Greek Island Holidays

Fira resort guide Santorini

Santorini Fira RS

Photo: Ian Doyle

The main resort of Santorini is called Fira after the old Greek name for Santorini island, although it's sometimes spelt Thira or Thera . Fira cashes in spectacularly on its dramatic position with white cube houses sitting right on the rim of the near vertical cliffs that rise up above the island's caldera sea. Fira is a favourite port of call for visiting cruise ships.

Many of Fira's visitors are here for just a few hours, drifting in and out of the bars and restaurants with cameras at the ready to snap the famous fiery sunsets over the caldera.

Cruise ships tie to the giant floating buoys in the harbour and passengers take the cable car up to Fira or they can take their chances up the steep zigzag path on the back of a mule.

Only the foolhardy will attempt the 250 metre climb, not only because it is very steep but because they are likely to be jostled out of the way by passing mules.

Fira is a picturesque town with many whitewashed houses, blue domed churches and the deep blue waters of the caldera far below. It's also an expensive town, with premium prices charged at those tavernas and bars with the best views.

Almost every Fira shop sells souvenirs, from polished lava stones to the ubiquitous pumice that can be picked up off the ground for free. Despite the rip-off atmosphere it is a most romantic place to stay and the Fira views really are spectacular.

There is a small archaeological museum close to the cable car station. Most exhibits are from Ancient Thera, near Kamari, and include 8th century pots and urns painted in red and black, notable for the bird and snake symbols.

Tickets to the archaeological museum also gains entrance to the Museum of Prehistoric Thera, to the south of the town, where there are artefacts from Akrotiri, a village buried and preserved by a volcanic eruption. Highlights are some splendid frescos and a gold model ibex.

Fira is the starting point for boat trips to the volcanic islets that lie out in the caldera. The most popular is to Nea Kameni, whose active crater still gives off sulphurous whiffs. At Palea Kameni is a bay, good for swimming, warmed by heat from the volcano.

fira blue monkeys

The Museum of Prehistoric Fira on the Greek island of Santorini displays a very large number of ancient artefacts from across Santorini, notably from the fabulous Minoan site at Akrotiri.

Santorini Home RS

It's the white cube houses of Oia on Santorini that make the most tempting scenes for the tourist clicking cameras followed by sites in Chania in Crete, Corfu and Mykonos.

Santorini Wines

Wine-making has been going on throughout Santorini for thousands of years. Small vineyards are dotted all over the island, and the locals have always been proud of their wines.

Santorini Kamari RS

Tempting as it might be to pay big money for the best sea view on the island, we would recommend a slightly different approach when on holiday on Santorini island.

Greek Island Holidays

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