village in Greece

Fira (Greek: Φηρά) is the main town of Thira, the largest island in the Santorini archipelago. It is the island's cultural centre and boasts a variety of attractions such as museums and art galleries, two cathedrals and numerous picturesque churches to explore. Fira is also home to the archipelago's largest ferry port, with connections to other islands in the Aegean Sea.

Fira is built on the caldera cliffs

UnderstandEdit

Every day during the summer is a bustling metropolis as cruise ships from all over the Mediterranean and Aegean seas descend. As a result prices in Thira (and Santorini generally) tend to be a little higher than other Greek Islands.

Get inEdit

Main article: Santorini#Get_in.

By busEdit

The main bus station is 1 Fira bus station, where bus services from Oia, Kamari, Perissa, and Akrotiri arrive into the city. Most services are hourly. There are also bus services to and from the airport. Online timetable [dead link].

By quad bikeEdit

Another great way to get around the (small) island is by hiring a quad bike (usually named "ATV") from numerous locations in the main tourist villages. For €20 a day, it is better value than taxis and more fun than a bus.

On footEdit

There are signposted hiking trails from neighbouring towns, by far the most popular being the Oia - Fira hiking trail which takes about 2.5 hours and roughly follows the caldera.

Get aroundEdit

The limited space on the caldera ridge has led to a very condensed city layout with many narrow streets that are only accessible by foot, motorcycle, or donkey. Exploring the city by foot is the most convenient, because of the many steep paths and steps, and also the most rewarding because the centre is dotted by souvenir shops and art galleries. There are only a few streets suitable for motorised vehicles, and almost no parking opportunities.

By gondolaEdit

 
The gondolas connecting town centre to the port.

The 1 gondola lift   connects the town centre of Fira to its port at the waterfront of the caldera. The lift has a capacity of 1 200 passengers per hour, so there are rarely waiting lines in either direction. Journey travel time is 3 minutes. Perfect for families with children as each gondola carries up to 6 passengers. Single journey costs €6. It is mandatory to wear facecoverings in the gondolas.

By donkeyEdit

An alternative transportation method between Fira and its port, for those who like adventures, is a ride by donkey, which climb up a the steps on the cliff. Obviously there are weight limits for riders. The donkey trail takes a lot longer than the gondolas, but is a good option if there are long queues at the gondola base station.

SeeEdit

MuseumsEdit

  • 1 Museum of Prehistoric Thira, Τ.Κ. 84700, Thira, +30 22860 23217, fax: +30 22860 23217, . 08:30-15:30 daily, closed on Tuesdays.. Definitely pay a visit to this museum, where the story of Akrotiri and other ancient settlements is vividly told through a stunning collection of Neolithic and Bronze Age artefacts. Full €6, reduced €3. Special ticketing package for Ancient Thera, Akrotiri, Archaeological Museum, Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Collection of Icons and Ecclesiastical Artefacts at Pyrgos: €14, reduced €7. Free entrance on 6 Mar, 18 Apr, 18 May, and the European Heritage Days (last weekend of September).    
  • 2 Folklore Museum, +30 698 704 8274. M 10:00-17:00. Museum about the evolution of lifestyle and living on the Santorini archipelago, with displays featuring artisan crafting, a cobbler, blacksmith, distillery, winery, and even a mine underground. All lifestyles from cave houses to modern day typical white dwellings are covered. A guided tour is a necessity to get the most out of a visit, which takes about 45 minutes. €5.
  • 3 Archaeological Museum of Thera. Tu-Su 08:00-15:00. It houses artefacts from Proto-Cycladic culture of the 3rd millennium BC, and continues on to the Classical period. Full €2, reduced €1.    
  • 4 Megaro Gyzi Museum, +30 2286 023077, . May - Oct. An ethnographic museum with a collection of maps, landscapes, engravings, and dresses of the Cycladic Islands from the 15th to the 19th century. It is housed in the Megaro Gyzi mansion dated to the 17th century. It also features an exhibition of old manuscripts from the 16th to the 19th century, as well as painting and photographs of Santorini.
  • 5 Roger Tourte Exposition, +30 2286 023016. Exhibition of work by French artist J.R. Tourte, who moved to Greece before the outbreak of the Second World War and toured the Cyclades until his death in 1972. His work consists of watercoloured scenes of all the major Cycladic Islands along with maps drawn by the artist. Most of the scenes show the authentic islands before they became tourist attractions. The exposition area is in tunnels underground, and are pleasantly cool during hot summer days.

