Pyrgos, Santorini was one of three different places I stayed during my trip to the island. I’m so glad I did because is such a nice spot and one that feels much more relaxed than the other more famous parts of the island. To be honest, it felt much more me, and I enjoyed wandering around and discovering what it has on offer.
So, what’s to love about Pyrgos, Santorini?
Pretty alleyways, good bars and restaurants, fantastic sunset views and a laid back feel away from the most touristy parts of the island.
Pyrgos is a lovely traditional village in the south of the island, less than 10 minute’s drive from Fira. It’s well worth a visit to wander around the labyrinth of medieval streets. There are picture opportunities at every turn as well as gift shops, churches, coffee and wine bars, churches and restaurants.
The bus stops in the main square where you’ll also find quite a bit of parking. My villa host told me there are three public car parks although I did find it difficult to ascertain where one ends and another begin! But worry not the parking is all in the same sort of area.
Drive through the village and as you pass the main square (and the donkeys) left you’ll see the parking. If you can get parked up on the side of the road just past the bollards then do so. Otherwise, there’s a semi-circle of parking to your right (where one of the bus stops is) that extends down on a road that doubles back on where you’ve just come in.
On the opposite side, the slope up takes you to another car park that extends beyond, to what I think is the third car park!
Exploring Pyrgos village
After you’ve parked up (or got off the bus) head back to the main square. You can’t miss it. The leafy square has lots of restaurants and coffee bars beside steps that lead up to the castle (Kasteli).
Make sure you wear comfy shoes as viewing Pyrgos requires a bit of a trek uphill. The first bit’s the worst though and then it gets more manageable (at least that’s how it felt to me!).
I stayed part of the way up, in Sweet Nectar Village, and starting from there didn’t seem too bad.
When I arrived I dragged my luggage up with the help of my host. That was quite tough but you’ll often see donkeys taking suitcases up the steps.
As you get up to Cava Alta the path splits, as it does further up. Just follow your intuition as to where you want to go. Let yourself explore the paths, alleyways and tunnels however you like.
You’re heading for the top of the hill for the panoramic views, but get there however you like.
Buy some gifts
I’m kind of used to Greek villages now. But I still get taken by surprise when I turn a corner that looks like nothing and there’s a little boutique tucked into the wall. Turning to see Theotokaki Art Gallery shop was a treat.
They’ve got some really lovely and unique things. There’s a load of jewellery made from the island’s volcanic rock. But they also have some really nice ceramic items: pretty bowls and replica Greek houses and windmills as well as hanging decorations.
It’s definitely worth finding for souvenirs as well as little gifts for yourself.
As you wander you’ll no doubt come across some of the other shops so give yourself time to browse and discover everything.
Visit the Churches and Museums
As you pick your way through the streets you’ll see plenty of churches. History isn’t my thing so I’m not great at telling you all the details. But I know that one of the churches is very important in Santorini. If you’d like to know all the details then I recommend taking a guided tour of the village. I haven’t been on this particular one, but I did another of Jean-Sébastien’s walks. It was really great and he gave loads of detailed information so you could pick his brains for sure.
There’s also the Museum of Icons and Relics (third of the pictures below) which you can pay to enter if it interests you.
There’s actually another museum at the bottom of the hill, past the car parks. It’s called Santorini of the Past and has “displays of period decor, cultural artefacts & depictions of everyday life in Santorini”.
See the castle ruins and panoramic view of Santorini
While you’re winding your way through Pyrgos’ picturesque streets you’re hopefully ascending all the time. Like I said before, it’s a bit of a climb. But you’re definitely rewarded for your efforts so keep breathing through the stair climbs!
I don’t think the remains of the castle (Kasteli) are much to talk about. But the view is pretty immense. You can see all around the island and it’s stunning to see.
Savour unexpected treats
As I got towards the top of the hill I could hear music. I assumed it was coming from the restaurants. It got louder as I walked up the steps and when I got to the tunnel there was a man sitting there playing the mandolin! I loved hearing it and it was such an unexpected treat. I carried on walking but actually regretted not sitting and listening for a while.
Watch the sunset from Pyrgos
Pyrgos, Santorini’s undercover sunset spot is a calm place to watch the sun go down. While there might be a few other people lined up on the street with you it’s nothing like the hoards of people that gather in Oia. Head up to Francos at the top of the hill for a drink while you enjoy the show or watch from your terrace if you’re staying in the village.
Stay for a meal in Pyrgos before you go
When you get to the top of the hill you deserve a good meal! Franco’s was suggested to me as a good bar. Just up beside it is Botargo which comes highly recommended by Conde Nast Traveller now less. And Penelope’s Ouzari is a down-to-earth spot that, from the viewpoint of my balcony, always seemed to do a good trade.
If you can hold off eating until you’ve got back down the hill, then two restaurants were mentioned as being particularly good. There’s Brusco coffee bar that does snacks and small plates and then Kantouni next door. My host in Pyrgos also mentioned that Johnnie’s cafe was good for breakfast.
So there you go, plenty of things to do in Pyrgos, Santorini’s little jewel on the island. Add it to your list of things to do and tag me on Instagram if you visit.