Kamari village on Santorini is built by the sea, on one of the most beautiful beaches on the east coast. It lies 9 kilometers from Fira and is located next to the airport on the one hand and next to Mesa mountain on the other. It is one of the largest villages of Santorini, with about 1300 inhabitants, while the beach is considered by many as the most popular beach of the island.
It is one of the most ‘contemporary’ villages, as the big reconstruction began after the devastating earthquake of 1956, when many of the inhabitants of Episkopi Gonia came to live here. Within walking distance, atop Mesa mountain, lie the ruins of ancient Thira, which today is one of the two greatest archaeological sites of the island, along with the prehistoric settlement of Akrotiri. You can get to ancient Thira by riding a donkey for the ascend. Ruins of the ancient seaside town, Oia, that was once the harbor of Ancient Thira, are located today in the sea around the area.
Kamari today is a modern small city that still has kept the original Cycladic traditional style. The white buildings, which you can admire from the walking trails of Mesa Mountain, accommodate every type of service for locals and visitors alike. A rich merchant market, with shops of all kinds and for all budgets, as well as all tourist services needed for you to enjoy an excellent hospitality: accommodation, restaurants and taverns serving local delicacies, cafes, bars and beach bars, and others. You can also take up diving and admire the spectacular seabed of Santorini.
The coastal road of the village, that runs along the long beach, is ideal for an afternoon summer stroll, while at the edge of the bay lie Askitaria, caves in the rock, others natural and others man made, where hermit monks lived in the late 17th century.
The beach of Kamari
With a length of about 5 km, the beach of Kamari, along with that of Perissa are the most popular beaches of Santorini. It is fully organized, with shops all along the seashore, while the visitors have the opportunity to admire both the imposing Mesa mountain on its one side, and the planes landing or taking off at the nearby airport on the other. The beach of Kamari has fine black sand and is wide and impressive.
Find more detailed information on Kamari beach here
The churches in Kamari
The large church in the central square of the village is Panagia Myrtidiotissa. According to the tradition, the image was found among myrtles, while locals have a great festival on the day of the celebration of the church, on 24 September. The other famous church in Kamari is Agios Pagratios and it hosts its own festival every year on July 9, the anniversary of the great earthquake of 1956. At the edge of the beach at the foot of the mountain, – a place called Kamara, where the old customs were situated, -you can see the church of the “old” Agios Nicholas. It is where every year the Blessing of the Waters takes place on the day of the Epiphany. Just outside Kamari is the church of Agios Nectarios, while further north one can see the church of Agios Georgios Thalassitis.
The sanctuary of Achilles
The ancient Sanctuary dedicated to the hero of Homer, Achilles, was discovered in Kamari as recently as 2002. Among the finds, which were mostly comprised of pottery, was also an Ionic cup with an engraved inscription that mentions the name of the commissioner and the name of the hero. This artifact was enough for the archaeologists to connect the sanctuary with the cult of Achilles, an unique discovery that shows how the protagonist of the Iliad was worshiped as a demigod or god in antiquity and even outside of his home country, Thessaly.