Religious architectureEdit

  • 6 The Three Bells of Fira (Τρεις καμπάνες των Φηρών). 24/7. Officially known as The Catholic Church of the Dormition, this church famed for its iconic three bells, blue dome, and picturesque views which make it one of the most picturesque viewpoints on the island. The history dates back to the mid-17th century when two cave churches were built into the-then solid cliff face, but these were destroyed as the cliff receded, and an infirmary was built in its place which attracted Jesuits who lived on the site until the land was given to the Diocese of Santorini. The current church was built in 1757 and underwent many expansions and refurbishments, for example in 1958 when it was damaged by an earthquake. Hikers following the Fira to Oia coastal path will pass the Three Bells along their way. Free.
  • 7 Dominican Convent, +30 2286 022420. Dominican church and convent. Founded in 1595, it is the oldest Catholic nunnery in Greece, but the current building dates from 1864. The church was consecrated in 1825 as the Church of the Virgin of the Rosary, but was severely damaged during the 1956 earthquake and subsequently repaired. The sanctuary behind the altar in the church is the icon of Our Lady of the Rosary with St. Dominic and St. Catherine flanked by statues of St. Joseph.
  • 8 Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral. Cathedral built in 1827, traditionally styled with an outside courtyard space and nicely decorated interior. It was heavily damaged by the 1956 earthquake but subsequently restored to its former glory. Free.
  • 9 Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist (Καθεδρικός ναός του Αγίου Ιωάννη του Βαπτιστή). Parish of the Roman Catholic Church in Fira, serving as the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santorini founded in 1204. The baroque church building in blue-gray and cream colours was built in 1823 and restored in 1970 after the earthquake of 1956.    

NatureEdit

  • 10 Nea Kameni. 24/7. This island of only 2 km in diameter in the centre of the Santorini Caldera is the summit of the current volcano, and the entire island is of volcanic origin. The volcano is dormant, but major eruptions took place in the past 3 centuries, the last one from 1939 - 1941. Since a small eruption in 1950 which extruded an additional lava dome, volcanic activity has been low, and it can be safely visited because volcanologists of the Institute for the Study and Monitoring of the Santorini Volcano continuously monitor the activity levels. There are many active sulphur vents. The nearly barren island is only a 10 minute boat journey away from Fira port. The climb to the 130 m summit is a hiking trail of about 1 km in length, over uneven gravel paths. Note: there are no supplies, shade, or toilets on the island so come well prepared; bring loads of water! Proper hiking shoes are a necessity. €2.50.    
  • 11 Karavolades Stairs (Donkey Trail). 24/7. Steps leading from the town centre to the harbour. The trail is intensively used by donkeys, which gave it the name Donkey Trail. There are about 600 steps, with great views along the path. Walking down is easier than walking up, so the alternative is to take the gondolas back up instead for €6 per passenger. Free.

DoEdit

Apart from the few museums and craft studios (which are open fairly late), travelers seeking unique experiences unobtainable elsewhere will be disappointed.

