Pyrgos, a medieval hamlet that retains its timeless allure

Pyrgos, once the capital of Greece’s most photographed island, evokes a different Santorini. A medieval Venetian settlement that has survived earthquakes and mass tourism, Pyrgos is the closest you’ll get to experiencing island life at its most authentic. Get your hiking gear on!

You know you’re in Pyrgos as the tempo suddenly changes from the frantic activity at the port and the bustle of Fira to an unhurried, leisurely pace, punctuated only by the sounds of village elders playing backgammon at the local ouzeria and of cats mewling for crumbs off the table.

Time stands still as this majestic hamlet, perched atop the island’s most vantage point overlooks the sweep of history and natural forces that have shaped its destiny, as indeed that of Santorini.

The best way to explore Pyrgos is to hike from the main square dotted with century-old pines and charming cafes to the foothills of Profitis Ilias and up to the medieval castle. The maze-like structure of this fortified town, with its low two-storied houses and sheltered balconies, was designed to deliberately confound pirates and other invading marauders. The garrisoned hamlet had just one gate, locked at sunset, with a sinister murder-hole or fonissa, which old-timers claim was large enough to tilt a cauldron of boiling water on itinerant enemies.

This impeccably preserved settlement largely escaped the destruction that the rest of the island suffered in the 1956 earthquake. It also survived mindless construction thanks to the zealous efforts of its villagers keen on preserving its rich heritage.

Pyrgos affords a rare insight into life on Santorini before mass tourism and boasts some spectacular churches dating back to the 14th century including the recently restored Church of the Virgin Mary, handsome mansions, acclaimed gourmet destinations and iconic bars, art galleries and cafes.

For a different experience of Santorini, visit Pyrgos.


View tours in Santorini

With a wide variety of options including our comprehensive island tours, either semi-private or fully private, our tailored plan-your-own tours where you choose the itinerary, or our specialized winery tours visiting the island’s finest vintners, there’s always a fun & exciting experience for everyone!

Semi Private Island Tour with Wine Tasting and Food Pairing

Our Semi-Private Island Tour accommodates maximum 7 people. Join our tour and explore the wonderful & magical island of Santorini!

Through the Grapevine Semi Private Wine Tour

For serious wine aficionados or visitors that simply want to taste excellent wines in the place they are born, an exciting new wine-tasting adventure on the island of Santorini. 

Private Island Tour with Wine Tasting and Food Pairing

All of our private tours can accommodate your own group of up to 8 people. Book your own personal tour to explore with your private guide all the wonders of Santorini!

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