from the north to the southernmost tip, as Santorini is one of the most densely populated islands of Cyclades.
All villages on Santorini are built based on the traditional Cycladic architectural style and therefore in harmony with their natural landscape. There are many undercut structures, a type of building that blends with the volcanic soil and is found only on Santorini, while noteworthy are also the mansions and the kapetanospita, most of which were built in the 19th century. A separate architectural category are the castles of the island – the fortified settlements whose wall coincides with the external walls of the houses, which were such built exactly for this reason.
The visitor is initially attracted to the villages of the caldera
. From Oia, in the northernmost point of the island, to Akrotiri in the south, the white houses that seem to hang from the edge of the cliff are utterly impressive. The blue domes of churches stand out in the landscape, where you will also see the characteristic of Santorini shades of ocher, bright yellow and warm red that can all be found in the homes of the villages. Thousands of visitors gather at dusk in Oia
to admire the sun setting in the deep blue sea. The tour continues south to Imerovigli
and the old capital of the island, Skaros. These are followed by Fira
, the modern capital, a small town where you can find anything.
The interior of the island has nothing to envy of the more... prominent villages of the caldera. Every village retains its own character: from the small Finikia in the north, to Vourvoulos over the volcano Columbo, Vothonas, with the traditional old undercut houses, Karterado and Megalochori, built in the vineyard of Santorini, as well as Akrotiri with the important prehistoric settlement, the village of Emporio with the exceptionally well-preserved castle, Messaria, the old industrial center of the island and Pirgos, whose lighted image on Good Friday is truly one of the most impressive sights. In the same traditional style are also built the more “tourist”, coastal settlements, Perissa
with their beautiful beaches and black sand.
As beautiful, if not more, are the three small villages of Thirassia, Manolas, Agia Irini and Potamos, that have kept their traditional atmosphere unspoiled.