  • Stroll through the shopping district (for overpriced jewelry, designer clothing and handbags) and go to the numerous (American-styled) discos and bars.
  • Watch a sunset over dinner.
  • Walk along Agiou Mina street. This street goes through Fira part-way down the cliff, from the south part of town all the way to the cable car. It provides the stunning views of Fira that you came to see. You can walk either north or soth, but walking north has the advantage that the main part of Fira is in front of you. To get there, from the main cathedral, walk with the sea to your right, just left of Hotel Atlantis, about 50 m. Walk around 1500 BC restaurant, and you'll be on the path. Just be careful of the donkey poop!
  • Go to the Old port. Whoever said "Getting there is half the fun" was likely referring to the Old Port. Or, in this case, getting there is 99% of the fun. There is almost nothing to do at the Old Port (except perhaps take a couple of pictures from sea level). But the ride down and up can be fun. Your choices are the cable car (€6 one way), donkey ride (€5 per person, plus a €5 "tip" for your "guide"). Try to avoid walking this road at any cost, it's quite long and it's completely covered with slippery donkey poop. The smell makes you want to vomit. If you want to avoid the smell and the scene just take the cable car but aware of possible congestion when people from the ferries arrive and leave. Some local mule guides may also try to cheat you by demanding a payment for walking down, they will try to sell you a small piece of paper that says ticket without any numbers on it. Ignore these people, the road is free.
  • Get out of the tourist section. The tourist part of Fira is surprisingly small; a couple minutes walk away from the sea brings you out of the tourist area. While the architecture here is not stunning, it certainly is different than you will see elsewhere. Plus, you'll have a chance to marvel at the fact that even though Fira land prices are very high, there are still empty lots in the middle of the city.
  • 1 Fira - Oia hike. 24/7. By far the most spectacular hike on Thira is the trail from Fira to Oia, with a length of 11 km. It offers some breathtaking views over the caldera, and the other islands of the archipelago. Estimated time: 3 - 4 hours. Map marker indicates the start of the trail in Fira. Free.
  • 2 The White Door Theatro, +302286021770, . Theatre famous for its play The Greek Wedding, a comedy set in 1940s Greece.
  • 3 Santorini Zen Spa, +306985824393, . 09:00 - 20:00 daily. Massage and relaxation.
  • 4 Cave Santorini Spa, +306977210537, . Spa built in a 500-year-old residence partially underground, keeping the temperature at a constant 17°C.
  • 5 Kokkalo, 25 Martiou Street, +302286025407, . 14:00 - 00:00 daily. Restaurant offering cooking courses to teach yourself how to cook Greek cuisine the traditional way.

BuyEdit

  • 1 MATI Gallery, +30 22860 23814, . 10:00 - 00:00 daily. The gallery of Greek artist Yorgos Kypris, established in 1990. On display is a selection of artworks including sculptures and installations, drawings, and jewellery. Free.

EatEdit

 
Sunset

In the early evening the passengers of the cruise ships return to their vessels and cafes become much more relaxed.

  • 1 Nikolas, Erythrou Stavrou (head straight up the pedestrian mall (Danezi) and take the first right), +30 2286024869. A local eatery preserving traditional Hellenic cuisine. No English menu is provided, but the staff is efficient in explaining the Greek menu board and provide suggestions if necessary. Service is a departure from the overly warm receptions with most tourist traps as it is quick, efficient, and sufficiently friendly. Must tries include the Horiatiki (Greek) salad, moussaka, beef stew. Ask for "horta", a plate of simple boiled greenery ordered by the locals and not on the menu as it is both time-consuming and difficult to prepare on a mass-scale. Though the dish may not look overly appetizing when it arrives at the table, sprinkle on some fresh lemon juice from the provided wedge and add some salt to bring the traditional veggie dish alive. Appetizer €4, mains €8-14.
  • 2 To Ouzeri (in the centre of Fira at the Fabrika shopping centre which is next to the Cathedral), +30 22860 21566. 13:00 - 22:00 daily. George and Iordana, the owners, welcome warmly all their guests. You will find a great variety of traditional Greek dishes using the local products of Santorini, Greek salad, green salad with Chorotyri, Mousaka, Ouzo meatballs, Soutzoukakia.
  • 3 Parea (two blocks from Theotokopoulou square on M. Danezi street), +30 2286 025444. Offers a wide range of cheap, tasty food including salads, sandwiches, moussaka, a variety of gyros, pizza, spaghetti, omelets, and both savory and dessert crepes. Great for travelers on a budget and the service is relatively prompt by comparison to many of the other restaurants in Fira. Gyros are €1.70, Greek salads are €4.50. They also deliver from 10:00 - 24:00.
  • 4 Falafeland, +302286036359, . noon - 21:30 daily. Falafel and healthy food with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
  • 5 Lombranos, Ormos Firon, +30 2286 025173, . 11:3 - 21:00 daily. Seafood restaurant in the harbour, with a view over the caldera.
  • 6 Fly Away, +30 2286 025765. 13:00 - 23:00 daily. Creative restaurant and bar.
  • 7 Romantica, +30 2286 022862. 11:00 - 01:00. Seafood restaurant in a romantic setting, great for couples.
  • 8 Katsaboo, Agiou Athabaskan 101, +30 2286 022575, . 08:00 - 22:45 daily. Great Greek restaurant but a bit on the pricey side. Try the feta with sesame and honey.
  • 9 To Steki tou Nikou, Epar.Od. Firon-Ias, +30 2286 025239. 12:00 - 23:00 daily. Traditional Greek restaurant.
  • 10 The Vine, Υπαπαντής 2, +30 2286 025554. 12:00 - 00:00 daily. Cocktail and wine restaurant.
  • 11 Convivium, Δανέζη Μ, +30 2286 028111, . 11:30 - 22:45 daily. Italian cuisine and seafood.
  • 12 Los Tres Amigos (The Three Friends), Δανέζη Μ, +30 2286 036869, . 11:00 - 02:00 daily. Mexican cuisine.
  • 13 Kaliya Reimagined Food & Drinks, +30 2286 023807. 08:00 - 01:30 daily. Fine dining restaurant.
  • 14 No Name Restaurant Santorini, 25is Martiou 25, +30 2286 033582. 11:00 - 23:00 daily. Mediterranean and Greek grill restaurant.
  • 15 Salt & Pepper, 25th March St, +30 2286 022747. 13:30 - 15:30; 19:00 - 23:00 daily. Traditional Greek restaurant run by a Santorini couple, taking pride to source as many ingredients from local farmers and fishermen, and only using Greek olive oil and feta cheese. This restaurant offers a culinary experience, but at rates comparable to other restaurants in Fira. This is a small restaurant, so reservations are absolutely necessary.
  • 16 Fu Li Hua, 25is Martiou 303, +30 2286 022699, . 11:30 - 23:30. Chinese restaurant on the main square offering a wide range of dishes, including authentic Chinese dishes, friendly service.

DrinkEdit

  • Two Brothers Bar, An internationally famed watering hole, catering to the tourist party crowd.
  • Bonjour Café (Central Square of Fira), +30 22860 23744. Modern café bar open all day offering variety of coffees, juices, soft drinks cocktails and snacks. Open from early in the morning until late after midnight.
  • The Highlander, a Scottish bar, Happy Hour from 21:00-22:30
  • Koo, cool nightclub to hang out after drinking at the other bars and to close out the night.
  • 1 Anhydrous Winery, +30 22860 23140, . 11:00 - 20:00 daily. Winery, restaurant, and spa. Fun note: "anhydrous" is a Greek word that means "does not contain water"!
  • 2 MarinEra, Υπαπαντής, +30 2286 025026, . 12:00 - 22:00 daily. Cocktail bar.
  • 3 Nektar Lounge, +30 2286 024047. Cafe and bar with a fantastic view over the caldera.
  • 4 Triana Tavern, 25ης Μαρτίου 405, +30 2286 024005, . 12:00 - 23:00 daily. A cosy tavern with great service, but the food isn't too special.

SleepEdit

Stay safeEdit

ConnectEdit

  • Easy internet cafe with 20 PCs minimum charge €1. Next to taxi station. A nice and calm internet cafe. They also have Wi-Fi with 2Mbps bandwidth. You will find it from the orange colour.

Go nextEdit


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